Month: January 2011

  • Cosmic View to The Know Universe

    In 1957, the Dutch educator Kees Boeke wrote Cosmic View, a essay exploring “many levels of size and structure, from the astronomically vast to the atomically tiny”. Boeke’s essay went on to inspire the 1968 animated short,¬†Cosmic Zoom. Cosmic View and Zoom then inspired the more famous Charles and Ray Eames documentary, Powers of Ten,…

  • Body Language and Signalling Power

    If we are prompted to recall a time in which we had power, we temporarily behave in the exact same way as those who have been given actual power (or ‘resource control’) and believe we currently have power, too. Interestingly, this method doesn’t signal power to others: observers are able to differentiate, despite the fact…

  • The Statistics of Wikipedia’s Fundraising Campaign

    Yesterday, 15th January 2011, Wikipedia celebrated its tenth birthday. Just over two weeks before, Wikipedia was also celebrating the close of its 2010 fundraising campaign where over sixteen million dollars was raised from over half a million donors in just fifty days. The 2010 campaign was billed as being data-driven, with the Wikipedia volunteers “testing…

  • The Science Behind Good Presentations

    We know that cluttered presentations and those with paragraphs of text per slide aren’t good and that the 10/20/30 rule is a guideline generally worth adhering to, but why? Could there be a scientific basis for why some presentations are better than others? Chris Atherton, an applied cognitive psychologist at the UK’s University of Central…

  • The Basic Plots of All Stories

    That there are a finite number of basic plots from which all other stories are formed is accepted as fact by many literary theorists: Georges Polti, for instance,¬†believes that there are thirty-six dramatic situations, while Ronald Tobias believes there to be only twenty. The Internet Public Library has compiled together the most commonly accepted lists…

  • News’ Reliance on PR and Wire Services

    News organisations and journalists are becoming less “active gatherers of news” and more “processors of [‚Ķ] second-hand materials”, suggests a surprising study conducted by researchers at Cardiff University. Nick Davies, author of Flat Earth News, commissioned the research and provides a brief overview of this study on the state of current media reporting: Specialists at…