Links to make you think

February 24, 2014

Thinkers

Start your week off with these links to some really interesting topics. They cover a new Apple patent, genetic movements, storytelling and behavior, and the reverse direction of time.

Courtesy of the NY Times

Courtesy of the NY Times

The genetic atlas of human mixing events
Though all humans have the same set of genes, their genomes are studded with mutations, which are differences in the sequence of DNA units in the genome. These mutations occur in patterns because whole sets of mutations are passed down from parent to child and hence will be common in a particular population. Based on these patterns, geneticists can scan a person’s genome and assign the ancestry of each segment to a particular race or population. By doing this, a team of geneticists and statisticians from the U.K. and Germany identified more than 100 major population movements over the last 4,000 years.

Does time have a direction? Retrocausality Could Send Particles’ Information Back to the Future
Physicists suspect that the rules are different on the quantum mechanical level, particularly when it comes to a phenomenon known as entanglement. Entangled particles start off close together, and when separated, they’re able to communicate with each other and share information at a rate that’s seemingly instantaneous—faster than the speed of light. Whatever one particle does, the other follows suit in a consistent way. But according to the theory of relativity, nothing can travel that quickly.

So some physicists and philosophers, including Huw Price from the University of Cambridge, are now proposing a solution, something they call “retrocausality.” What if, they posit, entangled particles are traveling not just in space, but in time?

Essentially, what is being said is that if we can’t have instantaneous information exchange over a physical distance, then maybe entangled particles whisper information in each others’ ears across the vastness of time. Then it, in turn, brings that information with it to the future. It’s like sending a letter back in time to a friend—you send it, but even before you’ve gotten to the post office, she already knows the secret message inside because, at one point, you were roommates.

Storytelling has remarkable effects on our brain and on our behavior.
In a series of experiments in his lab, Paul Zak has shown that when watching a short, sad story about a father and son, two interesting neurochemicals are produced:

  1. Cortisol–which people feel as distress and encourages them to pay attention to the story.
  2. Oxytocin–which promotes connection and care and encourages people to feel empathy.

After experiencing the story, people who produced the most oxytocin were the most likely to give money to others they couldn’t see.

Consider this book: Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

Will Apple’s next big thing be a pair of headphones for monitoring your heart rate and tracking your activity, fitness and health?
Apple has patented designs for earphones and headphones that are capable of monitoring a wearer’s movements and vital signs through a series of embedded sensors.

To get more done today, first think about how you think. A little self-awareness can go a long way.
Geil Browning, founder of Emergenetics International, an organizational development firm in the U.S., Singapore, and the Netherlands, has uncovered four ways of thinking that every person exhibits. These are built from innate, brain-based preferences and relate to the way people actually perform work.

Here’s her challenge: Find which way of thinking (or what combination of ways) fits you. This is the foundation for your productivity.

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.