Category Archives: Creativity

Solar Panel Wiring (so easy)

I know it has been a long time coming, but here it is. The wiring video of the WindyNation 200 watt solar panel kit is done and up on YouTube. The process really was pretty straight forward and easy. The hardest part really was waiting on the warm Wisconsin weather. Coming soon will be the really cool windy screens I made for the CamperVan and the second day of our Key West trip (Greenville and our drive there).

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I wanted to share the letter I sent to my US Senator.

I have great concerns over Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and here is what I sent my Senator.

To the Honorable Senator Johnson,

I have been a life long Republican and put my first GOP sign up in 3rd grade. I have lived in Wisconsin for 15 years now and have been proud to vote for you a couple times. I am writing to express my concern over Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. I believe this person has no qualifications to serve in this role. I have worked in Higher Education for more than 20 years and I do see a need for change in both the K12 system and Higher Education. I do believe that placing a person in the role of Secretary of Education with no personal experience with public education is a mistake.

I do support both Charter Schools and Voucher programs, both can be a benefit to a number of students. But I don’t believe these are the solutions to our struggling education systems. Much better examples of educational reform can be found in the ideas presented by Jeb Bush or Sir Ken Robins.

Further, I believe her views on main streaming students with disabilities will hamper the improvement of the public classroom. I say this as a person with dyslexia and having spent a great deal of time in special education classes. Teachers in the classroom already struggle to engage our best students when they are contently trying to help those struggling. Placing more students in a classroom that require even more attention will further hinder those students at the top and wishing to be challenged.

One final thought and I quote Benjamin Franklin “Genius without education is like silver in a mine.” I believe a vote for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is a vote squash the potential and the dreams of the genius that exists in our public school systems. Thank you for your excellent representation.

Thank you for your time,
Russel Pearson

First thoughts on Abundance: The future is better than you think

Book by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Today I stated reading “Abundance: The future is better than you think”. It has been on my reading list for awhile.  As I read through this book, I will post some of my thoughts and take a ways. As I began reading about the possibilities of a planet where there is an abundance of resources for everyone, it was the mental hurdles we face that struck me. It seems that the same things that hold us back on believing in an abundant society are the same hurdles we face daily when dealing with all kinds of situations.

Heuristics are cognitive shortcuts, time saving, energy saving rules of thumb that allow us to simplify the decision making process. In social psychology these show up when we assign probabilities like evaluating the possibility that a suspect is armed. The first thing the brain does is check it’s database for known situations and examples. The ease of access of this information is known as the availability heuristic and leads to increased perception of the probability.

Heuristics are an essential tool in decision making when we have limited information, limited time to respond and limited mental resources available. Although on average this process of decision making can be very effective, there are times when it can lead to severe errors in judgment. There are a number of cognitive biases that can impact our decisions. Among the most powerful is the conformation bias. This is the bias where we unconsciously search out information that tends to confirm or support what we already think or believe. Then there are biases like anchoring, where we tend to focus too much on one piece of information.

These biases and others work in tandem to affect our decisions and thoughts. When combined with our tendencies to be local optimists and global pessimists this can lead to even bigger problems. This means we tend to seriously overestimate our abilities and significantly under estimate the world at large.

Molly Winter: The taboo secret to healthier plants and people

Our poop and pee have superpowers, but for the most part we don’t harness them. Molly Winter faces down our squeamishness and asks us to see what goes down the toilet as a resource, one that can help fight climate change, spur innovation and even save us money.

How computers are learning to be creative

We’re on the edge of a new frontier in art and creativity — and it’s not human. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, principal scientist at Google, works with deep neural networks for machine perception and distributed learning. In this captivating demo, he shows how neural nets trained to recognize images can be run in reverse, to generate them. The results: spectacular, hallucinatory collages (and poems!) that defy categorization. “Perception and creativity are very intimately connected,” Agüera y Arcas says. “Any creature, any being that is able to do perceptual acts is also able to create.”

Meron Gribetz: A glimpse of the future through an augmented reality headset

TED2016 · 10:54 · Filmed Feb 2016

What if technology could connect us more deeply with our surroundings instead of distracting us from the real world? With the Meta 2, an augmented reality headset that makes it possible for users to see, grab and move holograms just like physical objects, Meron Gribetz hopes to extend our senses through a more natural machine. Join Gribetz as he takes the TED stage to demonstrate the reality-shifting Meta 2 for the first time. (Featuring Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson)

10 ways to have a better conversation

When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”