Summarising pays off

Nick D’Aloisio (London, UK) sold his mobile app (summly) for undisclosed sum of money to Yahoo. The app ‘summaries’ articles for quick reading. The schoolboy will work full-time for Yahoo and do A-levels in the evening (read more about the study biorhythms of teenagers) To sum up, summarising made him a millioner. Read more about the value of summaries

Information overload? Keeping up to date with speed reading.

Information (overload) this is the fastest growing phenomenon  on this planet. Information is superabundant. According to The Economist the amount of digital information increases tenfold every five years. But another source (EMC2 – responsible for the World Information Growth Ticker above) says that, “The world’s information is doubling every two years. In 2011 the world will create a staggering 1.8 zettabytes. By 2020 the world will generate 50 times the amount of information.” In another study “How much information?” researchers Hal Varian and Peter Lyman measured the total production of all information channels in the world for two different years, 2000 and 2003. Varian and Lyman estimate that the total production of new information in 2000 reached 1.5 exabytes. They explain that is about 37,000 times as much information as is in the entire holdings Library of Congress. For one year! Three years later the annual total yielded 3.5 exabytes. That yields a 66% rate of growth in information per year. So, nobody knows exactly how much information there is and how fast it’s growing but we know for sure that there is far too much information that we can process.

Half life facts - How information goes ouf to date

Half life facts – How information goes ouf to date

And information changes and goes out of date all the time (as suggested by this book ‘The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date‘ by Samuel Arbesman. Smoking has gone from doctor-recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that Pluto was a planet. For decades, we were convinced that the Brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. Eating meat used to be good for you, then bad, then good again – now it’s a matter of opinion. I have no idea any longer whether or not red wine is good for me. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing. Information overload = information unload. Much of what we believe to be factual has an expiration date, but the good news is that we can see it coming (according to NewScientist).

That’s why speed reading can help you to keep up to date with information in your field.

Future of information processing and delivery – animated infographics (example: history of iPhone)

Printed books (as we know them) have dominated the transfer of information, knowledge and wisdom for over 600 years. Digital technologies allow for better presentation of information. Visual language was the original concept behind presenting information in less linear and wordy formats. Animated infographics are paving the way to quicker, more effective ways to present information. Here’s an example of the history of the development of iPhone in an animated infographic video. However ineractive apps are the real future of information delivery. One of my favourite apps is ZITE – where the app is actually learning what I like to read and finds the appropriate information, saving me lots of time.

  • Animated history of the iPhone
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  • CNET UK

London Riots, Books and the Psychology of Looting

While  psychologists try to explain the UK riots, as an Environmental
Psychology student I was particularly interested in what kind of shops the
looters were robbing. What choices were they making as consumers?

Not good ones, apparently. To quote one reporter, they are a mob and a mob
with bad taste – since the shops they concentrated on looting were Primemark
and poundstores.

Not only that, but in Clapham Junction, London, where almost all the shops
in the high street were looted, one was left untouched by rioters –
Waterstones bookshop (according to Zoe Williams in The Guardian). Are these
looters unable to read?

Some have said that a large number of youngsters were involved in these
riots because it was the school holidays, the nights are longer, and they
were doing it for the buzz. Is the implication that if they had only been
able to get hold of a gripping book, they might have kept out of trouble?

To give the looters the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are digital readers
with free Kindle apps downloaded to their BlackBerries (did they remember to
nick Blackberries and iPads?). Or maybe at this very moment they are reading
ebooks such as Frickonomics, or Malcolm Gladwell’s latest or bestselling
summaries such as Passing Time in the Loo
or even our own Spd Rdng – the
Speed Reading Bible
.

Hmm. I somehow doubt that. But at least they were not into burning books.
Thankfully.

 

10 technologies that will change the world in the next 10 years

Dave Evans (Cisco’s chief futurist, and the chief technologist for the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group) outlins what he believed to be 10 technological trends that will change the world in the next 10 years.
1. The Internet of Things: There are now more things are connected to the Internet than people. By 2020, the number of Internet-connected things could be more than six devices for every person on Earth.
2. The Data Flood: About 5 exabytes of unique information were created in 2008 — the equivalent of a billion DVDs. In 2011, it will be 1.2 zettabytes (one zettabyte equals 1,024 exabytes.) More reasons to learn speed reading but hopefully technology will be able to do that for us.
3. Wisdom of the cloud: one day all data will live on the cloud ready to be accessed at any time.
4. The next ‘Net: Network performance has increased by 170,000 times since 1990. Over the next 10 years, experts expect the speed to networks to increase by 3 million times.
5.The World Gets Smaller: With always-on connectivity, social influences will continue to move rapidly between cultures. A smaller world also means faster information dissemination.
6.The Power of Power: As the human population also continues to grow, more efficient methods to provide power are becoming a necessity, particularly solar energy.
7. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot: 3D printing. Most homes will own a 3D printer which will allow to print most objects and then ultimately human organs. For example, this bicycle was printed using a 3D printer
8. Another Family Tree:
 Virtual humans, both physical (robots) and online avatars will be added to the workforce. By 2025, the robot population could surpass the number of humans in the developed world. By 2035, robots could completely replace humans in the workforce.
9. Yes, there’s a cure for that: the technology will advance so much that most illnesses will be curable.
10. Humans or Borg? “Humans are entering a stage of self-designed evolution.” said Stephen Hawking,  Taking the medical technology idea to the next level, healthy humans will be given the tools to augment themselves. Just look at some of the examples of technological advances so far:  Spanish researchers discover substance for photographic memory (July 2009), Italian and Swedish scientists develop the first artificial hand with feeling (October 2009), retina implants restore vision to blind patients (March 2010), Texas Heart Institute develops a “spinning” heart with no pulse, no clogs and no breakdowns (June 2011)..  Read more