In an earlier article about my road trip to Sydney I explained how I had the misfortune to get tennis elbow.
Tennis (or golfers) elbow is caused by inflammation of the tendons that attach the muscles in the forearm to the bone on the elbow. It is actually mainly caused by poor ergonomics and often mouse use is to blame.
Tennis elbow is a chronic condition and people can have it for years and never really get rid of it. In my case the symptoms started in December and by mid March it was not getting any better despite a program of stretches, exercises and foam rolling.
In the last 2 weeks I have purchased a flexbar and this $40 lump of rubber has made a huge impact on my symptoms. It has been proven in trials to be effective in a number of trials
In 1971 one in thirty would develop cancer in their lifetime, today the figure is one in three.
The film Surviving Terminal Cancer suggests this failure is due to a flawed approach the medical establishment has towards terminal disease. The film covers a number of individuals that have been diagnosed with terminal cancer and in many cases given just months to live. Many of the individuals are still alive today (10 or 15 years later). The reason they are still alive is by ignoring the advice of their oncologists and self administering a cocktail of drugs. This practice has been shown to be effective against HIV but for other terminal diseases is difficult and often illegal.
The film highlights how the patients best interests and the the best interests of science are often at odds especially in cases of terminal disease.
The track “Don’t Stay in School” by Boyinaband went viral about 3 weeks ago.
Its worth a listen – even if you don’t like hip hop or androgynous looking men with long hair. He has nailed my feelings on this subject, It is now one of my favourite tunes.
After the deluge of interest in the the track the artist has said in a later video that he has big plans to continue taking this issue foreword. On the video below he is explaining how one school is making changes after the song being viewed by most of the students and staff.
I am pretty excited about a new start-up I am involved with called Research Rockets.
It helps people to conduct their own online research by providing a method to separate fact from fiction and display their research graphically in a way that is simple and shareable. It’s like a cross between an info graphic and a mind map and it will be embeddable in blog posts and web pages.
The application is in development and is scheduled to be released in limited Beta in April. More details can be found below
Research Rockets was born out of a conversation I had last year where I attempted to help some of my family members who had some medical problems. I was talking to my brother, I suggested he might benefit from exploring other treatments. He was nervous about this and suggested that
As we are not experts researching ourselves could be more harmful than helpful.
I didn’t agree with that statement but instead of arguing I decided to take a different tack. I conducted my own research on the subject and then when complete I provided my brother with a map of the information and then talked to him about the method and approach I used to focus on the most relevant and exclude the misleading. It worked fantastically well and brought us together with a shared way of talking about the subject. That approach was the precursor to what is now called Research Rockets.
Two months later at christmas I found myself in a situation where my employer had mandated two weeks of forced leave but my wife was only able to take three days off. So for one of the two weeks I took myself on a road trip (approx 3000km) in six days , starting boxing day.
It was on that trip where I worked out the product , the pitch, the business model and the marketing plan for what is now called Research Rockets (and in the process gave my self tennis elbow -which I still have now).
Once I got back I pitched the idea to Kriang (an excellent developer and designer who I met at a startup weekend event in October 2015 ). He agreed to join me in this venture. We are now in the the process of building out the limited alpha version of the software (planned release end of March). Whilst Kriang is working on this I have set up a club to help people with individual research. We hope that by helping people out with their own research we can get some valuable feedback for the business. If you live in Melbourne and are interested in getting to grips with the method before the software goes live then please sign up to the mailing list on the site.
To see more of my articles about managing information, intellectual self defense, and how we can use information to bring more independence into our lives click here
The first step to taking back control is understanding
Everyday we are bombarded with incoherent, illogical and misleading information. We are swimming in more information than ever before but the paradox is, most people are drowning.
The Trivium is a systematic method of critical thinking for deriving certainty from any information coming into the mind via the five senses. In medieval universities, the trivium comprised the three subjects that were taught first, specifically in this order: grammar, logic and rhetoric. If the three steps are arranged any other way, the Trivium will not work as a method for deriving certainty. The word is a Latin term meaning “the three ways” or “the three roads” which lead to Truth. This forms the foundation of a medievalliberal arts education.
Wind energy has come along way in the last 15 years. Year on year turbines have been getting more efficient and reliable, however conventional design is now nearing it’s limits. Two companies Altaeros Energies and google have recently presented some innovative new methods for collecting wind energy that could change the game when it comes to efficient wind power.
Conventional turbines have been getting bigger and are increasingly being deployed at sea to take advantage of better, more consistent winds. In addition to consistency wind at higher altitude is twice the speed and has up to eight times the power of wind used for large conventional wind turbines. Altearos Energies and google use different approaches to harness the power of wind at higher altitude. If successful these innovative developements could mean a huge change in the uses of wind power in the future.
Altaeros Energies floating power-stations
The device pictured below is called the BAT (Buoyent Airbourne Turbine) from Altaeros Energies . The floating turbine is basically a helium ballon containing a wind turbine. According to the company it is intended for use in remote areas and disaster sites. The BAT will be capable of powering 25 houses.
Googles Flying Power-stations
Google project Makani has a very innovative concept for energy production. It works like a kite with propellers that are turbines and the electricity is delivered via the kite string. They are surprisingly powerful they are currently working on a 600 KW system – enough power for 300 homes. Below is a video
This is not something our educational system or cuture seems to value. However nowadays we have access to more information than ever before, but at the same time we are more confused. This make developing critical thinking skills a higher priority for everyone. I covered problems and the causes of this problem in a previous blog post called “Education or Instruction?”. Poor critical thinking skills are so endemic that many people have lost confidence in their own ability to make decisions. Most people outsource the majority of their most important thinking to other people believing themselves incapable. I believe there’s huge room for improvement in most people , including myself and for this reason I was very excited when I came accross the Trivium and the Peace Revolution Podcast. Lacking in the ability and confidence to scrutinize information makes a person an easy target for scoundrels. The Peace Revolution Podcast aims to provide information and tools to develop skills needed for “intellectual self defence” by developing critical thinking skills.
The Trivium is one of those tools . Today the trivium is taught only in a small group of elite educational establishments. The fundamentals of the trivium are ancient, they were developed by Aristotle. The Latin word “Trivium” means “from the three ways”
1. General Grammar (Answers the question of the Who, What, Where, and the When of a subject.) Discovering and ordering facts of reality comprises basic, systematic Knowledge
2. Formal Logic (Answers the Why of a subject.) Developing the faculty of reason in establishing valid [i.e., non-contradictory] relationships among facts, systematic Understanding
3. Classical Rhetoric (Provides the How of a subject.) Applying knowledge and understanding expressively comprises Wisdom or, in other words, it is systematically useable knowledge and understanding
The mastery of the Trivium allows for an individual to quickly assimilate information, judge its quality and turn this information into wisdom. Wisdom being knowledge that has useful application. In studying the trivium Formal Logic is a good place to start as it deals with the identification of lies, which is something we are bombarded daily. Using Formal Logic to Identify fallacies The study of Formal Logic helps understanding by rooting out contradictions and fallacies. Fallacies are not the same as lies they are information that is either deliberately or unknowingly misleading. With the trivium you can you identify fallacies and also name the type of fallacy that is being perpetrated. For a list common fallacies that you could pop in your wallet see this Mental Antivirus checklist. To see some fallacies in action see below
I currently have the Mental Antivirus checklist in my wallet and have already brought some logical rigour to some pub conversations. I provided some friends a copy of the Mental Antivirus Checklist and found that using the common approach meant we had much more meaningful dialogue than normal.
The word trivia is derived from singular for the Trivium. It is interesting how something so important has come stand for something so…………….trivial. I’d love know how you get on with the Trivium – Drop me line in the comments! Paul