I believe strongly that we need to work on making text more richly interactive since the written word is a fundamental unit of knowledge, so the richer we interact with our text the richer we interact with our knowledge.
More richly interactive text interactions will require a more interactive environment where the different capabilities of the system can be brought to bear in the most convenient ways, creating a more powerful user experience and thus a more powerful user.
Apple’s policy of sandboxing is understandable from a security point of view, but it goes against this idea completely.
The term sandbox used to mean children’s play area, a constrained area for action where the participants needed to be controlled and the definition in computer security is very much related: “… a sandbox is a security mechanism for separating running programs. It is often used to execute untested code, or untrusted programs from unverified third-parties, suppliers, untrusted users and untrusted websites.” Wikipedia.
The need for greater security is understandable and the need for greater interaction is important. How can these two goals be reconciled?
I propose Apple establishes a service which could be called a Trusted Developer Program, where developers (us), can provide Apple with our source code and verify our identity. We can then interact with the system and other applications in a richer way than if Apple knows nothing about us. I don’t even mind paying Apple a small up-front fee for this and a slightly larger cut from App Store revenues.
Please tell me what you think, I would really appreciate your perspective on this.
OK, so I have sent out four emails to researchers about the circadian shift fire control provided to see if they feel it supports my idea that it might have given us more creativity.
VC told me to hold tight on Liquid this weekend, which is good.
So, back to the book. Working at Milde, coffee all ready, fireplace burning even though it’s quite bright, listening to nice and quiet jazz. Loudly.
Thoughts from the book:
Before Controlled Fire
Think back to what it must have been like on the African plains before 400,000 years ago. Sometimes when the evening came the heavens wouldn’t always have been as dark as we we city dwellers are used to today, with our cities producing a large amount of light pollution. When there were no clouds the milky way with the stars sprinkled all over the sky and the moon would have been our companions.
Wether or not it was cloudy or clear at night, it would not have been enough light available for us to do much productive work in, and of course moon and star light does not warm us.
Before we could control fire we could stay up late, but there was likely little incentive to do so and in darkness we would soon tire.
Early Use of Fire
We have used fire to burn off unproductive vegetation and encourage new growth which in turn also encourage more small animals to come for longer than records can tell us. You could say that our use of fire was ‘fire-stick’ farming.
Controlled Use of Fire
Fire reduced the harshness of winter, allowing us to occupy cooler places and thereby become masters of larger parts of our planet.
Fire helped improve toolmaking by allowing us to harden blades. Fire would also help us make functional pottery, heat rocks to free metals and later bake tokens and tablets for the first writing.
Fire changed our diet by allowing us to cook food, making pieces of meat we could previously not eat tender through the heat, making meat last longer after cooking and reducing parasites (which may have had very far reaching consequences beyond reducing illness from hostile parasites, considering that our healthy, functioning bodies today are host to a very large number (by some measures it could be 95%) of bacteria in a commensalistic (non-harmful to the host relationship) relationship).
Fire also became used for signaling using smoke which contributed to inter-tribal communication and collaboration – when you have a longer range means of communication it pays to use it by making allies of those you can reach, to help you prepare for attacks by those further away. There is speculation that this may have been a key to us winning out over the Neanderthals – wider cooperation made possible by fire smoke signaling.
Sociability & The Creative Mindset
We build hearths and start to see the world in a different light, visually as well as metaphorically
The Games People Play
Maybe we create the first ‘games’ on such evenings? Maybe it started with more controlled play? Maybe we added ‘game pieces’ later, in a mirror of how we invented counting and writing? I would like to suggest that the difference between sports (team or individual) and games (card games through chess etc.) is largely that sports are daylight activities with emphasis on competition but games are evening purists with emphasis on sociability. Can it be that games made us more social, rather than gaming coming from our sociability? Maybe, but it’s clear a different social interaction would take form in such closely huddled, warm and safe settings.
Whatever the stages of social evolution, the animal which spreads out at leisure during the day and goes to sleep when the sun goes down, is a very different animal from the one which huddles closer long into the evening, around a warming, illuminating fire, bringing the individuals closer.
Over the eons, all life evolved in the pulse of light and dark, lasting a day and a night, with varying lengths depending on the time of year (which is why Circadian Rhythm, derived from the Latin words ‘circa dies’ meaning “approximately a day”.) The timing of the sun moving across the heavens and disappearing was always with us. Our eyes evolved… “… from a simple light sensor for circadian and seasonal rhythms around 600 million years ago to an optically and neurologically sophisticated organ by 500 million years ago.” Trevor D. Lamb.
The Rhythm : The Light
With fire, there was reason to stay awake longer, and we did: Humans historically spend about 8 hours a night sleeping, whereas our closest cousins chimps, rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys and baboons spend 10 hours in bed (thinkquest.org). Gorillas 12 and owl monkeys spend 17 hours sleeping per day. Fire definitively seems to have lengthened our waking time.
As we stay awake longer, most of the predators we fear are kept at bay by the firelight so we can relax more than we can during the day or during the night before the time we controlled fire.
The Rhythm : The Chemicals
Joan Roberts explains that: “Because of these hormonal changes, the circadian dark/light cycle controls and modifies the sleep/wake cycle, blood pressure, metabolism, reproduction, and the immune response.”
The sunset period allows for the production of Melatonin which promotes sleep and dreaming. World Of Molecules reports on research by Alan Lewis (Melatonin and the Biological Clock 1999) that some hallucinogenic drugs emulate melatonin activity in the awakened state and that both act on the same areas of the brain.
Controversial as it may be that Melatonin may have hallucinogenic properties, it’s clear that we are chemically different during the morning, noon, evening and night and with fire twilight has been stretched beyond what was available before – we become relaxed, yet there is reason and opportunity to stay awake for longer. This is a new chemical state of mind, brought about by the new, longer evening light.
The Creative Mindset
Picture further how fire would allow us to shine flickering lights on cave paintings, giving life and ‘animating’ the lines we mark.
Being tired during the day you have the sun’s signals telling you to wake up. Being tired at night you are in synch with your body chemistry and you can think looser, without the stress of reality in the form of stress and alertness hormones shaping the meanderings of your musings.
Dreams are made when we are safe, free, warm and relaxed.
Dreams are realized in the cold glare of reality.
Together we have a harmony of progress.
Any thoughts on real-understanding.info ?
An interesting question is wether all networks are social.
Martin Hanczyc’s TED video shows how quickly social interactions form.
Chris Stringer emphasises how important social networks have been for our success.
This is then a fundamentally important reality: Networks are what makes things happen and this is then why I think that it’s so crucial we enhance the inherent networks in texts.
Wikipedia refers to the interaction when defining social: “The term social refers to a characteristic of living organisms as applied to populations of humans and other animals. It always refers to the interaction of organisms with other organisms and to their collective co-existence, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not, and irrespective of whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary.”
I would say that this means that all networks are social, since a network where information is transferred without any kind of interpretation or analysis, is not a network – it’s a transfer between two points only, since nothing is passed on further.
Any comments? (Please email me, comment form is off due to spam. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Martin Hanczyc on The line between life and not-life: http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_hanczyc_the_line_between_life_and_not_life.html
I had lunch with Chris Stringer today, which was a real treat.
When did visually modern humans appear and when did mentally modern humans appear? I asked Chris Stringer when our ancestors would look modern and when they would think like us. He suggests you wouldn’t think an ancestor from 150,000 years ago very out of place in a restaurant, though this ancestor would be much larger than us, like a rugby player. The furthest you’d want to go back in time to not be fooled by an ancestor who came for a job interview would be just 30,000 years by most accounts, though he suspects we’d have been mentally up for the task perhaps even 100,000 years ago.
After lunch I went to see Lee-Ann at the BL and it turns out she is reading one of his books, which was a nice coincidence. I’ve downloaded a few onto the iPad Mini and I’m set for a lot of studying…
So the SONY RX1 will arrive tomorrow. The lens hood is here and the cool strap is in the mail. More importantly this blog will be revamped by tomorrow morning. It’s looking nice, real nice so far, heavily inspired by Andrew Kim’s excellent minimallyminimal.com and James Duncan Davidson’s site http://duncandavidson.com/gear/sony/rx1/
I’ll have to work some more on tagging and navigation, but it’s simple and you can see pictures full screen with no interface in your face. :-)