From Brain Pickings: How to Master Productivity and a “Creative Routine”

As writers, designers, and thinkers, we often wonder about the creative process of famous writers, designers, and thinkers. We often try to fine tune our own creative process or figure out better ways we can work and write and create. Brain Pickings recently featured a new book on their website titled, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Edited by Behance’s 99U editor-in-chief Jocelyn Glei, Manage Your Day-to-Day “features contributions from twenty of today’s most celebrated thinkers and doers.” Whether it’s advice, quotes, or general thinking processes, this book explores features of creativity, including break creative blocks, stop procrastination, and “[defy] the demons of perfectionism.”

The Art of Science

Poetry is brought to life through a myriad of ways: spoken word, dance, performance, etc., but has recently been unexpectedly mixed with robotics. While it might not sound like these two subjects would go hand in hand, educator Sue Mellon has found it to be a rewarding combination.

Image via Mind/Shift

The dioramas are the student-made visual representations of the poetry. Due to the help of the robotics, lights will flash and colors change when a student says a certain word in the poem (for example, saying “water” triggers a blue color in the diorama to deepen). Working on a physical project based on poems helps the students connect with, and understand more deeply, the poetry they are studying.

To me, it also says that perhaps these categories aren’t as separate as they seem. Often, we mark a separation between things like “science and math” vs. “the arts.” What is so intriguing about robotic poetry, then, is that it’s not only innovatively teaching students how to connect with words, but it also shows us that we shouldn’t make such a distinction between the “categories,” since there is inherently art in science, and science in art.

Read the full article from Mind/Shift here

From Open Culture: How the 808 Drum Machine Changed Music

Open Culture recently delved into the history of the Roland TR-808 rhythm machine, or the 808 Drum Machine. Released in late 1980, many musicians did not like it at first as the sound was too synthetic and did not sound like any natural noise you could create yourself. Some described it as, “so bad it was good,” and despite its artificiality, its noises began popping up in records such as 1982’s “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Nelson George, author and director of the short film, All Hail the Beat, explains that “the 808 has remained a vital element in much of the pop music since the 1980’s, in genres like hip hop, techno, and house.” Drum machines since the creation of the 808 have mimicked the features of this first one, and it has subsequently changed the tune of pop music.

All Hail The Beat | Nelson George from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

From Publishing Perspectives: Shock and Outrage Expressed By Amazon Acquiring Goodreads

Some tweets and reactions to the Amazon/Goodreads merger.

Last month, Amazon announced that it had acquired Goodreads, a social networking site where both readers and authors can join to review and recommend books. Following the announcement, many fans on Twitter were not very pleased by the upcoming merger. Publishing Perspectives highlighted some of the wittier and more vocal tweets. Many joked about the price of ads increasing, banning authors from reviewing any books, and whether Amazon would not target readers based on the previous reviews of books readers have written.

In the press release announcing the partnership, Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President of Kindle Content said, “Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading. Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books, and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world.” Only time will tell whether readers and authors will warm up to this merger and how it will be used by both in the long run.