What’s the latest?

I’ve loved Tom Peter’s work for a long time. I regularly check out his very cool blog – in my opinion, it’s filled with some of the best information around! A while back, I noticed that he’d launched a news wire service, but it was only just now that I really had a look at some of the information that he put on it… it’s amazing how much stuff is going on that we never really even notice!

  • One of the ones that stood out to me was about the Boston underground highway system. You can find the full article here, highlighting the dangers inherent in allowing an emasculated public service to abdicate its responsibility to oversee projects undertaken by the private sector. We can see the dangers in Sydney’s cross-city tunnel; while I love Lord Mayor Campbell Newman’s audacity and boldness, we also need to ensure that Brisbane doesn’t fall into the same mistakes. While I believe strongly in the involvement of the private sector, it is almost as irresponsible to throw money at a project through blank cheque style loose contracts (as in Sydney) as it is to undermine (no pun intended) public safety by inadequate supervision and cost-cutting.
  • Another one is about my old favourite topic, memory. Of course, you can see a few of my ideas at www.TheGeniusProject.com, but this story focuses upon some findings from a UCLA study showing that declarative learning is impaired by distraction. That means that if you’re trying to learn something that you can recall and use later, you need to focus. But if you’re training something to be habitual, you might even be better off distracting yourself while you’re learning. One of the other things about distracting yourself while you’re learning something is that you probably won’t find yourself able to remember how you learn what you learn – it may even seem ‘intuitive’ or like you ‘just know’ something, rather than being aware of how you learnt it. The findings were explained by looking at how the region of the brain involved with declarative learning (the medial temporal lobe) is also active during single-task learning, while the region of the brain involved with habit learning (the striatum) is more active during dual-task (or distracted) learning activity.

Then again, perhaps it’s just my head in the sand…