Like the coffee shop vibe but hate coffee? Need to focus, but it’s too quiet or the background noise is too distracting? Coffitivity promises an ideal level of ambient noise to focus on work and get things done.

Research shows it’s pretty hard to be creative in a quiet space. And a loud workplace can be frustrating and distracting. But, the mix of calm and commotion in an environment like a coffee house is proven to be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing.

Rainy Mood provides a similar calming background sound. And the benefits…they’re based on science.

Solve for X: Neal Stephenson on getting big stuff done

(by wesolveforx).

I’m not a sy-fi geek, but this video has something for everyone. It has a few things to agree with and a few things to disagree with.

To Know, but Not Understand: David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

To Know, but Not Understand: David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

City Math

Author Jonah Lehrer reports on Geoffrey West’s attempt to understand how cities work.

[C]ities are valuale because they facilitate human interactions, as people crammed into a few square miles exchange ideas and start collaborations. “If you ask people why they move to the city, they always give the same reasons,” West says. “They’ve come to get a job or follow their friends or to be at the center of a scene. That’s why we pay the high rent. Cities are all about the people, not the infrastructure.”

West also examines the differences between the groupings of people who make up cities and the groupings of people who make up companies.

For West, the impermanence of the corporation illuminates the real strength of the metropolis. Unlike companies, which are managed in a top-down fashion by a team of highly paid executives, cities are unruly places, largely immune to the desires of politicians and planners. “Think about how powerless a mayor is,” West says. “They can’t tell people where to live or what to do or who to talk to. Cities can’t be managed, and that’s what keeps them so vibrant. They’re just these insane masses of people, bumping into each other and maybe sharing an idea or two. It’s the freedom of the city that keeps it […]

This story was published in the New York Times Magazine a while ago now, but it still answers some interesting questions about the draw and efficiencies of cities.


The Future of Science

The Institute for the Future has an exploration of ideas for what they see as the future of science.

Invisibility cloaks. Space hacking. Quantum consciousness. Opensource biology. Empowered with new tools, processes, and skills, scientists will gain new insight into the mysteries surrounding our brains, biology, and the strange matter that makes up our reality. We will develop powerful new instruments for gazing at the farthest reaches of space and descending into the deepest oceans, further illuminating our place in the universe.

You can download the 7 page PDF from the institute’s website.

via BoingBoing.