Fun Friday Links: Big Data and Human Culture, From Children to Leaders, and How the Brain Retains

Filed Under Mindjet

happy link time!_2
Arwen Heredia

January 17, 2014

Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to for consideration.

From Galileo to Google: How Big Data Illuminates Human Culture

As we become more and more technocentric as a species, our fascination with who we are and what humanity means continues to grow in tandem. We worry about what a growing reliance on gadgets means for our own growth, or what an increasing (and baffling) dependence on social media validation is doing to the collective human psyche. Taking this interest to new heights, data scholars Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel are publishing their findings in the arena of digital humanities meets data visualization. From Maria Popova:

“Using Google’s Ngram viewer tool to explore how the usage frequency of specific words changes over time and what that might reveal about corresponding shifts in our cultural values and beliefs about economics, politics, health, science, the arts, and more.

Aiden and Michel, who met at Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and dubbed their field of research “culturomics,” contextualize the premise:

At its core, this big data revolution is about how humans create and preserve a historical record of their activities. Its consequences will transform how we look at ourselves. It will enable the creation of new scopes that make it possible for our society to more effectively probe its own nature. Big data is going to change the humanities, transform the social sciences, and renegotiate the relationship between the world of commerce and the ivory tower.

Read the full article.

7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders

Like it or not, what our parents do or do not do to/ for/ with us has an incredible impact on who we become. And these days, it’s arguable that we’ve taken our advanced knowledge of say, lead paint and seatbelts, all the way from respectably safety-conscious to outright overprotective and coddling. Regardless, there are some pretty common parenting tactics that just might keep kids from becoming leaders. From Forbes:

“We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The “safety first” preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do everything we can to protect them. It’s our job after all, but we have insulated them from healthy risk-taking behavior and it’s had an adverse effect. Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee, they frequently have phobias as adults. Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. If parents remove risk from children’s lives, we will likely experience high arrogance and low self-esteem in our growing leaders.”

Read the full article.

How the Brain Retains Information

When you’re in the business of mind mapping and innovation like those of us at Mindjet, you get pretty interested in exactly how the human brain gets things done. The below infographic from Mindflash illustrates the scientific details quite well, and as it’s supposed to, really makes you think.