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Algorithms curb the discovery process. Amazon tries to recommend you books. Pandora examines your listening behavior to recommend music. Art.sy tries to introduce you to new art based on your preferences.

Algorithmic predictions feel a bit like Google, crowdsourced information that displays results for what the masses are also looking for in the aggregate.

The information, art, and music DJs that really know their stuff ignore algorithms altogether. They have trusted sources and spend the time to find new and emerging sources to pluck gems from. These curators master the art of showing people what they know people will like and what they think people will like.

I believe everyone should research at least one category of art and dig into it as much as they can. That means scouring the Internet for niche blogs, listening to obscure podcasts, seeing what the DJs are recommending, and following influencers on forums and on Twitter.

Discovery is an active process, not a passive one. Turn off mainstream radio and find something new or rediscover something old. The real gems lie in the nooks and crannies. Predict what’s next, not what’s now.

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7 articles to read this week

Below are some interesting articles I stumbled upon this week.

The Perfect Nap: Sleeping Is a Mix of Art and Science: Neither nap too long nor too short. And you’re definitely not getting enough sleep if you start dreaming in a 20-minute nap!

Cognitive Science Meets Pre-Algebra. Holistic, connective learning beats out learning in blocks. Either way, we’re still trying to learn why the brain is always moving.

Please Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are. I know you’re busy. So am I. But I still find time to take care of the most important things and try to have a life. Let’s not complain to each other about how busy we are and make it worse.

Jonathon Fletcher: forgotten father of the search engine. Fletcher created web search in 1993, 5 years before Google. He called it the “Jumpstation.”

What It Means to Be Popular (When Everything Is Popular). Thank goodness the masses are dividing into a mass of niches and confusing what it means to be “popular”. Conformity sucks anyway. Again, be this guy.

Turns Out Your Kids Really Did Love That Music You Played. Apparently we love our parent’s music more than we love the music we grew up with. Pink Floyd, Joy Division, and Depeche Mode are indeed extraordinary. Music is also timeless.

Dizzee Rascal mashes up Vine and Cinemagram for new video. I suspect we’ll see more long-form videos in the ever-snackable GIF format.

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7 articles to read this week

What’s in your reader?  These are some interesting articles I saved this week:

Writers should take a year off, and give us all a break. Apparently, 81% of Americans feel that they have a book in them. The Internet age has inspired people to write books. And so they have. But the increase in e-books is countered by the decrease in reading. People want to consume sound bytes and lists, not long-form content. If everyone is reading less, than why not write less? “The Year of Not Writing” sounds about right.  

On Thinking Caps. Venkatesh Guru Rao explains why thinkers tend to get more interrupted than workers. There’s a misconception that doing nothing means staring off into space. Quite the contrary:  Where’s my thinking cap?

The (Mis)branding of Meditation. The author argues against many of the marketing ploys about meditation. You can’t forcibly control your mind and stop all thoughts.  Proper meditation acknowledges thoughts and moves on. 

How Screens, Speed and Networks are Changing the Future of Online Video.  Om Malik makes a great point:  that screen size (TV, iPhone, iPad) ultimately sets the expectation for the content to be consumed and that all social networks are different.  Vine and Instagram are video video powered social networks but each has its own consumption expectation and quality:  6 seconds versus 15.  

Real science lies behind the fad for standing up at work.  Some of the greats worked standing up.  They also were saving their health.  It doesn’t take a lot of studies to tell you that sitting too much is bad.  If you do prefer to sit, make an effort to get up and move around more often. 

The End of Advertising As We Know It – And What To Do Now.  A lot of marketing is just absolute noise, no matter how well the 360 degrees marketing story gets told.  With mobile phones and apps, you can create a 365 day relationship with your customers.  Now that’s a real return on relationship. 

How To Train Your Brain To See What Others Don’t.  In order to think differently, you need to be more aware of your surroundings, ask questions, and let the mind daydream.  Duh.    

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7 articles to read this week

Below are some interesting articles that inspired me to think differently this week. 

In praise of laziness: Workers should be doing less, not more.  We need more free-thinking breaks, what Jack Welch called “looking at the window time.”  All of this comes with the announcement this week that Google is cutting its “20% time,” which led to some of its great inventions like Gmail and Adsense.   

Do you know what made Apple great?  Thomas Brand argues that what made Apple great was Steve Job’s restraint.  Simplify.  Simplify.  Simplify.  

Orhan Pamuk talks to Simon Schama.  Turkey’s famous author comes to explain how the many paradoxes of modern Turkey influenced his writing. 

Why We Need Nomads?  Self-proclaimed nomad Jessica Runner explains why nomads are society’s true connectors. Move.  

Crosswords don’t make you clever.  I never had the patience for crosswords but I love to get outside.  Neuroscience professor Nicholas Spitzer argues that hiking creates more neurons than doing repetitive crossword puzzles. 

The Tragedy of the Sunset Photo.  There are a plethora of sunset images on Instagram yet too few good ones.  Lighting is hard to get right.  Plus, dark and moody photos feel more creative.  But you can sell both image types on Pinterest.  

Can what you do *before* you write improve your actual writing?  Interesting article exploring how rituals shape enjoyment in any process, like writing, which by the way, everyone should do. FYI – Seth Godin has been blogging for ten plus years and, surprise, he wasn’t always great at it.

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7 articles to read this week

Some interesting reads I came across this week:  

An open letter to Social Media.  Many brands and people were ignorant of social media marketing for years before it became to take shape and become mainstream.  Now everyone owns the same creative publishing tools; the challenge today is distinguishing your work from the rest.  

Social Networks are suffocating the Internet as we know it.  Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite examines the paradox of an open web, specifically how all social media platforms are taking control of access to their networks in their quest to become larger, ad-selling media companies.

Heading Home: Michael Pollan and Fritz Haeg on Reviving Domesticity. Artists Pollan and Haeg talk about the creative benefits of remaining ignorant, or at least acting such.   

Here’s How Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Writes.  One of my favorite bloggers offers some tips on working as a writer/collector. 

Is New York Only for the Successful?  New York, only if we could all afford to live there. 

Is VSCO Cam the next Instagram?  I don’t think so.  VSCO is more about photography than socializing.  VSCO will make money other ways.

‘Like’ This Article Online? Your Friends Will Probably Approve, Too, Scientists Say.  Mimetic desire, herd mentality, call it whatever you want.  Fact is, you evaluate something based on it’s popularity rather than it’s quality.  Does anyone actually like Justin Bieber?

Bonus (non-article):  

One Second on the Internet.  We produce heaps of information every second of the day, and this even before we send emails.