What is the nature of creativity? Podcast

It’s a question that’s fascinated us for centuries – what is the nature of creativity? Can we find its roots in the human brain? And if so, can we boost our creative powers? To discuss the notion of a link between creativity and madness Ian Sample is joined in the studio by Dr Caroline Di Bernardi Luft, from the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Down the line is Dr Anna Abraham from the School of Social, Psychological and Communication Sciences at Leeds Beckett University, and from the University of New Mexico we have Professor Rex Jung.

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Designers Tackle George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words

Have you ever wondered how famed Mac designer Susan Kare might go about designing a pair of pixel art tits, or how ornery ad legend Milton Glaser might handle a design brief that simply read “cocksucker?” Now you can find out, thanks to a new booster pack for the popular party game Cards Against Humanity, featuring original designs by Glaser, Kare, Debbie Milman, Paula Scher, Erik Spiekermann, and 25 more world famous designers.

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Carry on cooking: the crazy culinary world of 1970s and 80s cookbooks

am tired of identikit distressed boho-chic cookbooks. They’re all the same: full-colour shots, top down, naturally lit, and faux-rustic in style. Rewind to the 1970s and 80s and there were no rules. With limited budgets and costly printing technology, cookery books were groundbreaking in their photography, design and layout, if not necessarily their ingredients. Food styling was in its infancy, and consisted of creating a mise en scène for many dishes rather than just one, often with hilarious results.

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Jonathan Jones is wrong: museum fees are an abandonment of British ideals

The free admission policy costs approximately £45m to implement. The seven million additional overseas visitors now frequenting these museums spend on average £90 per day to the benefit of the wider UK economy. So, the £315m thus generated far outstrips the cost of the policy. Wider economic analysis of national museums demonstrates that for every £1 of government subsidy, national museums provide £3.50 in wider economic benefit. Far from being a subsidised cost, free admission represents very good value for money.

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How Groningen invented a cycling template for cities all over the world

Traffic lights with rain sensors to give quicker priority to cyclists on wet days … Heated cycle paths so cyclists won’t slip during bouts of frost … This might sound like science fiction to you, but in the Dutch city of Groningen it will soon be everyday reality. The inhabitants of this lively northern university city regard their homestead as the cycling capital of the Netherlands. They might very well be right: 61% of all trips in Groningen are made by bicycle, rising to more than 70% for trips made to educational institutions. You might think the city authorities would be satisfied with these statistics. But apparently it’s not enough, and new plans are in the pipeline to push cycling even more.

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Are we ready to 3D print our own clothes?

Imagine going on holiday with an empty suitcase, checking out the vibe of the hotel bar on arrival, then printing out the perfect dress to match it in your room. Such a delicious possibility could be on offer – one day – thanks to 3D printing. In fact, the work of one fashion student, Danit Peleg, suggests it could be edging nearer.

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Uber and the lawlessness of ‘sharing economy’ corporates

As allegedly “innovative” firms increasingly influence our economy and culture, they must be held accountable for the power they exercise. Otherwise, corporate nullification will further entrench a two-tier system of justice, where individuals and small firms abide by one set of laws, and mega-firms create their own regime of privilege for themselves and power over others.

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How one hospital protected newborn babies from medical errors — just by changing their wristbands

Right now, babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, often get identification wristbands shortly after their birth with temporary first names such as “Babyboy” or “Babygirl.” And that makes sense, because it allows the hospital to immediately provide a newborn with ID, even if his or her parents haven’t picked out a name. This practice is common: One survey finds that more than 80 percent of NICUs use this type of naming convention to identify their newborns. But there’s also a problem with this approach, that researchers in the journal Pediatrics pointed out: Non-distinct names like “babyboy” and “babygirl” can look really similar when dozens of baby boys and baby girls in a given NICU have similar last names, too. Not to mention the babies look pretty similar themselves! (Pediatrics) Working in a Milwaukee hospital’s NICU, researchers took a different approach: They started giving each baby a distinct name, like the ones in green on the right. A newborn baby born to a mother named Wendy would get a wristband that says “Wendysgirl Jackson” rather than “Babygirl Jackson.” The hope was that it would make the baby who belongs to Wendy Jackson easier to identify — and harder to confuse with the baby who belongs to Brenda Johnson.

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The invisible network that keeps the world running

It’s been just over 45 years since the Apollo Moon landings, and some would have it that we are failing to build big anymore; that we’ve since become too fascinated with the small, too impressed by our tablet computers, games consoles, and smartphones that we don’t invest in grand, world-changing engineering projects. Stand on the bridge of a container ship docked in a mega-port in Korea, however, and it’s clear that’s just not true. The global supply chain that brings us those tablets and phones, and pretty much everything else from our clothes and food to our toys and souvenirs, is nothing short of a moon shot itself — a vast, unprecedented engineering solution to a truly astronomical logistics problem. The fact that it’s hidden from most people’s sight, and that it has become so utterly reliable and efficient to the point of transparency, doesn’t make it any less of an achievement of human technical endeavor.

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The innovators: how tiny amounts of wind energy could light up Africa

The plastic sheets have slivers of bendable filaments that stand up and are moved by gusts of air. The filaments, which are encased in plastic, work using the piezoelectric effect – the ability of some materials to generate a charge in response to pressure. In this case, when the filaments are moved by gusts of wind, tiny pieces of energy are created. For her prototype, Slingsby used a flexible film of polyvinylidene fluoride. “They have the ability to transform strain or bending energy into electrical energy,” Slingsby said.

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