Can 10,000 hours of practice really make you an expert at anything? The widely touted theory, highlighted in a 1993 psychology paper and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, says that anyone can master a skill with 10,000 hours of practice. There’s even a Macklemore song about it, so that makes it real.
Scientists, however, remain skeptical. A recent study by a group of psychologists from five universities, rebuffs Gladwell’s wisdom. Different levels of deliberate practice can only explain one third of the variation in performance levels in chess players and musicians, the authors found, “leaving the majority of the reliable variance unexplained and potentially explainable by other factors.” In other words, practice is great! But practice alone won’t make you Yo Yo Ma. It could also have to do with personality, the age you started, intelligence, or something else entirely. … Read More »
Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has designed a compelling plan for a mixed-use tower in the south of France, based on the structure of a tree. Fujimoto’s 17-story structure, called the White Tree, is curved to offer the best views of the surrounding landscape–both to its own inhabitants and those of its neighbors, neither of whom want their sightline blocked. Balconies stretch chaotically out from the building like leaves growing toward the sun.
The design was chosen by the city of Montpellier, France, in a competition for an ongoing architectural initiative called the 21st-Century Folies. In the 18th century, folies were luxurious country manors built by the city’s elite. These homes were surrounded by fabulous gardens and, according to the Montpellier Tourist Office, the name comes from the French word for leaf, “feuille.” Now, the city of Montpellier is remaking folies for … Read More »
Which GIF better expresses happiness? This one of Ren and Stimpy bouncing up and down, or this one of Lost’s John Locke grinning with an orange slice in his mouth? Does your opinion change if Grumpy Cat is added in? These seemingly trivial questions about how you perceive animated GIFs is the central task of GIFGIF, a project from MIT Media lab that isn’t just a fun web game, but a first step toward building up a universal library of non-verbal communication.
GIFs can express everything from sadness to ‘holy crap, is this the greatest burrito I’ve ever had in my life!’
GIFGIF was born out of a series of conversations over the watercooler at MIT between Kevin Hu, a first year master’s student studying data visualization and network analysis, and Travis Rich, a first year PhD student with a background in … Read More »