openlearn is a massive effort from the UK open university to make their
course materials free and open on the web. You can also remix and
upload your versions. See the openlearn talk @ the London Knowledge Lab.
People sometimes solve problems with a unique process called insight,
accompanied by an “Aha!” experience. It has long been unclear whether
different cognitive and neural processes lead to insight versus
noninsight solutions, or if solutions differ only in subsequent
subjective feeling. [...] Functional magnetic resonance imaging (Experiment 1)
revealed increased activity in the right hemisphere anterior superior
temporal gyrus for insight relative to noninsight solutions. The same
region was active during initial solving efforts. Scalp
electroencephalogram recordings (Experiment 2)
revealed a sudden burst of high-frequency (gamma-band) neural activity
in the same area beginning 0.3 s prior to insight solutions. This right
anterior temporal area is associated with making connections across
distantly related information during comprehension. Although all
problem solving relies on a largely shared cortical network, the sudden
flash of insight occurs when solvers engage distinct neural and
cognitive processes that allow them to see connections that previously
First, I love their way of defining insight. Second, I'm amazed by the way they measure the moment to an accuracy of 0.3 seconds. But the best is how they show that insight is related to finding lateral connection - using a lateral connection problem set!
One of the hot issues that came up during the Vision document discussions (also here) was the idea of Open Research.
It's FP7 season, and time to put our money where our mouth is (sorry for the Americanism).
I'm sure many people in the network are working on proposals. Why not have an open process for this?
Now, you may think this is crazy, after all - we're in competition. But I say - think again. I remember back in the days of the Web1.0 gold rush, I had an idea and wanted to talk to some venture capitalist about it. I asked him to sign a non-disclosure argeement. He said "If the only thing you have going for you is that no one knows what you're thinking about, then don't bother. Either someone else is thinking the same, or they'll copy and better you the first time you expose it"
Here's a theory: the product of an open process can never be of a lesser quality than the product of a similar closed process. So if we open up, share our ideas, we can:
- learn from each other.
- form new teams.
- focus on our relative advantages.
As for myself, I'm party to two efforts. Since I'm not leading either, I can't say too much without my partners' consent. But I can say that one follows up on weblabs and playground, the other follows up on the learning patterns project .
Nature reports that a consortium of publishers is considering hiring Eric Dezenhall to take on the threat of the open research. The man has an impressive resume, he worked for Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron chief now serving a 24-year jail term for fraud. He helped ExxonMobile in their attempts to discredit GreenPeace.
This is great news. If they think they have something to be that worried about, they're probably right.