Sunday, June 16, 2013

Update and new TWIC

I have been working at a wildlife conservation area, educating groups of children on ecological and historical subjects, for the past six weeks and doing little else. I really enjoy my work -not the paycheck so much -and still have the energy to consume internet material but not to create any.  This disappoints me and one thing I need to be creating is more job applications.  After that, I want to write.  I want to write about creativiti, life in small-town Ontario, evolution and more.  I want to write fiction, non-fiction, travelogues, political rants...

My last post showed a few examples of my son's creative thinking.  This was only a still image of his output, which is probably similar to all kids his age.  We are not well-integrated into the community yet so he fills a lot of alone time with self-guided play and making his own narratives.

At work, I've made two fairly well-received jokes and many not-so-well received.  For the former, I spoke Spanish to visitors to my workplace - they were there for CUBAree, which apparently does not involve people from a large island near Florida - and told co-workers about the huge mass of "broken, no-name ping pong balls" I was finding.  The latter joke doesn't work if you don't know that the snapping turtles of the area are laying now and raccoons are digging up the clutches and feasting (leaving behind small, white, broken balls).

All right, time for the links:
Sci Am revisits the complexity of the creative mind:
In the 60s, after extensively interviewing some of the most creative people of his generation, legendary creativity researcher Frank X. Barron came to the following conclusion:
“Thus the creative genius may be at once na├»ve and knowledgeable, being at home equally to primitive symbolism and to rigorous logic. He is both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner, than the average person.”
Complexity, bank tellers and artists:
Consider a hot off the press study just published in Creativity Research Journal. Edward Necka and Teresa Hlawacz recruited 60 visual artists and 60 bank officers in Poland, and administered a variety of tests of temperament and divergent thinking (one component of creativity requiring the ability to generate many different possibilities). How did the artists differ from the bank officers?
Bank officers were about as good at divergent thinking as the general population, whereas artists were amazingly good at flexibly generating original pictures and words. In fact, they were almost at ceiling! What about temperament? This is where things get really interesting. On the whole, artists didn’t substantially differ from bank tellers in their temperament. To get to the bottom of this finding, the researchers looked at the relationships between the various measures within each group.

Not entirely on topic, but if we are looking at complexity, I guess we should look at individuality.
Still off-topic but back to complexity: is genius the result of nature or nurture?

On topic again, can we research comedy?
McGraw leans on historical references, formulas, peer-reviewed studies, curious findings from his “Humour Research Lab” and good old-fashioned jokes. Just as scientists before him sent a man to the moon, this one thinks he can break whatever code needs to be broken for us to understand what exactly makes people laugh. And to do that, McGraw has tiptoed away from a long-established study of judgment and emotion and cannonballed instead into the field of humour research.
...[big ellipses here!]
“Like a magician, the comedian wants to have some air of mystery. To reveal the trick may actually hurt the entertainment aspect of it all,” he says with some sympathy. “Another thing is, to crack the humour code in some way may take this thing that does seem so difficult, so special, and make it less special in their eyes.”

The late Iain Banks left 11 rules for good writing:
Number 3, "Never give your protagonist a simple motivation" is the one I liked the best - the others were too complex for me.

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