Grammys producer apologises to Trent Reznor


Trent Reznor

Nine Inch Nails frontman left furious after live performance interrupted by advert break

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has received an apology from the producer of the Grammy Awards.

Reznor’s band joined Queens Of The Stone Age, Dave Grohl and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham for the closing slot at the event at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday night (January 26), but their performance was cut short by the closing credits and a commercial break.

Reznor took to Twitter to blast the organizers, writing “Music’s biggest night… to be disrespected. A heartfelt FUCK YOU guys.”

However, in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer NAME says: “I’m sorry he was upset. I was really thrilled that we were finally getting him on the Grammys. The final jam started with Arcade Fire a few years ago, and LL Cool J last year. I wanted to end on a high, an up note. I did tell them we’d take it as long as we could. The number was about five, six minutes long, and we got to within a minute twenty of the end. We got as close as we could possibly get.”

Reznor has form in airing his grievances over Twitter. Ahead of their performance at Reading Festival last year, he complained that the festival promoter and headliners Biffy Clyro had “fucked us on production”.

9 Ways To Be More Creative – The Creativity Post


By Dr. Jonathan Wai | Dec 01, 2013


Some lessons from Clive Thompson on how to be more creative.

la-ca-jc-smarter-than-you-think-20130910I recently had the opportunity to talk with the technology journalist Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think. You can read the full conversation here. From that chat, I distilled nine lessons from Clive on how we can improve our thinking, with and without technology.

1. Spend Significant Chunks of Time Offline

“I think it’s good to spend significant chunks offline. For example, I don’t check my email on weekends. This means I’m usually off social media…I’ll text a bunch because that’s social for me and how I organize social behavior. But I tend to get more reading done and my brain gets pulled in a cooler direction. And a lot of people tell me they can’t do that because their boss demands they check email all weekend. And this shows that a lot of the problems of distraction we have are not really latent in the technologies themselves, they’re latent in the power relations that emerge from those technologies.

White collar workers now probably need to have a solidarity movement that equals that because their labor is now constantly squeezed by employers who have the ability to reach them 24/7. The smart employers…recognize that it’s actually bad for the caliber of their employee’s thought to be constantly pecked at like ducks all week long. And I think Volkswagen and a few other firms have instituted this policy of turning the Blackberry servers off after a certain hour at night and on the weekends, so there’s no email coming into their employees… this has been what the unions have been espousing for a hundred years, the weekend works. It’s a civic and social good and for an employer it should be a corporate good too. Let people disconnect from your corporate demands.”

2. Engage in “Cognitive Diversity”: Do Something Mentally Different

“One of the things I talk about in my book is the need for what I playfully call cognitive diversity. If you buy the idea that the way we communicate and write, express, and form our ideas online is qualitatively different from the ways we do it offline, and that those are productively or usefully different from traditional less social thinking offline, then it’s still incredibly useful to read immersively for eight hours, go for a long walk, or just argue about something drunkenly at a bar with a friend. These things are sufficiently different from the ways we conduct ourselves online, and it will drag your mind in usefully different modes of thought.

The same type of thing of just doing something different with your body, the reason why we get ideas in the shower is because we’re not working and our bodies are doing something totally different, it’s a new stimulus environment, and the stuff we’ve been ruminating on just assembles itself in a completely different way in our subconscious…So if you’re a person that works with words all day long like I do it’s really good to do something completely nonverbal in your spare time. I’m an instrumentalist, so I’ll play guitar for half an hour at the end of the day and it’s a fabulous way to put my brain in a totally different embodied state. I often come away from it having solved some sort of problem…And it is very emotionally valuable as well, which exercises whole other parts of my personality. Everyone’s got something like that, some people like to cook, they’ll spend eight hours on Sunday doing a fantastic Indian food dish, running, playing team sports. These are all things that are connected to the quality of our overall lives and thinking. Knowing when to shift between public and private thinking—when to blast an idea online, when to let it slow bake—is a crucial new skill: cognitive diversity.”

3. Don’t Isolate Yourself: Learn Social Thinking

“Our intelligence has never been entirely just in our heads. A huge amount of our thinking is what the philosopher Andy Clark would call taking place in the extended mind, which is to say, using all sorts of resources outside of us to help scaffold our thinking in new directions and capabilities that are impossible with the mind alone. That ranges from something as simple as being able to write something down so you no longer have to hold it in your head for the short or for the long term…a huge amount of human cognition has relied on resources outsides of our heads in the same way that the basics of our memory relied very heavily on social dynamics, social remembering, or what psychologists call transactive memory.

When groups of people hang out…they are very good at retaining meaning, but we’ve relied on other people as sort of these cognitive amplifiers. So you could ask the question, are we dumber if we’re not around other people? Are we smarter if we’re near them? I think the answer is yes, we are smarter when we are around other people, we are smarter when we are around all sorts of external scaffolds for our thinking, and that’s an essential definition of being human.

One of the things my book tries to do is a huge amount of what we typically think of as intellectual work has always been very social and transactional with other people. And we’re too frequently defining intelligence and thinking as sitting and peering at a book alone for ten hours or ten years. And while that’s an undoubtedly powerful mode of thought, in the real world a huge amount of thinking happens when we’re arguing, bickering, and relying on each other and working in groups. And one of the reasons this has been denigrated is because socializing has been read as feminine—social skills and EQ. And you see this right now. All the sort of big thinkers out there complaining that social media is trivial and stupid are these middle aged male novelists, right? Jonathan Franzen, for example. They are literally saying, unless you are isolated, and remain isolated, somehow your thinking is contaminated and shallow and trivial.”

4. Find Your Passion: It Drives Memory and Creativity

“Passion is what drives memory. So we can now account for a more diverse array of information, and we can now have far more serendipitous encounters with knowledge and other people, that you probably get a net increase in creativity. But it is also true that if you want to have powerful creative leaps in the sense of going on a long walk and suddenly being hit by a bolt out of the blue, you have to deeply internalize knowledge. So it is incumbent upon the person who wants to be creative to really wrestle with the material they are thinking about. So you have to have those disconnected moments where you can think without being distracted. You also need to do more generation, such as writing about it, or writing it in front of other people. This is enormously powerful for encoding in our heads what we’re thinking about.

The distraction stuff has made things harder, but the generation stuff has gotten easier. Even arguing about things through email has powerful effects in getting things to sink into your head. If we stopped lingering over the stuff that we cared about, you could argue that we are losing some creativity, but in practice I think when people are obsessed with something they do linger over it. So really what you have is a cultural problem. I would like people to be obsessed with space exploration more, with politics more, which is the age old question of “How do we get people passionate about the things that are the big things?” That’s what you and I are trying to do. We’re constantly trying to seduce people into thinking about science by posing it in a really delightful way. You attract more flies with honey.”

5. Don’t Just Follow The “Thought Leaders” Or Elite

“I think what’s happening now with the internet is cultural elites—and I would probably include myself in that category because I’m a New York writer—are startled to discover just how diverse human interest and human passions really are. Because when you live in one of these cities on the coast, you think wow, everyone is really unified around X, Y, or Zed, because we’re writing about it. But then you discover, no, no, no, people don’t care about that at all!

For example, book scan comes along to see what books people are actually reading, and the New York Times doesn’t put together its bestseller list based on what books are actually selling, they put it together based on a handful of carefully picked bookstores in elite markets because that’s who they care about—“thought leaders” to use one of the most obnoxious phrases coined in the last ten years. Thought leaders. So it turns out the country buys a million-gazillion Christian books and a lot of self-help right? So as soon as we got information about what the average person was really doing it didn’t in any way cohere with what the people—who thought they had a lock hold on canon—thought everyone should be talking about. And the internet has a little bit of that effect. Because it makes conversation visible it startles us with the diversity of what people actually care about.

One of the things I think is really unsettling about the internet and the way it has transformed society is how little people actually care about the things we thought they should care about. This is always what freaks out cultural elites. They thought everyone cares about the same five books they read. But they go online and everyone’s talking about Twilight, their fantasy sports league, Pokemon, their Tea Party meeting, gardening, and knitting. And the elites are like, “Oh my God, why is everyone so dumb?” And by dumb they meant why isn’t everyone reading the same five books I was reading?”

6. Know When (And When Not) To Rely On “Outsourced Intelligence”

“If you automate skills that shouldn’t be automated you can degrade the quality of your performance and thought. So we have Google self-driving cars coming along. On the one hand this is great because humans are dreadful at driving. We should not be driving. We have terrible wandering minds and are too easily distracted. We are overly confident in our abilities and have a dreadful sensual appreciation for the kinetic power of a two ton object moving at sixty miles an hour. So I would way rather have a robot controlling the car. The danger of this is when you have to suddenly hand the control back to a human.

So I’m in the car and sleeping, playing a video game, or not paying attention, or reading a newspaper, and suddenly my self-driving car goes “Oh my God, something is happening that I can’t handle” and says “Here Clive, you drive.” And maybe I haven’t actually driven the car for two years now. So I’m probably going to be a disastrously bad driver. So if you hand off to a machine or an algorithm, you can lose the habit of doing that task. This is a really interesting problem and I don’t know how they’re going to get around that with self-driving cars. The statistical answer is if I am handed back the car I likely will crash it, but the overall damage rate of handing off the control of cars to robots will still be so much lower so it’s worth it overall.

So how does this analogize to cognitive tasks that aren’t so life and death? One example is with calculators and learning math. The evidence seems to show that if you give a kid a calculator too early a stage in their learning they won’t learn it quite as well because they don’t get the chance to really wrestle with those procedures internally. It’s even bad to routinize or hand over to an algorithm the act of addition with carrying. Add one number, carry it over, that’s an algorithm for adding. Studies show it prevents the kid from thinking about what the numbers mean…I see this in my kids learning, where teachers do teach the algorithm but they also teach different ways to think about the numbers… once you’ve grasped these basic math concepts, using a calculator is fine and this actually improves their ability to learn math, discover more playful combinations of numbers, and ratchet themselves ahead.”

7. Play Video Games, The Gateway Drug To New Learning

“I became aware early on, that as Dave Weinberg says “everything is miscellaneous.” Whatever it is you care about, there are more people that don’t care about it than do. Your passions are someone else’s miscellaneous stuff. So playing video games was useful in learning cultural humbleness. The second thing is they got me interested in computers. They were a gateway drug to thinking about the role of computation in people’s lives. They got me interested in programming, which gave me a glimpse into the superstructure of software. And they’ve given me an enormous amount of existential joy, which I think doesn’t get talked much about. Since video games have been under assault for so long as a waste of time, people have had trouble expressing what it is that is joyful about them. And there have finally been a bunch of intellectuals who have begun to grapple about what’s good about games—not about what they teach you or if they improve your hand-eye coordination or working memory—they are asking as a philosophical enterprise what are they good for? Why do we love them?

Regarding gaming and problem solving…I think games are a fantastic opportunity for illustrating a couple things that educators often complain they have trouble getting kids to understand. One of them is the scientific method. We talk about how if you’re confronted with a problem to generate hypotheses and do an experiment to figure out whether your hypothesis matches reality. Collect your data, refine your hypothesis, and do it over and over and over again…But it’s hard to get kids to really understand that because we give them these mock experiments to run where the results are already known…We never give them a really invisible problem and ask them to make the rule set visible. We never tell them you need to figure out whether the Higgs-boson exists. They don’t have the tools to do that. We’re bad about giving them problems with invisible rules that they are excited about uncovering. And until you can do that, they’ll never really understand what is powerful about the scientific method.”

8. Be Willing To Adapt Your Thinking Strategies

“I’m pretty optimistic about the adaptability of our thinking strategies. For example, I am a big marginalia taker in books. It’s how I make sense of a book. And you could say there’s a wonderful kinetic feeling to that and I write more slowly than I type, so am I encoding that knowledge in a better different way? And you can do these swoopy little cool connections where this part is connected to that part. And there’s this spatial memory about where it is in the pages, and that’s lost when you work digitally, right? But on the other hand, when I take notes on my Kindle, I can move a little more quickly when I’m typing so I put in a longer and more thoughtful idea, sometimes I’ll even write two paragraphs, which you can’t do in the margins in a book. And more importantly you can reencounter those notes by putting them into a database, and when I search them I can find notes that I had forgotten I had taken from a book three years ago.

Recently I’ve been Tweeting couplets from Alexander Pope’s essay on man, because he’s one of my favorite poets, in the 18th century he’s my overall favorite poet, and I read it on the Kindle. So I kept on highlighting these wonderful couplets. And so I called up the notes and I’ve been Tweeting these couplets. And there’s no way in hell I would do this with my paper book. I would literally forget it was there. I do 50% of my notation in paper and 50% in Kindle and I don’t feel there is a big difference in the quality of my thinking, only that it’s easier to encounter what I wrote in the digital format. And that reencountering is so explosive in value.”

9. Use Technologies To Amplify Your Intelligence

“I absolutely think that writing concisely and pithily is more recognized as a value now than it has in some time. We have some tools now that encourage pithiness, for example Twitter. People mocked Twitter for “what can you really say in 140 characters?” but I think what we’ve discovered is that people can say delightful things, it forces them to boil what they want to say down to the absolute nut of it, it forces them to be incredibly witty. As Shakespeare wrote, “brevity is the soul of wit.” An aphorism itself that would fit perfectly into a Tweet with room left over.”

© 2013 by Jonathan Wai

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or G+. For more of Finding the Next Einstein: Why Smart is Relative go here.

Note: This article originally appeared on Psychology Today.

Daring to Push the Boundaries of Creativity – The Creativity Post


By Carla A. Woolf


Creative development is probably the best medium and representative for every type of emotion we can conjure and experience, particularly for a species that thrives and survives on constantly acquiring and applying knowledge, which is contingent upon an emotionally developed brain that has evolved with a “neuroplastic” propensity for creativity. We are destined, to be engaged with the entwined elements of emotions, creative critical thinking, relationships and decision-making on a daily basis – these are the things we each ought to audaciously strive for, regardless of our stations in life.

In my personal creative experiences, being creative meant surviving and vice versa. It meant going beyond the confines of creative ideas that have already been juggled or developed, and it initially meant cautiously considering unspoken stipulations to choose between feeling that permission and approval must be sought before deciding how to create something, or just having the audacity to do what’s needed. Creativity may be described as having its hands in fun pursuits, or feeling fulfilled, or standing on the pinnacle of a highly advanced and accomplished idea, but for a great deal of my own life’s time, creativity was plainly about having to be resourceful.

Practicing and applying the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention” became a rather regular occurrence. Later on in life however, it caused me to speculate whether unlimited creativity was really playing an active role in my determination to create ways into and out of my many limited circumstances. Creativity is, and had been a resourceful tool for getting out of tight spots, and it undoubtedly had a place in the lives of artists looking to produce their next masterpiece, but my senses told me that there had to be so much more to it than just that.

I knew that nailing it down concisely was never going to be part of my intent, especially because I’ve stood by the belief that creativity is the very essence of infinite knowledge. But I was to learn early on in life that audacity was to become the perfect partner in creativity, even more so than Bonnie and Clyde are perfect partners in crime. For example, when I was 12 years old I qualified to join a varsity basketball team. Initially, I was never put on the court because the money to purchase the standard uniform shorts was out of my reach and beyond my control. So, I tore apart pieces of some of the few clothes I’d possessed and sewed together a patch-up job that decently replicated the team bloomers. It helped that team members proudly applauded my “creation” and my little audacious endeavor put me on the court for every game thereafter. From a seamstress’s point of view, I had zero business whatsoever handling a needle and thread, but I did it anyway. What’s more, I boldly tackled a clothes-altering job at a local dry-cleaners for the next four years to pay tuition for the high school I chose to attend.

I continually discovered that in a world of assets, credentials, amenities, social status and all kinds of other associations, there is a sort of unwritten convention that unless you have permission as well as the correct tools or proper approval, then participating in certain circles and activities, or trying to share creative ideas with others that you are knowledgeably unworthy of sharing will be met with signals and snares of disapproval.

But all that had little effect on me. By the age of 13, I’d been smitten with audacious creativity. In the background it was a Cinderella life for me – I dared to imagine while I
sewed because foster home life offered abuse and a joyless atmosphere. School was my refuge and creativity was my companion. Every other task during that time in life was controlled by a head lady with an iron fist, it was only the audacity to be creative that helped me through that time, and even now, helps me to look upon the past with laughter, instead of tears of regret or misfortune.

Creativity does however require some basis of knowledge. Knowledge has a transferable flow with polarizing effects – it can be compared to an electrical current.
Electricity has a negative charge and a positive charge – or an anode and a cathode. Both are equally necessary and have equal values in the production of electricity. In knowledge processing, it is also, both the negative and positive, that must be included to create optimal knowledge possibilities. Applying only one of these values, or believing that one is entirely good and the other entirely bad, defeats the purpose and flow of both knowledge and electricity.

Conversations with others have overwhelmingly led to misunderstandings about this binary relationship between positive and negative. In nearly every verbal exchange, others assumed that I’d proposed that the ‘negative be turned into a positive’, or that I naïvely presumed that optimism meant only positive goodness, even at the risk of projecting false contentment. I’ve explained that such notions would be as silly as expecting to produce electricity with two positive charges. The last time I checked with an electrician I was positively informed that such a recipe for electricity was a completely negative possibility. Within these conversations, I may take the opportunity to elaborate that two negatives might make a positive in the English language, or that almost any culture endorses the idea that two negative behavior responses fail to produce a positive outcome. However, I always reaffirm that in cognitive processing, the negative is just as good as the positive and that the negative aspect of knowledge contains equally valuable optimal charges of applicable information that ought to never be dismissed, omitted or eliminated.

As an adult, the impulse to be creative and recreate knowledge compelled me to redefine everything, with audacity as the driving force – because if I had to seek permission or approval from the proper channels, there would be little to define myself by. Creativity has been a staple mainstay. For instance, I have zero standing or credibility in the fields of Cosmology or Physics, but when I suggested the idea in the comments section of an online publication that “dark matter” would be better defined as “constant matter” – based on what little information Physicists do know about this mysterious form of energy – it had zero traction in the halls of science.

However, I did receive many favorable replies from the lay sector of science aficionados who agreed with my suggested title. It was an audacious suggestion, of course, but I was hardly apt to just sack and denounce my own creative critical thinking skills. What might it be worth to others to debunk the unwritten notion that approval must be granted from the correct channels or fields of knowledge? It seemed more than reasonable to assume conclusions that are based on tenets provided by the very fields that are appointed to handle such knowledge. Creativity requires audacity even at the risk of challenging the kingdom halls of scholarly establishments. It means confronting what we’ve been prone to just accept without question. It’s the field of science, in particular, that dares us to question everything but then questions our veracity and attempts to pose critical questions.

In another audaciously, even arrogant move, there was a paper I presented at an “open general public session” to some of the world’s leading neuro-technicians who’ve been appointed to create elaborate equipment for scanning and monitoring 100% of the neuronal activity of a “normal adult human brain”. I detailed an explanation suggesting that they simultaneously come up with a way to actually develop 100% of the human brain’s potential, otherwise all that’s really going to take place is a recording of 100% of the limited human brain potential we’ve tapped into thus far in the evolutionary process of progressing human cognition. I’d specifically pointed out that unless these two efforts were converged into a confluent goal, it would only be yielding a sort of false positive. I was met with stunned looks and zero scientific rebuffs.

Making it a practice to create unlimited knowledge possibilities is a necessary element in the process of making choices and decisions. It’s a skill we need on a daily basis as critical thinking adults. It means that uninhibited knowledge accessibility must be a natural born right for everyone, that is, if everyone is to become capable of making fully informed decisions. Anyone can attest to being non-creative, but we can never escape the human condition of having to make decisions, and complex decisions often require creative critical thinking. We must each believe that we can give ourselves permission to engage and push through the barriers of our already explored scales of creativity, which is the same as dismissing the belief that only certain people are endowed with the capacity to create new knowledge theories.

Human creativity and our ability to seek knowledge are elements that are as tied together as time and space. Surely Einstein knew this, and he had to have been audaciously creative in his own right – after all, he was just a patent clerk. He had to have known that creative thinking was daring to think as nobody had done before – with or without qualification. We all have this creative potential within us. Undoubtedly, it must be encoded in our cognitive abilities, which is why I audaciously dared to recreate the definition of “cognition”.

Indeed, it would seem overdue. The conventional definition has remained unchanged
for over 90 years. With all the cognitive discoveries that Neuroscience has been able to uncover in the last few years, as well as having debunked many old world concepts about some of the most basic traits of human potential – such as that sports are all brawn and zero brains, but that it is in fact both – it seems like a ripened time to alter the antiquated definition of cognition. And so, without permission or renown, and borrowing a few strands of information from Neuroscience about the human brain’s fundamental essentials for development, I boldly dismiss the old definition of “cognition”, which is, the ability to acquire knowledge via our senses. In its place, I’ve dared to recreate and considerate it as, the emotional ability to acquire and apply knowledge via our multi- dimensional senses, in conjunction with, the ability to use our sensory tools to create and intuit additional forms of knowledge from the fundamental forms of natural knowledge.

Creative development is probably the best medium and representative for every type
of emotion we can conjure and experience, particularly for a species that thrives and
survives on constantly acquiring and applying knowledge, which is contingent upon an emotionally developed brain that has evolved with a “neuroplastic” propensity for
creativity. We are destined, to be engaged with the entwined elements of emotions,
creative critical thinking, relationships and decision-making on a daily basis – these are the things we each ought to audaciously strive for, regardless of our stations in life.

About Carla A. Woolf
Carla A. Woolf is a former CDA certified Preschool teacher turned independent researcher and is the author of two books (“Connecting the Dots – The Cognitively Correct Way to Speak with Preschoolers” and “The Dots Connected – What Does Childhood Really Have to do with Adulthood, plus Intuition’s Role in Fulfilling Total Brain Development and the Unlimited Potential of the Human Mind”) So far, she and co-author of “The Dots Connected” are the sole pioneers of a new field designed to offer specific insight into how the basic core elements of early cognitive development are an intuitive process that is equal to, and inseparable from intuitive language development, which establishes the precursory components for the brain’s ultimate ability to exercise higher precognitive thinking. She leads workshops to help early educators and parents understand how language can be encoded to activate the human brain’s full potential.