There Is No Such Thing as Invention • 7 June 2013

Double-teaming discovery. Blogger David Galbraith notes that several groundbreaking scientific theories were discovered more than once by different people similarly inspired by a critical mass of knowledge and opportunity: "When the environment changes to make these discoveries possible, there is a likelihood that anyone of suitable knowledge and intelligence will find them and this explains why invention often happens more than once in the same time or same place." Galbraith concludes that "invention" is not an activity, but a state of mind, and creating a hospitable climate is key.

There is certainly a lot explained by the wonderful phrase and concept "adjacent possible." Nevertheless I think for that to emerge there needs to be the kind of creative concentration that Richard Florida describes in his creative class theory and the way it relates to cities. (I was overly pleased but not persuaded by the use of the Great Day in Harlem jazz photo as part of his argument.) (Michalko)

To Disrupt an Industry, It's Best to Know It Well

Pandodaily • 27 May 2013

Deconstructing disruption. "Disruption" has become the boogeyman of the C-suite set, but it's not as easy as it looks. "The problem is that too many people set out to disrupt industries that they don't understand," says journalist Erin Griffith. Chris Dixon of VC group Andreessen Horowitz says before his company buys into the next big disruption scheme, they ask two "Peter Thiel" questions: "Do you have a secret, and how did you earn your secret?" The second question is even more revealing than the first—read on to find out why.

These are two good questions that do some important filtering and orienting. I'm going to use them. "How do you know that?" is also pretty good. (Michalko)

You Won't Finish This Article • 6 June 2013

The skimming blues. A recent analysis of Slate's website shows that a surprisingly large number (38%) of viewers "bounce" off a page almost immediately, without engaging. And all those tweets? Primarily sent by people who never finish the article they're touting. Read on for insight into how page design and attention deficit are sabotaging online reading.

Okay, when we used the phrase "Above The Fold" to title this newsletter it had a completely different referent. This updates it in a moderately dispiriting fashion. TK (Michalko)

E-Readers Don't Cut Down on Reading Comprehension

Smithsonian Magazine • 7 June 2013

Mixed results. The findings from a recent study on e-reading comprehension indicate no significant difference in reading short passages of text on paper, on an e-reader, and in PDF form on a screen. These results mirror a somewhat similar study by the lead author three years ago, but conflict with some other research. Read on for the latest in the screen vs. hardcopy debate.

Well, perhaps. But they don't make you read it all the way through either. See previous. (Michalko)

Is Media Becoming Device Dependent?

Mediashift/PBS • 7 June 2013

Sizing up the market. Annenberg professor Gabriel Kahn ponders the difficulties faced by journalism—and really, any serious content provider—in designing for specific devices. Reconfiguring content is expensive and technology is ephemeral—but the potential rewards are difficult to ignore. Read on to learn how the iPad Mini launch has proven a major catalyst for Hearst digital magazines over the last six months.

The complementarity of a device with the orientation of particular content had not occurred to me. Given the very high costs of adapting content to different delivery platforms it does surprise me that publishers don't have a different kind of interaction with device makers. But would that kind of joint effort make you read all the way to the end? (Michalko)

Forget Google Glass: These Are the Interfaces of the Future

Wired • 3 June 2013

It's everywear. Yale computer scientist David Gelernter touts the benefits of "disappearing" interfaces. Read on for Gelernter's projections for next-generation of computing interfaces—from wallet screens to fist phones to walk-in computers.

Look at this just for his conceptual drawings. (Michalko)

The Science of Sharing (and Oversharing)

HBR Blog Network • 30 May 2013

It's complicated. Check out this interview with author Jonah Berger (Contagious: Why Things Catch On) to learn how exercise can trigger oversharing, how background music can influence wine purchases, and what motivates people to pass on misinformation.

I certainly understand the point about "high arousal" emotions as being triggers for action including sharing. I'm a little less confident with all the talk about "subtle clues in the environment." German music makes you buy more German wine . . . seems like a label that you could understand would be a lot more motivating. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, how can you search from your smartphone or mobile browser for materials related to any location and find them in the nearest library?

Get the answer.