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November 10, 2005

Brain Waves Blog Value?

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Found this crazy blog value worth calculator via Brent's Stop the Presses:


My blog is worth $68,309.34.
How much is your blog worth?

Anyone interested in buying a few shares?

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

October 05, 2005

The Wiki Way - Collaborate with Socialtext Now

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Posted by Zack Lynch

If you work collaboratively with other individuals and want to do it easier, faster and cheaper, then you should check out enterprise wiki software from Socialtext. (Full Disclosure, I am on the Board of Advisors). Today's NYTimes has an excellent article on how financial traders are using Socialtext's collaborative workspace to price international bonds, eliminating email and conference calls in the process. The Socialtext team has pulled out all of the stops, recently receiving several million in venture funding from DFJ and SAP. This company is on an unstoppable roll. Check out Corante's blog, Many-to-Many for the latest on social software.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

September 29, 2005

Cognitive Analysis of Tagging and Categorization

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Posted by Zack Lynch

For those of you who blog, I think you'll find this cognitive analysis of tagging by Rashmi Sinha very interesting. Here is an excerpt of her post (I highly recommend reading her whole post if this area interests you):

"At the start, let me confess that I struggled with this topic. From my first encounter with tagging (on systems such as del.icio.us & flickr), I could feel how easy it was to tag. But it took me a while to understand the cognitive processes at work. What follows is Rashmi's theory of tagging - my hypothesis about the cognitive process that kicks into place when we tag an item, and how this differs than the process of categorizing. In doing so, my hope is to explain the increasing popularity of tagging, and offer some ideas regarding the design of tagging / categorization systems.

My ideas are mostly based on my observations about how people tag and relating it to on academic research in cognitive psychology and anthropology. This is a first version, which I expect to revise as I learn more. Feedback is very welcome.

The rapid growth of tagging in the last year is testament to how easy and enjoyable people find the tagging process. The question is how to explain it at the cognitive level. In search for a cognitive explanation of tagging, I went back to my dusty cognitive psychology textbooks. This is what I learnt..."

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

March 07, 2005

Blogging Begets Better Brains

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Posted by Zack Lynch

I must recommend a new neurolearning blog that has a strong focus on neurologically-based approaches to learning and learning differences. It is written by Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide who recently posted a great piece on the Brain of the Blogger (Here are the key points)

1. Blogs can promote critical and analytical thinking.
2. Blogging can be a powerful promoter of creative, intuitive, and associational thinking.
3. Blogs promote analogical thinking.
4. Blogging is a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information.
5. Blogging combines the best of solitary reflection and social interaction.

So why don't you blog?

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

February 02, 2005

Blog, Book, Blog, Book - 101 Bloggers

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Virginia Postrel notes the high cost of blogging for authors, as Andrew Sullivan joins the ranks of many others in choosing to reduce blogging in order to focus on writing a book. As I wrote two years ago, Andrew in not alone. Not only have I found it relatively difficult to write an interesting daily blog while simultaneously write a engaging, well researched book, but others have too:

William Gibson: "I could not write a novel and keep the blog at the same time."
Virginia Postrel: "I'm too easily distracted to blog and concentrate on my book at the same time."
Steven Johnson: "...after a three-month stretch of writing almost every day (on his latest book) I feel pretty good...albeit a little guilty for neglecting the blog..."

Jon Strande has solved this issue for 101 of us bloggers, all of whom (including myself are in the midst of compiling a book called, 101 Bloggers: The Power of A New Conversation. More on this later.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

February 01, 2005

Think Better Than Steven Johnson

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Writers, researchers and all the rest of us information saturated, multi-tasking individuals should follow Steven Johnson's lead on how to best organize one's thoughts. Steven is an extremely prolific and successful writer. He is the author of several excellent books like Mind Wide Open, a monthly columnist for Discover magazine as well as a being a guest blogger here on Brain Waves.

In last Sunday's Times Book Review he revealed the research system software package he has been using for the past few years, called DevonThink. From Steven's blog, Tool for Thought:

"I've used the tool for exploring the couple thousand notes and quotations that I've assembled over the past decade -- along with the text of finished essays and books. I suspect there will be a number of you curious about the technical details, so I've put together a little overview here, along with some specific observations. For starters, though, go read the essay and then come back once you've got an overview."

If you are interested in what other people are saying about the tool, I recommend the following links: John Battelle's SearchBlog, Auxiliary Memory, Jots, and Geek. I'm about to purchase it and will let you know in a few months how well it is working for me.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

January 24, 2005

ScienceNOW says NOVA - Intelligent Sponsors Exist

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Posted by Zack Lynch

I would like to thank NOVA's new ScienceNow program for becoming Brain Waves first official sponsor. Along with Corante's other science bloggers, Carl Zimmer and Derek Lowe, I've always been leery of the random ads that exist on many blogs. ScienceNow is different and the fit is right on. For example, tomorrow's show has a 14 minute segment on "mirror neurons" and their role in empathy and human understanding.

Hosted by 30 year veteran Robert Krulwich, ScienceNow has many more excellent programs in development. Check out their site to see some clips of forthcoming shows.

If anyone else is interested in sponsorship, and thereby reaching an incredibly desirable demographic (you, my dear readers), let me or the good people at corante.com know. By the way, this will be the only time I will use this blog to directly write about my sponsors. Unless of course, you reach the $10K sponsorship level. Thanks again for your continued support and interest.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

February 18, 2004

Soul Made Flesh and Mind Wide Open, Monday in SF/Bay Area

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Two of my friends (and favorite authors of recent books) are both speaking in the SF/Bay Area on Monday at the same time, noon.

Carl Zimmer will be speaking at the Stanford Medical School (sponsored by the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics and the Stanford Brain Research Institute). He'll be talking about his book, Soul Made Flesh, which chronicles how the search for the soul was transformed into the science of the brain in the 1600s. As Carl put it, "It was a remarkable transformation that foreshadowed both today's ongoing revolution in neuroscience as well as the ethical quandaries it poses for us." Directions to Carl Zimmer's talk.

Steven Johnson will be giving a reading at Stacey's book store in downtown S.F. on his recently released book, Mind Wide Open. In a similiar way that Po Bronson did for his book What Should I do With My Life?, Steven is currently collecting commentary and reactions to how MWO has impacted people's lives at his website. Directions to Stacey's in S.F..

Fortunately, Carl Zimmer's talk will be taped by CSPAN's Book TV and because I will be flying to NYC Monday night for my talk at the NBIC conference, I think I'll be heading downtown to see Steven laugh in person.

Also, don't miss Cory Doctorow who will be reading and signing his latest novel, Eastern Standard Tribe, at Borderlands Books in S.F. tomorrow night.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

December 27, 2003

Help Iran's Earthquake Victims

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Posted by Zack Lynch

The 6.7 earthquake that struck Iran on December 26th is a tragedy of epic proportions. Please help the residents of the devastated southeastern Iranian city of Bam. The National Iranian American Council has links to several organizations that already providing assistance.

Comments (3) | Category: Writing & Blogging

December 15, 2003

Carl Zimmer Moves His Loom and Soul to Corante

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Carl Zimmer has moved his blog, The Loom, over to Corante.

"The Loom weaves together deep time and modern life. It surveys new research on evolution, paleontology, and comparitive biology and links them to biotechnology, medicine, neuroscience, computer science, environmental issues, politics, and ethics. Plus the occasional mind-controlling parasite."

Carl is a frequent contributor to Discover, Newsweek, Scientific American and Natural History (among others). He is the author of four books, including, Soul Made Flesh, due out in January. Even before its release Soul Made Flesh has already garnered the following praise:

"Vivid and literate"-- Steven Pinker
"Remarkable and beautiful"-- Oliver Sacks
"Fascinating"-- Neal Stephenson
"Impeccable research with humble prose" -- Zack Lynch

Welcome aboard Carl!

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

November 25, 2003

Laptop Crashed

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Posted by Zack Lynch

After two days of having my IBM R32 Thinkpad crash on me every few minutes, and hours with tech support (who were wonderfully helpful), I'll be shipping my machine on for 4-5 business days to get fixed.

Now I might actually have time to prepare for the Thanksgiving Dinner I am cooking for the 20 people from my family that are showing up. Gobble, Gobble.

Comments (4) | Category: Writing & Blogging

October 21, 2003

SocialText for Social Professionals

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Posted by Zack Lynch

If the last decade of the information technology wave was focused on creating a global information web, then the ten years will be about refining this endless information sea into a usable, reliable knowledge web.

Socialtext, an enterprise social software company, launched its first set of products today that help teams collaborate and communicate more effectively. As Joi Ito mentioned in a recent Fortune article, "I need to get fewer requests from higher-quality sources."

Disclosure: I have been on Socialtext's Board of Advisors since it's inception. Having started software companies myself, I am amazed at the insight and execution capabilities of this very dedicated team. Congratulations!

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

October 07, 2003

Coevolution In the 'Living Code' Pipeline

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Sometimes, I'd rather not have a choice.  This is especially true when it comes to two of the nominees for Forbes best Medical blog.  Having spent the past six months watching fellow Corantean's Derek Lowe and Richard Gayle co-evolve their blogs, I've decided to do what I won't be able to do in today's recall election -- vote for 2 people, twice. 


Richard put it perfectly, " I think Derek and I make a useful pair. I tend to gravitate towards early stage, biological, small biotech work while he brings a pre-development/development, chemical, pharmaceutical viewpoint to what he writes."


Their current proteomics discussion is just one of many great examples.  I can't wait for them to discuss audioceuticals


In this case 1+1 clearly equals 3.

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

October 01, 2003

Gibson Knows

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Six months after starting it, he stopped.  Blogging broke William's train of thought.

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

September 02, 2003

A Tidal Wave of Thanks and Appreciation

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Posted by Zack Lynch

I hope you have enjoyed the past six weeks of guest blogging from Pat Kane, Steven Johnson, Paul Zak, Wrye Sententia, and Richard Glen Boire.  I sure did and so did many others.  By introducing their unique perspectives, each of them made important contributions to the ongoing conversation about the societal implications of neurotechnology. 


I would also like to thank each of them for providing me time to make the necessary "Perception Shift" to write several new chapters in my forthcoming book -- Brain Wave: Our Emerging Neurosociety.  Thank you. 

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

August 12, 2003

Kevin Kelly on Book Writing and Blogging

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Posted by Zack Lynch

"I find I can't do ANYTHING else and write a book."


Me too.

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

July 21, 2003

The Blog/Book Writing Paradox

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Like other authors, I have found it relatively difficult to write an interesting daily blog while simultaneously write a engaging, well researched book.



Why is it so hard to write a book and blog at the same time? Here are a few thoughts:


At a high level, blogs (definition of weblog):



  • Focus on current events, new findings
  • Short, pithy unedited arguments
  • Hyperlinked to other opinions, discussions and relevant information
  • Relatively un-related topics from day-to-day

Book writing, at least in my case, requires:



  • Extensive knowledge saturation (history, science, economics, politics, and futures research)
  • Extended, seamless argument development
  • Accumulated knowledge expression through verse not links
  • Extreme fact checking and editing

For these reasons, I'll be taking a six week break from blogging Brain Waves to focus on writing my forthcoming book, tentatively titled -- Brain Wave: Our Emerging Neurosociety. But instead of taking a "blog holiday" I decided to put together a group of exceptional guest bloggers to keep you informed, entertained and the Brain Waves momentum rolling.


The Brain Waves guest blogging network will include a week of blogging by the following individuals: Pat Kane, Steven Johnson, Paul Zak, Wrye Sententia and Richard Glen Boire, as well as a few others. More on each of them and the interesting topics they will cover tomorrow. (Thank you team!)

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

May 22, 2003

The Publishing Game Lives

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Posted by Zack Lynch

The publishing industry is like a poker game -- never bet your house until you know you have learned from the best.  Today I placed a $200 bet and won big.


In a little less than seven hours, Fern Reiss shared her insights on self-publishing to agent selection and everything in between.  Even better, she transferred her knowledge in an inspirational and witty manner that would have left Ellen Degeneres smiling.   I just wish I had a cogniceutical handy so I could remember it all.


If you are playing the publishing game, I highly recommend her live performance.

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

May 09, 2003

Emotional Blog Reading

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Blogging is a real-time social sport.  Real-time writing, real-time reading.  On the writing side, I, like Doc Searls, have tested positive for AKMA.  On reading side, there is a whole other set of categorizations to describe the different way people read blogs: 



  • T-people: Title readers, rarely follow links, make quick opinions, probably RSS too many feeds
  • D-people: Deep readers, follow all links, think carefully about the blog, rarely comment
  • Q-people: Questioners, read quickly, follow most links, assimilate information, and comment frequently

I am sure there are many more, but you get my point.  I fall mostly into D, but enjoy commenting. 


Because blogging is a social sport, it always takes two to tango (i.e. my AKMA writing style interacts with various reading styles to create different results).  Here is why I am writing this:


Corante brother Kling seems to be a T. Why?  Well, when he countered my blog yesterday, The Future is Emotional Economics with Emotional Noneconomics it wasn't entirely his fault that he missed my point.  As a real-time sport, quick decisions are made and published.  Sometimes word choice might not be perfect, especially when putting a title on a blog.  Right before I published, I changed my original title, The Future of Emotional Economics, for reasons of impact/emphasis.  And the rest in real-time history.


Because he is a T, with respect to my AKMA, he followed the link to the economist article, and thought he understood my point, and then decided to comment, when in fact he missed it completely, commenting:



The last attempt to overthrow mainstream economics--Marxism--led to a totalitarian disaster.  To repeat that mistake would be the most irrational move of all.


That was not my point....


If he read down to the bottom, followed through all/most of the links and thought about the questions I was attempting to raise (not qualities of a T), he would have realized that my point was that behavioral economics has an interesting/bright future, not that I was suggesting it was going to replace conventional economics. 


This is not the first time my AKMA has got me in trouble.  Just last week Virginia Postrel nailed me in her "Not Brave" post for calling Bill McKibbens new book brave.  My intent was to make a slight reference to Huxley's Brave New World (a book I highly admire but think has some bass-ackwards assumptions), thus putting McKibben in the same category of, great topic, nice writing, wrong assumptions. 


But because Virginia is a D, she, in her third paragraph, stated that my blog on "Neurotechnology before Genetic Engineering" was in fact a good read.  She followed the story to the conclusion. 


So the moral of the story for me is, choose my words more carefully.  But I won't, because that would ruin the real-time fun we are all having.  However, maybe Ross should consider choosing his words more carefully, see Shirky in a World of Hurt. But he won't.

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

May 01, 2003

The ONLY SPAM solution: MONEY

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Only money can eradicate spam. The Internet is a globally distributed ecosystem complete with evolving organism/organizations that continuously adapt to change.  The current spam epidemic is proof.  Moreover, no legislative or technical solution (i.e. filters) will be able to stop it.  Why?  Because spam is fundamentally an economic problem. 


Ross Mayfield and I attempted to get an anti-spam company off the ground two years ago based on this fact. Yet the noise of emerging technical solutions and lack of insight by "leading" venture capitalists reminded us that it takes more than being right to build a company.  The current spam explosion is proof that technical solutions are only making the problem worse. 


So here I go, I'm giving the world the answer.  It's simple in theory, but incredibly complex to pull off in reality.


Put a price on your inbox.  No email gets into your email inbox unless it has a dime attached.  I pay you a dime the first time I want to communicate with you, and from there until infinity you and I can share that same dime back and forth.  No money, no entry.   This fundamentally shifts the economic cost of sending email back to original senders.  Think a spammer would spend $100,000 to reach 1 million people now? 


So there it is.  Go build it, so we can all get on with our lives...oh and by the way, you need to be able to scale globally and have multi-currency functionality in 90 days or the system won't get adopted.  Want more?  The business plan is done.  Just need $5m.  Any takers?


Back to neurotechnology tomorrow.

Comments (1) | Category: Writing & Blogging

April 24, 2003

Live Better with Many-to-Many

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Humans are social creatures.  If you feed a newborn but don't provide it social interaction it will grow up with severe mental illnesses.  This conclusion was determined by studying monkeys, not humans. 


Social interaction is the hallmark of the human species.  On this note, the emergence of social software will inevitably foster, in its own way, more effective human interaction on a global scale. 


To keep you abreast of the latest developments in social software, Corante has launched a new blog today, many-to-many which will have contributions from leading thinkers across the social software space.

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging

March 11, 2003

Brain Waves: Neurons, Bits & Genes

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Posted by Zack Lynch

A brief introduction to what I'll be covering here (as well as in a forthcoming book):


The field of neurotechnology, the focus of this blog, encompasses numerous emerging technologies that will improve quality of life, cure disease and alleviate suffering. Neurotechnology also has the potential to redefine competitive advantage, restructure patterns of global production and make possible new modes of artistic expression.


Groundbreaking advances in brain science (neurons), information technology (bits) and bioengineering (genes) have major implications for those researching the central nervous system and have us poised on the cusp of a thrilling new wave of innovation that I'll be chronicling and commenting on here.


Up for discussion and analysis: the political, economic, ethical, and social forces that will shape the future of what will be one of the most important and fascinating stories of the coming decades.


To receive Brain Waves daily by email, subscribe on the right. Also, please feel free to alert me to interesting articles, recent research, upcoming events, etc.

Comments (0) | Category: Writing & Blogging