Ten Stories From This Week

23rd Jan 2022

From the very smart people at NESTA. ‘We think uncertain times call for a different approach to figuring out what the future holds. Our new #FutureSignals series does just that: using data points, insights and evidence to offer interpretations of the movements, technological developments and social changes that could impact our lives over the next year and beyond. From retrofitting robots to avocados grown in Aberystwyth, sleep as a new dimension of health, inequality and toddler tech, our authors give their take on what’s to come in 2022.’

Provoking piece on sports sponsorship, from ‘Why This is Interesting’ – -The Magic Helmet Edition . ‘ The Red Bull helmet is like a super sponsorship on top of the athlete’s already hard-won set of benefactors. Unlike any other piece of gear, it immediately identifies the wearer as someone who is reaching beyond the established top tier of their chosen sport. Unlike any other piece of branding, it ensures that the energy drink is front and centre in all media coverage of the chosen athlete. The mystique of the helmet is so large, no other brand has even attempted to match it.’

Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s The Future 100: 2022, their annual snapshot of the most compelling trends to watch this year. Highlights include – Unbounded optimism,Virtual teleportation, Brandalism, Emotional health and Metaverse recruits.

From phys.org. Apparently 1980 was the year when facts fell from favour – ‘researchers looked through millions of books published between 1850 to 2019 and analysed the prominence of 5,000 of the most common words in English and Spanish. They found that since 1980, words associated with fact-based argumentation (‘determine’, ‘conclude’) have been declining, while words relating to the human experience (‘feel’, ‘believe’) are on the rise.

From @storythings. Creativity and Constraints – How Jagger Got His Dancing Style. David Byrne wrote a brilliant book about how the music bands make is shaped by the venues they play. I’d never considered how this could relate to how artists dance. This story about Mick Jagger’s dancing technique is a classic case of creativity coming, from turning constraints into opportunities.

From YouGov. UK – Interesting stuff in their assessment of the Biggest Brand Movers – for the month of January 2022. Top performers include the British Film Institute, Lindt, Facebook, Sky Atlantic and Waitrose.

Letters of Note: the Art of Saying ‘No’ We all have to say no sometimes. It’s rarely easy. Sean Usher at the wonderful Letters of Note has compiled some of his favourite letters declining invitations. I might start using this one from E.B. White: “Thanks for your letter inviting me to join the committee of the Arts and Sciences for Eisenhower. I must decline, for secret reasons.” (HT @storythings)

WikiTrivia – A New  Trivia Card Game to Test Your History Knowledge
If you’re looking for a new game to play, this digital card game is fun. Simply drag and drop cards, featuring moments from history, along a timeline. (3 min play)

An Interesting Fact About Every London Tube Station. East Finchley: “Jerry Springer was born in the station during an air raid in WW2.”

So sorry to hear of the death of Thich Nhat Hanh (know as Thay) who sadly passed away yesterday. The Guardian’s obituary was entitled ‘From MLK to Silicon Valley, how the world fell for the ‘father of mindfulness’’ He was an inspiring individual for thousands of people (including me) and a wonderful communicator. I think this passage serves as an appropriate message for us at this time : ‘Tomorrow, I will continue to be. But you will have to be very attentive to see me. I will be a flower, or a leaf. I will be in these forms and I will say hello to you. If you are attentive enough, you will recognise me, and you may greet me. I will be very happy.’  Thich Nhat Han