The Art of Observation and How to Master the Crucial Difference Between Observation and Intuition

The Art of Observation and How to Master the Crucial Difference Between Observation and Intuition

Why genius lies in the selection of what is worth observing.

“In the field of observation,” legendary disease prevention pioneer Louis Pasteur famously proclaimed in 1854, “chance favors only the prepared mind.” “Knowledge comes form noticing resemblances and recurrences in the events that happen around us,” neuroscience godfather Wilfred Trotter asserted. That keen observation is what transmutes information into knowledge is indisputable – look no further than Sherlock Holmes and his exquisite mindfulness for a proof – but how, exactly, does one cultivate that critical faculty?

From The Art of Scientific Investigation (public library; public domain) by Cambridge University animal pathology professor W. I. B. Beveridge – the same fantastic 1957 compendium that explored the role of the intuition and imagination in science and how serendipity and “chance opportunism” fuel discovery – comes a timeless meditation on the art of observation, which he insists “is not passively watching but is an active mental process,” and the importance of distinguishing it from what we call intuition. Though a number of celebrated minds favored intuition over rationality, and even Beveridge himself extolled the merits of the intuitive in science, he sides with modern-day admonitions about our tendency to mislabel other cognitive processes as “intuition” and advises:

It is important to realize that observation is much more than merely seeing something; it also involves a mental process. In all observations there are two elements : (a) the sense-perceptual element (usually visual) and (b) the mental, which, as we have seen, may be partly conscious and partly unconscious. Where the sense-perceptual element is relatively unimportant, it is often difficult to distinguish between an observation and an ordinary intuition. For example, this sort of thing is usually referred to as an observation: “I have noticed that I get hay fever whenever I go near horses.” The hay fever and the horses are perfectly obvious, it is the connection between the two that may require astuteness to notice at first, and this is a mental process not distinguishable from an intuition. Sometimes it is possible to draw a line between the noticing and the intuition, e.g. Aristotle commented that on observing that the bright side of the moon is always toward the sun, it may suddenly occur to the observer that the explanation is that the moon shines by the light of the sun. Read more of this post

Beijing, Shanghai announce detailed property curbs; The two mega-cities both vow to strictly implement the 20-percent tax on capital gains from property sales

Beijing, Shanghai announce detailed property curb   2013-03-30

BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) — The municipal governments of Chinese capital Beijing and business hub Shanghai on Saturday spelled out detailed rules aimed at cooling the property market following the central government’s fresh regulatory plan earlier this month.

Single adults with a permanent Beijing residence registration, who have not made purchases in the city before, are allowed to buy only one apartment, according to the announcement.

Shanghai said banks will be banned from giving loans to local residents who are buying a third apartment or more, according to a government announcement.

Meanwhile, the two cities will raise down payments for second-home buyers.

The two mega-cities both vow to strictly implement the 20-percent tax on capital gains from property sales. Read more of this post

Investors wary of “slow panic” on growth after Cyprus rescue

Published: Saturday March 30, 2013 MYT 11:44:00 AM

Investors wary of “slow panic” on growth after Cyprus rescue

LONDON: World markets have reacted calmly to the twists and turns of Cyprus’s financial rescue in the last fortnight but many investors fear the economic fallout is yet to come.

They have sold European assets, rather than make a global dash for safety that could signal concerns about a euro breakup.

Euro blue chip and bank equity prices, regional bank bonds and the euro exchange rate have all fallen sharply this week but Wall St stocks set a record closing high.

Mutual fund data released by fund tracker EPFR on Friday showed that European equity, bond and money market funds all saw hefty redemptions this week even as investors continued to pile into Japanese and U.S. equity funds. Read more of this post

Need a Job? Invent It; the goal of education today, argues Harvard’s Tony Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do

March 30, 2013

Need a Job? Invent It


WHEN Tony Wagner, the Harvard education specialist, describes his job today, he says he’s “a translator between two hostile tribes” — the education world and the business world, the people who teach our kids and the people who give them jobs. Wagner’s argument in his book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” is that our K-12 and college tracks are not consistently “adding the value and teaching the skills that matter most in the marketplace.”

This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education today, argues Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do. Read more of this post

New book shares insights from Steve Jobs’ 1st boss, Atari’s Steve Bushnell; Bushnell turned down an offer from his former employee to invest $50,000 in Apple during its formative stages, a one-third stake now worth $120 billion

New book shares insights from Steve Jobs’ 1st boss

( | Updated March 28, 2013 – 4:11pm


In this photo taken Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013, Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari poses for a photo at “Two-Bits-Circus,” a Los Angeles idea factory focused on software, hardware and machines. Bushnell was the first guy to give Steve Jobs his first full-time job in Silicon Valley at Atari. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When Steve Jobs adopted “think different” as Apple’s mantra in the late 1990s, the company’s ads featured Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Amelia Earhart and a constellation of other starry-eyed oddballs who reshaped society.

Nolan Bushnell never appeared in those tributes, even though Apple was riffing on an iconoclastic philosophy he embraced while running video game pioneer Atari in the early 1970s. Atari’s refusal to be corralled by the status quo was one of the reasons Jobs went to work there in 1974 as an unkempt, contemptuous 19-year-old. Bushnell says Jobs offended some Atari employees so much that Bushnell eventually told Jobs to work nights when one else was around.

Bushnell, though, says he always saw something special in Jobs, who evidently came to appreciate his eccentric boss, too. The two remained in touch until shortly before Jobs died in October 2011 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

That bond inspired Bushnell to write a book about the unorthodox thinking that fosters the kinds of breakthroughs that became Jobs’ hallmark as the co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. Apple built its first personal computers with some of the parts from Atari’s early video game machines. After Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple in 1976, Apple also adopted parts of an Atari culture that strived to make work seem like play. That included pizza-and-beer parties and company retreats to the beach.

“I have always been pretty proud about that connection,” Bushnell said in an interview. “I know Steve was always trying to take ideas and turn them upside down, just like I did.”

Bushnell, now 70, could have reaped even more from his relationship with Jobs if he hadn’t turned down an offer from his former employee to invest $50,000 in Apple during its formative stages. Had he seized that opportunity, Bushnell would have owned one-third of Apple, which is now worth about $425 billion — more than any other company in the world.

Bushnell’s newly released book, “Finding The Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent,” is the latest chapter in a diverse career that spans more than 20 different startups that he either launched on his own or groomed at Catalyst Technologies, a business incubator that he once ran. Read more of this post

Innovation by Asian business leaders no longer a luxury; Amid the changing rules driven by the acceleration of globalisation, Asian leaders must be game-changing innovators to succeed in the new normal

Innovation by Asian business leaders no longer a luxury

The Nation March 30, 2013 1:00 am

Amid the changing rules driven by the acceleration of globalisation, Asian leaders must be game-changing innovators to succeed in the new normal, according to a study by global management consulting firm Hay Group.

Increasing globalisation is a given, with international competition likely to grow fiercer and markets even more diversified. The rise of India and China, coupled with the global economic power shift towards Asia, is reshaping the world before our very eyes. In the West, the number of jobs is falling; in the East, leaders have to learn how to manage in new markets as they expand westwards.  Read more of this post

Korean food and restaurants going global

2013-03-29 16:33

Korean food and restaurants going global

By Park Si-soo
This is Korea’s next export item: food. A growing number of local food companies are carving out business footprints overseas, seeking to conquer dining tables around the world. The trend is facilitated by homegrown restaurant chains that are increasingly flexing their muscle to conquer what gourmets call “hubs of international cuisine” such as New York, London and Paris. Several companies have already set up sales networks in more than 60 countries and are trying to cement their presence by establishing manufacturing bases there. While their overseas sales have so far generated income from China, Japan, America and Southeast Asian countries that have many Korean immigrants, they are now trying to diversify revenue sources by taking advantage of the boom in Korean pop culture that is sweeping Russia, Europe and Latin American countries. The Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp. (aT) said the country exported kimchi worth $3.87 million to the U.S. last year, up 38.6 percent from the previous year. Shipments of red pepper paste to the U.S. surged by 24.9 percent during the same period, aT said. Exports of Korean ice cream to Brazil jumped a whopping 102.2 percent last year, it noted, saying its popularity is quickly spreading to surrounding countries. “We have a good start,” a spokesman for the company said. “I believe food products will emerge as a new growth engine for the country along with semiconductors, smartphones and automobiles.”


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