Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

What Motivates You?

Dan Pink explains it all for you. Think money’s the best motivator? That the bigger the reward, the better the performance?

Autonomy, mastery, sense of purpose: research shows that these oftentimes undervalued notions are greater incentivizers than simple cash. From studies on some smart kids at M.I.T. to the purpose-filled mission of the founder of Skype, the ability to work under one’s own direction–or the joy in accomplishing a task (no matter if it’s brain surgery or fixing a drain)–or the sense that our work results in more than a simple monetary equivalent: Pink notes that autonomy, mastery, and sense of purpose are far more powerful tools of motivation than either the carrot or the stick.

One of my favorite bits in Pink’s talk is the anecdote about software developers who are given free reign over their project, their collaborators, their time management–as long as they can present the fruit of their labor within 24 hours.

This lively animated video, courtesy of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, is only one of their fantastic archive (I love the British organization’s tagline: “21st century enlightenment”). Great ideas presented in a lively, eye-catching form.

Filed under: business, labor, pop culture, science, work, , , , , , , , , ,

Father and Son Launch Homemade Camera into Space

Vodpod videos no longer available.

God, I love (and am addicted to) the Internet. Found this cool video made by a father-and-son team of their home science project: a weather balloon-powered spacecraft capturing spectacular images of the earth at 100,000 feet.

An ordinary weather balloon, foam insulation, an iPhone and HD video camera. Luke Geissbühler, the father, said that the project did not require FAA approval. Pretty darn cool.

Filed under: media, science, technology, , , ,

Are We Alone in the Universe? Hawking Responds.

Common wisdom holds that if alien life exists (and isn’t it presumptious for us to believe we’re the only life form among 100 billion galaxies?), we should fear invasion or colonization.

Stephen Hawking concurs.

In his new television series for Discovery, called Into the Universe, the “world’s most famous scientific mind” acknowledges the possibility that these alien life forms may even be more intelligent than humans. More than human contact or curiosity, these advanced beings may simply want Earth’s resources:

We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.

The series is Hawking’s life work, and tries to bridge the gap between popular science and his research in theoretical physics, applied mathematics, and quantum gravity.

But what are the hazards of Hawking’s thoughts on alien contact? The renowned scientist draws a striking analogy between potential alien visits and our crimes of the past:

If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Filed under: science, , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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