Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Sans Forgetica: How to remember what you read

Anne says: I love this initiative from RMIT in Victoria. I used to work with adults who couldn’t read or had trouble with comprehension – it’s very easy for our minds to wander while we’re reading or our brains spend too much time figuring out the words without understanding what we’re reading (that’s before you even consider how engaged our brains are – or not). A team including a designer, a psychologist, and a behavioural economist at RMIT University in Melbourne created a new font, Sans Forgetica, that uses cognitive psychology to make your brain work a little harder, hence engaging you in the text and helping you to remember.

These are the key elements they used to get your brain working:

Gaps: When presented with incomplete visual information, the brain fills in the missing bits. (Exactly why you can’t edit your own written work effectively – you know what you’re saying and your allows you to miss the mistakes).

Lean Back: I love this one – as a left-hander, I used to write with a backward tilt (I don’t anymore after some rather lengthy intervention during schooling!). Your brain isn’t used to seeing sentences tilt to the left, backwards.

“It takes you a split second longer to recognize words in Sans Forgetica’s 8-degree back-slant, triggering deeper cognitive processing.”

Maybe I should re-deploy my backward tilting handwriting?!! (wink)

An important tip – use with care: Sans Forgetica was not intended for entire books (the creators say it’s migraine-inducing!) – use selectively to highlight important bits of information.

Misuse: oh oh – it had to happen! Advertisers are already starting to use it to ensure their message cuts through the noise.

It’s a great idea, but I can already see it getting overused and losing its impact. However, if you write with a backward slant – now is your time – send people hand-written notes, they might actually read AND remember them. (wink)


Cotton seeds sprout on far side of the Moon

Joel says: Is the Moon capable of sustaining life? It seems we could be well on our way to finding out with a recent experiment by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) resulting in planted cotton seeds planted on the far side of the Moon sprouting for the very first time.

The CNSA’s Chang’e 4 probe successfully completed a soft landing on the dark side of the Moon earlier this month, aptly named as it’s the side of the Moon that faces away from the Earth.

The goal of their mission was to further investigate if the Moon was able to support life to support future space travellers.

Cotton seeds — alongside potato seeds, rapeseed, yeast and fruit fly eggs — were placed in a sealed canister on board the lander to protect them from temperature extremes and radiation.

The CNSA has now released images that show the cotton seeds beginning to sprout, being labelled a “first in human history”

Apparently, since the first images released the rapeseed and potato seeds have also begun sprouting too.

This could be the first step in creating a livable ecosystem for human life. While it would be some time off it’s a positive start to the experiment.

Perhaps Elon Musk should reel in his expectations and prepare to move to the Moon instead of Mars?


Driverless Rooms

Helen says: This is a fascinating look at the crisis looming for the car manufacturing industry and how the car we know today will need to dramatically evolve to remain relevant in our high-tech future. Author Nathan Waters notes that the production of vehicles globally far outstrips demand, that within six years only electric vehicles will be produced and the more cost effective on-demand driverless vehicles will eventually rule.

Nathan describes a future, sooner than later, where voice responsive, solar or battery run driverless vehicles will, in fact, be modular rooms on wheels that can be connected with other driverless rooms as needed. He speaks of the driverless office, boardroom, gym, bedroom, bathroom and café. Box-like vehicles transiting in tunnels under the city and being lifted and stacked in towers that connect the occupant to an array of products and services.

Waters gives a very positive take on this highly transformative concept – reducing the environmental footprint, increasing green space, providing cheaper accommodation and replacing lording landlords with blockchain. I can’t say it sounds like utopia to me but I found the article to be both imaginative and thought-provoking. The comments are a good read too!


UPDATE: The Nexus – a down-to-earth air taxi

Anne says: Last week I wrote about flying taxis. This week I thought it appropriate to review what is in the prototype modelling. This version of a flying taxi from Bell was unveiled at CES in Las Vegas last week. The Nexus has a 150-mile range and a top speed of 150 mph. It will carry 4 passengers and a pilot – yes, a real person pilot – although it will eventually be autonomous. And some more technical features:

“…six tilting ducted fans powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system, with wings helping supplement lift in forward flight… Nexus will rely on the six 8-foot-diameter fans for forward thrust and, while pivoted to the horizontal, takeoffs and landings. Inside, flight information or sightseeing data will be projected on the windows or through goggles for passengers.”

The reviews (read this article) are positive – although it’s not flying yet, it appears the expectation that Bell has the capabilities required to deliver their concept designs are high.

So, here’s last week’s question again: Would you travel in THIS air taxi?

I’m thinking I’d quite like to…


How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation

Jakkii says: If you’ve ever read my tweets from conferences, you’ve probably heard me bemoan that, in 2018 (I haven’t been to a conference yet in 2019, bear with me here) we are still talking about “how to deal with millennials” and “millennials in the workplace.” Newsflash: the oldest millennials are almost 40. They’ve been in your workplace for two decades. If you haven’t figured out how to manage them (even though they’re just people), or what changes they might bring to your workplace, what have you been doing for the last 20 years?

Which, tangentially, leads me to this article – largely an opinion piece though with some supporting links throughout, it takes a look at societal factors cultural and attitudes that have shaped the millennial generation (from a US perspective). I found myself torn at times between nodding along and feeling frustrated by what can feel on the surface like self-indulgence – or self-pity. I think, though, looking past those emotional reactions, that there’s something to this. Systemically, socially are we failing one another in an always-on, high-demand, high-judgment world? Perhaps we are. I wonder, though – is it just millennials going through this? Are these just different levers on the same pains gen X went through, and the boomers before them? And what of gen Z, the oldest of whom are now adults – are they any better equipped than millennials to navigate an always-on world? Will they be the next burnout generation?

I’m still reflecting on this piece, trying to decide what it says about us, about work, about life in 2019 and beyond. I’d love to know what you think – let me know in the comments or on social media.

Note: this is a fairly long read, so tackle it over a coffee (or beer) when you’ve got a bit of time.


This Week in Social Media

Sydney Business Insights – In Conversation: Uber, money and monkeys Podcast

The Future, This Week is on holiday hiatus, so this week we bring you a podcast from SBI’s ‘In Conversation’ series, “Uber, money and monkeys.”

In this podcast: As part of our In Conversation series and the University of Sydney’s Business School Global Executive MBA program, we talk to UCLA economist Keith Chen who taught monkeys how to use money in order to better understand how humans make economic decisions.

Show notes and links for this episode:

University of Sydney’s Business School Global Executive MBA program

Keith Chen – UCLA

Keith Chen – Ted Talk


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