Tom Critchlow

Move. Think. Create.

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Tiny Experiments in Doing

Today I launched a new venture, an online gallery for Brooklyn Artists. Just linking it up in case anyone still reads this site (if so: thanks!)

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Innovation is implemented ideas

Well, the key point is you can’t mix, you know, words. Creativity is not innovation. Creativity is idea generation. And, you know, you might create a lot of ideas smoking pot or sitting in a room, but innovation is implemented ideas. Innovation is ideas that come to marketplace.

  • John Sullivan

I love this quote. Simply stated and to the point. Note that if you’re paying attention and feeling altruistic you don’t care if YOU bring them to the marketplace, just that SOMEONE brings them to the marketplace.

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Between Bricks and Bits

Traditional play has often involved creating stories around characters and environments, through which children explore and learn about the world around them and understand their place within it. Digital play is driven by the same impulse. Most children have a couple of areas of interest about which they are really passionate, and around these themes children will often form a web of content and expertise, a universe, which fuels their stories.

Interesting research article on kids and “Systematic Creativity in the Digital Age” from Lego.

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The Synthetic Diet Revolution

The diet of the future will be largely, if not completely, synthetic. Much as I wish it wasn’t I’m not convinced there’s any other option.

I hypothesized that the body doesn’t need food itself, merely the chemicals and elements it contains. So, I resolved to embark on an experiment. What if I consumed only the raw ingredients the body uses for energy? Would I be healthier or do we need all the other stuff that’s in traditional food? If it does work, what would it feel like to have a perfectly balanced diet? I just want to be in good health and spend as little time and money on food as possible.

I haven’t eaten a bite of food in 30 days, and it’s changed my life.


I urge you to read the whole piece. Your initial reaction is almost certainly one of danger - and with good reason - a phrase “I stopped eating” is typically followed with a tragic story

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The 500 Year Old Meteor Doodle

In 1543 Copernicus published De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) in which he reasoned that the Earth orbits the Sun. 400 copies were printed. It didn’t sell out.

Still, the heliocentric model for the solar system would cause quite an upset when it was championed by Galileo almost 100 years later. Galileo was imprisoned in 1633 under house arrest for “following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture”

In the margin of the original manuscript Copernicus doodled a little meteor:



Of what significance the doodle we shall never know.

I first learned about Copernicus’ doodle many years ago in a documentary by Marcus du Sautoy - the beauty of diagrams. But it wasn’t until I recently read Robin Sloan’s Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore that I thought to look up the doodle. It turns

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On The Uses of Liberal Education

Two essays that have made me think more thoroughly than anything else I’ve read in a long time. What use is education? What force is poverty? Both of these are very long reads but definitely worth your time.

 Part 1

What happens if we keep trudging along this bleak course? What happens if our most intelligent students never learn to strive to overcome what they are? What if genius, and the imitation of genius, become silly, outmoded ideas? What you’re likely to get are more and more one-dimensional men and women. These will be people who live for easy pleasures, for comfort and prosperity, who think of money first, then second, and third, who hug the status quo

 Part 2

How could the “moral life of downtown” lead anyone out from the surround of force? How could a museum push poverty away? Who can dress in statues or eat the past? And what of the political life? Had Niecie skipped a

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Random Acts of Algorithms

A little while back I built Fuck Yeah Spotify as an experiment in music discovery - it was designed to aggregate the top 20 tweeted Spotify albums each day.

The problem is that it doesn’t work. Well, rather it doesn’t work like I intended…

Instead, the site somehow finds a somewhat random collection of Spotify albums and posts them. It’s been doing this every day for a year and a half and I love the site dearly. It matches my intent perfectly - surfacing music I’d never otherwise have found.

This all came to a head on June 24th when the algorithms found this random collection of albums:

24th June on Fuck Yeah Spotify

Included on the list was Stuck between the devil and the blues in drop C by Kill Kasper

Jamie the front man of Kill Kasper reached out to me to ask how his album made it onto the list:


Yesterday (24th June 2012) our EP release (Stuck between the devil and the

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A Case Study In Private Google+ Engagement

At Distilled we’ve been using Google+ heavily as an internal communication tool to complement email. Just in the last week:

  • We posted 80 Google+ Private Posts
  • There was a total of 313 comments on those posts

 Google+ Is Not A Ghost Town

Some have called Google+ a ghost town:

RJ Metrics’ report […] is yet another indicator that Google+ might indeed just be a “virtual ghost town,” as some have argued

Google’s stance is that all critics ignore the large amounts of private sharing:

a Google spokesperson challenged the claims made in RJM’s report. “By only tracking engagement on public posts, this study is flawed and not an accurate representation of all the sharing and activity taking place on Google+,” the spokesperson said. “As we’ve said before, more sharing occurs privately to circles and individuals than publicly on Google+. The beauty of Google+ is that it allows you to share

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Pictures vs Vision / Facebook vs Google

An excellent breakdown of where the real battle might be fought between Google and Facebook (not that I really believe that they’re in direct competition):

So the titanic showdown between Facebook and Google might not be the News Feed vs. Google+ after all. It might be Facebook Camera vs. Project Glass.

It might, in fact, be pictures vs. vision.

Very well written and thought provoking. Check it out.

It’s also worth noting that via the instant upload feature of Google+ I now have more photos online in my Google+ account than I do on my Facebook account. Images for thought.

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The Tyranny of Social Share Buttons

If you provide excellent content, social media users will take the time to read and talk about it in their networks. That’s what you really want. You don’t want a cheap thumbs up, you want your readers to talk about your content with their own voice.

An excellent piece by iA on social share buttons.

It’s one of the reasons I love the Svbtle platform so much - the only button on the page is the Kudos button which is a fascinating experiment in it’s own right:

Somehow, when that hover button is triggered, people feel like part of their soul is being sucked in through the monitor by a CSS animation. Many use the word “theft”.

Read the whole Unkudo piece here

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