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The Power of Sequence

Let’s compare two sentences with exactly the same words: I’m going to eat apple sauce with my grandmother. I’m going to eat my grandmother with apple sauce. Point taken? Sequence matters! It’s not just about words. Take any tune and swap the notes around—you’ve lost the tune. On a practical level, whether you’re planning a […]

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Get the Girls to School

Ever since I read Let Her Fly by Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, I’ve asked myself: How can I help advance the cause of girl’s education? As a parent myself, I noted the subtle disadvantages faced by girls at school, even in our affluent society. Far from our shores, the problems escalate […]

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Braincat on Indiegogo: Press Release

For Immediate Release Braincat launches Indiegogo Campaign that includes NFTs as perks Phil Ranta joins company as NFT advisor Contact: Scott Kelly, scott@blackdogventurepartners.com 480-206-3435 _________________________________________________________________________ Tempe, Arizona May 2, 2022 – Braincat, which provides patent-pending software to organize and share ideas, is launching a crowdfunding campaign with IndieGoGo that will include NFTs as perks for […]

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Hang Loose: A Thinking Skill with Hidden Power

Hang Loose is the name I give to a skill that can help us manage — and make the most of — large volumes of information. Let’s say we have the task of selecting a charity for a company to donate to. From what we know about the company, there could be dozens of charities […]

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Beating TMI: The Menace of Too Much Information

At first glance, it’s hard to see how there could ever be too much information. The human brain contains about 80 billion neurons, interconnected by some 100 trillion synapses. Measured in terms computing power (a fool’s errand — but that’s a topic for another day) the brain is up there with those famous chess-master-beating, Jeopardy-winning […]

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Your Thoughts Have Different Sizes

If you imagine your mind as a room that’s furnished with your own ideas, you’ll notice a rather obvious feature. Some of the pieces of furniture are larger than others. Now, the size of each mental objects seems to be obvious: it’s determined by the importance of the thought. That upcoming tax audit is elephant size, while […]

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The Limits of Critical Thinking

“I wish, therefore I am.” We human beings are creatures of desire. Thinking comes second (if at all!). Our desires shape our thoughts way more than our thoughts shape our desires. What we want from the world conditions, filters, and distorts how we perceive it. To put it bluntly, wishful thinking is the most powerful […]

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Beyond Brainstorming: A Fresh Approach to Creating Great Ideas

Brainstorming is one of the most popular tools for coming up with new ideas. You get together a small group of people and you set a topic or question, like “How do we reduce congestion in our town?” Everyone is invited to share their thoughts. You’re probably familiar with the rules of brainstorming: there are […]

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Most Note-Taking is a Waste of Time. Here’s What Works.

You’re a student sitting in class, a consultant in front of a client, an executive in a meeting, an employee at a 3-day seminar… And you take notes. But why? Because you always took notes? Because everyone else does? Because you believe note-taking will help you remember? Here’s an even better question. What are you […]

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Super-Study: Accelerate Your Learning with These Three Steps

As human beings, we’re born to learn… and learn… and never stop. Learning is joy to the brain, an endless source of dopamine, the neurochemical of pleasure. So how did we come up with an education system that so often kills the appetite to learn, despite the heroic efforts of dedicated teachers? According to JW […]

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Backfill: The Lifesaver Every Writer Needs

You’ve a piece to write and a deadline to meet. But are you ready to start writing? Really? Do you have ALL the research finished? Are your notes in order? Is your outline perfect? Be honest now. Shouldn’t you do a just a teeny bit more preparation first? That’s how the mind messes with writers! […]

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Thinking in Many Dimensions

Your brain is not a computer. Human thinking is multidimensional. It includes reason, emotions, images, memories… the list is endless. To save ourselves effort, we often tend to shrink this dimensional aspect. It’s way easier to maintain our thinking along a single track. People get confused about “intelligence”.  Someone who can recall large volumes of […]

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First Write, Then Create the Outline

The value of a good outline is obvious to most writers, and for many of us it’s the best place to start a new piece. Today, there are some great outlining tools to help you create a well-structured, clean-looking outline that’s easy to edit. Why are outlines so widely used by writers? There are clear […]

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The Editing Toolkit: Polish Your Writing with These Six “Reader’s Questions”

As every writer knows, writing is just half the job. The other half is editing. I like to think of my first draft as clay I’ve thrown onto the potter’s wheel. (Not that I have the faintest ceramic skills, but as a writer I’m allowed to imagine!). Now I’ve created that raw, wet stuff, I’m […]

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Hate Writing? Learn to Love It with These Four Hacks

It’s no mystery why so many people hate writing. Someone (usually a teacher) made them feel stupid because of something they’d written. This is a horrible thing to do to a child — or an adult. Confidence in all of us is fragile and it can be broken way too easily. Writing in particular can […]

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The Power of Emergent Thinking

Once I was moving house and I bought a stack of cardboard boxes from the moving company to help. They were printed with large bold labels like “Kitchen” “Clothes” “Toys” “Books” etc. Sounds like a helpful idea? Not for me! Of course, some of my belongings fit under these labels, but many did not. I […]

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There Is No Such Thing as “The Brain”

I’m an avid subscriber to Dr. Ginger Campbell’s wonderful Brian Science Podcast. I have my Flipboard set to capture brain news. When time allows, I rummage around Google Scholar for obscure neuroscience studies. In sum, I’m one of a swelling population of brain science junkies. So it’s a bit troubling to notice a weird proposition […]

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Thinking in Many Dimensions

Your brain is not a computer. Human thinking is multidimensional. It includes reason, emotions, images, memories… the list is endless. To save ourselves effort, we often tend to shrink this dimensional aspect. It’s way easier to maintain our thinking along a single track. People get confused about “intelligence”.  Someone who can recall and handle large […]

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This One Little Game Will Make You Smarter—But Why?

Brain training is big business, with a multitude of online apps and a huge variety of exercises. It’s also a battleground of hotly contested claims. Studies appear denouncing all brain training as worthless, and these are countered by claims for every conceivable benefit from IQ increase to preventing Alzheimer’s. In the middle of all this […]

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Thinking is Only Thinking

Brains are not computers: they come with bodies. Whenever we think, the entire body, from head to toe, is in full activation. Check for yourself: there’s a constant flow of sensations running alongside the chatter in your mind. You cannot just think. You also feel. Part of that flow is what we call “emotions.” Emotions […]

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Why Brains Love Braincat

Braincat looks like a piece of software, but it’s actually a mental process. The software just makes the process easy to do. The Braincat process allows you to take a mass of unsorted stuff — ideas and information — and quickly organize it. Then you can think clearly, and take action.  What kind of information […]

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Finding Neutral

The biggest threat to mental mobility is anxiety. When we are anxious, we tighten the mind. Few things produce this effect quite so rapidly as an overload of information. Unfortunately the experience of TMI—too much information —has become pandemic, a direct result of digital technologies. Anxiety triggers our fight-or-flight response. This is one of the […]

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Use It or Eat It

The sea squirt is much beloved by neuroscientists. It has a brain, but with only 177 neurons—somewhat less than our estimated 100 billion. So it’s possible to make a complete map of its cognitive apparatus. But here’s what’s interesting. The sea squirt starts out looking rather like a tadpole, and it swims around searching for […]

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In Praise of Fuzzy Goals

Goals are good, right? And SMART goals are better, of course. Or not. Beware of anything that gets repeated this often, especially when it includes the term “smart” — surely one of the dumbest, most irritating words in the current lexicon. SMART goals, in case you haven’t been told a hundred times, are goals that […]

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