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blueskypoint (Yes, it's Huw)

Blink is still lying unread on my shelf, but this timely reminder may help shift it sooner. Such a stack to get through. Anyway, to the point.

I think there's a lot in this aspect of categorisation, i.e. that a certain expertise is pretty important for it to be effective. I'm reminded of a recent thread on an environmental forum about things like 'wilderness', 'natural', and 'artificial'. The challenge was not just for the experts to agree definitions 'among themselves', but how useful this would then be when communicating with non-experts; how generally useful then are these categories? Thinking back, the non-expert view seemed to be more relationship-based, and I'm minded to have another look at the discussion and see how a relationships approach might have helped the discussion.

As a (partly) tongue in cheek aside, I wonder whether you've given any thought to this in the context of the French public service? It seems to me that there are lots of experts on categories, but they always seem to be an expert on something other than your particular case.


Hi Huw (glad we established that ;)!

And give the planet, eh, non-planet Pluto a thought! What a huge non-event, and what effect did that big brouhaha have really? Except messing up a few books in primary schools :)

What makes me wonder is that there is no effort at all to even test or develop a system where relationships are the basic building blocks... ah well, have to do it myself then.

Ah, pushing my easy to push foreigner-in-France button!
But of course, here they have a word for hierarchies and categorising in practice - bureaucracy! And as we all know, good old Napoleon did introduce the training establishments for it all; the Grandes Ecoles currently holding 6% of the students here and a definite must if you want to get anywhere... i.e. understand the lingo of those in know and power. Categories gives power it seems, to those who bothers.

Funny thing, I'm in France, and have yet to receive any interest in thingamy from companies or organisations in this most pleasant place - while tons arrives from absolutely all other corners of the world. Wonder why...


Hi Sig

Blink is one of my dozen opened but unfinished books... your post triggered me to get back to it, but with a new way of looking at the experiences presented by Malcolm Gladwell.


Hi Kamal,

would be cool to hear if you "see" some of the same!

Too bad everybody have the book laying around already, could have asked for a cut from Amazon or something otherwise :D

Paul P Magee

Hi Sig, I re-read a book about mind maps over Christmas and gained a whole new set of metaphors for how the brain, memory and what we commonly regard as intelligence in general works.

For most of my life I've held the metaphor of the 'filing cabinet' to describe memory, yet it never felt quite right. Very boxy, category like.

It turns out that the brain is more like 1000000 flying spaghetti monsters with a billion suckers on their legs, each sucker containing a snippet of data all intertwined and mingled together linking to form billions of associations.

Its these associations and our ability to create new associations, that's the basis of not just memory, but humor and creativity in general.

Where the mind maps come in, is in helping us input data in a relationship friendly manner. So we are more able to retrieve it when necessary. Linear note taking, it would seem isn't really up to the job.

I'm still experimenting with the mind maps and trying to break old habits, but one form of input that I know does work time and time again, is good old story telling.

Now wouldn't it be cool if, we programmed the apps of the future, not by data input, but by telling them stories?



precisely! The day in the (near) future when the data has stories and makes us immediately grasp the connections and thus the knowledge... ;)

One thing that always buggered me with the different mindmapping apps was a certain lack of multidimensionality (hey t was designed for paper so what's to expect). I always want to connect and explain the connection between far to many objects... gets pretty messy soon.

Paul P Magee

Buzans imindmap software is the best I've found. It's actually easier to create mindmaps than using paper as it allows for faster revisions and re-draws, an essential part of the process.

It also allows infinite links and can essentially be output as a series of webpages. So any one mind map image is only a snap shot or a single view at what could be a very complex web of connections.

It's a bit clunky on the Mac, but its well worth checking out.

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