Archive for March, 2012

My Kind of Debate

March 6th, 2012

As you may have gathered from my previous blog post, I have been listening to more podcasts recently. I was catching up on old Long Now Seminar on Long Term Thinking podcasts. In listening to Drew Endy and Jim Thomas in “Synthetic Biology Debate”, I was struck by the thought: this is my kind of debate.

What do I mean by “my kind of debate”?

Well, I think we’re all familiar with the back and forth structure of argumentation that is employed in politics or in high school debate teams. There is a winner and loser. And you’re so busy figuring out what you’re saying next, you barely listen to the comments from the other side. Take this to the extreme and you get debates at 350 wpm where any undisputed statement is considered fact (huh?).

In the SALT broadcast, two speakers are expected to express their viewpoint in a prepared opening remark. Then the counter-point person interviews them with the help of a panel. The questions sounded like genuine attempts to understand rather than trip-up an opponent. Then the questioner does not get to present until s/he has summarized the presentation to the presenter’s satisfaction. Then and only then do they switch roles. Afterwards, questions from the audience, moderators and other discussion.

Sounds to me like a great model for increased understanding and the pursuit of something like truth. And if not, at least we’ll have more respect for each other.

And to push it further, why should there only be two “sides”? Isn’t the world more complicated than only A or not A?

Have you heard of this before? Is there a name for it?

Faster Audio

March 3rd, 2012

Ever want to get information inside your head faster?

In the past, I’ve shared some thoughts on reading faster either through technology or training. But sometimes you want your eyes and hands for other things. And listening, while slower, is the best option. Plus, increasingly, there is content only available in audio format. I have many more hours of podcasts on my devices then I will ever absorb.

I’ve read the claims online that “Because your brain can process up to 600 words-per-minute and the average person speaks at 125 to 150 words-per-minute, speed-listening does NOT require any training.” My experience is that it does take a little getting used to the faster speech. That said, t is totally worth it and now x2 speed sounds normal to me.

Why have I stopped at x2 speed? Because that is what is built into the iPhone and iPod. I hear rumors that Android can play faster although I have not found that feature on my device. In iOS, there is a paid app that claims to go up to x2.5 speed, but I want faster.

If you know how to get up to x4 on iOS (iPhone) without preprocessing on the computer please let me know.