Creativity and Passion, Intimately Linked According To New Research

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Researchers at Northwestern University and University of London, Goldsmiths have teamed up to carry out research will found the link between creativity, and sustained romantic passion in relationships.

I have written a lot about creativity in the past and how it is one of the most important skills to have in the modern world, but this research brings a new detention to the importance creativity.

The authors carried out research where they have hypothesized that more creative individuals would keep romantic passion longer. To test their hypothesis they screened individuals based on the personalities and responses to survey questions. They had 500 people participate, and evaluated people who participated based on their creative personality score, and in a subset study according to their personality habits or behaviors. Both studies indicated that individuals who exhibited a more creative personality sustained a greater romantic passion in their relationship. Although this was a positive finding, the authors wanted to test for time. To do so, they followed participants over a course of 9-months and at the end of the course of 9-months they also asked participants to perform a physical intimacy task, where the passion would be attested by independent coders. In doing so, they wanted to remain as objective as possible and help rule out the self-reporting bias. What the found again that those who exhibited a more creative personality maintained greater passion over time in the relationships, and this was found evident in the physical intimacy task as well.

You may wonder – what it is about creative individuals that keeps the passion in the romantic relationships longer? To answer this question, the authors performed another study. In this study they wanted to understand whether creativity was associated with a positive illusion of partner’s physical attractiveness. In other words, do creative individuals allow their imagination take over and create an illusion or mystery in regard to their partners qualities? The results of this study indicate that this is indeed the case! Thus, individuals who scored higher on the creativity scale had more positive illusions of partner’s attractiveness, than those of the lower score.

Thus, it all comes back to our creativity and imagination. Being able to image a positive illusion, allows us to sustain passion for longer because we are able to overlook certain imperfections and replace them with positive illusions. Thus, rather than be  discouraged by our perception of what we see, if we turn on our creativity and imagine something better, it indeed can help us change the situation and help sustain a romantic relationship. 

Dr. Anna Powers is an entrepreneur, advisor and an award winning scientist. Her passion is sharing the beauty of science and  encouraging women to enter STEM fields.


The Future of Television, According to Google

The Future of Television, According to Google

Google is increasingly interested in building an alternative to the traditional cable set-top box, according to a top exec for Google Fiber.

Milo Medin, vice president of access services at Google, predicts that the Internet giant’s own platform for smart televisions, Android TV, will “eventually build something” that allows consumers to abandon the black, bulky boxes that many currently rent from their cable providers.

“We have talked to folks inside who are now getting interested in it,” Medin told reporters at a Washington conference this week.

If it moves ahead, Google’s entry into the market for cable boxes would mark another turning point for America’s rapidly changing media landscape as cord-cutting, skinny bundles and mobile devices give Americans all new ways to view high-quality shows.

Medin has an even more expansive view of what the future of television may hold. The former Nasa engineer sees not only Google, Apple and Amazon offering their own devices that can deliver all your cable channels, but an explosion of new competition among TV manufacturers who will be able to connect their smart televisions directly to your cable connection.

“If you can integrate, if you can provide extra functionality and search across these things, and give TV vendors a chance to differentiate from each other and really unlock innovation, I think it’s a huge opportunity for those guys,” he said. “Because what’s the difference right now between buying a Samsung or a Sony or a Vizio?”

Baking the cable box’s functionality directly into a television could even kill off the set-top box entirely.

“When you see what’s possible in set-top boxes, people go ‘Well, why can’t I have that?’ That’s very powerful. And I think the answer is, there’s no reason why you can’t have that,” he said.

Google has no immediate plans to develop a cable box, Medin said. But the catalyst for Google’s interest can be traced to a looming government proposal to crack open the market for set-top boxes. The Federal Communications Commission’s forthcoming plan would force cable companies to relinquish some control over how cable content is displayed on your TV.

It would allow third-party companies, such as Apple or Google, to take that content and design new ways to interact with it other than through the typical menus and search functions cable customers have been used to. As a result, consumers could see more choices in the kinds of set-top boxes they can buy in the marketplace, and perhaps lower cable bills.

Google itself has played an active role in pushing Washington to move aggressively on the set-top box. In addition to providing high-speed Internet service to markets like Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Google Fiber also offers television service – just like a traditional cable provider. But while the cable industry is against the FCC proposal, Medin said new agency rules could help Google Fiber indirectly.

“Google does a lot of things that don’t necessarily have a direct commercial benefit for Google,” Medin said. “We do it because we believe openness benefits everyone. We and the Internet as a whole all benefit from open systems.”

Google may see another opportunity in the FCC’s proposal: A chance to gather more data on consumers. After all, Google has made data-driven advertising a big part of its other businesses. If the company were to produce its own set-top box, it would gain a new level of visibility into how TV viewers behave – what shows they search for, what they end up watching, when, and how.

Regulators have suggested they may place limits on what new cable-box makers can do with the personal information they collect. For instance, they could be subjected to obligations similar to the ones that already govern the cable industry’s use of consumer data. Such rules would help protect consumer privacy and prevent personal information from being abused, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a recent interview.

But the possibility of “new” privacy regulations doesn’t faze Medin. This is partly because those rules would simply aim to replicate privacy protections that already safeguard cable customers today. But it’s also because Google lacks a direct stake in the set-top box market right now.

“Our advocacy of this has not been with a specific product in mind,” he stressed.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

© 2016 The Washington Post

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Tags: Android TV, Apps, FCC, Google, Home Entertainment, Internet

Lots of Coders Are Self-Taught, According to Developer Survey

Lots of Coders Are Self-Taught, According to Developer Survey

More computer programmers are self-taught rather than graduates of coding “bootcamps” or industry certification programs run by big tech companies, according to recent survey results by Stack Overflow, one of the largest coder communities on the Internet.

These statistics were posted as part of the 2016 edition of the website’s annual survey. Stack Overflow is a forum with more than 4 million registered users where developers can ask and give coding advice. The survey was completed by more than 50,000 developers from 178 countries. It provides a glimpse into the current landscape of one of today’s most in-demand careers.

A whopping 69 percent of the developers reported that they were totally or partially self-taught, with 13 percent saying they were completely self-taught. This is compared to 6.5 percent who completed a full-time bootcamp program, 7 percent who did an industry certification program and 43 percent who have either a B.S. or B.A. in Computer Science.

Twenty-five percent took some sort of online course, either independently or to supplement other training. Participants were able to select multiple education levels, so some of those who marked self-taught also indicated they had taken an online course as part of their self-teaching method. A total of 31 percent of the developers have received no formal college or university training and have learned to code through bootcamps, industry certification programs, or taught themselves, Stack Overflow confirmed with The Washington Post.

Tech recruiter Dave Fecak isn’t surprised at the prevalence of self-taught developers. “If you have access to a computer and a connection, you can take and consume hundreds of free courses and videos, download free development tools, build apps and make them available to the general public in an online store, and share your code with employers,” he said. “Access to the tools required to become self-taught has never been better.”

The data suggests that educational alternatives to a computer science bachelor’s degree are still burgeoning. Those who indicated that they were self-taught shot up from 41 percent last year to 69 percent now through online coding courses or other means.

People increasingly have been turning to online courses and MOOCs (massive open online course). Those who marked “online course” increased from 17 percent to 25 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the survey. Examples of such learning methods include those offered by Codecademy or Stanford Engineering Everywhere, which offer free coding instruction that can be completed on one’s own time. There are also paid online courses, such as TreeHouse ($25 or roughly Rs. 1,500 a month).

Bootcamps have also seen an increase in usage. Stats in that category have nearly doubled from last year’s survey, which had graduates at 3 percent. The unaccredited, for-profit programs have seen huge spikes in enrollment in the last year, and traditional four-year colleges and universities are starting to pair with these companies or adopt bootcamp-style programs themselves. Bachelor of Science degrees in computer science, meanwhile, decreased from 2015 to 2016 by about 3 percent.

When it comes to salaries, however, bootcampers came in comparatively higher at around $112,493 (roughly Rs. 74,39,162). Those with a four-year B.S. or B.A. degree in computer science averaged at $108,143 (roughly Rs. 71,51,496) and those who are self-trained at $103,801 (roughly Rs. 68,64,360).

Fecak is surprised that graduates of bootcamps are reportedly earning more than those with four-year degrees in computer science. He’s guessing it has to do with bootcamps’ proximity to urban centers, where salaries are higher due to cost of living, as well as recruiting tactics of these bootcamps.

“Many bootcamps also earn placement fees by placing their graduates with employers just like an agency recruiter or headhunter will, and those employers are usually in relatively close proximity to the bootcamp. Sometimes those employers visit the bootcamp before graduation to start the recruiting process and network with students,” he said.

But one thing to note from the survey regarding salary and education is that the highest paying developers were the most educated: PhD’s and master’s in C.S. were at the top of the list.

The survey also showed that Android is the most in-demand language. Javascript is the most used language for both front and back-end developers, and Rust is the most loved while Visual Basic is the most dreaded by developers.

© 2016 The Washington Post

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Tags: Coding, Science, Stack Overflow