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Big Think Edge: Learn 3 new skills this week
Three new lessons and experts join Big Think's premium video learning platform, Big Think Edge.
- In this week's trio of Big Think Edge videos, it's all about mastery, whether you want to be a master explainer, master presenter, or a master problem-solver.
- A great explanation can only come from a deep understanding of your topic, says Mihir Desai. Want your slide shows to excel? Nancy Duarte's got your strategy. That mind-boggling problem won't be so impossible to resolve once you distill it to its essence, says Po-Shen Loh.
- If you're not a subscriber yet, join Big Think Edge today! Our back to school sale is on right now, so you can get 30% off a subscription.
This week at Big Think Edge, three experts talk about how to achieve three very different types of success. Finance and law professor Mihir Desai shares what he's learned about constructing crystal-clear explanations for complicated concepts. Presentation expert Nancy Duarte reveals the principles behind a great, totally on-target slide show. Mathematician Po-Shen Loh discusses how breaking down tricky problems into an equation-like form can be the first step on the path to their satisfying solution.
Demystify Complex Concepts: Bring Academic Ideas to Life for Your Audience, with Mihir Desai
Through his 18 years of teaching, Harvard professor of finance and law Mihir Desai has seen how hard it can be for students to understand complex concepts. For anyone who's been in the position of introducing new ideas to colleagues, it's a familiar feeling. As he wrote his book, The Wisdom of Finance, he found a method for making explanations resonate with an audience. It involves reacquainting yourself with the core truths underlying a concept, identifying the reasons anyone should care, and wrapping it all in a compelling story.
"COMMIT TO DEEP RESEARCH. YOUR INTUITION WILL TELL YOU WHEN YOU'VE HIT SOMETHING GOOD."
— MIHIR DESAI
Available August 26 in Boost Your Creative Intelligence
Communicating to Transform: Formal Presentation Techniques, with Nancy Duarte
Expert in presentation design Nancy Duarte helps you make your slide shows more successful. She shows how to get started, beginning with choosing the best role for your presentation to play: Should it be a backdrop for a talk or a self-propelled, information-packed document? Duarte talks about making your deck more persuasive by revealing the story in your data, and explains why ruthlessly deleting elements that are important only to you makes your presentation so much more engaging.
"DATA ITSELF IS INTERESTING, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE FORGET THERE'S A NARRATIVE IN THE DATA."
— NANCY DUARTE
Available August 26 in Boost Your Professional Intelligence
Ask the Cleanest Question: Design Solutions Like a Mathematician, with Po-Shen Loh
When you're trying to figure something out, attempting to grapple with all of its details can easily become overwhelming. Professor of mathematics and software developer Po-Shen Loh has a way of dealing with problems that you can use in pretty much any context. He suggests that approaching your problem like a mathematician can be the key to arriving at its solution. Putting your finger on its core issues is the first step toward finding a formula that solves it.
Available August 29 in Boost Your Analytical Intelligence
Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.
- Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
- Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
- The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
The proposal calls for the American public to draft two candidates to lead the executive branch: one from the center-left, the other from the center-right.
- The #Unity2020 plan was recently outlined by Bret Weinstein, a former biology professor, on the Joe Rogan Experience.
- Weinstein suggested an independent ticket for the 2020 presidential election: Andrew Yang and former U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven.
- Although details of the proposal are sparse, surveys suggest that many Americans are cynical and frustrated with the two-party system.
The Omni Calculator site is a stunning treasure trove of free calculators.
- 1,175 calculators attempt to solve every everyday math problem for you.
- All free to use, it's amazing how many aspects of life get a calculator.
- Bookmark this collection — it's hard to imagine you won't someday need it.
It's true that high-school calculus teachers torture their students with them, but it's also true that once some degree of mastery is in hand, mathematicians love a good — efficient, clever, and useful — formula.
These things aren't just for classrooms or advanced scientific applications, either. While it's amazing that formulas predict what will happen if we slingshot a spacecraft around some distant celestial body, they can also be part of our earthly lives calculating all sorts of everyday things.
In any event, for many math heads (carefully typed), slinging formulas together and inventing new calculators is just plain fun. Last week, for example, UK physicist Steven Wooding sent us the link to a calculator he and a friend constructed that predicts contactable alien civilizations. That was fun, but the site to which he directed us is nothing short of dazzling: It's called Omni Calculator, and it's a mind boggling repository of 1175 calculators whose purpose is to help everyone get to the right answers in their personal and professional lives.
A mathematical treasure chest
Image source: Alexey Godzenko/Shutterstock
Want to know exactly how many balloons it would take to send your house airborne, as in the Pixar's Up? No problem. Hate running unexpectedly out of toothpaste en route to bed? Live your best life. Ditto toilet paper.
Some of the calculators are pretty profound, too, such as the Every Second calculator that shows just how much happens in the world every 60th of a minute — it's an enthralling set of numbers.
Fun stuff aside, Omni Calculator is an absolutely staggering collection, an incredible resource for normal people and professionals from doctors to chemists to financial advisers to construction teams and more.
Who is Omni Calculator?
Image source: rawf8/Shutterstock
Omni Calculator is the project of a Polish startup of 24 people dedicated to helping people solve all of the small math problems in their daily lives. The company manifesto:
"In a surprisingly large part, our reality consists of calculable problems. Should I buy or rent? What's my ideal calorie intake? Can I afford to take this loan? How many lemonades do I need to sell in order to break even? Often times we don't solve these problems, because we lack knowledge, skills, time or willingness to calculate. And then we make bad, uninformed decisions?"
Omni Calculator is here to change all that — we are working on a technology that will turn every* calculation-based problem trivial to solve for anyone.
The asterisk says, "within reason."
It all started when founder Mateusz Mucha built a unique web calculator: It could calculate in any direction without a fixed input or output. He invested $80 in translating his Percentage Calculator into 15 languages and stood back as the app was downloaded 4 million times and counting.
At some point Mateus changed his goal: "Instead of calculating one thing, we'll calculate all of them — for everybody." To serve this aim, all of Omni Calculator's calculators are free to use, developed by the company in collaboration with all sorts of experts.
Go spend some time looking around and bookmarking tools for your own use. You're pretty much guaranteed to find something that solves a problem with which you're struggling. At the very least you'll come across some amazing calculators that will get you thinking about unexpected things.
Omni Calculator provides a special set of calculators that allow you to crunch COVID-19 numbers for yourself, from a social distancing calculator to one that can predict when your next stimulus check should be due.
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