Correctness makes you less creative. Here’s why.

Effort-focused exercises often lead to better, more innovative ideas.

ANTHONY BRANDT: Sometimes we may feel that we, ourselves, aren't very creative. And, in fact, I saw a movie, The Gambler, with Mark Wahlberg and he's an English teacher and he looks at the class and he says, "If you're not a genius, don't even try." And I can't think of more horrible advice to give anybody. The fact of the matter is we all are born with a creative license. We have this software running in our brains.

When I look at my heroes in composition they are all incredible risk takers. And it's a constant reminder that you can't introduce something new to the world and be certain of the results. And so tolerating the risk, living with the risk, even enjoying it is again part of being a creative person. And that's something that you have to train in young people. One of the ways you do that is you praise their effort, not necessarily the results. And you honor the fact that oh my goodness, you were willing to go out there and try that and try that and try that, things you've never done before and maybe no one else has done before. Okay, it didn't pan out but what an extraordinary effort.

And one of the ways you can do this is the curriculum, for instance, is through something called sandboxing, where let's say you've given an assignment in a class and you say look, first step, everybody come up with eight possible solutions to this problem. But I'm not going to grade them but you and I will have a conversation about which ones are more successful and which ones are less successful. And I'll give you some feedback and I'll listen to what you feel about it. You can tell me your favorite was number three. I can say five looks pretty awesome. And then together we'll decide which one you develop to completion and that's the one you'll get graded on. And that gives the student the permission to try all sorts of crazy things without worrying about being evaluated and give them an opportunity to take risks without having the consequence of a grade.

It's one of the problems with standardized testing in the schools for instance because there is a premium on coming up with the right answer as fast as possible. And coming up with wrong answers is a total waste of time and has absolutely no value. The only thing is to point yourself exactly at the right answer. And creativity works essentially on almost a 180 on that. That the whole idea is to spend as much time as possible proliferating options, having standards of judgment which vary from field to field as to which ones deserve to be developed to completion. And then letting all the other ones go but with gratitude that they gave you a full spectrum of possibilities.

So what's most important is that we have to give every child the chance to take, receive knowledge and use it as a springboard and to use it as a launching pad to experiment, to try out things their own way. To take what we treasure from the past and totally remodel it and redesign it. When we do that we will have a thriving culture and society of innovation.

  • Anthony Brandt argues that everyone is born with the facilities for creativity. Being creative means being a risk-taker, and that's something that needs to be encouraged and taught to children.
  • Techniques such as sandboxing place more of an emphasis on the effort as opposed to the results. This gives people, children especially, permission to try different approaches and offer new ideas without the usual pressures.
  • Without experimentation, there can be no innovation.

China's "artificial sun" sets new record for fusion power

China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.

Credit: STR via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.

But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.

Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.

Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.

According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.

The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.

But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.

Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.

Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.

We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.

Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).

With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.

The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession

The symbol for love is the heart, but the brain may be more accurate.

  • How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science.
  • One of the problems with early-stage attraction, according to anthropologist Helen Fisher, is that it activates parts of the brain that are linked to drive, craving, obsession, and motivation, while other regions that deal with decision-making shut down.
  • Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial.

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
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There never was a male fertility crisis

A new study suggests that reports of the impending infertility of the human male are greatly exaggerated.

Sex & Relationships
  • A new review of a famous study on declining sperm counts finds several flaws.
  • The old report makes unfounded assumptions, has faulty data, and tends toward panic.
  • The new report does not rule out that sperm counts are going down, only that this could be quite normal.
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