Possible & implausible

Elon Musk's most recent TED talk inspired me. Why? A rocket four times the thrust of the previous record is planned to launch humans to Mars in just eight years. A 10x reduction in tunneling costs will enable 100+ mph travel underneath major cities. Beautiful, unbreakable solar roof tiles will…

Extending your creative toolkit: the combination calculator

I think combination calculators are great, so I'm making one. When it's ready, you're welcome to try it out - just join the mailing list. Combinations are great Combinations are fertile ground for ideas. Want to come up with a new business? Start putting together companies, markets, and hobbies to…

Notes are where good ideas go to die

Creative thought is one of the most important things in life. Writing helps me think, but I tend to lose good ideas in long notes. Instead of saving your writing in a note you'll never look at again, save just two or three words and delete the other thousand. I…

Song analysis: Working at Perfekt

Working at Perfekt is one of my favorite songs from Geddy Lee's solo album My Favorite Headache. This is an attempt to understand the song's structure. What are the main sections of the song, and where are they? One way to answer this question would be to listen to the…

Generative art: Langton's ant

The image above was generated using a process known as Langton's ant. Inspired by this Reddit post, I created a few images myself (Here's the code.). The process works by tracing the path of an 'ant' as it interacts with its environment. For the purposes of generating art, this algorithm…

Combining ideas

Normally, you consider only a handful of options. Take advantage of computers to consider many more. One problem-solving technique is to combine ideas from different places. It's common in science, for instance, for an algorithm or method developed for one problem to be applied to another - once someone's had…

Problem-solving strategies

All life is problem-solving, as Karl Popper said. How do we solve problems? We guess at solutions, and try to see how they might fail. That may involve argument or experimental test. These questions should be always on your mind. What's the problem? What are some potential solutions? How can…

Exploring musical scales

Musical scales provide an interesting way to change the emotional content of a piece. To explore this a bit, I'll come up with a few small ideas, and play them in different scales to see how they change. I'll start with some imagery, which can guide the choice of musical…