Most Powerful Drive in the Universe: Sync!

5 02 2009

Have you seen the TED video of mathematician Steven Strogatz describing how complex, perfect patterns can be created by individuals moving in unchoreographed, spontaneous synchronicity?

bird-flock-synch

As I watched the video, I was reminded of network theory discussions we’ve had at NHEN and across our blogs, about human hubs and nodes communicating without hierarchy or leader or rules as freely synching-up individuals in education advocacy, for homeschool support and other parent involvement projects.

Imagine if School started to support spontaneous sync as “socialization” rather than compulsion, standardization, rewards-and-punishment accountability! OTOH, maybe school peer pressure (good and bad) is a natural manifestation of these sync rules too, hmmm. . .

Spontaneous sync

1. All individuals are only aware of their nearest neighbors

2. All individuals have a tendency to line up

3. All individuals are attracted to each other but do like a small separation or distance

And there’s a fourth rule that makes spontaneous sync work in swarms, that kicks in when a predator appears: get out of the way!

If you watch to the end, you’ll find out that you don’t even need a brain or to be animate, to participate in the spontaneous synchronicity of nature . . . so you’d think we humans could manage it a bit better than we do, right? 😉

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7 responses

5 02 2009
JJ

For example:

“Experts of all types have generated a considerable quantity of good ideas about how we can reduce the force of the tectonic stresses I’ve identified in this book — population imbalances, environmental damage, climate change, and income gaps.

Yet too often the experts operate only within the silos of their disciplines and professional communities. Demographers don’t talk to energy specialists, agronomists don’t speak to economists, and climate scientists don’t talk to epidemiologists. Instead, experts usually target the problems they understand, and because they don’t think much about how to integrate their ideas with the ideas of experts focusing on related problems, the policies they propose are too narrowly focused.”

New Radicals are at ease moving between silos and even straddling disciplines in ways that traditionalists might frown upon. . .

How are you breaking the rules and bringing people together in fresh and world-changing ways? What stories have you heard that might help others do the same?
Please share how you’re dismantling walls and building bridges. . .

5 02 2009
JJ

Btw, I just saw this at Chronicle of Higher Education, a chance for some of us (who aren’t already too old, darn it!) to synch up with the TED model for real

February 3, 2009
TED Conferences Announces Fellowship Program

The annual TED Conference — the name stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” and the event is cross-disciplinary — draws big-name speakers and is one of the most expensive tickets on the technology circuit, costing about $6,000 for standard admission. But this week the nonprofit organization announced a fellowship program to identify and bring in new innovators to their events. The group chose 50 winners for the first year’s program, hailing from around the world and representing a variety of academic perspectives.

Tom Rielly, community director for TED, said in an interview that anyone could apply for the fellowships, provided that they are between 21 and 40 years old and have a “world-changing” idea. But he added that for now the group was “targeting the developing world” in picking winners.

The goal of the program, said Mr. Rielly, is to give exposure to the fellows’ research. So in addition to coming to TED events, the winners will be given training in public speaking and in getting support for their work.

“We can help them dramatically amplify their message, whatever it is,” said Mr. Rielly.

TED has gained visibility in recent years by giving away recordings of most of its talks — they are among the most popular technology lecture videos online — though usually the group waits until months after the talks were delivered to release the videos. Mr. Rielly said that the group’s 300 publicly-released lectures have collectively drawn more than 100 million views online over the years. —Jeffrey R. Young

5 02 2009
5 02 2009
Nance Confer

So the business of birds and fish herding together — not to look frightening to a predator as much as to be able to send out a warning when a predator attacks.

Hmmm. . .

And anything with a Ministry of Silly Walks reference has got to be good. 🙂

Nance

5 02 2009
JJ

And I like how they don’t need to scold or judge each other to make it work, or quarrel over the group’s definition!

5 02 2009
writestuff444

synchronicity has always fascinated me…because I have observed so often, how it plays out in my own life..in what I personally have always felt was a very spiritual thing.

5 02 2009
JJ

Too bad the US Senate can’t use some snychronicity now and then — just listening now to Lindsey Graham mocking the new president who was SO gracious to him after winning an election marred by the vague racism and total cluelessness about addressing the economic crisis of Graham’s failed candidate, was roundly spurned by the American people. And Hannity in the car this afternoon was more bile-bubbling than during the campaign, if that’s possible. I guess the opposite of synchronicity is, um, malicious chaos, gear-grinding, oh or predation?

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