FCT Library Blog


Stop Trying

Hack the brain to increase complex problem solving.

Stop Trying to Solve Problems
"Like all of us, I am addicted to silly games on my smart phone. To justify the time, I imagine I play games that help me stay mentally sharp. One word game had me beat. The goal was to find every conceivable word out of 16 jumbled letters. Despite monumental efforts, I couldn’t even get close."

''Creswell wanted to explore what happens in the brain when people tackle problems that are too big for their conscious mind to solve. He had people think about purchasing an imaginary car...."

"There are so many things we have wrong about the brain."

Entire one-page article at:


Excerpted from Psychology Today, 09/2012.
Published on September 18, 2012 by David Rock in Your Brain at Work



September 2012 Trivia

Asters and Chicory are featured in the September Trivia.

The autumnal (fall) equinox occurs in the northern hemisphere between September 21-24, which is the vernal (spring) equinox in the southern hemisphere.


One of the September flowers is the Forget-Me-Not (above). Another is the Aster. See below photos.

September always begins on the same day of the week as December of the same year.

 National Preparedness Month (preparedness for disasters) takes place in the U.S. during September. From Wikipedia, 9/18/12:  “As of 2009, the Citizen Corps National Survey revealed that only 57% of Americans surveyed report having supplies set aside in their homes just for disasters, and only 44% have a household emergency plan.[4] National Preparedness Month serves to encourage individuals across the nation to take important preparedness steps including: getting an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan, being informed about the different emergencies that may affect them, as well as taking the necessary steps to get trained and become engaged in community preparedness and response efforts.[5]

Chicory and Asters. Asters are prolific in North America and Eurasia. American asters have been split into a separate genus in recent times. The lavender-blue chickory that grows on the roadsides of East Tennessee is a member of the Eurasian aster family. Chicory was brought to North America from Europe in the 1700s and is "naturalized." This is the same chicory, using the roots, that is enjoyed by some as a coffee substitute or blend component. The leaves of wild chicory may be eaten in salad, but are bitter. They can be sautéed with other flavorful herbs, which reduces the bitterness, and put in pasta or served with meats.

                           Common Chicory                            



    Blue Wood Aster (N. Amer.)       White Wood Aster (N. Amer.)

blue_wood_aster-2in white_wood_aster-2n


     Calico Aster (N. Amer.)









Oh, the places you can

...go.  Google Tricks: August 2012.  Streetview Maps, art museums, world wonders.   10 “fascinating facts” about Streetview.

Google Art Project   World Wonders Project



A Man to Know

Whether you run a college, a computer, or a car, Sebastian Thrun is a man to know about.

sebastian_thrun-420x323 “A Beautiful Mind”:  Interview, Bio 

Thrun Giving 2011 TED Talk on Driverless Cars.  4:14.

UDACITY. “How would you like a graduate degree for $100?”








London Olympics

Selected Highlights from the 2012 Olympics.

Opening Ceremony Videos 

Olympics 2012 Videos

The U.S. was the biggest winner with the most gold medals (46) and the most total medals (104). After the U.S. in total medals came China, Russia, Great Britain, and Korea. However, Britain won more golds than Russia.

American women win gold and break the world record in the Women’s 4X100 Relay. (Video)
Carmelita Jeter (left); Jeter, Tianna Madison, 200-meter champion Allyson Felix, and Bianca Knight (not in order)


Gabby Douglas, 16, wins two gold medals in individual and team, Women’s All Around Gymnastics. (Click the leap photo and watch the floor, not the beam.)Gabby_Douglas-flowers__medal



Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings win gold in Beach Volley Ball. American women also take the silver. 

Michael_Phelps_2012 Michael Phelps retires from his career with the most medals of any Olympian ever: 22; 18 are gold (twice the number of the closest follower).

U.S. Women Win Gold in Soccer



Videos: Defeating Japan for Gold  &
            Defeating France earlier

Men’s Basketball Gold goes to U.S.A. by defeating Spain 107 - 100.









August 2012

Holidays, Meteors, and Festivals

The peak of the Perseid Meteor Showers occur in mid August. A NASA video about this year’s sky show.

The August flower is Gladiolus.
gladiolus-1-blossom assorted-gladiolusgladiolus_w_dew

The Edinburgh (Scotland; pronounced Edinboro) Arts Festival takes place in August. Edinburgh Festivals Go for Gold in 2012 (A promotional video that suggests the color and variety of arts events.) And then there is the Festival Fringe. Take a peek.

kilt-fighters   framed_mimers    dancers_edinburgh_festival_

In Europe, most workers get the month of August off, as businesses close. Traditionally, it’s always been much better to go to the beach or the country than to hang around in hot shops and other work places. Even after the arrival of air conditioning, the custom persists.

man_at_beach bicycling-Alpsfiguerolles

India celebrates its independence from Britain, which occurred on August 15, 1947.




Credit Card Fraud


Have you heard of Near Field Communication (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)? If you have not, you can (and should) read up on them on Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rfid

What does this have to do with credit cards?  The PROBLEM is fraudulent scanning.

Of course, it isn’t only bank cards that can be scanned. It can also be a driver’s license, passport, or any other document, book, device, animal, person (yes), or any object at all that has an embedded RFID tag. Some tags can be read from 30 feet away.

Here is an article online that addresses this topic.  http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/credit-card-rfid-theft-protection-is-as-simple-as-an-on-button/. There are others.

It is possible to purchase wallets and other items that protect bank cards from fraudulent scanning. In the meantime, you might want to consider wrapping your bank cards in aluminum foil. (Use foil to foil thieves.) However, foil is not a perfectly reliable. A better one may be an envelope made of the antistatic plastic which electronic boards come wrapped in.

Here is an article about protecting your data: http://www.ehow.com/how_4479160_protect-identity-rfid-blocking-wallet.html

By the way, NFC payment will be coming pretty soon to stores here. It was used by Visa and other companies at the London Olympics. We will stop swiping and merely pass our card near the reader.

My understanding is that the readable data is stored inside the shiny silver rectangles which are already on either the front or back of most bank cards. An important question is: how can we prevent thieves from scanning our bank cards when we pull them out to pay at Lowes or Kroger or Walmart? And what about when the server takes the card in a restaurant?


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