TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 16

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. A simple plan pairing a low-income first-time mom with a nurse for advice through pregnancy and her child’s early years can give that family stability and even a better life.

By Nancy Cook in the Atlantic

2. Google will pilot test a build-your-own modular smartphone, operating out of a mobile phone-lab that looks like a food truck.

By Nathan Ingraham and Josh Lowensohn in the Verge

3. The belief that some scientific fields require innate genius or natural ‘brilliance’ may keep women out.

By Rachel Bernstein in Science Magazine

4. The FDA has cleared a ‘pacemaker for the stomach’ that could be a silver bullet against obesity.

By Thomas M. Burton in the Wall Street Journal

5. Offshore wind farms — if we can build them — stand to provide twice as much energy and create twice as many jobs as offshore drilling.

By Lindsay Abrams in Salon

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 15

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. India and the U.S. have much to gain from strengthening their “unique but sometimes frustrating partnership.”

By Nicholas Burns in the Boston Globe

2. Big energy is betting on power storage tools that let customers take advantage of variable energy prices and stock up when rates are low.

By Ucilia Wang in Forbes

3. With class replacing race as a dividing line, some find South Africa is a “less equal place” now than under apartheid.

By Jeb Sharp at PRI’s The World

4. Preliminary research with stem cells shows how the versatile therapy could effectively cure type-1 diabetes.

By Haley Bridger in the Harvard Gazette

5. A critical piece of improving American education is improving teacher quality, and that is finally happening.

By Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch in Education Next

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Check Out This Gorgeous Throwback iMac Concept

It's weird and beautiful, but it isn't real

Remember Apple’s original, boxy desktop computers like the Apple II series? What if Apple designed a modern iMac taking design cues from those old machines and fusing them with the slim aluminum unibody of modern day iMacs?

That’s exactly what the designers at Curved Labs had in mind when making this throwback iMac concept. Their design puts a present-day face on the Apple computers of yore, while ripping out a bunch of mass out of the back.

While it’s not a real product, the Curved team says their concept iMac would have all the fixings of a modern desktop, like an 11.6-inch touchscreen, 128GB of solid state storage, an SD card slot, camera and microphone.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 14

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Boko Haram’s lethality is surging. The global public must take note and demand action from world leaders.

By Sophie Kleeman in Mic

2. Simple stop-and-go labels could train people to eat healthier.

By Tove Danovich in Civil Eats

3. Massive indoor farms use vastly less power and water than outdoor fields and could help address global food insecurity.

By Gloria Dickie in National Geographic

4. Military exoskeletons are becoming a reality, just not necessarily for combat.

By Patrick Tucker in Defense One

5. As U.S. retail transforms, urgent-care clinics are taking over mall real estate to meet growing demand.

By Doni Bloomfield in Bloomberg Businessweek

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

CNN Just Got Permission to Experiment With Drones

FRANCE-WINE-SCIENCE-TECHNOLOGY
Jean Pierre Muller—AFP/Getty Images A photo taken on September 9, 2014 shows a drone flying over vineyards of the Pape Clement castle in the soutwestern French town of Pessac.

The news network will use drones to get aerial footage

CNN and the Federal Aviation Administration signed a research agreement Monday paving the way for the network to experiment with capturing news footage in the field.

“Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high quality video journalism using various types of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] and camera setups,” CNN Senior Vice President David Vigilante said in a public statement.

CNN previously partnered with Georgia Tech Research Institute to develop drones for aerial footage. The new FAA agreement will ensure data from CNN’s experiments will be shared with regulators.

The announcement comes as a growing number of industries have urged the FAA to relax its restrictions on commercial drone flights. The agency last week granted new commercial drone permits to two companies: one in agriculture, the other in real estate.

“We hope this agreement with CNN and the work we are doing with other news organizations and associations will help safely integrate unmanned newsgathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 13

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. The U.S. could improve its counterinsurgency strategy by gathering better public opinion data from people in conflict zones.

By Andrew Shaver and Yang-Yang Zhou in the Washington Post

2. The drought-stricken western U.S. can learn from Israel’s water management software which pores over tons of data to detect or prevent leaks.

By Amanda Little in Bloomberg Businessweek

3. Beyond “Teach for Mexico:” To upgrade Latin America’s outdated public education systems, leaders must fight institutional inequality.

By Whitney Eulich and Ruxandra Guidi in the Christian Science Monitor

4. Investment recommendations for retirees are often based on savings levels achieved by only a small fraction of families. Here’s better advice.

By Luke Delorme in the Daily Economy

5. Lessons from the Swiss: We should start making people pay for the trash they throw away.

By Sabine Oishi in the Baltimore Sun

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 12

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. On the fifth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, political strife is still the greatest obstacle to recovery.

By Jacqueline Charles in the Miami Herald

2. The U.S. uses economic sanctions because they don’t require a global coalition to work. But they may inflict damage beyond the intended target.

By Paul Richter in the Los Angeles Times

3. With deepening partisanship becoming the norm, don’t look to the states for new ideas.

By Aaron Chatterji in the New York Times

4. Juries could use virtual reality headsets to ‘visit’ crime scenes.

By Jessica Hamzelou in New Scientist

5. A new waterproof solar lantern is helping reduce deaths from burning fuel indoors for the world’s 1.2 billion living without electric light.

By Michael Zelenko in the Verge

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

The Smart Homes of CES Turned Me Into a Believer

home-alarm-system
Getty Images

I was expecting some modern version of 'The Jetsons'—it was anything but

This story was originally published at the Daily Dot.

I never wanted a smart home.

I found these futuristic visions a little bit off-putting, not to mention unattainable. All of the devices that existed were far out of my price range and none of them really worked together. It’s all felt like a nebulous experiment, as companies competed for our dollars, shilling technologies we didn’t quite understand or need.

The concept of turning on lights as soon as I walked in the door, or music following me from room to room was cool, but not necessary. It felt like all the hype behind smart homes was a vision that Hollywood and futurists fed us, so we came to expect it. As if one day we would wake up and all our appliances would be connected via mobile applications and a robot butler would follow us around.

The concept of the Internet of Things is daunting itself. I mean, what does that even mean, anyway? Our homes and offices connected to devices we’re too intimidated to operate because the technology is complicated?

It’s really just the Internet. And I think in order for connected home technologies to make sense to those of us who aren’t early adopters, they must be doled out piecemeal, appealing only to the one thing we need.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, the smart home was everywhere. Companies want you to connect your washing machine, connect your kitchen, connect all the things to a smartphone. Your life could be so much simpler!

I was skeptical going into particular demonstrations. I didn’t believe at the hype.

Surprisingly, I was sold.

Refinery29 hosted “The Loft,” a large suite at the Wynn Resort that was turned into a connected apartment for the “millennial woman.” Basically the ideal apartment for…me, and the rest of my demographic.

The apartment was bright and airy, with small and simple touches that made it “smart.” I was expecting some modern version of The Jetsons—it was anything but.

Read the rest of the story at the Daily Dot.

Read next: The 15 Most Bizarre Moments From the Consumer Electronics Show

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 9

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Low oil prices change the math on the Keystone XL pipeline, but politics are still controlling the debate.

By Michael A. Levi at the Council on Foreign Relations

2. Terrorists are despicable, but they aren’t irrational. The Charlie Hebdo attackers were demanding censorship. The world shouldn’t give in.

By Stephen L. Carter in Bloomberg View

3. ‘Uber for freelance work’ could have a huge impact on careers for the next generation.

By the Economist

4. Making community college free could trigger a new wave of economic growth and help improve access to education.

By Josh Wyner in Time

5. People who learn skills two or three at a time are much better at multitasking than people combining skills on the fly.

By Walter Frick in Harvard Business Review

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY second careers

How to Tap into Your Creativity to Build a Second Career

JamesRicePhotography.com Jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, 89, at left, with Ed Laub, 62.

Who says innovation peaks in your 20s? Some artists reach their prime in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

When we lived in Bremerhaven, Germany in the early 1960s, my younger sister and I eagerly shared the Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The first one, Little House in the Big Woods, was published when the author was 65.

For the 50th anniversary of his class of 1825 at Bowdoin College, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem (Morituri Salutamus) which ran through a list of giants who did great work late in life—Cato, who learned Greek at 80, Chaucer, who penned The Canterbury Tales at 60, and Goethe, who completed Faust when “80 years were past.” Longfellow, then 68, exhorted his aging classmates to not lie down and fade. No, “something remains for us to do or dare,” he said.

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

The assumption that creativity and gray hair is an oxymoron is a widely held stereotype. What’s more, the notion that creativity declines with age is deeply rooted, but it’s also deeply wrong. Anecdotal and scholarly evidence shows overwhelming that creativity doesn’t fade with age—or at least it doesn’t have to.

Launching Innovative Second Careers

University of Chicago economist David Galenson has taken a systematic look into the relationship between aging and innovation, discovering that many famous artists were at their creative best in their 60s, 70s and even 80s.

Galenson’s favorite example: artist Paul Cézanne, who died at 67 in 1906. Cézanne was always experimenting, always pushing his art, never satisfied. Thanks to his creative restlessness, the paintings of his last few years “would come to be considered his greatest contribution and would directly influence every important artistic development of the next generation,” wrote Galenson in Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity.

The same holds for many others, including Matisse, Twain and Hitchcock.

“Every time we see a young person do something extraordinary, we say, ‘That’s a genius,’” Galenson remarked in an interview with Encore.org, a nonprofit helping people 50+ launch second acts for for the greater good. “Every time we see an old person do something extraordinary we say, ‘Isn’t that remarkable?’ Nobody had noticed how many of those old exceptions there are and how much they have in common.”

One of those “remarkable” people is Ed Laub, 62, a seven-string guitarist in New Jersey who plays with famed jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, 89. (Pizzarelli’s bass player is 95.) I caught up with Laub after a weekend gig in St. Louis and Denver and before the group took off to play in Miami.

Playing guitar is a second career for Laub. His grandfather was a founder of Allied Van Lines and Laub worked for some three decades in the business, alongside his father.

Laub started taking lessons from Pizzarelli when he was 16. When he neared 50, Laub realized that what he really wanted to do was play guitar full-time. His parents had passed away, so he sold the business in 2003 and began teaming up with Pizzarelli. They now perform about 100 times a year in all kinds of venues—auditoriums, jazz clubs, private parties and a regular gig at Shanghai Jazz, a Chinese restaurant/jazz club in Madison, N.J.

Laub told he me has used his business acumen to boost their pay. “What I found out is many creative types have no idea how to manage a business,” he said. “No matter how creative you are, if you do it for a living, it’s a business.”

Boomers Taking Career Risks

My suspicion is the old-aren’t-creative stereotype is a major factor behind the rise in self-employment among boomers. Many people in their 50s and 60s are eager to break away from their jobs if management won’t give them the opportunity to exercise their creative muscles.

Barbara Goldstein, 65, of San Jose, Calif., gets her creative juices flowing by promoting artists. She’s an independent consultant focused on public art planning with clients including the California cities of Pasadena and Palo Alto. “I have as many ideas, if not more, than I did in my 20s and 30s,” she said. “What happens over time is you learn things and you become much more effective in the work you do.”

Goldstein noted that with age, you realize if you want to get something done, you have to go for it—there’s no point in waiting because time is precious. To further broaden her horizons, Goldstein is a fellow at the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute, a new, one-year program helping older professionals think through the next stage of their lives.

“If you’re always doing the same thing it’s hard to be creative,” she says. (Incidentally, if you know someone 60 or older who’s just now doing great encore career work, nominate him or her for Encore.org’s 2015 Purpose Prize.)

Economists Joseph Quinn of Boston College, Kevin Cahill of Analysis Group and Michael Giandrea of the Bureau of Labor Statistics have found a sizable jump in recent years in the percentage of people who are self-employed in their 50s and 60s. “Older workers exhibit a great deal of flexibility in their work decisions and appear willing to take on substantial risks later in life,” they wrote. And, I’d add, they’re creative.

What can you do to stay creative in your Unretirement years?

  • Don’t isolate yourself. Be willing to engage with people from diverse backgrounds and of different ages, as Goldstein does.
  • Try something new, experiment, take a leap. That’s what Laub did, going from moving van boss to professional guitarist.
  • Go back to school to pick up new skills.
  • And when someone disparages older people for their lack of creativity, tell them about Cezanne and Matisse.

With time, the Unretirement movement will demolish yet one more stereotype holding people back.

Chris Farrell is senior economics contributor for American Public Media’s Marketplace and author of the new book Unretirement: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and The Good Life. He writes twice a month about the personal finance and entrepreneurial start-up implications of Unretirement, and the lessons people learn as they search for meaning and income. Send your queries to him at cfarrell@mpr.org or @cfarrellecon on Twitter.

More from Next Avenue:

Transforming Life As We Age

Who Says Scientists Peak By Age 50?

Unexpected Success Is Worth the Wait

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