Brain Dump: Introduction + Things I Learned in the Past 2 Weeks


I decided to create a bi-weekly Brain Dump series, to record the things I’ve learnt, both online and offline, in all aspects of my life!

As this is the first post in this series, I’ll answer some questions first:

1. What?

“What will you share here?”

A brain dump typically refers to transferring your knowledge or information onto another source, such as onto paper, publication, or a computer software, or hard drive. I intend to share everything! From interesting quotes I’ve come across, to journal articles and youtube videos, to programming languages/functions I’ve learnt, to even simple reminders in everyday life!

2. Why?

“Why start this project?” “Why put this up on social media?” “Why 2 weeks?”

  1. Keeping Track (Re: starting and time frame)

In the past, I have often found that after coming across interesting articles I’ve read, or youtube videos I’ve watched, I forget these things shortly after, despite them being really informative and educational. When immersed in these resources, I have often decided “This is great! Let me bookmark this page”, and never went back to it after. Soon, I was left with a huge list of bookmarked pages, and not knowing what I sought to remember when bookmarking each of them. Thus, I decided to compile a short list of things I found noteworthy!

In addition, being a massive fan of infographics and educational videos, I felt that consciously taking note of things I’ve learnt from these resources would help me to learn how these various sources of information are structured and delivered, which can hopefully help me to create better infographics in the future!

2. Accountability (Re: social media)

Ever since coming across this term during one of my Digital Media lectures last year, I have been obsessed with the description of Social Media as a Panopticon

As quoted from Wikipedia:
“The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow all (pan-) inmates of an institution to be observed (-opticon) by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behaviour constantly.

I felt that regardless of these posts being viewed by 1 person, or 10 people, declaring the start of a bi-weekly log of the things I’ve learnt on a social media platform would more likely ensure that I will actually follow up with it, just because it was declared on a public platform. This, to me, is the panopticon at work, and I decided to use it to my advantage! :) Otherwise, it would be all too easy for me to negate the necessity of keeping track of what I learnt, all in the name of “busyness”.


Things I’ve Learnt in the Past 2 Weeks (25 Sept to 9 Oct ‘16)

1. The History and Origins of Virtual Reality

Source: The Future of Virtual Reality: Crash Course Games #21

  • First occurances: 19th Century (Panorama paintings by Hendrick Willem Masdag (1831–1915))
  • “Pygmalion’s Spectacles, written by Stanley G. Wienbaum in 1935 describes people of the future experiencing entirely new worlds that involved tasting food, touching fabric, and smelling flowers all through a head mounted display.”
  • “The lower the barriers into the alternate realities presented by games, the easier it is for players to feel transported to another world”

2. TED Talk: David McCandless: The Beauty of Data Visualisation

3. Learnt to create a simple Python language interpreter (University project)

4. Artificial Intelligence chat-bots as remnants of a loved one

Your loved ones may find that these services ease their pain. But it is possible that digital avatars will lengthen the grieving process. “If used wrong, it enables people to hide from their grief,” said Dima Ustinov, who has not used the Roman bot for technical reasons. (Luka is not yet available on Android.) “Our society is traumatized by death — we want to live forever. But you will go through this process, and you have to go through it alone. If we use these bots as a way to pass his story on, maybe [others] can get a little bit of the inspiration that we got from him. But these new ways of keeping the memory alive should not be considered a way to keep a dead person alive.”


5. Designing for Healthcare


Alright I guess that’s all for this fortnight! :) To be very honest, I only backtracked these resources when writing this post, and hence lot of these learning occurrences and takeaways have become vague encounters in my memory. Will make it a point to take down notes as I browse in the next two weeks!

Thank you for reading, and have a lovely week ahead! xx