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CFM Home   CFM Blog   Join the Alliance   Moving? New Job? Let the Alliance know. May 01, 2014

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Drinking ... er, THINKING ... about the future
Center for the Future of Museums
Recently, in Napa Valley, an intrepid band of museum professionals gathered for a trends tasting. This week on the CFM Blog, museum futurist Lisa Eriksen reports from the California Association Museums Association annual conference on that group's observations on the 2014 vintage of TrendsWatch.
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Some unanswered questions about benefit corporations, L3Cs and social enterprise more generally
Nonprofit Quarterly
At a conference co-sponsored by Georgetown University Law School and Independent Sector recently, the text and subtext about the forms of social enterprise revealed challenging issues that for-profit social entrepreneurs and, more importantly, nonprofits should ponder. Without providing a comprehensive pro or con on social enterprises, this article summarizes the most interesting issues that surfaced at this conference. These comments draw on the issues that seemed to be unresolved at the event and unresolved in the nonprofit sector writ large about the meaning, substance and impact of for-profit social enterprise in the space of public and community benefit that has historically been the province of charity and government.
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  Do You Have Wonderful Storytelling?

More and more, storytelling is captivating visitors at the world’s best museums. Storytelling: It Can Change Your Mind is the result of interviewing neuroscientists, social scientists, and master storytellers to unravel the mysteries and skills woven throughout the best tales ever told, and offers helpful guidance for your team. MORE.

How are students' roles changing in the new economy of information?
Mind/Shift KQED
Perhaps one of the most powerful expectations of students in an environment of scarcity is that they not question the source of the information. As the modern classroom has become connected, the amount of information available to both teachers and students has exponentially increased. Where teachers once lectured about important ideas and events, or shared their acquired knowledge with their students, today's classrooms can see every key primary source document, the actual notes of great scientists and a limitless amount of literary criticism. For students, this abundance of information means not only a changing role from the traditional classroom, but also a drastically different set of skills and expectations.
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How to fight poachers with drones and big data
The Atlantic
University of Maryland computer scientist Thomas Snitch is applying a mathematical forecasting model he developed for use by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan to Africa. Snitch is trying to overcome poaching networks' advantages in money, opportunity and manpower using his military model to put park rangers in the right places to intercept rhinoceros killers. Snitch believes that he can cut poaching in Kruger Park, at least, by 70 percent with just $450,000 — a fraction of what Google gave to WWF for drones. If he accomplishes that in South Africa he hopes to convince leaders in other countries that the model works. A simple mathematical formula (supported by mountains of data) could give authorities a badly needed advantage to stop poaching and, with it, maybe even terrorism.
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Colorado Symphony seeks expanded audience via BYOC (bring your own cannabis) events
Nonprofit Quarterly
We love it when one trend meets another in a truly unexpected way. Pot is on its way to being as legal as alcohol, and symphonies are innovating to attract new audiences, so the following story should come as no surprise. Yesterday, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra announced a "cannabis-friendly" series of fundraising concerts. "Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series" is meant to attract new audiences at a time when all classical venues are working to do the same. Marijuana-related companies are sponsoring the event, which is BYOC — bring your own cannabis. Smoking will be allowed only in the gallery.
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U.S. electricity prices may be going up for good
Los Angeles Times
There is a growing fragility in the U.S. electricity system, experts warn, the result of the shutdown of coal-fired plants, reductions in nuclear power a shift to more expensive renewable energy and natural gas pipeline constraints. The result is likely to be future price shocks. And they may not be temporary. One recent study predicts the cost of electricity in California alone could jump 47 percent over the next 16 years, in part because of the state's shift toward more expensive renewable energy. "We are now in an era of rising electricity prices," said Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who said the steady reduction in generating capacity across the nation means that prices are headed up. "If you take enough supply out of the system, the price is going to increase."
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ClickNetherfield will be exhibiting at AAM MuseumExpo

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17 emerging energy technologies that will change the world
Business Insider
This article reviews technologies related to energy under three key areas of accelerating change: storage, smart grid and electricity generation. Energy storage involves new, cost-effective ways of storing energy, either in improved batteries, as new fuels or other ways. A smart grid is a set of technologies that pairs information with moving electricity around, enabling more efficient generation and use of energy. Electricity generation is characterized by technologies that generate power from unused sources and that more efficiently produce electric power or fuels from sources in use today. It includes predictions based on consultation with experts of when each technology will be scientifically viable (the kind of stuff that Google, governments and universities develop), mainstream (when VCs and startups widely invest in it) and financially viable (when the technology is generally available on Kickstarter).
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A history of experiential futures
The Skeptical Futuryst
What could become of all this intriguing experimentation around turning ideas about the future into visceral experiences? Fortunately, a research paper unearthed from the year 02034 offers some answers. Apparently co-authored some 20 years from today with fellow Toronto-based design futurist Trevor Haldenby, the article provides a timeline documenting the rapid rise and remarkable reach of increasingly large-scale efforts over a generation or so (02006-02031) to bring futures to life through immersive scenarios and participatory simulation. What emerges is a portrait of a society that, via experiential futures and transmedia storytelling practices, has integrated and harnessed public imagination as a world-shaping cultural force.
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To find out how to feature your company in the AAM eNewsletter and other advertising opportunities, Contact Geoffrey Forneret at 469-420-2629.

Scientists can't read your mind with brain scans (yet)
As a journalist who writes about neuroscience, Greg Miller has gotten a lot of super enthusiastic press releases touting a new breakthrough in using brain scans to read people's minds. They usually come from a major university or a prestigious journal. They make it sound like a brave new future has suddenly arrived, a future in which brain scans advance the cause of truth and justice and help doctors communicate with patients whose minds are still active despite their paralyzed bodies.
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Museum Innovations

Our museums are broken — These 5 fixes can make them fun again
Museums are depositories of history's treasures, a key indicator of how a culture defines itself and a much-appreciated field trip for kids in school. They also tend to be woefully outdated in how they appeal to young people. With so much cool stuff at their disposal, our great museums feel like they can and should be far more fun than they are — attractions that appeal to locals as much as tourists. To figure out how to fix our hallowed halls, I spoke to Nick Gray, founder of Museum Hack, a company that offers high-energy tours of New York museums that emphasize the institutions' hidden gems and secret histories. He also happens to be the single most passionate person I've ever met when it comes to his love of museums in general. With the disclaimer that some do quite well in some of these areas, he offered five relatively easy fixes that most museums can adopt to broaden their appeal.
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Crowdsourcing army to analyze massive archive of World War I info
Fox News
British historians are raising an online army of amateur history buffs to help tackle a massive archive of World War I photos, diaries and documents. Operation War Diary — a joint effort by the British National Archives, the Imperial War Museum and the crowdsourcing website Zooniverse — aims to make previously inaccessible data available to academics and amateur historians alike, creating a formidable "hive mind" concept to offer fresh perspectives on World War I. More than 10,000 people worldwide have volunteered to tag names, locations and other key details in the diaries since the site's launch eight weeks ago and officials say their collective work — more than 260,000 named individuals and 332,000-plus locations — is equivalent to two years of archival work.
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Garden project unites Homewood through self-sufficiency, veggies
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is not only teaching residents of Homewood how to grow fresh produce, it's building the garden for them. Phipps is beginning the second year of "Homegrown," a program to increase access to fresh produce and improve the health of families and children in the neighborhood. Phipps recently built its second raised garden bed of the spring in the neighborhood. It installed 10 last year and wants to double that number this year. Charity Bauman, community outreach coordinator for Phipps, said it is considering expanding the program in the fall to another neighborhood but has not decided which one.
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UCL Petrie Museum launches 3-D online object library
UCL News
UCL's Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, which holds one of the top specialist collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world, has launched an interactive online 3-D object library, allowing visitors to view the artifacts in the same way as curators. With funding from Arts Council England, the Museum is making high quality 3-D images of artifacts from its collection available through a Web-based library in order to improve remote accessibility and engagement.
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Tools for the Future

Deaf people get gene tweak to restore natural hearing
New Scientist
IN TWO months' time, a group of profoundly deaf people could be able to hear again, thanks to the world's first gene therapy trial for deafness. The volunteers, who lost their hearing through damage or disease, will get an injection of a harmless virus containing a gene that should trigger the regrowth of the sensory receptors in the ear. "The holy grail is to give people natural hearing back," says Hinrich Staecker at the University of Kansas Medical Center, who is leading the trial. "That's what we hope to do — we are essentially repairing the ear rather than artificially imitating what it does."
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Microscale 3-D printing
MIT Technology Review
What if 3-D printers could use a wide assortment of different materials, from living cells to semiconductors, mixing and matching the "inks" with precision? Jennifer Lewis, a materials scientist at Harvard University, is developing the chemistry and machines to make that possible. She prints intricately shaped objects from "the ground up," precisely adding materials that are useful for their mechanical properties, electrical conductivity or optical traits. This means 3-D printing technology could make objects that sense and respond to their environment. "Integrating form and function," she says, "is the next big thing that needs to happen in 3-D printing."
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This app crowdsources a map of quiet spaces in the city
The Stereopublic app and website crowdsources places that offer "calm within chaos" in the city, and is equal parts participatory art project, aural adventure and urban discovery guide. The app serves as a guide for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd, yet still remain in the city and a part of it. The free app enables users to navigate their city to the quiet and calm spots within it, and to become an "earwitness" by adding to the crowdsourced map with both images and audio, while also being able to share those discoveries with others to enhance their own daily experience. It also features the ability to listen to relaxing compositions while in your quiet spot, or to go on a walking tour of calm spaces in certain cities which have been created by a "city sound surveyor." [Video] ♦ Interesting example of "collecting" a city's (quiet) soundscapes, as well as a tool for respite and retreat.
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LIX: The world's smallest 3-D printing pen lets you draw in the air
LIX is the latest contender in the handheld 3-D printing field. Launched just recently on Kickstarter, the developers say the super compact design is smaller than any other pen on the market and it can even be powered by the electricity from a USB port. After turning it on the LIX takes less than a minute to heat up and you're ready to start creating vertical illustrations.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read the most in recent months.

    What will become of the library? How it will evolve as the world goes digital (Slate)
Initiatives of Syracuse, Detroit museums might offer new strategies for Everson (
Khan museums infiltrate the online classroom? (Center for the Future of Museums)
The sad, slow death of America's retail workforce (The Atlantic)
With farm robotics, the cows decide when it's milking time (The New York Times)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

Dispatches from the Future of Museums
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