Brief thoughts after listening to @kevin_ashton speak about flying horses


I went to listen to Kevin Ashton speak about his new book ‘How To Fly A Horse‘ earlier this week. It sounds like an interesting book full of anecdotes of people building on the inventions of others to ultimately create something noteworthy. Some were flops; the ill-fated jump of Franz Reichelt from the Eiffel Tower in 1912 for example, in the belief that his birdsuit would be enough to help him fly, long before the success of the patient Wright Brothers (whose activities were inspiration for the title of the book, by the way).

Or Watson & Crick’s ultimate award of the Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA – which they only really got because Maurice Wilkins, co-awardee of the Nobel with Crick and Watson, passed on to them the work of his colleague Rosalind Franklin, the crystallographer whose diffraction images of DNA led to the actual discovery, without her knowledge.

But most intriguing was learning about the first instance of the word ‘creativity’ as a noun, that misused word of today, in 1926 by Alfred North Whitehead:

The reason for the temporal character of the actual world can now be given by reference to the creativity and the creatures.

‘The creativity’. We’re the creatures, what is our creativity? What is yours, or mine?