November 13, 2015

We love telling stories here at Innovation Hub. Whether they're about trying to resurrect woolly mammoths with science, “robber barons” in 19th century Pittsburgh, or a young woman discovering her love of science on Einstein’s lawn, we’re all about the gripping narrative.

And this week, we’re going to explore the very nature of narrative. Yes, this week’s stories… are all about telling stories.

First up, can’t stop binge watching Masters of None on Netflix? Well, there’s a scientific reason behind that. Jim Davies, a professor of cognitive science at Carleton University, explains why we laugh, why we have nightmares, and why we get invested in our favorite shows. Turns out, the fact that your brain can’t distinguish fantasy from reality can lead to you spending entire days consuming Breaking Bad.

We take a look at stories brought to you by companies like Pepsi and GM. With the decline of traditional advertising, “branded content” is becoming a way for corporations to engage with consumers. Shane Snow, founder of Contently, talks about what exactly branded content is, the reasons young writers are getting into it, and why he doesn’t want Exxon to sponsor articles about the war in Afghanistan.

Then, what would a story be without a dictionary? Writer Joshua Kendall gives us a look into the life of “the forgotten founding father,” Noah Webster. Author of the eponymous dictionary, he also transformed American culture, helped shape the Constitution, and radically altered American education. Find out why no one remembers him:

Finally, when you’re writing a story, you’re probably going to make mistakes. And before computers, making a mistake meant lots and lots of retyping. Here's the story of a high school dropout - and single mom - who made sure errors weren’t the end of a paper. Plus, you'll find out why she became connected to one of the biggest bands of the 1960s.

Jim Davies, Joshua Kendall, Noah Webster, Contently, Shane Snow, Liquid Paper, Cognitive Science

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