Link Dump 001
June 12, 2019
I don’t know why it took me this long to think of doing link dump posts. I love link dump posts! Anyway, without further ado, here are some of the things I’ve been consuming lately.
Articles / Poems
- “Why books don’t work” - The author, Andy Matuschak, takes a look at the ways in which media can fail to achieve their stated objectives. For example, non-fiction books purport to teach the reader something; but how often does the reader actually learn the desired material? We often get distracted while we read, we filter the book’s information through the lenses of our experiences and worldviews, and we’re not required to demonstrate mastery in order to “finish” the book. Given all that, is it any wonder that retention can be so low? But it’s not just books he’s after: he dwells for a while on why lectures and other media fail for similar reasons, and he takes a look at what criteria might define a successful instructive medium.
- “I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.” - “Stop obsessing over your environmental ‘sins.’ Fight the oil and gas industry instead.”
- “You’ve Heard of the 36 Questions That Lead to Love. Now Scientists Have Developed 32 Questions to Change Your Life” - I helped to design the tarot-sized cards that are the physical version of the survey mentioned in the article. You can buy them here, if you want.
- “Did James make the right Final Jeopardy bet?” - If you’ve been following James Holzhauer’s success on Jeopardy recently, you might be interested in Tim Urban’s breakdown of whether or not James made the right wager in the final round of his last game.
- “Success Story” - I liked this poem by A.R. Ammons.
- Coding Adventure: Ray Marching and Coding Adventure: Marching Cubes - Sebastian Lague’s YouTube channel has become an instant favorite of mine. He’s so good at explaining and illustrating whatever concepts he’s exploring, and the results are truly stunning.
- “Understanding Humans in the Wild” - Adam Grant visited Sam Harris’ Making Sense podcast to talk about a variety of topics. There was so much good stuff in this episode! They talked about Grant’s work on organizational psychology, parenting, power, and many other topics. Grant seems to be very knowledgeable, with ready statitistics and simple wisdom.
- “Jenny Odell and the art of attention” - Jenny Odell visited Ezra Klein’s podcast to talk about the role of modern artists, how to escape the attention economy, the difficulties of meditation, and other topics. I found a lot of things in this episode that spoke to where I am right now.
- “Everything is Meaningless: The Book of Ecclesiastes” - Although I consider myself to be agnostic about religion, I do appreciate any time someone reads religious texts fairly and honestly and gives them a steel-man treatment. That’s what Tamler Sommers and David Pizarro do for the book of Ecclesiastes in the Jewish bible. Honestly, this analysis was head and shoulders and torso above the watered-down treatment offered by most preachers.
- “Episode 38: The Music Episode” - I love the Kitchen Table Cult podcast. You don’t have to listen to this episode or to the podcast in general, but I’m mentioning it because I felt so seen every time I listen to it. The podcast is hosted by “two Quiverfull escapees,” and many of their childhood experiences match my own. Honestly, I don’t know if you’ll get much out of the podcast if you didn’t grow up in conservative Christianity, but for those who did, the show is a cathartic combination of cringing reminiscence of and irreverent contempt for the ignorance and cultishness of various conservative Christian movements. In this episode in particular, I had memorized the music of much every CCM artist they mentioned — and like Kieryn, I hadn’t heard of Prince until way too recently.
- Start With This - This is a podcast about how to get started on whatever creative endeavor you’ve been wanting to start but haven’t figured out where or how or when. Don’t know where to start? Start with this.
- Chillhop - This lo-fi, instrumental hip-hop and jazz music is really good for focusing when I need to get work done.
- Music for Programming - Here’s more good instrumental music for focusing, though this has a much more electronic and experimental flavor to it.
- SomaFM - SomaFM has a lot of good stations. There are several noticeably missing genres, but the stations that they do have are pretty good. I find myself listening to “Lush” a lot.
- Apollo 11 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - My family and I went to see the Apollo 11 movie at an IMAX theatre recently. It was fantastic. There was no commentary or narration; it was all just real footage from the Apollo 11 mission with occasional diagrams to help explain what was going on. One thing that stood out in particular was Matt Morton’s score; it was really, really good.
- Playdate - It’s a new handheld gaming system like Gameboy, but slick and modern and very, very sexy.
- The Feynman Lectures on Physics - Physicist Richard Feynman explains physics concepts in ways that are accessible to the uninitiated. These have been up for a while, I think, but I’m just mentioning them in case you hadn’t heard about them.
Thanks for tuning in! I’ll probably have another link dump for you in a couple weeks!