Lovely Linky Bits
Thoughtful reads and so forth.
Falling in Love with Words:
The Secret Life of a Lexicographer
“But lexophile that I was, I never considered spending a career on words. I was a practical blue-collar girl. Words were a hobby: they were not going to make me a comfortable living. Or rather, I wasn’t going to squander a college education—something no one else in my family had—just to lock myself in a different room a few thousand miles away and read for fourteen hours a day (though I felt wobbly with infatuation at the very idea). I went off to college with every intention of becoming a doctor. Medicine was a safe profession, and I would certainly have plenty of time to read when I had made it as a neurosurgeon.”
How to Play Mathematics
“Via handicrafts, we can introduce people to concepts about curved spacetime and multidimensional manifolds, leading with our fingers, and out to questions about measuring the structure of the cosmic whole. We can see this as a form of ‘digital intelligence’, and it’s worth noting that iterated handicrafts (knitting, crochet, weaving) were the original digital technologies: their algorithmic ‘patterns’ are literally written in code. It’s no coincidence that computer punch cards were derived from the cards used in automated looms.”
Can We Know What Animals Are Thinking?
“For much of the 20th century biology cleaved closer to Descartes than to Darwin. Students of animal behaviour did not rule out the possibility that animals had minds but thought the question almost irrelevant since it was impossible to answer. One could study an organism’s inputs (such as food or the environment) or outputs (its behaviour). But the organism itself remained a black box: unobservable things such as emotions or thoughts were beyond the scope of objective inquiry.”
Curiosities & Delights
Some things to be glad about.
Twenty ways to pay attention.
Mike Olbinski’s storm photography target=”_blank”.
Joshua Smith’s grungy miniatures.
The Pink Trombone vocal simulator.
A tiny stained glass cabin.
The contagious laughter of parrots.
The hand of Hercules and a sunken city.
And bless our spinach hearts.