Last week I decided to resurrect my Discord community to see if it might serve as a better “behind-the-scenes” community for the topics we’re all interested in. For those not familiar with Discord, it’s like Slack but a bit more focused on working well for interest-based communities. It’s not nearly as slick as Slack, but there’s no 10,000 message limit for free communities, and it’s possible to group channels, and it uses only a single account no matter how many communities you join. If you’re not in there already, come check it out. There are ~100 people in there now, and it’s pretty fun so far.
There’s a channel called
#share-stuff, where anyone can share links that they think are of interest. A few that popped up this week:
Wait But Why’s very entertaining analysis of the betting strategy of Jeopardy’s largest winner ever, and why he may have made the wrong bet on the night he lost. (Here’s a direct link to the conversation in Discord, if you’ve joined.)
Two great comics: How to draw a horse, by Emma Hunsinger, which is about a lot more than drawing horses, and yet also very much about drawing horses. And Adventures in Depression (which has a part two) by Hyperbole and a Half.
I went down a rabbit hole on the topic of pragmatism last week, because someone on Facebook called me a utilitarian in the most derogatory way possible. Turns out, they were right! This entry on pragmatism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a fascinating read. This question on Twitter evoked a number of great responses:
Haider Al-Mosawi replied:Maybe it becomes more apparent in discussions of metaphysics, epistemology, and morality. Pragmatism sounds very sensible as a mode of operating in the world, but as a philosophical framework there doesn't seem to be objective reality or clear moral principles of right and wrong
And we continued the conversation in Discord (see the
#pragmatismchannel, that starts here) and ended up coming to see each other’s perspectives and have a great conversation. It shows to me that productive disagreements can happen on the internet, but we need to use all of the tools available to us to make sure they actually have room to happen.
Jon Bell shared a fascinating project he’s working on that involves AI-generated maps and crowd-sourced world building:
This led me to Robin Sloan’s generated map experiments, which he talks about here. That led to the open source project that he used to generated maps, which is fascinating in itself. It also led to Lob, which is what he used to send 1,000 generated maps out to people programmatically, and that led to a few of us deciding to send postcards to each other for fun.
I shared this NYT article about five Navy pilots who claim to have spent several minutes (with lots of corroborating data on their scanners) observing an unidentified flying object that flew around the skies in ways that no known aircrafts are currently capable of. There was a fascinating debate about this in one of the Facebook groups I’m in, and I think even if you put aside where you personally sit on the matter of UFOs, it’s a great opportunity to watch how our own belief systems, and hope systems, communicate when new information like this is put forth. Here’s an interview with one of the pilots:
Note how much the interviewer wants him to say that he believes it was aliens, and how deftly he avoids saying that. And yet, he also says that it’s not not aliens, so you can take away whatever you want!
I’ll leave you with some fascinating deep breathing gifs shared by Christin, made by the same guy that makes Strange Planet, one of the funniest comics I’ve discovered in a long time. They don’t play inline so you’ll have to click to see them:
This comment is worth thinking about.
This interview with David Whyte by Jonny Miller is SOOOO good. If you need a break, download this episode and go on a long walk. It’s guaranteed to make you feel a little less anxious and confused about the world.
Lastly, I re-formated and slightly re-imagined my weeknotes to be a little lighter and easier for me to update on a weekly basis. I’m enjoying the cadence of weekly updates for myself. Is anyone else here doing weeknotes or interested in maybe starting up?
Thanks for reading. I have no idea if this list of things is interesting to you or not. But if not, you can unsubscribe here. If it is interesting, I’m always open to feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Take care, and have a good week.