Category: Likes

Twitter is a lossy compression medium. You compress an idea into a few phrases, and people must expand it, often getting something else.

Benedict Evans

Each human being has been granted two qualities: power and gift. Power drives a person to meet his/her destiny, his gift obliges that person to share with others which is good in him/her. A human being must know when to use power, and when to use compassion.

Paulo Coelho

My definition of magic in the human personality, in fiction and in poetry, is the ultimate level of attentiveness. Nearly everyone goes through life with the same potential perceptions and baggage, whether it’s marriage, children, education, or unhappy childhoods, whatever; and when I say attentiveness I don’t mean just to reality, but to what’s exponentially possible in reality. (…) Why are people incapable of ascribing to the natural world the kind of mystery that they think they are somehow deserving of but have never reached? This attentiveness is your main tool in life, and in fiction, or else you’re going to be boring.

Jim Harrison in The Art of Fiction

While cleaning up my old notes back from 2009, came across this wonderful quote by Hunter S. Thompson.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow! What a Ride!”

Terry Pratchett’s artistry with words

It is the passages like these from Terry Pratchett that leave completely in awe of his imagination. He can dream up craziest of the crazy, stupid ideas and completely word them into a believable prose. Brilliant!

The forest of Skund was indeed enchanted, which was nothing unusual on the Disc, and was also the only forest in the whole universe to be called — in the local language — Your Finger You Fool, which was the literal meaning of the word Skund.

The reason for this is regrettably all too common. When the first explorers from the warm lands around the Circle Sea travelled into the chilly hinterland they filled in the blank spaces on their maps by grabbing the nearest native, pointing at some distant landmark, speaking very clearly in a loud voice, and writing down whatever the bemused man told them. Thus were immortalised in generations of atlases such geographical oddities as Just A Mountain, I Don’t Know, What? and, of course, Your Finger You Fool.

Rainclouds clustered around the bald heights of Mt. Oolskunrahod (‘Who is this Fool who does Not Know what a Mountain is’) and the Luggage settled itself more comfortably under a dripping tree, which tried unsuccessfully to strike up a conversation.”

★ Liked Selling Your Power Back to Twitter

Why would anyone sell their power back to Twitter, knowing Twitter uses some of it to run the microphones it hands to terrible people?

★ Liked MIT mathematicians solve age-old spaghetti mystery

The twist wave travels faster than the bending wave, dissipating energy so that additional critical stress accumulations, which might cause subsequent fractures, do not occur.

★ Liked The Quietest Place in America Is Becoming a Warzone

If we don’t defend silence, we sever one of the last ties to life on Earth before humans started raising a ruckus—before the combustion engine, before cities(..) we lose the space to reflect on what makes us who we are.

★ Liked Dear Journalists: The war on what you do is escalating.

You — and probably free speech — can’t constantly play defense. You can’t win if you rise to Trump’s bait and start calling him an enemy.

Reads I Liked (13-Aug)

Here’s a list of articles I liked throughout the day.

1. I do not think there is any debate on whether Artificial Intelligence will have some unplanned consequences. There would be. It is as good as a new species. And when two new species start communicating with one another, there would be hiccups and miscommunication. I guess the only fear is this time the other species might actually be smarter. Wired has some interesting real life examples covered.

Given a clear goal, an algorithm can master complex tasks, such as beating a world champion at Go. But even with logical parameters, it turns out that mathematical optimization empowers bots to develop shortcuts humans didn’t think to deem off-­limits. Teach a learning algorithm to fish, and it might just drain the lake.

2. I had no idea there were multiple theories for the reason behind Dinosaurs’ extinction. I always believed the a fairy tale: Big rock from sky hits the dinosaurs, and boom they go.’” Well, that may not be the case. Bianca Bosker has a fascinating coverage.

Before the asteroid hypothesis took hold, researchers had proposed other, similarly bizarre explanations for the dinosaurs’ demise: gluttony, protracted food poisoning, terminal chastity, acute stupidity, even Paleo-weltschmerz—death by boredom. These theories fell by the wayside when, in 1980, the Nobel Prize–winning physicist Luis Alvarez and three colleagues from UC Berkeley announced a discovery in the journal Science

3. Being ethical is not black and white. It is almost impossible to lead a life which you claim has been ethical and to make everyone agree. However, figuring out how to live the good life is fun” – a great essay by Ephrat Livni.

By virtue of accidents of birth, we find ourselves unfairly profiting from all kinds of inequalities, depending on where we are born, who our parents are, our racial or ethnic backgrounds, and more. Your passport determines more than just access—it means you are the beneficiary, albeit abstractly, of actions you may not approve. Most of us, wherever we live, are funding wars or policies we disagree with. We can’t help but do wrong.

4. A much-needed account from a non-profit group that reunites refugees around the world with families”. Another reminder that we humans have heart beating incessantly within. Some may have painted it black, but as a species, we will keep fighting back.

While hundreds of families separated at the US–Mexico border under the Trump administration’s”zero tolerance” policy remain apart, a Michigan woman has inspired people to help reunite loved ones by donating their frequent flyer miles.”