Links for July 2021

From Wikipedia’s list of gestures:

  • “Loser, made by extending the thumb and forefinger to resemble the shape of an L on the forehead is an insulting gesture.”
  • “High five is a celebratory ritual in which two people simultaneously raise one hand and then slap these hands together.”
  • Somehow it has jazz hands (“used in dance or other performances by displaying the palms of both hands with fingers splayed”) but not spirit fingers, what gives?

The economy is endlessly fascinating, if occasionally terrifying, and a good story at the intersection of the two is this tale about the startup “Fronk”, now available for your reading pleasure thanks to an expired NDA.

You don’t often see project management fiction, but this one is amazing: Instruments of Destruction, a Star Wars fanfic 

Speaking of the fascinating details of management, consider this overview of the artillery practices of the major powers in WWII. Briefly, the Germans risked the lives of specially trained Forward Observers in a system that still came down to “guess and check”, the British assumed the earth was a perfectly flat, infinite plane and instead of worrying about accuracy, “just accepted the errors and tended to fire every available battery at the target”, and the Americans brute-forced the calculations for “a HUGE number of variations of wind/temperature, barrel wear, elevation differentials” beforehand, and then pulled out their reference materials to deliver extremely precise fire in only a couple of minutes.

The late, great Satoshi Kon passed away in 2010, at the age of 46. An interview from him in 2007 that had previously never fully seen the light of day has just been published on the substack Something Good

Before there was the replication crisis, there was the 0.1 second crisis, which rocked science and philosophy for most of the 19th century. Then, everyone stopped caring and most of us forgot, but this crisis may have created modernity. Also, for better or worse, it helped give us statistics.

Eighteen-Year-Old Tunisian Swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui Claims Gold in the 400m Freestyle at Tokyo Olympics, Commentators Struggle to Keep Up

Very fond of Visa’s charming twitter thread on Samantha Smith, “a 10 year old American girl from Maine, wrote a letter to the new leader of the USSR, Yuri Andropov, asking him why he wanted to conquer the world, and could we please have peace instead.”

Here at SLIME MOLD TIME MOLD we are very interested in alternative approaches to education, so we were very interested to see this piece on teaching the Iliad to Chinese teenagers. To complete the cycle, we would like to see a Chinese author write a piece on teaching Romance of the Three Kingdoms to American teenagers.

Also in unusual educational approaches, see welcome to class. We have no idea if this would work out well but it gets lots of points for being original. If anyone tries this or has tried it, please let us know. (h/t commenter Noah)

Our ongoing series A Chemical Hunger (Part I here) inspired reddit user pondgrass to create /r/spudbud/, advocating “The World’s most Legible Diet” based on a simple premise: “Eat Nothing but Potato”

In case you missed it, one of the authors of this blog won third place in the Astral Codex Ten Book Review Contest for a book review of On The Natural Faculties by Galen of Pergamon. Thanks Scott for hosting, and thank you to everyone who voted in the contest! Also, congratulations to the first and second place winners, Lars Doucet and Whimsi!

2 thoughts on “Links for July 2021

  1. YD says:

    The author(s) of “welcome to class” talk a lot about how unusual their class is, but the actual class policies don’t seem *that* unusual to me. (OTOH the essay is 15 years old and parts of it might have entered the metaphorical groundwater by now. It is possible that my professors have read it and incorporated parts of it into their teaching style)

    The say “you’ll have to cheat”, but it’s not really cheating, it’s just collaborating with your classmates and doing research like in pretty much any other grad class.

    The fact that all students share the same solution submission is certainly not standard, but it’s not rare either. I’ve taken 3 classes and TAed 2 that used a similar system.

    Also the author(s) talk about the how the class is not competitive, but the students have to convince each other to give them points. I can only imagine what kinds of machiavelian scheming can result from this.

    Like

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