Every Friday I highlight the most interesting or entertaining items from my media diet of the past week.
- Bird Brains Are Far More Humanlike Than Once Thought (scientificamerican.com): “The new findings show that birds’ do, in fact, have a brain structure that is comparable to the neocortex despite taking a different shape.”
- Consume Less, Produce More (chrismytton.com): Good advice: don’t get overwhelmed and focus solely on inputs, outputs matter too.
- The Dog and the Cat (wordpress.com): Thoughtful piece about the importance of context and reader focus in the argument about active vs. passive voice (i.e. nuance and case-by-case considerations are better than broad axioms).
- The Hell that is Online Learning Explained in a Comic (vox.com): Some parents will relate.
- The High Privacy Cost of a Free Website (themarkup.org): Some disconcerting tactics: “piggybacking” trackers, keylogging of unencrypted data, canvas fingerprinting.
- How Humanity Came to View Its Eventual Extinction: A Timeline (mit.edu): “It is only in the last couple of centuries that we have begun to grasp that our existence might one day cease to exist forever.”
- How I Used the Internet to Painlessly Relearn a Foreign Language (medium.com): I’m always impressed to see the breadth and quality of what’s available online for motivated learners.
- Industrial Literacy (rootsofprogress.org): We are the beneficiaries of a number of industrial advancements—synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, vaccines, etc. A rational perspective on these technologies is essential for future progress.
- Inside the Airline Industry’s Meltdown (guardian.com): A wide-ranging look on the impacts of the pandemic on commercial airlines: layoffs, fleets in storage, revenue drops and massive operating losses.
- Is This Real Life? (julian.digital): On conspiracy theories, alternate-reality games, religiosity, and the narratives we cling to for meaning and group-cohesion.
- The Pirates of the Highways (narratively.com): “On America’s interstates, brazen bands of thieves steal 18-wheelers filled with computers, cell phones, even toilet paper.”
- The Race to Redesign Sugar (newyorker.com): A deep dive into the efforts to engineer sugar that retains the same cooking qualities, sweetness, mouth-feel, but with fewer calories and better blood-sugar levels.
- The Students Left Behind by Remote Learning (propublica.org): “There are devastating costs of keeping kids out of school.”
- Semantic Traps: Why Vague Words Are Risky (nesslabs.com): A critical look at problematic terminology: natural, authentic, and intuitive.
- Stolen Lives: The Harrowing Story of Two Girls Sold into Sexual Slavery (nationalgeographic.com): Heartbreaking story about young victims of sex trafficking in West Bengal.
- We Learn Faster When We Aren’t Told What Choices to Make (scientificamerican.com): “Our sense of control in a situation influences how we learn—or do not learn—from our experiences.”
- Won’t Subscribe (tbray.org): Perspective on the bundling vs. unbundling debate. In this case: news subscriptions vs. a la carte article purchases.
- Greg Lukianoff: Free Speech (scottbarrykaufman.com): Conversation with an expert on first amendment rights and the “Bedrock principle” (which disallows the censorship of speech solely on the basis of the subjective basis of “offensiveness”).
- Guitar Gods: Jimi Hendrix vs. Eric Clapton (iheart.com): Is it better to burn out or fade away?
- Hidden Brain: Laughter the Best Medicine (npr.org): Illuminating look at the various social dimensions and communicative components of laughter.