Posts tagged with imagination

  • solid — the category FinSet, a sack of wheat, a bag of marbles; atoms; axiom of choice; individuation. The urelemente or wheat-kernels are interchangeable although they’re technically distinct. Yet I can pick out just one and it has a mass.
  • liquid — continuity; probability mass; Lewis’ gunky line; Geoff Hellman; the pre-modern, “continuous” idea of water; Urs Schreiber; Yoshihiro Maruyama; John L Bell
  • gas — Lebesgue measure theory; sizing Wiener processes image or other things in other “smooth” categories; here I mean again the pre-atomic vision of gas: in some sense it has constant mass, but it might be so de-pressurised that there’s not much in some sub-chamber, and the mass might even be so dispersed not only can you not pick out atoms and expect them to have a size (so each point of probability density has “zero” chance of happening), but you might need a “significant pocket” of gas before you get the volume—and unlike liquid, the gas’ volume might confuse you without some “pressure”-like concept “squeezing” the stuff to constrain the notion of volume.

The spirit of mathematics is not captured by spending 3 hours solving 20 look-alike homework problems. Mathematics is thinking, comparing, analyzing, inventing, and understanding.

The main point is not quantity or speed—the main point is quality of thought.
Geometry and the Imagination with Bill Thurston, John Conway, Peter Doyle, and Jane Gilman


A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

But there were also more profound features, which took me a long time even to notice, because they are so at odds with modern experience that neither New Guineans nor I could even articulate them. Each of us took some aspects of our lifestyle for granted and couldn’t conceive of an alternative.

Those other New Guinea features included the non-existence of “friendship” (associating with someone just because you like them), a much greater awareness of rare hazards, war as an omnipresent reality, morality in a world without judicial recourse, and a vital role of very old people. …

Many of my experiences in New Guinea have been intense—a sudden encounter at night with a wild man, the prolonged agony of a nearly-fatal boat accident, one broken little stick in the forest warning us that nomads might be about to catch us as trespassers …

Jared Diamond, The World Before Yesterday

via University of David




This video is 13 minutes of traffic accidents in Russia and totally amazing.

  1. Show this to your teenagers before they take the wheel. If it doesn’t scare the p*ss out of them—or even worse, if it excites them—no more Grand Theft Auto and hide the car keys.
  2. Next time you complain about public services, boring orderliness and “safety first”, the desireability of risk, Panglossian everything-optimal economics, or forget how relatively safe you are on your German freeways, …. watch this.

    As someone else remarked (can’t remember the source), the difference between Somalia and the USA is the stuff everybody in the US completely forgets is even possible.
  3. Notice how many of the accidents are caused by people trying to zoom ahead of everyone else—off the side of the road, cutting down a tree without noticing it will land on somebody else, trying to pass on the left or on the right or across the lane. Is your time really that important relative to everyone else’s, people?
  4. Assumptions. You think you can make assumptions, like that someone won’t fell a tree on your head, or a military jet won’t fly over your head, that someone won’t spill military equipment near you, or that people from the other lane (or off the road) won’t drive completely orthogonal and attack your car. Sometimes those assumptions are wrong.
  5. How many of these people do you think actually accepted the blame on themselves for their reckless actions?

via @Alea_, @felixsalmon

The most obvious image of a laughable hipster should be a half-time art-school student whose parents are going to provide him/her with a cushy job and/or money so s/he doesn’t really have to work but can just learn some stuff, party/hang out, make some art, and do a little-of-this little-of-that. Maybe have his/her own record label or vanity company or charity or eat instagrammable food or wear cool clothes or whatever, and be beautiful.




Hey, that actually sounds like a nice life I would like to have for myself.


Since art and learning and performing and consuming of those kinds of things are ends in themselves, it’s like this stereotypical character already has what the rest of us would use up our potential leisure time working to be able to afford. In that case the hipster hatred can be just a form of envy.

New paper bird sculptures by Diana Beltran Herrera.

I’m bored. What should I do? I know. I’ll make some awesome sculptures as an homage to nature.

via mydarkenedeyes, ravelet