The whaaales political spectrum quiz

1. You are analyzing diffraction of fullerenes. Buckyballs are (a) particles (b) waves 2. You are building a raft. The buoyant force on it will be (a) the weight of the fluid it displaces (b) the sum of interactions with particles in its vicinity 3. Two grandmasters are about to play chess. You bet on […]

A partial taxonomy of aesthetic compressibility

Some art doesn’t need to be experienced to be mostly apprehended.a A good enough description suffices. Maybe the thing follows convention too closely, or the author is in a rut. But less redundant art can still internally have a variety of flavors of compressibility: Signposting: Rather than do the thing, loudly proclaim that you’re doing the thing. Candidates: […]

Exposition and guidance by analogy

[expanded from tumblr post] In the above table (from Mary Hesse, Models and Analogies in Science), we notice that there are a lot of apparent correspondences between water waves, sound, and light. The “horizontal” notion of similarity lets us notice that sound echoes and light reflects, or that these things all have some sort of […]

Exercise #6: Exercise fodder

Keep an eye out for large, ordered collections of bite-sized chunks of similar (but not too similar) intellectual material. This is the kind of thing that I like to use for exercises, like a paper with many proposed engineering techniques, a site with many social science results, the many answers to Edge.org questions, or news and commentary […]