Dispatch #3

A thoughtful collection, updated every few weeks.

📰 Articles

We Need More 'Useless' Knowledge by By Robbert Dijkgraaf, The Chronicle — if you're a fan of Neal Stephenson's Anathem, this article is about the idea of a Math. Dijkgraaf describes the impact of the Institute for Advanced Study, and its role in creating technology that shaped the modern era.

As France’s Towns Wither, Fears of a Decline in ‘Frenchness’ by Adam Nossiter, New York Times — French villages in particular are known for their charm. Nossiter captures the dismay of locals as more French move to the cities, and supermarkets replace local shops.

The Three Machines by Brad Feld — some thoughts about organizing a company, particularly at the upper levels. Feld writes that the clearest division is Product, Customer, and Company, and perhaps the CEO should only have those three representatives as direct reports.

📚 Books

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman — mythological stories always stand out to me. Perhaps there's something special that comes from telling a story over and over again, across generations — and Neil Gaiman writes an excellent story.

Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner — language learning is a huge passion of mine, and I've written a post in the past on how to get started learning a language. I was really impressed by Fluent Forever — it confirmed my suspicion that the way we talk about language learning is changing. The key points are this: start with pronunciation, use spaced repetition software (e.g. Anki), learn the most used words, practice every day.

📺 Television

The Expanse (SyFy) — I've been skeptical about shows made by SyFy in the past, but The Expanse has made me think they've changed for the better. SyFy picked up the story from Daniel Abraham and James Corey, whose book Leviathan Awakes was nominated for a Hugo Award in 2012. The visuals are on par with movies set in space, and the show holds an 85%/94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, with an 8.2 on IMDB.