Personal Media Summary: January 2016

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A bunch of miscellaneous stuff I came across in January 2016:

  • Cool archaeological stuff still happens, as seen here in this unearthing1 of a city that was “the Hong Kong of Egypt” during most of the first millennium BCE

  • Happened to watch this movie on Netflix and it turned out to be pretty watchable. An excerpt from a review2:

A day-in-the-life story, “A Coffee in Berlin” follows the downward-sloping fortunes of Niko, a scruffily poetic slacker who loses his girlfriend, his driver’s license and his financial support from Daddy. And that’s before night falls.

  • Blogs were all the rage twenty years ago, even ten years ago. A view3 on the pointlessness of blogs today:

Hossein Derakhshan was imprisoned by the regime for his blogging. On his release, he found the internet stripped of its power to change the world and instead serving up a stream of pointless social trivia.

  • A different riff4 on the same theme: we read a lot more than anyone ever before, we just read different stuff.

The abundance of texts in this zeitgeist creates a tunnel effect of amnesia. We now have access to so much information that we actually forget the specific nuances of what we read, where we read them, and who wrote them. We forget what’s available all the time because we live in an age of hyperabundant textuality. Now, when we’re lost, we’re just one click away from the answer. Even the line separating what we know and what we don’t know is blurry.

  • And yet another article5 tries to answer the question: ”what is web writing in 2015?” (yes, from a year ago)

  • Every once in a while, an article6 gets me interested in geology again. I won’t try to summarize or paraphrase here, the title (“The 40,000-Mile Volcano”) says it all.

  • Apparently, the whole man-hunting-mammoth thing isn’t some recent pre-ice-age phenomenon, we were doing it as early as _45,000 years ago!_7

  • Old-time astronomers suffered from bad notation, but were no less curious, and Babylonian astronomers8 had even come up with a sort of primitive calculus! Also, an unsurprising meta-quote at the end of the article:

But it’s also possible the author had trouble passing on his revolutionary technique. The math might have been too abstract, while existing methods for observing the heavens worked well enough at the time. ”Perhaps his colleagues didn’t understand it.” Ossendrijver says.
The image at the top is taken from this set of photos9 in a recent article in Wired.

 

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