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On Openings Essays, Conferences Talks, and Jam Jars
On Openings Essays, Conferences Talks, and Jam Jars
The beginning is almost never the most compelling or important part. It's just the bit you thought of first, based on your subjective chronology.
Signposting what you're going to write about is good, but starting with an exhaustive list of definitions is extremely boring.
Invoking paleolithic people is an overplayed way to convince us your topic is cosmically important.
Openings need tension – paradoxes, unanswered questions, and unresolved action
Good openings propose problems, pose questions, drop you into an unfinished story, or point at fundamental tensions within a topic. Ideally within the first paragraph or two.
"Good writing starts strong. Not with a cliché ("Since the dawn of time"), not with a banality ("Recently, scholars have been increasingly concerned with the questions of..."), but with a contentful observation that provokes curiosity."A Sense of StyleStephen Pinker
Creating tension in non-fiction work is trickier because your story is (hopefully) constrained by reality. You are not at liberty to invent suspicious murders, salacious extramarital affairs, or newly-discovered-magical-powers to create tension and mystery. You have to deal with the plain, unexotic facts of the world.
Your job becomes much harder if you pick topics with no tension, problems, or puzzles within them. To paraphrase Williams, it is more of a failure to pose an uninteresting problem, than to poorly articulate an interesting one
Your interest in the topic is your best directional clue for finding the tension or interesting paradox. Your urge to write about the thing hopefully comes from a place of curiosity. You have unanswered questions about it. It feels important or consequential for unexplained reasons. You think you've seen things in it other people haven't. Pay attention to that interest.
Problems are a destabilising condition that has a cost for a community of readers that needs a solution. Destabilising condition is just a fancy word for “change” here – a change in the status quo. Put another way, a problem is an expected turn of events, that has undesireable consequences, for an audience who will care about it, that we want to explore solutions to.
Williams is speaking to a community of academic writers in his book. They're trying to present scientific and research problems in plain, objective language, which isn't necessarily what we want to do with narrative writing like blogging or personal essays. We have a little more liberty to put interesting padding around the change, consequences, and solution, such as telling an opening anecdote, or drawing readers in with characters, rich details, and sensory descriptions.
Williams suggests we try to state our problem and then ask a series of so what?'s to get at the underlying problem
For your writing to be worth reading, you need to be exploring something of consequence for someone
When McPhee writes, after first immersing himself in his raw material (field notes, interview transcripts, official documents) for weeks, he then draws a structure for the work. The structure lays out the major themes and scenes he'll work through, in the order that will make them most compelling and coherent.
Developing a structure requires navigating the tension between chronology and theme. Chronology is what we default to, but themes that repeatedly appear want to pull themselves together into a single place. The themes that really matter should be in your opening. Even if the moment that best defines them happens right before the end of the timeline.
·maggieappleton.com·
On Openings Essays, Conferences Talks, and Jam Jars
From Tech Critique to Ways of Living — The New Atlantis
From Tech Critique to Ways of Living — The New Atlantis
To move beyond Heidegger, the author draws on the work of Yuk Hui, who argues for the idea of "multiple cosmotechnics" – the unification of the cosmos and morality through technical activities rooted in different cultural cosmologies: "dao" (the way/life force) and "qi" (tools/utensils)
We might think of the shifting relationship of human beings to the natural world in the terms offered by German sociologist Gerd-Günter Voß, who has traced our movement through three different models of the “conduct of life.”
The first, and for much of human history the only conduct of life, is what he calls the traditional. Your actions within the traditional conduct of life proceed from social and familial circumstances, from what is thus handed down to you. In such a world it is reasonable for family names to be associated with trades, trades that will be passed down from father to son: Smith, Carpenter, Miller.
But the rise of the various forces that we call “modernity” led to the emergence of the strategic conduct of life: a life with a plan, with certain goals — to get into law school, to become a cosmetologist, to get a corner office.
thanks largely to totalizing technology’s formation of a world in which, to borrow a phrase from Marx and Engels, “all that is solid melts into air,” the strategic model of conduct is replaced by the situational. Instead of being systematic planners, we become agile improvisers: If the job market is bad for your college major, you turn a side hustle into a business. But because you know that your business may get disrupted by the tech industry, you don’t bother thinking long-term; your current gig might disappear at any time, but another will surely present itself, which you will assess upon its arrival.
The movement through these three forms of conduct, whatever benefits it might have, makes our relations with nature increasingly instrumental. We can see this shift more clearly when looking at our changing experience of time
Within the traditional conduct of life, it is necessary to take stewardly care of the resources required for the exercise of a craft or a profession, as these get passed on from generation to generation.
But in the progression from the traditional to the strategic to the situational conduct of life, continuity of preservation becomes less valuable than immediacy of appropriation: We need more lithium today, and merely hope to find greater reserves — or a suitable replacement — tomorrow. This revaluation has the effect of shifting the place of the natural order from something intrinsic to our practices to something extrinsic. The whole of nature becomes what economists tellingly call an externality.
·thenewatlantis.com·
From Tech Critique to Ways of Living — The New Atlantis
The negotiation cycle. — ethanmarcotte.com
The negotiation cycle. — ethanmarcotte.com
my friend showed editorial work they’d done for various publications: beautiful illustrations that would accompany a feature article, a longform essay, or the like. They mentioned they didn’t really do that work any more, in part because of how tiring it was to constantly, quickly, ceaselessly produce concepts for each new piece.
our industry’s relentless investment in “artificial intelligence” means that every time a new Devin or Firefly or Sora announces itself, the rest of us have to ask how we’ll adapt this time. Dunno. Maybe it’s time we step out of that negotiation cycle, and start deciding what we want our work to look like.
I remember them talking about that work, and a phrase they used: “It requires you to be endlessly clever.”
·ethanmarcotte.com·
The negotiation cycle. — ethanmarcotte.com
The Beastification of YouTube may be coming to an end - WSJ
The Beastification of YouTube may be coming to an end - WSJ
Known as “retention editing” because of its unique ability to keep a user glued to their screen, this style features loud sound effects, fast cuts, flashing lights and zero pauses.
“It’s the Beastification of YouTube,” said Noah Kettle, co-founder of Moke Media Co., a video editing and social media monetization consultancy. MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, built his reputation by creating hyper-engaging, fast-paced videos with frequent action on screen. That led smaller YouTubers and content creators to mimic his style.
Donaldson tweeted a plea to his fellow YouTubers to “get rid of the ultra fast paced/overstim era of content.” He said that in the past year, he has slowed his videos, focused more on storytelling, “let scenes breathe, yelled less” and focused on longer videos, all of which has resulted in even more views.
if content creators require fewer editing resources, it could alter the outside editing services that many content creators use.
Creating a retention edited video requires a lot of work. “Every clip in the video should be under two seconds,” said Dara Pesheva, a 17-year-old who works as a freelance video editor for social media content creators. “Every 1.3 to 1.5 seconds you have to have a new graphic or something moving, you have to [use] a lot of effects. For every image and every transition, you have to add a sound effect. You need flashing graphics, and you have to have subtitles in every video.”
TikTok has trained users to scroll away if they aren’t hooked within the first half-second, social media video editors said. This is why so many retention edited videos start with a loud bang or whoosh sound.
“People around my age can’t focus,” Pesheva said. “They have very short attention spans. They’re used to TikTok, and so editors have to adjust for Gen Z. They have to adjust to the fact that people can’t keep their attention on something for more than a second if it’s not entertaining.”
CapCut, the video editing platform owned by TikTok parent company ByteDance, allows users to add catchy sounds and special effects to their videos with just a few taps. This has allowed anyone, even children, to create videos with tons of explosions, laser effects and animated text. Replicating those same effects on older video editing tools such as Adobe Premiere or After Effects could take hours and is far more complicated.
Connor Bibow, a freelance videographer in Georgia, said that it’s no surprise retention editing works so well on channels like MrBeast’s that cater to children, because the editing format is very similar to children’s cartoons. “It’s a lot of noises and bright colors,” he said.
Like CoComelon
Thavaseelen said he began leveraging retention editing after seeing MrBeast speak about it. “MrBeast is very open and transparent with his content, and he tells people what he said,” Thavaseelen said. “He tells people you have to optimize for retention. A lot of clips he puts on short form are retention edited.”
as MrBeast has cooled on the style, experts say that other creators are already beginning to follow. “There’s been a wave of creators who have now transitioned to just making hour-and-a-half videos with just them and a whiteboard,” Kettle said, “and they’re outperforming every single video that they’ve done that was optimized for attention.”
Cicero, the Syracuse University instructor, said that YouTube, like many art forms, has different styles that define different periods. Retention editing, he said, has defined the 2020 to 2024 era, but fatigue eventually sets in.“Early on, it was very easy to blow up and become a viral hit with [this type of editing], but now it’s a lot harder,” he said. “There are these waves of different trends in editing, or in fine art, or in music, where you have these different styles. Maybe retention editing is like the impressionist period for YouTube.”
·archive.is·
The Beastification of YouTube may be coming to an end - WSJ
Welcome to the video bloat era
Welcome to the video bloat era
A Pivot To Video tends to arrive in stages, with each stage being more expensive and producing less interesting content as things progress. Usually it goes like this: The experimentation phase, the factory phase, and the bloat phase. A great editor I worked for during the second Pivot To Video, roughly 2013-2017, who, herself worked through the first, roughly 2003-2007, described it as a massive waste of resources that wastes more resources as it becomes clearer to everyone not directly involved how much of a waste of resources it is.
It’s a fundamental issue with video as a medium that online platforms haven’t fixed and, I suspect, never will because it makes user-generated content platforms feel more professional and consistent. Like TV. The cost to produce video content always balloons as you add more people, more tools, more structure to the workflow, pushing out smaller creators and teams. And even with the pandemic lowering the barrier of entry for making video online considerably, it’s still happening again. We’re in the bloat phase now.
MrBeast, the platform’s biggest star, is spending between $3-$5 million per video right now, up from around $200,000 a video just a few years ago. To put that absolutely outrageous number in perspective, a MrBeast video is roughly the same cost per video as any episode from the first five seasons of Game Of Thrones.
Guides last year were saying you had to capture viewers in the first three seconds. I’ve read a few guides from this year that are now saying hooking a TikTok user has to happen in the first 1.5 seconds. There’s an oft-quoted “shoeshine boy” theory of markets, usually attributed to Joe Kennedy in the late 1920s, who said that when the boy shining his shoes had stock tips, he knew the market was about to collapse. Well, here’s a similar rule for digital video: If you’re trying to optimize your video in microseconds, the video pivot is probably already over.
YouTube is laser-focused on capturing the world’s televisions. In fact, the platform’s CEO, Neal Mohan announced yesterday that the platform is adding even more features for YouTube’s TV app. And TikTok, if it’s not banned or whatever, is trying to use its massive inventory of short-form video content to prop up both a search engine and an e-commerce operation. And we haven’t even talked about Meta’s video products here. There is simply no incentive for these platforms to regress even though users seem to want them to.
Tastes are clearly changing. The Washington Post article pointed to Sam Sulek, a giant muscleman on YouTube who posts 30-minute workout vlogs with barely any editing as a possible direction this is all headed in. I tried watching one of his recent videos and I’m not even sure it has any cuts in it? It’s possible that’s what’s coming next, but it’s less certain if platforms will, or rather can, allow it. Time to find out if they know how to pivot.
·garbageday.email·
Welcome to the video bloat era
Why Success Often Sows the Seeds of Failure - WSJ
Why Success Often Sows the Seeds of Failure - WSJ
Once a company becomes an industry leader, its employees, from top to bottom, start thinking defensively. Suddenly, people feel they have more to lose from challenging the status quo than upending it. As a result, one-time revolutionaries turn into reactionaries. Proof of this about-face comes when senior executives troop off to Washington or Brussels to lobby against changes that would make life easier for the new up and comers.
Years of continuous improvement produce an ultra-efficient business system—one that’s highly optimized, and also highly inflexible. Successful businesses are usually good at doing one thing, and one thing only. Over-specialization kills adaptability—but this is a tough to trap to avoid, since the defenders of the status quo will always argue that eking out another increment of efficiency is a safer bet than striking out in a new direction.
Long-tenured executives develop a deep base of industry experience and find it hard to question cherished beliefs. In successful companies, managers usually have a fine-grained view of “how the industry works,” and tend to discount data that would challenge their assumptions. Over time, mental models become hard-wired—a fact that makes industry stalwarts vulnerable to new rules. This risk is magnified when senior executives dominate internal conversations about future strategy and direction.
With success comes bulk—more employees, more cash and more market power. Trouble is, a resource advantage tends to make executives intellectually lazy—they start believing that success comes from outspending one’s rivals rather than from outthinking them. In practice, superior resources seldom defeat a superior strategy. So when resources start substituting for creativity, it’s time to short the shares.
One quick suggestion: Treat every belief you have about your business as nothing more than a hypothesis, forever open to disconfirmation. Being paranoid is good, becoming skeptical about your own beliefs is better.
·archive.is·
Why Success Often Sows the Seeds of Failure - WSJ
Design Engineering at Vercel - What we do and how we do it
Design Engineering at Vercel - What we do and how we do it
Design Engineers at Vercel blend aesthetic sensibility with technical skills. This allows us to deeply understand a problem, then design, build, and ship a solution autonomously.The team is made up of people with a wide array of skills and a lot of curiosity. We constantly experiment with new tools and mediums. This multidisciplinary approach allows the team to push what’s possible on the web.
Design Engineers care about delivering exceptional user experiences that resonate with the viewer. For the web, this means:Delightful user interactions and affordancesBuilding reusable components/primitivesPage speedCross-browser supportSupport for inclusive input modes (touch, pointers, etc.)Respecting user preferencesAccessible to users of assistive technology
Being part of the Design team gives Design Engineers the autonomy and ability to work on things that would often get deprioritized in an Engineering backlog.
The team puts resources towards polished interactions, no dropped frames, no cross-browser inconsistencies, and accessibility. Examples of design-led projects are:Vercel’s Geist font: A Sans and Mono font. An interactive playground to see every glyph and try the font.Vercel’s design system documentation: An interactive docs playground used by engineers across the company to ship Vercel.Vercel’s Design Team homepage: An exploratory page for testing new web techniques and providing design resources.Delighters in the Vercel Dashboard: Features in the Vercel Dashboard that bring it to life and delight the user.
While no individual is expected to have all the skills, the team collectively is able to execute on ambitious designs because we can:Design in FigmaDesign in codeWrite production codeDebug browser performanceWrite GLSL shadersWrite copyCreate 3D experiences with Three.jsCreate 3D models/scenes in BlenderEdit videos using CGI and practical camera effects
You can see our team’s work across Vercel:Creating and maintaining components for the internal design system used on everything from Vercel.com to the Vercel Toolbar and the Next.js documentation.Websites like the Next.js Conf website and Vercel’s product pages.Product work and docs for Vercel and Next.js.Building proof of concepts for branding and marketing.Improving the accessibility of all Vercel web properties.
·vercel.com·
Design Engineering at Vercel - What we do and how we do it
The Marriages Hanging On by a $19 Deck of Cards
The Marriages Hanging On by a $19 Deck of Cards
Players must assume full responsibility for their cards, a strategy dubbed “C.P.E.” — Conception, Planning, Execution — that was designed to combat the male tendency to execute (pick up milk from the market when asked) but leave the conceiving (recognizing that your toddler only drinks 2 percent milk) and planning (monitoring the fridge to ensure the 2 percent doesn’t run out) to the female partner. In other words, as Rodsky told me, “Own. Your. Shit.” Partners also must agree to a Minimum Standard of Care (or “M.S.C.”) for tasks, meaning that even if the owner of the Garbage card is fine with empty pizza boxes piling up on the kitchen counter, he may still have to throw them out promptly.
often, several persistent challenges emerge. Implementing the practice is time-consuming and so is maintaining it. In fact, in all of my interviews, I failed to find a couple who followed the rules to a tee for longer than a few months. Just to get Fair Play off the ground, the initiator has to read the book, procure the cards, create an organizational system (I’ve seen everything from Google spreadsheets so detailed they resemble stock-portfolio trackers to oversize whiteboards dotted with custom Etsy chore magnets), then explain it all to a partner.
A woman recently polled one group to ask whether her spouse should be expected to pick up his own socks if she owned the Cleaning card. Another turned to the Fair Play community after a family member died, seeking advice on how to ask her partner to cover her chores while she grieved. All this time and effort falls overwhelmingly on women by design.
social movements start with the oppressed,” Rodsky says, because “people who want the status quo maintained” won’t push for change. As Rodsky recently said on a podcast, “You teach somebody something now because it will benefit your future hours.” But the prep work has pushed many women away because, as one Brooklyn mother put it, it’s “more than I can handle right now.”
Stories also abound of partners agreeing to cards only to quietly drop them. This sometimes leads to “chore chicken,” a resentment-fueled phenomenon in which Partner A refuses to pick up the slack on Partner B’s tasks, so the dirty dishes fester or shirts languish at the dry cleaners. Partner A silently rages because this isn’t how C.P.E is supposed to work.
Other spouses, when invited to play fair, have responded with “I get it. You want me to do more. But I don’t want to play a game. Just tell me what to do.” That’s what Paige Connell, 33, a Boston mom of four under 6, heard when she first showed her husband the deck. “But that places the burden right back on the woman,” she says. “I don’t want to be his project manager.”
The manner in which the “fewer cards” partner responds to the Fair Play system can serve as a barometer for the health of a relationship, says Jenny Cooke Malstrom, a marriage and family therapist in Seattle. Fair Play doesn’t cause divorce, she says, but it’s more likely to backfire in at-risk relationships where the baseline level of love and respect is already low. “To have your husband straight up say ‘This isn’t important’ makes what’s already implicitly happening explicit,” Malstrom says.
a 2017 Sex Roles study which suggested that the perception of fairness in family labor is a stronger predictor of maternal mental health than the actual division of labor. The study is the primary reason her system intentionally prioritizes feelings of equity over literal equality. Rodsky isn’t the only relationship expert to say that a 50/50 chore split isn’t realistic. Brené Brown famously went viral in a 2020 appearance on The Tim Ferriss Podcast, when she explained that the balance of responsibility in her marriage changes day to day depending on each partner’s mental and emotional capacity — and that constant responsibility trading is critical to supporting one another.
“It was never written to be prescriptive. My intention was to [help women] hold their boundaries in a different way. Any movement towards ‘I’m not going to live this way anymore,’ I consider a win.”
·thecut.com·
The Marriages Hanging On by a $19 Deck of Cards
The Case for Marrying an Older Man
The Case for Marrying an Older Man
I could diligently craft an ideal existence, over years and years of sleepless nights and industry. Or I could just marry it early. So naturally I began to lug a heavy suitcase of books each Saturday to the Harvard Business School to work on my Nabokov paper. In one cavernous, well-appointed room sat approximately 50 of the planet’s most suitable bachelors. I had high breasts, most of my eggs, plausible deniability when it came to purity, a flush ponytail, a pep in my step that had yet to run out. Apologies to Progress, but older men still desired those things.
I was competitive by nature, an English-literature student with all the corresponding major ambitions and minor prospects (Great American novel; email job). A little Bovarist, frantic for new places and ideas; to travel here, to travel there, to be in the room where things happened.
Restless one Saturday night, I slipped on a red dress and snuck into a graduate-school event, coiling an HDMI cord around my wrist as proof of some technical duty. I danced. I drank for free, until one of the organizers asked me to leave. I called and climbed into an Uber. Then I promptly climbed out of it. For there he was, emerging from the revolving doors. Brown eyes, curved lips, immaculate jacket. I went to him, asked him for a cigarette. A date, days later.
Omfg
I used to love men like men love women — that is, not very well, and with a hunger driven only by my own inadequacies.
I had grown bored of discussions of fair and unfair, equal or unequal, and preferred instead to consider a thing called ease.
The greater and more visible the difference in years and status between a man and a woman, the more it strikes others as transactional. Transactional thinking in relationships is both as American as it gets and the least kosher subject in the American romantic lexicon. When a 50-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman walk down the street, the questions form themselves inside of you; they make you feel cynical and obscene: How good of a deal is that? Which party is getting the better one?
The truth is you can fall in love with someone for all sorts of reasons, tiny transactions, pluses and minuses, whose sum is your affection for each other, your loyalty, your commitment. The way someone picks up your favorite croissant. Their habit of listening hard. What they do for you on your anniversary and your reciprocal gesture, wrapped thoughtfully. The serenity they inspire; your happiness, enlivening it. When someone says they feel unappreciated, what they really mean is you’re in debt to them.
There is a boy out there who knows how to floss because my friend taught him. Now he kisses college girls with fresh breath. A boy married to my friend who doesn’t know how to pack his own suitcase. She “likes to do it for him.” A million boys who know how to touch a woman, who go to therapy because they were pushed, who learned fidelity, boundaries, decency, manners, to use a top sheet and act humanely beneath it, to call their mothers, match colors, bring flowers to a funeral and inhale, exhale in the face of rage, because some girl, some girl we know, some girl they probably don’t speak to and will never, ever credit, took the time to teach him. All while she was working, raising herself, clawing up the cliff-face of adulthood. Hauling him at her own expense.
My younger brother is in his early 20s, handsome, successful, but in many ways: an endearing disaster. By his age, I had long since wisened up. He leaves his clothes in the dryer, takes out a single shirt, steams it for three minutes. His towel on the floor, for someone else to retrieve. His lovely, same-age girlfriend is aching to fix these tendencies, among others. She is capable beyond words. Statistically, they will not end up together. He moved into his first place recently, and she, the girlfriend, supplied him with a long, detailed list of things he needed for his apartment: sheets, towels, hangers, a colander, which made me laugh. She picked out his couch. I will bet you anything she will fix his laundry habits, and if so, they will impress the next girl.
Adulthood seemed a series of exhausting obligations. But his logistics ran so smoothly that he simply tacked mine on.
we live in a world in which our power has a different shape from that of men, a different distribution of advantage, ours a funnel and theirs an expanding cone.
She has raised her fair share of same-age boyfriends. She has put her head down, worked laboriously alongside them, too. At last she is beginning to reap the dividends, earning the income to finally enjoy herself. But it is now, exactly at this precipice of freedom and pleasure, that a time problem comes closing in. If she would like to have children before 35, she must begin her next profession, motherhood, rather soon, compromising inevitably her original one.
Overlay the years a woman is supposed to establish herself in her career and her fertility window and it’s a perfect, miserable circle. By midlife women report feeling invisible, undervalued; it is a telling cliché, that after all this, some husbands leave for a younger girl. So when is her time, exactly? For leisure, ease, liberty?
There is no brand of feminism which achieved female rest. If women’s problem in the ’50s was a paralyzing malaise, now it is that they are too active, too capable, never permitted a vacation they didn’t plan.
the great gift of my marriage is flexibility. A chance to live my life before I become responsible for someone else’s — a lover’s, or a child’s. A chance to write.
I dream of new structures, a world in which women have entry-level jobs in their 30s; alternate avenues for promotion; corporate ladders with balconies on which they can stand still, have a smoke, take a break, make a baby, enjoy themselves, before they keep climbing.
End of article--see discussions in comments
·thecut.com·
The Case for Marrying an Older Man
How we redesigned the Linear UI (part Ⅱ) - Linear Blog
How we redesigned the Linear UI (part Ⅱ) - Linear Blog
the tooling we choose has a profound impact on the work we do, and, in the best case scenario, becomes a standard for how we build products. This is why we put so much care into even the tiniest details in Linear.
Even when doing concept work, you often need to focus your efforts. The design concept should feel like an exciting evolution of the product.
I didn't adhere to a specific method during the exploration phase, but typically, each day I designed a complete set of screens and flows. One day might be dedicated to designing the Inbox view, while the next day I could focus on the roadmap and projects. Other days, I explored upcoming product features. During this process, I experimented with different iterations of the sidebar, visual styles, and colors, and then linked the screens together as a prototype to assess their functionality.
Through this process, I generated hundreds of screens and was able to narrow down a few major directions that resonated most. Around this time, I began sharing the screens with other designers and people within the company to gather feedback and additional insights.
Ultimately, we settled on the main design direction, and I created a few views to showcase it
We started with the concept design Karri had originally imagined, but it wasn’t fully figured out and needed some additional design work. We didn’t know how we would bridge the previous UI design with the new style or if the new design could support all of our application states and options. We were able to make some changes off the bat, such as updating the color system, while other changes had to be punted to later on, such as the different headers you come across while navigating the app.
It’s easy for the scope of UI redesign projects to blow up. Before we got too far down any one path, we needed to get some confidence on the right option to keep everyone focused. So we ran some stress tests (or crash tests if you want to be dramatic) before going into implementation and iterating with engineers. We tested three main focus areas: the environment, the appearance, and the hierarchy.
Our app runs on Electron, so our navigation needed to work not just on macOS and Windows as a native app but also in any browser. That meant that previous/next navigation buttons, history, and tabs needed to be easily removable to work with browsers. We tested a lot of options, from very condensed to more spacious configurations. I often relied on Apple standards, which also helped get close to the feeling of a native app.
I also spent time aligning labels, icons, and buttons, both vertically and horizontally in the sidebar and tabs. It was definitely a challenge given the amount of UI elements we have on this tiny surface. This part of the redesign isn’t something you’ll immediately see but rather something that you’ll feel after a few minutes of using the app.
Karri mostly worked with opacities of black and white during his explorations, which really helped him get results quickly and helped me understand the relationship he had in mind between the elements and their respective elevation and hierarchy. As our system relied on a set of variables, I worked with Andreas on our software engineering team to polish and iterate on both the core variables and the operations we apply to them to generate our aliases for surfaces, texts, icons, and controls.
A while back, we rebuilt the system for generating custom themes in Linear, using the LCH color space instead of HSL. LCH has the benefit that it’s perpetually uniform, meaning a red and a yellow color with lightness 50 will appear roughly equally light to the human eye. This makes it possible to generate more consistently good-looking themes, regardless of which base colors are used.
Yes, the theme generation system also supports a contrast variable which defines how contrasty a theme should be. This allows us to automatically include super high-contrast themes for users who need it for accessibility reasons.
Linear relies on a set of structured layouts that support the navigation elements and content. It integrates additional headers to store filters and display options, side panels to display meta properties, as well as the actual display: list, board, timeline, split, and fullscreen.When I joined the project, Karri had already gathered most of the app's views and their respective states, so I was able to run all of my tests quite effectively. I mostly worked by type of view (list, board, split, etc.) as I found it easier to focus and ensure that every decision worked in all cases.
We divided the project into five milestones:Stress tests: Following the series of explorations made in November 2023, we tested if the direction felt right in the main views of Linear: Inbox, Triage, My Issues, Issues List, Project, Cycles, Roadmap, Search.Behavior definitions: As the direction was refined, we documented and defined the behaviors of the main components of the app: sidebar, tabs, app headers, and view headers.Sidebar and chrome refresh: We implemented the first bits of the refresh on the sidebar, tabs, and view headers. We also improved the appearance and contrast of our theme for light and dark modes. We used a feature flag to allow for internal testing at this stage.Private beta: We started rolling out the new design in Private beta to get initial feedback. Once we felt comfortable, we began rolling out the changes to a percentage of workspaces each day.GA: We released the new UI to all workspaces.
We knew that in order to move quickly and ship our work successfully, we needed to dedicate time and team resources to it. We couldn’t treat it as a side project.
Each afternoon, we divided the coding portions into groups of two engineers while designers iterated on other parts of the project, building a pipeline for us to work from. This daily back-and-forth between designers and engineers helped us get the first working version of the new UI by the end of the week
Next, we worked on the Inbox. We redesigned notifications to be more centered around the notification type and emphasized the faces of your teammates. We simplified headers and filters to improve the overall navigation. We also reviewed comments alignments and harmonized the look of our buttons with the new themes.
We started using Inter Display to add more expression to our headings while maintaining their readability and kept using regular Inter for the rest of the text elements.
·linear.app·
How we redesigned the Linear UI (part Ⅱ) - Linear Blog
A design reset (part I) - Linear blog
A design reset (part I) - Linear blog
On advocating for a widespread product redesign at a company that resists it
The challenges start from the fact that it's never a good time to do a redesign. It's hard to make it a priority. It's difficult to calculate the ROI on it. And if you run your product with A/B testing, every global redesign will tank the metrics in the short term.
The real need for redesigns often comes when you have created a successful product and it has evolved with the market and users over time.
We ship small changes daily, and something major almost every week. Every year, it's almost like a new product. This incremental way of building the product is hugely beneficial, and often necessary — though it unbalances the overall design, and leads to design debt. Each new capability adds stress on the product's existing surfaces for which it was initially designed. Functionality no longer fits in a coherent way. It needs to be rebalanced and rethought.
If your product evolves fast, you should be paying this debt every 2-3 years. The longer you wait and the more successful your product becomes, the more you will have to untangle.
Slowly the user sentiment and perception might start turning negative and you might start looking like a dinosaur incumbent. This leaves an opportunity for some nimbler player to come along and compete in your market. Companies often try to address this with brand refreshes, but if you don’t refresh the product, nothing truly changes about the experience.
While the design debt often happens in small increments, it’s best to be paid in larger sweeps. This goes against the common wisdom in engineering where complete code rewrites are avoided. The difference is that on the engineering side, a modular or incremental way of working can work as the technical implementation is not really visible. Whereas the product experience is holistic and visual. You cannot predict which path the user takes. If you update just one module or view at a time, the overall experience becomes more disjointed. Secondly, if your goal is to reset and rebalance the whole product UI and experience, you have to consider all the needs simultaneously. An incremental approach doesn’t let you do that.
I’ve never seen redesigns successfully executed without the CEO behind it. While design might have a seat at the table generally, they are usually not able to convince everyone around that table. Only the CEO can push through all the excuses and give the latitude to a project touching all of the surfaces the product needs.
The way to get the CEO involved is to tie a design reset into a larger company shift or directional change. For example, if a company is looking at a new product, or major new feature, a redesign project can be a way to imagine how it might look or feel. This can be the justification for why you need to spin up the team (and at the same time, you can make a case for updating the rest of the product experience).
Organizations are often quite stuck in their views and ways of doing things, making them less enthusiastic about something new. When I was at Airbnb, the mobile redesign project was a way to shift the company to become mobile-first. It set the tone and got the message across to the whole company that mobile was happening and that it was happening now. While it looks like an obvious change in hindsight, there were many arguments against it at the time and it took a lot of convincing. Switching to think about mobile meant the design and features had to be rethought to work in that platform.
While Linear is a smaller and younger company, we’re also undergoing a shift. The product vision has widened from a simple issue tracker to a purpose-built system for product development. We are now moving into planning workflows that naturally come before the building or execution phase of building products. This product evolution creates new future needs from the product design, and we have to make space for it.
When you realize that a design reset is needed for your product, how do you actually get started with the project? You start with a standalone team to explore the new concept design and create something the company can rally around.The auto industry has a practice of building “concept cars”, where they explore the next version of the car freely and boldly without considering practicality. A concept car sets the direction, but usually is not expected to land in production because it’s too impractical or costly to manufacture.
A secret I've learned is that when you tell people a design is a "concept" or "conceptual" it makes it less likely that the idea is attacked from whatever perspective they hold or problems they see with it. The concept is not perceived as real, but something that can be entertained. By bringing leaders or even teams along with the concept iterations, it starts to solidify the new direction in their mind, eventually becoming more and more familiar. That's the power of visual design.
·linear.app·
A design reset (part I) - Linear blog
Tulpa - Wikipedia
Tulpa - Wikipedia
Tulpa is a concept originally from Tibetan Buddhism and found in later traditions of mysticism and the paranormal of a materialized being or thought-form
The Theosophist Annie Besant, in the 1905 book Thought-Forms, divides them into three classes: forms in the shape of the person who creates them, forms that resemble objects or people and may become ensouled by nature spirits or by the dead, and forms that represent inherent qualities from the astral or mental planes, such as emotions.
The Slender Man has been described by some people as a tulpa-effect, and attributed to multiple people's thought processes.
·en.wikipedia.org·
Tulpa - Wikipedia
A Collection of Design Engineers
A Collection of Design Engineers
Design Engineer is the latest label we're chucking onto the pile of obfuscatory design titles alongside interface designer, interaction designer, software designer, web designer, product designer, design systems architect, UI/UX designer, UX engineer, UI engineer, and front-of-the-front-end engineer.
Throwing this extra label onto the pile feels necessary though. Design engineer captures something simple, important, and worth distinguishing: a person who sits squarely at the intersection of design and engineering, and works to bridge the gap between them.
They're people who know how to run a design process to decide how something should work, look, and feel, and have the engineering chops to implement it. They can quickly iterate on ideas by cycling between design exploration, research, and live code. The skillset is ideal for prototyping, exploratory interaction design, and building robust design systems.
Most from a small set of companies like Vercel, Linear, The Browser Company and Replit, known for their attention to interface design detail and slick product interactions, who are clearly encouraging and cultivating design-engineer hybrids.
People are incentivised to only share their sexy, shiny, flawless creations, rather than their messy process or shameful failures. Some of the especially tedious and labourious work isn't easily shareable, such as advocating for robust design systems and cleaning up legacy code.
I am not under any illusions that these public works constitute the entirety of what design engineers create or spend all day making. I'm sure some spend their days “aligning stakeholders,” buried under a mountain of strategic documents and trapped by heirarchical approval chains. Say a small prayer for them.
·maggieappleton.com·
A Collection of Design Engineers
Opinion - The Era of Prestige TV Is Ending. We’re Going to Miss It When It’s Gone.
Opinion - The Era of Prestige TV Is Ending. We’re Going to Miss It When It’s Gone.
Emmy mainstays like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Better Call Saul” and “Succession” have all ended their runs, and the newer Emmy parvenus, such as the comedies “Abbott Elementary” and “Jury Duty,” while excellent, harken back to an earlier, mass-market era of television that was dominated by sitcoms and hourlong procedurals.
·nytimes.com·
Opinion - The Era of Prestige TV Is Ending. We’re Going to Miss It When It’s Gone.
Andrew Huberman’s Mechanisms of Control
Andrew Huberman’s Mechanisms of Control
Even when physically present, Huberman can be hard to track. “I don’t have total fidelity to who Andrew is,” says his friend Patrick Dossett. “There’s always a little unknown there.” He describes Andrew as an “amazing thought partner” with “almost total recall,” such a memory that one feels the need to watch what one says; a stray comment could surface three years later. And yet, at other times, “you’re like, All right, I’m saying words and he’s nodding or he is responding, but I can tell something I said sent him down a path that he’s continuing to have internal dialogue about, and I need to wait for him to come back.”
When they fought, it was, she says, typically because Andrew would fixate on her past choices: the men she had been with before him, the two children she had had with another man.
Another friend found him stressful to be around. “I try to be open-minded,” she said of the relationship. “I don’t want to be the most negative, nonsupportive friend just because of my personal observations and disgust over somebody.” When they were together, he was buzzing, anxious. “He’s like, ‘Oh, my dog needs his blanket this way.’ And I’m like, ‘Your dog is just laying there and super-cozy. Why are you being weird about the blanket?’”
·nymag.com·
Andrew Huberman’s Mechanisms of Control
Fandom's Great Divide
Fandom's Great Divide
The 1970s sitcom "All in the Family" sparked debates with its bigoted-yet-lovable Archie Bunker character, leaving audiences divided over whether the show was satirizing prejudice or inadvertently promoting it, and reflecting TV's power to shape societal attitudes.
This sort of audience divide, not between those who love a show and those who hate it but between those who love it in very different ways, has become a familiar schism in the past fifteen years, during the rise of—oh, God, that phrase again—Golden Age television. This is particularly true of the much lauded stream of cable “dark dramas,” whose protagonists shimmer between the repulsive and the magnetic. As anyone who has ever read the comments on a recap can tell you, there has always been a less ambivalent way of regarding an antihero: as a hero
a subset of viewers cheered for Walter White on “Breaking Bad,” growling threats at anyone who nagged him to stop selling meth. In a blog post about that brilliant series, I labelled these viewers “bad fans,” and the responses I got made me feel as if I’d poured a bucket of oil onto a flame war from the parapets of my snobby critical castle. Truthfully, my haters had a point: who wants to hear that they’re watching something wrong?
·newyorker.com·
Fandom's Great Divide
The Other Two Captures the Strangeness of Social Media Stardom
The Other Two Captures the Strangeness of Social Media Stardom
Social media is the lens for a lot of the show’s biggest bits and even plotlines. It is, just as in life, omnipresent, and so, even as the show spotlights the inherent ridiculousness of the extremely online, it also understands the way social media is a deranging accelerant of everyday problems, and thus a medium of everyday life.
These are all just a bunch of funny jokes about people who are too online, celebrities whose shallow fame exists only by way of the apps, and a contemporary American culture hypnotized by the blue light of screens.
In her book The Drama of Celebrity, the scholar Sharon Marcus argues that celebrity, as we know it, is a cultural phenomenon with three distinct authors. There’s the celebrity, who expresses themself through whatever art or product they make; there are the journalists who write about and photograph and criticize and otherwise construct the celebrity’s public image; and then there’s the public, who contribute devotion and imagination, and money, and love and hate.
There was a time when Marilyn Monroe emerged as an illusion, a trick of the light produced between herself, her studio’s massive press apparatus, and an adoring and vampiric public. Today, anyone can be an illusion like this, if at smaller scale.
The show by no means wants to redeem the industry, but, this season especially, it’s become invested in exposing the lazy nihilism that can come along with seeing the worst in people. If you run into a craven, soulless industry hack in the morning, you ran into a craven, soulless industry hack; if you run into them all day, you are the craven, soulless industry hack.
The Other Two is about identity. It’s a flimsy, fungible thing, and it’s a trap. It’s a point of pride and a point of embarrassment. There’s the real you that we all struggle to find and to express truthfully; there’s the version of yourself that you perform for the public; there’s the version of you that others create in and against their own image.
·newrepublic.com·
The Other Two Captures the Strangeness of Social Media Stardom
Euphoria's Cinematography Explained — Light, Camera Movement, and Long Takes
Euphoria's Cinematography Explained — Light, Camera Movement, and Long Takes
to Levinson, emotional realism meant making the internal external. In other words, he wanted to show the extreme highs and lows of adolescence visually, even if those visuals didn’t adhere to a physical realism.
why not give a show that’s not like a realistic portrait of the youth but more like how they portray themselves
most of the time, we’re using primary colors, and I’m relying a lot on the orange-blue color contrast, which is a really basic one… We use that in night scenes, as well as in day scenes.”As the Euphoria cinematographer notes, the orange-blue contrast is a classic use of a complementary color scheme. And it is used in countless films and TV shows. But Rév cranks up the orange-ness and blue-ness of the lights, creating a contrast that goes beyond the reality of a setting.
the lighting is not completely divorced from the physical reality of the situation. The blue is motivated by the moon, the orange by streetlights. But the degree to which he leans into this contrast is what goes beyond reality and into emotional realism.
“Of course, you have party scenes and stuff, [with] basic colors. Sometimes, it’s red; sometimes, it’s blue,” explains the Euphoria cinematographer. “But we try to stick to one defined color, and not be all over the place.”
I would say the camera movement is the glue in the show, that glues it together.
With a few exceptions, the camera seems to float, giving it an ethereal quality matching the show’s mood.“When the camera is moving, it’s always on tracks or on a dolly,” said Levinson. “We do very little handheld camerawork. And probably 70 percent of the show is shot on sets.”These sets are key to the camera movement. Because the sets are built from the ground up, they are often constructed with specific camera maneuvers in mind.
Of course, this level of complexity requires a massive amount of planning, including storyboarding the camera movements.“Marcell and I sat down with Peter Beck, our storyboard artist, and we basically storyboarded the entire episode,” says Levinson. “There were roughly 700 or 800 boards, and then, in conversation with [production director] Michael [Grasley], we built all the sets from those boards.”The shot took a whopping six days to finish, a rarity in television. “Part of the nature of television is that it doesn’t usually allow for a lot of indulgence,” explains Levinson. “On this show, we made the decision in advance not to do a lot of coverage, which is unusual for television. But in deciding to shoot that way, we accepted the fact that we had to really plan the thing out to get it right.”This type of auteur-esque control is what allows Euphoria cinematography to look so striking. It’s a show which has a visual style that few other series have ever matched.
·studiobinder.com·
Euphoria's Cinematography Explained — Light, Camera Movement, and Long Takes
Why Does Everything On Netflix Look Like That?
Why Does Everything On Netflix Look Like That?
Although it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly makes all Netflix shows look the same, a few things stand out: The image in general is dark, and the colors are extremely saturated; Especially in scenes at night, there tends to be a lot of colored lighting, making everything look like it’s washed in neon even if the characters are inside; Actors look like the makeup is caked on their faces, and details in their costumes like puckering seams are unusually visible
Much like you can instantly recognize a Syfy channel production by its heavy reliance on greenscreen but not as expensive computer-generated special effects, or a Hallmark movie by it’s bright, fluffy, pastel look, Netflix productions also have recognizable aesthetics. Even if you don’t know what to look for, it’s so distinct that you’ll probably be able to guess whether or not something was created for Netflix just based on a few frames.
Netflix requests some basic technical specifications from all its productions, which include things like what cameras to use, Netflix’s minimum requirements for the resolution of the image, and what percentage of the production can use a non-approved camera.
Connor described the budgets on Netflix projects as being high, but in an illusory way. This is because in the age of streaming, “above the line” talent like big name actors or directors get more of the budget that’s allotted to Netflix projects because they won’t get any backend compensation from the profits of the film or television show.“They're over compensated at the beginning,” Connor said. “That means that all of your above the line talent now costs, on day one that the series drops, 130 percent of what it costs somewhere else. So your overall budget looks much higher, but in fact, what's happened is to try to save all that money, you pull it out of things like design and location.”
·vice.com·
Why Does Everything On Netflix Look Like That?
Art of the Cut: Dune 2
Art of the Cut: Dune 2
the early television speaker technology was closer in design to a telephone: built to maximize vocal range over other things. But in Cinema we’re a lot more free. This was mixed in Dolby Atmos, native. So sound was always a very key strategy.
I think TV is so dialogue-driven because in the early days, you couldn’t really have very cinematic images. You’re just looking at a small screen. What are you gonna do? You gotta tell me the story with talking.
our aim in Dune, which is a vast ensemble piece with a complex story and complex backgrounds and Frank Herbert’s almost fractal approach to storytelling, we had to have utter clarity and delivery of ideas.
There’s been some recent discussion about burdensome amounts of dialogue in film because of the influence of Television. From my background in Britain, it’s probably something I recognize more as the heritage of Radio and Theater rather than Television.
What’s the pace, the overall pace of a film? When I say pace, I don’t just mean how fast the cuts are. I mean what is moving you, underneath? What is the big drive in the story and how do we cross-cut those? If you cut off the flow too soon, it’s just an age old editing conundrum.  In TV often – Mad Men for example is constantly doing the Chinese plate trick of going between different story strands, keeping each plate spinning, and that works in TV because of the medium.
in a feature film where you want a strong feeling of drive, it’s sometimes a better idea to kind of combine stories or to let them flow. I’m basically playing with Paul’s story, the Harkonnen story, and on Jessica laying “the Way." Irulan’s diaries always gave us an opportunity to clarify their progress. And to that end, Denis shot a beautiful amount of material of the diary room.
There wer so many more angles than we needed because he knew that we might need to improvise one [a diary scene] and we did.
·borisfx.com·
Art of the Cut: Dune 2
Vision Pro is an over-engineered “devkit” // Hardware bleeds genius & audacity but software story is disheartening // What we got wrong at Oculus that Apple got right // Why Meta could finally have its Android moment
Vision Pro is an over-engineered “devkit” // Hardware bleeds genius & audacity but software story is disheartening // What we got wrong at Oculus that Apple got right // Why Meta could finally have its Android moment
Some of the topics I touch on: Why I believe Vision Pro may be an over-engineered “devkit” The genius & audacity behind some of Apple’s hardware decisions Gaze & pinch is an incredible UI superpower and major industry ah-ha moment Why the Vision Pro software/content story is so dull and unimaginative Why most people won’t use Vision Pro for watching TV/movies Apple’s bet in immersive video is a total game-changer for live sports Why I returned my Vision Pro… and my Top 10 wishlist to reconsider Apple’s VR debut is the best thing that ever happened to Oculus/Meta My unsolicited product advice to Meta for Quest Pro 2 and beyond
Apple really played it safe in the design of this first VR product by over-engineering it. For starters, Vision Pro ships with more sensors than what’s likely necessary to deliver Apple’s intended experience. This is typical in a first-generation product that’s been under development for so many years. It makes Vision Pro start to feel like a devkit.
A sensor party: 6 tracking cameras, 2 passthrough cameras, 2 depth sensors(plus 4 eye-tracking cameras not shown)
it’s easy to understand two particularly important decisions Apple made for the Vision Pro launch: Designing an incredible in-store Vision Pro demo experience, with the primary goal of getting as many people as possible to experience the magic of VR through Apple’s lenses — most of whom have no intention to even consider a $4,000 purchase. The demo is only secondarily focused on actually selling Vision Pro headsets. Launching an iconic woven strap that photographs beautifully even though this strap simply isn’t comfortable enough for the vast majority of head shapes. It’s easy to conclude that this decision paid off because nearly every bit of media coverage (including and especially third-party reviews on YouTube) uses the woven strap despite the fact that it’s less comfortable than the dual loop strap that’s “hidden in the box”.
Apple’s relentless and uncompromising hardware insanity is largely what made it possible for such a high-res display to exist in a VR headset, and it’s clear that this product couldn’t possibly have launched much sooner than 2024 for one simple limiting factor — the maturity of micro-OLED displays plus the existence of power-efficient chipsets that can deliver the heavy compute required to drive this kind of display (i.e. the M2).
·hugo.blog·
Vision Pro is an over-engineered “devkit” // Hardware bleeds genius & audacity but software story is disheartening // What we got wrong at Oculus that Apple got right // Why Meta could finally have its Android moment
Saving the Liberal Arts - David Perell
Saving the Liberal Arts - David Perell
  • The decline of Liberal Arts is driven by both financial and ideological factors.
    • Universities prioritize career-focused majors due to funding cuts and student demand for practical skills.
    • The high cost of college tuition pushes students to focus on getting a high-paying job after graduation.
    • Professional skills become obsolete quickly, while a Liberal Arts education provides a foundation of knowledge that is timeless.
    • Liberal Arts education is considered "fundamental knowledge" that is slow to change and provides a broader perspective.
  • People are sacrificing their well-being for work without questioning why.
  • Obsession with productivity discourages people from pursuing non-income producing knowledge.
  • The decline of leisure time reduces opportunities for contemplation and reflection.
  • The Liberal Arts provide timeless and fundamental knowledge that is applicable across situations.
    • Universities prioritize filtering students for the labor market over nurturing their potential.
    • The tenure system can incentivize research over teaching and responsiveness to student needs.
  • A Liberal Arts education helps people question societal structures and appreciate life beyond materialism.
  • Critique of universities for prioritizing job placement over a well-rounded education.
There’s a trade-off between practicality and timelessness. Knowledge at the top of the chart, such as fashion and commerce, is immediately actionable, but decays the fastest. They’re relevant in everyday life for social and earning an income, but their specifics have a short half-life. Meanwhile, culture and nature are deeper on the chart. They offer fundamental knowledge. Their lessons apply everywhere, even if they’re beyond the scope of conscious thought in most people’s day-to-day lives. The further down the layers you travel, the longer it will take for the knowledge to pay off, but the longer that information will stay relevant and the more widely applicable it will be.
by pushing students to pursue what is immediately profitable instead of what’s ultimately meaningful, they will devalue fundamental knowledge. That’s because the business models for income share agreements and student debt insurance only work if the students make a lot of money after college.
In a study conducted during her time there, three quarters of freshmen said college was essential to developing a meaningful philosophy of life. By contrast, only a third said that it was essential to financial well-being. Today, those fractions have flipped.
You shouldn’t need to attend four years of college to earn a living. Instead, we should make it cheap and expedient for young people to receive a professional education and develop practical skills. After a year of training in the classroom, they can do an apprenticeship where they can get paid to learn instead of paying to learn.
These changes will help young adults achieve financial stability, build economically rewarded skills, and break free from parental dependence. They should study the Liberal Arts when they’re older. Rather than forcing students to slog through Dostoevsky when they are 18 — when they’re all wondering, rightly, how this is going to help them find a job — we should create schools for amateurs of all ages so they can read Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov later, when they have the life experience to appreciate it.
Today, most students are only able to formally study the Liberal Arts between the ages of 18 and 30. They only have four years during their undergraduate degree, and only the most academically ambitious of them continue their studies into graduate school. Of those who pursue a master’s degree, most stay in academia.
But if students could take Liberal Arts classes later in life, a much greater percentage would learn for the joy of it. Once again, the religious metaphor holds. No Church expects its congregants to only study the Bible for four years, with an option to keep studying as long as you plan to become a priest. But that’s what we do with the Liberal Arts.
Plato would have criticized today’s Westerners who compromise an erudite life and salivate over wealth instead, even when they’re swimming in riches.49 In a criticism of his contemporaries, he observed that their love of wealth “leaves them no respite to concern themselves with anything other than their private property. The soul of the citizen today is entirely taken up with getting rich and with making sure that every day brings its share of profit. The citizen is ready to learn any technique, to engage in any kind of activity, so long as it is profitable. He thumbs his nose at the rest.”
To prevent these failure modes, there are three guidelines Liberal Arts schools should follow: Don’t focus on practical skills, prize free thinking over ideology, and target an older audience of professionally established people.
A market-driven curriculum will create McDegree programs where students study the kinds of self-help books you find in the philosophy section of an airport bookstore. Think of already-popular books like Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life, which reduces the great Greek philosopher into a self-help guru.
People who are employed struggle to pursue a Liberal Arts education not just because they have busy schedules, but because the material can feel so disconnected from daily reality.
With the extended focus on Professional Education at the early stage of a career, we should create opportunities for students to receive a Civilized Education throughout their life where they can appreciate life beyond the almighty Dollar.
Wesleyan President Michael Roth, the author of the best book I’ve read on the Liberal Arts, once wrote: “Education is for human development, human freedom, not the molding of an individual into a being who can perform a particular task. That would be slavery.” Up until now, our colleges have followed a philosophy of giving young people freedom early and waiting until the postgraduate years to focus on a profession. Only toward the end of the 20th century did a bachelor’s degree become a prerequisite for most jobs and professional academic study such as a master’s or a PhD. We should return to a world where Civilized Education is not mandatory. Where students can postpone the Liberal Arts to acquire technical skills that are rewarded in the economic marketplace. Students are already asking for the changes, as shown by the changing composition of majors.
College was once a place to explore the True, the Good, and the Beautiful without regard for utility. But today, it’s seen as a means toward the end of finding a job. Ideas that aren’t economically valuable are belittled as useless knowledge. Materialism has become our North Star. As a society, we measure progress in changes to the material world, where we prioritize what we can see and measure. We evaluate ourselves by productivity, our economy by the availability of cheap goods, and our civilization by the rate of technological progress. We’ve forgotten about our human need for wonder, beauty, and contemplation. Today, we worship the Factual, the Useful, and the Monetizable.
Don’t get me wrong. The fruits of clean water and modern medicine are miraculous. But what good is a materialistic utopia if it comes at the cost of a spiritual one? We are more indebted, depressed, and suicidal than ever before. And yet, we continue to worship technological progress and material abundance as if they will elevate the soul. As so, we run and run and run — hoping that all that effort will save us. But if people feel too constrained to pursue wonder and beauty as ends in themselves, are we really making progress?
Mistaking money for cultural well-being is like mistaking a roof for a home. ROI-brain only speaks in the language of materialism, and we should be skeptical of it. Otherwise, our lives will follow the leash of cheap pleasures and distracting dopamine hits. Corporations, too, will continue to sell instant improvements without regard for their long-term effects.
Taken all together, the Liberal Arts is the meta-recognition of our world.
If we cannot question the systems that guide our lives, we will be enslaved to them. Nor will we be saved by comfort, pleasure, or a respectable job that impresses our family at the Thanksgiving table. Only with a Liberal Arts education will we develop the capacity to thrive as conscious adults. By studying the foundations of how we think, who we are, and how we got here, we’ll gain control over our minds and create a more flourishing civilization.
·perell.com·
Saving the Liberal Arts - David Perell
Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways - A Review
Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways - A Review
A significant body of work has investigated the effects of acute exercise, defined as a single bout of physical activity, on mood and cognitive functions in humans. Several excellent recent reviews have summarized these findings; however, the neurobiological basis of these results has received less attention. In this review, we will first briefly summarize the cognitive and behavioral changes that occur with acute exercise in humans. We will then review the results from both human and animal model studies documenting the wide range of neurophysiological and neurochemical alterations that occur after a single bout of exercise. Finally, we will discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and missing elements in the current literature, as well as offer an acute exercise standardization protocol and provide possible goals for future research.
As we age, cognitive decline, though not inevitable, is a common occurrence resulting from the process of neurodegeneration. In some instances, neurodegeneration results in mild cognitive impairment or more severe forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s disease. Because of the role of exercise in enhancing neurogenesis and brain plasticity, physical activity may serve as a potential therapeutic tool to prevent, delay, or treat cognitive decline. Indeed, studies in both rodents and humans have shown that long-term exercise is helpful in both delaying the onset of cognitive decline and dementia as well as improving symptoms in patients with an already existing diagnosis
·ncbi.nlm.nih.gov·
Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways - A Review
Ask HN: How can I learn about performance optimization? | Hacker News
Ask HN: How can I learn about performance optimization? | Hacker News
1. First and foremost: measure early, measure often. It's been said so often and it still needs repeating. In fact, the more you know about performance the easier it can be to fall into the trap of not measuring enough. Measuring will show exactly where you need to focus your efforts. It will also tell you without question whether your work has actually lead to an improvement, and to what degree.2. The easiest way to make things go faster is to do less work. Use a more efficient algorithm, refactor code to eliminate unnecessary operations, move repeated work outside of loops. There are many flavours, but very often the biggest performance boosts are gained by simply solving the same problem through fewer instructions.3. Understand the performance characteristics of your system. Is your application CPU bound, GPU compute bound, memory bound? If you don't know this you could make the code ten times as fast without gaining a single ms because the system is still stuck waiting for a memory transfer. On the flip side, if you know your system is busy waiting for memory, perhaps you can move computations to this spot to leverage this free work? This is particularly important in shader optimizations (latency hiding).4. Solve a different problem! You can very often optimize your program by redefining your problem. Perhaps you are using the optimal algorithm for the problem as defined. But what does the end user really need? Often there are very similar but much easier problems which are equivalent for all practical purposes. Sometimes because the complexity lies in special cases which can be avoided or because there's a cheap approximation which gives sufficient accuracy. This happens especially often in graphics programming where the end goal is often to give an impression that you've calculated something.
Things that eat CPU: iterations, string operations. Things that waste CPU: lock contentions in multi-threaded environments, wait states.
·news.ycombinator.com·
Ask HN: How can I learn about performance optimization? | Hacker News
Memetics - Wikipedia
Memetics - Wikipedia
The term "meme" was coined by biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene,[1] to illustrate the principle that he later called "Universal Darwinism".
He gave as examples, tunes, catchphrases, fashions, and technologies. Like genes, memes are selfish replicators and have causal efficacy; in other words, their properties influence their chances of being copied and passed on.
Just as genes can work together to form co-adapted gene complexes, so groups of memes acting together form co-adapted meme complexes or memeplexes.
Criticisms of memetics include claims that memes do not exist, that the analogy with genes is false, that the units cannot be specified, that culture does not evolve through imitation, and that the sources of variation are intelligently designed rather than random.
·en.m.wikipedia.org·
Memetics - Wikipedia