Quotes

Metaphier and metaphrand

Jaynes described a metaphor as comprising of two parts. The metaphrand is the thing to be described or understood, and the metaphier is the more familiar thing with which it is compared. The human body is a very common metaphier; we speak of the head of a table, the foot of a mountain, the face and hands of a clock, and the mouth of a river.



Matuschak on transmissionism

Lectures, as a medium, have no carefully-considered cognitive model at their foundation. Yet if we were aliens observing typical lectures from afar, we might notice the implicit model they appear to share: “the lecturer says words describing an idea; the class hears the words and maybe scribbles in a notebook; then the class understands the idea.” In learning sciences, we call this model “transmissionism.” It’s the notion that knowledge can be directly transmitted from teacher to student, like transcribing text from one page onto another. If only! The idea is so thoroughly discredited that “transmissionism” is only used pejoratively, in reference to naive historical teaching practices. Or as an ad-hominem in juicy academic spats.



Matuschak on book absorbtion

Have you ever had a book like this—one you’d read—come up in conversation, only to discover that you’d absorbed what amounts to a few sentences? I’ll be honest: it happens to me regularly. Often things go well at first. I’ll feel I can sketch the basic claims, paint the surface; but when someone asks a basic probing question, the edifice instantly collapses. Sometimes it’s a memory issue: I simply can’t recall the relevant details. But just as often, as I grasp about, I’ll realize I had never really understood the idea in question, though I’d certainly thought I understood when I read the book. Indeed, I’ll realize that I had barely noticed how little I’d absorbed until that very moment.

[...]

Some people may have read Thinking, Fast and Slow for entertainment value, but in exchange for their tens of millions of collective hours, I suspect many readers—or maybe even most readers—expected to walk away with more. Why else would we feel so startled when we notice how little we’ve absorbed from something we’ve read?

All this suggests a peculiar conclusion: as a medium, books are surprisingly bad at conveying knowledge, and readers mostly don’t realize it.



Matt Webb’s “Social Attention” prototype

Right now the web is either fully social, like when you’re collaborating in Google Docs, or it’s a solitary experience. There’s very little between. Yes you do sometimes get moments that are almost social, like when you read a product review on Amazon or a comment on a blog post, but it’s like walking into a room that somebody’s just left: there’s a note on the table, and the door on the far end is closing shut.

[...]

And yes, I know that Medium and Amazon Kindle share text highlights, but that happens only once it has been highlighted – I want something that lets you see life on the other side of the screen. Especially because it becomes suddenly more useful when you’re coordinating with someone else in a different channel. And, yes, of course there are more fully transparent systems like live cursors or annotations… but this is a blog and not a chatroom. I want the patina of fingerprints, the quiet and comfortable background hum of a library.



Marsh on contemporary digital cultures

[...] contemporary digital cultures provide rich opportunities for the promotion of play that is rooted in children’s everyday experiences. This is not [...] an inferior form of play; rather, it sits alongside more traditional play activities and is important for creative development



Magical scientist ability

[...] metaphor is more than a classroom aid. It is a crucial element of discovery and invention. Scientists are not blessed with a magical ability to apprehend the world as a vortex of symbols and equations, as Neo appeared to do in the film The Matrix. Scientists, like everyone else, seek to cast what they see in terms of what they have already seen.



Louis Cole on Money

This song isn’t me asking for money, and this song isn’t me saying that its bad to make money. In fact ever since I released the song “bank account” (when money was real low a lot) I’ve been living pretty comfortably. The point of the song is: my mission with music is not to make money, my mission is to make the best music I possibly can. And shittily, that is not the mission of a lot of music you have heard. A lot of music is money driven. And that $ mindset dilutes the absolute FUCK out of the realness and spirit of art. So I’m saying I want to keep the money separate from the art, and I really actually only need enough money to be able to live a life where I can create freely (food, shelter, instruments, no day job), that is TRULY the ultimate dream life as a die hard artist.



Yuill on shared e-books

We believe that designers could think more about how [e-books] can be designed for sharing [...] Book Trust figures report a drop from 86 per cent of parents reading with their five-year-olds to just 38 per cent with 11-year-olds. There is a possibility that the clever redesign of e-books and tablets might just slow that trend.



Look at me creating

My essay was garbage. But it was my garbage.

So I kept at it, day after day. I once again started feeling smugly superior to my fellow bus riders. Look at me creating, I thought. Look at me contributing to the world, while these reptiles just distract themselves with their phones until they die.

This arrogance lasts for a few seconds until I re-read the stream-of-consciousness dogshit I’m typing into my phone.

Tom Cleveland
TJCX.me
August 21, 2019


Literature and storytelling games

When a technology is surpassed, and we can see the book as a form of technology, it is rarely rendered entirely obsolete. Often, it becomes a niche concern or finds that its very limitations are strengths. The simplicity, clarity and imaginative capacity of literature offers something that games, which immerse the player in immaculately-rendered environments, can lack.

Games like 80 Days, for instance, have revived the tradition while others like Firewatch have incorporated aspects of text-based adventures. And while games like Gone Home and Tacoma are spatial explorations, there are traces of literary mysteries within them, in the way clues emerge, stories unfold and the player becomes increasingly absorbed. The balance of storytelling and interactivity is key. We want to feel we discover things, even when they were placed there for us to find.



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