Listened to History of the English Language, 2nd Edition, Lecture 6: The Beginnings of English by Seth LererSeth Lerer from The Great Courses

Delve into the linguistic relationships of Old English to its earlier German matrix. Look at key vocabulary terms—many of which are still in our own language—to trace patterns of migration, social contact, and intellectual change. Also, learn how Old English was written down and how it can help us reconstruct the worldview of the Anglo-Saxon peoples.

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer

Yesterday started off with a small family emergency. As a result Thanksgiving was postponed until today. I’ve been hard at work cleaning up, making an apple pie, a turkey, and green beans. Hopefully dinner this evening will be more memorable than last.

In a turn of good luck, the rain also seems to have finally passed and the sun has emerged!

Listened to Mindscape 72 | César Hidalgo on Information in Societies, Economies, and the Universe by Sean CarrollSean Carroll from preposterousuniverse.com

Maxwell’s Demon is a famous thought experiment in which a mischievous imp uses knowledge of the velocities of gas molecules in a box to decrease the entropy of the gas, which could then be used to do useful work such as pushing a piston. This is a classic example of converting information (what the gas molecules are doing) into work. But of course that kind of phenomenon is much more widespread — it happens any time a company or organization hires someone in order to take advantage of their know-how. César Hidalgo has become an expert in this relationship between information and work, both at the level of physics and how it bubbles up into economies and societies. Looking at the world through the lens of information brings new insights into how we learn things, how economies are structured, and how novel uses of data will transform how we live.

César Hidalgo received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Notre Dame. He currently holds an ANITI Chair at the University of Toulouse, an Honorary Professorship at the University of Manchester, and a Visiting Professorship at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. From 2010 to 2019, he led MIT’s Collective Learning group. He is the author of Why Information Grows and co-author of The Atlas of Economic Complexity. He is a co-founder of Datawheel, a data visualization company whose products include the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Mindscape cover art

It was interesting to hear Cesar Hidalgo use the concept of “big history” a few times in this episode. I’m not 100% sure he meant it in the David Christian sense of the words, but it at least felt right.

I was also piqued at the mention of Lynne Kelly’s work, which I’m now knee deep into. I suspect it could dramatically expand on what we think of as the capacity of a personbyte, though the limit of knowledge there still exists. The idea of mnemotechniques within indigenous cultures certainly expands on the way knowledge worked in prehistory and what we classically think of and frame collective knowledge or collective learning.

I also think there are some interesting connections with Dr. Kelly’s mentions of social equity in prehistorical cultures and the work that Hidalgo mentions in the middle of the episode.

There are a small handful of references I’ll want to delve into after hearing this, though it may take time to pull them up unless they’re linked in the show notes.

 

hat-tip: Complexity Digest for the reminder that this is in my podcatcher. 🔖 November 22, 2019 at 03:28PM

📗 Started reading The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth Lerer

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer

I’d gone through the first edition several years back and thought I’d do a quick review, particularly in relation to some history of memory I’ve been working on and thinking about.

Throughout the day and commuting in the car to class, I’ve listened through lecture 4.

Watched "The West Wing" 17 People from Netflix
Directed by Alex Graves. With Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney. Following the Vice-President's remarks to him, Toby realizes the truth behind the President's illness: multiple sclerosis. Toby, Leo, and Bartlet discuss the possible political implications of this if it goes public including possible jail time for the 17 people who now know about the illness. Meanwhile Sam, Josh, Donna and the rest of the staff, unaware of the illness, struggle with a speech the...
Watched "The West Wing" The Stackhouse Filibuster from Netflix
Directed by Bryan Gordon. With Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney. Josh finalizes a $6B health care plan that has strong support from both parties in both houses and appears to be a slam dunk for passage, but 78-year-old Senator Howard Stackhouse pulls a last-minute surprise--he wants money added for autism research or he'll filibuster. Thinking it's just a bluff, Josh blows off the senator, who then filibusters for more than eight hours while the WW staff waits...
Watched "The West Wing" Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail from Netflix
Directed by Jessica Yu. With Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney. On this year's "Big Block of Cheese Day", a college friend of Donna's asks Sam to help her get her late grandfather, accused of being a Communist spy inside the U.S. government, a presidential pardon; dealing with the recent revelation that his father had been having an affair for the past 27 years, Sam faces off with an F.B.I. agent, and later with Nancy McNally, over the pardon. Elsewhere, a ...