Replied to Commonplace Book, a Verb or a Noun? by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (Read Write Respond)
Whenever I read about the various ideas, I feel like I do not necessarily belong. Thinking about my practice, I never quite feel that it is deliberate enough.
Sometimes the root question is “what to I want to do this for?” Having an underlying reason can be hugely motivating.

Are you collecting examples of things for students? (seeing examples can be incredibly powerful, especially for defining spaces) for yourself? Are you using them for exploring a particular space? To clarify your thinking/thought process? To think more critically? To write an article, blog, or book? To make videos or other content?

Your own website is a version of many of these things in itself. You read, you collect, you write, you interlink ideas and expand on them. You’re doing it much more naturally than you think.

I find that having an idea of the broader space, what various practices look like, and use cases for them provides me a lot more flexibility for what may work or not work for my particular use case. I can then pick and choose for what suits me best, knowing that I don’t have to spend as much time and effort experimenting to invent a system from scratch but can evolve something pre-existing to suit my current needs best.

It’s like learning to cook. There are thousands of methods (not even counting cuisine specific portions) for cooking a variety of meals. Knowing what these are and their outcomes can be incredibly helpful for creatively coming up with new meals. By analogy students are often only learning to heat water to boil an egg, but with some additional techniques they can bake complicated French pâtissier. Often if you know a handful of cooking methods you can go much further and farther using combinations of techniques and ingredients.

What I’m looking for in the reading, note taking, and creation space is a baseline version of Peter Hertzmann’s 50 Ways to Cook a Carrot combined with Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Generally cooking is seen as an overly complex and difficult topic, something that is emphasized on most aspirational cooking shows. But cooking schools break the material down into small pieces which makes the processes much easier and more broadly applicable. Once you’ve got these building blocks mastered, you can be much more creative with what you can create.

How can we combine these small building blocks of reading and note taking practices for students in the 4th – 8th grades so that they can begin to leverage them in high school and certainly by college? Is there a way to frame them within teaching rhetoric and critical thinking to improve not only learning outcomes, but to improve lifelong learning and thinking?

Listened to Grain and transport As wheat travelled, it created the modern world by Jeremy Cherfas from eatthispodcast.com

Cereals provide their offspring with a long-lived supply of energy to power the first growth spurt of the seed. Thousands of years ago, people discovered that they could steal some of the seeds to power their own growth, taking advantage of the storability of seeds to move the food from where it grew to where it might be eaten. Wheat, the pre-eminent cereal, moved along routes that were ancient before the Greek empire, carried, probably, by ox-drawn carts and guided along these black paths by people remembered in Ukraine today as chumaki.

In this episode, Scott Nelson, author of Oceans of Grain, tells me about the various ways in which the ability to move wheat more efficiently changed world history, geography and economics, for starters.

Notes

  1. Scott Reynolds Nelson’s book Oceans of Grain is published by Basic Books.
  2. Listen to Persephone’s Secret, if you haven’t already, and I promise no vengeful gods will render you dumb.
  3. Banner photo of a grain elevator and train in Wichita Falls, Texas by Carol M. Highsmith. Image of a 19th century Chumak by Jan Nepomucen Lewicki; Public Domain.
  4. Transcript coming soon.

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In the trailer for this short series, I presumed some context about the relationship of the topic to the Ukraine, but missed the true mark with the additional context provided here.

Even better, I suspect that some of the history here is right up my alley in relation to work I’ve been doing on oral cultures. Some of it “sounds” like early oral Ukrainian culture is eerily reminiscent to Milman Parry’s work on orality among the guslars of Yugoslavia and reading I’ve been doing on Indigenous astronomy! What a great find. I’ve immediately ordered a copy of the book.

I wouldn’t expect these sorts of information and insight in a typical podcast about food, but Jeremy Cherfas always delivers the goods.

Replied to a thread by Eleanor Konik and Aitor García Rey (Twitter)
I thought @KevinMarkshttp://www.unmung.com/ tool might have some facility like this. I know he’d done some work with BBC recipes in the past, perhaps he knows of a custom tool(s) or parsers with better fidelity and conversion to either HTML or Markdown for Obsidian use?
Read Introducing the HyperText Coffee Pot by James Gallagher (James' Coffee Blog)
I was thinking about how I could mix coffee and technology. After some thought I remembered the Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP), a protocol defined by the IETF that describes ways in which one can send commands to coffee machines. For coffee and technology enthusiasts such as myself, the protocol is a must read, especially if you find yourself interested in operating coffee pots remotely.
This is awesome James. Can’t wait to see it in action with an actual coffee pot… Until then, you could have the physical endpoint return a 418?
Quoted Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else by Jordan Ellenberg (Penguin Press)
You don’t make a bagel by first baking a bialy and then punching out the center. No—you roll out a snake of dough and join the ends together to form the bagel. If you denied that a bagel has a hole, you’d be laughed out of New York City, Montreal, and any self-respecting deli worldwide. I consider this final.
Not exactly a QED sort of proof, but I’ll take it as an axiom. 🙂
Read The History of Welsh Cakes (welshbaker.com)
Welsh Cakes originate from the country of Wales in Great Britain. The cakes are a cross between a cookie, a scone, and a pancake but they are truly unlike any of these things when it comes to taste and texture. They are the size of chubby cookie, made from ingredients similar to a scone, but they are cooked like a pancake on a griddle, they are not baked. Sweet but not overly so, Welsh Cakes are an example of a unique and traditional food that reflects the resourceful, wholesome, and practical nature of the Welsh people. Made from simple pantry items like flour, sugar, milk and butter, Welsh Cakes are considered a special treat since they take a great deal of time and effort to make. Being griddled, they pretty much must be made by hand and this is why there are very few commerical makers of these cakes in the world. Traditionally they were cooked over a hot bake-stone but iron griddles were later used and are now the predominant method used to cook them. They have gone by a few different names since their inception including their Welsh language names “cage bach” or "picau ar y maen" but also they are known as "Griddle Cakes", "Welsh Tea Cakes" and "Welsh Miner Cakes".