Bookmarked How History Gets Things Wrong: The Neuroscience of Our Addiction to Stories by Alex Rosenberg (The MIT Press)

Why we learn the wrong things from narrative history, and how our love for stories is hard-wired.

To understand something, you need to know its history. Right? Wrong, says Alex Rosenberg in How History Gets Things Wrong. Feeling especially well-informed after reading a book of popular history on the best-seller list? Don't. Narrative history is always, always wrong. It's not just incomplete or inaccurate but deeply wrong, as wrong as Ptolemaic astronomy. We no longer believe that the earth is the center of the universe. Why do we still believe in historical narrative? Our attachment to history as a vehicle for understanding has a long Darwinian pedigree and a genetic basis. Our love of stories is hard-wired. Neuroscience reveals that human evolution shaped a tool useful for survival into a defective theory of human nature.

Stories historians tell, Rosenberg continues, are not only wrong but harmful. Israel and Palestine, for example, have dueling narratives of dispossession that prevent one side from compromising with the other. Henry Kissinger applied lessons drawn from the Congress of Vienna to American foreign policy with disastrous results. Human evolution improved primate mind reading―the ability to anticipate the behavior of others, whether predators, prey, or cooperators―to get us to the top of the African food chain. Now, however, this hard-wired capacity makes us think we can understand history―what the Kaiser was thinking in 1914, why Hitler declared war on the United States―by uncovering the narratives of what happened and why. In fact, Rosenberg argues, we will only understand history if we don't make it into a story.

hat tip Jeff Jarvis.

🔖 PHP with MySQL Essential Training: 1 The Basics – Welcome | LinkedIn Learning

Bookmarked PHP with MySQL Essential Training: 1 The Basics - Welcome (LinkedIn Learning)
PHP is a popular programming language and the foundation of many smart, data-driven websites. This comprehensive course from Kevin Skoglund helps developers learn to use PHP to build interconnected webpages with dynamic content which can pass data between pages. Learn how PHP can simplify the creation of forms, read and validate form data, and display errors. Kevin also covers the fundamentals of MySQL and how to use PHP to efficiently and securely interact with a database to store and retrieve data. Throughout the course, he provides practical advice and offers examples of best practices.

Greg, I can’t find it now, but you mentioned something recently (?) about potentially working your way through this course. I’m game to work though it (or something similar) with you if you want to put together a study group…

🔖 Voynich Portal | Ruminations about the mysterious 15th century “cipher manuscript”

Bookmarked Voynich Portal (
Ruminations about the mysterious 15th century "cipher manuscript"

🔖 An Introduction to Complex Systems: Making Sense of a Changing World​ | Joseph V. Tranquillo | Springer

Bookmarked An Introduction to Complex Systems: Making Sense of a Changing World​ by Joseph V. Tranquillo (Springer)
This book explores the interdisciplinary field of complex systems theory. By the end of the book, readers will be able to understand terminology that is used in complex systems and how they are related to one another; see the patterns of complex systems in practical examples; map current topics, in a variety of fields, to complexity theory; and be able to read more advanced literature in the field. The book begins with basic systems concepts and moves on to how these simple rules can lead to complex behavior. The author then introduces non-linear systems, followed by pattern formation, and networks and information flow in systems. Later chapters cover the thermodynamics of complex systems, dynamical patterns that arise in networks, and how game theory can serve as a framework for decision making. The text is interspersed with both philosophical and quantitative arguments, and each chapter ends with questions and prompts that help readers make more connections.

📑 Data sharing and how it can benefit your scientific career l Nature

Annotated Data sharing and how it can benefit your scientific career (Nature)
High-level bodies such as the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the European Commission have called for science to become more open and endorsed a set of data-management standards known as the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles.

Something like this could be applied to IndieWeb ideas and principles as well.

🔖 Sketchify: Heaps legit links

Bookmarked Sketchify (

Turn any link into a suspicious looking one

e.g. becomes

Like a URL shortener, but worse

Who needs a shorter link? Not you, my friend. I mean, when you send someone a link, they just click it anyway, so you might as well send 'em a real clanger. This is truly crucial browsing.

Is it safe?

Uhhh well listen I mean it's probably about as safe as a regular URL shortener, but I wouldn't use it for something you're not okay with being randomly redirected to Tinder for Dogs.

Wait so how do I know the link doesn't actually go somewhere dodgy?

You're just gonna have to trust whoever sends it to you.

I want to use this service for my own project

Sure thing. Have a browse of the "documentation" on GitHub.

How does it work?

Due to rapid advancement in dark ritual technology, the programming community has streamlined the development and deployment of unspeakable eldritch horrors. Using robust open-source libraries like a sack of live geese, websites like this one can be developed with far more efficient sacrificial rituals than ever before. We're still stuck on the version with really inefficient sacrifical rituals though, due to comp͆aͭatib̊i̼͕l̈̿i̮̜t̚y̅ ͊i͋s̾s̢͈͠u̶e̛̊s̼̃.

You have to love that they’ve got an API for this…

Who would think that, would actually resolve to!

🔖 make my link longer

Bookmarked make my link longer (
makes your links longer

Forget about link shorteners, let’s make them longer!!

Want a longer link for Try instead!

👓 Search Everything |

Read Search Everything by Sovrn, zemanta (
Search Everything improves WordPress default search functionality without modifying any of the template pages. You can configure it to search pages, excerpts, attachments, drafts, comments, tags and custom fields (metadata) and you can specify your own search highlight style. It also off...

🔖 The American Yawp | Stanford University Press

Bookmarked The American Yawp (Stanford University Press)
A Massively Collaborative Open U.S. History Textbook

Apparently one of the most annotated texts within

Idea for a spaced repetition user interface for

While I’m thinking about younger students, I thought I’d sketch out a bit of an add-on product that I wish had.

Background/Set up

I was looking at tools to pull annotations out of Kindle the other day and ran across Readwise again. Part of its functionality pulls highlights and annotations out of Kindle and then it has some UI that uses the idea of spaced repetition to have you regularly review what you’ve previously read and highlighted and presumably wanted to remember or use in the future.

Of course this is very similar to other spaced repetition/flash card applications like Mnemosyne, Anki, or language apps like Memrise and Duolingo among many others. I also seem to recall that Amazon once had some UI like this built into their Kindle Notebook, but I’m not finding it at the moment, but I know they’ve changed that UI sometime in the last two years–perhaps it’s gone?

The Pitch

Given the number of learners who are using, wouldn’t it be a fantastic bit of functionality if had a spaced repetition UI that would allow students to easily go back and review over their prior highlights and annotations?! Presumably this could be targeted for quizzes and tests, but honestly as a lifelong learner I very frequently love using tools like Timehop or even my website’s built-in “On this day” functionality to look back over bits and pieces of things I’ve done in the past, which also includes my annotations, since I’m keeping copies of them on my website as well.

Naturally such a UI should be able to search or sort by tag, date range, or even by source(s) so that a student could more easily wrangle a particular number of sources over which they wanted to review their material–particularly as over months, years, or decades one could build up a huge library of annotations. If, as a student, I was tagging my material by class course number subject area or something similar (like edu522, for example) I could then easily dump that into such a UI and be able to do spaced repetition studying for that subject area. Masters, Ph.D. students, and even the professoriate might appreciate it for occasional spaced repetition to be nudged or reminded of ideas they’d had in the past, but which may need rekindling to put into a thesis or potential future papers.

The more I think about this, the more I’d love to see it in If it’s not something the main team takes on, perhaps it could be an add-on for a group like Remi Kalir’s who have done some interesting work with the API to create Crowdlaaers

I’m planning to use import/export manually with tools like Anki to do some testing this coming weekend… I wonder what open sourced code may already exist that I could simply plug my data into? Hmm…

👓 New home page for | Manton Reece

Read New home page for by Manton ReeceManton Reece (
We’ve launched a redesigned home page for new users on today. The old design was a little too sparse and didn’t do a very good job of explaining what is. The challenge is that is really 2 things — a blog hosting platform and a social network for microblogs —?...

Interesting, but a tad on the busy side. There are a few UI things I should suggest here including making the video more obvious, a clearer call to action, and links from the avatars to the user pages, but it’ll have to wait a moment.

Bookmarked Two Towns of Jasper (Vimeo)

In 1998 in Jasper, Texas, James Byrd, Jr., a black man, was chained to a pick-up truck and dragged to his death by three white men. The town was forever altered, and the nation woke up to the horror of a modern-day lynching. In Two Towns Of Jasper, two film crews, one black and one white, set out to document the aftermath of the murder by following the subsequent trials of the local men charged with the crime. The result is an explicit and troubling portrait of race in America, one that asks how and why a crime like this could have occurred. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) and National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) Co-presentation and a Television Race Initiative (TRI) selection.

Hat tip: This was mentioned in Episode 049 – Pop Culture Academia, Screen Time, and Automated Delivery | Media and the End of the World Podcast

🔖 An interview with Mike Monteiro | Clearleft

Bookmarked An interview with Mike Monteiro | Clearleft by Rowena PriceRowena Price (Clearleft)
We caught up with award-winning speaker, author, and co-founder (with Erika Hall) of Mule Design, Mike Monteiro to discuss his background, thoughts on life and work as a designer, and why the business of design is just as important as the craft of it.