serendipity   2372

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Derek Powazek - Design for Serendipity
these examples are "suggestions" not serendipity - serendipity is augmenting the user's awareness in order to facilitate effortless connections across domains...not just putting another piece of undifferentiated content in front of them...
serendipity  web  behavior  sva19  usability  ux 
11 weeks ago by akamediasystem
Opinion | Useless Knowledge Begets New Horizons
Jan. 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Bret Stephens, Opinion Columnist.

Fundamental discoveries don’t always have practical uses, but they have soul-saving applications......In October 1939, as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were plunging the world into war, an American educational reformer named Abraham Flexner published an essay in Harper’s magazine under the marvelous title, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.”

Noting the way in which the concerns of modern education increasingly turned toward worldly problems and practical vocations, Flexner made a plea for “the cultivation of curiosity” for its own sake.....The marriage of disinterested science and technological wizardry on the farthest-flung adventures of the human race is what John Adams had in mind when he wrote that he had to “study Politicks and War that my sons may have the liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy.” It is among the greatest fulfillments of the American dream.....Typically, we think of the American dream in materialistic terms — a well-paid job; a half-acre lot; children with better opportunities than our own. Or we think of it in political terms, as an ever-expanding domain of ever-greater freedom and equality.

But prosperity, freedom, equality for what? The deep critique of the liberal society is that it refuses on principle to supply an answer: Each of us lives in pursuit of a notion of happiness that is utterly subjective, generally acquisitive and almost inevitably out of reach — what psychologists call the “hedonic treadmill.” Religious cults and authoritarian systems work differently: Purposes are given, answers supplied, questions discouraged or forbidden, and the burdens of individual choice and moral agency are largely lifted. They are dictatorships of meaning.....Flexner’s case for such untrammeled freedom isn’t that it’s a good unto itself. Freedom also produces a lot of garbage. His case is that freedom is the license the roving mind requires to go down any path it chooses and go as far as the paths may lead. This is how fundamental discoveries — a.k.a., “useless knowledge” — are usually made: not so much by hunting for something specific, but by wandering with an interested eye amid the unknown. It’s also how countries attract and cultivate genius — by protecting a space of unlimited intellectual permission, regardless of outcome....All of this, of course, has its ultimate uses — hence the “usefulness” of Flexner’s title. Newton’s third law of motion begets, after 250 years, the age of the rocket; the discovery of the double helix delivers, several decades later, Crispr. It’s also how nations gain or lose greatness. The “reorganized” universities of fascist Italy and Germany had no place for Leo Szilard, Enrico Fermi or Albert Einstein. They became the Allies’ ultimate weapon in World War II.

Which brings us back to New Horizons, Osiris-Rex, InSight and every other piece of gear flying through the heavens at taxpayer expense and piling up data atop our already vast stores of useless knowledge. What are they doing to reduce poverty? Nothing. Environmental degradation? Zippo. The opioid crisis? Still less.

And yet, in being the kind of society that does this kind of thing — that is, the kind that sends probes to the edge of the solar system; underwrites the scientific establishment that knows how to design and deploy these probes; believes in the value of knowledge for its own sake; cultivates habits of truthfulness, openness, collaboration and risk-taking; enlists the public in the experience, and shares the findings with the rest of the world — we also discover the highest use for useless knowledge: Not that it may someday have some life-saving application on earth, though it might, but that it has a soul-saving application in the here and now, reminding us that the human race is not a slave to questions of utility alone.
breakthroughs  Bret_Stephens  Colleges_&_Universities  curiosity  exploration  expeditions  free_speech  free_will  freedom  Joseph_Stalin  knowledge  op-ed  serendipity  soul-enriching  space_exploration  the_American_dream  Crispr 
january 2019 by jerryking
Note-Taking Jujitsu, Or How I Make Sense Of What I Read
Note-taking is a problem. It's an interesting problem, but still a problem. Many people have switched over from paper books to digital copies. I am certainly one of the early adopters in this trend, having wrangled Graeme Smith and his sister into facilitating a first iteration of Amazon's Kindl
notetaking  notes  devonthink  kindle  reading  archival  serendipity  howto 
december 2018 by coldbrain
Reverse information architecture - Urban Complexity Lab
The project started in 2014 as part of the course "Visualizing Cultural Collections", with the aim to examine the current state of existing interfaces of digital collections of museums. In digital collections, the web is intended to provide the entirety of a physical collection. Assuming that more and more museums are providing digital collections online, the project started with an initial analysis and overview. It was revealing did with the aim of making the rich and comprehensive datasets accessible, a so called explore fashion what increasingly Offered across most websites. Soon, the questions of what it meant and how it manifested in the structure of the digital collections appeared.

In the following research phase, a more concrete conceptualization of the term "exploration" has been developed (view, movement, contextualization, and participation). Furthermore, the function of exploration is manifested in the structure and interface. With this unique method, the given contents are examined to which degree and in which manner the functions of exploration are implemented in digital collections. The working base for the study were screenshots of eight well-known museum collections worldwide, Which were Analyzed with the new method we call reverse information architecture .
archives  digital_archives  serendipity  search  digital_cultural_heritage  interfaces  collections 
november 2018 by shannon_mattern
VG Wort für Blogger, kurz erklärt - onli blogging
Über die VG Wort werden gesammelte Kopierabgaben an Autoren verteilt. Bogger sind Autoren, und ihre Texte qualifiziert, wenn sie länger als 1800 Zeichen sind und im Berechnungszeitraum oft genug von...
s9y  serendipity 
october 2018 by ddeimeke
Letter of Recommendation Recently Returned Books
They were not chosen to signal anyone’s intellect or righteousness or in-the-know-ness. They are often old and very often ugly. I’ve come to think of this shelf as an escape from hype, a kind of anti-curation.
library  idea  moi  serendipity  choice  reading  book  instapaper_favs  from instapaper
september 2018 by aries1988

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