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The secret intellectual history of mathematics | Aeon Essays
‘These foundations [of mathematics] are, moreover, a perpetual source of reflection and discovery for the masters of the science. Even in number system you will find material for long reflection. Remember that Leibniz did not disdain to occupy himself with it.’ – Paul Valéry, letter to Pierre Honnorat, 1942
history  math  argument 
11 hours ago by kmt
Learning How to Learn Math
this is how i feel about the Zeldovich textbook
math  argument  education  learning 
12 hours ago by kmt
Trump and the End of Smugness
 Like most Democrats, I reacted to the stunning 2016 election of Donald Trump with a combination of confusion and dread. After all, Hillary Clinton was the favorite and, to Democrats like me, a Trump victory seemed to portend certain economic disaster, nuclear war, and pretty much the end of America as we knew it.

But now nearly two years into his administration, Trump has presided over a “winning streak” that includes a booming economy and stock market, an unemployment level at a nearly 50-year low, two Supreme Court appointments, no new foreign wars or domestic terrorist attacks emanating from abroad, a significant degree of progress on trade relations with Canada and Mexico, a “needed reset” on the China relationship, and the prospect of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Perhaps it is time that even his opponents reconsider Trump. Does Trump have a strategy that we can describe? Is Trump a return of Richard Nixon, of Ronald Reagan, or of something else entirely? After several months of watching the news without gaining any answers, I finally canceled my cable subscription and sought out other sources. I found some insights in unexpected places.

Trump’s presidency marks a return to realpolitik and great power politics. No one knows what goes on in Trump’s mind or if even he believes he has a strategy. What matters is what Trump does, so this essay looks at his actions, considers the bias of his critics, and seeks a new way to understand his policies. It considers the possibility that Trump has a method to his madness.
USA2016  americana  politics  argument  strategy  diplomacy  economics 
15 hours ago by kmt
The Automation Charade
The rise of the robots has been greatly exaggerated. Whose interests does that serve?
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Though automation is presented as a neutral process, the straightforward consequence of technological progress, one needn’t look that closely to see that this is hardly the case. Automation is both a reality and an ideology, and thus also a weapon wielded against poor and working people who have the audacity to demand better treatment, or just the right to subsist.
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Where Hollywood’s sci-fi futurism and leading tech pundits lead us astray, however, socialist feminism can lend invaluable insight, inoculating us against techno-capitalism’s self-flattering claims. The socialist feminist tradition is a powerful resource because it's centrally concerned with what work is—and in particular how capitalism lives and grows by concealing certain kinds of work, refusing to pay for it, and pretending it's not, in fact, work at all.
automation  technology  argument  politics  economics 
yesterday by kmt
One Thousand Years of Labor | The Nation
If you’re old enough to read this,” wrote the great blue-collar poet Philip Levine in 1990, “you know what work is.” What could be more obvious and more concrete than work? It’s your cubicle, your backache, your boss. Good or bad, it needs little explanation. Even to talk about it too much off the clock is to be a bore. It’s just there. Per the infamous American small-talk formulation, it’s simply what one does.
book  review  work  politics  argument 
yesterday by kmt
Who the hell cares what old people think about climate change? | The Outline
Here’s a simple maxim we can all probably live by: your contribution to an argument is probably worthless if you have zero stake in what is being argued. Right? Unless we’re playing parlour games, it seems like we should have a mild interest in the outcome of what we are arguing — if you don’t, you’re likely just being an asshole. Strangely, we don’t apply this common sense to climate change. The greatest victory of the old and monied among us is that they’ve dragged an inclement apocalypse into the arena of seemingly endless debate rather than immediate action.
climate  change  outline  generation  future  argument 
4 days ago by betajames
Magyarországon nincs ingyenebéd – csak ha gazdag és fideszes vagy « Mérce
És ez nemcsak egy ártatlan elfedése valaminek, aminek valós hatása van az emberek életére, de egyúttal ideológiai fegyver, amelyet be lehet vetni a társadalom alsóbb rétegei ellen. Azaz nem más, mint az osztályharc eszköze, az osztályharcé, melyet az állam működésére jelentősen nagyobb befolyással rendelkező gazdasági és politikai elitek folytatnak a bérből egyik napról a másikra élők, illetve a náluk még nehezebb helyzetben lévők ellen.
politics  magyar  argument  capitalism  neoliberalism 
5 days ago by kmt
AlasConnect Software Engineering Blog
A person might argue that this is the perfect reason to not pick Haskell as a core development tool, because it is supposedly hard to hire for, and what company in their right mind would choose it given the scenario I just lined out?

I have a very different opinion on this, and as the hiring manager it’s worked out for me so far. I’d rather hire a developer that has solid development experience, regardless of the language or the toolstack, because they have the capacity to be trained. Building software is about more than just the language and frameworks you use.
haskell  argument  devops  advice 
6 days ago by kmt
Matters of Faith | memorious
That is not news. Nor is it unique to fields that study things like gender and race, as opposed to, say, mathematics and engineering — two areas recently subjected to a hoax that placed 120 AI-generated nonsense papers (which should, presumably, have been even easier for educated eyes to spot than the hand-crafted junk submitted here) in journals. Every field can be hoaxed, and many have been. But only some fields can be hoaxed profitably. There is no built-in audience of people who despise mathematics and applaud when mathematicians get pranked. But there is a large audience, in social and traditional media, primed for the humiliation of “left-wing”, and especially “feminist”, scholars. If one wanted to establish something about the relative intellectual legitimacy of gender studies and, say, economics, or engineering, or physics, one could presumably try to fool reviewers in each, see who did better, and figure out why. That didn’t happen here, because the point wasn’t to conduct any such study. It was to embarrass a target. (That they labelled all the fields concerned dismissively as “Grievance Studies” is just the crassest evidence of parti pris.)
science  academia  methodology  argument 
9 days ago by kmt
Opinion | In Praise of Mediocrity - The New York Times
I’m a little surprised by how many people tell me they have no hobbies. It may seem a small thing, but — at the risk of sounding grandiose — I see it as a sign of a civilization in decline. The idea of leisure, after all, is a hard-won achievement; it presupposes that we have overcome the exigencies of brute survival. Yet here in the United States, the wealthiest country in history, we seem to have forgotten the importance of doing things solely because we enjoy them.
politics  health  life  argument 
14 days ago by kmt

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