Ernest Hemingway, Altruism, Apes, Brian Eno, Data Science


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Ernest Hemingway: The Art Of Fiction

George Plimpton | Paris Review | 1st March 1958

I marvel at the willingness of the Paris Review to ungate this crown jewel, but profitez-en. “What amateurs call a style is usually only the unavoidable awkwardnesses in first trying to make something that has not heretofore been made. Almost no new classics resemble other previous classics. At first people can see only the awkwardnesses. When these show so very awkwardly, people think these awkwardnesses are the style and many copy them. This is regrettable” (8,100 words)

The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

Peter Singer | Project Syndicate | 12th December 2017

The $450 million paid for a Leonardo da Vinci painting last month could have restored sight to nine million people with curable blindness. How could anybody, given that choice, prefer the painting? “Rightly or wrongly, most of us do give much more weight to our own interests than to the interests of others. Yet there is a line at which the discount rate becomes so great, and the interests of others are treated with such indifference, that we must say no, that is going too far” (1,100 words)

The Person In The Ape

Ferris Jabr | Lapham's Quarterly | 11th December 2017

“We know that apes remember past events and plan for the future; they understand spoken language and communicate with gestures and abstract symbols. They are intelligent, self-aware individuals. The more we accept the deep similarities between humans and other apes, the more pressing it becomes to address the unresolved tension in the sinews of our relationship: whether we need to change our definition of a human — or, more profoundly, what it means to be a person” (4,400 words)

The Studio As Compositional Tool

Brian Eno | The Beat Patrol | 10th February 2010

How the advent of sound recording, and of the recording studio, changed the character of music for composers and their audiences. “Recording takes music out of the time dimension and puts it into the space dimension. The composer can think in terms of supplying material that would actually be too subtle for a first listening. Composers in the 1930s started thinking that their work was recordable, and they started making use of the special liberty of being recorded” (4,040 words)

The Smart, The Stupid, And The Scary

Logic | 1st February 2017

Conversation with a data scientist. Interesting, nuanced, and highly informative throughout. “The rate of progress in AI over the past decade has been astounding. And so, although the popular imagination is always going to be leaps and bounds ahead of what’s realistic, a lot of that is a reflection of the progress that has in fact been made in the past decade. Whether that’s because the actual technology itself is in the golden age and will soon revert back is a good question” (8,220 words)

Video of the day How Star Wars Was Saved In The Edit

What to expect:

Video essay exploring how George Lucas’s first Star Wars film was transformed in final edit (18’38”)

Thought for the day

Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers
Marshall McLuhan

Podcast of the day Cachinnate | Merriam-Webster

If you even know how to pronounce “cachinnate”, let alone define it, I take my hat off to you
(2'40")

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