Nerd Corner #32: New blog post, friendship and more! 🚀

Hi All,

As I mentioned last week, I’ve enrolled in “Write of Passage”, an online writing course. The schedule is very hectic with 3-4 live sessions every week, tons of discussions and writing assignments.

Speaking of assignments, I recently published my first one. I wrote an entire post on Underwater Rugby 🤿🏉, check it out!

The course is like no other I’ve done online before. Forget about MOOCs and their passive way of learning in which you watch videos, do readings and then go through quizzes and assignments. To me, the defining feature of Write of Passage is that you get to know other students during the live sessions (hosted on Zoom) and you get to exchange live feedback. Most of the learning happens in real-time, through interacting with the rest of the cohort. So far I’m loving it!

Feel free to reach out if you’re interested in knowing more about the course or Underwater Rugby.

What I am reading 📚


Last week we talked about Girard’s Mimetic Theory and the background research I’m doing while reading it. The more I read the more there is to read. So, while this topic is becoming my favorite topic of the year, I decided to pick some lighter reading for a while and keep Mimetic Theory on the back of my mind for a few days.

I picked a very old book, “How To Be A Friend: An Ancient Guide to True Friendship”. This book is very short but filled with wisdom and applicable insights that we can all use today. It was written by Marcus Tullius Cicero more than 2000 years ago. It always amazes me how much we still have to learn from the ancient. Its original name, “De Amicitia” roughly translates to “On Friendship”, and it is just that, a small treatise on what amicitia (friendship) really is.

Through a fictional dialogue between Gaius Laelius and his two sons-in-law, about Laelius' friendship with Scipio Africanus, Cicero explains to his lifelong friend Atticus what he really meant by friendship and what their friendship meant to him.

Cicero urged his friend to seek friendship for its own sake as opposed to seek it for some profit as was usual in Rome at the time:

The majority of people in this world see nothing good in anyone unless that person can somehow profit them—as if they were buying cattle! They value a person the most for who can give them the best return on their investment. In this way, such people neglect the most beautiful and natural kind of friendship, the one sought in and for itself.


Simply put, Cicero rightly argued that friendship is one of humanities greatest gifts and should be pursued the same way we pursue virtue:

I urge you to strive for virtue, for without it friendship cannot exist. And friendship, aside from virtue, is the greatest thing we can find in life.
...
Nature loves nothing that is solitary but always inclines toward some sort of support. And the sweetest support is a very dear friend.

Nerd Corner 😷


Covid-19 is still spreading fast across the world and will most likely continue to do so for some time. While I am not an expert in healthcare, epidemiology, public policy, etc. I believe we all must be overly cautious in the coming weeks.

Here are some of the resources I’ve been using to keep myself informed:

  • Worldometer. This is an independent site that is keeping track of the outbreak and shares accurate and up-to-date information on what is known about the virus.

  • Luca Dell’Anna is an Italian expert in complex systems and has been reporting about the outbreak in Italy.

  • William Yang, an East-Asia correspondent has been tracking the outbreak since day one.

If you have any useful resources please share them with all of us!

Cool Finds 🤯

  • There’s so much going on down here on Earth that we often forget that we live in a huge, mostly empty, space. That is why I found this simulation of the Milky Way and Andromeda colliding so mesmerizing and humbling.

  • A while ago my friend Hugo Castellanos from the Conexiones and Latinos Who Tech podcasts (check them out!) shared this video of kinetic sculptures. It is so pleasing both to the eyes and ears that I’ve been going back to it whenever I feel I need to watch something relaxing.

  • If you’ve ever wondered if there exist words that don’t have exact translations in other languages, should check out Eunoia, a growing collection of 500+ words that have no translation.

Before you go 😎

Don't forget to wash your hands more often than you normally do!


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Have an awesome week!

Alberto

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