Nerd corner #41

Seeking Wisdom, Twitter trolling, and more! 😷

Hi All!

It seems that things are slowly going back to a new kind of normal. Starting this week, some outdoor activities will again be permitted in California. Hopefully, it won’t be long until we can start roaming the streets and meeting friends again. But I know we’ll have to get used to wearing masks in public spaces and avoiding large crowds for a long time.

Last week a reader reminded me of #StarWarsDay. I hope you had a good Monday. May the 4th be with you!

I finally hit publish on a long overdue article about my recent trip to India. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved the trip and the food 🤤!


What I am reading 📚

I’m still digesting “Seeking Wisdom”. I’m not lying when I tell you that this book is one of those life-changing books that you should keep in a special place in your library. Once I’m done with it it will sit along with my favorite books, so I can retrieve it and re-read it as I please. 

Everything about the book is amazing. Peter Bevelin writes in a very clear way and pays close attention to detail. Everything from the typography to the type of paper gives the book an inspiring touch. It reminds me of two other of my favorite books, “The 48 Laws of Power” and “Mastery” by Robert Greene. Both these books are majestic in their presentation and their content will change how you think and live.

I’ve been binge-reading some of Rory Sutherland’s articles. I didn’t know much about him, just that he is the head of one of the biggest Advertising firms in the world. His articles are usually short and to the point, he doesn’t like wandering around and goes straight to the point.

“The Illusion of Certainty” was the first article that caught my attention. The article is so short and good that I almost had to highlight it all:

If you engage engineers, you don’t know what you are going to get. You may be unlucky and get nothing. Or their solution may be so outlandish that it is hard to compare with other competing solutions. On average, though, what you get will be more valuable than the gains produced by some tedious restructuring enshrined in a fat PowerPoint deck.

Bees are still around because they are part deterministic and part probabilistic in their behavior. They use their ‘evidence-based’ waggle-dance data-model up to a point, but correct for the fact that it is incomplete, temporary, and weighted to the past.

Another article I liked is “Is this the end of commuting?”. This one is more controversial. I don’t agree with all that it says but he has a point in that perhaps our approach to commuting and traveling will change from now on. Time will tell.


Nerd Corner 🤓

Last week I mentioned that the Internet is a place full of wonders and terrors. This tweet confirms it. Somebody decided to troll—make a joke—an essay mill by asking them to solve the Navier-Stokes equations for just 25 USD. 

I laughed out loud for a good while.

Why?

Because the Navier-Stokes equations are one of the “Millennium Prize Problems”.  While they are used to model anything from weather to turbulence and drag on airplanes, we know very little about the behavior and properties of these equations so the Clay Mathematical Institute will pay you 1 million USD if you are able to make significant progress in our understanding of them by proving or disproving that smooth solutions always exist in 3 dimensions.


Cool Finds 🤯

  • Hypervelocity impact sample: "This image shows the results of a lab test impact between a small sphere of aluminum traveling at approximately 6.8 km/second and a block of aluminum 18 cm thick. This test simulates what can happen when a small space debris object hits a spacecraft."

  • I’ve been enjoying @geo_spatialist an Instagram account devoted to maps and topography. I’m always amazed by the results of mixing traditional topographic maps with existing GIS technology. See for example this rendering of a 1945 topographic map of Hawaii. The map has a nice vintage feeling but the topographic detail is very rich and up to date!

  • Starting in the 1920s the Soviet Union went on a mission to produce its own citrus fruits and don’t depend on global trade. They developed certain techniques like “progressive cold hardening”, “creeping” and even planted the citrus trees in trenches to protect them from the freezing temperatures.


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Until next week, 

Alberto