Nerd Corner #72

The end of Physics, The Future of Text, Quantified self, brute force...

Hello friends!

Today marks my 22nd-day writing publishing a short piece every day. Only 8 days more to go in this challenge.

It's been an awesome experience and I've discovered a few patterns: publishing on weekdays is easier than on weekends. Also, writing very early in the morning or very late at night seems to be my sweet spot.

Here are my favorite pieces so far: The Theoretical Minimum, Work Hard Rest Hard, and Become a good cooker.

Cool Finds 🤯

  • The End of Physics? is a nice opinion piece on why Physics is and will continue to be relevant. The fact that part of the public believes that there's nothing much to be discovered in the world of Physics has more to do with the news and how results are communicated than with actual progress in the field. It's true that the XX century was a century of revolution—the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics are examples. But the past decade has been momentous as well:

    "We saw the discovery of the Higgs particle in 2012, the detection of gravitational waves in 2015 (announced in 2016), and the first image of a black hole’s event horizon in 2019."

    And with all the data yet to analyze from the LHC and other experiments there's plenty more to discover and make sense of.

  • 2020 doesn't stop surprising me. This time engineers used a gigantic machine to cut a damaged and cap-sized cargo ship into pieces to remove it from the ocean and salvage whatever material they could.

  • This Is the Real Virus to Fear is a new article on a pandemic that seems to have taken over our minds. As I’ve written before, the problem is that with so much (mis)-information it's easy to fall for conspiracy theories and fake news.


Books 📚

Last week a much-awaited book The Future Of Text was released and I changed all my reading plans. I've been selectively reading some chapters and am enjoying it a lot. I'll have more to say next week!


Nerd Corner 🤓

Over and over I've talked about the need to protect our privacy online and how local-first software can help to do that.

So I was impressed to find this talk by Simon Willison who's built a set of tools that together allow you to reclaim ownership of your data, and put it to use however you like.

This is particularly interesting if you're a "quantified-self" nerd like me. In other words, this is super cool because I could, for example, enrich the health data I already collect via my phone and Garmin watch with publicly available data like air quality near my home and store that in my own database and draw charts to understand how the air might be affecting my restfulness and resting heart-rate.

I hope to give these tools a test drive in the coming Christmas break. I'll report back any cool findings!