The Art of Explanation

One of the best books I've read in recent years. (#459)

1. The Art of Explanation

Few people have mastered the art of explaining better than the BBC's Ros Atkins. Thankfully, he is now sharing what he knows in a book. And to be clear, this is a book for everyone. Atkins defines explanation in very broad terms: Whenever you try to get a message across, you are explaining. Often, we don't realise we are, and that's part of the problem. Whether you're interviewing for a job, giving a presentation, talking to a friend, or simply writing an email. One of the best books I've read in recent years (and I've read a couple).

14th SEPTEMBER 2023
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2. How much can Duolingo teach us

You've cursed him without knowing him: Luis von Ahn has invented those annoying tests to prove you're a human: «Select all images of traffic lights». That was a while ago — he went on to create the most successful app to learn new languages. To him, these two inventions are based on the same idea. This is one of many fascinating things you'll learn in this excellent profile.

How Much Can Duolingo Teach Us?
The company’s founder, Luis von Ahn, believes that artificial intelligence is going to make computers better teachers than humans.

3. ​​How Much Discomfort Is the Whole World Worth?

With the whole world at stake, we need to find «common ground with a broad spectrum of people, many of whom we would never otherwise interact with [...] to create movements, rather than clubhouses, we need to engage with people with whom we do not fully identify and may even dislike»

How Much Discomfort Is the Whole World Worth? - Boston Review
Movement building requires a culture of listening—not mastery of the right language.

4. We were never supposed to see our own faces this much

I never really thought about it this way, but it makes a lot of sense: Modern technology, especially video calling, makes us look at our own faces way more than we're comfortable with. I wished it went a bit deeper still, but it's a thought-provoking piece nonetheless.

We were never supposed to see our own faces this much
From mirrors to Zoom calls and TikToks, we are constantly faced with our own reflections – and it is completely changing the way we conceive of ourselves

5. Ground Truth

How are borders created? Like, really?

In West Africa, the Inexorable Progress of a Newly Defined Border
When Cameroon and Nigeria finally agreed upon their border, it was only the beginning.

What else?

The Future of...Sports

Future courts glow bright,
AI refs fair and precise—
Human spirit fights.

The Haiku is produced using ChatGPT, the illustration is made with Midjourney. Apart from formal instructions, the prompts are as simple as "The future of...x". Previously in this series...

A gem from the archive

«It has been a long time since anyone knew anything.» – that’s how I misread the first sentence of this story. Guess it’s not totally wrong, either, but this is the story of the last man who «knew everything».

The last man who knew everything
It hardly seems likely that the life of an obscure Anglican clergyman should recommend itself to the attention of a modern biographer. But Sabine Baring-Gould happens to have been the last man who knew everything.

Thanks for reading. I wish you a nice weekend and hope to see you again next Friday!

— David 👋