The Plastic Brain

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Four songs I can(‘t) live without.

Last night I felt compelled to write this list of songs. They are somehow connected in my brain, and I didn’t know why. I think the common thread is that I love them, would listen to them on repeat over and over again, but don’t actually have any in my music collection.

Stereo MCs – Step It Up

Smoke City – Underwater Love

Massive Attack – Karmacoma

Avalanches – Frontier Psychiatist

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The secret of creation lies in the waveDiagrams and paintings by “outsider scientific-mystic” Walter Russell

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Someone once remarked that thin silk was not satisfactory as a scroll wrapping because it was so easily torn. Tona replied, “It is only after the silk wrapper has frayed at top and bottom, and the mother-of-pearl has fallen from the roller that a scroll looks beautiful.” This opinion demonstrated the excellent taste of the man. People often say that a set of books looks ugly if all volumes are not in the same format, but I was impressed to hear the Abbot Koyu say, “It is typical of the unintelligent man to insist on assembling complete sets of everything. Imperfect sets are better.”

In everything, no matter what it may be, uniformity is undesirable. Leaving something incomplete makes it interesting, and gives one the feeling that there is room for growth. Someone once told me, “Even when building the imperial palace, they always leave one place unfinished.” In both Buddhist and Confucian writings of the philosophers of former times, there are also many missing chapters. (82)

Essays in Idleness
The Tsurezuregusa of Kenko
translated by Donald Keene

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I want this for my kids’ school.

Only, wouldn’t it be better to have 0 degrees as the vertical?

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A good argument for qualitative, rather than quantitative, assessment?

Fascinating study on the power of vagueness to allow positive thinking and leave the door open to creativity.

“Is the eternal quest for precise information always worthwhile? Our research suggests that, at times, vagueness has its merits. Not knowing precisely how they are progressing lets people generate positive expectancies that allow them to perform better. The fuzzy boundaries afforded by vague information allow people to distort that information in a favorable manner.”

In Praise Of Vagueness | Wired Science | (via wildcat2030)

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Magritte’s original truly wasn’t a pipe. It was a painting of a pipe.

But this actually is a tie.

Does that mean that this tie is dumb? If you interpret Ceci n’est pas une pipe as I did in one of my first posts, the answer would be yes.


However, since the tie is labelled as dadaist, the counter-factual statement does its job of poking its tongue out to logic, and, especially in the form of a tie, to the establishment in general.

Am I reading too much into this? Maybe.

Would I wear the tie? Definitely.

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I am training to be a high school Mathematics teacher. I have been following matthen for a while now, and I recommend any maths teachers (and anyone interested in maths) to do the same. Ideas like this are simple and so illuminating, and his many animations bring geometric concepts to life.


I made this elastic frame of an octahedron to demonstrate two of its properties. Firstly it can be stretched so that its edges can be drawn without crossings, as shown in the animation (it is planar; this is true for all convex polyhedra). Secondly the edges can be drawn without lifting the pen, and without going back on an edge (it is Eulerian or unicursal). This means I was able to create the frame with one single piece of elastic and no cuts. This wouldn’t be possible for e.g. the cube, or any other Platonic solid.

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