Browsy Sunday-Heroes Edition

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Books

I’ve been making slow progress through How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil is a pretty brilliant guy and has a knack for translating his genius into clear English, like in this sentence from page 54: “And just as a Web page can become “orphaned” because no other page links to it, the same thing can happen to our memories.”

How to Create a Mind opens with a description of Einstein’s thought experiments that led him to the theory of relativity. I know that these thought experiments were performed while Einstein was sitting in the Bern patent office because of the book Mastery by Robert Greene. I drove fourteen hours this week and barely made it halfway through the audiobook, but it’s worth it. Mastery is about cultivating the skills necessary to build a great career and how various greats have pulled these skills off. My favorite parts are the biographical sections. Greene says in this podcast that he read over 300 biographies in preparation for this book, which was motivation enough for me to listen to it.

Shorter Reads

What is different about the brains of heroes? A lot more research needs to be done, but this article is still a fun read. You probably couldn’t add to the cingular cortex and temporal and parietal lobes to build empathy, but one of my personal heroes, Oliver Sacks, posted this amazing article on his twitter this week about how brain implants could restore memories. In case the implants don’t work, scientists have been revealing some key proteins involved in brain cell growth. I check the science articles I recommend to you, but the Internet is a confusing place. Here is an article about how to tell when someone is trying to fool you with bad science.

One of my other heroes is the graph-master Jessica Hagy, who has been blogging for eight freaking years. I have definitely stolen some ideas from her. Speaking of stealing like an artist, Austin Kleon and Kelli Anderson got in a design fight two days ago. My favorite volley is #7. Good designers like Kleon and Anderson earn their keep-here’s an article that proves that. Maybe the designers in that article would have had more luck these designing slot machines than logos-they make more than 85% of the casino industry’s profit.

My mom and I have been watching a great show on Netflix called Call the Midwife. It’s based on a post-war midwife working in East London. Here’s a modern story about a midwife working in a much different setting.

I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my other blogger heroes this week, such as Maria Popova, prolific creator of Brain Pickings. Here is her birthday address of what she has learned over her seven years at Brain Pickings. Brandon Stanton has moved his famous blog to Iraq, where he is adding humanity to the statistics we see on the news every day. Here is a video in which Stanton talks about how he approaches strangers that helped inspire my own blog, Seen on UT Campus, which should be back in business when I return to school at the end of this week.

Catch you in Austin (aka paradise),

Ellen

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