Linked List: July 2023

How to Speak

Former MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory director Patrick Henry Wilson’s talk on public speaking.

I particularly liked his point about how people are inspired:

What I found from the incoming freshmen, is that they were inspired by some highschool teacher who told them they could do it.

What I found in the senior faculty, they were inspired by someone who helped them see a problem in a new way.

And what I saw from everyone is that they were inspired when someone exhibited passion about what they were doing.

And his example of a final slide to use listing the speaker’s contributions, with examples of his:

Argued uniqueness of human intelligence.

Demonstrated culturally biased understanding, persuasive retelling, schizophrenic behavior, and self-aware machines.

Offered steps toward a better understanding of ourselves and each other.

See also his Story Understanding lecture, and his fanciful 2050 interview with Sarah Winston, former President of the United States.

Bad Button Names

It’s worth considering the words and language one uses whether one is an user interface design nerd or not.

The Sound of One Hand

After the New Yorker article I’ve been on a Jaron Lanier binge, and found this piece of music he played from inside an early VR machine, described in his book Dawn of the New Everything.

I hope you find this ghost of digital antiquity to be real art, not just a demo, but that’s not up to me to decide.


Stéphane Pigeon:

To Plato — the ancient Greek philosopher — learning is a paradox: a person can neither learn what he already knows, nor inquire about what is outside the scope of his knowledge. But what if knowledge was already in our soul from before birth? Socrates suggests that the soul could be immortal, and repeatedly incarnated. What one perceives to be learning, then, could be actually the recovery of that latent knowledge acquired from eternity, but lost in the trauma of birth. This process, Socrates refers to as Anamnesis.

Musical Instruments, Good Teachers

Jaron Lanier, writing in The New Yorker:

In my own musical life, I prize the edge of chaos; that which cannot be repeated. I usually don’t record myself when I play alone; I don’t want to trick myself into a false mentality that lives outside of time, as if we weren’t time’s prisoners. I want to send music out into the universe, not into a computer’s memory. As crazy as it is to learn to play a multitude of instruments, my madness is the opposite of the loop. I’m often asked if I’ve learned all these instruments in order to make a sample library, or if I’d be willing to have someone come to the house to make such a library. Though I offer positivity from afar to musicians who like samples, I am travelling in a different direction.

If you work with virtual reality, you end up wondering what reality is in the first place. Over the years, I’ve toyed with one possible definition of reality: it’s the thing that can’t be perfectly simulated, because it can’t be measured to completion. Digital information can be perfectly measured, because that is its very definition. This makes it unreal. But reality is irrepressible.

My fondest hope for computing is that digital devices will become as much like pianos as possible. But the subtlest qualities of analog instruments are hard to study, in part because the controls necessary to make studies rigorous risk obscuring important elements of musical experience. There have been many studies comparing old and new violins, for instance, or flutes made of different metals, in which a player is hidden behind a screen and listeners are asked to identify which instrument is being played. The problem with this approach is that the difference between a good instrument and a great one could inhere in the player’s experience, rather than in the external sound. If an instrument inspires a musician, then the music will be more meaningful, even if listeners can’t distinguish the sound of one instrument from another. Music is an interior art before it becomes exterior.

Don’t miss the beautiful song in the article, “Waves Only Get Real When They Break,” by Colin Farish (piano), Jaron Lanier (guzheng), and Jhaffur Khan (flute).

My guitar and my camera are my best friends in difficult times.

Fold ’N Fly

Paper airplane designs and tips.

A place to find good blogs that interest you.


Open source C++ toolkit designed to assist the creative process by providing a simple and intuitive framework for experimentation.


Can we define every word as an acronym?

The Fell Types

Igino Marini on his labour of love to digitize the Fell types:


First of all: Love. Love for the beauty of these typefaces, which I never tire of looking at. From the moment I first saw these typefaces, I wanted to use them, so began learning how to build a typeface. And after having digitized them I begun to think about a way to space them (it was so difficult): this analysis led to iKern, the autospacing and autokerning tool I’ve developed since 2002. I can certainly say that without the Fell Types iKern wouldn’t exist: Their typographic “errors” (variable serifs from letter to letter, even inside the same letter, inconsistent heights and slant angles, different weights and many other amenities and lovely strangeties) have pushed me to a deep generalization of the mathemathical model avoiding shortcuts and suggesting paths I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Via Lin Yangchen.

Fibonacci Pattern Generator Illustrator Script

I once made a Fibonacci pattern with little squares by hand for another design project, so I am very happy to find this script :) You can see the pattern in shells, sunflowers, Fermat spirals, and good cobblestone work by experienced stonemasons. The golden angle is 137.508º


Experimental webpage by Shelby Wilson.

Bird Game

Website with 3-dimensional graphics to help you virtually play board games like cards, chess, and Catan, no account required.

Via Andy Baio’s Tiny Awards.

Boxer Mac DOS Emulator for Silicon Processors

A fork of excellent MS/DOS emulator Boxer that works on current Macs. A proper macOS app that includes nice floppy disk icons.

HyperTextHero Twitch Channel Trailer

Made in Grand Theft Auto V. Sponsored by a watch company, a car maker, a soft drink, a shoe maker, a tattoo parlor, and a supermarket chain.