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Readings: 24 Jun 2016

While home sick this week, I started learning to play Go. Partly inspired the article on AlphaGo in Wired, but also because it’s a pretty game.

Hiroki Mori’s site The Interactive Way to Go is an awesome resource1. I haven’t gotten to the point of actually attempting to play a full game, but working through Go problems is super fun. Some of the patterns that emerge in Go (like “Crane in the nest” and the “Ladder”) unfold with a inevitability that makes me think of stable structures in Conway’s Game of Life.

California Governor Jerry Brown reviews William J. Perry’s My Journey at the Nuclear Brink:

In clear, detailed but powerful prose, Perry’s new book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, tells the story of his seventy-year experience of the nuclear age. Beginning with his firsthand encounter with survivors living amid “vast wastes of fused rubble” in the aftermath of World War II, his account takes us up to today when Perry is on an urgent mission to alert us to the dangerous nuclear road we are traveling.

It’s easy to forget, but the insane nuclear legacy of the Cold War is still here.

Asiz Ansari told Donald Trump to go fuck himself in the New York Times:

The vitriolic and hate-filled rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump isn’t so far off from cursing at strangers from a car window. He has said that people in the American Muslim community “know who the bad ones are,” implying that millions of innocent people are somehow complicit in awful attacks. Not only is this wrongheaded; but it also does nothing to address the real problems posed by terrorist attacks. By Mr. Trump’s logic, after the huge financial crisis of 2007-08, the best way to protect the American economy would have been to ban white males.

This is a furious, eloquent, and thoughtful essay, from end-to-end. Although I don’t share their values, I can understand why reasonable people voted for Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is an irrational egomaniac who will lay waste to anything his eyes touch. Please, America - wise up before November.

Josephine Wolff waxes poetic on the virtues of the Bullet Journal in The New Republic.

“Why the Humble Notebook Is Flourishing in the iPhone Era”:

The bullet journal enthusiasts insist that filling notebooks is about far more than just getting things done or crossing off lists – it’s also about paying attention to, and taking stock of, your life. It’s an act of agency – deciding who you want to be and what you want to do and setting those decisions down in pen on paper where they cannot be deleted or ignored or erased. It’s an act of archiving – recording what you’re thinking, what your goals are, what your handwriting looks like, at a very particular moment in time, and then being able to look back and see just how far you’ve come since you were the 12-year-old who wrote in big pencil letters in a blue plastic spiral-bound homework planner about shoveling snow in a driveway that didn’t exist (and also, of course, being able to see just how much you still have in common with her). It’s this combination of productive, therapeutic, aesthetic, historical, and spiritual elements that makes notebook-keeping such an addictive and potent activity, even – or perhaps especially – in a world of countless productivity apps, online to-do lists, and gamified habit-building tools.

  1. Despite requiring Flash – I’m forgiving here because it’s so clearly a labor of love. ↩︎