The importance of play

I’ve just started reading a mind at play, a biography of Claude Shannon. He’s the “father of information theory”, without which much of the modern world wouldn’t be. Shannon reminds me of stories about Richard Feynman. Bursting with curiosity, yes, but also sparked with joy at tinkering with knowledge. I sometimes feel like this is […]

The old is new

One reason I love reading history is how often you find reflections of current worries. This isn’t necessarily good, obviously. Some things should have been left in the dust (notably gig-economy feudalism). But one thing it does offer is perspective I’ve just cracked open The Invention of News, for instance, and have immediately been slapped […]

The spectacular bias

We must remind ourselves again that history as usually written (peccavimus) is quite different from history as usually lived: the historian records the exceptional because it is interesting-because it is exceptional. If all those individuals who had no Boswell had found their numerically proportionate place in the pages of historians we should have a duller […]

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