Once there was a cartoon experiment. This experiment used the most common 1,000 words in English to describe a Saturn V rocket. Have you wondered about getting started on describing something huge or complex in friendly language? For me, this cartoonist-inspired gizmo Up Goer Text Editor is a way to flex some muscles and warm up by challenging myself to describe using only common words. As you use the device, it strips away jargon and demands extremely lean but frequently comical descriptions... Continue Reading
The blog It's OK to be Smart pointed me to this animated TedEd video that explains how humans are not that different from Pavlov's dogs. Like a dog that is trained to salivate when a bell rings, we too learn to react to events and stumuli. We may not drool, but may fall in love. Watch: Email Readers can watch here. More about the genius of dogs at Brainpickings.
Recently Ian Tucker sat down with a group of the world’s top science writers at the Royal Society’s annual book prize event in London. The results of the interview are filled with gems of insight and humor that frame how these writers think about explanation and making ideas easier to understand. The first addresses a question I hear often - how do you explain something without talking down to people? Tucker asks the question in this form: When you are writing where do you set the difficulty... Continue Reading
Today I was reminded by Brain Pickings that it's Richard Feynman's birthday. He passed away in 1988, and would have been 94 today. I recently became fascinated with Feynman while doing research on the Art of Explanation book. Feynman was a brilliant and colorful American Phycisist who played a major role in the Manhattan Project and later won a Nobel Prize. He was known as "The Great Explainer" due to his ability to help people understand and more importantly, be inspired by science and the... Continue Reading
This Week in Love is a series of blog posts where Sachi and I share what we love. Browse the archives and follow @weekinlove on Twitter. This Week in Love: The Radiolab Podcast Over the last couple of years, podcasts have become a big part of our lives. We work from home and end up sharing our listening habits, for better or for worse. We've discovered a number of podcasts that we love. We play them while working (especially doing creative work), cooking dinner, working out, etc. They've... Continue Reading
Since our first video, Common Craft style has been defined by a specific set of materials and processes. You could say we work within a set of constraints. While the word “constraints” sounds limiting, we’ve always found them useful and, paradoxically, liberating. According to the article linked below, there’s now a scientific explanation. Johan Lehrer recently wrote an article called Need to Create? Get a Constraint wherein he looks at the results of psychological experiments that show... Continue Reading
If I could have learned chemistry this way, I might have discovered a career in science. Via Daily Dish