Reader's Corner No. 97: 7 Fantastic Design Fails, Seeking the Productive Life, and a Different Kind of Theory of Everything

March 7, 2019

This week's Reader's Corner is up! Which means it's time to enjoy some light reading this lovely Thursday afternoon. Our employee submissions of the day include learning from design failures, some tips for living a productive life, and a high-level, metaphysical reanalysis of standard physics methodologies commonly used to explain our universe.

7 Fantastic Design Fails - and What We Can Learn From Them

David Minton

Source: Creative Bloq

Takeaway: Design fails by professionals that should know better are tough to look at, but you can’t help yourself sometimes. Creative Bloq takes that high road and elevates six fails from simple Schadenfreude to teaching opportunities. Most of the failures relate to how designs translated from digital to physical; make sure you consider how the design will be printed and presented.

Tags: #Design

Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure

Amanda Hart

Source: Stephen Wolfram Blog

Takeaway: Fascinatingly detailed dive into how Stephen Wolfram, CEO of Wolfram Research, organizes all aspects of his life. He breaks it down into daily life, his desk environment, travel, giving talks, his file system (I LOVE seeing how other people organize both physical and digital files), knowing where to put everything, conveniences, archiving, searching, databases, as well as personal analytics he's been collecting about himself for years. Reading an article like this makes me want to consider these aspects of my life as well, and see how I can improve upon how I'm doing my own personal archiving, tracking, and organization.

Tags: #Productivity, #LifeGoals

A Different Kind of Theory of Everything

Michael Nicholson

Source: The New Yorker

Takeaway: My favorite physicist (doesn't everyone have one?), Richard Feynman (ok, not exactly a unique favorite physicist) once lectured on multiple interpretations of two particles in space and how they interacted. Each of three interpretations lead to correctly predicted behavior (the three interpretations being Newtonian gravitational attraction, a distortion of the gravitational field [similar to the space-time construct derived from Einsteinian relativity], and the principle of least action). So, in that context, all three were equally correct.

The fact that these three mechanisms were equally correct is interesting in itself, as they do NOT share the same basic principles. This is an example of the Rashomon effect ( However, further examination of other parts of motion lead physicists to find that one of these interpretations better describes other behavior; namely that the least action context better describes motion of some objects, and eventually lead to the foundations of quantum mechanics.

And that (pardon the pun) quantum leap in the mathematical description is not unique in physics. Time and time again researchers find that the math needed to describe a new understanding is NOT a modification of existing formulae, or a tweak; it's completely new math, a completely new lens. By delving further into the question they're trying to answer, they find the new questions they should be asking. Another current example is the application of Feynman diagrams, or scattering amplitudes, to describe particle-collision outcomes. These can be approached without space or time, and may lead to a new understanding that works without the construct of space-time, and yet can still predict outcomes within space-time.

It turns out that maybe Douglas Adams was right; maybe we're just asking the wrong questions. But maybe if we keep trying, we'll figure out the right ones"

Tags: #Science, #TheWorldisStrangerThanWeKnow

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