Gestalten #1: Interesting things I found this week
A failed nuclear test, a ruined wedding dress and AI-coffee correlation
Gestalten is an untranslatable German word that refers to the larger wholes that are composed by many little pieces.
As I explore the world(wide web) looking for interesting and exciting ideas and information, I encounter many of these 'Gestaltens' - little pieces of information that, when put together, create a larger whole. Every month, I will be sharing with you seven of these 'Gestaltens' that have caught my eye and my imagination. Enjoy!
Why seven you may ask? Well, It is believed that the number seven is a special number; it represents completion, wholeness, the intersection of the four physical elements, and the three sacred metaphysical elements. Together, these seven "Gestaltens" form a complete picture, made up of fragments that usefully intertwine to form a cohesive whole.
My hope is that these 'Gestaltens' will inspire you, engage you, and empower you.
#1 The Baker Test(video by Vsauce)
The Baker Test was an infamous nuclear test conducted by the United States government in 1946. The test was poorly planned and far from successful, resulting in what has been dubbed, "the world's first nuclear disaster". This failed nuclear explosion, however, did more than just create a lot of destruction
In the wake of the Baker Test's failure, French fashion designer Louis Réard seized the opportunity to design a more minimalist swimsuit than its predecessor. Thus, the iconic bikini was born. It's quite remarkable how a nuclear disaster gave way to a fashion trend, and it gets even more interesting when we consider a certain animated talking sponge
Urban legend has it that, the beloved cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants was also inspired, at least in part, by the Baker Test.
#2 Spin the globe challenge by Connor Price
Connor Price is a recently went viral for his 'Spin the Globe' challenge. With it, he spun a globe and landed on a different country each time. Then, he collaborated with an artist from that location and wrote a track. After doing the challenge seven times, he created a playlist of all the songs for his fans to enjoy
With millions of plays, and an even wider reach, Connor Price has become an example of how music can truly unite people, no matter what corner of the world they come from.
Also here is the playlist he made..
#3 Parable of the Chinese farmer
Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”
The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”
The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.
— Alan Watts retelling the parable
#4 This story from reddit about how a man purposefully spilled a giant glass of wine on his mother at his brother's wedding. I couldn’t tell if this was an episode from a sitcom or an actual incident, a literal roller-coaster ride.
#5 My takeaways from The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
This is one of the posts that I struggled to edit forever while simultaneously wanting to publish it as soon as possible. The book, The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku, is such an inspiring read that trying to explain why you should read it in a commentary block will never do it justice. To get the full effect, you simply have to read it for yourself. Spoiler Alert: once you do, I promise you will not regret a single minute spent doing so.
#6 Notes from the Field by Bryn Robinson
A post from Bryn Robinson on notetaking and notebooks. She talks about field notes and shares pictures of her notes and notebooks. She also recommends a lot of other newsletter on notes, notebooks and notetaking.
A great read.
#7 The Cup of Coffee Theory of AI
AI is smart. Ask it about books, and it can spit out a top-100 list. But it can’t tell you what it’s like to read a passage that puts perfectly something you’ve felt but couldn’t articulate. Ask it about music, and it can write you lyrics in the style of whoever you’d like. But it’s never listened to a great song, never heard one right when it needed to be heard. Ask it about taking a walk, and it can give you science-backed reasons to go for one. But it’s never been on a walk, never been totally excited by a thought or an idea that seemed to come from out of nowhere. Ask it about coffee, and it can give you an infographic that details tens or hundreds of brewing methods. But it’s never had that first sip of that first cup of the day. Ask it about connecting with an audience, and it can give you hundreds of best practices. But it can’t guarantee any of them are going to work.
This is the post which finally convinced me that AI is not a competitor to humans but just a tool. It is the espresso machine, no matter how advanced it gets, it will not replace the barista.
And that is it for this post. If you liked reading this, feel free to click the ❤️ button on this post so more people can discover it on Substack 🙏
Thanks for reading,
"It is the espresso machine, no matter how advanced it gets, it will not replace the barista."
That's a great analogy! AI is already and will be a fantastic tool for us to create and learn more