I’ve always found mathematics beautiful. And I’ve always, or nearly always, felt that it was taught poorly. Too much time spent trying to get to the answer and almost no appreciation for the poetic magnificence around it. I saw this discussion on StackExchange and fell back in love with math all over again:

Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain

Just a little while ago I read about Moebius Noodles, [article in The Atlantic] a book (a movement?) that shares this love of math and honestly, to the core, believes that all children can learn to love math, too. It has to do with how we talk about it.

An excerpt:

“Calculations kids are forced to do are often so developmentally inappropriate, the experience amounts to torture,” she says. They also miss the essential point—that mathematics is fundamentally about patterns and structures, rather than “little manipulations of numbers,” as she puts it. It’s akin to budding filmmakers learning first about costumes, lighting and other technical aspects, rather than about crafting meaningful stories.


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I’m so glad that this essay exists, and even more content to believe that Dave Chappelle is out there, possibly very happy, not crazy, having made a deliberate decision to step away from his brilliant comic achievement (and all that cash).

Toward the end of Chappelle’s Show I remember getting more uncomfortable with the sketches and how far over the line they were willing to go for no reason. What started out as go-tell-all-your-friends insightful and hilarious ended as no more than head-shakingly embarrassing and irritating. To me, the wit had turned into spite. After reading this, I can only guess I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. You only have one life to live, what are you going to do with it?

The Believer – If He Hollers Let Him Go – by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah.

Like Salinger’s retreat from fame, Chappelle’s departure demanded an explanation: how could any human being have the willpower, the chutzpah, the determination to refuse the amount of money rumored to be Chappelle’s next paycheck: fifty million dollars. Say it with me now. Fifty. Million. Dollars. When the dust settled, and Chappelle had done interviews with Oprah and James Lipton in an attempt to recover his image and tell his story, two things became immediately apparent: Dave Chappelle is without a doubt his generation’s smartest comic, and the hole he left in comedy is so great that even ten years later very few people can accept the reason he later gave for leaving fame and fortune behind: he wanted to find a simpler way of life.

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The Tower Infinity, South Korea’s Forthcoming ‘Invisible’ Skyscraper – Core77.

Cameras capture the view from one side of the tower and LEDs recreate the image on the other side, and so on. I wonder how they deal with varying viewpoints. LEDs aimed at different heights?

Here’s another question: you can’t really see artificial light during the day, so the effect is going to work only at night. But at night, since it’s a 450m-tall tower, what the cameras will see is a dark sky. How are LEDs going to reproduce darkness? And hide the light coming from inside the offices? Maybe they’re counting on the night sky being a soft orange glow, from so many streetlights filtered through a polluted sky.

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Outliers Patent-Pending Pivot Sleeve, and How It Came to Be – Core77.

A remarkable innovation in shirt design for bicyclists. Made with purpose, solves a problem, and good-looking. I love this kind of stuff. It’s rare. It’s wonderful.

Compare this idea of “design” with Rafael Vinoly’s second death ray building. This one melts cars. Looking back at Vdara, one might guess he’s perfecting the idea of a solar-powered attach building.

With the profusion of consultants within the architecture industry–from engineers to interior designers to landscape and many, many others–there are really only a few aspects to building design left entirely to the architect. One is bathroom design and toilet layout, since very few have come forward to snag that prize. Another is building form. You would think (misguidedly) an architect would pay more attention to the shape of a building since he has so little else to work with, especially after having set fire to people’s hair in the past.

When you abandon research and ignore the functional, scientific, and pragmatic, you are in the world of decoration, not design.

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LEGO® Architecture Studio now in stores | News | Archinect.

This is cuckoo. Boxes of LEGO packaged to introduce you to architecture. That, in itself, is just fine–even though every single box of LEGO every made does that. It’s that:

  1. The blocks come in a very narrow range of sizes (really only good for massing studies).
  2. The blocks are all white.
  3. It’s $150 per box.

What an incredible waste of money. A stifling of creativity. A reduction of what architecture is and can be. A reduction of what LEGO already is. Also, hilariously pompous.

Ages 16+. Because anyone younger than a sophomore will have the sense to call this is stupid.

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Two interesting and deeply considered theories on how everything is related. At least, in their own universes:

The Pixar Theory | Jon Negroni.

The unified theory of Quentin Taratino’s movie universe

Someone once told me as an architect you’re only every working on one design your whole life. Every project is an iteration on the same idea, hopefully a better attempt than the last to express a single concept. I’ve thought about this a lot. During school it seemed like a superficial remark, as you can look at most student portfolios and notice a tendency to return to the same cool idea. But over the years I have seen it play out, even when the projects look nothing alike. I’m not surprised that the ethos of Pixar or the movie-solipsism of Tarantino are so cleanly teased out.

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WikiHouse, open-source cutting files for CNC machines, to build new cities barn-raising style, without architects and without developers. Uses SketchUp for now. Open invitation to join in the project.

TED Talk

HuffPost with video interview (Alistair Parvin)

It’s an interesting approach, clearly born out of academic studios. It requires access to a host of expensive, first-world things, namely a CNC machine, computers that can run SketchUp, and plywood of reliable quality. It’s an architecture student’s “raw materials”–chipboard and laser cutter–scaled up, and tasked with a noble mission. Honorable, but you have to wonder whether this is really an efficient way to bring housing to the masses. If you follow the production path from chopping down trees to making plywood, to CNC milling it, and then reassembling the whole thing into a house, it brings to mind making a casserole out of canned food.

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Watch This Sizzle Reel: Architect Stephen Chung Hosts ‘Cool Spaces’ – Arts And Culture – Architect Magazine.

Can it be? Will people watch this? Does it mean something that as of this writing there are zero comments on this page at architectmagazine.com?

I wouldn’t focus a show about architecture on the Master Architect. We all know what a lie that idea is. Why not focus on the people who use a building? Tell their story. Show how sunlight warms a room just so, inviting people to linger on a cold day. How a well-proportioned room with good acoustics works. Or how a streamlined, hard space does its job to move people through a transportation terminal. For example.

What architecture needs to sell, if we’re ever going to get anywhere, is the architecture. Not the architect.

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Crayola Light Marker for iPad lets you ‘paint in the air’ for $29.99 | The Verge.

This is ridiculous on several levels. Here are two.

#1: The pen is (probably) an infrared LED and can be made for $5.

#2: Why is it better to draw on an iPad while swinging your hand in the air?

Markers on paper are fun. And they’re especially fun for young kids who are just getting started with drawing. Putting your hands on a pen and making it move on paper is an invaluable experience–a necessary one, in fact. The brain learns by drawing, and the tangible part of drawing is crucial to that learning. An air pen is no better than an air guitar. Maybe fun for a few minutes, but ultimately a waste of time and a dissatisfying experience.

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