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History Learning Resources and Reference

Learn history through maps

Bookmarked HistoryMaps (HistoryMaps)

Learn history visually

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Learning Reflection

Follow your curiosity deeper

Replied to The Power of Indulging Your Weird, Offbeat Obsessions by an author (Medium)

It’s enormously valuable to simply follow your curiosity—and follow it for a really long time, even if it doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere in particular.

This reminds me of when I traveled to the Mediterranean after high school; my coach didn’t think we were exhibiting enough Wonder as we encountered history, and made us write an extra essay about it. But what does Wonder look like? Must it be Awe, clearly written on your face, or can it be curiosity?

Wonder must be felt, it cannot be forced or faked; likewise, curiosity. There are many instances when fake it till you make it applies, but performing wonder or awe or curiosity for someone else I suspect prevents it from being felt. Someone else cannot tell you an experience is meaningful; you assign your own meaning. No one else can be curious on your behalf; you must find your own curiosities.

You can create conditions more friendly to experiencing the emotions you seek, but the emotion is not guaranteed. Place is one way to prompt connection with the past, but having expectations of emotional meaning makes it easier to disrupt. We got up early to run the track at Delphi; the landscapers were there too, leaf-blowing. The modern din forestalled a bond with the priestesses of yore. Likewise, too much intent strains curiosity; it is an invitation to be followed, not a certain path. Expecting a direct trail keeps you from seeing the cairns and blazes marking a way off to one side, or reading the topography for the easiest passage.

I like this encouragement to indulge my curiosity because sometimes I’ll be intrigued by something, then remind myself I have no reason to learn more about it or save it because there’s nothing about the information that’s relevant to my life or work. And sometimes that is true, but practicing curiosity inculcates that perspective in your thought habits, making it easier to be curious about more things.

Is the same true for wonder? Were we not trying hard enough to feel it? Is it a state of mind that practice can bring you to more readily? Both Wonder and curiosity require openness and humility, but feeling Wonder also takes vulnerability. Curiosity, in contrast, needs an acceptance of inefficiency. These additional demands may make one more challenging for some to feel than another.

In Egypt, I doodled motifs from the walls of an ancient tomb — sketching and photography were my way of absorbing what I was seeing. Curiosity is an active engagement that adds to what exists, ciphering it through the self; Wonder is a receiving and a changing of the self. Curiosity seeks to unravel the mysterious; Wonder values the mysterious for itself. Constitutionally, I am more suited to curiosity than Wonder.

Categories
Learning

Learning as vibes

Liked You’ll forget most of what you learn. What should you do about that? by Adam Mastroianni (Experimental History)

Knowledge fades fast, especially when you don’t use it. In the words of the late, great psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, “All sorts of ideas, if left to themselves, are gradually forgotten”

Feelings, or vibes, on the other hand, seem to stick around a lot longer.

Connection here to facts not convincing people; feelings shape people’s opinions.

Categories
Learning

Algorithmic recommendations create “curiosity ruts”

Replied to What Worked in 2022: 4 Insights From A Rebuilding Year by Tara McMullinTara McMullin (explorewhatworks.com)

One of his strategic priorities for this year was breaking out of what he calls curiosity ruts. Algorithms typically carve out curiosity ruts—that’s what happens when a platform learns your preferences and gives you what you want to see. In the process, we forget to look for information or ideas that aren’t automagically fed to us.

“What are the tools and systems that you can put into place to find information that you wouldn’t have found? The ideas, perspectives, people, etc., that you wouldn’t have found if you had just been left to your own curiosity ruts?” — Sean McMullin

Create information systems of serendipity — follow sources that are likely to introduce you to the unexpected.

Computers don’t have, can’t have, taste. That’s why there will always be a place for curators like Jason Kottke and tastemakers who create playlists of new musicians. An algorithm can be pretty good at recommending more stuff like we already like, but to make a sizable jump in what we’re listening to or reading, we turn to people we trust to have good taste (similar to our own 😉). Interesting people probably read and watch interesting things.

I’ve always treated social media this way, following people who boost others and share interesting things they’ve encountered. I don’t know how the algorithm worked on top of that, but one of the things I appreciated about Twitter was finding someone new to follow or hearing about a new project or learning something random about history or science or a field totally outside my realm of knowledge, every time I logged on. I saw someone talking about Twitter / this aspect of social media as a delivery system of delight: for me, this is the dopamine hit. As much as it sometimes annoyed me to see posts that “people you follow liked” it was probably a decent way to inject some freshness into people’s feeds in addition to RTs and QTs (they just overdid it IMO).

Over the past ~ six+ weeks since Twitter went to shit, I started following a handful of folks who migrated to Mastodon using the Activity Pub connection from Micro.blog — and through them have found some other interesting people to follow. For my interests, authors, artists and academics are my key to discovery.

Categories
Comics Learning The Internet

The value of deep learning

Liked The dangers of short form content by thewokesalaryman (thewokesalaryman.com)

Short-form content is the spark that gets you to care about something. Yet it’s long-form content (like books) that will give you deep understanding.

[Y]ou can do more when you know more.

A link between depth and intentionality: choosing what you want to learn about, pursuing answers to specific questions. Broad curiosity followed by more focused quests for greater understanding.

Ties back into my general complaint about the internet: there’s a vast sea of 101 (and even lower junk) content dotted by archipelagos of richer material.

See also:

Content marketing has become hollow signaling

Go Deeper, Not Wider

Why the Depth Year Was My Best Year

 

Categories
Entrepreneurship Learning Outreach Writing

Anyone can write a how to; think and write at a more strategic level

Liked Jay Acunzo on LinkedIn: We need more people challenging the way we think about our work. (linkedin.com)

We need more people challenging the way we think about our work. We’ve fallen in love with “practical steps.”

But even the most confident of steps don’t… | 19 comments on LinkedIn

Treat your writing as a means to try and understand — not a way to share what you already do.

Stop acting like an expert. Start acting like an investigator.

Replace things you “must” know with things you’re curious to know.

In the end, How-To is the commodity of our lifetime. Expertise and experts are amazingly ubiquitous and accessible. More than ever, the ability to produce How-To-Think content which challenges the status quo and solves meaningful problems for people is how we stop transacting the audience and start transforming them.

This is what I want to do with environmental communication: I want to guide the government environmental outreach community, sharing what I’ve learned in local government while drawing on the ideas I’ve absorbed from other realms of interest — accessibility and community building and co-design. This is why I left my old job: to influence strategy and advocate for more effective, evidence-driven approaches to behavior change.

Chief among those in the environmental behavior change realm is working upstream to improve systems to reduce how much people need to think about. It is ironic for a communicator to realize that the most effective tool is eliminating the need to communicate as much as possible 😎

Also, he’s spot on about quitting reading marketing content. 90% of it is regurgitated hollowness.

Via Tara McMullin who added the commentary:

Expertise is marketable, for sure. And that’s fine if [your] aim is “authority,” which is just another way of saying domination.

 

Curiosity and openness are marketable, too, in their own ways.

Categories
Learning Meta

Building maps of notes helps synthesize ideas

Liked Maps of Content (notes.linkingyourthinking.com)

Whenever you start to feel that tickle of overwhelm (Mental Squeeze Point), that’s when you need to become a cartographer of your own content and create a new MOC.

MOCs are nondestructive, non-restrictive, non-limiting perspectives… MOCs are “overlays” that add relevant information but that don’t affect your base level notes.

I like the framing of making a map of thoughts and notes. I’ve been feeling like I want another way to organize and collect information, this might be one way to think about it.

Categories
Culture Learning Lifestyle

No streaming

Replied to https://mobile.twitter.com/austinkleon/status/1588549758972755971 (mobile.twitter.com)

This feels complementary to David Cain’s idea of a Depth Year — because without access to an endless, immediately satisfying catalog of online streaming, the amount of content you could consume would probably be a lot less, which could nudge you to give what you do take in deeper consideration.

This is something I think about occasionally because I naturally tend towards a MORE MORE MORE intake mindset. This mind garden is one tool I use to push myself towards more contemplation, and using more of my time for thinking versus reading or watching.

I also can see the appeal of taking a break from streaming with the frustration I’ve had with Tidal and the poor quality of streaming movies I’ve seen (e.g. sound sync problems in Dune, dithering in Tangled) 😉 But… someone’s suggestion in the comments of trying a month feels way more doable 😂

Categories
Environment Learning

Motivators of Conservation Behavior Change and Pathways to Tap Into Them

Watched Motivators of Conservation Behavior Change and Pathways to Tap Into Them from Eventbrite

This webinar will introduce you to social science tools to amplify strategies to motivate conservation action using a framework to explore diverse pathways to behavior change. These tools provide new lenses and resources to frame communications and mobilize audiences, as well as ideas for adaptive management and evaluation. Participants will get a sneak peek at a soon-to-be-released workbook on pathways to motivating conservation behavior change, designed by the presenters and partners.

Presented by SMANA

Presenters: Lily Maynard, PhD and Lauren Watkins, PhD

Case study: Tanzania chimpanzee habitat protection

  • problem: despite conservation efforts, land still being degraded — small-scale farming biggest contributor to river forest deforestation — they were moving where they farmed because of soil infertility
  • answer: composting!
  • started by engaging with the community
  • baseline survey & interviews: 800 households, 30 villages (who they trust, where they get info)
  • org goal = save forests; farmers’ goal = provide for family; reframing: you have everything around you
  • pilot launch in 3 villages
  • “care for the forest, care for the family”
  • football and netball tournaments; music video; dancing mascot performances; ambassador farmers — raise awareness
  • demo farms to show compost benefits; ambassador farmers trained and built demonstration compost heaps at their homes; made flyer / cartoon
  • trained 400 farmers; thousands of farmers participating — high adoption rates — 5000 compost heaps created
  • taking action good — need to sustain the action too
  • distributed 240000 kg compost samples; farming calendars; radio spots
  • 70% farmers used compost 3+ seasons; 90% farmers believe composting will become typical ag practice in their community
  • will follow up with spatial awareness to see if encouraging composting has reduced damage to habitat
Categories
Learning Personal Growth Reflection The Internet

The addictive nature of Twitter

Twitter is the only thing that’s ever made me feel addicted. The combination is my catnip: learning interesting things, seeing pretty art, following live events as they unfold (especially ones that seem poorly covered by the news), venting about politics, and pumping up my emotions.

I fought back against my Twitter addiction by hard blocking the domain, which worked reasonably well for several years. Except I wasn’t really free of it, because I managed a Twitter account for work. So I was still on Twitter multiple days a week, and writing tweets. Even when I got some colleagues to pitch in shifts on managing Facebook, I was always solely responsible for Twitter. Then when the pandemic hit and I switched to remote work, I had to unblock the domain on my computer so I could access my work Twitter account. I resisted posting and engaging on my personal Twitter account, but reading alone is enough to rile me up.

Now that I have quit my job, for the first time in nearly eight years I truly have a choice about whether to use Twitter.

I agree with Ben Werd: “I’m afraid of leaving Twitter for two reasons: because I might miss something from someone, and because someone might miss something from me. In other words, I feel like I need to be on the platform to stay informed for the good of myself, and to let people know about the work I’m doing for the good of my career.”