Mathematics is the only true universal language

Jumped back this week to another classic film, Robert Zemeckis's 1997 Contact, based off the novel from astronomer Carl Sagan and starred Jodie Foster.

The film's plot is straightforward - It's about Ellie, a talented scientist whose colleagues believe she is wasting her time and energy on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. After discovering evidence that someone is out there, and that these aliens are purposefully communicating with us, it dives into the deep conflicts between humans (rather than focusing on the aliens). It's more about how humanity would respond to this type of discovery - the effects of political powers, the perceived power of religious groups, and the evolution of humankind.

When it was released, the film was impactful/criticized and it 'has a captivating depiction of the eternal struggle between science and religion', but there's many subtle layers to this film: the role of how media and technology frame our world, the journey of a young girl through a tragedy, and the sheer forcefulness of being pushed to look through other's perspectives.

Years later, this film continues to hold up as a masterpiece.

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Forte Labs has an important read this week on ‘Windows of Opportunity’, by doing an introspective on Gary Flandro from NASA, and 'rare set of circumstances and a brief moment of time in which an otherwise impossible outcome is potentially achievable'. As I look back across my own life, I can pick out several transformative moments when things aligned which shaped the following years to come - More

Unfortunately, I have to agree with this article on the de-evolution of Instagram. What was once a timeline filled with creatives with interesting content, it’s morphed in a narcissistic cult of personality. I feel there’s the opportunity for someone to re-think the mess that social networks have become to something more personal, more private, more... social? - More

Super cool on the geek front - the entire archive of Computerworld has been released for free based on digitized microfilm. The entire archive from 1967-2014 is available, searchable and downloadable - More

Monkey Island was on of the greatest games I can remember from my childhood. Developed at Lucasfilm Games, “The Secrets of Monkey Island's Source Code” takes a deep dive into the SCUMM game scripting language (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) and explores unused concepts, how they handled certain aspects of the game story and art, and their development process - More

Waterfield Designs makes my favorite bags and I’m more than excited to get ahold of their new case for the AirPods Max. Check out this video on this amazing company - Watch

Interesting read on the mental mindset between ‘open mode’ and ‘closed mode’. John Cleese of Monty Python said that “creativity is not possible in closed mode as we’re too focused on our to-do lists and fueled by productive stress - open mode is a relaxed... expansive... less purposeful mode... in which we’re probably more contemplative, more inclined to humor (which always accompanies a wider perspective) and, consequently, more playful.“ - More

A look at ‘focus as a process, not a result’ and the effects that interruptions and context switching has on our flow. - More

10 incredible benefits of being lazy. Sounds good these days, to be honest - More

To close out 2020 and start fresh in 2021, Seth Godin has a great read on ‘amplifying possibility. Amplify possibility. Dial down the spread of disinformation, trolling and division. Make it almost impossible to get famous at the expense of civilization. Embrace the fact that breaking news doesn’t have to be the rhythm of our days. Reward thoughtfulness and consistency and responsibility‘ - More

Lots of reading this week on time; in ‘Don't Kill Time’, David Perell examines the differences between work, play and relaxing. Which, is fundamentally different than wasting time, and the benefits of when you view time as a resource - More

The Ivy Lee Method is a famous system for getting more done and its a simple mindset: ‘Do the most important thing first each day’. On the onset it appears easy to do, but it requires focus and consistency - More

I enjoyed this post from Austin Kleon on the concept of ‘circular time vs. linear time’ and how we each perceive the passage of time. The circular view is to treat time as a spiral and that it doesn’t have an end, a loop, in which you never really “arrive” to a destination on a project, but start over at a new starting point - More

End Thoughts

You wanna hear something really nutty?

I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an “airplane,” you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it’s ridiculous, right?

And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon, or atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right?

Look, all I’m asking, is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision.

You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history… of history.