Interpretation and Intent in Communication [...]

As we go up from perception to appropriation, the filmmaker’s control wanes and the viewer’s control increases. Spielberg structures Raiders of the Lost Ark the way he wants, but you can appropriate his movie as a piece of imperialist ideology and he can’t do a damn thing about it. In the middle, it’s a negotiation: He steers you to construct the story a certain way, but you can also fill it out with your own inferences, or claim he hasn’t given you enough cues to do so. (Does Marion really love Indy? How much?) And emotion is involved at all stages of the process, from the jolt of  jump scares to the high-level social satisfactions of fandom. (Source)

Predicting Human Behavior [...]

One of the weird things about humans is that we most want to be told what will happen next at the exact moment when the future is uncertain because the outcome depends upon decisions we have yet to make. Most of the time, the future is predictable partly because there isn't a lot we can do to change it. This is not one of those times. (Source)

Math and Tragedy [...]

Math has prepared me poorly for this pandemic—or at least a particular kind of math, the kind that sees mass death as an opportunity to work with graphs and derivatives.For students, it has never been more necessary to move flexibly and quickly between concrete and abstract representations—to acquire the power of the graph without becoming anesthetized to the horror that’s represented much more poignantly by the obituaries.For teachers, there has never been a more important time to look at points, graphs, tables, equations, and numbers, and to ask students, “What does this mean?” and particularly now, “Who is this?” (Source)

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