All of science is based on it…But I don't really know why it works

If I were to flip a coin a million times I’d be damn sure I wasn’t going to get all heads. I’m not a betting man but I’d be so sure that I’d bet my life or my soul. I’d even go the whole way and bet a year’s salary. I’m absolutely certain the laws of large numbers—probability theory—will work and protect me. All of science is based on it. But, I can’t prove it and I don’t really know why it works. That may be the reason why Einstein said, ‘God doesn’t play dice.’ It probably is.
— Physicist Leonard Susskind, Stanford University, in his 2005 essay for the collection “What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?”

Ask an 11-year-old

Then there’s the really fascinating part. People in their 20s are having a new experience: They are, for the first time, noticing some of the things actual teenagers enjoy and are being completely appalled, both morally and aesthetically. A flood of young rappers is scoring hits with music that baffles grown rap fans with its slurry boneheadedness […] If the last version of pop was driven by people who desperately wanted everyone to care and everything to matter, it’s only natural for the next wave to be interested in what it looks like when you don’t care, and nothing matters.
25 Songs That Tell Us Where the Future of Music is Going, Introduction by Nitsuh Abebe, New York Times Magazine, Sunday, March 11

The introduction concludes with,

"Keep scanning along that birth chart, and it will emerge that the highest number of births in American history seems to have come around 2007. If you want to know where music is going, ask an 11-year-old."

How to start a YouTube channel

If you think that you’re being restricted by time or money or equipment, then you’re fooling yourself and you need to just get out there and start making stuff [...] My advice sounds so simple: start making videos. So why don’t we? Why does everyone find it so difficult? Well, the answer is, you want to make something that’s good, that’s popular, that everyone likes. You’re worried that, what if you make it and nobody does like it, or it’s bad. And so rather than face that reality, you just don’t make anything.
— Derek Muller, How to start a YouTube channel, 2013

Old Man Principles

Tyler Ruzich (with the mic), with Alex Cline, Ethan Randleas, and Dominic Scavuzzo — candidates for governor of Kansas. (Photo Jeff Tuttle/For The Washington Post)

Tyler Ruzich (with the mic), with Alex Cline, Ethan Randleas, and Dominic Scavuzzo — candidates for governor of Kansas. (Photo Jeff Tuttle/For The Washington Post)

‘You know, lots of people ask me, what can you, Tyler Ruzich, do for people my age?’ Tyler said, back in his car. ‘I say, we keep continuing these Old Man Principles that aren’t working. In [Alexander] Hamilton’s time, someone my age could be commander of a frigate. Did the Founding Fathers consider that a 17-year-old might be governor? I don’t know. Did they consider that a reality-television businessman would become president of the United States after losing the popular vote? Probably not.’
“Six teenagers are running for governor in Kansas…”, by Monica Hesse, Washington Post, March 3, 2018

What gives me the authority? I bought 2 drinks.

Do you believe that you’re in charge of deciding if our brilliant ideas are good or not? All these talented people with this money and TV credits, they come up here and you get to decide what’s good and what’s not good and we believe you. And what the hell do you know about it? Nothing. You know nothing. You’ve never written a show. Most of you aren’t funny — probably all of you — you wouldn’t be here if you were funny, you wouldn’t need to come to this. But just think of how you would feel if I came into your office and said “I don’t like the things you say at these meetings. I don’t know anything about your business. I don’t have a reason. I don’t even work here. I just thought I’d come in off the street and give you a piece of my mind. And what gives me the authority? I bought 2 drinks.
Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian, [at 23:10]

The hornets that sting

There were some filmmakers speaking in an auditorium like this one about how documentaries should be made, how we should be like a fly on the wall and not interfere. And I just couldn’t take it anymore so I grabbed the mic and said, “No! We are directors. We are creators. We should be the hornets that sting.’
Werner Herzog, New Yorker, 2014

Herzog continues: "There was a roar of disgust against me so I shouted, 'Happy New Year losers!'


Smart people are beginning to understand the size of the problem, but they haven’t yet figured out the timing; they haven’t yet figured out that the latest science shows that this wave is already breaking over our heads.
Bill McKibben, 2010, on climate change. Eaarth, p 51


There is one day when all things are tired, and the very smells as they drift on the heavy air are old and used. One cannot explain, but it feels so. Then there is another day—to the eye nothing whatever has changed—when all the smells are new and delightful and the whiskers of the Jungle People quiver to their roots, and the winter hair comes away from their sides in long draggled locks. Then, perhaps, a little rain falls, and all the trees and the bushes and the bamboos and the mosses and the juicy-leaved plants wake with  a noise of growing that you can almost hear, and under this noise runs, day and night, a deep hum. That is the noise of the spring—a vibrating boom which is neither bees nor falling water nor the wind in the tree-tops, but the purring of the warm, happy world.
Rudyard Kipling, Jungle Book 8, The Spring Running

"Do new technologies require us to rethink the purpose of American education?"

If the primary goal of school is to teach students to build products, the answer might be yes. But interviews my research team has conducted with educators and parents show that Americans maintain broad and complex aims for education. They want students to develop interpersonal skills and citizenship traits. They want schools to teach critical thinking and an array of academic skills. They want young people to be exposed to arts and music, to have opportunities for play and creativity, and to be supported socially and emotionally.
— From Why a live, star-studded TV show on school reform is a problem, by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, Sept 8, 2017.

"The problems that do harm to public education…"

The thinking that if ‘only we can find the right school design model then all kids will have a great education’ disregards the fundamental problems that do harm public education: devastating funding inequities that disadvantage the poorest of the country’s schools; curriculum deficits; issues facing teachers, including training, retention, lack of diversity, low pay and lack of authority in their own classrooms; and issues facing students, including poverty, trauma, poor health, unstable family life and learning disabilities.
— From Why a live, star-studded TV show on school reform is a problem, by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, Sept 8, 2017.

Not a charity

The U.S. public education system is not a charity. It is a civic institution, the most important, many argue, in the country, and it educates the vast majority of America’s children — the well-off ones and middle-class ones and those who are so poor that they turn up in class with flea collars around their ankles (as one superintendent told me). It is in some areas of the country a brilliant success and in other places a crushing failure, differences that reflect embedded inequality in the U.S. society and economy.
— From Why a live, star-studded TV show on school reform is a problem, by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, Sept 8, 2017.