This is a fantastic article that articulates something that I’ve felt for a long time, which is the idea that there is no useless knowledge. If you choose to educate yourself with a goal in mind, that’s great. But it is perfectly fine to pursue knowledge simply to satisfy your own curiosity.
…most of the really great discoveries which had ultimately proved to be beneficial to mankind had been made by men and women who were driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.
In fact, the most valuable knowledge and skills that I’ve picked up over the years were all things that I studied out of personal curiosity and interest rather than something that was thrust upon me, such as philosophy, photography and computers.
I feel so validated now that I know that the great Richard Feynman shares my view
I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only now discovered the wisdom and eloquence of Richard Feynman.
. . . Are you looking for the ultimate laws of physics? No, I’m not. I’m just looking to find out more about the world, and if it turns out there is a simple ultimate law that explains everything, so be it …But whatever way it comes out, nature is there and she’s going to come out the way she is. Therefore, when we go to investigate it, we shouldn’t pre-decide what it is we’re trying to do except to find out more about it …I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong …But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things.
I actually heard these words before in the lyrics from one of the songs from Symphony of Science, but I never realised they were Feynman’s quotes.
Found this while doing research on Forbes.com.
I like it.
If you want to know how rich you really are, find out what would be left of you tomorrow if you should lose every dollar you own tonight.
William J.H. Boetcker
If your skin is medium toned like mine, you can use your camera to take a meter reading off your hand. I do this pretty often when I’m too lazy to bring light meter out.
If you happen to be darker, just add about half a stop of light, and if you are lighter, just reduce the reading by a stop. Just don’t forget to fill the entire frame with your hand, otherwise the camera may factor in the background in the meter reading.
Why I trust science and get peeved when people try to equate knowledge in science vs the “knowledge” of pseudo-science and the supernatural.
“The physicist has an idea. The more he thinks it through, the more sense it seems to make. He consults the scientific literature. The more he reads, the more promising the idea becomes. Thus prepared he goes to the laboratory and devises an experiment to test it. The experiment is painstaking. Many possibilities are checked. The accuracy of measurement is refined, the error bars reduced. He lets the chips fall where they may. He is devoted only to what the experiment teaches. At the end of all this work, through careful experimentation, the idea is found to be worthless. So the physicist discards it, frees his mind from the clutter of error, and moves on to something else. The difference between physics and metaphysics is not that the practitioners of one are smarter than the practitioners of the other. The difference is that the metaphysicist has no laboratory.”
Physicist Robert W. Wood
in Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World
This is a very interesting video of a talk by Dan Pink that my lecturer shared in class today.
Seems that monetary rewards work best as a motivator for mechanical tasks (e.g. data entry). For tasks that require cognitive ability, linking rewards to performance only works up to a certain point. Beyond that, it actually leads to lower performance.