Descartes’s methodic learning

In Rule VIII of Règles pour la Direction de l'Esprit, Descartes writes:
Si quelqu'un se propose comme problème d'examiner toutes les vérités pour la connaissance desquelles la raison humaine suffit (examen que doivent faire, ce me semble, au moins une fois dans la vie, tous ceux qui s'efforcent sérieusement de parvenir à la sagesse), il trouvera certainement, par les règles qui ont été données, que rien ne peut être connu avant l'entendement, Continue reading “Descartes’s methodic learning”

Swing dancing as a language: why Swing dancing is for geeks

Presented as a four-minute flash talk at Automattic’s 2013 Grand Meetup in California.

I want to talk to you about a language that is likely little known to many of you, which is dancing. Indeed, I dance something called the Lindy Hop. Probably the most iconic of Swing dances, reminiscent of the Thirties and such lively venues as the Savoy in New York City’s Harlem, Lindy is a fast-paced, spectacular and fun dance.

Lindy Hop

The Lindy Hop is powered by Swing music. Swing music takes roots in Jazz and is a very well structured kind of music: it gives you 8-count bars, usually 4-bar phrases, and you have progressions such as Blues or Dixieland Jazz progressions. This all means that it has a sense of order and predictability.

Now, the fact that the structure is, at its core, minimal and immutable means that it gets out of your way, and this allows a lot of freedom for improvisation, for bending the rhythm, etc., for musicians and dancers alike. In fact, even if they don’t know the music, dancers can follow it just because of that very structure, and even mess around with it. Continue reading “Swing dancing as a language: why Swing dancing is for geeks”