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Aug 3 12 tweets 10 min read
🧵 Tonight's SFI Community Lecture by 2x Miller Scholar @Andrea_Wulf begins in just a few minutes!

Follow this thread for the streaming link and highlights from the talk. (Sorry, but this recording will not be available to view afterward...)
Talk starts now with an intro by SFI Prof @C4_Computation:

Q - Flack: "Some of you might wonder how a talk on Humboldt connects to #ComplexityScience."

A - Humboldt: "Knowledge of the chain of connection....the perception of these relations."
Who was #AlexanderVonHumboldt?

"A man who was so restless he said he was chased by 10,000 pigs... He spent his entire inheritance on a five-year voyage of South America. They called him 'The Shakespeare of the Sciences.'"
- @andrea_wulf
"#ThomasJefferson called him 'one of the greatest ornaments of our age.' #Napoleon was jealous of him. #JohnMuir's ideas were heavily influenced by his work. #Goethe said spending a few days with him was like several years. The @NYTimes dedicated an entire page to his birthday."
"He was the father of #infographics and the forgotten father of #environmentalism. I also like to say he was the father of #ComplexityScience."

"When you write a book about an explorer, the great thing is that you have to travel the world to follow in their footsteps."
"They almost starved to death. They suffered high fevers. They encountered jaguars & crocodiles. They collected 1000s & 1000s of plants. But he was not just interested in nature. He was also interested in the Indigenous people & said they were the best geographers he'd ever met."
"He described what the forest actually does for an ecosystem, and wrote about humankind's ability to destroy nature. He said in 1801, 'There might be a time when humankind could travel to other planets...and -[will] leave those distant planets as barren and ravaged as Earth.'"
Climbing #Chimborazo, "He noted everything with scientific instruments every few hundred yards."

"They were at 19,340 ft, about 1000 feet before the peak...and had to stop. But they achieved something remarkable: no one else had been this high anywhere else in the world."
"Using Humoldt's data researchers in 2012 noted that the plants he had recorded at different altitudes had retreated up the slopes [in response to #ClimateChange]."

"'The study of #nature,' he wrote, 'does not exist in the sterile accumulation of isolated facts.'"
"He left #ThomasJefferson 19 hand-written pages...and collected locked trunks with 1000s of bird specimens."
"He jumped from one another equally]. Everything...he said, was linked together, forming one hyper-indiviual."

- @andrea_wulf
"#CharlesDarwin read his #Humboldt books with pencil in hand. Humboldt's descriptions of South America made #Darwin *want* to travel there."

"He said, 'I am at present eager to follow in his steps.' "[Humboldt] was described by a friend as a "pre-Darwinian Darwinist.'"

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More from @sfiscience

Aug 3
🧵 "A #biologist's perspective of #process and #pattern in #innovation"
by SFI External Professor @HochTwit

Starting in just a few minutes on our YouTube channel.

Follow this thread for select slides and quotations...… Image
"I'm not going to pretend there's a unified theory of #innovation, and I'm going to explain why."

We begin with a tale of #Minitel: the original, now-extinct French "Web"...and then back further to #ARPANet...and then to theoretical precursors.

@HochTwit ImageImageImage
"There is no first-principles definition for #innovation."

"How could a company start with selling books online when people want to see a book in person and look through it? Nonetheless, @amazon survived..."

Before Amazon, on TelNet, later bought by B&N ImageImageImageImage
Read 15 tweets
Aug 2
🧵@UpshotNYT on new research in @Nature, co-authored by SFI External Professor @JacksonmMatt, on what @facebook data reveals about class, friendship, and economic mobility:
More at @CBSNews:

From the paper:
"It is clear that a booming economy does not guarantee better outcomes for local children."
Read 4 tweets
Jul 27
Queuing up for tonight's sold out (but streaming) Community Lecture by Fractal Faculty Professor @seanmcarroll!
🧵 Follow this thread as we look into Schröedinger's Box with @seanmcarroll (newly appointed to Chair of #NaturalPhilosphy at @johnshopkins) and learn about the #ManyWorlds hypothesis of #QuantumMechanics:

"Even if we're wrong, it's not magic, it's #physics, it's #science, and it can be understood."

"When we look at the world, we don't see the entirety of reality. What reality is, is the #superposition of the many different ways..."

"#Space is one of the many things in #reality."
Read 24 tweets
Jul 26
"Argument-Making in the Wild"

Today's SFI Seminar by Simon DeDeo (@LaboratoryMinds), streaming now. Follow our thread for pull quotes and slides:

First, let's divide human history into three eras, or regimes of #knowledge #production and #consumption:

• #premodern/#archaic
• #modern + #postmodern
• the #egregore (online content sharing)

• The premodern era is defined by caloric restriction.
• The modern era is characterized by a small number of sellers of #information vs. a large number of consumers (see also #HerbertSimon's remarks on the "poverty of #attention")

Read 16 tweets
Jul 6
"The Evolution of Strangers and Foreigners"

🧵 Today's SFI Seminar by @DoctorBugs (@Smithsonian)…

cc @templeton_fdn
First, a loop back to his LAST (2020) SFI Seminar on 3D structure of living systems from biofilms to rainforest canopies:

And his #ComplexityPodcast episode on ideas from that talk and this one:…
"People often think of societies as cooperative, but some societies are NOT very cooperative. I prefer to put the focus on them as groups."

"Societies are just one aspect of belonging. There are groups *within* societies & that's what psychologists mostly focus on."

Read 15 tweets
Jul 6
🧵 Group project presentations begin today for the 2022 SFI Complex Systems Summer School! We will share bits and pieces over the next two days...

#CSSS #ComplexSystems
First talk this morning by a team including @JenniferKBriggs @gatesdupont @maikemorrison @davidogara_ @simon_rella Ian Harryman & Haoyuan Luo on their contagion model ("Hopefully you'll see this published later" may as well be the official slogan of this summer school)
Our next group considers online #pornography a strangely under-examined domain for quantitative research & wants to bring #digitalhumanities approaches & multilayer network analysis to bear on it. @gulsahakcakir @AnaVybor @thomas_bssnt @prt_thibault @simon_rella

Take their poll:
Read 6 tweets

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