WAITBUTWHY, the blog that you should not miss.


Once we were told in the lecture that we had to write a blog post there was one thing that immediately came to my mind that I needed to share: WAITBUTWHY. This is the website of Tim Urban,  where he does a “new post every sometimes”. I ended up on his blogging-website beginning of this year via a tweet of Elon Musk who posted the following:

The above post is part one of an incredible two-part post about the revolution of Artificial Intelligence, which of course is crazy interesting as well as a good fit with our current choice of education.

Tim Urban has an amazing style of writing and real talent for telling a story though his posts. He also makes his own drawings which makes his posts even better. The main reason for the success of his blog is, in my opinion, that he is able to take incredibly huge and sometimes difficult subjects and manages to tell everything about it in a very interesting way that everyone will understand.

This is probably the reason that he got the opportunity to make the following post, which starts as follows:

Last month, I got a surprising phone call.

Well, to see how this continues and to what amazing posts this will lead you’ll have to check it yourself:

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/05/elon-musk-the-worlds-raddest-man.html

(WARNING, IF YOU HAVE OTHER THINGS TO DO, DO NOT START)

On http://www.waitbutwhy.com there are many other interesting and entertaining posts which will take a lot of your time to read, especially when you actually need to study or do other stuff. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Besides some of the very high quality posts about the course related subject Artificial Intelligence there is another reason for sharing this blog. In today’s world, information is abundant and available 24/7.  The majority of news articles, social media updates, headlines and other information that comes your way are short pieces of information. This is useful and keeps you up-to-date with what is happening around the world. But for a lot of these news flashes the main focus is to let you know something as soon as possible before you actually lose attention and switch over to the next article, Youtube-video, Facebook-chat or Whatsapp message. We are distracted continuously with these unlimited amounts of data pushed on the world wide web and to our devices. Even without the internet, it is the innate bias of the human brain to be distracted. Reading long sequences of pages from longer articles and/or books lets us develop a mental discipline (Carr, 2010). This mental discipline helps us to focus better, be more creative and be more productive.

That brings me to the other reason for sharing this blog. My guess is that most of us (including myself) don’t really get a lot of opportunity for those long reads in our daily lives and that seems to be a huge miss. This is actually not so strange if you think about it. A really long and indepth analys of something is quite rare in between all those quick and all-the-time updates. So with all the information that we encounter in our everyday lives, reading a somewhat bigger blog, article or book now and then seems to be a good strategy to keep our focus.

Sources:

https://www.twitter.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704025304575284981644790098

http://waitbutwhy.com/

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7 responses to “WAITBUTWHY, the blog that you should not miss.”

  1. 361339sp says :

    Hi Julian,

    WBW is indeed a great blog. I got the connection between Elon Musk and WBW the other way around. I got really interested in Elon Musk after reading the multiple part blog post on him, which is the size of an average book. After I had been reading these posts for a couple of days, I realized I had been reading for quite a while. I copied the posts into word to check the page count: a whopping 240 pages if I remember correctly. After this I ended up buying the biography of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance (a great read as well!).

    What I like especially about WBW is the way Tim tells his stories. He starts from the very beginning of a topic, walks you through his entire research and every related topic and ends up reaching a conclusion (or not). The topics are all highly interesting. From the newest technologies (like the Elon Musk posts) to less practically usefull, for instance, I remember a post he tried to figure out how big the building should be, that could fit all people in the world. http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/03/7-3-billion-people-one-building.html

  2. 352591pz says :

    Hi Julian,

    I am not a frequent user of this blog, however I have visited it a couple of times in the past year and like you I have enjoyed the posts a lot, especially the visuals are really intriguing. However what i enjoy most, is that his blogs attract a lot of interesting people who, from the view posts that I’ve read have really interesting comments and stories. I have so far even enjoyed to comments even more than his actual texts, the discussions I have read have been enlightening and funny. I dont know if you have the same feeling, or its just me.

    • julianderond says :

      Thank you for the comment. Haven’t really looked to the comments yet. I did see a few which were all positive reactions on his posts. Next time I’ll take a better look at it!

  3. eugenmereuta says :

    Good post, Julian!

    A friend of mine suggested reading WaitButWhy several weeks ago and I have to admit that Tim Urban’s posts are quiet addictive! He has excellent writing skills and he’s not afraid of writing 30,000k+ words to really deliver a meaning of something. Even though I prefer reading practical posts (Elon Musk: The World’s Raddest Man and How Tesla Will Change the World are my favorites), I also enjoyed Tim’s description of the Fermi paradox, explaining why we still didn’t encounter any other forms of life. Besides stating purely scientific facts, Tim links them to something people are familiar with. For example, in the Fermi paradox post he mentioned that there are between 10^22 and 10^24 stars in the whole universe. But what does these numbers mean? I cannot imagine 10^22… But Tim comes to the rescue by adding that “for every grain of sand on every beach of Earth, there are roughly 10,000 stars out there”, which is kind of easier to imagine. To sum up, I’m glad that you wrote about WaitButWhy, allowing more people to try reading this blog.

    Speaking of the rest of your post, you’ve said that “Even without the internet, it is the innate bias of the human brain to be distracted”. Does this has something to do with procrastination? I’m interested whether procrastination is a result of external factors influencing people every day, or is it a result of “distractive” nature of our brains?

    Looking forward to your reply!

    Eugen

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