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Benjamin Degenhart
Studying Computational Science and Engineering (MA) at Technical University Munich
Studying Computational Science and Engineering (MA) at Technical University Munich

Benjamin's posts

Creating Lego-instructions with a 5yr-old

Conversation with Samuel (5) during uncle-duty today:

S: We have so many Lego bricks but no building-instructions :(
Me: That's true. Well, what do you think about making instructions ourselves based on those amazing vehicles you created there?
S: Mmh, how do you mean?
Me: You could use drawings and writing to explain every step of your building-process.
S: But I can't write that well yet.
Me: I can write for you, no problem.
S: (thinks long...) Uncle Beni?
Me: Yes?
S: Can you please go and get some paper?

And the next hour we spent immersed in creating Lego-instructions for vehicles and creatures Samuel invented on the spot.
Quickly he understood the concept of drawing a graphical model from the three basic angles (front, side, top) step by step and labeling the parts precisely. It is important to think which perspective to choose and how many new pieces to add in one instruction step. We must think ahead how well we, or someone else, might comprehend these instructions when reversing the process at some point; building based on instructions instead of creating instructions based on a building.
We drew both and I wrote. I was so enjoying how he really got a handle on this abstract idea of representing something in a way it can be reproduced later. After we finished the first set of instructions (for a dragon... sort of) I told him that we could now deconstruct (=smash) the real model because we can reproduce infinitely many based on these instructions - he was clearly amazed at this point.
I think if I ever become a dad I would not only document these situations thoroughly if they emerge, but actually map out crucial cognitive patterns and strategically create learning spaces for them.

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double-rainbow between Waal and Landsberg yesterday evening...
3 Photos - View album

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morning fog condensing on spider webs on the bridge over the Lech in Landsberg
17 August 2012
8 Photos - View album

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My favourite spot in Berlin; a radio-tower-ruin hidden in the forest.
(and testing sharing from within Google Earth)

I sat in a Café next to a middle-aged man & woman who apparently connected on a dating site and met now for the 1st time in person. It strikes me as a fundamentally awkward situation and I felt both amused and embarrassed listening to their shallow meanderings. A purely human-need driven conversation - all content is by predefinition reduced to a means of checking each other out.
It's said that a societies level of moral maturity shows in how they treat prisoners at war. What would listening to 100 first-date-conversations across cultures show one about humans?

an experiment of mine in sequence-analysis:

"No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it." -Einstein

There is an interesting side to this well quoted line - namely by applying it's very logic to the group (dynamics) of people quoting it.

The sharers and likers of this (or similar) quote use it mostly to build or nurture a level of shared consciousness within the narrative/emotional context into which it is being (re-)introduced as agreeable and affirmative.

Any problem that will occur in the thereby created level of shared consciousness will of course also not be able to be solved from the level that created it.

So the quote animates us to nod our heads in agreement and by doing so we lock ourselves out of all possible solutions to problems that might occur while we're nodding our heads?

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I recommend this book from Niklas Luhmann, a "German sociologist, and a prominent thinker in sociological systems theory". [] The original German version was written in 1986. However, the sharpness in his "challenging analysis of the relationship between society and the environment" couldn't be more timely. It's not an entertaining read and requires mental discipline and ego-sacrifice (!) but it's a very straight forward injection of systemic clarity into an ungrounded battle of opinions about opinions (which is my opinion, hah!).
Go find it (hopefully) in your local library :)

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oh dear Lion, why do you make my MacBook look like an iPad-toy? it can do so much more...
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