Zettelkasten Forum

Ideas we're grappling with - August 19, 2023

Swimming with Ideas

Another installment of the What Are You Working On? thread.
Add to this thread by telling us what is happening in and around your ZK journey. Join the community and enlighten us about your knowledge path trajectory. I do this for selfish reasons. It helps me clarify my goals and visualize my thinking. And sometimes, a conversation sparks an idea worth exploring.

Things I'm reading:

  • Wolf, Maryanne. Proust and the squid: the story and science of the reading brain. 2010.
  • Benedict, Marie, and Murray, Victoria Christopher. The Personal Librarian. 2021.
  • Donald, Merlin. A mind so rare: the evolution of human consciousness. 2002.
  • Illich, Ivan. In the vineyard of the text: a commentary to Hugh's Didascalicon. 1993.

Programming work/fun:

  • Vocabulary Builder, which blends Keyboard Maestro and OpenAI's ChatGPT4

Things I'm writing about:

  • Cognitive Extension
  • Cognitive Expression - Conversation
  • Cognitive Endurance

Ideas I'm thinking about:

  • I'm exploring using my structure notes as a thinking canvas.
  • How the effectiveness of a targeted review practice intersects with active cognition.
  • Humor
  • I think that THE key to zettelkasting is every zettel is a proxy for an idea, and the only thing that matters is zettel relatedness to other zettel. Discovery of the scaffolding of zettel relatedness is something that grows organically but can be nurtured as a gardener cares for her flowers, fruits, and veggies. Different strategies will tickle out the relatedness.
  • How to discover which zettel has the most pixie dust of magic at the moment. I'm getting further on my quest to weigh each zettel by measuring their use and connectivity.

The "My rolling ten-day zettel production" is produced by a script for attachment to my daily journaling template. I do my journaling in Bear to keep personal journaling separate from my knowledge work.

My rolling ten-day zettel production

Will Simpson
I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.


  • edited August 2023


    Programming treasure troves:

    • "Elements of Programming" by Stepanov et al -- very dense, but starts with 6 pages of definitions and lemmas, so there is some fun to be had!
    • "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs" (SICP) -- we go through this in a study group at the current freelance project. I abandoned reading the book some years ago, but remember that it taugt me some interesting fundamentals. It still does, and it's even better with colleagues. In my downtime, I'm watching the SICP recordings from 1986 (!!!) on YouTube: and can recommend these to fellow programmers as well. It's great to learn how to think like a programmer in such a way!

    Ten Day Zettel Production
    • 202308191027 Demonstrating race conditions in unstructured Swift concurrency
    • 202308181451 Weak Combine.Publisher.assign variant fixes retain cycles
    • 202308180925 Robust systems are insensitive to small changes
    • 202308172135 To dispatch on a type means to handle different type cases
    • 202308151150 Split work week to incorporate improvements and exploration
    • 202308142241 Zinsenszinsformel
    • 202308142135 Historische Aktienkurse Allianz
    • 202308141950 OSI network and connection layers
    • 202308141633 Routine für Putzen und Hausarbeit
    • 202308141209 Speed up Swift compiler with non-generic wrappers
    • 202308141109 Visual effect view configuration for legible text
    • 202308131524 Treat fast growing, resilient greenery as mulch-givers
    • 202308131215 Conflict resolution in The Archive
    • 202308131207 URL scheme to execute plugins in The Archive
    • 202308131203 Plugin-based link handling enables custom conventions
    • 202308131135 Courage to be well
    • 202308121343 Note filtering in The Archive via plugins
    • 202308121327 Activities that provide energy cost time but make even more
    • 202308121153 Link context should provide the illusion of clarity
    • 202308121145 Programing ergonomics are about code--brain-fit
    • 202308121141 § Begriff Usability
    • 202308121139 Ergonomics of decomposition in Zettelkasten
    • 202308121112 Allow async API clients to pass payload to continue their operation
    • 202308121059 Brighter colors appear to have a hue shift
    • 202308121053 Moving objects appear more saturated
    • 202308121018 How to protect maker schedule from interruptions
    • 202308121001 Speculative meetings are networking with potential upsides
    • 202308120956 Office hours unlock meetings within the maker's schedule
    • 202308120952 Manager schedule vs maker schedule
    • 202308120949 A single appointment can ruin the day
    • 202308120940 Imposter syndrome in programming
    • 202308120922 Metaphors for de-lagacy-code-ification that is not refactoring
    • 202308111619 § Quick sketch note companion app
    • 202308111603 How to calculate off-screen position indicators
    • 202308111009 let and var in Objective-C
    • 202308110751 Infinite canvas drawing via overscroll
    • 202308101753 Verballhornung mens sana, corpore sano
    • 202308101731 Epistemic viciousness
    • 202308101002 White box approach for non-trivial behavior
    • 202308100932 Zettelkasten is all about idea organization, not about Zettel
    • 202308092157 Elements of programming in SICP
    • 202308092123 One thought per sentence
    • 202308092113 One thought per unit of writing is atomicity
    • 202308092103 Topic Sentence Paragraph writing pattern
    • 202308091828 Programmer optimism in solution needs feedback


    • "Epistemic viciousness" sounded fun, it's a freely available text in case you're interested: https://gilliankrussell.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/epistemicviciousness.pdf
    • "Treat fast growing, resilient greenery as mulch-givers" -- a permaculture idea that resonates. Basically, don't be angry at the bushes in your garden that grow all to quickly. Be grateful they provide fix nitrogen in their biomass, so you can cut them down and feed them back to the earth, making the soil richer. They are pioneer species that prepare the soil to become a forest, eventually. (The end-game of Earth vegetation)


    • Typesetting the Zettelkasten book, proof reading printout soon;
    • Newsletterizing

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • Thanks for sharing, @ctietze.
    You had quite a week of zettelkasting! It must feel energizing. Thanks for sharing the "epistemic viciousness" idea. The idea is a mental model that resonates.

    Will Simpson
    I must keep doing my best even though I'm a failure. My peak cognition is behind me. One day soon I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.

  • edited August 2023

    Thank you for sharing @Will and @ctietze . And here is my last week from Zettelkasten:

    Things I'm reading

    Things I'm writing about

    Things I'm thinking about

    Enjoy your next week. Stay healthy. 😀🍀

    Edmund Gröpl
    Writing is your voice. Make it easy to listen.

  • My Zettel production

    • 202308142114 Abgeschnitten vom Fliegen unter allem
    • 202308170313 Beweise für das Luftraumgespräch.
    • 202308201122Der zweite Verantwortliche für Verwaltungsangelegenheiten hat Hämorrhoiden.

    GitHub. Erdős #2. CC BY-SA 4.0. Problems worthy of attack / prove their worth by hitting back. -- Piet Hein.

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