"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
2 Executable books4 Executable booksExecutable booksHow can we develop transformative tools for thought？2020-10-18Journal
Suppose the content of Norvig's essay had instead been presented in a more conventional static form. For a reader to extend or interrogate the results would require total mastery of the material, and a high level of mathematical competence. But in the notebook format it's much easier for the reader to experiment. Their exploration is scaffolded, they can make small modifications and see the results, even the answers to questions Norvig did not anticipate. This kind of scaffolded exploration is a way to build up their own understanding, and perhaps even push the frontiers of knowledge.