"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
3 Executable books5 Executable booksExecutable booksHow can we develop transformative tools for thought?2020-10-18JournalNorvig's essay is one of thousands (or perhaps even millions) of Jupyter notebooks that have been created. Of course, most such notebooks are hastily and poorly written. But in the hands of an excellent writer and thinker like Norvig, notebooks can become remarkable environments for thought, both individual and shared. It's tempting to regard them as merely a mashup of essay and code. But really they're a new media form, with different possibilities from either essays or code, and with striking opportunities to go much further. In this section we explore those opportunitiesOf course, systems like Jupyter go back decades. There are antecedents in Knuth's notion of literate programming, in Mathematica notebooks, in PARC's Learning Research Group, in the PLATO system (and, more broadly, computer-assisted instruction), to name but a few. In the discussion below we emphasize opportunities that seem to us undervalued in many of these prior systems.. Continue reading…