It was somewhere around the 4th century BC that Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou raised the idea of ‘The Usefulness of Uselessness’. Master Zhuang pointed out that objects (or information) which appear at first sight to be quite useless, can, on further investigation (and/or at a later date, and/or at another place) sometimes turn out to […]
Maria Popover’s essay “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge” (in her blog Brain Pickings) uses the usefulness of Abraham Flexner’s 1939 essay “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge” (in Harper’s magazine) as a way to introduce or re-introduce you to all sorts of ideas about the uselessness and usefulness of ideas.
Chalk dust, which some people think of only as a minor nuisance and others think of not at all [see A measured look at schoolroom chalk dust], does have uses. A report from the bioengineering unit at the University of Strathclyde reveals one of them: “Technical note: Static in situ calibration of force plates“, M.G. Hall, […]