This is a higher learning method that I’ve always found most natural. I don’t memorize stuff, I try to understand it instead. That said, there is still great value in the classical learning model—if you don’t know the terminology of the subject it’s difficult to reason about that subject.
Learning materials arent setup to this, (and possibly brains). You have to learn enough fundamentals (usually via rote) before you can get overarching themes.
At my newest job I am trying to soak in the fundamentals as opposed to rote practicing them before putting any conscious effort at understanding them, but it is too soon to say if it is working. My stress level is dramatically down though.
The point of all this being, you have to recognize where you stand on the reasoning-recalling spectrum and adjust your learning strategy accordingly. Something that works for someone on one end might not work at all for someone on the other.
I suck at memorizing and dont use it as a study technique, but when picking up a new skill I cant say "what are the underlying principles?" because I lack the context.
(Well I can say that, and then I'll get frustrated when no one can express them for me, and the ones that try dont make sense)
I suspect that the memorization is just brute force via flashcards or practice and that's more straightforward for people to 'study'. The other method of deriving and actually understanding is generally harder and usually relies on existing knowledge you learned in previous grades (it gets harder to use that method over time if you haven't been). It's also something the teacher may not be capable of either depending on school district.
I'd guess for a large percentage of people they never learn the non-memorization form of studying because they're never really exposed to it and because it's often not rewarded (sometimes it's punished). The brighter kids might pick it up anyway, but I'd suspect they could do the brute force memorization like the other kids if they similarly weren't as capable of it.
It's fallacious to think that one type of action can be harder than another type of action, when within each class of actions there is a wide variation in difficulty. Thinking from first principles is not harder than memorization when the first principle is Newton's first law and the memorization is every chemical component of cellular metabolism. Another example of the fallacy would be thinking that the humanities are innately easier than physics: sure, a two-page essay is easier to write than a two-page solution, but you can go in and crank up the number of pages per day a humanities professor is expected to write until it is as hard as you want (it turns out that to some extent this has already happened, you would be surprised if you found out exactly how much output they are expected to have).
In physics, the memorization is easy and the first principles are hard. In biology, the memorization is hard but the first principles are few. That's the origin of why people with biased strengths are better suited to one or the other.
There are also some things that are harder or easier for people because we have innate hardware for certain things. Recognizing facial expressions (or really interpreting any sort of visual input) compared to doing complex math in your head. The Type 1 vs. Type 2 systems from thinking fast and slow - some things are generally easier for humans compared to other things.
For instance, I have never had trouble with things like English grammar and spelling. For grammar, the rules have just always made sense, and, for spelling, usually just seeing the word written down a time or two is enough to remember how to spell it. On the other hand, my 9 year old, who is an even more avid reader than I was at that age, cannot form a grammatically correct sentence or spell even slightly less-than-simple words without referring to a list of rules that she has memorized about how these things are supposed to be done. She's the same in math. She knows she needs to borrow/carry but she hasn't made the leap to understand why (and given her personality, she may never be interested, which is a tough thing to swallow as parents who values learning as much as we do). So the advice in this article would be totally useless to her. Then again, she's a better artist already than I'll ever be.
In the end, I tend to think of this all as healthy. We don't need a thousand thumbs in our body, and we don't need everyone to be interested in understanding lots of things. We need artists, public servants and mothers. We need teachers and garbage truck drivers and child advocates.
When I try to pick up a new skill, I would start by asking "what are the higher-level rules?" or some variation. Generally speaking, I've had a very, VERY low success rate at getting answers. When I did get answers, they always relied on a context I didn't have, because I was brand new.
Some areas I pick up intuitively, others take work, and others I completely suck at, but in none of them have I been able to START at the higher level understanding. It all requires context, and pushing to get the higher level rules before I have the context has always failed and left me frustrated with either myself (I'm an idiot!) or others (Don't these idiots understand their own jobs?!).
It's only after we are familiar with the language that the underlying structures emerge.
This applies to learning math too. Unless we are already familiar with the structures in place, we typically first read the axioms, then look at the examples and try to work through some of them to gain familiarity, and then the underlying structure reveals itself to us.
It reminds me of a quote:
"Thermodynamics is a funny subject. The first time you go through it, you don't understand it at all. The second time you go through it, you think you understand it, except for one or two small points. The third time you go through it, you know you don't understand it, but by that time you are so used to it, it doesn't bother you any more."
Familiarity precedes true understanding.
This is also why people who read textbooks in a linear passive fashion don't do well in tests. They read and think they know the material, but if they are tested on it, they fail because they haven't truly grappled with the problem space.
The most effective for most people is to hear a large amount of the language being spoken, bootstrap by memorizing a few words, and then reliably get some amount of practice speaking and a lot of additional exposure listening.
Similarly, the best way to learn to write is to do occasional bits of writing with feedback and tons and tons of reading.
The default – a.k.a fallback method – is to just list all things. This is not only confusing as hell, it is even worse. You never know what you don't know with this methodology, because you have absolutely no context about how something is meant to be use...
For example Books about programming languages often explain only the rules of the language, but totally forgets to explain how the language is used in practice and which tools are commonly used or which homepages have useful content that almost every programmer of language X uses. A greenhorn has understandably a very hard time without all those information.
E.g. setting up a Common Lisp project with Quicklisp which has the code under a namespace takes 20-30 steps (installing Quicklisp using a Lisp REPL, configuring Emacs, configuring the project) – no wonder almost everyone gets lost in the process. And a lot of programming languages are like that.
I hear you. This is actually an oversimplification that is received wisdom among American students and educators (often used as an argument against the rote-learning tendencies of non-Western education systems, which are the other extreme), but in practice it is wrong in its basic articulation.
This was an article on HN awhile ago about using Anki to read the literature of an entire field or subfield , but it also touches on the role of memory in learning. Without memory, it's hard to see deep connections across vast areas of knowledge. You can't always "look things up" if you don't know if those things exist.
That being said, if anyone has study/memory tips, I'm all ears :)
I truly mean internalize. For example relativity. You cannot understand relativity just by following the logic from first principles all the way to enlightenment. You need to not only understand the earlier principles, you actually need to practice and internalize the earlier principles using techniques of memorization. Newtons laws of motion and vectors must become second nature to you through repeated practice and memorization before you can move forward.
Simply understanding one concept is not enough to move on to the next concept.
*Memorizing takes less time but you sacrifice depth of understanding and duration of retention. Understanding the "why" provides a great depth of understanding and a lengthy duration of retention but, depending on the material, it can take a long time and potentially lead you down a rabbit hole if you continue to seek understanding of the underlying abstractions.
Fortunately, most things in modern life require no active memorization. You use and you remember.
But if I were to learn Hindi, I would memorize the basic glyphs of Devanagari. It’s the highest ROI operation for the task.
Same with history: years are meaningless. What's interesting is how historical events follow from earlier events and lead to later events.
When I was young, I played with construction toys (Lego, Meccano) and board games, including Snakes and Ladders (Chutes & Ladders in the US). Later, when learning history, I found I was not remembering dates by their year number, but visualizing their position in the decade and century on the zig-zag of the S&L board. I implicitly grew a spatial layout of multiple centuries, often with certain viewpoints that made sense for topics of study. I excelled in history because of my relational understanding laid over this 3D spatial view of the world timeline.
Perhaps you can guess my field of academic specialization and the sweet-spot in my career as a programmer? ... physics degree, then 3D graphics and information visualization.
I too spent a huge amount of my childhood with Lego and board games.
I never became great with history, but found my way to computer vision and ML through a background in mech engg. (basically applied physics)
Still in school, so don't have an end to my story, but it is great to know others whose thought process coincides so well with mine.
That's also how I learned what history I know. The trouble with that is not knowing how differently themed events are positioned relative to each other in time. For example, I don't know how events of political history linked to events of computer history.
They cluster together in the center of the hive, keeping the queen in the center, shivering their wings to create kinetic energy, occasionally sending out suicide squads to retrieve honey stores from the outer combs. They lower their metabolism by creating a cloud of carbon dioxide in the hive."
Thanos would approve of bees' survival strategies.
Jokes aside, what I always found really impressive is how bees deal with hornets, which are way bigger and their natural predators:
That said, it made a lot more sense in the comics when he was doing it because he fell in love with Death herself.
> a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig
Meaning, those are all made up words by "John Koenig". The project is cool, but I think don't think is right to treat those as "real" English words.
All I'm saying is, if there's a need for a word to express something, it will evolve and it will become part of the language. Here's a list of new words added to the Oxford dictionary, for example: https://public.oed.com/updates/new-words-list-january-2018/. "commodify" is one that I've seen used a lot already. "hangry" is a slang ish words that has been promoted to a dictionary word, too.
Position of authority
Endorsed by establishment
New Status Symbols:
Position of influence
--> First time I've read this, but great incite that I've certainly seen as well.
Every culture on the face of the earth pretty much values wealth and power as status symbols. Let's not attempt to be clever and actually end up making the world make less sense by trying to make everything apples and oranges when there is a universal standard of status.
Cultural POV must play a lot but your environment, education does too I guess.
A Flexible schedule is not a status symbol. Let's be real. The people with the highest status in our world today aren't high status because of a flexible schedule. They are high status because of wealth and power. This is universal to human nature and will never change.
I believe it's a new way or thinking- people are realizing more and more that this old "american dream" where you somehow have millions and millions of dollars and 'power' is just silly. That's not the reality for almost all people. And it shouldn't be the goal!
Maybe you work hard and get lucky? Ok great. But most people can work as hard as they want and still be just "ok".
So.. instead of going after wealth or being in authority, how about we just live happy lives and try to do awesome things?
We have so much more (cheap) technology these days, that it makes it even easier to accomplish.
People are realizing that if they have the flexibility to work from home, work on somewhat their own schedule, get to be creative while doing it and not bugged by annoying bosses/shit.. how can you get much more happy than that? Yeah, you don't have infinite money, but you probably have enough to buy a 70" TV, gaming computer, virtual reality etc.
I have a lot of this, actually.. more responsibility than I would like with young kids; but aside from that.. for me working at home and being able to be a creative developer is my dream life. I could be making a ton more money, but then I have to commute.. be away from family.. not work on my own schedule etc.
I know plenty of people who have a lot more money. And they are miserable as fuck. Money and power doesn't give you as much happiness as you would like to believe.
You can choose to live a simple life and be happy, or you can rule an empire and deal with the associated stresses. To each his own, but ALL humans recognize status, and almost all humans have an innate desire for more status.
The dilemma we face is whether we're willing to pay the price to attain said status. If status was offered without a cost most people will take it without hesitation.
You know plenty of people who have a lot of money but are miserable as fuck, so does that mean if you won the lottery for 10.5 million dollars you're not gonna take the prize because you learned your lesson from other "unhappy" rich people? Let's be real.
Status is status all you're saying is that more and more people are foregoing it for a less stressful life. This doesn't change the fact that we as humans still recognize status and that some part of us always will desire it to a certain extent.
The lowest profile players in high-profile, low-barrier industries are almost always the most profitable.
Don't sell wine, sell barrels.
Don't make movies, create animation software.
Don't own restaurants, build the restaurant supply company.
I ALWAYS KNEW IT!
And similarily, NVIDIA really profitted a lot from the deep learning boom by selling all those GPUs to datacenters at a high cost...
Absolutely! There are financial geniuses in the cryptocommodity game, but their business model has nothing at all to do with coin prices.
During a gold rush, don’t dig for gold, sell shovels!
I think it says something that he felt the need to put a quote like this on his fridge at 50 years old. But maybe he’s becoming self aware. Next Bill Gates transformation perhaps?
(It’s also pretty common in this age group for people to seek community and worry about their legacy)
World GDP animation by country:
- it is insane how near japan got to us even being such a small country
- kudos to china for falling way out of the race to the top and then "out of the blue" reaching #2 at the very end -- shows exponential growth
How camera lenses change the way we look:
- at the first shot with the 20mm or so lens, the guy's nose looks huge and funny compared to the rest of the picture.
- at the biggest lens the overall face looks very well rounded and good looking. insane change!
It also got me thinking of the "developing" nations relative to the history of western nations. We sneer at the impoverished slums of the "Third World", without recognizing that was what America and Europe looked like, not that long ago. It's just a phase between an illiterate agrarian society and a modern prosperous middle class.
The classic line is something to the effect of 'capitalism is the best system of generating wealth, but not for distributing it'. That does seem wrong. Once the innovations exist, systems like russia or china seem to successfully and efficiently reproduce the wealth generation. What happens after they have caught up to some baseline of industrial prosperity is a different economic issue altogether. I don't think we have enough examples from modern history to draw any sweeping conclusions.
What's the next phase shift? That's an interesting question. I'm hoping for the abolition of work.
There are many paths to prosperity. Are you suggesting it's preferable to forsake democracy, capitalism, and individualism and implement a system of governance that encourages mass murder , famine , human rights abuses , industrial espionage , unsafe goods , and scientific fraud ?
I'd rather live in the American system. I'm sure there are a lot of people who grew up in China and would rather live in the Chinese system.
As for your laundry list of "China bad!", I could come up with counterexamples of the US doing the exact same things at various points in our history. Chill.
I'm not downvoting you. I can't downvote you, per how HN software works - you can't downvote replies to your own comments. Sorry, you'll just have to figure out why you're alienating people other than me.
>Here you engage in the logical fallacy of 'whataboutery'.
I'm not the one who started it. I simply brought up China's remarkable economic success, and you responded with a laundry list of "China Bad!" that mostly had nothing to do with economics.
>If, instead of relying solely on GDP per capita, we factored human costs into our assessments
Sauce for the goose. Rather than the abstract theoretical exercise you presented, you should offer a measurable scale, so we can compare China to western nations. Otherwise, it's meaningless. Otherwise, I'll see your human costs and raise you a slavery.
If you'd stop thinking about why China is more evil than the west for a bit and step back, you might see that economic acceleration from agrarian poverty to modern middle class is a widespread phenomenon that seems to happen to nations regardless of their history, language, culture, government, etc. A bad social structure eventually falls away and is replaced by a better one, and over the course of a couple of generations, the nation accelerates radically. It happened in China, in Iran, in Ireland, and many other seemingly unlikely places.
Read Factfulness. It'll change your life.
You're right that I insufficiently explained what I meant with the links. I'll break down how I felt the list had economic relevance:
 ~55mm people died or were killed during the Great Leap Forward and the Chinese famine likely stemmed from it as well. Looking at a series of historical Chinese GDP data, you can see that these policies caused economic contraction of -26.6% at their peak. If evaluating the merits of economic systems, this is a clear failure.
 China uses its human rights abuses to further its economy. Consider the harvest and sale of human organs [`]. That's clearly economic activity. It's also mortifying. Ultimately though, I'd say it's relevant to the discussion.
 Industrial espionage has everything to do with economics. There's no doubt that China is the largest perpetrator of industrial espionage in the world. If you want to demonstrate that Western values aren't necessary to develop prosperity, it doesn't help to steal so much IP from the West.
 Chinese consumers do not trust many consumable Chinese goods. That's certainly related to economics. In fact, it indicates weakness in the Chinese regulatory regime. I'm not informed enough to posit why this is, but my understanding is that foreign consumable goods command a premium because of it.
 Science and technology are major drivers of economic growth. Fraudulent research undermines trust in the published body of research, making it more difficult to perform science in the future.
Hopefully you can see the economic relevance now. I'm happy to make lists of problems with Western economies, of which there are many, but I won't pretend China is a paragon of economic development.
> Sauce for the goose. Rather than the abstract theoretical exercise you presented, you should offer a measurable scale, so we can compare China to western nations. Otherwise, it's meaningless. Otherwise, I'll see your human costs and raise you a slavery.
The exercise was simply to demonstrate that an economy is more than just GDP. As for hard numbers, consider the 55mm killed in the Great Leap Forward. Although I had already mentioned slavery as an atrocity perpetrated by the US, I'll provide numbers. In 1860 there were 3.9mm slaves in the United States. Approximately 12.5mm slaves landed in the US during the slave trade [^]. Since we live in the present and not history, let me provide some current statistics. 1mm - 3mm people are currently in concentration camps in Xinjiang [!]. 70mm Falun Gong practitioners are prohibited from their beliefs [~].
Your argument still engages in whataboutism. In July you tweeted [#]:
> Whataboutism is a lazy and uninteresting argument. It’s what you use when you don’t like someone’s point, but don’t have a solid argument against it. If you’re using “But what about...?” as the basis of a rebuttal, check and make sure you’re not just being dumb.
And you are attempting to put words in my mouth here:
> If you'd stop thinking about why China is more evil than the west
I never stated that I believe China to be evil or western countries to be good. In fact, I consider China's economic development to be a phenomenal advancement for human welfare. However, that is not what's being discussed. We are considering whether China's prosperity could have occurred without the existence of Western values.
> A bad social structure eventually falls away and is replaced by a better one, and over the course of a couple of generations, the nation accelerates radically.
Ideally this is what happens. Economic growth models (like Solow) indicate that this is an expected outcome over time. However, there are no guarantees. Structural phenomena impact this quite a bit. Countries with better infrastructure, physical, legal, and otherwise, should enjoy higher rates of growth. Yet many developing countries have less developed infrastructure. This serves as an impediment to such economic convergence.
> seems to happen to nations regardless of their history, language, culture, government
This is obviously not true. Corruption appears to harm economic growth (most strongly in the medium term) [<]. Argentina, had the largest economy in the world in 1895. Poor decisions on the part of the government caused a century of economic turmoil. My understanding that corruption is simultaneously a government and a cultural phenomenon, so you can see that history, culture, and government can have measurable impacts on economic growth.
As for the argument about the impact of concentration camps... the US currently has 2.3M people incarcerated with a third the population of China. If you're arguing that this is somehow economically relevant, then you're arguing the US (the richest nation in history) has it even worse.
I don't think the argument that "Countries with better infrastructure, physical, legal, and otherwise, should enjoy higher rates of growth" goes where you want it to go. Just about any "developing country" has a far higher rate of growth than the mature western nations with the best infrastructure. If the theory doesn't fit the facts, the theory is wrong. I think you may be conflating current state with growth here. They're not the same.
Speaking of developing nations, Argentina is not the example you want it to be, either. Per Wikipedia, Argentina's per capita income from 1890-1950 was "similar to western Europe". The economy grew steadily until the 1976-1983 coup and military dictatorship, which is when the debt crisis set in. It took nearly 20 years of difficult experiments to get past the problems caused by seven years of right-wing incompetence. The Argentinian economy has grown more or less steadily and well since 2002, and their per capita income is on par with Brazil, Chile, and other major South American nations. (As an aside, in Prisoners of Geography, Tim Marshal argues that Argentina and other South American nations are ultimately limited economically relative to powerhouses like the US, China, and France, due to their geography - and that the success of the US, China, and western Europe is a direct consequence of some really marvelous geographic features, such as outstanding ports and long navigable rivers through rich farmland.)
So anyway... if the question is, as you phrase it, "whether Chinese prosperity could have occurred without the existence of Western values", well, maybe. Western technology, moreso than western values, has led to the rise of not only China, but dozens of other nations as well. Vaccination, industrialized farming, and other advances have created wealth throughout the world (again, read Factfulness!). It's not as simple as saying China succeeded by industrial espionage, any more than it's simple to say that America succeeded through exploitation of other nations. The technological acceleration of the past two centuries has been widespread, with widespread impacts.
But the "western values" I started with were democracy and free market capitalism. China succeeded without democracy or free market capitalism. Your continued insistence that China is a more violent and brutal state than the western nations only reinforces my initial argument.
I'd prefer not to.
> Without looking up data, I think it's safe to assume Europe's economies contracted substantially during WWII as well... At best, one might argue that the US recovered from WWII faster, because it was the only major nation left undamaged.
I'd argue you can't compare Great Leap Forward with WWII. The GLF was domestic policy (like Holodomer) and ultimately the responsibility of the government at the time. WWII was an international war, which definitionally is not domestic policy. Europe indeed did experience contraction coincident with WWII . The United States had a surge of economic activity at this time, nearly doubling GDP during the war .
> As for the argument about the impact of concentration camps... the US currently has 2.3M people incarcerated with a third the population of China.
You're not comparing similar categories here. US prisons hold people convicted of crimes as determined by a constitutional judicial process. More than 50% of the prisoners were sentenced due to commission of a violent crime . Yes, the prison system needs substantial reform, but I find it hard to believe that ~1mm convictions are illegitimate. Meanwhile, concentration camps imprison people without charges filed or intent to file charges (a violation of Article 9 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights). I'm not comfortable drawing an equivalence between a legal process and a clear breach of human rights.
> If you're arguing that this is somehow economically relevant
I never made such a claim. You requested "a measurable scale" of human capital and rights violations, so I attempted to quantify it with the number of lives impacted.
> I don't think the argument that "Countries with better infrastructure, physical, legal, and otherwise, should enjoy higher rates of growth" goes where you want it to go. Just about any "developing country" has a far higher rate of growth than the mature western nations with the best infrastructure.
My statement should have included the phrase "ceteris paribus". This paper  has been cited ~450 times, so I assume it reflects mainstream economic thought.
"The paper finds that IPRs affect economic growth indirectly by stimulating the accumulation of factor inputs like R&D and physical capital. The positive effects of IPRs on factor accumulation, particularly of R&D capital, are present even when the analysis controls for a more general measure of property rights"
> Speaking of developing nations, Argentina is not the example you want it to be, either.
Are you referring to this page  which states the following?
"Beginning in the 1930s, however, the Argentine economy deteriorated notably. The single most important factor in this decline has been political instability since 1930, when a military junta took power, ending seven decades of civilian constitutional government. In macroeconomic terms, Argentina was one of the most stable and conservative countries until the Great Depression, after which it turned into one of the most unstable. Despite this, up until 1962 the Argentine per capita GDP was higher than of Austria, Italy, Japan and of its former colonial master, Spain."
The source confirms that Argentina has a long history of economic difficulty and points to a chaotic legal infrastructure as an origin. Comparing the GDP per capita to other nations is valuable, as it indicates 1. the early strength of the Argentinian economy; 2. the length of time it took war ravaged nations to recover. However, we should also consider the 'missing' economic growth. Had Argentina enjoyed greater levels of political stability would the economy have maintained its trajectory? If so, Argentinians today enjoy less consumption than they would have otherwise.
> As an aside, in Prisoners of Geography, Tim Marshal argues that Argentina and other South American nations are ultimately limited...
Without having read the book, it sounds reasonable. Along those lines, there's a claimed relationship between a nation's natural resources known as the resource curse . Perhaps this, too, has contributed to Argentina's economic woes?
> Western technology, moreso than western values, has led to the rise of not only China, but dozens of other nations as well... The technological acceleration of the past two centuries has been widespread, with widespread impacts.
I think we agree on this, but we don't see eye to eye on the origins of this acceleration. My understanding is that the acceleration in growth rates originated in Western Europe as a result of the Enlightenment . Could the economic acceleration have occurred in other ways? Certainly it's conceivable, but in millennia of history it didn't happen any of those ways. So what were the values of the Enlightenment?
"In France, the central doctrines of the Enlightenment philosophers were individual liberty and religious tolerance, in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church." 
Those appear to be the values you identified earlier. As for capitalism, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations helped formalize the understanding of free markets. China, itself, implements a form of capitalism .
> But the "western values" I started with were democracy and free market capitalism
To quote you they were "Western-style democracy, capitalism, and individualism". If you believe China has been the beneficiary of Western technology, then it logically follows that China's prosperity stems from those values.
As for Argentina... as you noted, Argentina was doing better than some European nations until the early 1960s. What happened? Well, back to the geography problem. Argentina is a remote nation, with limited ports. Spain, Italy, and Austria were part of Europe, possibly the most geographically gifted place on Earth (except for maybe the continental United States). And the US was dumping resources into Europe via the Marshall Plan, to rebuild the infrastructure and stabilize the governments. It's not surprising that they would eventually pass Argentina.
That said, the current state of Argentina is not bad. It's not rich, but it's on par with its peers in Chile and Brazil, and the debt from bad government in the 1970s/1980s is mostly paid off.
As for the cited paper... I really don't give a shit if it's been cited 450 times. It's demonstrably wrong. Developing nations with immature physical and legal infrastructures grow measurably faster than the wealthiest nations, with mature infrastructure. If you treat growth as an S-curve, this is totally an expected result. Double-digit growth rates in the developing world are not unusual. When's the last time a western nation had that kind of economic growth?
Corollary: people aren't always as boring as they may seem - digging in a little, asking questions - I often find what people are doing outside of work (which seems to be the default "interesting or not" metric) can be rather interesting.
Your mileage my vary.
"When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated.
You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction.
The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer must give him something worthy of his gift to you.”
— Steven Pressfield
Simple Writing Tricks
One of the simplest ways to improve one's prose and to keep a reader's attention is simply to vary sentence length.
The cadence of breathing and speaking tends to mimic the frequency of the brain's ability to process words and sentences.
I also read about a Hubble Extreme Deep Field image in December last year. I am still left flabbergasted that that image exposes only the space of the night sky covered by your thumbnail if you had to extend your arm straight in front of you. Just a thumbnail. And these are galaxies, not stars! Each one with hundreds of billions of stars.
That's Sheepshead Bay near Coney Island in Brooklyn.
1) Jeff Bezos' quote on the fridge is the maximum of lame. This is the guy that treats his employees really well and cares about them more than about his personal wealth, right?
2) Avoid boring people. Why? Some people are just boring through no fault of their own. A series of misfortunes brought them into that stage. There are stuff to learn from boring people to and they deserve attention and love like any other.
My experience is that this one-off is generally used as a way to be a dick to people who live a life you don't agree with, or that is opposed to your own.
I have yet to meet a boring person. Everyone is a hot weirdo when you really get to know them.
It's a matter of overcoming your own ego and realizing that your 'boring' is just another way of living.
Subsequently, those sort of bullshit phrases always serve to piss me off really, really badly. Who are you to tell someone else that they're boring? They're just living their lives. Why not take a minute to get to know them? If they try to drag you down and make you something you're not, then yes, avoid them. But just to make a snap values judgment on whether their life has value? No.
By default, I assume "boring" is a verb. Maybe it says something about the reader whether they see a verb or an adjective.
I like this with the second interpretation mentioned on the page. Avoid boring (v.) other people, rather than avoid people who you seem to be boring (adj).
Working conditions in the warehouses are still bad though. They are bad in a lot of shipping warehouses, but Amazon has been among the ones leading the race to the bottom.
Apart from that, being an employee at Amazon even outside the warehouse is generally not that great from all the accounts I've hear over the years. A big part of that are their principles, which breed that kind of an environment.
This is clearly true but I wonder how much it's an artefact of the Western economic model. I came to a similar insight in the last couple of years, which was "the companies skimming the most cream off the top, are often the most abstracted away from providing a concrete benefit to society".
It's like there's this inherent recursive aspect to shareholder capitalism. The profitable businesses are those which provide a service to businesses which provide a service to businesses which... which provide a service to the public.
Not really; both Facebook and Google basically only make money by providing a service to businesses, and even for Amazon, the most profitable area (AWS) is B2B.
In any value chain, you should seek the role that has the most control with the least competition. Often this is based on constrained resources: the supply of shovels in San Francisco is much more constrained and easy to monopolize than the area of land or length of rivers in California that might have some gold.
Creating or preserving the monopoly will also benefit from barriers to entry, such as conspiracy (oligopoly), regulatory protection (licensing, tariffs) or just plain old intimidation (mafia, law suits).
Another result is that when one constraint or barrier is removed, profits fall in that process, and shift to the next most constricted step of the value chain, much like the maximum pressure and minimum flow in a network of pipes with various diameters and valves. In general, this means that as artificial constraints are reduced (free trade, cartel busting...), the control of some underlying physical resource becomes most profitable, often property (assuming planning laws are never relaxed :), or certain scarce commodities.
For example, in tax-free and low tax economies (HK, SG, GCC) the profit often shifts to property (commercial and residential), so that what a worker gains in net income, they pay in extortionate rents, based on restricted land (HK, SG) or oligopolistic control of land and property (GCC). Low taxes are often a way of government forgoing revenue to the benefit of local landlords or property developers. Startups in Silicon Valley are ways of exploiting geeks to work hard chanelling money from VCs to local landlords.
> The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer must give him something worthy of his gift to you
Great stuff! Always easy to forget this.
And that picture of GDP over time. Amazing to watch China come online despite the late start. A titan wakes.
I think this was Ray Dalio in his TED talk.
It is your fault if you cant find what it is interesting in others.
You may also wish to read this page on mirrors and Shakespeare (hard to imagine for us, and now mirrors or reflective decorations look kitsch, but during the introduction of quality mirrors they were high tech, so back then this was almost science-fiction play)
edit: I reverse image searched one of the faces and found this, https://bgr.com/2018/12/18/nvidia-ai-fake-faces-look-100-per...
It's not generating them from whole cloth, but it's still very impressive.
Deepmind has also been creating landscapes, portraits and animals (the tennis ball, the horror of the tennis ball!!!) https://venturebeat.com/2018/10/02/deepmind-ai-can-generate-...
I want to know more about how they're formed. Did the AI basically generate them from scratch, or did it stitch existing images together.
Assuming they are sufficiently different from the source images, is it enough to effectively anonymize someone in a picture?
So I think the answer is, there is a certain healthy respect for a ball kicked at close range by another professional soccer player.
EDIT: Also, looking at it again, looked like the player was trying to get in front of it, and just couldn't make it in time.
And yeah, it's typical for players to turn around in a situation like that.
I remember many of the guys who lost had rather large purple welts on their stomachs, akin to a paintball wound.
This wasn’t professional level either. This was a bunch of Australian teenagers having fun in the evenings.
Ever heard of birds/insects?
Also, the whole point of the words for emotions thing is sorta that those are new (i.e. not pre-existing, which maybe means not "real" to you). The point is to think about what feelings we don't have words for, and what impact it might have to make words for them.
I understand the "whole point" as put forth by the original writer who made up his own definition of sonder, but just because I paint a picture of a griffin doesn't mean it exists in reality. And similarly the definition of the word 'sonder' as he gives it also does not exist in reality. The problem I have with this thought experiment is that the internet is perpetuating the myth that this word has a valid historical etymology with widely accepted usage where in fact it sprang fully formed from an artist's mind.
Yes, sonder is a word. The definition used in the article is debatable as to whether it's a word. It's a word invented in 2012 by a guy that wrote a book about inventing new words for emotions.
>Coined in 2012 by John Koenig, whose project, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, aims to come up with new words for emotions that currently lack words. Related to German sonder- (“special”) and French sonder (“to probe”).
While "sonder" itself is a word, it means something different when used on its own (without) .