I tend to stick with higher level easier languages for the most part ( JS, Python, C#)
My dad would often have to wait days for a few hours of machine time in the middle of the night on one of his customer's machines in the 60's. That motivates one to be careful and methodical.
For the most part they follow much better processes and get better outcomes and my generation at that age.
(I don't think the JS ecosystem is great, and have mixed opinions about JS as a language, but they don't detract from the discipline of young programmers)
Nah - I'd wager he'll be an eternal postdoc.
After feeling stuck for a long time and trying to read my way out of it (swerving between Tim Ferris-esque books about "life hacks" and unhelpful emotion-laden books with banal platitudes), the one book that has really helped me lately is How We Change .
I am not wont to recommend books, as I get really annoyed by the sort of folks who recommend personal growth / self-help books (again, mostly banal platitudes and unactionable faux-insights). I hope my post history shows I am not one of these types of people. However, this book has really helped me turn a corner like no other has.
The gist is that when you _don't_ pursue something you want to do (e.g. learn Haskell, Unix, or the other wonderful suggestions in this thread and many others on HN) and feel flummoxed at how you continually stymie your own best intentions, you _are_ actually making a choice (i.e., to stay put); it's not some bad-faith abdication of agency. When one chooses to stay stuck (or "petrified", an apt term used by the author), one is actually choosing to preserve a sense of hope for the future; one preserves it from the painful feelings of failure that one anticipates will come due to a lack of faith in oneself to make meaningful progress towards things one deems to be important.
The best way out of this trap (besides being aware that you are making a choice, instead of giving up) is to do something extremely simple on a regular basis (daily if possible) that helps you realize you have agency. As goofy as it sounds, I have started a lot of habits because of the "habit tracking" feature in Emacs' org mode (just to make all of the little marks in the agenda go green).
Whether it is meditating for one minute, writing "hello world" is Haskell for the umpteenth time just to write _some_ Haskell each day (even on bad days), or anything else, that will slowly help you feel unstuck.
So it's a totally risk career move but that's either that either being sad at my workplace. Hopefully I'll feel empowered by the degree and be able to move on professionnaly.
Societal norms are not always right. Do what makes sense.
Maybe at 55 I’ll pick up mechanical engineering as a hobby.
Edit: also, in 96 the Internet was very different. Many problems were solved by reading man pages, reviewing library source code, and thinking hard about what was happening. Modern Internet and stackoverflow /can/ make you more efficient in the short term but in the long term, it’s worth not rushing to google every error or weird problem. Give it a few minutes. If you’re writing a web app for example, in say Django or Rails go peek at the source code (they are beautiful projects). It’s almost a crime to not review the Go standard library source code, it is one of the cleanest out there. Etc, etc.
I had a similar experience growing up as well. At age 8, I learned QBasic (on an MS-DOS / Win 3.1 system). At age 13, I learned C, and wrote a lot of code in it as well. (I used to write tons of C code up until around the middle of age 17. I had grand plans for all sorts of glorious software projects.)
But then, at the middle of age 17, a certain mild depression ("dysthymia") set in, and I lost a lot of hope, inspiration, and motivation. And now, I'm 31, and I've accomplished very little of my teenage dreams (even though I still hold/aspire towards those software dreams). I might be "successful" in society's eyes, with software engineering jobs paying in the ~200k range (which is not really that impressive, as I have many friends making in the 300k to 400k (USD) range); but in my own eyes, I still feel very much like a failure.
The depression or dysthymia had a crippling effect, that made a lot of dreams hard to accomplish. My 2021 New Year's resolution has been to overcome it my mental issues, and live life to the fullest.
It's more like "I am not accomplishing my goals and dreams" type thoughts.
I am just living an existence of working for tech companies (doing stuff valuable to people indeed), and making good money; but however, with the talents, and gifts, and skills that I've been gifted with, I could be doing so much more.
I’ve wasted so much time in the past decade learning random shit that I never used, it’s been a poor ROI compared to just continuing to hone the skills and languages I use daily. Really demotivating.
There are some keen insights about computing that are revealed by these languages - and those insights are transferable to your daily work in JS, C#, Python, Java, etc to some degree.
Some people say this, others say that it makes your daily work worse because going back to a language that isn't on the cult-approved list is so difficult.
When Streams came to Java, I felt like I was already an expert in that paradigm, and was able to adopt it immediately in ways that made my Java code clearer and more concise, and maybe even more performant in some cases. (Streams can allow you to transform a very long sequence of data, without needing to realize the whole sequence in memory first, as one example.)
I also use immutable data structures by default wherever possible, unless I know I really need to mutate the data.
I try to make the output of a method dependent only on the inputs, wherever possible.
You shouldn't take it to extremes, but incorporating paradigms from one language into another can pay big dividends.
"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."
There is the other side.
"Russian Woman, Who Claims to Be World's Oldest at 129, Says She's Had One Happy Day in her Life"
Also, there was a documentary a while back on nursing homes. Pretty much all "people who've survived longer" were miserable. I remember an old woman who out-lived her husband, daughter, friends, etc. I still remember what she said: "Everynight I go to sleep hoping god would take me, but I always wake up." A modern day Sibyl of Cumae.
I don't think "quick to smile" has anything to do with longevity. Misers and misanthropes also can outlive many.
I was really hoping he would mention having a social life as a secret to longevity, referencing the Harvard study on happiness and living long.  He briefly mentions his friend from Canada, I wonder if they still go on walks together or if he passed away and made new friends in the mean time. Getting old is hard because your friends pass away.
what caught my attention is that when asked about his secret to longevity, he said that he eats lots of fruit and takes cold showers
not the first time I'm hearing about cold showers being beneficial; been doing that myself regularly for a few months and I definitely find benefits
this is definitely encouraging to continue
does anybody have a longer experience with cold showers and can share any findings?
I coordinate them with my cardio days, since I find they go well with being hot and sweaty finishing rowing or running.
You know how lifting (or any exercise) develops more than just what you work -- things like discipline, resilience, grit, self-awareness, etc? Cold showers gives all that benefit but at zero cost in time or money and no risk of injury.
Also look up Joel Runyon's TEDx talk, which inspired me to start.
I imagine a cold bath means immersing most of your body in water. So another variant.
Theory sounds plausible. Curious if you happen to know any actual research that backs it up?
Maybe cold showers would help you look younger though. But a lot of things will help you look younger.
in many ways better than a coffee, although not pleasant
like a slap in the face
helps you locate your socks, to quote a classic
but yeah, no reason why just taking cold showers alone and then sitting around should have any magical effect
so perhaps it should be seen as a catalyst to being active; that's already significant
the real secret to longevity is recreating the conditions are bodies function best at and upholding those conditions. because our environment is so radically different from the past, this requires a lot of discipline, pondering, and paying attention most of all.
our bodies evolved for a certain environment, and recreating that environment would do us good. (i believe that careful people lived long lives pre-industry.)
some of these conditions are regular exercise, occasional starvation, following environmental queues, supporting a healthy biome, and avoiding stress.
our approaches to health today are comical in their attempt to simplify and reduce a billion-year-old continuously-evolving system down to one or two simple concepts while ignoring all the harm we do to it at the same time.
to use a car analogy, it's sort of like throwing away your automobile's maintenance manual and saying, "i heard the key to car longevity is changing the oil often", and filling up the engine with olive oil.
this process exists not only in humans, but in most animals, and the improvement is continuous, it never stops.
furthermore, the longest-surviving individuals (with the tightest bonds) are able to pass on the most survival knowledge to their descendants, creating an exponential effect.
My point is that it's challenging to make a watertight argument that "we should do X, because evolution suggests that we should."
That's typically how it has been prioritized, if food scarcity was an issue.
> My point is that it's challenging to make a watertight argument that "we should do X, because evolution suggests that we should."
Sure, but most of the time I would bet dollars to donuts that environmental variables we evolved in will be better for us than new ones, just like in well-aged software time-tested inputs are more likely to work than new stuff you've never tried before.
There's a lot of their Youtube videos on how successful families are constructed for the benefit of individuals and society, which is a "lost art" today.
Suzanne Venker (Traditional Family Counselling)
Definitely lots of psychological benefits.
I do combine it with meditation and exercise. All three seem to have mutually-reinforcing effects.
I have also found that a brisk morning walk in the cold (deliberately wear just a hoodie and shorts in near freezing temps) has helped as well. Maybe it's the sunlight, maybe it's the exercise, maybe it's the cold but I feel like it gets my hormones into better shape and I have more energy (specifically referring to T, and for example I have had very mild acne, which I hadn't seen in about 15 years).
good luck to him
I can't find much convincing official research (just blogs) to support that cold showers are beneficial to skincare, but I've been taking them nonetheless, and honestly, my pores have looked better :)
This applies to pretty much EVERYTHING that is not done via high quality double-blind studies published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals.
Point being: Repeating single actions of successful people statistically does not make you successful.
As an example, there was a study that eating a handful of almonds every day is correlated with a bunch of positive health outcomes. Then a follow-up paper determined that this is simply because nuts are a relatively expensive snack, so they're eaten regularly mostly by wealthier people. It's well established that being poor is bad for your health, and conversely being rich tends to allow healthy lifestyles in general.
The kind of people that take cold showers are the "health-nut" types that prioritise healthy living over comfort. They're a rare, self-selecting subset of the general population.
It's extremely difficult to do good science based on statistics of self-selecting groups, or groups highly correlated with wealth.
I would probably be characterized as one of the "health-nuts," so between the cold showers, moisturizing twice a day, trying to perfect my indoor air pollution, and literally eating raw spinach and a bowl of fruit for lunch... Who knows what contributes to what?
I probably have health anxiety. I wouldn't characterize it as extreme, but it does force me to do anything I hear is healthy for me.
I agree cold, hot, warm are all relative. Somewhat related I've seen people from hot countries worry about "cold weather". To them ~20C is cold compared to 35C hot day and was blamed to be the cause of colds and flu. Often perpetuated in movies and TV too a tired old trope. So yes to someone in a hot country a "cold" shower may be considered warm to someone from a cold climate.
My record for cold shower temperature was 39.9F (4.4C), here in New York City. Five minutes at that temperature bordered on pain. My fingertips turned purple.
The warmest cold shower I took was in Brazil. Sadly, I didn't get to enjoy it because I was sunburned.
Nitpick: it is difficult to take a shower with water in solid form (ice).
> Nitpick: it is difficult to take a shower with water in solid form (ice).
Nitpick: having a temperature below zero does not necessarily mean that it is in a solid form; for example, it could be at a high pressure or not have a nucleus to freeze around (supercooling).
Bonus points if you can scale it up to a mannequin.
The first, pounding it inside the sealed bottle, is creating some sort of disturbance to crystalize around (an "unsuspecting nucleus"), and the second is pouring it semi-shower-like.
I do think it would be interesting to see it, though.
But I guess it depends on your knobs shower knobs.
Seems really warm!
It could also be a matter of language, and words can't convey the elders experiences as effectively as it could in simples times, where symbols did not need to account for vastly different experiences. So when someone says "I don't regret working hard" in the context of a village, where hard work is essencial, It could mean something else completely to someone who grew up with absent parents, who devoted their lives to work and didn't pay attention their children. And theses discrepancies permeates the entirety of the discourse.
To rescue the value of elderly advice I suggest more context is needed, at least more than a 4 minutes video could possibly convey.
What crossroads are you at? What commitments have you made that you no longer believe in? Who do you feel most grateful to have in your life? What problem did you use to have but now have licked? In what ways are you sliding backward? What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
My central hypothesis here is that globalization and the high longevity we can achieve nowadays takes a toll on the quality of the understating of what's being told by the elders. Where once not too long ago we mainly heard from elders directly available, in the village, city or country, now we have access to more people but we don't share similar cultural backgrounds as before. And to overcome this, a little immersion in the cultural context of that elder is necessary even before posing these questions.
I think we've combined "youth-centric" with "faux-young" (aka immaturity), where 40-year olds are "excited" about the latest superhero movie and 50 year olds act like teenagers...
That's putting the cart before the horse.
Rather you should love things that fit your age and cognitive and culture development. I'd loved ice cream for breakfast and sunday morning cartoons too at 8. I'd have an infantilism problem if I still loved them at 40.
If you still watch teletubbies at 40 and are excited desipite of your age, I'm genuinely sorry for you.
Slightly less so if you are genuinely excited about superheror movies, but still sorry.
On a more serious note, I take cold or Scottish showers all year except for the coldest part (because Japanese houses have the worst insulation you’ll come across so you’ll go from cold to cold) and it does make me feel better. Even just enduring the pain of the cold seems to bring benefits.
Also, hot water, especially with chlorine in it (as usual, unless you have a filter) will make it evaporate and thus you will inhale it (not good). Very damaging for the skin too as you wash up natural oils that protect it.
So its not the same.
> Bradycardia is the response to facial contact with cold water: the human heart rate slows down ten to twenty-five percent.
I just had comments above on washing face with cold water.
>> ... washing your face with cold water after you wake up every morning
I've been doing this. It sure feels great and the best part is you don't even feel your face after a couple of splash and the cold doesn't bother you anyway (Yeah! It's a "Frozen" reference).
Can't really say if it has something to do with wrinkles lessness, but take it as a commitment, give you a feeling of accomplishment and a thing to brag about ;)
Every interview with a centenarian asks "what's the secret of your longevity?" They answer and we all nod and stroke our chins and think maybe there's something to that cold shower thing after all. Or whatever. If his secret had been that he drinks three Dr. Peppers a day, or that he does a headstand for five minutes every morning at sunrise, our response would be the same.
He no more knows the secret of his longevity than a gambler knows the secret of a hot streak. Like every centenarian, he's on the mother of all hot streaks, that's all. Our impulse to find some causal agency that we can understand and adopt is no different than a gambler's. When he said "fruit and cold showers", it's no different than saying "if I stand on one foot and close my left eye when I throw the dice, I don't crap out."
I have to think that he knows this and he's just humoring us because he knows we want an answer other than ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. After all, we are all just children to him.
He exclaims out loud "I don't know!" (in Spanish) before humoring with his own speculations about his longevity.
But attributing it entirely to hitting the genetic lottery would also be a mistake: the genetic potential can be easily squandered by allowing your mind, heart and body to decay at an accelerated rate. It is obvious this is a happy and lucid human being who still finds plenty of reasons to stick around.
In any case, when the reporter asks the secret of your longevity, they're not really asking "what did you do 50 years ago that contributed to your still being here today?"
The doc replied, "See? It finally got him!"
The centurian thing is probably ocam's razor: specific genes in combination with specific environment must be a good fit for longevity. Knowing that we are in no way closer in understanding anything about it, but at least we know we can't expect random centurian giving meaningful answer.
I've been experimenting with cold showers since the pandemic began, first it was through the summer, and I summoned up courage to continue it through the winter. There were some days when I thought I couldn't take the cold, so I used warm water instead. But I remember the stark difference I felt on those days compared to the rest when I showered in cold water.
If you can bear the cold, I would recommend it. Even if you can't, take it up as a challenge (that's what I did), to get your body to adapt to it. Totally worth it.
Do you have scientific papers to prove this?
It reminds me of the Greek island of “blind” people:
Yet we have unusually high faith in super old people, because it’s a sort of nostalgic dream we hope is true/replicable.
Just like every interview with an Apollo astronaut starts with "what's it like walking on the moon?" I would imagine they get soooo tired of that one.
"ask a lottery winner how to get rich, and they'll tell you to play the lottery"