Uniquely American

That answer is that each American should be able to decide for himself, with extremely rare exceptions. But each person should also be able to decide what kinds of speech are permitted on their property. And that applies to media corporations no less than individuals. Thus, I should be able to advocate virtually any viewpoint I want. But Fox News and the New York Times should be equally free to refuse to broadcast or publish my views.

~ Ilya Somin from, https://reason.com/volokh/2021/07/08/the-case-against-imposing-common-carrier-restrictions-on-social-media-sites/

Yes in-deedy Judy! (As I’m often wont to say.) The ideas of personal property, and of freedom of speech, are of special importance to this great American experiment.



One final note: say the obvious. Sometimes we might feel that something is obviously good or obviously wrong, and so we don’t say it. Or sometimes we might have a doubt that we don’t express because the question might sound stupid. Say it—that’s okay. You might have to reword it a little bit to make the reader feel more comfortable, but don’t hold it back. Good feedback is transparent, even when it may be obvious.

~ Erin Casali from, https://alistapart.com/article/async-design-critique-giving-feedback/

If you are a human, and particularly if you ever interact with other humans, I think you’ll like this article by Casali. I’m a level-100 Technology Wizard with a sub-specialization in Explaining Things, and I found several insighs—e.g., “timing + attitude + form = respectful feedback”—that improved my integration of what I know about feedback.


What did he trust in?

When Odysseus was shipwrecked and cast ashore … what did he trust in? Not in reputation, or riches, or office, but in his own strength, that is to say, in his 1 judgements about what things are in our power and what are not. For these judgements alone are what make us free, make us immune from hinderance, raise the head of the humiliated, and make them look into the faces of the rich with unaverted eyes, and into the faces of tyrants.

~ Epictetus


Your faculty of reason

You are a human being; that is, a mortal animal capable of making a rational use of impressions. And what does it mean to use them rationally? In accordance with nature and perfectly. What is exceptional in you? Is it the animal part? No. The mortal? No. That which enables you to deal with impressions? No. What is exceptional in you is your faculty of reason.

~ Epictetus


Convince me

When one of the company said to him, “convince me that logic is useful,” he said, … Would you like me to demonstrate it to you? Then I must make use of a demonstrative argument? And how will you know, then, whether I am deceiving you with a sophism? And when the man remained silent, he said, … You see how you yourself admit that logic is necessary, since without it you cannot even determine whether it is necessary or not.

~ Epictetus


Cognitive biases

If our goal is to help people make better choices, it helps to first create better feelings.

~ Seth Godin from, https://seths.blog/2021/07/narrative-and-feelings/

Godin often makes insightful points like this one. But I often wish he’d use his enormous reach to also talk about the other part—

If our goal is to help people make better choices, it helps even more to show them how they can use their rationality. It’s an inbuilt feature of being human—sometimes I’ve argued it is the defining characteristic of being human. It is, in fact, our planetaryily-unique super power. (We have other super-powers, like compassion, which I think may not be unique to humans.)

Yes, as Godin points out, we should create better feelings for others. But how great would each of our lives be if we weren’t governed by our feelings. The goal isn’t to eliminate feelings nor emotions—that’s a dumb idea. The goal is for all the parts of who we each are, to get the appropriate due.


The faculty of choice

What else does the eye do, when it is opened, than see? But whether we ought to look upon somebody’s wife, and in what manner, what tells us that? The faculty of choice. Whether we ought to believe, or to disbelieve, what is said; or whether, if we do believe, we ought to be moved by it or not; what tells us that? Is it not the faculty of choice?

~ Epictetus