Simplify

Never use a long word where a diminutive one would suffice. When you want to keep a story moving don’t spend a lot of time going on circuitous side trips when you could instead proceed directly to the most interesting, active parts. Like that time I was in the Antarctic with Ernie and we had to abandon the Endurance to the ice, it’s important to use good visuals to make your point in as few word as possible. Also, there are clear rules for writing, such as: One should only write authoritatively about that which one actually knows. Other rules include: Don’t overuse colons; It’s important to know how to use a semi-colon.

Not sure how I got on that train of thought. It simply struck me to try writing a paragraph which was maximally incorrect. I should probably exercise more restraint. But what started this post— What prompted my title selection was:

I’ve decided to stop tracking my waist measurement. It simplifies my crazy list of things I try to do every day, sure. It also eliminates the number of times I go to weigh/measure and have to double-back for reading glasses to see the tailor’s tape. I had started tracking it so that I could calculate my waist to weight ratio. After a few years I’ve learned that the ratio is telling. Not in a depressing way, but it’s a very interesting number—I can tell my level of fitness, how I’ll feel if I try to do something (say, go run, or boulder,) and it’s a great indicator. But having the data didn’t enable to do anything. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So, lest I go ever onward adding processes and things and systems and numbers— ahem. Dropped it.

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Dnt fd th trlls

One of the challenges for any website that allows for user content — no matter the size of the website — is how to deal with trollish behavior. There are a variety of options available, including just deleting such comments, but one option that got attention in the mid-2000s was the idea of disemvoweling.

~ From https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20210818/15321447384/content-moderation-case-study-boingboing-begins-disemvoweling-trolls-2007.shtml

Tee-hee. How did I never know about this?

But to be clear: No this isn’t something that I’m going to implement in any of the spaces where I wear anything like a moderator hat. It’s like amending graffiti; or trying to do censorship “correctly.” Those both are at best really hard, and at worst actually feeds the troll.

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3.5 each

I don’t know why, but I never learned to solve a Rubik’s Cube. I am exactly the right age; the durned things appeared on the scene just before I got to primary school and they were common in my high school. But I never got into it. I had one, of course. I pretty much immediately took it apart (very carefully) to see how it worked… just honestly curious about how it worked, not trying to solve it. When I put it back together, I put it together in the solved state because it seemed obvious that if I put it together randomly it couldn’t be solved by then trying to rotation-solve it as usual.

Aside: Yes, of course I did. Any time I found a cube, I’d surreptitiously mechanically detach and flip a few pieces, and then scramble it. Few people are good enough to quickly figure out what has happened.

…and then I never was interested in solving one after I understood how it worked. Tetris? Okay, yeah, that game ate years of my life—because you can’t solve it, you just do it. Anyway, I’m 50 and I just got a Rubik’s Cube.

And what am I doing? Measuring it: Let’s call it 2.2 inches on an edge. How many of them are there? Wikipedia says 350,000,000. Crap, that’s a lot of plastic. How big a pile is that? How big are 350,000,000 2-inch cubes? …and I was hoping Wolfram Alpha would give me units of Empire-State-Buildings or something. Instead, I learned something about the total number of Angels according to the Bible. (That should get you to click, no?)

What’s that? How many ESBs is it? …oh, sorry, it’s 0.0583 ESB. I know right? We’ve only 6% filled the ESB with Rubik’s Cubes?! We need to ramp up production.

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Cole’s law

Hofstadter’s Law – “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”

~ “rogersbacon” from, https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Mt3vtAQGnkA3hY5Ga/eponymous-laws-part-3-miscellaneous

It’s part 3, and it is a nifty collection of serious and whimsical laws. However, I doubt that Stigler is the originator of Stigler’s Law. Sometimes the only reason I write this stuff is to see if I can entice you to go read the thing to which I’ve linked.

But more often I do have a point. I’m wondering, in this case, how much of our urge to create, and our delight in such pithy Laws as Dilbert’s, comes simply from our mind’s desire to find patterns. There are a slew of cognitive biases, (confirmation bias springs to mind as fitting the pattern of my example,) which feel like they arise from pattern matching gone overly Pac Man.

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All modern infrastructure

https://xkcd.com/2347/

As a follow up to yesterday: I do quite often laugh out loud at XKCD though. This one was was three layers of humirony.

My first instinct was to think: Actually, if we just built a lot more infrastructure to the left of those large supports on the left, we might be able to take a lot of the load off that little project… actually, the horizontal level seems to be lower on the right already, so left-loading might even lift the…

Second: omgbecky I swear I’m constantly ranting and raving about this sort of thing; how there are these terribly detailed and entangled things under the hood that only a handful of people understand and one good meteor could wipe out all our infrastructure…

Third: I was literally just installing ImageMagick a couple hours before I read this cartoon.

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2020 vision

I often known when a bad joke or a terrible pun is coming. My confession is that I really enjoy that feeling of knowing there’s going to be a terrible groaner in… 3… 2… 1…

Except that in today’s case, I already wrote it.

”2020 vision.” As in, “20/20 vision.”

You’re welcome! Go start beating all your friends over the head with “insightful” comments about having 2020 vision for the coming year.

In other news: 2019 was the year I started using reading glasses. My past track record of prognostication and beginning-of-the-year vision statements, combined with my vision deteriorating… nope, lost it, I feel like I had something clever to say here. But no, it too is decagon.

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No instruction manual

The fact that you can’t remember an agreement you made with yourself doesn’t mean that you’re not holding yourself liable for it. Ask any psychologist how much of a sense of past and future that part of your psyche has, the part that was storing the list you dumped: zero. It’s all present tense in there. That means that as soon as you tell yourself that you should do something, if you file it only in your short-term memory, that part of you thinks you should be doing it all the time. And that means that as soon as you’ve given yourself two things to do, and filed them only in your head, you’ve created instant and automatic stress and failure, because you can’t do them both at once, and that (apparently significant) part of you psyche will continue to hold you accountable.

~ David Allen from, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done

…yes another quote from the GTD book.

In the first half of my life — say to age 40 — I made a HUGE MISTAKE: I presumed that I had a reasonable understanding of how my brain worked. I don’t mean at a physiology level; I still don’t really understand that. I mean at a day-to-day-doing-stuff, when-I-do-this-then-this-happens, this-is-how-one-lives sort of level. Like how I thought I knew how to use my brain to decide what to eat, what to work on, what to read, what to do with my time . . .

Now why on earth did i think I had any idea?

Seriously: You think of “me” as this “self-thing” located behind your eyes, but that “you” is just “running” in/on your brain. So have you ever tried different ways of running your life? How do you know reading some such book will or won’t change your life? Maybe you should experiment with everything. Try something radical: Pay attention to the results. You’re ALREADY following lots of advice — my advice, your mother’s advice, the TV ads’ advice, your doctor’s advice — but have you ever bothered to figure out what the results are? Then make a deliberate change intended to move you toward a specific goal. Observe results. Then make another change. Then another. And another.

I mean, it’s not like your entire life depends on the choices you … oh wait. *lightbulb*

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