Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Google Reader sweep

  1. A couple of thoughts about how to live better. Mostly it's context. Design your world in advance to help you be as good as possible in the moment.
  2. One tip on how to live happier: every day write three good things that happened and why. I've been interested in adding something like this into a daily routine. Feels like a very low time investment for a lot of reward.
  3. Also, how to live longer (note particularly that feeling connected to others is super important.) (Another hint: fasting.) I'd like to live to 200. I'd settle for 100 if the world in 50 years is the same as today (but it'll be twice as good, hence my goal of 200). Really, I'd just like to live until we can upload ourselves. Food-wise, fasting and calorie restriction sound like the surest bets; otherwise, active social life seems like a big one. I'll think about this more when I'm back in a stable life.
  4. Compiling evidence that sitting is one of the things that is killing us the most: The AtlanticNY Times. To do: see how many studies these folks are all citing. The hypothesis is compelling: believable, actionable, and big payoffs.
  5. Why don't Americans walk more? I found this interesting for a number of reasons. Pondering why "walking" has become something you think about doing instead of something you just do, talking with pedestrian modelers, and only a little bit of preaching to the choir about walkability.
  6. How do you decide what things to memorize, and what things to outsource memorization? Here's one answer: will it help you survive the zombie apocalypse? I don't buy it; there are plenty of things that I want to memorize that don't pass this bar. For example, recipes: it is so much easier to cook something without looking at a paper every minute.
  7. Guy says he got back to 20/20 (and better) without glasses. I'm not super interested right now, because it becomes something he has to maintain, so it feels like a less perfect abstraction than just wearing contacts.
  8. How do you stay on top of the scientific literature? This is something I'll have to get good at.
  9. Carl Bielefeldt at Stanford explains how meditation only recently has gained traction among non-monks.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Steve Jobs

I read his biography. I am struck by a few things:

1. We really venerate him in nerd circles, but he was in many ways not a good person. I mean that he was not skillful at creating a good life. And the really striking thing is that a lot of his failings just seem so childish!

2. I'm sold on Apples again. (I mean, before reading the book.) My next computer will be a Mac. The thing that I keep getting convinced of is that, to build a good product in this world, you need one person to own it. Maybe there can be about two other people working on it too. The more people get added to a project (at least, the more people that make design decisions) the dumber it gets.

3. We both went to India. Times change. Back then you could visit "the guru of most of the hippie movement." I guess back then you also could more easily get dysentery. Places like Manali and Nainital were kinda unknown, not busy holiday spots. Also, back then you also didn't have an internet connection, and you couldn't be, say, blogging while you're on vacation.

That's the mildly worrying thing: I don't know if I'll ever find a place so remote, either physically or internet-ly. I wonder if I'm missing something.

4. "Sculley confided that on vacations he went to the Left Bank in Paris to draw in his sketchbook; if he hadn't become a businessman, he would be an artist. Jobs replied that if he weren't working with computers, he could see himself as a poet in Paris."
Come on! Dear world, get some new artistic ideals! There are other creative places besides Paris! And there are other creative people besides artists!

5. "I think the issue is empathy- the capacity for empathy is lacking." I wonder if he'd be diagnosed as a psychopath. (hmm... wikipedia says no psychiatric organization authorizes a diagnosis of psychopathy.)

6. Jobs to Rupert Murdoch: "You're blowing it with Fox News. The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you've cast your lot with the destructive people."
Right on! Not only about Fox News in particular, but about a constructive-destructive axis in the world. It's not always PC to point it out, but sometimes some people are genuinely working to build up and some are tearing down.