Bogleheads

“Welcome to the Bogleheads® wiki, a collaborative undertaking by members of the Bogleheads Community. This wiki is a reference resource for investors. Bogleheads emphasize starting early, living below one’s means, regular saving, broad diversification, and sticking to one’s investment plan.”

https://www.bogleheads.org/

Never heard of it. But, the emphasis seems right. Bookmarking.

Making Friends [on the Internet]

Summarized:

“[1.] follow people you resonate with.

[2.] engage with bigger accounts, support smaller accounts.

[3.] ask questions, offer suggestions, share learnings.

[4.] pay attention to who keeps popping up.

[5.] use the algorithms to your advantage.

[6.] attend virtual events. participate! 

[7.] attend offline events! Be adventerous.

[8.] send that dm / email / offer to connect.

[9.] if they don’t respond, try again in a few months.

[10.] put your thoughts out there.

-Jonathan Borichevskiy, “Making Friends on the Internet.” jon.bo. May 2, 2022.

Open question: How do you make new friends that will help you move in the direction you want your life to move and be fellow travelers?

The thrust is correct. If you want to make offline friends, you need to orient your online presence to make offline connections. However, there’s a bit of an age-bias. When you are 25 and single, it’s a lot easier to go to meeting on a lark. As you get older, it gets more difficult. You have to arrange a babysitter. There’s also the time to consider. Here’s a rough chart of time and quantities of friends a human brain tends to top out at:

  • 5 intimate friends (+200 hours)
  • 15 close friends (80-100 hours)
  • 50 general friends (40-60 hours)
  • 150 acquaintances (10-20 hours)

The problem, as you get older, is: how do you find those hours to spend with someone? The easiest method is some social institution, such as a church. Over a year, it should be possible to pick up a few friends and acquaintances from a church.

So, the above is how to make an initial connection with someone, and it assumes that you bridge these hours in some way. This is much harder, as you get older. But, perhaps something to think about when you start new chapters of your life.

Which Computational Universe Do We Live In?

“In 1995, Russell Impagliazzo of the University of California, San Diego broke down the question of hardness into a set of sub-questions that computer scientists could tackle one piece at a time. To summarize the state of knowledge in this area, he described five possible worlds — fancifully named Algorithmica, Heuristica, Pessiland, Minicrypt and Cryptomania — with ascending levels of hardness and cryptographic possibility. Any of these could be the world we live in.”

-Erica Klarreich, “Which Computational Universe Do We Live In?” Quanta Magazine. April 18 , 2022.

Quanta has some really interesting content. Let’s hope we live in Cryptomania.

Theater, Circus & Being

“In Acts: Theater, Philosophy, and the Performing Self, Tzachi Zamir proposes a theory of persons that allows participants in the theater to amplify and improve their own sense of self. According to Zamir, “a person is a cluster of possibilities, and actualizes a small portion of these.” The personal benefit of acting is that it broadens the scope of a person’s usual set of possibilities, potentially leading to a wider range of opportunities or ‘live options’ in real life for the person acting. Zamir calls this “existential amplification.” Acting (not merely observing acting) can help someone better understand themselves as they actually are, against a broadened backdrop of what’s possible for them…

…In Duncan Wall’s The Ordinary Acrobat, Jonathan Conant, one of the founders of Trapeze School New York describes the flying trapeze as “a machine for helping people re-evaluate what they are capable of.” He continues: “Before a flight, people are invariably uncomfortable. They’re pissed off, they’re scared, they’re sad. There’s a real fear of getting hurt.” They think that the trapeze is “…magical. It’s unattainable. It’s hugely difficult. It’s completely out of the realm of possibility for most people’s minds.” Yet after flying, “[t]here’s an evolution, an acceptance of what’s possible. The trapeze is so built up in people’s heads. And then someone says, ‘You can actually do this, too.’ That totally shifts the realm of what’s possible.” Conant continues, “People like to say that the trapeze is a metaphor for overcoming your fears. But this is wrong. A metaphor is just a symbol. The trapeze actually works.” Circus literature is rich with such accounts, especially in connection to the flying trapeze. Very often, there is talk of a great shift in perspective, of seeing the world differently, experiencing life anew, and even: becoming a whole new being.”

-Meg Wallace, “Circus and Philosophy: Teaching Aristotle Through Juggling.” aesthticsforbirds.com. December 2, 2021

Interesting throughout. I like the idea that trying new things, whether they be new ideas or ways of being in the world, can help us reconstruct ourselves into “a whole new being.”

Edited By

“A survey of two hundred and six editors who invented, developed, fine-tuned, and revolutionized the art of film editing.”

http://womenfilmeditors.princeton.edu/

“A momentous event in online film culture went mostly unnoticed earlier this year [2019]: the unveiling of Edited By, Su Friedrich’s large and invaluable web resource devoted to women film editors. Friedrich, a renowned experimental filmmaker with a body of work spanning over four decades, tells the story of coming upon a film history book, turning to the editing chapter, and finding that each reference to a film mentioned the director—but never the editor. Looking up the cited films on IMDb, she discovered that most of them were edited by women. Out of this seed of curiosity grew the enormous research effort that has now resulted in the website.

Edited By is global in scope, even if the majority of its entries are devoted to American women. Friedrich points to the unjust lack of attention to editors everywhere, contrasting their relative invisibility to the much greater awareness of directors, writers, and even cinematographers that exists in film culture. “It’s time to stop imagining that ‘it’s really the director’ who does the editing,” she writes. This neglect applies to both male and female editors, but it has had a special impact on the latter by occluding the fact that women have a rich but little-known history as editors, especially in American cinema.”

-Giresh Shambu, “Hidden Histories: The Story of Women Film Editors.” The Criterion Collection. September 12, 2019.

Thucydides and Realism

“In the face of hard realities, Thucydides embodied the dual concern of classical realism, consciousness of external threats while being wary of our capacity for self-destruction, to fall prey to irrational emotions and false hope. An age of blood and iron is well and truly now underway, and the bitter winds of economic warfare are only just beginning to blow back on us all. It is not a bad time, then, to think through what it means to be prudent, while avoiding excess brutality and the corruption of our polities. Thucydides’ realism, austere yet humane, should both shake and fortify us in the hard days ahead.”

—Patrick Porter, “Thucydides was a Realist.Engelsbergideas.com. April 1, 2022.

Five Traps to Avoid When Working at Big Companies

https://mobile.twitter.com/arvanaghi/status/1504523654801022987

  1. Being someone’s lieutenant
  2. Developing expertise that only applies to that company
  3. Falling for perks
  4. Get raises, not readjustments (top end, 7% increase a year)
  5. Lack of recognition

h/t to Brandon Arvanaghi

I’d probably shorten this list to two items:

  1. Be good at doing something many companies and/or people need.
  2. Get recognized for being good by being paid for it, or do what you do for someone else.

You could reduce it further to the most important ability, at any job, is being able to walk out the door and easily find another. Any other situation is one based on exploitation, in one form or another.

Uncertainty & Future Planning Are Inversely Proportional

“There’s a paradox that strikes me whenever I visit Ely Cathedral, an amazing building just a few miles away from where we are sitting. It was built by masons as a structure that wasn’t to be finished in their lifetime, but which still inspires us 800 years later. We can’t think long term like they did. I think the reason is that those masons thought their grandchildren would live similar lives to them. Now, however, the pace of technological change means we don’t know enough about the preferences of people half a century in the future to be able to make confident plans. Although our horizons in space and time have hugely expanded, our capacity to do reliable long-term planning is less than it was in medieval times…

…One reason why I wish them luck is that human enhancement is going to be strongly regulated on Earth. But if there are these guys in a hostile environment on Mars, they would have every incentive to adapt themselves to that environment and they’d be away from the regulators. So if there is to be a post-human species, then it could evolve fastest from the progeny of these bold pioneers.

-Richard Webb interviews Martin Rees, “Martin Rees interview: Elon Musk could spawn the first post-humans.” New Scientist. March 9, 2022.

I found these two paragraphs interesting as a piece. We are so unsure about technical change that we cannot even sure that our progeny will be anything like us, much less living similar lives. This uncertainty makes it a challenge to think long term. This should be some kind of law: as uncertainty increases, our view of our time horizon decreases.

Promises & Doing What You Say

“Say yes and never do it.”

-Austin Kleon quoting Mel Brooks, “Say Yes and Never Do It.” austinkleon.com. March 8, 2022

“…there are two types of people in the world: those who do what they say they’re going to do — and everyone else.”

-Anthony Bourdain, “Kitchen Confidential.” New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2000.

I was reading Austin Kleon’s quote of Mel Brooks, and it reminded me of the Bourdain quote, which I think about a lot. These quotes appear contradictory, but in fact, they aren’t.

Let assume you are a person who does what you say you are going to do. Competence and being someone that accomplishes things is going to attract people who will try to get you to work on their behalf.

Additionally, the people that don’t do what they say will want to help, influence and be involved in what you are doing. It makes them feel like they are a part of accomplishing something. And, if it doesn’t get done, they will be happy to discover you are just like them.

Mel Brooks is saying that if you want to be in charge of your own life, you need to know which promises to keep. Keep the promises you make to yourself and the people you care about. But, life runs a bit smoother if you can say yes to the people that want to side track you into their agenda or who have no real interest in what you are doing and not worry about actually doing it.

What to Eat

“What then is the bottom line when it comes to some sort of recommendation about diet and mental health? Same as already discussed for other conditions. Look askew at supplements, reduce intake of red and processed meats in favour of fish and poultry, replace refined grains with whole grains, increase legumes, and eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. That then is the link between diet and health in a nutshell.”

-Joe Schwarcz, “Food For Thought- Literally.” McGill: Office for Science and Society. March 2, 2022.

Recommendations like these always talk about servings. It would be better if they included a chart of what they meant by that.