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Matthew Soddy
Works at WIS International
Attended Lapeer East High School
Lives in Washington
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Matthew Soddy

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‘Even stone changes. Nothing can stand still-'

‘Yet we would. Wouldn't we? Oh, we talk of progress, but what we really desire is the perpetuation of the present. With its seemingly endless excesses, its ravenous appetites. Ever the same rules, ever the same game.'

Steven Erikson, Midnight Tides

Erikson always has a lot to say about the world, but this book flows over with careful rumination. The Letharii are more similar to modern Americans than any other fantasy people I've ever encountered, and they are handled tenderly, but not without clarity of vision. 
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"I would like to repeat that we are not trying to convince you of anything - that must be clearly understood. We are not trying to persuade you to accept a particular point of view. We are not trying to impress you about anything; nor are we doing any propaganda. We are not talking about personalities, or who is right and who is wrong, but rather trying to think out, to observe, together, what the world is and what we are, what we have made of the world and what we have made of ourselves. We are trying together to examine both the inward and the outward man.

"To observe clearly one must be free to look - obviously. If one clings to one's particular experiences, judgements and prejudices, then it is not possible to think clearly. The world crisis which is right in front of us demands, urges, that we think together so that we can solve the human problem together, not according to any particular person, philosopher, or particular guru. We are trying to observe together. It is important to bear in mind all the time that the speaker is merely pointing out something which we are examining together. It is not something one-sided but rather that we are co-operating in examining, in taking a journey together and so acting together."

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
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"People moving all the time 
Inside a perfectly straight line 
Don't you wanna curve away? 
When it's such… 
It's such a perfect day 
It's such a perfect day"
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"I watch the patchwork farms
slow fade into the oceans arms.
From here you can't see me stare,
the stale taste of recycled air."
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I'm very proud of this article. Please read it.
Terry Pratchett may strike many as a twinkly old elf, but that’s not him at all. Fellow sci-fi novelist Neil Gaiman on the inner rage that drives his ailing friend’s writing
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Matthew Soddy

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"Although I'd like to join the crowd
In their enthusiastic cloud
Try as I may, it doesn't last

And will we ever end up together?
No, I think not, it's never to become
For I am not the one."
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I think I took longer than the ten minutes, but I got it. :p
 
This is cool and solvable even though it seems impossible. You have to go another layer down to find the answer, but it's there. And it seems so obvious after you know it, but you have to find that aha! insight first, which is admittedly tricky.

http://www.mycoted.com/Four_Men_in_Hats
Shown above are four men buried up to their necks in the ground. They cannot move, so they can only look forward. Between A and B is a brick wall which cannot be seen through. They all know that between them they are wearing four hats--two black and two white--but they do not know what color ...
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I love logic puzzles and but deeply resent that many of them are deliberately deceptive because the designers are lazy.
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:)
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Thiel's Question

In a recent book, Peter Thiel noted that when he interviews people for a job, he likes to ask them: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” I like this question; it can tell you a lot about how a person thinks, and where they're willing to argue with people. It also got me thinking about my own answers to such a thing (as a good question will always do), and while I could probably think of a few dozen answers, here's one that came to mind quickly.

I believe that people aren't actually stupid. 

Let me give this some context: we tend to assume that people are stupid, or are doing things because they simply don't understand, in a shocking variety of contexts -- especially when they disagree with us about something. Sometimes it's associated with simple things: lottery tickets are a "tax on people who can't do math," people only use drugs if they're too dumb to understand the consequences.

Sometimes it's people's entire careers: just yesterday, I quoted James Heaney as describing government regulation as being run by "the best guesses of well-intentioned but dim-witted bureaucrats." And there's a neverending stream of media commentators who are completely stunned and confused by the fact that people become drug dealers or hang out on street corners rather than getting straight jobs.

Sometimes it's far more systematic: both the Left and the Right ultimately structure government programs on the theory that poor people can't understand things without the help of someone wiser than them. From the Left, this takes the form of complex systems designed to make sure people get only the "right" assistance, e.g. buying only the right foods. From the Right, it takes the form of making sure that these people aren't "cheating" and using their assistance for bad things. Both of these presuppose that the people in question couldn't decide on which things they actually need by themselves.

Sometimes it's overtly political, as when we wonder why people vote for politicians and parties who very obviously do not have their best interests at heart. 

My unpopular idea is this: people tend to be specialist experts in the circumstances of their own lives. If someone is unemployed, a job is available, and they aren't taking it, I'm going to start from the assumption that yes, they are aware that jobs pay money and they need money, and they probably know something I don't. (For example, that job would require that they stop providing child care to a relative's children, or the cost of getting to that job would eat up all the pay, or any number of other things) If someone is voting for a political candidate who seems directly inimical to their needs, then I'm going to assume that they have some other needs as well which this candidate does serve, and that those are more important to them.

This applies to the powerful as well as to the powerless. For example, if politicians continue to push a legislative agenda which claims to achieve one thing but actually fails at it completely, but instead has a bunch of other consequences, and they continue to do so, then I am going to assume that they are not stupid: they are simply not stating their actual objectives. (And this might be because they feel a need to conceal those objectives, or it might be because they themselves don't consciously understand them!)

This latter consequence of my unpopular hypothesis can seem remarkably cynical at times. If you apply this to (say) the War on Drugs -- which has zero measurable effect on drugs, but which has profound effects on incarceration rates, on the political liberty of Certain Segments of the Population, on the economics of life of those same segments, and on the powers of the police -- then I am going to assume that the people who continue to advocate this are not, on the whole, idiots. Rather, these are their objectives, and the War on Drugs is simply a rhetorical tool and a political structure into which those objectives can be fit.

In fact, our politics are filled with loudly touted movements and programs which seem to have no correlation with what they actually achieve. I'm going to avoid giving a lengthy list here, since I suspect you can come up with them on your own and I would just infuriate hordes of people by suggesting that their public statements are disingenuous, but I have found this to be a profoundly useful razor to apply to political statements, and the cynical-seeming outcomes it produces tend to be right more often than not.

In the thread below, +Christof Harper summarizes this nicely: "Never attribute to stupidity actions you don't understand." 

Oh, and lottery tickets? You're not buying a stake in the prize; that would be idiotic. In fact, anyone who was buying a lottery ticket seriously believing that they would win millions of dollars from doing so would be clearly disconnected from reality. Most people are paying for entertainment: a time period of getting to hope, fantasize, and laugh about the idea of "what if I won?" That is, they're paying for the things they actually get from buying the lottery ticket, not the things which they almost certainly won't get.

So, let me pass the question on to you: what important truth do very few people agree with you on?

(Thanks to +Alex Scrivener for pointing out this question to me. Photo by Lisa Brewster: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sophistechate/)
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Work
Employment
  • WIS International
    2012 - present
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Currently
Washington
Previously
Lapeer, MI
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But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them, too. That is rare, and pure, and perfect.
Introduction
"Capitalism is the fullest expression of anarchism, and anarchism is the fullest expression of capitalism." - Murray Rothbard

I read.  I write.  I play Video Games.  Anything else you want to know, you can ask.  <smile>

I'm presently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Books Read Recently:

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Books I might read soon:

Ulysses by James Joyce

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

Things I'm Excited For:

The Last Guardian (game by Fumito Ueda)

Book three of the Kingkiller Chronicles (Patrick Rothfuss)

Book 2 of the Stormlight Archive (Brandon Sanderson)

The Familiar (Danielewski's new 27 volume epic)
Education
  • Lapeer East High School
    2005 - 2009
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Matthew Soddy's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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(Sample) Size Matters
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Google Voice
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Make cheap international calls with your Google number. Send free text messages. Place calls and send text messages showing your Google numb

Google Play Music
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Google Play Music makes it easy to discover, play and share the music you love on Android and the web. With our new All Access service, you

Holding On for Life
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Shop Google Play on the web. Purchase and enjoy instantly on your Android phone or tablet without the hassle of syncing.

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Replace your bank with a smarter way to save and spend.• See your transactions appear in seconds on your Android device. • Know instantly ho

Google Maps - Apps on Android Market
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Download the latest release of Google Maps, and never carry a paper map again. Get Google Maps with Navigation (Beta), Places, and Latitude

Google+ - Apps on Android Market
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The Google+ Project
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The Google+ project makes sharing online more like sharing in real life. Take the interactive tour for a quick look at five of the first key

Pandora Internet Radio - Find New Music, Listen to Free Web Radio
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Pandora is the music discovery service that helps you find new music based on your old and current favorites. Create custom internet radio s

Pandora® internet radio
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Pandora radio is a personalized radio service that streams music on your phone. Pandora® internet radio is your own FREE personalized radio

Google Books
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Use Google Books to read over 3 million ebooks on the go. Build your ebooks library in the cloud with Google Books: jump right into a bestse

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Don't Look Back is a short game I made in 2009.This is a completely free game, not "free to play"; there are no in-app purchases or any of t

Food: ExcellentDecor: ExcellentService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Really great atmosphere, and the open mic night on Sunday has a few really top notch performers. Seriously - check them out.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
2 reviews
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