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Dragon Silver

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Information Ecologies Are Not Your Friend

"...From the human point of view, jihad and the War on Terror are opposing forces. From the memetic point of view, they’re as complementary as caterpillars and butterflies. Instead of judging, we just note that somehow we accidentally created a replicator, and replicators are going to replicate until something makes them stop. .." ( )

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"...Learn to foresee the most significant problems you'll face by multiplying the probability of an event by its impact on human-friendly seven-point scales. The result is a final estimate of importance on a scale of 0 to 100. ..."

"To make any decision in a rational way, we need to think through the likely consequences of the decision, whichever way
we may finally decide to act, and must be honest with ourselves about the importance of the potential gains and losses. (Through all this, we'll assume that the purpose of any decision is to do or to avoid doing something, or to do it differently. Decisions that lead to no action, like a decision to start a diet tomorrow, are no decisions at all. That's why it's so easy to make New Year's resolutions.)

So an individual decision problem consists of a possible set of actions, a possible set of outcomes of those actions, some estimates of how likely each outcome is. given the decision. and some kind of preference ratings for the possible outcomes. Those are the bare bones of the problem. " (Lewis: Why Flip a Coin - The Art and science of good decisions)

Hebb's rule: If it isn’t worth doing, it isn’t worth doing well.

"The alert I want to offer you is just this: try to avoid committing your precious formative years to a research agenda with a short shelf life. Philosophical fads quickly go extinct, and there may be some truth to the rule of thumb: the hotter the topic, the sooner it will burn out

Here is one way the trap works. Philosophy is to some extent an unnatural act, and the more intelligent you are, the more qualms and reservations you are likely to have about whether you get it, whether you’re “doing it right,” whether you have any talent for this discipline, and even whether the discipline is worth entering in the first place. So bright student Jones is appropriately insecure about going into philosophy. Intrigued by Professor Brown’s discussion, Jones takes a stab at it, writing a paper on hot topic H that is given an “A” by Professor Brown. “You’ve got real talent, Jones,” says Brown, and Jones has just discovered something that might be suitable lifework. Jones begins to invest in learning the rules of this particular game and in playing it ferociously with the other young aspirants. “Hey, we’re good at this!” they say, egging each other on. Doubts about the enabling assumptions of the enterprise tend to be muffled or squelched “for the sake of argument.” Publications follow. [..]

And remember, too, that if Goofmaker hadn’t made his thesis a little too bold, he never would have attracted all the attention in the first place; the temptation to be provocative is not restricted to graduate students on the lookout for a splashy entrance into the field.

My point is that you should not settle complacently into a seat on the bandwagon just because you have found some brilliant fellow travelers who find your work on the issue as unignorable as you find theirs. You may all be taking each other for a ride. "
(From: Dennett / Intuition Pumps )

"no criticism without substiution", so tests against this, also by Dennett: "seeing if folks outside philosophy, or bright undergraduates, can be made to care"

Rapoport's Rules: How to compose a successful critical commentary:

1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
One immediate effect of following these rules is that your targets will be a receptive audience for your criticism: you have already shown that you understand their positions as well as they do, and have demonstrated good judgment (you agree with them on some important matters and have even been persuaded by something they said). [..]
Following Rapoport’s Rules is always, for me at least, something of a struggle. Some targets, quite frankly, don’t deserve such respectful attention, and—I admit—it can be sheer joy to skewer and roast them. But when it is called for, and it works, the results are gratifying.

(From: Daniel C. Dennett: Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking )

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"...I became fercely self-driven by an enormous amount of productive rage. I turned steely, determined, and ultra-focused. Every time I reflected back on the inefficiencies, failures, and frustrations that I had endured during my frst three years of grad school, I would grow more enraged and push myself to grind even harder; I was motivated by an obsessive urge to make up for supposedly lost time. Of course, those early years weren't actually lost; without those struggles, I wouldn't have gained the inspiration or abilities to create the five projects that comprised my dissertation .."

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"...Really, creative people are just skilled at navigating an exponential tree of possibilities. Without a lot of practice, you'll be stuck slowly walking up&down, just a small number of familiar branches, making artistic decisions based on what's right in front of you.
But with enough experience, you know the general structure, you know what would happen if you went a few branches down any path, all at once, without having to actually go there. So you can instantly leap down to interesting destinations, that you'd never find, if you're going step-by-step, and turned back when the going get rough.
Creativity means fearlessly embracing things, that seem odd. Even random. Knowing that if you keep your brain open, you'll eventually find the connections. "

A truly inspiring performance by Vi Hart (13:38)

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Ed Cooke on Nifty Memory Tricks

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The defining moment of 1%:
-They usually arrive, when we least expect them (eg: "after quitting the whole music business")
-We instantly know, that this is the solution we've been looking for
(source: The Origins of Creative Insight & Why You need a grit )
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