The Ladder of Abstraction

Even with my relatively strict link curation, I’d have been comfortable linking pretty much any of Bret Victor’s talks or essays here. All in due time, I suppose. I’d call him an interaction designer, if I wanted to embarrass myself. He’s very and diversely competent, and he’s ambitious. His goals, in his own words: “Revolutionize how […]

Book Review: How Learning Works

As promised, I review and point-by-point summarize How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, and Marie K. Norman (2010), hereafter HLW as I scratch in futility at the sprawling length of this post. Cross-posted to Less Wrong. Review The authors aim […]

Hell Is the Absence of God

Another in my series of links to things that by rights you’ve seen long ago. Some science fiction asks “what-if” questions about technology and society. Writers begin by imagining a world where the rich can afford to make themselves immortal, or where perfect surveillance becomes possible. Other works ask a different sort of question: how […]

Exercise #2

An exercise in one aspect of the virtue of curiosity. Read Synopsis: Planting a Liquid Crystal Garden with the goal of generating as many questions as possible. Go to the previous/next synopsis and repeat. Default “What is X?” questions get full credit if they best address the gap in your understanding, but more specificity is often […]

Principled memorization

All else being equal, people tend to underestimate the value of drilling and memorization in learning.a It’s cheap and effective, and we should expect it to be undervalued due to the cultural forces acting on intellectuals across many domains. Below, I focus largely on the latter aspect, which is probably the most interesting and least […]

The Last Great Problem

I’d like to use your attention responsibly. To that end, I want to avoid spraying links to whatever’s recently hijacked my brain. When I share a link, I’ll do my best to make it a classic: a text I’ve had time to consider and appreciate, whose value has withstood the vagaries of the obsession du […]

Try more things.

Several months ago I began a list of “things to try,” which I share at the bottom of this post. It suggests many mundane, trivial-to-medium-cost changes to lifestyle and routine. Now that I’ve spent some time with most of them and pursued at least as many more personal items in the same spirit, I’ll suggest you […]

Exercise #1

We’ll start with an easy study in numerical literacy: Extra credit is to notice motivated stopping or continuation, depending on your inclinations. (from Peter Thiel’s Graph of the Year; spoilers in comments)

Origin Story

The first announced herself six years ago. In those days there was no cause for secret identities; the networks were the ones to advertise interviews with Emily Padilla as segments on “Miss Punctuality.” They would start by detailing their attempts to make her late to the studio–a phone call on Emily’s way out the door, […]