Exercise #6: Exercise fodder

Keep an eye out for large, ordered collections of bite-sized chunks of similar (but not too similar) intellectual material. This is the kind of thing that I like to use for exercises, like a paper with many proposed engineering techniques, a site with many social science results, the many answers to Edge.org questions, or news and commentary […]

Exercise #5: Molecular electronics proposals

[As always, I’m not promising this is a good use of your time, but you might find it stimulating.] Here is a paper from 1983: In anticipation of the continued size reduction of switching elements to the molecular level, new approaches to materials, memory, and switching elements have been developed. Two of the three most […]

Exercise #4

Consider the following experimental results: People who became vegetarians for ethical reasons were found to be more committed to their diet choice and remained vegetarians for longer than those who did so for health reasons. Loyalty to expert advisers (doctors, financial advisors, etc.) leads to higher prices but not necessarily better services. Smokers who viewed […]

Exercise #3

Apply the Casuist’s Razor to an explanation, judgment, or argument of your choice. Suggestions from answers to “What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation”: Marti Hearst, Stuart Pimm, Laurence C. Smith, Evgeny Morozov. Bonus points for an evenhanded application to your favorite argument on copyright, piracy, software patents, drug use, abortion, free speech, or another potentially value-laden topic. What […]

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 […]

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)