Tag: life

Breaking the Rules to Improve Society

Recently, I was talking with some friends about the increasing power of technology, and how it is being applied to ever more accurately enforce laws. In just one example, facial recognition is now used in China to automatically identify and fine jaywalkerscache.

One common concern is that these technologies are easily abused for more sinister purposes - mass surveillance, identification of political dissidents, etc.

However, I think there's an even more direct danger: Too rigid enforcement of laws stops society from improving. Until 1967cache, homosexuality was punishable by imprisonment in the UK. If it had been possible to always …


Tea

Tea has become my favorite beverage, bar none.

With flavors stretching from light and sweet white and yellow teas all the way to dark and earthy pu-erh, no other drink can match its variety of flavor.

Best enjoyed freshly brewed from whole leaves in a small pot, you need very little to start drinking great tea.

  1. Some hot water, from a kettle or pot, doesn't matter.
  2. A tea pot or infuser with lots of space for your tea to expand, see mine as an example: my tea pot
  3. Loose leaf tea!

Some of my favorite tea includes:


Work Rules!

Work Rules! is the title of a great book by Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations at Google.

It's a pretty accurate portrait of life at Google (at least from what I've seen over the last three years), and at the same time it is a great guidebook for companies that haven't yet come as far along the path of employee empowerment.

If you are in any way involved with work - be it employer or employee - this is a must read, with lots of practical advice on how to improve your organization (and your life!). It may also give you …


Distractions

Reddit, Hacker News, Tumblr, Twitter, Imgur, Netflix, YouTube. The onslaught of pseudo information and conversation is relentless, it's easy to get lost in the comments. Feeling as if you are learning a something new all the time, a little gem in every post.

Somewhere along the way our natural curiosity and joy of learning has been hijacked and we waste away our lives reading and responding to useless chatter that seems useful and educating.

Every spare moment is filled by a quick glance to our smartphones, no time for thought and introspection left at all. Yes, that one post was …


Nutrition Information

Recently, I ran across a very useful website: Examine.comcache. They collect and summarize studies about many common nutrients and supplements. If you were wondering whether to take Vitamin D or what to think about creatine, this is the website to check.


Tidy your Life

I just finished Marie Kondo's The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forevercache, but even before I was halfway through I couldn't stop myself from reorganizing half my room and finally disposing of many clothes I hadn't even looked at in two years.

I had always considered that I could just let things sit at the back of a shelf until the next time I moved flat and then I'd finally get rid of them, but while tidying yesterday I realized that I actually had many nice clothes I'd wanted to wear that I …


Scarcely Credible Stupidity

I just finished another book in the excellent Culture series. It contains this little gem of a speech given by a member of the Culture (a utopian society with very advanced technology, best described by the phrase money is a sign of poverty) on the topic of planet Earth:

'Now, on Earth things are not quite the same. On Earth one of the things that a large proportion of the locals is most proud of is this wonderful economic system which, with a sureness and certainty so comprehensive one could almost imagine the process bears some relation to their limited …


Iterative Deepening for Talks

When you give a talk, assume your audience knows nothing.

Start with a one minute summary, then go back to the beginning and give the 5 minute version of your talk. Showing an index slide for your talk does not count, those are a joke.

Only now can you give the full version of the talk since now the audience will have all relevant context in the L2 cache of their brain.


Surveillance against Social Change

From illegal to socially accepted:

  1. illegal and immoral
  2. still illegal, but more and more people start doing it
  3. start of decriminalization, grey area
  4. fully legal and accepted by society
  5. the obvious right thing to do

As exemplified by gay rights or marijuana legalization, at various stages of this process.

Broad government surveillance stifles this process by preventing the change from step 1 to 2 and thus hinders social progress.

Freely paraphrased after Bruce Schneier at Defcon 23. Wisdom is due to Bruce, mistakes are mine.


Reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

After mentioning that I was reading Influence to my good friend Adriennecache, she recommended Drivecache as my next book. The theme is quickly explained: While there are three different ways to motivate us - biological urges like hunger or sex, external reward & punishment, and intrinsic reward from performing a task - only intrinsic reward can consistently foster creative behavior.

Pink starts out by showing how traditional external motivation - cash bonuses et al. - overly constrain our focus, interfere with creativity, extinguish internal rewards and even lead to unethical behavior (think doctoring sales numbers to meet a bonus target). Only in special …

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