Many procrastinators do not realize that they are perfectionists, for the simple reason that they have never done anything perfectly, or even nearly so. They have never been told that something they did was perfect. They have never themselves felt that anything they did was perfect.

Read the essay hosted by structuredprocrastination.com – I like it!

This site was recommended @chrisbillett via Twitter.

Is there an Artificial God?

July 26th, 2008

Douglas Adams’ speech at Digital Biota 2, Cambridge U.K., September 1998.

There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions. Curiously enough, quite a lot of these have come from sand, so let’s talk about the four ages of sand.

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More often than not, insults are delivered publicly. There is a good reason for this. An insult made in confidence between two people only hurts the recipient, whereas an insult made in public can be a platform for attention for the aggressor. You are merely a stepping stone to laughs, dominance and respect for the aggressor.

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The Rise of American Fascism

April 23rd, 2008

More about the history of fascism in the US. Haven’t read it all yet.

Read more – from rationalrevolution.net

Learning to think differently

October 10th, 2007

From slashdot.org

A couple of times a year, I pull up the following and read it, trying to realign my thinking process. I don’t know who originally wrote it; I’ve had it for years. I apologize for the long post, but it’s worth it:

Some time ago I received a call from a colleague. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a physics question, while the student claimed a perfect score. The instructor and the student agreed to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected.

I read the examination question: “SHOW HOW IT IS POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE THE HEIGHT OF A TALL BUILDING WITH THE AID OF A BAROMETER.”

The student had answered, “Take the barometer to the top of the building, attach a long rope to it,lower it to the street, and then bring it up, measuring the length of the rope. The length of the rope is the height of the building.” The student really had a strong case for full credit since he had really answered the question completely and correctly! On the other hand, if full credit were given, it could well contribute to a high grade in his physics course and to certify competence in physics, but the answer did not confirm this.

I suggested that the student have another try. I gave the student six minutes to answer the question with the warning that the answer should show some knowledge of physics. At the end of five minutes, he had not written anything. I asked if he wished to give up, but he said he had many answers to this problem; he was just thinking of the best one.

I excused myself for interrupting him and asked him to please go on. In the next minute, he dashed off his answer which read: “Take the barometer to the top of the building and lean over the edge of the roof. Drop the barometer, timing its fall with a stopwatch.Then, using the formula x=0.5*a*t^^2, calculate the height of the building.”

At this point, I asked my colleague if he would give up. He conceded,and gave the student almost full credit.

While leaving my colleague’s office, I recalled that the student had said that he had other answers to the problem, so I asked him what they were. “Well,” said the student, “there are many ways of getting the height of a tall building with the aid of a barometer. For example, you could take the barometer out on a sunny day and measure the height of the barometer, the length of its shadow, and the length of the shadow of the building,and by the use of simple proportion, determine the height of the building.”

“Fine,” I said, “and others?”

“Yes,” said the student, “there is a very basic measurement method you will like. In this method, you take the barometer and begin to walk up the stairs. As you climb the stairs, you mark off the length of the barometer along the wall. You then count the number of marks, and this will give you the height of the building in barometer units.”

“A very direct method.”

“Of course. If you want a more sophisticated method, you can tie the barometer to the end of a string, swing it as a pendulum, and determine the value of g at the street level and at the top of principle, can be calculated.”

“On this same tact, you could take the barometer to the top of the building,attach a long rope to it, lower it to just above the street, and then swing it as a pendulum. You could then calculate the height of the building by the period of the precession”.

“Finally,” he concluded, “there are many other ways of solving the problem. Probably the best,” he said, “is to take the barometer to the basement and knock on the superintendent’s door. When the superintendent answers, you speak to him as follows: ‘Mr. Superintendent, here is a fine barometer. If you will tell me the height of the building, I will give you this barometer.”

At this point, I asked the student if he really did not know the conventional answer to this question. He admitted that he did, but said that he was fed up with high school and college instructors trying to teach him how to think.

The student was Neils Bohr.

The Seven Blunders of the World is a list that Mahatma Gandhi gave to his grandson Arun Gandhi during his last days. The seven blunders are:

– Wealth without work
– Pleasure without conscience
– Knowledge without character
– Commerce without morality
– Science without humanity
– Worship without sacrifice
– Politics without principle

The Shockwave Rider

June 24th, 2007

The Shockwave Rider is a science fiction novel by John Brunner, originally published in 1975. It is notable for its hero’s use of computer cracking skills to escape pursuit in a dystopian future, and for the coining of the word “worm” to describe a program that propagates itself through a computer network.

It also introduces the concept of a Delphi pool, perhaps derived from the RAND Corporations’ Delphi method – a futures market on world events which bears close resemblance to DARPA’s controversial and cancelled Policy Analysis Market.

Read more here

Her research focuses on how people negotiate a presentation of self to unknown audiences in mediated contexts. In particular, her dissertation is looking at how youth engage with networked publics like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga and YouTube.

http://www.danah.org/

Most of her publications & papers, can be found here.

She also has a great blog here.

Gifted and talented persons are more likely to experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression.

Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness.

Read the full article by James T. Webb, Ph.D.

Books to check out..

January 22nd, 2007

‘Cosmic Trigger – The Final Secret of the Illuminati’ by Robert Anton Wilson

‘Affirmations’ by Stuart Wilde

‘The Greatest Power In The Universe’ by U. S. Andersen

‘From Atlantis To The Sphinx’ by Colin Wilson