Ideas

When you can't solve a problem, consider injecting new information

I used to come across linear algebra problems in math class that seemed impossible to solve. Consider trying to find the value of x, y, and z given this set of two equations:

4x + 3y + z = 8
x + y = 2

If I plug this into Wolfram Alpha, all it can tell me is "y = 4 - x". That doesn't solve for x, y, and z like we want. The problem is intractable.

Something is wrong with the Internet

When I was younger I believed in the Internet. I believed the Internet was a brave place, where knowledge and culture was disseminated freely. I saw it as a place where you could tap into unparalleled knowledge and improve yourself.

Applying biblical advice to others

I love the feeling of reading a great Bible passage and having that chilling realization that I've still got so much to learn in life. It's called being "convicted". I associate it with positive feelings by now, since I know that if I follow the train of thought, and make some changes in my life, I'll feel so much better later.

Dishonest Debater

I am a dishonest debater.

I remember being around 7 years old and arguing with my brother. Some adult had told us in the past not to run when crossing the road, and I agreed. My brother, a little older and a little more rebellious, still wanted to run across the road. One day, he did, and I confronted him.

"Don't run across the road" I (proudly) stated.

"Why not?" he (reasonably) asked.

How to have productive meetings, part 1

At some point in my life, I started going to meetings, and slowly started gathering good and bad experiences. Also, for some reason, during university I actually studied how to have productive meetings, and I’ve kept a few tidbits of wisdom from that course.

I hold this truth to be self evident: most meetings are a waste of time.

But there’s a corollary: it’s also hard to identify which of your meetings are a waste of time, and why. It’s hard to predict in advance whether a meeting will be productive.

Arguing past each other

Consider the "strawman" logical fallacy (wonderfully illustrated in video here):

  1. Person A presents her argument (call it A).
  2. Person B voices his disagreement with argument S (an exaggerated or incorrect version of A).

The similarity between Christianity and Feminism

I'm a Christian and a feminist. Membership in both groups is a key part of my identity. If you talk to someone with a simplistic understanding of these groups, though, they might be surprised that it's possible to be a member of both groups!

The problem is that we aren't very good at differentiating subgroups that happen to share the same label. We lump Catholics, Pentecostals, and Unitarians into one group called "Christians". We even lump Canadian Christians and American Christians into one group!

Metamaps.cc now has import and export!

It's taken a long time to get from planning to reality, but https://metamaps.cc now has a working import/export feature!

If you aren't familiar with Metamaps, and/or would like an invite code, feel free to reach me on Twitter.

Now, how can you get your grubby paws on some mind map data?

The most important link on Wikipedia

People should cite Wikipedia when they use it for information.

People are afraid of citing Wikipedia because their professors in university or high school said it "wasn't academic". Then they went on to talk about academic dishonesty and plagiarism, probably in the same breath.

The problems with capitalism

I have a surprising number of friends who want to do away with capitalism entirely. The hope is to create a new economic order, with the aim of achieving some or all of these goals (among others):

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