being reasonable

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.

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.

Pink salt is not especially good for you

This one makes me happy. Pink sea salt is no better or worse than regular salt. https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/pass-the-salt-but-not-that-pink-himalay...

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!

Climate Change and Malthusianism

"Malthusianism is a school of ideas derived from the political/economic thought of the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus . . . which describes how unchecked population growth is exponential while the growth of the food supply was expected to be arithmetical. Malthus believed there were two types of "checks" that could then reduce the population, returning it to a more sustainable level.

In praise of the spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are amazing. They are arguably a Turing-complete programming language (only stretching the definition slightly). There are definitely as many spreadsheets as people in the world, and I'd even guess there are over a trillion actively used spreadsheets out there somewhere.

Ubuntu's lack of new features is exciting!

I've used Ubuntu on a daily basis since version 8.04 in 2008. I used to follow the new releases religiously, reading up on the new features and getting excited. I used to install beta versions, then moved to installing the version on the day it came out, then to waiting a month after release. Nowadays I use LTS releases only and I wait the extra month.

Moral outrage

I have a problem with moral outrage. 

On the one hand, I often believe in the causes people are outraged about. On the other, I get so sick of the way they treat the causes as God's own truth. Let's pick an example cause: people being angry because they want a higher minimum wage.

I think the best salespeople truly believe in what they're selling. So it's a good thing that people really believe that there should be a higher minimum wage. On the other hand, the argument that a higher minimum wage would lead to less jobs has its merits too.

Parkinson's Law

I just found out about "Parkinson's Law", which simply stated says that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". Students, take note! You could spend hours in the library procrastinating on Facebook and saying you don't have time to hang out with your friends, or you could hang out with your friends and then do the work on a deadline and get it done decisively.

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