The evils of the world are due to moral defects quite as much as to lack of intelligence. But the human race has not hitherto discovered any method of eradicating moral defects; preaching and exhortation only add hypocrisy to the previous list of vices. Intelligence, on the contrary, is easily improved by methods known to every competent educator. Therefore, until some method of teaching virtue has been discovered, progress will have to be sought by improvement of intelligence rather than of morals.
You finish a thing by starting it until it’s done
via How to Get Yourself to Do Things.
In “Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting”, the author argues that the liquidity brought by modern finance is not a good thing.
By enabling the consumer to instantaneously borrow against illiquid assets, financial innovation eliminates the possibility for partial commitment. This has two effects on the welfare of the current self. First, the current self no longer faces a self-imposed liquidity constraint and can therefore consume more in its period of control. Second, future selves are also no longer liquidity constrained and may also consume at a higher rate out of the wealth stock that they inherit. The first effect makes the current self better off. The second effect makes the current self worse off (since the current self would like to constrain the consumption of future selves).
Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting, David Laibson, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 112, No. 2, In Memory of Amos Tversky (1937-1996) (May, 1997) , pp. 443-477.
In Resolving to Create a New You Ruth Chang argues that in making choices between alternatives that are on par (have much the same value to us) we should favor the choice that we can most fully commit to.
Instead of being led by the nose by what we imagine to be facts of the world, we should instead recognize that sometimes the world is silent about what we should do. In those cases, we can create value for ourselves by committing to an option. By doing so, we not only create value for ourselves but we also (re)create ourselves.
The Creepy New Wave of the Internet by Sue Halpern | The New York Review of Books.
The Internet of Things Watching Us is coming. I can’t see the efficiency being worth the loss of privacy in most cases. But I carry a tracker (cell phone) around like most everyone else anyway, so I know this can sneak in eventually and seem OK.
I believe in learning for understanding, critical thinking, and inquiry-based learning. But even so, real fluency still requires some drill-and-kill.
The problem with focusing relentlessly on understanding is that math and science students can often grasp essentials of an important idea, but this understanding can quickly slip away without consolidation through practice and repetition. Worse, students often believe they understand something when, in fact, they don’t.
via How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math – Issue 17: Big Bangs – Nautilus.
Time after time, professors in mathematics and the sciences have told me that building well-ingrained chunks of expertise through practice and repetition was absolutely vital to their success. Understanding doesn’t build fluency; instead, fluency builds understanding. In fact, I believe that true understanding of a complex subject comes only from fluency.
I reorganized my self-hosted WordPress system to use git to manage the WordPress code and to move the content outside of the WordPress directory. That way I should be able to do a simple
git pull and
git checkout $newversion to update my WordPress. I’m also keeping my content directory under change management (separately) so that I can update plugins through the web and be able to roll back.
$HOME/blog/wordpress is a git clone of email@example.com:WordPress/WordPress.git. I make no local changes in this. In particular, all of wp-content is unchanged (I make it unwriteable by Apache to be sure).
$HOME/blog/content is a copy of the wp-content of my site (prior to moving it outside the wordpress code). It contains the usual: plugins, themes, uploads. It’s all writeable by Apache so that I can update plugins and themes through the web.
$HOME/blog/wp-config.php is the usual config file (WordPress looks in the parent directory for it). It’s standard except for two settings:
/etc/apache2/conf.d/wordpress.conf defines the VirtualHost for the wordpress site. It has an alias to support special location of the content. (It also has the mod_rewrite rules for permalinks so that I don’t need an .htaccess file in the wordpress code).
Alias /content /home/fred/blog/content
According to FirstRead,
the Iraq war’s effect on American politics can’t be understated, even 10 years later
So, according to that, anything that can be said is overstating the effect. One can’t state anything less about the effect.
Of course, they mean “should not be understated” rather than “can’t be understated”. But they could probably care less.
Google just announced that Reader will be unavailable as of July 1. Damn!
This makes me think that I should never rely on Google products for anything important. Docs, calendar, etc. Time to start looking for alternatives to each.