hellsten + thinking   13

Non cogito, ergo sum | 1843
How do you learn to unthink? Dylan believes the creative impulse needs protecting from self-analysis: “As you get older, you get smarter, and that can hinder you…You’ve got to programme your brain not to think too much.” Flann O’Brien said we should be “calculatedly stupid” in order to write. The only reliable cure for overthinking seems to be enjoyment, something that both success and analysis can dull. Experienced athletes and artists often complain that they have lost touch with what made the...
sports  psychology  thinking  decisions  happiness  life  lifehacks 
yesterday by hellsten
Thinking the Way Animals Do
As a person with autism, it is easy for me to understand how animals think because my thinking processes are like an animal's. Autism is a neurological disorder that some people are born with. Scientists who study autism believe that the disorder is caused by immature development of certain brain circuits, and over development of other brain circuits. Autism is a complex disorder that ranges in severity from a mild form (such as mine), to a very serious handicap where the child never learns to talk. The movie Rain Man depicts a man with a fairly severe form of the disorder.

I have no language-based thoughts at all. My thoughts are in pictures, like videotapes in my mind. When I recall something from my memory, I see only pictures. I used to think that everybody thought this way until I started talking to people on how they thought. I learned that there is a whole continuum of thinking styles, from totally visual thinkers like me, to the totally verbal thinkers. Artists, engineers, and good animal trainers are often highly visual thinkers, and accountants, bankers, and people who trade in the futures market tend to be highly verbal thinkers with few pictures in their minds.

Most people use a combination of both verbal and visual skills. Several years ago I devised a little test to find out what style of thinking people use: Access your memory on church steeples. Most people will see a picture in their mind of a generic "generalized" steeple. I only see specific steeples; there is no generalized one. Images of steeples flash through my mind like clicking quickly through a series of slides or pictures on a computer screen. On the other hand, highly verbal thinkers may "see" the words "church steeple," or will "see" just a simple stick-figure steeple.
autism  cognition  thinking  psychology 
november 2017 by hellsten
Streams: a new general purpose data structure in Redis | Hacker News
One thing I like about this post is the story of how the feature came to be: Someone who understood redis very well, thinking about the problem over literally years, eventually resulting in a more targetted and goal-driven thinking, and even that "specification remained just a specification for months, at the point that after some time I rewrote it almost from scratch in order to upgrade it with many hints that I accumulated talking with people about this upcoming addition to Redis."
I've been thinking about this sort of thing for a while, wanting to maybe call it "slow code" (like "slow food"). This is how actual quality software that will stand the test of time gets designed and made, _slowly_, _carefully_, _intentionally_, with thought and discussion and feedback and reconsideration. And always based on understanding the domain and the existing software you are building upon. Not jumping from problem to a PR to a merge. (And _usually_ by one person, sometimes a couple/several working together, _rarely_ by committee).
management  software-development  redis  hn  process  thinking 
october 2017 by hellsten
Feynman Algorithm
Then there is Friedrich Kekule's algorithm:
Write down the problem.
Think real hard.
Have a nap.
Dream the solution.

"For Richard, figuring out these problems was a kind of a game. He always started by asking very basic questions like, 'What is the simplest example?' or 'How can you tell if the answer is right?' He asked questions until he reduced the problem to some essential puzzle that he thought he would be able to solve. Then he would set to work, scribbling on a pad of paper and staring at the results. While he was in the middle of this kind of puzzle solving he was impossible to interrupt. 'Don't bug me. I'm busy,' he would say without even looking up. Eventually he would either decide the problem was too hard (in which case he lost interest), or he would find a solution (in which case he spent the next day or two explaining it to anyone who listened). In this way he worked on problems in database searches, geophysical modeling, protein folding, analyzing images, and reading insurance forms."


Then there is Friedrich Kekule's algorithm:
Write down the problem.
Think real hard.
Have a nap.
Dream the solution.
feynman  thinking  best  algorithm 
april 2017 by hellsten
presentations/optimism.md at master · raganwald/presentations · GitHub
^ You train yourself to make a note of your explanations, every day. Repetition and consistency matters: You have to do it every day.

^ You analyze whether your explanations for good things are personal, general, and permanent. You analyze whether your explanations for bad things are impersonal, specific, and temporary.

^ And then you correct your explanations to make them optimistic. Every time. And you track your progress, just as you would track your progress for anything else you are trying to change in your life.

^ Seligman's research shows that you can change the way you explain things, and the research also shows that the change makes you happier and more productive.

---------

Pessimists

^ The moment this was revealed to me I could guess what came next. I was a pessimist.

^ According to me, all the bad things in my life were everywhere, they followed me around because they were about me, and they lasted forever, while the good things were all about other people, and they only came into my life for short moments.

^ Dr. Seligman had discovered something important: Pessimists had a particular kind of asymmetry in the way they explained good and bad things in their lives.

Optimists

^ And Dr. Seligman also discovered that optimists are cheerfully inconsistent, they have the mirror image asymmetry.

^ Like pessimists, optimists do not always explain the world the same way. But to an optimist, someone not liking a piece of code is simply one person (impersonal, specific) not liking that one thing (specific again), for their own reasons (impersonal), and it was just a few words in the middle of a long day (extremely temporary).

^ And to the optimist, they're a good athlete (personal, general) and have been all their life (permanent). That one goal was just another scene in their long-playing movie of game highlights.

^ Optimists explain good things as being personal, general, and permanent, and explain away bad things as being impersonal, specific, and temporary. And if you point out the contradiction in their explanations, they see no contradiction. To them, the bad stuff really isn't about them, it's just that one thing that one time.
optimism  pessimism  thinking  cbt 
august 2016 by hellsten
Welcome to the Tricki | Tricki
a repository of mathematical know-how

Techniques for finding algorithms and algorithmic proofs

Techniques for approximating one thing by another

Techniques for classifying mathematical structures

Techniques for comparing sets and mathematical structures

Techniques for counting

Techniques for solving equations

Techniques for obtaining estimates

Techniques for proving existence

Techniques for producing explicit examples

Techniques for proving equalities and identities

Techniques for proving impossibility and nonexistence

Techniques for proving inequalities

Techniques for maximizing and minimizing

Techniques for proving "for all" statements
math  mathematics  toread  wiki  best  matematik  algorithm  thinking 
july 2015 by hellsten
A Guide for the Perplexed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Two types of problem[edit]
Schumacher argues that there are two types of problems in the world:
convergent
divergent
For him, discerning whether a problem is convergent or divergent is one of the arts of living.
Convergent problems are ones in which attempted solutions gradually converge on one solution or answer. An example of this has been the development of the bicycle. Early attempts at developing man-powered vehicles included three- and four-wheelers and involved wheels of different sizes. Modern bicycles look much the same nowadays.
Divergent problems are ones which do not converge on a single solution. A classic example he provides is that of education. Is discipline or freedom the best way to teach? Education researchers have debated this issue for thousand of years without converging on a solution.
He summarises by saying that convergent problems are those that are concerned with the non-living universe. While divergent problems are concerned with the universe of the living, and so there is always a degree of inner experience and freedom to contend with. According to Schumacher, the only solution to divergent problems is to transcend them, arguing that in education, for instance, that the real solution involves love or caring; love and discipline work effectively, but so does love and freedom.
See also: Convergent and divergent production

He says that the tasks of an individual can be summed up as follows:
Learn from society and tradition.
Interiorize this knowledge, learn to think for yourself and become self-directed.
Grow beyond the narrow concerns of the ego.
Man, he says, in the larger sense must learn again to subordinate the sciences of manipulation to the sciences of wisdom; a theme he further develops in his book Small is Beautiful.
problem  thinking  convergent  philosophy  ethics  life 
january 2015 by hellsten
The Third Alternative - Less Wrong
To do better, ask yourself straight out:  If I saw that there was a superior alternative to my current policy, would I be glad in the depths of my heart, or would I feel a tiny flash of reluctance before I let go?  If the answers are "no" and "yes", beware that you may not have searched for a Third Alternative.

Which leads into another good question to ask yourself straight out:  Did I spend five minutes with my eyes closed, brainstorming wild and creative options, trying to think of a better alternative?  It has to be five minutes by the clock, because otherwise you blink—close your eyes and open them again—and say, "Why, yes, I searched for alternatives, but there weren't any."  Blinking makes a good black hole down which to dump your duties.  An actual, physical clock is recommended.
life  thinking  philosophy  less-wrong  problem-solving 
august 2014 by hellsten
The Substitution Principle - Less Wrong
Here are some other examples of substitution that Kahneman gives:

How much would you contribute to save an endangered species? becomes How much emotion do I feel when I think of dying dolphins?
How happy are you with your life these days? becomes What is my mood right now?
How popular will the president be six months from now? becomes How popular is the president right now?
How should financial advisors who prey on the elderly be punished? becomes How much anger do I feel when I think of financial predators?
fallacies  thinking 
november 2012 by hellsten
The American Scholar: Solitude and Leadership - William Deresiewicz
I submit to you that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership. Introspection means talking to yourself, and one of the best ways of talking to yourself is by talking to another person. things have changed since I went to college in the ’80s. Everything has gotten much more intense. You have to do much more now to get into a top school like Yale or West Point, and you have to start a lot earlier Note the adjectives: commonplace, ordinary, usual, common. There is nothing distinguished about this person. About the 10th time I read that passage, I realized it was a perfect description of the kind of person who tends to prosper in the bureaucratic environment. the head of my department had no genius for organizing or initiative or even order, no particular learning or intelligence, no distinguishing characteristics at all. Just the ability to keep the routine going, and beyond that, as Marlow says, her position had come to her—why? he has the confidence, the courage, to argue for his ideas even when they aren’t popular. Even when they don’t please his superiors Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it. T. S. Eliot, one of the greatest poets our country has ever produced, wrote about 150 pages of poetry over the course of his entire 25-year career. That’s half a page a month. So it is with any other form of thought. You do your best thinking by slowing down and concentrating.
leadership  inspiration  army  war  business  best  startup  bureaucracy  thinking  learning  management 
august 2012 by hellsten
Model Thinking
We live in a complex world with diverse people, firms, and governments whose behaviors aggregate to produce novel, unexpected phenomena. We see political uprisings, market crashes, and a never ending array of social trends. How do we make sense of it?

Models. Evidence shows that people who think with models consistently outperform those who don't. And, moreover people who think with lots of models outperform people who use only one.
thinking  productivity 
february 2012 by hellsten
Fallacy of composition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole (or even of every proper part). For example: "This fragment of metal cannot be broken with a hammer, therefore the machine of which it is a part cannot be broken with a hammer." This is clearly fallacious, because many machines can be broken into their constituent parts without any of those parts being breakable.
logic  fallacy  thinking  behavior 
january 2011 by hellsten

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