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blog series on Category Theory - https://wlou.blog/2019/06/18/a-brief-introduction-to-categories-part-1/


https://oddmuse.org/wiki/Creole_Markup_Extension

set? --> "$CreoleTableCellsAllowBlockLevelElements"

to allow lists in table cells etc.!

see also https://oddmuse.org/wiki/Creole_to_Markdown for discussion of Markdown ...



God-hammer, strike the anvil thundercloud, shatter this world ...

-- z 2020-09-13 23:12 UTC


Causal Loop Modeling ideas

look into CARDS THAT HAVE EDGE MATCHES to build Causal Loop Diagrams?! (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_tile and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpentiles and http://www.gamepuzzles.com/moredge.htm and http://www.gamepuzzles.com/edgemtch.htm perhaps)

simulate a LOOPY model by sliding pennies along edges? -- see https://perl.plover.com/Regex/article.html for doing that to simulate Regular Expression parsing and pattern recognition!

'Systems Thinking: The Cards'
DDI cube-mnemonics (3D printed) badge lanyard toys - 'Define - Develop - Implement'
DIY make your own paper cubes to explore dimensions via "box" facets

... hmmmm, maybe HEXAGONAL brick-like grid, with HOLES? ..


Relevance-Ranker_0.03

#!/usr/bin/perl
use strict;
use warnings;

# experiment in reading a CSV file and relevance-ranking its lines against a regex
# ^z - 2020-09-26
#
# usage:
#   perl relevance-rank.pl pattern <current.csv >new.csv
#
# what it does (maybe!):
#   loads regex "pattern", reads current.csv, and outputs new.csv
#      appends ",pattern" to the first line
#      and appends ",count" to the remaining lines
#        where "count" is how many times "pattern" occurs in that linea
#
# possible issues:
#   chars in "pattern" that need escaping in a *.csv?

my $pat = $ARGV[0];
my $count;
my $line = <STDIN>; # process first line
$line =~ s/\R//; # remove any trailing newlines
print "$line,$pat";
while (<STDIN>) {
  s/\R//;
  $count = 0;
  $_ =~ s/($pat)/$count++;$1/eg; #count occurrences of $pat and restore
  print "$_,$count";  # put the count at the end of every *.csv line
}

-- z 2020-09-26 21:57 UTC


"Real Endurance" site - ^z results http://realendurance.com/search.php?all=0&q=Mark%20Zimmermann

59 results found since 2004. 53 UltraRunnings.

  1. Distance PR Age Year PR at Event
    2 100m 27:53:08 64 2017 C&O Canal 100
    1 100k 19:27:45 65 2017 Devil Dog Ultras
    18 50m 10:04:19 62 2014 Stone Mill 50
    28 50k 06:50:12 56 2009 Seneca Creek Trail
#Distance PR Age Year PR at Event
2100m 27:53:08642017C&O Canal 100
1100k 19:27:45652017Devil Dog Ultras
1850m 10:04:19622014Stone Mill 50
2850k 06:50:12562009Seneca Creek Trail

-- z 2020-10-07 10:56 UTC


from "Your Brain Is Not for Thinking" by Lisa Feldman Barrett:

Your brain’s most important job isn’t thinking; it’s running the systems of your body to keep you alive and well. According to recent findings in neuroscience, even when your brain does produce conscious thoughts and feelings, they are more in service to the needs of managing your body than you realize.

and

Your brain runs your body using something like a budget. A financial budget tracks money as it’s earned and spent. The budget for your body tracks resources like water, salt and glucose as you gain and lose them. Each action that spends resources, such as standing up, running, and learning, is like a withdrawal from your account. Actions that replenish your resources, such as eating and sleeping, are like deposits.

and

We’re all living in challenging times, and we’re all at high risk for disrupted body budgets. If you feel weary from the pandemic and you’re battling a lack of motivation, consider your situation from a body-budgeting perspective. Your burden may feel lighter if you understand your discomfort as something physical. When an unpleasant thought pops into your head, like “I can’t take this craziness anymore,” ask yourself body-budgeting questions. “Did I get enough sleep last night? Am I dehydrated? Should I take a walk? Call a friend? Because I could use a deposit or two in my body budget.”

This is not a semantic game. It’s about making new meaning from your physical sensations to guide your actions.

-- z 2020-11-24 10:57 UTC


Sol LeWitt Advice


[1]

Monday, January 16, 2012
The Way It Is, by William Stafford
Hello Poets,
William Stafford’s journey with words began most mornings before sunrise. This simple poem was written 26 days before he passed. The day before he wrote “Haycutters” and four days later on August 6, 1993 he wrote “November” in honor of Hiroshima Day.
One of his students, the poet Naomi Shihab Nye, wrote, “In our time there has been no poet who revived human hearts and spirits more convincingly than William Stafford. There has been no one who gave more courage to a journey with words, and silence, and an awakened life.”

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

By William Stafford, from The Way It Is, 1998

-- z 2020-11-30 11:24 UTC



[2] "Should NeverTrump Conservatives Form A New Party?"

In the wake of Trump’s electoral defeat and political survival, principled Republicans must offer their own vision for America.

By Evan McMullin

It should start with unyielding commitment to the equality and liberty of all, and then to facts, reason and knowledge. It should champion democracy and its improvement and cherish life in all its phases. It should promote personal responsibility, limited government and government’s vital role for the common good. It should advance for justice to all, and uphold the personal and religious freedom of a diverse people. It should expand economic opportunity, rejecting cronyism and protectionism, while defending innovators and workers from theft and predatory practices abroad. It should recognize immigration as a vital national asset and universal access to quality health care, public and private, a national obligation. It should imagine new methods of learning and work. It should be decent, ethical and loyal to the Constitution.

-- z 2020-12-15 11:37 UTC


[3]
"The 10 most important things I’ve learned about trust over my 100 years" - By George P. Shultz
December 11, 2020

beginning:

"... Trust is the coin of the realm. When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details. ..."

and concluding:

"... Trust is fundamental, reciprocal and, ideally, pervasive. If it is present, anything is possible. If it is absent, nothing is possible. The best leaders trust their followers with the truth, and you know what happens as a result? Their followers trust them back. With that bond, they can do big, hard things together, changing the world for the better."


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/28/science/math-conway-game-of-life.html

Melanie Mitchell
— Professor of complexity, Santa Fe Institute

Given that Conway’s proof that the Game of Life can be made to simulate a Universal Computer — that is, it could be “programmed” to carry out any computation that a traditional computer can do — the extremely simple rules can give rise to the most complex and most unpredictable behavior possible. This means that there are certain properties of the Game of Life that can never be predicted, even in principle!

In this moment in time, it’s important to emphasize that inherent unpredictability — so well illustrated in even the simple Game of Life — is a feature of life in the real world as well as in the Game of Life. We have to figure out ways to flourish in spite of the inherent unpredictability and uncertainty we constantly live with. As the mathematician John Allen Paulos so eloquently said, “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” This is, I think, Life’s most important lesson.

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.

-- z 2020-12-29 01:16 UTC


https://thrive.kaiserpermanente.org/thrive-together/live-well/scandinavian-wellness-secrets

1. Fika paus
The Swedish term fika paus roughly translates to “coffee break.” But there’s more to it than just grabbing a cup of joe and rushing back to work. A fika paus is more like a social ritual, giving you time to rest and reset. It consists of coffee, typically accompanied by a sweet treat, and is meant to be enjoyed with others and away from work. In Sweden, fika paus is so important that work is often scheduled around these breaks — and not the other way around.

How it helps: Prioritizing time for breaks and socializing each day can help with work-life balance, which may reduce stress.

2. Friluftsliv
Spending time in nature is a practice that takes many forms in many cultures around the world. In Japan, it’s known as shinrin yoku, or forest bathing. In Norway, it’s known as friluftsliv, or open-air living. But while forest bathing encourages you to spend time immersed in nature for a few minutes each day, friluftsliv is more indulgent. Rain or shine, it’s a commitment to getting the most out of those outdoor moments — whether it’s long camping trips through the mountains or leisurely strolls on the beach with friends.

How it helps: Time spent outside — even if it’s just at an urban park — can have a positive impact on our sense of well-being.

3. Gokotta
The Swedish idea of gokotta takes friluftsliv one step further. It’s the act of waking up early in the morning to go outside and listen to the birds sing.

How it helps: On its own, waking up early can make you more proactive — meaning you’re more likely to get things done. But with gokotta, you’re also spending quality time in nature. So, from the moment you wake up, you’re boosting productivity and your sense of well-being.

4. Hygge
The long, dark hours of winter can take their toll. But instead of dreading the winter months, the Danish concept of hygge encourages you to embrace them. Hygge is about celebrating coziness and turning it into a type of self-care. Lighting candles, sipping your favorite tea, putting on a pair of fuzzy socks — these acts are hygge in practice. And the key to this practice is to find the joy in feeling warm and fuzzy, inside and out.

How it helps: Focusing on the positives in life — like getting cozy when it’s dark and snowy — can increase your overall sense of well-being.

5. Lagom
Balance is essential to living a healthy life. Roughly translating to “just the right amount,” the Swedish and Norwegian concept of lagom is about making it a priority to always find balance in every part of life.

How it helps: Many things can be harmful to your health if not done in moderation — from overeating to not moving enough throughout the day to working long hours without breaks. This is why the concept of lagom is important. Finding the right balance can help you avoid damaging your health.

Bottom line
Happiness isn’t a location — it’s a state of mind. By putting these Scandinavian philosophies into practice, you may find yourself feeling happier over time and living a more fulfilling everyday life.

-- z 2020-12-29 14:14 UTC


[[Seven_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_Systems_Thinkers?]]

rules from [4] pps 4-5 of [5]

THE BRIDGE - vol. 50 no. 4, Winter 2020 -

1. Specialize less, systematize more. Working across divi­sions and abstractions can inform and guide better concepts, principles, models, methods, and tools. On matters of complexity, engineers need to confront the true value of various specializations, how far they can take us, and how they are rewarded.

2. Get over physics envy, try ecology envy. Less Newton, more Darwin. Engineering achievements and ruins both hinge on reductionism fueled largely by physics. It’s time to refocus on deep lessons from nature and culture and all their evolutions.

3. Evolve logic and psychologic. Engineering training and algorithms encourage context blindness. Being sensi­tive to environments will require exercising intellec­tual senses as well as prudent forms of engineering.

4. Foster discipline over disciplines. Complex systems can change faster than the mind can conceive them, and “solutions” can trigger undesirable outcomes. Staying attentive to failure modes requires discipline.

5. Relate first, rationalize next. Complexity builds from relationships. Relating to one another is a civic act and engineering should be too. Rationality works only part time—and it’s often hard to tell which part.

6. Progress comes from participation. Engineers often feel conflicted about being “hired guns” or “order takers.” Active reflection becomes a challenge. Broadening participation across populations may alleviate this discomfort. If there are no sacrifices, one might say, there’s no engineering. Similarly, if there’s no public participation, there’s no progress.

7. Focus more on care than creation. Capitalism is fueled by newness and novelty, or so the belief goes. But maintenance and care are sources of essential wisdom and traditions. Vital systems that support people need more care than reckless new creations.

-- z 2020-12-29 20:45 UTC


Life Lessons from an Ad Man


https://www.multpl.com/shiller-pe

a very revealing chart ... suggesting that

Current Shiller PE Ratio: 34.19 +0.22 (0.64%)
4:00 PM EST, Thu Dec 31
Mean: 16.77
Median: 15.81
Min: 4.78 (Dec 1920)
Max: 44.19 (Dec 1999)

Shiller PE ratio for the S&P 500.

Price earnings ratio is based on average inflation-adjusted earnings from the previous 10 years, known as the Cyclically Adjusted PE Ratio (CAPE Ratio), Shiller PE Ratio, or PE 10 — FAQ.

Data courtesy of Robert Shiller from his book, Irrational Exuberance.

-- z 2021-01-01 11:39 UTC


Patriotism


FACTFULNESS by Hans Rosling

see [6] & [7] & [8] ...

The Gap Instinct
The Negativity Instinct
The Straight Line Instinct
The Fear Instinct
The Size Instinct
The Generalization Instinct
The Destiny Instinct
The Single Perspective Instinct
The Blame Instinct
The Urgency Instinct

chap 1 - The Gap Instinct

Look for the Majority

Factfulness is . . . recognizing when a story talks about a gap, and remembering that this paints a picture of two separate groups, with a gap in between. The reality is often not polarized at all. Usually the majority is right there in the middle, where the gap is supposed to be.

To control the gap instinct, look for the majority.

• Beware comparisons of averages. If you could check the spreads you would probably find they overlap. There is probably no gap at all.

• Beware comparisons of extremes. In all groups, of countries or people, there are some at the top and some at the bottom. The difference is sometimes extremely unfair. But even then the majority is usually somewhere in between, right where the gap is supposed to be.

• The view from up here. Remember, looking down from above distorts the view. Everything else looks equally short, but it’s not.

Chap 2 - The Negativity Instinct

Expect bad news

Factfulness is . . . recognizing when we get negative news, and remembering that information about bad events is much more likely to reach us. When things are getting better we often don’t hear about them. This gives us a systematically too-negative impression of the world around us, which is very stressful.

To control the negativity instinct, expect bad news.

• Better and bad. Practice distinguishing between a level (e.g., bad) and a direction of change (e.g., better). Convince yourself that things can be both better and bad.

• Good news is not news. Good news is almost never reported. So news is almost always bad. When you see bad news, ask whether equally positive news would have reached you.

• Gradual improvement is not news. When a trend is gradually improving, with periodic dips, you are more likely to notice the dips than the overall improvement.

• More news does not equal more suffering. More bad news is sometimes due to better surveillance of suffering, not a worsening world.

• Beware of rosy pasts. People often glorify their early experiences, and nations often glorify their histories.

Chap 3 - The Straight Line Instinct

Lines might bend

Factfulness is . . . recognizing the assumption that a line will just continue straight, and remembering that such lines are rare in reality.

To control the straight line instinct, remember that curves come in different shapes.

• Don’t assume straight lines. Many trends do not follow straight lines but are S-bends, slides, humps, or doubling lines. No child ever kept up the rate of growth it achieved in its first six months, and no parents would expect it to.

Chap 4 - The Fear Instinct

Calculate the risks

Factfulness is . . . recognizing when frightening things get our attention, and remembering that these are not necessarily the most risky. Our natural fears of violence, captivity, and contamination make us systematically overestimate these risks.

To control the fear instinct, calculate the risks.

• The scary world: fear vs. reality. The world seems scarier than it is because what you hear about it has been selectedby your own attention filter or by the media—precisely because it is scary.

• Risk = danger × exposure. The risk something poses to you depends not on how scared it makes you feel, but on a combination of two things. How dangerous is it? And how much are you exposed to it?

• Get calm before you carry on. When you are afraid, you see the world differently. Make as few decisions as possible until the panic has subsided.

Chapt 5 - The Size Instinct

Get things in proportion

Factfulness is . . . recognizing when a lonely number seems impressive (small or large), and remembering that you could get the opposite impression if it were compared with or divided by some other relevant number.

To control the size instinct, get things in proportion.

• Compare. Big numbers always look big. Single numbers on their own are misleading and should make you suspicious. Always look for comparisons. Ideally, divide by something.

• 80/20. Have you been given a long list? Look for the few largest items and deal with those first. They are quite likely more important than all the others put together.

• Divide. Amounts and rates can tell very di fferent stories. Rates are more meaningful, especially when comparing between different-sized groups. In particular, look for rates per person when comparing between countries or regions.

Chap 6 - The Generalization Instinct

Question your categories

Factfulness is . . . recognizing when a category is being used in an explanation, and remembering that categories can be misleading. We can’t stop generalization and we shouldn’t even try. What we should try to do is to avoid generalizing incorrectly.

To control the generalization instinct, question your categories.

• Look for differences within groups. Especially when the groups are large, look for ways to split them into smaller, more precise categories. And . . .

• Look for similarities across groups. If you find striking similarities between different groups, consider whether your categories are relevant. But also . . .

• Look for differences across groups. Do not assume that what applies for one group (e.g., you and other people living on Level 4 or unconscious soldiers) applies for another (e.g., people not living on Level 4 or sleeping babies).

• Beware of “the majority.” The majority just means more than half. Ask whether it means 51 percent, 99 percent, or something in between.

• Beware of vivid examples. Vivid images are easier to recall but they might be the exception rather than the rule.

• Assume people are not idiots. When something looks strange, be curious and humble, and think, In what way is this a smart solution?

Chap 7 - The Destiny Instinct

Observe slow changes

Factfulness is . . . recognizing that many things (including people, countries, religions, and cultures) appear to be constant just because the change is happening slowly, and remembering that even small, slow changes gradually add up to big changes.

To control the destiny instinct, remember slow change is still change.

• Keep track of gradual improvements. A small change every year can translate to a huge change over decades.

• Update your knowledge. Some knowledge goes out of date quickly. Technology, countries, societies, cultures, and religions are constantly changing.

• Talk to Grandpa. If you want to be reminded of how values have changed, think about your grandparents’ values and how they differ from yours.

• Collect examples of cultural change. Challenge the idea that today’s culture must also have been yesterday’s, and will also be tomorrow’s.

Chap 8 - The Single Perspective Instinct

Get a tool box

Factfulness is . . . recognizing that a single perspective can limit your imagination, and remembering that it is better to look at problems from many angles to get a more accurate understanding and find practical solutions.

To control the single perspective instinct, get a toolbox, not a hammer.

• Test your ideas. Don’t collect only examples that show how excellent your favorite ideas are. Have people who disagree with you test your ideas and find their weaknesses.

• Limited expertise. Don’t claim expertise beyond your field: be humble about what you don’t know. Be aware too of the limits of the expertise of others.

• Hammers and nails. If you are good with a tool, you may want to use it too often. If you have analyzed a problem in depth, you can end up exaggerating the importance of that problem or of your solution. Remember that no one tool is good for everything. If your favorite idea is a hammer, look for colleagues with screwdrivers, wrenches, and tape measures. Be open to ideas from other fields. Numbers, but not only numbers. The world cannot be understood without numbers, and it cannot be understood with numbers alone. Love numbers for what they tell you about real lives.

• Beware of simple ideas and simple solutions. History is full of visionaries who used simple utopian visions to justify terrible actions. Welcome complexity. Combine ideas. Compromise. Solve problems on a case-by-case basis.

Chap 9 - The Blame Instinct

Resist pointing your finger

Factfulness is . . . recognizing when a scapegoat is being used and remembering that blaming an individual often steals the focus from other possible explanations and blocks our ability to prevent similar problems in the future.

To control the blame instinct, resist finding a scapegoat.

• Look for causes, not villains. When something goes wrong don’t look for an individual or a group to blame. Accept that bad things can happen without anyone intending them to. Instead spend your energy on understanding the multiple interacting causes, or system, that created the situation.

• Look for systems, not heroes. When someone claims to have caused something good, ask whether the outcome might have happened anyway, even if that individual had done nothing. Give the system some credit.

Chap 10 - The Urgency Instinct

Take small steps

Factfulness is . . . recognizing when a decision feels urgent and remembering that it rarely is.

To control the urgency instinct, take small steps.

• Take a breath. When your urgency instinct is triggered, your other instincts kick in and your analysis shuts down. Ask for more time and more information. It’s rarely now or never and it’s rarely either/or.

• Insist on the data. If something is urgent and important, it should be measured. Beware of data that is relevant but inaccurate, or accurate but irrelevant. Only relevant and accurate data is useful.

• Beware of fortune-tellers. Any prediction about the future is uncertain. Be wary of predictions that fail to acknowledge that. Insist on a full range of scenarios, never just the best or worst case. Ask how often such predictions have been right before.

• Be wary of drastic action. Ask what the side effects will be. Ask how the idea has been tested. Step-by-step practical improvements, and evaluation of their impact, are less dramatic but usually more effective.


((but FACTFULNESS should use semi-log charts!!)

-- z 2021-01-12 01:30 UTC


from [9] = "The joys of being an absolute beginner – for life" by Tom Vanderbilt - edited & excerpted from his book Beginners: The Curious Power of Lifelong Learning, re "... why should I bother learning a bunch of things that aren’t relevant to my career? Why dabble in mere hobbies when I’m scrambling to keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing workplace?":

First, I might suggest that it’s not at all clear that learning something like singing or drawing actually won’t help you in your job – even if it’s not immediately obvious how.

Learning has been proposed as an effective response to stress in one’s job. By enlarging one’s sense of self, and perhaps equipping us with new capabilities, learning becomes a “stress buffer”.

Claude Shannon, the brilliant MIT polymath who helped invent the digital world in which we live today, plunged into all kinds of pursuits, from juggling to poetry to designing the first wearable computer. “Time and time again,” noted his biographer, “he pursued projects that might have caused others embarrassment, engaged questions that seemed trivial or minor, then managed to wring breakthroughs out of them.”

Regularly stepping out of our comfort zones, at this historical moment, just feels like life practice. The fast pace of technological change turns us all, in a sense, into “perpetual novices”, always on the upward slope of learning, our knowledge constantly requiring upgrades, like our phones. Few of us can channel our undivided attention into a lifelong craft. Even if we keep the same job, the required skills change. The more willing we are to be brave beginners, the better. As Ravi Kumar, president of the IT giant Infosys, described it: “You have to learn to learn, learn to unlearn, and learn to re-learn.”

Second, it’s just good for you. I don’t mean only the things themselves – the singing or the drawing or the surfing – are good for you (although they are, in ways I’ll return to). I mean that skill learning itself is good for you.

It scarcely matters what it is – tying nautical knots or throwing pottery. Learning something new and challenging, particularly with a group, has proven benefits for the “novelty-seeking machine” that is the brain. Because novelty itself seems to trigger learning, learning various new things at once might be even better. A study that had adults aged 58 to 86 simultaneously take multiple classes – ranging from Spanish to music composition to painting – found that after just a few months, the learners had improved not only at Spanish or painting, but on a battery of cognitive tests. They’d rolled back the odometers in their brains by some 30 years, doing better on the tests than a control group who took no classes.

They’d changed in other ways, too: they felt more confident, they were pleasantly surprised by their work, and they kept getting together after the study ended.

Skill learning seems to be additive; it’s not only about the skill. A study that looked at young children who had taken swimming lessons found benefits beyond swimming. The swimmers were better at a number of other physical tests, such as grasping or hand-eye coordination, than non-swimmers. They also did better on reading and mathematical reasoning tests than non-swimmers, even accounting for factors such as socio-economic status.

Many of these studies or recommendations are oriented toward children. Chess, for example, is held up as a way to improve children’s focus and concentration, to strengthen their problem-solving skills, to bolster their creative thinking. But I’ve become convinced that whenever something is touted as being good for children, it’s even better for adults, in part because we assume we no longer need all those benefits an activity is said to provide.

And yet what better remedy for the widespread affliction of “smartphone addiction” than two hours of burning your eyes and brain into 64 squares on a board, trying to analyse an almost infinite variety of moves and countermoves?

Learning new skills also changes the way you think, or the way you see the world. Learning to sing changes the way you listen to music, while learning to draw is a striking tutorial on the human visual system. Learning to weld is a crash course in physics and metallurgy. You learn to surf and suddenly you find yourself interested in tide tables and storm systems and the hydrodynamics of waves. Your world got bigger because you did.

Last, if humans seem to crave novelty, and novelty helps us learn, one thing that learning does is equip us with how to better handle future novelty. “More than any other animal, we human beings depend on our ability to learn,” the psychologist Alison Gopnik has observed. “Our large brain and powerful learning abilities evolved, most of all, to deal with change.” We’re always flipping between small moments of incompetence and mastery. Sometimes, we cautiously try to work out how we’re going to do something new.

Sometimes, we read a book or look for an instructional video. Sometimes, we just have to plunge in.

-- z 2021-01-16 20:53 UTC


from "Starting Fresh" [10] "BOOKS JANUARY 18, 2021 ISSUE
STARTING FRESH

The value of learning to do things you’ll never do well.

By Margaret Talbot

A recent study that looked at the experiences of adults over fifty-five who learned three new skills at once—for example, Spanish, drawing, and music composition—found that they not only acquired proficiency in these areas but improved their cognitive functioning over all, including working and episodic memory. In a 2017 paper, Rachel Wu, a neuroscientist at U.C. Riverside, and her co-authors, George W. Rebok and Feng Vankee Lin, propose six factors that they think are needed to sustain cognitive development, factors that tend to be less present in people’s lives as they enter young adulthood and certainly as they grow old. These include what the Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck calls a “growth mindset,” the belief that abilities are not fixed but can improve with effort; a commitment to serious rather than “hobby learning” (in which “the learner casually picks up skills for a short period and then quits due to difficulty, disinterest, or other time commitments”); a forgiving environment that promotes what Dweck calls a “not yet” rather than a “cannot” approach; and a habit of learning multiple skills simultaneously, which may help by encouraging the application of capacities acquired in one domain to another. What these elements have in common, Wu and her co-authors point out, is that they tend to replicate how children learn.

So eager have I been all my life to leave behind the subjects I was bad at and hunker down with the ones I was good at—a balm in many ways—that, until reading these books, I’d sort of forgotten the youthful pleasure of moving our little tokens ahead on a bunch of winding pathways of aptitude, lagging behind here, surging ahead there. I’d been out of touch with that sense of life as something that might encompass multiple possibilities for skill and artistry. But now I’ve been thinking about taking up singing in a serious way again, learning some of the jazz standards my mom, a professional singer, used to croon to me at bedtime. If learning like a child sounds a little airy-fairy, whatever the neuroscience research says, try recalling what it felt like to learn how to do something new when you didn’t really care what your performance of it said about your place in the world, when you didn’t know what you didn’t know. It might feel like a whole new beginning.

-- z 2021-01-16 21:15 UTC


[11] "A Novel Theoretical Life Course Framework for Triggering Cognitive Development across the Lifespan" - by Rachel Wu, George W. Rebok, Feng Vankee Lin - Bloomberg School of Public Health - Human Development 2016;59:342-365 = Human Development Volume 59, Issue 6, 1 April 2017, Pages 342-365

Abstract

Although intellectual engagement is a significant factor associated with adult cognitive health, it is unclear what it includes, why and how it declines across the lifespan, and importantly, whether its decline has a causal role in cognitive aging. This integrative review introduces a novel theoretical life course framework that synthesizes research on early childhood experiences and cognitive aging to address the following three points. First, we specify six critical factors of intellectual engagement for long-term, broad cognitive development: (a) open-minded input-driven learning, (b) individualized scaffolding, (c) growth mindset, (d) forgiving environment, (e) serious commitment to learning, and (f) learning multiple skills simultaneously. We show that these factors increase basic cognitive abilities (e.g., working memory, inhibition) and promote far transfer. Second, we trace the decline of the six factors from infancy to aging adulthood (broad learning to specialization). Finally, we propose that these six factors can be applied to expand cognitive functioning in aging adults beyond currently known limits.

-- z 2021-01-16 23:12 UTC


https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/everything-is-broken by Alana Newhouse -- conservative and arguable in many ways, and important in pointing to "flatness" and "frictionlessness" -- and outsourcing and gig-economy and AI-arbitrage among markets and "... more efficiency and more speed and more boundarylessness ..."

Systems Thinking: if one reduces friction and makes things flatter, one may activate new unstable and undesirable modes ...

-- z 2021-01-20 12:05 UTC


Comfy Jeans


[12] and [13]

-- z 2021-01-25 13:54 UTC


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/19/opinion/trump-presidency.html - BLUF:
… I’ve got good news. We can recover, provided that we all — politicians, media, activists — focus on doing what Trump never could: surprising each other on the upside.
Upside surprises are a hugely underrated force in politics and diplomacy. They are what break bonds of pessimism and push out the boundaries of what we think possible. They remind us that the future is not our fate, but a choice — to let the past bury the future or the future bury the past.

-- z 2021-01-25 13:56 UTC


"remember the Alamo" -- pic of ^z in front of it in San Antonio?! ;)

-- z 2021-01-25 13:59 UTC


https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2480278/day-one-message-to-the-force-from-secretary-of-defense-lloyd-j-austin-iii/

... None of us succeeds at this business alone. Defending the country requires teamwork and cooperation. It requires a certain humility, a willingness to learn, and absolute respect for one another. I know you share my devotion to these qualities. ...

-- z 2021-01-25 14:07 UTC


When i met my muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off--they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.

William Stafford
Monday, January 13, 2003

-- z 2021-01-26 02:27 UTC


[[Late_on_the_Sixth_Day?]]

Late on the Sixth Day new ideas
        for creatures ran a little dry,
and when someone said "Panda Ants"
        the First's reaction was, "Let's try!"
Soon fuzzy myrmidons of black
        and white began to crawl the floor.
"That's Good!" said the All-Mother, and
        with that she opened wide the door
to Orca Hawks and Penguin Pigs,
        Scorpion Hamsters, Aardvark Frogs,
Koala Cobras, Beetle Squirrels,
        wee Titmouse Mice, huge Slime Mold Dogs.

But after crafting countless more
        chimeras, Nature had to ask
what was the point of portmanteaus?
        And so she set herself the task
to make a hybrid with contrasts
        impossible to supersede,
a combination so outré
        that when she finished with the deed,
She disbelieved that there could be
        a single species with a span
so disparate. Yet there they stood,
        ... Woman ... and ... Man.

-- z 2021-01-27 01:39 UTC