Here lies most of the stuff I consider worthy to remember from the articles I stumbled upon on the web.
Jimmy Soni - 10,000 Hours With Claude Shannon: How A Genius Thinks, Works, and Lives [archived link]
- He's the
father of the information age.
- He invented the bit.
- He worked on the top-secret transatlantic phone line connecting FDR and Winston Churchill during World War II.
- He was eccentric and did a lot of things in very diverse domains.
was deliberate about how he invested his time: in stimulating ideas, not in small talk.
- Shannon didn't look for inspiration, but for
a slight irritation when things don't look quite right,or a
Jørgen Veisdal - The Unparalleled Genius of John von Neumann [archived link]
Twice married and wealthy, he loved expensive clothes, hard liquor, fast cars and dirty jokes.
His first wife, Klara, said that he could count everything except calories.
- He was a bad driver.
- His parents were
wealthy non-observant Jewish bankerswho brought John up in a privileged manner.
- He was a child prodigy:
dividing two eight-digit numbers in his head and conversing in Ancient Greek at age six,
was able to recall complete novels and pages of the phone directory on command,etc.
An unconventional parent, von Neumann's father Max would reportedly bring his workaday banking decisions home to the family and ask his children how they would have reacted to particular investment possibilities and balance-sheet risks.
- John was first homeschooled, then enrolled in schools with like-minded people.
He eventually graduated both as a chemical engineer from ETH and with Ph.D. in mathematics, summa cum laude from the University of Budapest in 1926 at 24 years old.
- He spoke Hungarian, German, English, French, and Italian.
- He worked on the Manhattan Project.
James Somers - The Friendship That Made Google Huge [archived link]
Working ninety-hour weeks, they wrote code so that a single hard drive could fail without bringing down the entire system. They added checkpoints to the crawling process so that it could be re-started midstream. By developing new encoding and compression schemes, they effectively doubled the system's capacity. They were relentless optimizers.
Lunchtime approached. They had worked for two hours with one ten-minute break, talking most of the time. (A lesser programmer watching them would have been impressed, more than anything else, by the fact that they never stopped or got stuck.)
- Nevermind that, they balance work/break nicely!
Feats of engineering tend to erase themselves.
Roger Caldwell - How to Be A Cynic [archived link]
- Distinguish your wants from your needs and moderate the former.
- Simplify your life, try to do with less: less stuff, less theorizing, less talking, and proper, lean thinking.
- Why? Because, I think, you don't really need your wants to live a good life, and too many wants can paradoxically lead to a bad life.
- Nietzsche admired Diogeneses because he tried to show to people the worthlessness of the values they lived by in order to replace them by better ones. Nietzsche appropriated this Cynical theme in his own Transvaluation of All Values.
- As opposed to Nietzsche, however, cynics see wealth and power as without intrinsic value and as positive evils in that they take from you your own inner freedom.
Daniel Chambliss - The Mundanity of Excellence [archived link]
- Excellence is the
consistent superiority of performance.
Excellence does not result from some special inner quality of the athlete.
- It's not about talent.
- Daniel says that there is small quantitative difference between the fastest swimmer in the world and a respectable 10-year-old boy.
- Obviously, since our bodies are extremely limited and not (really) that different from each other's.
- Daniel says that quantitative changes are only successful within levels (hierarchies), not between them. But, to work your way up the hierarchies, you need not neglect this part of the climb as well.
Paul Graham - Life is Short [archived link]
- Life has a lot of years but not so many repeated important moments. Therefore, if there is something in your life that impedes these important moments, cut them out, since life is too short for this impedance.
- Fill your life with important moments, activities, experiences, so that you will have no time for stuff you consider to be useless for yourself
unnecessary meetings, pointless disputes, bureaucracy, posturing, dealing with other people's mistakes, traffic jams, addictive but unrewarding pastimes) which you will do otherwise since you have time on hand. Allow for leisure time, since that is important.
- Let your inner voice constantly be aware and ask
is this how I want to be spending my time?
You think you can always write that book, or climb that mountain, or whatever, and then you realize the window has closed.
Derek Sivers - I assume I'm below average [archived link]
Many people are so worried about looking good that they never do anything great. Many people are so worried about doing something great that they never do anything at all.
- There are multiple note-worthy HN comments, like this one from @dcolkitt:
> Ninety-three percent of drivers say they are safer-than-average drivers.
Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel prize for studying these types of cognitive biases, has a really good explanation for this. The human mind has a strong tendency to invisibly substitute hard questions for easy ones. When faced with a difficult question like "what are this company's future prospects?", we tend to subconsciously answer an easier question like
do the founders of this company appear competent and confident?
This, not arrogance, is the main reason why so many rate themselves as above average at common tasks. Truly ranking yourself is pretty cognitively difficult. You have to construct a mental model of the full range of driving ability in the population, then place yourself in it. So almost everybody substitutes the much easier question
am I good driver?instead of
am I an above average driver?. And the reality is most driver, even those slightly below average are basically good drivers.
In other skills though, where most people perceive themselves as not good, the effect is flipped. For example well over 50% of people will rate themselves as below average when you ask them about their ability to strike up a conversation with strangers.
Jason Roberts - How to Increase Your Luck Surface Area [archived link]
- Luck = Doing (something you like) * Telling (lots of people about it)
- The HN comments are good too. Example from @KineticLensman:
I'll stick with the proverbial Seneca:
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Which is actually a generalization of the author's (relatively narrow) thesis where 'opportunity' depends primarily on the people that you meet and the 'preparation' is being passionate about something.
Academy of Ideas - The Psychology of Heroism [archived link]
- Evil are those values who harm oneself or others and tend towards decadence and death (e.g. the envious values destruction for its own sake).
- Values can be corrupted by time.
The hero is the individual whose commitment to values far exceeds that of normality and whose value system serves human well-being on a mass scale.
- The hero is he who acts his values unwaveringly.
- Heroism means giving your ethics some thought and not fooling yourself (i.e. not acting against your ethics).
- Heroism is not self-sacrifice: a hero advances both human well-being and his own goals. Maybe he advances humankind through acting on his goals and values.
- This reflects Jordan Peterson's view that if you get better, so will society at large, in a small or big way.
- The foremost attribute of a hero is their dauntless commitment to their values. They face challenges instead of cowering from them.
- There are degress of heroism. If you're not as big as Jung, you can be a demi-hero.
Amy Rauer, Allen Sabey, Christine Proulx, Brenda Volling - The Marital Problems of Happy Couples [archived link]
Focusing on the perpetual, more-difficult-to-solve problems may undermine partners' confidence in the relationship. [...] If couples feel that they can work together to resolve their issues, it may give them the confidence to move on to tackling the more difficult issues.
- Don't fight about things you can't solve.
Catherine Buni & Soraya Chemaly - The secret rules of the internet [archived link]
- Moderation is nuanced — it's not free speech vs. totalitarianism.
Brandur Leach - In Pursuit of Production Minimalism [archived link]
- Don't rush to innovative technologies. If your security team isn't good, wait for new tech to be vetted by trusted sources. Ensure that the technologies will replace something old or that will add new necessary functionality. If it only makes life more comfortable, be more skeptical.
- Only solve problems that aren't solved yet.
- Brandur suggests that all systems have the tendency to grow in complexity. If we understand this tendency and the systems themselves, we can reverse
this tendency, making systems evermore simple:
I project this onto technology to mean building a stack that scales to more users and more activity while the people and infrastructure supporting it stay fixed.
Paul Graham - Fashionable Problems [archived link]
- Find unfashionable problems in what people see as fully explored fields: essays, venture funding, security software, etc.
- If you love what you do you'll either help to support the same thing as other people or go into a niche that, for others, is too marginal to matter.
David Both - An introduction to Linux filesystems [archived link]
- The filesystem hierarchy described in the FHS is independent from the filesystem type (e.g. ext4, btrfs).
- In Windows,
D:drives have separate root directories and directory trees, as opposed to Linux and other UNIX systems which have all drives share the same root.
- You can mount different filesystem types under the same root filesystem.
To mounta filesystem refers back to when a tape would need to be physically mounted on a drive device. A mount point is just a directory under
/etc/fstab= file system table
LSB Workgroup, The Linux Foundation - Filesystem Hierarchy Standard [archived link]
echo *when you can't access
Samuel Taylor - new codebase, who dis? [archived link]
- When editing development environment setup guidelines or architectural overviews
put an 'as of' date on your changes. Even stable projects exhibit some change over a long enough time period, so this date will help future readers know if they can trust this document.Alternatively, look at the Last Modified date of the document.