Things on my Mind #2


1. Iconoclastic take on coming up with new and innovative ideas: There is an emphasis on coming up with new and innovative things to say, and indeed, those that do that should get more status in the idea space. However, there is utility in the rediscovery of ideas, two of which are:

a. The fact that the idea was discovered again shows that a piece of the universe or reality has been affirmed. In some sense, scientists try to do this with replication, except, in this case, the replication occurs almost by happenstance.

b. There might be something to be gleaned from the methods through which different individuals stumble upon the same idea with something new embedded in each one, even if it is just the method.

Assuming intellectual honesty, of course.


2. When one inevitably gets things wrong, a good way of updating their models is to ask, “before and when I was making this decision, should I have known I would be wrong?” In other words, recheck what one got wrong in the past and make changes to avoid that issue. This is an obvious point but hard to do. One’s meta goal in life should be to find the most accurate model of the world possible and act by it.


3. Here’s a point I made a long time ago: The economics of Sinatra. Listen to Sinatra to hedge against market risks in the dating market. How? He is an icon of gentlemanly flirtation. You also become a more interesting person because most people your age are not listening to him—a counter signaling of some sort. In the end, you end up learning to be a gentleman, you end up with ample quotable lyrics on dates, and you (might) end up getting the girl. If you want to keep her, then I don’t think Sinatra is your man. Drake probably? I don’t know.


4. Why are sports important? They offer a testing ground for one’s morals with immediate feedback, especially for kids. The lessons learned can be democratized not by books (although they have their place) but by brute force. Extrapolate!


5. The certainty ratings on all my posts are one of the most productive intellectual nuggets I have found and played with. There are two problems with the certainty ratings—the problem of an improper bayesian analysis and the issue of anchoring. Thus, I seek out challenges and counters to my ideas, partially because it’s uncomfortable and because I get to either be more uncertain (i.e., decrease my certainty rating) or increase its rating—more on this in later posts.


6. Partial correlations are attractive as an intellectual endeavor.


7. The most common critique of the young academic is that they have ideas untested by the real world. The question then becomes, how do you test your ideas? The best way so far is public thinking of some form. This is a high-risk, high reward game as people can take your ideas, run with them and actually implement them to their gain or loss. Devise ways to check your ideas!


Certainty rating: 53%


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