Learning Learning

May 28, 2008

Today is a sick day, thus the various posts. I’m glad I came upon this one, though. It’s a very wide ranging talk, as I suppose any one about learning learning should be. Topics referenced include: chess, martial arts, education, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for applying ideas from one area into another. After I read the book, I’ll try to give a summary.

Authors@Google: Josh Waitzkin

Here is the first article that Josh wrote for 4 Hour Work Week. Here is the bio from said article:

Josh was the subject of the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer and an eight-time National Chess Champion in his youth. He also holds a combined 21 National titles in addition to several World Championships in martial arts, and now trains hedge funds and other companies in high-end learning and performance psychology. I became friends with Josh after reading his book, The Art of Learning, which presents his learning strategies and approach to skill acquisition.

Hope Springs Eternal

May 28, 2008

David Boaz provides the inside scoop on the final season of the “West Wing” (HT:Agitator):

“West Wing” producers were taken aback by the reactions of real live “voters” to their real live debate. After seven years of heroically portraying the honest, decent, liberal President Jed Bartlet–an idealized Bill Clinton who wouldn’t take off his coat, much less his pants, in the Oval Office–they weren’t about to let a crotchety old Republican beat their handsome Hispanic hero. So they conjured up a meltdown in a nuclear power plant that Vinick had supported, and Santos won the election.

This piece on the decline of the Republican party seems relevant. It includes this quote from Reagan:

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. … The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Maybe someday, I’ll see a presidential candidate that expresses my views well.

The Message a City Sends

May 28, 2008

Paul Graham has a new article titled Cities and Ambition. Concerning why, even in a powerful virtual world, cities will still matter:

The physical world is very high bandwidth, and some of the ways cities send you messages are quite subtle.

He then characterize the messages that several cities send, but refrains from guessing at DC’s because he hasn’t lived here. Since I’m the one sharing the article, I suppose it falls on me.

The best I can come up with is, “How should we wield governmental power?” The government has an excess of decisions to make. People are drawn to here because of all the decisions that are made. They spend their time arguing about the proper way to make them. Lest you think they are too noble, many times it is the pleasure in wielding the decision making power that drives them. But also, lest you think they are only power hungry, they almost always believe that theirs is the correct (in some societal sense) way to wield it.

This applies equally well to the libertarians, liberals, and conservatives. Many believe that the correct decision is to refrain from action. Perhaps in another society, inaction would not need to be decided, but in ours, inaction on the part of government is an action in and of itself.

Perhaps Dan will give his thoughts on the SF side of things.

Dilbert’s Sci Fi Plot

May 24, 2008

I mean, how can you not like the opening sentence?

I like to concoct concepts for science fiction movies and do nothing with them.

Anyway, like a good portion of what he writes, it’s worth reading. The funny part is that I went to log into wordpress, this was the post that they had featured. An exceprt:

I figure that sometime during the latter half of 2007 [the DNC] realized they had a problem with the perception of Hillary as a former first lady and the “inevitable”candidate. So, they schemed to put Obama, a lightweight with no real experience forward as a perfect foil for her.

Coincidence? I think not. Diversity of perception certainly makes the world a more interesting place, though it does lead to a lot of heated never-ending arguments.