This is basically the algorithm I use when trying to get my 4yo to make a choice. I can tell you it works even with just 2 options! I choose a default (usually based on what I want), and then go through the other option(s) one at a time asking, “do you like this one better than the current default”. If yes, that becomes the new default. I weed out the bad choices myself (based mostly on time and safety) and simply don’t present them at all. At the end of the list, even if the kid is acting like a brat and refusing to participate at all, I still have a default option to execute on.
I’ve always figured it works because of that initial choice of default option. It’s easier to compare how much we want to do one thing vs. another than it is to pick from a large list, and even more so if we clearly define and commit to an option that will trigger if we don’t choose otherwise. Using (variously arbitrary) defaults makes it very obvious that refusing to choose is choosing to let somebody else make the decision for you (even if “somebody else” is just the random order of the list). I’ve also noticed this method also doesn’t induce decision fatigue as fast as other methods.
I second the motion!
Our trick-or-treat night was last night (the 30th, and yes that’s stupid, I know). We set up a slide for treats and wore (covid) masks. Nearly all the kids were properly masked, and the adults who weren’t tended to stay well off the sidewalks. We were fully prepared for about 40 kids with little paper boxes containing a chocolate, a fruity candy, a sticker, and a toy. Based on previous years, we figured that would be ample supply, but it was gone in <45 minutes and we were sending loose candy down the chute for the rest of the evening. With parties being too risky this year, it seems like our community came out to trick-or-treat like never before in self defense. We probably saw north of a hundred kids!
We also took our 4yo around the neighborhood. We made it clear that we were looking for socially distant treats, and we found plenty (though we had the only candy slide on the block; most people set up tables and spread out treats)! I haven’t seen the kid so excited very often this year; he was literally wiggling with glee.
Agreed. The quantity scalar is certainly not the only metadata that could be stored. If I was actually writing a program, the objects_in_scene array would probably be allowed to contain as many details as the system decided was relevant. Then the scalar would be the size of the array of objects, with each object having a pointer to an archetype and properties defined for any of those details. In fact, the size need not actually be stored, but can be reconstructed easily by examination of the array itself using something like objects_in_scene.count().
For other objects, it might make sense to count more explicitly. An object referring to a group archetype, for example, might be given a size property if the system cared to do so. From what I’ve read, it seems likely that (in human brains) this property will mostly store an exponent rather than trying to determine an exact number.
I expect this can get extremely complicated in a human brain! Evolution isn’t much for intra-system optimization just for efficiency’s sake, after all.
To check understanding by way of grossly oversimplified illustration: The appropriate mind meat might identify a “person” in some sensory scene by pattern-matching against stored archetypes. The presence of the person could be indicated on the map as a single character (such as a stick figure) that points to the archetype, rather than the long-form description of the chunk of sense data that makes up the person in my perception. “People”, then, can be the stick figure character and a scalar indicating how often in the scene the “person” archetype can be matched.
During decompression (memory recall), the appropriate module can use the scalars attached to the pointers to fill in the parameters for the repeat command while building person objects from the archetype.
That took a turn for the computer-sciencey, but that’s my background. For what it’s worth, your conception of “what is Number” extends neatly and intuitively on what I was already using by explaining why the brain might benefit from tagging patterns with a scalar. Thanks for the detail!
Afraid I don’t have a tweeter, but I’d love to see an RSS feed for the new blog!
When I was studying Lojban, I learned about the concept of “evidentials” such as
(complete list at https://lojban.org/publications/cll/cll_v1.1_xhtml-section-chunks/section-evidentials.html)
The intended usage is to make explicit how the speaker came to think whatever follows. Of course, this is different from hedging with phrases like “I could be wrong”. I remember thinking at the time that it would be useful to port the use of evidentials to some English conversations.
What a beautiful experience that must have been!
I’d never have guessed snow. It’s been too long since I’ve seen snow before late December or early January! Well done :)
The shadows cast on a green lawn by morning sun would be a bluer shade of green. If “the sun had not risen high” suggests it’s still very early morning, the most likely color is the same but darker since now we’re talking about artificial lighting, which still tends to be in the red-yellow part of the spectrum most often and leaves blue shadows just like the sun.
Somehow both answers feel too easy.
The sun had not risen high, and the shadows of the posts were long and stark on the lawn
The sun had not risen high, and the shadows of the posts were long and stark on the lawn
IMO, the stakes are nowhere near as high as the candidates would have us believe.
In a normal election year, I’d say pretty confidently that it’s at least 98% bluster: nothing will change all that much if A wins or if B wins. Most times I don’t really even notice that there’s a new president unless I’m trying to notice. With Trump on board, I’m still pretty sure that little of consequence will change (at least in the short term) if he does not win a second term. At the end of four years without Trump, I expect the larger federal government complex to be somewhat healthier than it is with him in office, and that’s about it.
I’m substantially less sure that he’ll accept a loss gracefully, but I don’t think there’s really anything he can do about it. Even “his” “stacked” Supreme Court is bound by the law itself. If the (electoral) votes are for Trump, he wins. Else, he loses. It’s pretty cut-and-dry. I’ve seen a couple of times now where somebody tried to have the results questioned (remember “pregnant chad”?), and still nothing has really changed.
In the event of his loss, I expect he’ll try to sue, make a lot more noise about the process being rigged against him (personally) using the same media that he cries about all the time, and eventually write a book have a book written about how unfair and broken this whole “democracy” thing is.
Meanwhile, Biden will take power and start running things his way, which looks a lot like the old way (before Trump): still broken, but more subtly so. There will continue to be BLM protests as before, and (just like when Trump took office) there will be a rash of anti-the-new-president protests. Some of these will become violent (often after police provocation), but most won’t. In a few months, we’ll all go back to our regularly scheduled apocalypse.
If Biden loses, I expect him to quietly concede the loss like a “good candidate” and go back to making a whole lot of no noise whatsoever like he was doing for most of the last few years, all while we get more of the “new normal” from the White House for another 4 years. The world probably won’t end any harder than it already is doing.
And to be clear, Trump is not actually responsible for covid-19, or the orange skies, or Beirut blowing up, or racism and police violence, or named storms past the letter Z (or murder hornets, but they’re not actually any more scary than those africanized honey bees from a while back, they’ve just got really effective PR). Only the details would have changed under another president. All this stuff will continue to happen under the next president, regardless of who “we” “select”.
Find a way to bet on the outcomes of intellectual performance, make that work public and entertaining in some way, and the bookies will figure out the rest.
I’m in shipping and I can confirm it’s happening there too. I’ve actually been turning down promotions for about a decade now because I can see how fast most people burn out on the next level, both in executive and management tracks, from being asked to do multiple jobs at once. As recently as two weeks ago I was offered somebody’s job right in front of him. I laughed right in my regional manager’s face (from across the room; it’s 2020 after all). As it is, I’m already doing three-and-a-half (much easier) jobs and picking up the slack (created by bad hiring practices) in another as needed. Getting promoted would mean doing planning work over the largest group at our location, being my own secretary, taking on a number of minor managerial tasks, and interfacing directly with two different chains of command (who often want different outcomes, of course). All this and I’d still be expected to cover for the position I’m in now from time to time. The pay increase for what amounts to each of my current jobs getting promoted while still having to retain almost full functionality in what I do now would be about $1K/month. The answer will always be no.
Oh, and we have a hard time keeping entry-level workers because they are expected to work at least six twelve-hour days every week, again due to many years of bad hiring practices. There are promotions from that position in both executive and management tracks. Both involve adding a more focused and responsible skillset to everything else they were already doing. The pay increase is about $1/hr for executive, and I think they end up making less in the management track since they usually end up working fewer hours (except when we’re busy, of course). I’ve seen countless people drop back down to entry level after burning out on the next level up. This, of course, means that many of our entry-level workers are highly skilled, which seems to have (upper) management convinced that we don’t need to hire a larger workforce.
My father is a pastor who often complains that he has to be a spiritual leader, an administrator, and often what equates to a politician at the same time. In his case, the overload is a result of the church (on all levels from the institutional to the congregation) being in a partially-necrotic/zombie state that is unable to support the appropriate staff, unwilling to step in and take on the work to let pastors do the thing they trained for, and absolutely unwilling to consolidate resources and move on in a new form (I’ve noticed that churches tend to be extremely allergic to change).
My neighbor is a retired school teacher who was increasingly stressed out about being required to be teacher, counselor, security guard, and negotiator (with parents) in addition to all the constant retraining as technology becomes more and more integrated in the “educational” environment. Moreover, her teaching role was already badly over-constrained by the need for the students to do well on standardized tests as well as actually trying to learn something. Students of more and more widely differing abilities were being integrated into the same classroom. And all of it was getting incrementally worse every semester. She would have been entirely unprepared for 2020. As it was, she was already extremely motivated to get out of that situation before she burned out; many of her colleagues were less fortunate.
Definitely not just the IT industry, I’m afraid.
Climate change is obviously real and getting worse. We are seeing the early effects already, and they are straining our emergency measures beyond capacity. Immediate and widespread systemic changes are needed to alter course.
I am powerless to effect such changes.
Seriously: like lionhearted said, thanks for the postmortem! The thought process is important. Even if it meant some hurt feelings and a bit of inconvenience, we still got to learn something here. After all, learning something was the point, right? The more data we gather, the more likely we’ll be better off in similar situations in other contexts.
Wild! My experiences of unusual mind states have largely been pretty subtle, and mostly came after months of regular practice. And I haven’t had any experience at all that I would be willing to point to as an A&P event. Of course, there’s ADHD and a complete lack of retreat time to consider in those results. Someday I’ll get out there and see what a good week of dedicated concentration in carefully crafted conditions can do for me.
On the other side of the coin, I’ve been able to use that I have learned from the last few years of meditation and absorbing lots of dharma talks (and a few books) to be a better parent, partner, coworker, and friend to the people around me; so good stuff there!
[^1] To be fair, I did have a few childhood experiences that are consistent with 1st jhana. I even remember having the spontaneous realization that the visual field was entirely a product of the mind. I think I was 8yo at the time.
At first I thought this whole article seemed a bit obvious, but then I realized that I grew up churched; these considerations were basically burned into my brain from a young age. You came to all the right conclusions here!
I was actually trying to make a joke by pointing at the extremes and borrowing the “middle road” metaphor from the Buddha, but you’re completely correct. And actually, I didn’t even have a practice before that book review, so huge thanks to Scott!
For sure there’s something to the Zen approach of “just look at it, it’s all right there”, and also something to Theravada’s detailed maps to keep folks from getting too lost along the way. I really enjoy the maps—they help normalize the experiences—but in the end I find I tend to make the most progress when I forget about maps and “just look”.
I’m always amused by the way Theravada teachers will write a book or three explaining in great detail the same territory that Zen teachers will just gesture toward and expect you to figure the rest out for for yourself. Seems like there could be some sort of, iduno, middle road somewhere. ;-P
The litany of Gendlin sits with Egan’s Law at the top of a section of my exobrain where I keep stuff I want to remember all the time, right next to a card in an adjacent section of thoughts I’m trying out that just says “one Now at a time”.