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Building Tezos on Ubuntu 14.04

Install opam and ocaml utilities. At this time this results in opam version 1.2.2 and ocaml 4.02.3. add-apt-repository ppa:avsm/ppa apt-get update apt-get install ocaml ocaml-native-compilers camlp4-extra opam Add repo needed for libsodium-dev (at least) that the Tezos installation scripts will install. add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php apt-get update Switch to Ocaml 4.03.0. [update: using 4.04.2 on 2017/09/05] opam init opam switch 4.03.0 eval `opam config env` Clone the tezos source repo to /opt/tezos.

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Committing to choices

In Resolving to Create a New You Ruth Chang argues that in making choices between alternatives that are on par (have much the same value to us) we should favor the choice that we can most fully commit to. Instead of being led by the nose by what we imagine to be facts of the world, we should instead recognize that sometimes the world is silent about what we should do.

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Breakdown of Will

In the book Breakdown of Will author George Ainslie presents a theory of decision-making where relative preferences for possible alternative outcomes vary over time, unlike the usual “rational” model where relative preferences remain consistent. His model is based on hyperbolic discounting where the value of a future pay-off is discounted more heavily than normal exponential discounting in the period near the pay-off time and less heavily in the long tail well before the pay-off.

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The Internet of Things (Watching Us)

The Creepy New Wave of the Internet by Sue Halpern | The New York Review of Books. The Internet of Things Watching Us is coming. I can’t see the efficiency being worth the loss of privacy in most cases. But I carry a tracker (cell phone) around like most everyone else anyway, so I know this can sneak in eventually and seem OK.

Can’t be understated

According to FirstRead, the Iraq war’s effect on American politics can’t be understated, even 10 years later So, according to that, anything that can be said is overstating the effect. One can’t state anything less about the effect. Of course, they mean “should not be understated” rather than “can’t be understated”. But they could probably care less.

Making better decisions

New Scientist mag has a May 2007 article on “Top 10 ways to make better decisions“. Here is what I got from it. Don’t fear the consequences > Rather than looking inwards and imagining how a given outcome might make you feel, try to find someone who has made the same decision or choice, and see how they felt. Remember also that whatever the future holds, it will probably hurt or please you less than you imagine.

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This blog has languished. I tend to put more stuff on Facebook these days (

Your brain is like a pile of sand

From Disorderly genius: How chaos drives the brain your brain operates on the edge of chaos. Though much of the time it runs in an orderly and stable way, every now and again it suddenly and unpredictably lurches into a blizzard of noise. systems on the edge of chaos are said to be in a state of “self-organised criticality“. These systems are right on the boundary between stable, orderly behaviour – such as a swinging pendulum – and the unpredictable world of chaos, as exemplified by turbulence.

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Work that can’t be done over the wire

From Heidegger and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: [According to Princeton economist Alan Blinder] the labor market of the next decades won’t necessarily be divided between the highly educated and the less-educated: “The critical divide in the future may instead be between those types of work that are easily deliverable through a wire (or via wireless connections) with little or no diminution in quality and those that are not.” Binder goes on to summarize his own take: “You can’t hammer a nail over the Internet.

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Tired, or energized?

From an essay by Milton Glaser: “… there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised.

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Yet more on DFW

From The Unfinished in The New Yorker: The central issue for Wallace remained, as he told McCaffery, how to give “CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness.” He added, “Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.

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Welfare for grifters and marks

From Foreclosures Are Not the Problem. Those Who Build Financial Time Bombs, and Those Who Pick Them Up, Are the Problem on Angry Bear [emphasis added]: But the real problem, the cause of this whole mess, is simple: every few decades, our economic system morphs into a structure that rewards making things less than it rewards creating financial time bombs with multi-year fuses. We’ve been rewarding the financial time bomb makers more and more since Reagan took office.

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What DFW wanted his writing to do

Here is an excerpt from “Looking for a Garde of Which to be Avant: An Interview with David Foster Wallace” as it appeared in the Spring 1993 issue of Whiskey Island magazine published by Cleveland State University. But there are a few books I have read that I’ve never been the same after, and I think all good writing somehow addresses the concern of and acts as an anodyne against loneliness.

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Trust depends on emotions

The emotional states inside us are very, very real and the product of biological evolution. They are helpful to us in our attempt to survive. Experimental economics and behavioral sciences have recently shown us how important they are to us as social creatures: To cooperate you have to trust the other party, even though a rational analysis will tell you that both the likelihood and the cost of being cheated is very high.

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“Least Common Denominator” should be Greatest Common Divisor

Many people use the phrase least common denominator to describe something as being base or common. It connotes something that appeals to most people, something that we all value. It is the intersection of what we all value, in the set-theory sense. But in arithmetic the LCD is the union of the prime factors of the denominators (including the multiplicity of those factors). Perhaps greatest common divisor is a better metaphor for what is typically described as an LCD, the GCD being the intersection of prime factors.

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Thoughts on a Station Platform

“It ought to be plain how little you gain by getting excited and vexed. You’ll always be late for the previous train, and always in time for the next.” -Piet Hein

Investment strategy by Nicholas Taleb

A Times Online interview with Nicholas Taleb includes this one-paragraph bit of investment advice: [T]he good investment strategy is to put 90% of your money in the safest possible government securities and the remaining 10% in a large number of high-risk ventures. This insulates you from bad black swans and exposes you to the possibility of good ones. Your smallest investment could go “convex” – explode – and make you rich.

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The Spacing Effect in Learning

The spacing effect: it’s possible to dramatically improve learning by correctly spacing practice sessions. The idea is to rehearse (restudy) when the likelihood of recall drops to certain point. Repeating this flattens the “forgetting curve” (likelihood of successfull recall over time). Long-term memory, the Bjorks said, can be characterized by two components, which they named retrieval strength and storage strength. Retrieval strength measures how likely you are to recall something right now, how close it is to the surface of your mind.

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Learn and Help Learn

Here is some good stuff from the closing section of the Mindsets book by Carol Dweck: “When people change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework. Every day presents you with ways to grow and to help the people you care about grow. How can you remember to look for these chances? Each morning, as you contemplate the day in front of you, try to ask yourself these questions.

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Cognitive dissonance

The following appears in a blog entry about the bear market (emphasis mine): “People tend to ignore, reject or minimize any information that conflicts with their positive self-image,” their preconceived ideas and their ideological convictions, says John Nofsinger, Washington State professor of behavioral finance, in “Investment Madness.” “The avoidance of cognitive dissonance can affect the decision-making processes in two ways. First, you can fail to make important decisions because it’s too uncomfortable to contemplate the situation,” Nofsinger says.

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Focus on effort, not talent

A recent article in Scientific American Mind, The Secret to Raising Smart Kids, discusses research suggesting that it is better to praise kids for their effort than to praise them for being smart. Here are some quotes: Hint: Don’t tell your kids that they are [smart]. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on effort—not on intelligence or ability—is key to success in school and in life

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Robert Shiller on the housing boom/bust

Robert Shiller considers causes of the recent housing boom, and possible bust. In this paper, I will consider, from a broad perspective, the possible causes of this boom, with particular attention to speculative thinking among investors. I will argue that a significant factor in this boom was a widespread perception that houses are a great investment, and the boom psychology that helped spread such thinking. In arguing this, I will make some reliance on the emerging field of behavioral economics.

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Paul Graham writes on Why to Not Not Start a Startup. Given his success with supporting projects at Y Combinator, his perspective is valuable. His essay presents a case against reasons that he has heard for not creating a startup company. So here’s the brief recipe for getting startup ideas. Find something that’s missing in your own life, and supply that need—no matter how specific to you it seems. Steve Wozniak built himself a computer; who knew so many other people would want them?

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We’re going to use trac in conjunction with subversion to manage the code for our PowerSchool deployment project. The ticket system in trac looks decent. I’m not so sure about “milestones” — my one attempt to edit a milestone ran into trouble when I entered the date value wrong and fixing that value required entering all the milestone’s fields from scratch. I either screwed up, or the interaction design of that part of trac is poor.

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Fred C Yankowski

Batavia, U.S.A.
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Developing applications for edtech and blockchain in Go, Python, Elm, and PHP