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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Distraction and Attention

From In Defense of Distraction: “Where you allow your attention to go ultimately says more about you as a human being than anything that you put in your mission statement,” [Merlin Mann] continues. “It’s an indisputable receipt for your existence. And if you allow that to be squandered by other people who are as bored as you are, it’s gonna say a lot about who you are as a person.

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Positive emotions make us more vulnerable

From What Makes Us Happy?: … positive emotions make us more vulnerable than negative ones. One reason is that they’re future-oriented. Fear and sadness have immediate payoffs—protecting us from attack or attracting resources at times of distress. Gratitude and joy, over time, will yield better health and deeper connections—but in the short term actually put us at risk. That’s because, while negative emotions tend to be insulating, positive emotions expose us to the common elements of rejection and heartbreak.

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Self-control via strategic allocation of attention

From Don’t in the New Yorker: What, then, determined self-control? Mischel’s conclusion, based on hundreds of hours of observation, was that the crucial skill was the “strategic allocation of attention.” Instead of getting obsessed with the marshmallow—the “hot stimulus”—the patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek underneath the desk, or singing songs from “Sesame Street.” Their desire wasn’t defeated—it was merely forgotten. Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.

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Calendar as information central

I think Scott Adams is right, “the biggest software revolution of the future is that the calendar will be the organizing filter for most of the information flowing into your life”. Sharing calendars is still too hard, and when we solve that problem I expect it to be hugely useful. I expected shared calendar technology to become mainstream years ago and it still hasn’t happened. Just what is the roadblock?

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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Fred C Yankowski

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