January 2023

Things I found Interesting this month:

Cornell Note taking system

The Cornell Note taking system is a way to take notes. The think that I liked about it was the Que column that you use to write down questions you have while taking notes. I think I will expand that into Ideas, Question, and Experiments; more as a reminder that I should be looking for those types of things while consuming information.

Living off the grid in NY

living off the grid in ny - just start doing it, and then fix problems as you run into them. - don't worry about what "could" go wrong and try to plan for everything, just do something, and work the problems out as you go.

Simple things that just work

My Coffee Maker Just Makes Coffee

Everything needs to do one little extra "cool" thing. Nothing is ever taken away.

Remove frustration from your life. Get rid of junk that "mostly" works and will probably break down in a few months with stuff that does work, and is built well.

Universal tool to combine technologies


Chataigne is a free, open-source software made with one goal in mind : create a common tool for artists, technicians and developers who wish to use technology and synchronize software for shows, interactive installations or prototyping.
It aims to be as simple as possible for basic interactions, but can be easily extended to create complex interactions.

It seems it's kind of like a free version of if then then that. I'm hoping it's the kind of tool I was pining about. An external timeline that can control animation (among other things)

Why reading the comments is bad for you

this ycombinator thread, shows how useless and speculative comments are. You can read the comments about how the author was just a little kid that was angry and he was judged harshly, and then you can read the response from the actual author of his actual reason for writing the article.

Most hacker news comments seem to start with "here is my correct claim that i'm 100% confident in." and then 20 follow up comments telling them why what they said is wrong. It's good to see both sides, but what happens when you just read a comment of someone that comes off 100% confident in their response, but is 100% wrong.

Why is this bad?

I saw something about how the brain might work, and that is by using the model of the world it has created to predict what the world will look like. So when you accept wrong information, it corrupts your internal model and maybe effects how you view reality.

One of the features I want to add to the next version of better news is to scan through the comments and only return the links it finds (sometimes the links lead to interesting things.) Maybe i'll just have it search for links and have it throw it back into the main interface as normal stories.

On how the brain "works"

We are basically living inside a simulation being generated by our brains! -- fields

In neuroscience, predictive coding (also known as predictive processing) is a theory of brain function which postulates that the brain is constantly generating and updating a "mental model" of the environment. According to the theory, such a mental model is used to predict input signals from the senses that are then compared with the actual input signals from those senses.[1] With the rising popularity of representation learning, the theory is being actively pursued and applied in machine learning and related fields -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictive_coding

Most signals don't travel from the eyes to the brain: they travel in the opposite direction, from the brain to the eyes. What happens is that the brain expects to see something, based on what has happened before and what it knows. It draws up a picture of what it envisions the eyes to see. This information is sent from the brain to the eyes, through intermediate stages. Only if a discrepancy is detected between what the brain expects and the light reaching the eyes, neural circuits send signals to the brain. That is, the image of the observed environment does not travel from the eyes to the brain, only the news of eventual discrepancies in relation to what the brain expects. When we look around we are not really looking: instead, we are dreaming up a picture of the world based on what we knew (including misconceptions) and unconsciously scrutinizing for any discrepancies and, where necessary, trying to correct them. -- https://c.im/@noxin/109625797035189983


On thinking outside your brain:

They [paper notes] aren't a record of my thinking process. They are my thinking process. I actually did the work on the paper. --Richard Feynman

No, it's not a record, not really. It's working. You have to work on paper and this is the paper. Okay? --Richard Feynman

how many times it has happened that, after reading a book, you thought you understood the idea but found it difficult to explain it to others? The idea seemed pretty clear in your head but the moment you had to verbalize it you discovered that either you didn’t have a proper grasp on the idea at the first place or you were unable to explain it in a logical coherent way to a third person. -- https://abdulquasimkhan.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/the-feynman-technique/

Getting ideas out of your head, and clarifying them on paper. Your brain is really good at telling you it knows something, but when you test that knowledge you find it is sometimes lacking. So if you really want to understand a concept, you need to write about it; teach it to yourself. Putting the words down on paper/computer will force the issue of how well you really know the concept, and if you find that you don't, great, use this time to fill in the gaps.

The extended Mind ; if you keep a knowledge base on your phone/computer/notebook, does that make your smarter?

Distributed Cognition, The core idea is that knowledge and cognition not only exist within oneself, but also in one's social and physical environments. Our memory, decision making, reasoning, and learning are all collectively processed by our minds and by extensions of our minds in the external world.

By getting ideas out of your mind, you offload some of that processing to make the ideas easier to work with, you also increase the amount of data you can work on, instead of having 3-4 pieces of information you are working on in your mind, you can have 30-40 pieces of information you are shuffling around on paper, or even more on a computer. Don't try to keep everything in your head.


I can't understand people that want to sit in their cars or on public transit for 1-2 hours or more a day to be stuck in a loud room with constant distractions and the inability to get any focus work done. Even before I was officially remote I would disappear from the office for hours or whole days as it was literally the only way to get actual work done. -- Chris Wiegman

When you have a big backlog of projects, an idle 3D printer feels like wasted time. --@geekmomprojects@mastodon.social