Sunday, 11/15/2020

15:43 backyard

substack link A couple of years ago I went to a talk by a neurobiologist named Andrew Huberman that was, I think, broadly about mindfulness. But he said something as kind of a casual aside that’s stuck with me ever since: Humans, like predatory mammals, have eyes on the fronts of their heads in order to be able to focus on a single point (prey while hunting). That focus raises stress hormones like cortisol in the brain, and that’s why predators need to spend so much time recharging. It’s why if you go on a safari and drive past a pride of lions they’re probably all asleep, and it’s why my cat is currently taking her second nap of the day after spending an hour staring at the hall closet.

Huberman [said that] you can imagine how much those stress hormones get ratcheted up when we’re spending so much time focusing on tiny devices in our hands. We’re literally hunting for information. And we still have a lot of “wild” in our brains. I think that when we talk about “wilderness” and how it’s being lost in our modern era, we have to look inward as well as outward.

16:33 article sunday!

death to bullshit

article bullshit: a spectrum of superfluous, cluttered, unnecessary and deceptive content. you know what it looks like when you see it - it clogs up the web. everywhere when information is cheap, attention becomes expensive! we're all trying to maximize singla to noise, so people will eventually gravitate towards generally useful products. create genuinely well thought out products that add signal, not noise, and genuinely benefit people rather than abusing them

Nomograms

modern nomograms two-dimensional graphic calculating devices; allow very fast computation and provide immediate visual feedback to help navigate the spatial meaning of the numbers they're working with. The most available of these are services like desmos, allowing users to easily isualize and graph relationships

Is it morally wrong to write inefficient code?

article idea: because running code uses energy, writing inefficient code is morally wrong

  1. Ethical Web guidelines suggest that this is the case; by minimizing any impact, systems use fewer resources, meaning that we do not cause pain to others through contributing to reused, impactful inefficiencies in code

  2. the line between running code and polluting the environment is relatively straightforward, unless you live and your code is always run in places primarily dependent on renewable power – in which case your impact is substantially diminished

  3. The essay primarily disputes the last point: that it is a complete moral wrongdoing, and a direct contribution to the suffering of others, to support this practice. This asks what a contribution to suffering is, and where this suffering is best placed; perhaps the best place for suffering is a small cut (one of, say, 1000) to the users of the software rather than a gunshot wound to the developer