Complexity, Uncertainty, and Ambiguity vs Culture


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General Principles of Wisdom

Another great post from Farnam Street Blog:

On his “wisdom tour,” after an encounter with a politician, Socrates concluded that he “thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.”

So one of the most essential aspects to wisdom is knowing the limits of one’s own knowledge. Charlie Munger offered this simple prescription: “If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don’t, you’re going to lose. And that’s as close to certain as any prediction that you can make. You have to figure out where you’ve got an edge. And you’ve got to play within your own circle of competence.”

Building a Mind Palace for Investing Rules

From Value Investing World:Sherlock-PA

The basic idea is that the human brain is better at remembering images and spatial information than it is words or numbers. If you want to remember someone’s name, for example, it is easier to remember it if you associate it with an image, and the more vivid the image, the easier it will be to remember. The memory palace is a familiar place to you (such as: a house you know well) that you can walk through in your mind, and place vivid images (such as: moonwalking with Albert Einstein) at certain points in that place (such as: at the top of the stairs) to help you remember things. As Joshua Foer described the “art” of memory:

The “art of memory” refers to a set of techniques that were invented in ancient Greece. These are the same techniques that Cicero used to memorize his speeches, and that medieval scholars used to memorize entire books. The “art” is in creating imagery in your mind that is so unusual, so colorful, so unlike anything you’ve ever seen before that it’s unlikely to be forgotten. That’s why mnemonists like to say that their skills are as much about creativity as memory.

 

Concept of Game Design for Lag

This article on Polygon does a great job giving a brief overview of why lag (network latency) is an issue in game design and the basic strategies to work around it.

Lag compensation is how the server tries to guess what you were seeing on your computer when you pressed a button on your controller. When your computer tells the server you fired your gun in Battlefield 4, the server rewinds time a little bit so it can guess what you were looking at when you clicked your mouse. If you were aiming at an enemy on your screen, it awards you a hit, even if you were aiming at the wrong place according to the server or your opponent’s computer.

Of course, nobody notices these discrepancies, because it’s really hard to see whether or not your enemy’s gun barrel is pointed at you or slightly to one side of you, especially when there’s simulated blood and screen shake and blurring all over the place. We just accept that we got shot, cry a little bit and move on. Lag compensation works really well in first-person shooters for this reason.

Grit vs. Self-Control

Another great blog post from Farnam Street:

“People high in conscientiousness get better grades in high school and college; they commit fewer crimes; and they stay married longer. They live longer— and not just because they smoke and drink less. They have fewer strokes, lower blood pressure, and a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. “It would actually be nice if there were some negative things that went along with conscientiousness,” (Brent) Roberts told me. “But at this point it’s emerging as one of the primary dimensions of successful functioning across the lifespan. It really goes cradle to grave in terms of how well people do.”

“For each statement, respondents score themselves on a five-point scale, ranging from 5, “very much like me,” to 1, “not like me at all.” The test takes about three minutes to complete, and it relies entirely on self-report — and yet when Duckworth and Peterson took it out into the field, they found it was remarkably predictive of success. Grit, Duckworth discovered, is only faintly related to IQ — there are smart gritty people and dumb gritty people — but at Penn, high grit scores allowed students who had entered college with relatively low college-board scores to nonetheless achieve high GPAs. At the National Spelling Bee, Duckworth found that children with high grit scores were more likely to survive to the later rounds. Most remarkable, Duckworth and Peterson gave their grit test to more than twelve hundred freshman cadets as they entered the military academy at West Point and embarked on the grueling summer training course known as Beast Barracks. The military has developed its own complex evaluation, called the whole candidate score, to judge incoming cadets and predict which of them will survive the demands of West Point; it includes academic grades, a gauge of physical fitness, and a leadership potential score. But the more accurate predictor of which cadets persisted in Beast Barracks and which ones dropped out turned out to be Duckworth’s simple little twelve-item grit questionnaire.

Database of Poor Judgement

From an excellent blog post on Farnam Street:

Part of what’s going on here is, in essence, a database-design flaw. Most of us don’t have a mental category called “Mistakes I Have Made.”

Like our inability to say “I was wrong,” this lack of a category called “error” is a communal as well as an individual problem. As someone who tried to review the literature on wrongness, I can tell you that, first, it is vast; and, second, almost none of it is filed under classifications having anything to do with error. Instead, it is distributed across an extremely diverse set of disciplines: philosophy, psychology, behavioral economics, law, medicine, technology, neuroscience, political science, and the history of science, to name just a few. So too with the errors in our own lives. We file them under a range of headings—“embarrassing moments,” “lessons I’ve learned,” “stuff I used to believe”—but very seldom does an event live inside us with the simple designation “wrong.”

Nobody Takes Advice

An enjoyable piece from the WSJ:

“When somebody says, ‘You should do something,’ the subtext is: ‘You’re an idiot for not already doing it.’ Nobody takes advice under those conditions.”

Many people would rather be thought of as an idiot than do something they don’t want to do. If someone suggests getting a high-paying job with Morgan Stanley when what you really want to do is to organize a peasant’s revolt in the Yucatán, their advice, though judicious, is useless. Success on anyone’s terms other than your own is failure.