ajc586

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ajc58610

I personally don't find anything on the list disagreeable (including the summarization and mentoring items).

Summarization is a pretty well established memory consolidation technique to improve long-term recall of information. The OP does not explicitly state this is the aim, but that was my assumption, and if so I think it is uncontroversial that that is beneficial.

Regarding the mentoring, the item on the list was "you would have a good mentor" (which I agree with) and then underneath is "One way to do this is to email people" (which I also agree with in the sense that emailing is clearly one way to do this - I do not necessarily feel this is a good way or the best way, but the OP does not say it is, just that it is "one way").

I can see why you would disagree that you "should have a 'good mentor' by emailing people to request that they mentor me" (I also disagree that such an approach is close to optimal) but I do not think this is what the OP says.

ajc58610

I think that when you say "I love cats", you mean more than you prioritize specific cats. At some points, those cats will no longer be with you, and if you are like most cat lovers, likely you will then go on to own and prioritize different cats. So while the cats you prioritize at any moment in time may be specific, if you are like most cat owners, over the course of your life you will generally prioritize cats. ("I choose to eat cake every day above other desserts, but I don't in general love cake, just the cakes I eat on a given day" sounds like more like someone who loves cake but also loves splitting hairs over word usage, than someone who doesn't in general love cake.)

I think that, if you ask most people what they actually do in practice as a result of their stated love for cats, you will inevitably get back things that necessarily involve prioritization (mostly of time and/or money), e.g. they have pet cats, they volunteer at an animal shelter, they put food out in their garden for stray cats, and/or so forth. If someone said "I love cats, and I have no real interest in prioritising spending my time, money, energy etc. on owning or thinking about or interacting with cats above other things", I would find that incongruous and question whether they really do love cats.

ajc58660

German Autobahns with no speed limit have been designed to be safely driven at high speed. For example, wide lanes, long straight sections, very large radius of curvature for non-straight sections, minimal layout changes, good drainage. And also features which minimise the impact if accidents do occur, e.g. strong central barriers.

It does not therefore follow that removing speed limits on typical American freeways, which have not been designed for high speeds, is a sensible thing to do.

Plus, the way US politics works, if you did any kind of no speed limit trial, it would not last long. Let's say you're a politician who somehow gets approval to push through a policy to trial no speed limit on a freeway. An accident happens (regardless of whether speed was a cause), and you'll be out of office the next day, and that's the end of the trial.

ajc58610

Can you think of examples of mainstream use of the word 'love' for which prioritization isn't an essential component? It seems to me that prioritization is the key thing that binds together what would otherwise be disparate uses of the word, not just in the relationship context. (e.g. the 'love' in "I love reading" and "I love my wife" mean very different things, but are both effectively statements of prioritization)

ajc58610

While 'love' isn't of course well defined, it seems a central component for most usages is one of prioritisation (of time, money, emotional bandwidth etc.) in the face of constrained supply.

So in romantic love, priority of (usually) a single person is a necessary component. Loving a romantic partner is providing a guarantee to yourself that you will prioritize their needs over competing demands (which will therefore reduce in priority). Sex is often one of those needs, but not necessarily. It's the guarantee of priority that matters, not specifically what is prioritised.

The love a toddler has for their toys has this same necessary component. You can't play with all the toys in the world; you have finite time to play, your parents have finite ability to provide toys, so you have to prioritise. The toys you prioritise are the toys you love.

So 'universal love' is not love at all. Your resources are finite. Prioritisation is zero sum. It's making the choice in a world of limited resources (both your internal world, and in the world outside) that makes it love.

ajc58610

I think one of the reasons why punitive damages sometimes make sense is in recognition of the fact that the total 'damage' (in the colloquial, not legal sense) can sometimes include not just an economic component, but a societal component beyond that.

Here's an example: suppose a company is concerned about wrongful death suits. There are basically two levers available here: (1) spend $X on making the work environment safer, (2) put $Y aside to cover the cost of such suits, and of course it's not either/or here. But although this didn't turn out to be the case in the 'factories' example so things turned out well for society, in a given situation, depending on the numbers the best economic option may be a lot of (2) and not so much (1). In this scenario, people will continue to die even if X - Y is very small (in the world where Y does not include punitive damages) and lives could be saved at a very low additional cost to the company. Punitive damages are a tool to make this less likely by imposing a large cost in (for example) a wrongful death scenario even if X - Y (without punitive damages) is small.

If you argue for no punitive damages in civil cases, the same argument could be made for criminal cases, i.e. no jail time and all damages awarded are purely economic. In this case, then, you could murder someone if you had the resources to pay the 'fare' of the economic damage this would cause. Which at a societal level isn't much different to companies being able to choose to let fatal accidents continue to occur, if the workers comp payouts are more affordable than implementing improved safety protocols, and there's no mechanism available to 'artificially' inflate the costs to the company in a wrongful death scenario, like punitive damages.

ajc58610

I don't think productivity ever increases with contiguous time spent on a given activity, at least in the short term. (Yes, longer term you can identify and implement working patterns that increase overall productivity.) All the effects push in the opposite direction: low hanging fruit gets picked first, you get tired, you get hungry, you've done all you can on your part of the critical path and need to wait for others to do their bit before you can continue, etc.

So I think there are two explanations here if someone on Hacker News does claim that the last hour is the most productive. The first is post-rationalisation, i.e. if you have been working crazy 99 hours straight on something you'd better conjure up some pretty convincing-to-you-sounding reason to work the 100th hour. The second is that you are falling for a perceptual trick: let's say you're working 99 hours straight on finding a difficult bug, and in the 100th hour you fix it. You can say "wow, that 100th hour was clearly the most productive, because in the first 99 hours I didn't solve the bug and in the 100th hour I did". But that's not what productivity means. What is actually happening is you are making slower and slower progress during the 100 hours but still eventually get there.

Personally I have found that judging my position on the curve is pretty easy, if you are mindful and deliberate about doing that continually. This mindfulness and deliberation doesn't seem to happen automatically, though, which makes it difficult if you don't do that.

ajc58640

I like the idea of the 4-day work week, but this post is actually a quite separate argument.

The 4DWW idea is: work less, and you'll be happier as a direct consequence.

The argument in this post is: if you want to work X hours a week, whatever that X is, go for it! But rather than spending X on one job where you're almost certainly spending a significant proportion of X in the diminishing returns regime, split it into e.g. 0.8X on that job and 0.2X on a completely separate job. The main effect of this will be productivity gains, which in turn will lead to increased happiness as a side-effect.

ajc58610

Yes. I don’t think the argument requires that the work be hard (or that you work hard at it, whatever that really means). I believe it’s quite generally true that for most activities (howsoever achieved), productivity drops as hours spent increases. Then the rest of the argument follows.

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