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How do you take notes?

All my notes take the form of questions and answers now. I find that notes that can't be used to challenge me to recall and think about the material are pointless.

Note these are not like SR flashcards, which I have had little luck with outside things such as vocab.

I keep them in markdown in Dropbox, and edit them on my iPad or phone while reading. When I feel like reviewing I have a custom style sheet to present them in a form that it is easy to cover up the answers with one hand.

In terms of deciding what information to capture, I used to fetishise names and dates and things. Nowadays I focus mainly on concepts (if the author names the concept it's gold) and the outlines of arguments, and try to keep the volume to only the most important info, since everything I put in there I expect to remember.

Making the chaff invisible, and getting the wheat ($200 prize too)

Sign up for Songkick.com and track the artists you named and the SF Bay Area metro area. I work at this company and we exist to solve this problem for live music. We only email you about stuff you have previously told us you are interested in.

Superintelligence fiction - "Understand", by Ted Chiang

After reading this story I spent about 30 seconds worrying that my ipad was broken because the display was now tinted pink. Even a restart didn't fix it. Then I realized.

Open thread, August 5-11, 2013

Thank you, I'm not sure if I had seen that.

Open thread, August 5-11, 2013

What techniques have you used for removing or beating Ugh Fields, with associated +/- figures?

(A search of LW reveals very few suggestions for how to do this.)

Improving Enjoyment and Retention Reading Technical Literature

Awesome. I'm going to try this on something (short).

Random thoughts:

  • if you are describing a static system, how to represent character arcs? Can a leukocynoid become king?
  • there'll be hundreds and hundreds of characters. But I suppose that's still better than hundreds and hundreds of random meaningless pieces of jargon.
  • this is very like other kinds of constrained writing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constrained_writing That some of those things are even possible makes me think this is more likely than you might imagine at first glance.
Rationality Quotes August 2013

In the context of LW, I took it as an amusing critique of the whole idea of rewarding yourself for behaviours you want to do more .

On private marriage contracts

"In particular, when it comes to marriage, outside of the aforementioned libertarian fringe, there is a total and unanimous agreement that marriage is not a contract whose terms can be set freely, but rather an institution that is entered voluntarily, but whose terms are dictated (and can be changed at any subsequent time) by the state."

If true, this is a new thing. In the past the terms were dictated by the church. I doubt you will find unanimous agreement today that the views of the church are irrelevant to marriage. So perhaps the total and unanimous agreement is something not quite so total, that can change more than this implies.

"Therefore, when I hear a libertarian argument applied to marriage, I conclude that there are only two possibilities:"

This seems to be a failure of imagination. How about number 3: they are an honest libertarian who thinks that a marriage contract should be a contract like any other, AND that there are certain rights that are not alienable through contract.

Group rationality diary, 12/10/12

Trying to do something everyday that is useful or cool enough to tell people about (at work). There are obvious visibility arguments for doing this but I've also found it a great motivator. Asking "who cares?" seems to cut through a lot of prioritisation fuzz. (Only 11 workdays in so far.)

Share Your Checklists!

It apparently stops them getting clogged with fat. You follow the bleach with a kettle of boiling water as well, I forgot to add.

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