I fully accept they/them pronouns by default, but I'm not really fussy. Rather, I'm curious to learn how others think I'm gendering, so feel free to use whatever pronouns you think are appropriate. 😎


Is there a mu-like term that means something like "why is this any of my business?"

I like to start with "I have no opinion on that." If pressed, I'd follow up with something like, "I don't understand; why is this so important to you?" Often, though, conditions result in my saying something more along the lines of, "What does that have to do with [what we were just discussing]?"

What Happens To Your Brain When You Write?

Yeah, that echoes my experience too. Also, I notice that writing on my phone is partway between the two: a bit more thoughtful than typing on a keyboard, a good bit faster than pen and paper. Screen size is a big downside, though.

Bureaucracy is a world of magic

I would just like to add the word "documancy" to this discussion.

What Happens To Your Brain When You Write?

I seem to remember reading that the active ingredient here is actually speed. When typing, it's easy (with practice) to note most of what is presented almost verbatim. But handwriting is inherently slower, resulting in a condition where you have to do a lot more summarization. The act of summarization leads to better learning because you have to assimilate the ideas more completely in order to condense them into just a few words. Then, you have to unpack those few words into the complete idea when you study, leading to better practice. With a little discipline, you can go through the same steps on a keyboard and achieve the benefits of both styles.

I think I know where I read that, let's see if I can find the source...

There it is. Sönke Ahrens gives a very similar explanation in his excessively named book How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking - for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Writers in chapter 10.1, and he cites Mueller and Oppenheimer 2014.

Anti-clickbait note: The book is about the Zettelkasten method, and focuses on heavily cross-referencing notes so you can follow the logic chains in situ instead of having to reconstruct them every time you want to remember a thought. The arguments he makes for taking structured notes are pretty good, but Zettelkasten is far from the only note-taking method that does the things he likes.

Bureaucracy is a world of magic
  • I lived in NY state for a short time. Turns out, to get a photo ID or driver's license there you have to have birth certificate && social security card && 6 points worth of qualifying documents. Most people aren't super likely to be able to produce 6 points of documents (I got up to 2 points), but you can use a state issued photo ID for all 6 points. Oh, and if your name has a numeral after it (III, for example), that numeral must be present on each and every one of those documents, or they don't count. I don't know if it's changed since, but I went without a photo ID while I lived there.
  • Likewise in NY, if you want to change your name after getting married, your marriage certificate had better look exactly like the clerk expects. Even with an already-changed social security card, the old card, a birth certificate, and an out-of-state marriage certificate, you're out of luck getting your driver's licence updated.
  • I currently work in intermodal rail (interfacing the rail and trucking industries). If you're bringing a shipping container (or trailer) in, all your paperwork had better be in order before you come to the gate to check in. Else you usually have to physically leave the property before you're allowed to try again, even if you could fix the issue in a few seconds on the phone.
    Folks hate that one pretty hard, but I can actually explain where it comes from. Turns out somebody up in corporate doesn't like drivers hanging around on the property where they could get bored and cause trouble, thinks somebody might hide a bomb or something in one of those shipping containers, and dislikes the bottleneck that proceeds from several people having problems at once and all sticking around while they call their companies to get it fixed.
  • The number of reports we have to file for the purpose of proving that we filed the reports is astonishing. Many of them contain large swaths of the same information as other reports, as well. We look up nearly all that information on the automated reports system, then have to copy-paste them into spreadsheets and emails.
  • I even have to send the emails if the reports are empty because what we're reporting on didn't happen that day. There's no special format for this, I just send an email with a blank body to prevent getting an email asking why I didn't file the report.
Making a Cheerful Bid

It sounds like maybe you feel the word "negotiate" implies that someone is asking you to to be willing to come down on your cheerful price based on their arguments, which (I would completely agree) fully defeats the purpose. If so, maybe you'd prefer if someone asked to "discuss" or "discover" your cheerful price? That's the sense I'm getting from "negotiate" in this context. (Is that correct, AllAmericanBreakfast?)

Learn and practice using Hanlon's Razor with exercises.

I'm confused (as usual) by all the downvoting with no comment; if people feel strongly enough to vote "I want to see less of this kind of content", they should be willing to explain why. At a guess, people probably want to see a short summary added to the post. In this case, a description of Hanlon's Razor and the reason you found the linked article especially helpful might improve reception.

Call to the technical support of reality

Fun dialogue!

I thought about offering suggestions on a few unusual sentences, but then I decided I actually like nearly everything just the way it is. I had no difficulty understanding the text, and it fits well with the theme if some of the wordings are other than what I'd expect. 😉

The only thing that tripped me up a bit was the ad copy near the end:

And its not absolute accuracy will keep you so dear to you a sense of surprise

It might work better to say something like, "And its not-absolute accuracy will help you keep that sense of surprise that you find so dear". I would expect ad copy to sound like, "And, in addition to the ongoing savings on storage and processing, the low-resolution package will help you retain that sense of surprise and wonder that you so dearly enjoy", but I think that moves much further away from the established tone.

“Meditation for skeptics” – a review of two books, and some thoughts

Thanks for the observations.

Glad they were interesting!

I wonder whether it is a nice-to-have but basically separate from meditation essentials.

I've heard teachers with a Theravada background talk about two "wings to awakening": wisdom (or insight) and compassion. The claim is that without developing both in a relatively even way, you can end up badly unbalanced and unable to achieve full realization of the practice. I've heard that non-westernized versions tend to teach metta before insight meditation, though I don't recall the exact justification off the top of my head.

It seems to me that without at least some of the discipline that comes from doing a sit-and-be-aware meditation for a while, it could be substantially more difficult to really dig in on the wishing-people-well stuff. On the other hand, I've heard several teachers say that we have a self-compassion problem in the west that makes insight meditation harder to do effectively/*. Maybe there's something to the wings thing after all?

/* Apparently westerners (and particularly Americans) tend to have a nasty habit of berating ourselves for being bad at meditation instead of just starting again when we get distracted.

“Meditation for skeptics” – a review of two books, and some thoughts

It may be of note that Dan Harris is currently working on a book about metta. Has been for some time now, actually, but he seems to hate whatever book-writing process he's using, so we may or may not never actually see this one come to print.

I've been listening to his 10% Happier podcast for a while now, and I've noticed that he's undergone a massive and obvious change regarding his expressed attitudes toward compassion meditation and his apparent opinion of its importance. In earlier episodes when he says that words like "heart" and "loving-kindness" bother him, it seems like he's being fully genuine. Later, those claims seem to become more about his interview style and connecting with his audience than reality. Recently, he's fully admitted that talk of being "allergic" to the sappy-sounding words is an old schtick that he's trying to stop because it's no longer consistent with how he's thinking about the topic. It seems like he's been convinced that compassion practice is pretty important.

(It's a good podcast, BTW. Harris interviews plenty of really interesting people!)

Harris currently has two books titled "10% Happier: [excessive subtitle]" and "Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics" in the US. Maybe there were some translation shenanigans with the German publisher?

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