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One of the last of the many legendary contests won by the British philosopher A. J. Ayer was his encounter with Mike Tyson in 1987. As related by Ben Rogers in ”A. J. Ayer: A Life,” Ayer — small, frail, slight as a sparrow and then 77 years old — was entertaining a group of models at a New York party when a girl ran in screaming that her friend was being assaulted in a bedroom. The parties involved turned out to be Tyson and Naomi Campbell.

”Do you know who … I am?” Tyson asked in disbelief when Ayer urged him to desist: ”I’m the heavyweight champion of the world.”

”And I am the former Wykeham professor of logic,” Ayer answered politely. ”We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men.”

So they did, while Campbell slipped away.

[Via] (


From David Shields' Reality Hunger:

Once, after running deep into foul territory to make an extraordinary catch to preserve a victory, he was asked, “When did you know you were going to catch the ball?” Ichiro replied, “When I caught it."


95% confident that we will be no closer to knowing if P equals NP a decade down the line.


I agree. I especially see a lot of convergence in present day mainstream Bollywood cinema with conventional blockbuster Hollywood fare in terms of both plots and production values. So expect a Moulin Rouge-like crossover musical in English with a major Hollywood box-office draw, an Indian model female lead, rags-to-riches storyline, Inception-like action sequences and CGI by studios in Hyderabad and Bangalore.


Thanks, this is a great post. I concur with a majority of the points raised.

Broadly, I indulge in four kinds of activities: a) high effort- high short-term reward, b) high effort - high long-term reward c) low effort - high short-term reward d) low-effort - high long-term reward.

The many individual tasks that constitute work fall into the second category. However, if I Practice hard enough at these individual tasks, I hope to push them into the low-effort high long-term reward category. This would leave me with additional Willpower Reserves that I would use to fund other high effort high long-term reward activities.

When it comes to Work tasks, I don't believe I hate these tasks themselves; what I do hate is my inability to perform these tasks in an efficient, speedy manner without having to resort to reading blogs like LW ( a low effort, high short-term reward item) to entertain myself while taking breaks from Work.

Also, I did not initially come to LW looking for high long-term rewards: I came to read interesting things written by smart people. My time reading sequences made me treat LW partially as a low effort high-long term reward item, and I thank patrissimo for pointing out that the instrumental deficiencies of LW renders this likely a fallacy.


Hi, I'm Rahul. I've intermittently visited LW for more than a year, refraining from commenting as it seemed optimal to shut up and update my beliefs regarding ideas I wasn't very well informed about. I feel I'm better prepared to contribute now.

I studied engineering and physics at school, moving on to work at trading floors of investment banks where I got a real, ringside view of decision making under uncertainty. Today, I work as a social venture capitalist looking to help disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs rise out of poverty.

Despite my life's digressions, I retain a strong interest in philosophy, mathematics and computer science. My interest in rationality was initially piqued in my undergraduate years by the work of Kahneman and Tversky. I am mostly an auto-didact in the things I really enjoy, but I must confess that at 25, I often feel old and intellectually left behind. LessWrong helps me catch up.