Busy Twitter Day

I made a tweet that made its way into a Twitter Moment. This actually went okay, because I muted the thread after 10 retweets. I think people mostly understood what it was saying, even if it was borrowed from Tumblr. Busy Twitter Day full article

Cloudy Logic

To pass the social system off as an objective artifact determined by (quasi-) scientific processes, forecasting has to scapegoat “irresponsible” individuals for failing to live up to the terms of the forecast. Adorno writes that “the constant appeal of the column to find fault with oneself rather than with given conditions” is evidence of “the implicit but ubiquitous rule that one has to adjust oneself continuously to commands of the stars at a given time. Cloudy Logic full article

This Cup is Broken

I dropped my father’s cup today. My dad died when I was eight. I would get up before him, make a breakfast of bagels or toast and chocolate milk, and watch cartoons. He would come downstairs and go for a run, come back, shower and make coffee. He’d drink it out of one of a few mugs, all of a similar size, and most of which I still have. He had good taste in art, and his mugs were handmade and hand-painted by local potters. This Cup is Broken full article

An Honest Productivity Hack

The world is full of nonsense, but here’s a slice of sanity including something you can buy. I’m writing this note to myself because I used it to finish proof-reading my dissertation, a task I find nigh impossible. Write down all of the things you have to do that aren’t written down in a systematic way. Write them on a piece of paper. Or write them on index cards. Write until your brain feels empty. An Honest Productivity Hack full article

Growth for the Sake of Growth

In a quiet moment in Seattle, Robert Levine, a social psychologist from California, quoted the environmentalist Edward Abbey: “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” From Why Time Management is Ruining Our Lives. Growth for the Sake of Growth full article

Writing 250,000 Words

I’ve written over 250,000 words since the middle of 2016 when I started journaling every morning. That doesn’t include the six months I spent writing 150 A5 pages in a physical journal, which I gave up because I wasn’t writing as much, nor accessing the kinds of truths and insights that come from writing near the speed of thought, bucking self-censorship or rewriting in my head, and charging forward to the next thought or feeling and giving it shape and constraint in language. Writing 250,000 Words full article

Is Everyone Lying?

One of the things about that book, Authority, is that makes the case, to me at least, that people are basically lying, or if not lying, misrepresenting themselves as experts, as people worthy of attention. But I’m coming to realize that that’s okay; it’s nearly impossible to fight against anyhow. Not everyone who shares something has to be an expert in their field. Not everyone who writes a tutorial for something has to do it as a retrospective; it’s much easier to write a tutorial while working on the very thing the tutorial is about as a kind of more formalized note-taking that’s just shared with a bit of narrative framing. Is Everyone Lying? full article

The Duplicitous Hamburger

The hamburger menu seems ubiquitous. I think it’s symptomatic of a kind of thinking that we need to exercise from design. It gets used by designers to disempower users, and confusing or frustrating people is not the same thing as increasing engagement. Intentionally confusing those two things in a client’s mind in order to misrepresent them is violent. Developers and companies typically want to increase engagement with whatever they make. It means people have either their application, their brand, or ideas the designing organization wants to perpetuate in the front of their mind, paying them in attention. The Duplicitous Hamburger full article

An oracle of sentence gradients

This is an oracle. Give it two sentences and it will fill the space between them with a sentence gradient, a set of sentences that span the distance in between the two given ones. But along what dimension? Voyages in sentence space. An oracle of sentence gradients full article

R: Set Font Based on Output Device

Ever had a troublesome font in R that doesn’t want to render to ggplot in RStudio, but will render just fine in knitr? Do you use extrafont but sometimes it just doesn’t work? Trying to look like Tufte’s Visual Display of Quantitative Information but ETBembo is being uncooperative? Try setting your font (globally) to this. This sets myfont to serif if the code is being rendered in anything but knitr. If it is being rendered by knitr, say, by pressing the “Knit” button in RStudio, then it sets it to ETBembo. R: Set Font Based on Output Device full article

Warren Ellis on How to See the Future

Let me try this on you: The Olympus Mons mountain on Mars is so tall and yet so gently sloped that, were you suited and supplied correctly, ascending it would allow you to walk most of the way to space. Mars has a big, puffy atmosphere, taller than ours, but there’s barely anything to it at that level. 30 Pascals of pressure, which is what we get in an industrial vacuum furnace here on Earth. Warren Ellis on How to See the Future full article

A Very Important Thing to Remember About Writing

A Very Important Thing to Remember About Writing full article

Minimalist Stuff Mantra

When I find myself wanting something, or holding something, or wanting to get rid of something, this helps. Do I love it? Do I use it? Does it work? If I were to buy the item right now how much would I pay for it? If I sold it now how much would I get for it? (Source. Not sure where that came from, though.) Minimalist Stuff Mantra full article

Word Transformer Lite released!

For the past few months I’ve been working on designing and shepherding Word Transformer Lite and it’s finally on the App Store! I’ve been working with Theodore Swartz, the co-founder of The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, who wrote the initial design notes based on the works of Caleb Gattegno’s Words in Color curriculum and materials. This is the kind of work I really like. I designed and mocked up the screens and icon, reached out to BendyWorks, who built the app following our design with a wonderful back and forth through daily meetings in Slack and Google Hangouts, and finally submitted the whole package to the App Store. Word Transformer Lite released! full article

New open source project gaborgen-js

I’ve open-sourced my client-side Gabor patch generator, gaborgen-js. I made it because my online experiments expose participants to different distributions of features in stimuli like Gabor patches, and there are a lot of different values those stimuli can hold. Generating them beforehand and uploading and hosting those stimuli to a server can be annoying or restricted by participants’ limited bandwidth. I don’t use this anymore, though. I found that hosting static stimuli on S3 is more efficient for loading times and that 8-bit grayscale Gabor patches are very small in size. New open source project gaborgen-js full article

Make work with Pandoc and tufte.css

Here’s how to get to do all the Pandoc pre-processing for you when previewing documents. It also explains how to use tufte.css as a theme in Marked, which I find to be very pretty. This comes in really handy when you want to see what your document will look like, references and all. Things you’ll need: tufte.css ET-book Pandoc (or brew install pandoc if you have homebrew) First, install the ET-Book fonts locally. Make work with Pandoc and tufte.css full article

How to pay someone on MTurk when things go wrong

In my dissertation research I use Amazon Mechanical Turk to recruit participants for my experiments. Yesterday someone completed my experiment but Amazon would not let them complete the HIT, probably because they tried starting on one and switched to another (still not sure why). This meant that I had their data but couldn’t pay them. Amazon’s thought of this. They have a great guide about how to pay for non-submitted HITs. How to pay someone on MTurk when things go wrong full article

My first open-source project

Yesterday I wrote and published my first open source software, the awfully named jspsi-go-example. It is an experiment module for PsiTurk. PsiTurk makes it easy to run psychology experiments on the web using Amazon Mechanical Turk, where over half a million people do little tasks for a spot of coin. Because I don’t live where my university is, and because my project has a limited budget (as far as payout funding goes for projects with this much programming and set up) I plan on using MTurk this module as the basis of my dissertation experiment. My first open-source project full article

The Light Of The Classroom

I miss the cleanliness of college campuses, especially classrooms. In every classroom in every campus there is a kind of cleanliness that helps learning along its way. It’s like a mental lubrication. At IU this was very prominent, even in old builds where everything in a classroom could be made of wood, that wood was lacquered, and thickly, to be as plastic when cleaned and sprayed with whatever bleach-based thing they coated and wiped off every known surface. The Light Of The Classroom full article

On writing every day, and how spitting out crap first thing in the morning is useful

You wake up and you brush your teeth. You spit and rinse. Why don’t you do the same thing for your mind? Almost everyone I’ve talked to who makes a living by writing (which consists mostly of scientists) cannot praise enough my habit of writing every morning. I try to spit out 500 words in the morning before I go about my other work, no matter what is pressing. It’s a useful time to write for something, or to write about something, or to simply outline in sentence format, or just let ideas slip out. On writing every day, and how spitting out crap first thing in the morning is useful full article

Write down your own thoughts, don’t save others’

Saving a list promotes forgetting it. BPS Research Digest has a nice summary of a paper where merely the act of saving a list in a text editor lowers students’ abillity to recall its contents when tested later. Further details back up this interpretation. When the computer saving process was made unreliable – files kept getting lost – the saving process no longer boosted the students’ performance on the second list. Write down your own thoughts, don’t save others’ full article

You did good, Banditapple

This was a fine pocket notebook from Banditapple that I got as part of their trial program. It’s a little big, even for my massive 6’4″ self, but it held up in the front right pocket of my 501s for half a year. The paper felt great on my TWSBI 580EF and Kaweco Sport F. Very little ghosting, if any. The stitched binding held together great. I don’t think I’ll be ordering another one. You did good, Banditapple full article

How to disable f.lux for specific apps by hand

I use f.lux. But I don’t like the way games look with it on, especially when I’m trying a new one. I wanted to play Gravity Ghost, but I couldn’t minimize it, nor could I use a second screen to use f.lux’s “disable” option from the menubar. So I did it by hand. Located here. Add a line for the desired application. I found the f.lux plist file and added a line with disable- then the reverse URL name of the app I wanted to disable f. How to disable f.lux for specific apps by hand full article

Why we should give free money to everyone

I support the idea of a basic income for all people. This article argues for that. Legend has it that while Henry Ford II was giving a tour around a new, fully automatic factory to union leader Walter Reuther in the 1960s, Ford joked: ‘Walter, how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues?’ Reuther is said to have replied: ‘Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars? Why we should give free money to everyone full article

We don’t make books like we used to

What would these works cost if we made them like we used to? What would that buy us? We don’t make books like we used to full article

Cozy Browsing

One of the best parts of the Internet is how you can return to your past by changing your browsing habits. I just went on a reddit-fueled bender of fountain pens and notebooks and found some sites I’ve never seen, but the experience transported me back a few years to the waning days of the legitimate productivity blogs, when everyone was thinking about going analog again. It was a cozy few hours. Cozy Browsing full article

The harder we work, the more guilt we feel when relaxing

BPS Research Digest: The key finding is that the more depleted people felt after work (agreeing with statements like “I felt like my willpower was gone”), the more they tended to view their TV or gaming as procrastination, the more guilt they felt, and the less likely they were to say they felt restored afterwards. The same findings applied for TV or video games. A sad and vicious cycle. The harder we work, the more guilt we feel when relaxing full article

Quantum Cognition

In contrast to a two-valued (yes/no) logic of classical binary alternatives, where the complement of a proposition is identical with its negation, the complement of a quantum proposition typically deviates from its negation. A nice colloquial example is due to William James (1890b, p. 284): “The true opposites of belief… are doubt and inquiry, not disbelief.” In the Boolean sense, the complement and negation of belief is disbelief; in the quantum non-Boolean sense, doubt and inquiry are complements but not negations of belief. Quantum Cognition full article

Tomer Ullman: The Crying Game

He is, of course, joking. But it could work, right? My cats sound like babies, and they make me want to kill. (h/t The Baby Laughter Project) Sidenote: He’s this funny when he’s giving a “serious” talk, too. I saw him at CDS 2013. Tomer Ullman: The Crying Game full article

I Want a Programming Language

Here’s a list of things I want from a programming language. I know very little about this field. I program as an academic. I want to generate stimuli, design experiments, and write little helpers all in the same language with the same concepts. And I want to share those things. I want a programming language that lets me I can distribute executables after I compile my program. I want a programming language with a development environment that allows documentation to be seen locally, and alongside the program itself. I Want a Programming Language full article

New faculty positions versus new PhDs

This figure haunts me. New faculty positions versus new PhDs full article

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