ON ALTERNATION

Often, the best approach is not A or B, but an alternation of A and B.

For example, action and reflection. Or study and application.

It’s not about balance, but about making hypotheses and verifying them.

Thread (1/N)
For example, the human cortex 🧠 is based on the principle of *alternating* two operations: expansion and compression of information.

Only one operation would not be able to achieve any meaningful result.

Instead,
3/ Instead, the cortex alternates these two steps:
- It expands information across all possible hypotheses, relevant or irrelevant.
- It compresses information, by eliminating the hypotheses that are proved wrong by sensorial stimuli and/or experience.

This “brainstorm” is 💯
4/ In appearance, it is a very inefficient process.

It zigs & zags instead of taking a straight route.
It creates data points that that have a high chance of being discarded.

And yet, the human brain is the most efficient computing device we know of.

All thanks to alternation.
5/ (More details on the process in my paper “Techniques for the emergence of meaning in ML” on Luca-Dellanna.com
6/ In general, I’m under the impression that people and companies plateau in their development when they stop alternating.
7/ This is not only about action and reflection, but often about many alternative processes of similar effectiveness.

Alternation is a great way to create tentative data points and validate or invalidate them.

Short-term inefficient, long-term effective.
8/ As another example issued out of neurology, our cortex is not divided in one big area for thought and one big area for action.

Rather, every point in its surface performs both operations related to thought and action (In referring to L2/3 & L5, for those who know).

This…
9/ …This is another form of alternation: it provides a much faster feedback from thought to action back to though (fast feedback loops are effectively alternation)
10/ In sum:
- development is limited by feedback loops.
- alternation is a great way to get fast feedback loops.
11/ Learning is iteration.

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More from @DellAnnaLuca

2 Dec
ON MANDATORY VACCINATION

I'm against mandatory vaccination for vaccines without long-term studies, but as many countries are talking about mandatory vaccination, a few considerations.

(thread)
1/ There are not enough doses to mandate vaccination for everyone in a country, not in 2021.

Therefore, countries that do decide to mandate vaccination will have to prioritize, and only mandate it for some categories of people.

How to prioritize?
2/ We vaccinate individuals for two reason. To protect them, and to protect their contacts.

As a government, it only makes sense to enforce the latter.
Read 8 tweets
1 Dec
WHO official seems involved in a cover-up of a report of the Italian failures in fighting COVID.

The WHO seems to have preferred saving the reputation of the Italian over circulating information that could have saved lives.

(thread, 1/N)
2/ The investigative journalists of the quoted tweet outlet claim that they have emails showing that Tedros knew about it.
3/ The covered report, between others, claims that deaths were underestimated and that the central command-and-control was slow and led to blind spots.

Nothing new – but the news would the involvement of WHO officials in the cover-up. Image
Read 6 tweets
23 Nov
HOW TO PARETO-PRIORITIZE TWITTER

Probably, 20% of the tweets you read deliver 80% of the value of using Twitter.

You'd be a fool not to prioritize your feed.
Here's how I do it.

(thread, 1/5)
2/ First of all, I set up a Twitter List of the 20 accounts from which I get the most value, and I pin it to my Twitter app.

This is my default feed. Because there are few accounts, I can find the time to read all their tweets even on busy days.

For the rest…
3/ For the rest, I use an app called Mailbrew

I created a digest w/ "news" that gets delivered every morning in my inbox. Because it only shows the top 3 tweets by account, it ensures I only read the best

mailbrew.com/?aff=DellAnnaL… (affiliate, but I use it daily since 2 months)
Read 10 tweets
17 Nov
ON STUDENT DEBT
(thread)

1/ The worst possible outcome is forgiving student debt without changing the structural problems that led to this situation.

This would only make tuitions higher & reduce access to higher education, as described below.



[1/9]
2/ As a general principle, solving the symptom of a problem without solving the underlying causes is a terrible idea. It removes the urgency to solve the problem once and for all, making it grow larger.
3/ One question worth asking is, why is student debt not a problem in Europe?

The naive answer: government subsidies to students.

The real answer: contained costs.

The total operational costs for my ex-university in 2018 were "just" $7.8k / student / year.
Read 11 tweets
16 Nov
MORE PARAMETERS DON’T AWAYS LEAD TO MORE ACCURACY
(thread)

Italy assigned to each region a COVID risk level based on a complex model with 21 parameters.

Many experts claimed that the more parameters, the more precise the model.

Is it true, though?

(1/6)
2/ In most real-world cases, more parameters lead to worse predictions.

See the example below (from my gum.co/heuristic) ImageImageImage
3/ If we order the 21 parameters by descending predictive power, and apply it to the data used to build the model, we discover that:
- The first parameter alone predicts the outcome of many regions.
- The last parameter, at most, helps predicting the outcome of a single region.
Read 6 tweets
12 Nov
THE FUTURE OF NEWSLETTERS
(and announcing my new newsletter 🎉)

Too much noise, too little content we actually use.

Take your favorite newsletter. Can you remember the contents of the edition-before-the-last-one?

Me neither. But I have a solution

(thread, 1/N)
2/ Today, I launch the RoamLetter.

A newsletter whose content directly integrates into your note-taking system.

A newsletter whose editions AUTOMATICALLY link with each other *and with your notes* 👏

A newsletter with built-in spaced repetition.

A timeless newsletter.
3/ If you are a Roam user, you'll enjoy how the topics of one edition of my newsletter automatically link with your body of knowledge, and the other way around.

If you are not a Roam user, no worries. You can still use all the other features of my newsletter (pics below)
Read 13 tweets

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