Venkatesh Rao Profile picture
18 Oct, 14 tweets, 2 min read
critical thinking is so over-rated
via shitpost thinking, much more satisfying route to anything
the first step is to believe everything

the second step is to stop believing things the moment it feels like work

it’s okay to hold 2 contradictory beliefs so long as they wear masks and stay 6 feet apart
Yes. After 21 you have to use alcohol if you want to continue pruning

fpga that shit, avoid people addicted to “seeing connections”
lateral thinking is also bad

it’s just critical thinking rotated 90 degrees
any gains you make with critical or lateral thinking is paid for by blindspot growth somewhere else
people who advocate critical thinking also like to remind you that correlation is not causation

this is not a coincidence
you learn critical thinking by writing essays beginning with Webster’s dictionary definitions and avoiding Wikipedia links
I once met an actual critical thinker. Like for real, not just an earnest kid working on college applications. It was like a communist funeral.
non sequiturs are your brain’s way of breaking out of thought funerals
you think your thoughts, but your non sequiturs think you
my plan is to dissolve into a string of untraceable non sequiturs before gen z decides to take me down for lulz

millennials are critical thinkers, so mostly harmless

but z’s are a scary generation, very psycho. call me paranoid but I suspect I’ll be karenzoned and targeted
hard part is securing the mansion first

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More from @vgr

19 Oct
Philosophical interestingness ranking of sci-fi universes (in terms of meaningfulness, complexity, intelligibility...):

12. Star Wars
11. MCU
10. Doctor Who
9. Dune
8. Star Trek
7. Foundation
6. Deepness in the Sky
5. Hainish
4. Schismatrix
3. Rick & Morty
2. HHG
1. Culture
I’ve only read 1 culture novel but it’s obviously the most philosophically interesting by a mile
Pity so many famous writers didn’t bother to build proper universes. As in literally spanning space. PKD, Heinlein etc are a bunch of killer apps with no platform underneath. Le Guin squeaks through with a vagueworld universe.
Read 11 tweets
18 Oct
Trying to get some stuff straight.

- There are 200 types of common cold viruses.

- 10-40% colds are caused by rhinoviruses, 160 human types = mostly spring/summer colds

- 20% caused by 4 human types of coronaviruses, more winter colds

- 20% RSV (1 virus, hits kids more)
- There are 3 non-common-cold coronaviruses that cause more serious illness, making a total of 7. They are: SARS-CoV-1, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2

- The 4 regular coronaviruses are 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
- We don’t have a common cold vaccine because there’s too many

- We don’t even know the cause of ~20% but they are presumed viral

- Flu is more severe and has a vaccine because it’s only 3 virus families: A, B C.

- All flu pandemics are from the type A, with the HxNy typology
Read 18 tweets
17 Oct
I like the idea of a barbell for information consumption, but I've never liked the specific barbell that talebians seem to like -- ancient classics + contemporary fun/pulp trash. 🤔
I think my barbell is raw history plus present sensory data.

So book about 14th century: yes

Photo of a new kind of Starbucks coffee cup

Hubble image of a new deep sky object: yes

"Classics" or "must reads" from any era: probably not

E-channel celeb gossip or sports: No.
The sort of thing I have almost no patience for... concept-heavy philosophical or political writing, even if second-order evidence suggests I'd be simpatico.
Read 6 tweets
17 Oct
Basketball fans: why has 3-point shooting taken over? I’m guessing it’s not that the skill levels went up but that something made it a more valuable skill to cultivate? What?
This is so going into my files as “getting inside the opponents OODA loop” examples file
It’s kinda lovely. Clean examples of shift in real-life dominant strategies are rare.
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct
“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” — William Faulkner

Inspired ot not, I’ve been averaging a few thousand words a week across 2-3 channels (ribbonfarm being the constant one) pretty much nonstop for 13 years. 🤔
2007-09: ribbonfarm only
2009-12 (I think): ribbonfarm, Be Slightly Evil, Quora, Tempo on the side
2012-14: ribbonfarm, Forbes
2015-19: ribbonfarm, breaking smart
2019-20: ribbonfarm, breaking smart, art of gig
The word budget ranged from ~300 phoned-in words on 1 channel on low weeks to a peak of probably 15k words in a single week.

The distribution was very variable. Having multiple channels in multiple styles kinda suits my temperament.
Read 6 tweets
16 Oct
Your title ≠ Your job ≠ Your work ≠ What you do ≠ Who you are 😖

Kegan’s slippery career slope

1. I am my title
2. I am my job, I have a title
3. I am my work, I have a job with a title
4. I am what I do, I have work to do in a job with a title
5. I am, I have doings
Boyd’s “be somebody or do something” is a 4-5 leap. You can’t do something effectively until you stop being your doings. It’s a form of outcome attachment. Especially when the outcome is your own survival (do or die). To really have a doing you have to let go outcome attachment.
In general I find the Kegan model to be of limited use due to the linearity of progression (I like the greater expressivity of branching divergence) but it’s a good model for careers because they’re also a linear-progress context. Ladders work on pyramids.
Read 5 tweets

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