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What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#93)

Learned last week: Learning like a mad scientist, the chat bot is smarter than you think, we’re all functionally illiterate, and more!

Article excerpt I enjoyed:

INTERVIEWER: You seem very troubled—but not by death?
BALDWIN: Yes, true, but not at all by death. I’m troubled over getting my work done and over all the things I’ve not learned. It’s useless to be troubled by death, because then, of course, you can’t live at all.” (Margaret Jull Costa, The Art of Fiction No. 78)

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/2994/the-art-of-fiction-no-78-james-baldwin


Book excerpt I was thinking about:

“Just as long-distance runners push through pain to experience the pleasure of “runner’s high,” I have largely gotten past the pain of my mistake making and instead enjoy the pleasure that comes with learning from it. I believe that with practice you can change your habits and experience the same “mistake learner’s high.”” (Ray Dalio, Principles)


How to learn like a mad scientist:


What it means to be functionally illiterate:


Learning how to learn:

A couple of things that jumped out, namely about the skill of noticing:

Notice what you’re enjoying! Learning is significant cognitive labour, and takes effort. It’s way easier when you feel excited about what you’re working on. Give yourself permission to follow your curiosity, and dive down rabbit holes. Notice the spark of curiosity and nurture it into drive for what you’re trying to do.

Also, teaching!

A phenomenally powerful way of learning something deeply is to teach it to somebody else!
One model I have of learning, is that I take in information in the format of language. But in my head, they’re stored in a more abstract, conceptual format. And the key challenge of learning is having a concept translated into language in the first place, and then translate from language into concepts, with as few errors as possible. And this will inevitably leave corruptions and holes, but these aren’t always clear (especially if I struggle to notice confusion or surprise!). Teaching forces me to convert this from concepts back into language, but using different words and framings, so it must go via the conceptual framework in my head. And this both reinforces those concepts, and make the corruptions and holes way more visceral. It’s easy to brush over something confusing when rushing through a textbook, but you can’t brush over it when explaining to somebody else.

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/qLqyPMfc8epav72JF/learning-how-to-learn


The ghost town at the edge of the world:

Short video.

Once a booming mining town in the early 20th Century, now the remnants of Kennecott remain surprisingly preserved, perched on the mountains of the Alaskan wilderness.

Only around 200 people still live in and around the area, embracing the isolation of one of the most remote ghost towns in the world.

https://www.bbc.com/reel/video/p08svx89/the-picturesque-ghost-town-at-the-edge-of-the-world


The chat bot is smarter than you think:

This is funny and scary at the same time. A great use of 5 mins.


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