Archive for January, 2019

Football and the ancient Roman gladiator games

January 30, 2019

Excerpt of an interview on the HBO show Real Sports, January 2019:

Interviewer: “You go to a Princeton college football game and everyone is cheering in the stands. But almost all the [affluent] people we spoke to aren’t going to let their kids play football [due to the risk of brain injury].”

Boston University doctor brain concussion/CTE expert: “That does become a gladiator type situation. Go hurt yourself for my entertainment.”

The most effective way to change your inner world is to change your outer world

January 26, 2019

Question: What’s the fastest way to improve your inner world (confidence, self-image, inner dialog, etc.)?

Answer: Improve your outer world.

If you want to be more confident or effective, rather than relying on easily-defeated positive thinking and mental gymnastics, learn to run faster, lift more than your peers, or lose those last ten pounds. It’s measurable, it’s clear, and you can’t lie to yourself. It therefore works.

The separation of mind and body is false. They are intertwined. Start with the precision of changing physical reality and a domino effect with often take care of the internal.

— The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss, page 467.

The Powerpoint slide is my canvas for expressing information

January 23, 2019

I treat each slide in a Powerpoint document as a canvas, like an artist’s canvas. Instead of placing artwork on the canvas, I place words, pictures, and drawings that will hopefully convey useful information to the viewer. By treating each slide as a canvas, I feel liberated to discard the rigid header-body format; I often set the layout to blank and then create to my heart’s delight.

Compiler writers are the unsung heroes of the computer age

January 13, 2019

It recently dawned on me that everything we do with a computer, from making friends on Facebook, to running weather forecasting models, to rendering images on a browser, gets compiled down to a set of simple operations that a CPU executes at amazingly fast speeds. Without compilers and compiler writers most of the amazing things we do today with computers would not be possible.

I bow in honor of Alan Turing, who recognized that all computing can be done using a set of simple operations. Turing made the revolutionary breakthrough. Turing made today’s computers possible.

I bow in honor of the person or persons who recognized that high level languages can be created and broken down into – compiled into – the simple operations that Turing identified.

I bow in honor of compiler writers, who have devised ways to produce assembly code (CPU instructions) that are even more efficient than hand-crafted code.

I bow in honor of CPU makers; their machines are Turing’s soul incarnate in computers.

My strategy for mastering the Olympic weightlifting lifts

January 6, 2019

My new goal is to master the Olympic lifts. In particular, I want to master the snatch. One Olympic weightlifting champion (Jerzy Gregorek) says, If you can snatch your body weight into your 80s, then you will have a wonderful life. Why does he say that? Because the snatch is one of the most complex movements. It requires these attributes: flexibility, speed, and strength. The nice thing is, once possessed, those attributes transfer over to all parts of one’s life.

Here is my step-by-step plan to master the Olympic lifts:

(1) Increase my flexibility. Jerzy Gregorek said it took him a year to gain the required flexibility. I am sure it will take me at least that long. Probably twice as long. That’s okay. I want a solid foundation. I’ve been working on improving my flexibility for about a month. I’ve made good progress, but still have a long way to go.

(2) Master the squat press. What’s a squat press? It is this: Do a squat. At the bottom of the squat, press the bar overhead. Then stand up.

(3) Hire an Olympic weightlifting coach to teach me the snatch. I don’t think the snatch can be safely learned on one’s own.