A rational fanfic
Last week, I binge-read perhaps the smartest fanfic ever written about the Harry Potter series, called "Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality". The 122-chapter long story written by Less Wrong founder, Eliezer Yudkowsky depicted an alternative universe where Harry was raised by his loving adopted parents, Oxford profession and Petunia who became super hot after begging her sister to make her a beauty potion. Now Harry is super smart and logical, a scientist. Would it make him a better hero and person than the average-IQ Harry who can fly fairly? The story is full of science facts, at many points I found myself deeply confused, but with my average IQ, I managed to pick up a few along the line, I also picked up philosophical thoughts about life:
What makes a person smart is not high IQ but his nonstop curiosity of life.
The fact that you react to others strongly may indicate some hidden fear rather than demanding for justice.
Also, there's one interesting game in chapter 8 about the "positive bias", which means if you focus too much on getting the right answer, you may miss finding out the right answer at all.
Highly recommend the fiction if you're not afraid it will eat up the entire day.
Now onto the newsletter:
Against being a real person: A brilliant post by Terry Nguyen about how being anonymous on the Internet is no longer possible. As everything is a commodity and social platforms encourage users to become creators, is it still possible to have fun being anonymous online or must you play the game correctly (exposing your real self without appearing too flawed)? In other words, the Internet is making you more addicted without giving enough compensation, are you a willing victim?
Why I Don’t Agree with Elon Musk and Like the Guy Anyway: I have no comment whether the Tesla founder is a hero or villain, but I learned some really good analogies from this article by Desiree, like this one "sometimes we scale a good idea with such speed that it becomes bad. Example? The showerhead with less water. People think: Oh I save water. And then they shower longer or more often. We minimize the use of water per shower moment and we maximize again on duration." Doing more of the good stuff is always good. The key is balance. In sustainability or anything in life, you can't blindly adopt one good habit and ignore the rest. As everything is part of a system, you have to balance all the elements. Like in the shower example above, time and happiness of showering.
How art can be good: I shared this last week, but here's a quote I really like that I want to share again: Tastes are a series of concentric rings, like ripples on the pond. There are some that will appeal to you and your friend, others that will appeal to most people your age, others that will appeal to most humans, and perhaps others that would appeal to most sentient beings. There's nothing as subjective art, things that appeal to you are most likely to appeal to someone else, even the entire humanity. As an artist, make sure you create for an audience, not just for yourself.
How To Track Your Income And Build Financial Stability: A great piece with detailed breakdown and case study by Nathaniel on how to build a steady income around your Traditional Work, Flexible Work, and Passion-Driven Work/ Entrepreneurship. The key is to do what you love for passive income but still maintain a degree of control over your traditional and flexible work for a safety net.
Mazers of Mirrors of Creation: "“Zero” represents the true start of a startup where you have nothing other than the contents of your skull. Your intention is invisible. When you reach “one,” reality has reorganized around your creation. You exist." Creation is a journey, rather than an instant success from the beginning. Just like when you travel in a maze, you don't know how long it will take you to reach the goal, you just keep going, move one step closer, then hit a deadend and try again. The journey is completed once you've tried out all the options that don't work.
A great illustration from the post:
That’s it for the week.
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