Futurama

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Professor Farnsworth: For example, if you killed your grandfather, you’d cease to exist!

Fry: But existing is basically all I do!

— Roswell That Ends Well

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2010.09.14 Tuesday ACHK

Language courses

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Language courses are an anomaly. I think they’re better considered as extracurricular activities, like pottery classes. They’d be far more useful when combined with some time living in a country where the language is spoken. On a whim I studied Arabic as a freshman. It was a lot of work, and the only lasting benefits were a weird ability to identify semitic roots and some insights into how people recognize words.

— Paul Graham

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2010.09.11 Saturday ACHK

The teachers and the leading practitioners

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One way to tell whether a field has consistent standards is the overlap between the leading practitioners and the people who teach the subject in universities. At one end of the scale you have fields like math and physics, where nearly all the teachers are among the best practitioners. In the middle are medicine, law, history, architecture, and computer science, where many are. At the bottom are business, literature, and the visual arts, where there’s almost no overlap between the teachers and the leading practitioners. It’s this end that gives rise to phrases like “those who can’t do, teach.”

— Paul Graham

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2010.08.15 Sunday ACHK

Paul (octopus)

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Paul (hatched January 2006) is a common octopus living in a tank at a Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, who is an animal oracle and now retired predictor of football matches, usually international matches in which Germany was playing. He came to worldwide attention with his accurate predictions in the 2010 World Cup.

2010 FIFA World Cup

Paul’s accurate choices for the 2010 World Cup, broadcast live by German news channel NTV, endowed him with celebrity status.  Paul predicted the winners of each of the seven 2010 FIFA World Cup matches that the German team played, against Australia, Serbia, Ghana, England, Argentina, Spain, and Uruguay.

Paul correctly predicted the outcome of the semi-final, by choosing the food in the box marked with the Spanish flag. German supporters drew hope from his incorrect choice for the Germany versus Spain match in the UEFA Euro 2008 but were disappointed.

Paul maintained a 100% accurate record during the tournament by correctly predicting Spain’s victory over the Netherlands in the final.

— Wikipedia on Paul (octopus)

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2010.07.13 Tuesday ACHK

Physics 2

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Knowledge of physical science will not console me for ignorance of morality in time of affliction, but knowledge of morality will always console me for ignorance of physical science.

— Blaise Pascal

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2010.07.06 Tuesday ACHK

Experimental error

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Today’s experimental error is tomorrow’s new theory. If you want to discover great new things, then instead of turning a blind eye to the places where conventional wisdom and truth don’t quite meet, you should pay particular attention to them.

— Paul Graham

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2010.07.04 Sunday ACHK

Total Football

荷蘭足球

全能足球

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“Total Football” is the label given to an influential tactical theory of association football in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team (save the goalkeeper). It was pioneered by Dutch football club Ajax from 1969 to 1973, and further used by the Netherlands National Football Team in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. It was invented by Rinus Michels, a famous Dutch football trainer/coach (who was the coach of both Ajax and the Netherlands national team at the time).

In Total Football, a player who moves out of his position is replaced by another from his team, thus retaining the team’s intended organizational structure. In this fluid system, no player is fixed in his nominal role; anyone can be successively an attacker, a midfielder and a defender. The only player fixed in his nominal position is the goalkeeper.

Total Football’s tactical success depends largely on the adaptability of each footballer within the team, in particular his ability to quickly switch positions depending on the on-field situation. The theory requires players to be comfortable in multiple positions; hence, it places high technical and physical demands on them.

— Wikipedia on Total Football

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2010.06.30 Wednesday ACHK

Isaac Newton

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To do really great things, you have to seek out questions people didn’t even realize were questions.

You only get one life. Why not do something huge?

And you know more are out there, separated from us by what will later seem a surprisingly thin wall of laziness and stupidity.

— Paul Graham

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2010.06.28 Monday ACHK

Clarke’s three laws 4

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* Clarke’s Law of Revolutionary Ideas: Every revolutionary idea — in science, politics, art, or whatever — seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases:

(1) “It’s completely impossible — don’t waste my time”;
(2) “It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing”;
(3) “I said it was a good idea all along.”

— The Promise of Space (1968); This and similar statements attributed to Mahatma Gandhi and J. B. S. Haldane may ultimately be derived from a statement attibuted to Arthur Schopenhauer:

All truth passes through three stages.

First it is ridiculed.
Second it is violently opposed.
And third it is accepted as self-evident.

— As quoted in Seeds of Peace : A Catalogue of Quotations (1986) by Jeanne Larson, Madge Micheels-Cyrus, p. 244

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2010.06.21 Monday ACHK

Clarke’s three laws 3

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Arthur C. Clarke famously said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  But in my house, any sufficiently advanced technology is broken, and no one knows how to fix it.

— Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!

— Scott Adams

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2010.06.20 Sunday ACHK

Job: Meaning of Life 2

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Your life would have no meaning if you just stay at home, using all the time thinking about the meaning of life.

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Every day, we face thousands of problems.

In order to survive, we have to create thousands of solutions to those thousands of problems.

Some of your solutions are not only useful for yourself,

but also useful for a lot of others.

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Why not publish them?

— Me@2010.02.22

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2010.06.19 Saturday copyright ACHK

Six Principles for Making New Things

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Here it is: I like to find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly.

If you work on overlooked problems, you’re more likely to discover new things, because you have less competition. If you deliver solutions informally, you (a) save all the effort you would have had to expend to make them look impressive, and (b) avoid the danger of fooling yourself as well as your audience. And if you release a crude version 1 then iterate, your solution can benefit from the imagination of nature, which, as Feynman pointed out, is more powerful than your own.

— Paul Graham

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2010.06.18 Friday ACHK

Genius 2

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All children are born geniuses;

9999 out of every 10000 are swiftly,

inadvertently degeniusized by grownups.

— Buckminster Fuller

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The way to be a genius is to REALIZE that you are already one

as long as you can keep your child-self

against all the evils in the world.

— Me@2010.01.01

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2010.05.28 Friday copyright ACHK