Richard Stallman

I’ve always lived cheaply. I live like a student, basically. And I like that, because it means that money is not telling me what to do. I can do what I think is important for me to do. It freed me to do what seemed worth doing. So make a real effort to avoid getting sucked into all the expensive lifestyle habits of typical Americans. Because if you do that, then people with the money will dictate what you do with your life. You won’t be able to do what’s really important to you.

— Richard Stallman

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There is nothing wrong to be a student-having a lot of new learnings and new young friends, as long as you can earn enough money.

— Me@2011.08.20

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2018.05.15 Tuesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

DS9

33 INT. HOLDING AREA

Quark and Sakonna are sharing the same cell.

QUARK
I hope you’re happy.

SAKONNA
I am a Vulcan. My emotional state is irrelevant.

QUARK
Well I’m a Ferengi. And my emotional state is very relevant. And right now, I’m miserable. And it’s all your fault.

SAKONNA
You were well paid for your assistance.

QUARK
Not well enough. Look, why don’t you just tell them what they want to know?

Sakonna just stares at him.

DEEP SPACE: “The Maquis, II” – 02/17/94 – ACT FOUR 42.

33 CONTINUED:

QUARK
(continuing, talking confidentially) I know the Cardassians can’t be trusted. I know that the Central Command would like nothing better than to destroy the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone.

SAKONNA
Then you agree with our position?

QUARK
Not for a second.

SAKONNA
Why not?

QUARK
Because your position is… (searching for the right word) Illogical.

This takes Sakonna off guard.

SAKONNA
Do you propose to lecture me on logic?

QUARK
I don’t want to, but you leave me no choice. It all comes down to the third Rule of Acquisition.

(off her blank reaction)

You don’t know that one, do you?

SAKONNA
I am not well versed in Ferengi philosophy.

QUARK
Remind me to get you a copy of the Rules. You never know when they’ll come in handy. Now, the third rule clearly states,

Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to.

SAKONNA
Logical. But I fail to see how that applies to my situation.

DEEP SPACE: “The Maquis, II” – 02/17/94 – ACT FOUR 43.

33 CONTINUED: (2)

QUARK
You want to acquire peace. Fine.

Peace is good. But how much are you
willing to pay for it?

SAKONNA
Whatever it costs.

QUARK
That’s the kind of irresponsible spending that causes so many business ventures to fail.

You’re forgetting the third rule. Right now peace could be bought at a bargain price and you don’t even realize it.

SAKONNA
I find this very confusing.

QUARK
Then I’ll make it so simple that even a Vulcan can understand. The Central Command has been caught red-handed smuggling weapons to their settlers. So from now on, every ship approaching the Demilitarized Zone will be searched. Without the support of the Central Command, the Cardassian settlers won’t be so eager to fight.

SAKONNA
You forget the weapons they already have.

QUARK
They have weapons… you have weapons… everyone has weapons. But right now, no one has a clear advantage. So the price of peace is at an all-time low. This is the perfect time to sit down and hammer out an agreement. Don’t you get it… attacking the Cardassians now will only escalate the conflict and make peace more expensive in the long run. Now I ask you, is that logical?

Quark sits down, pleased with his performance.

— Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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2018.03.16 Friday ACHK

Creative constraints

Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or … does it?

If you’re like most people you’d probably be paralyzed by this task. Why?

Brandon Rodriguez explains how creative constraints actually help drive discovery and innovation.

With each invention, the engineers demonstrated an essential habit of scientific thinking – that solutions must recognize the limitations of current technology in order to advance it.

Understanding constraints guides scientific progress, and what’s true in science is also true in many other fields.

Constraints aren’t the boundaries of creativity, but the foundation of it.

— The power of creative constraints

— Lesson by Brandon Rodriguez

— animation by CUB Animation

— TED-Ed

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We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

— Carl Jung

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2018.02.17 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Intellectual Headaches

Game design

They got the key, and then some other stuff happened, and then they reached the door, and were able to open it; but “acquiring the key” and “opening the door” were stored as two separate, disconnected events in the player’s mind.

If the player had encountered the locked door first, tried to open it, been unable to, and then found the key and used it to open the door, the causal link would be unmistakable. You use the key to open the locked door, because you can’t open the locked door without the key.

Math education

I’ve drawn parallels between game design and education before, but it still took me a while to realize that problem-solution ordering issues crop up just as often in the classroom as they do in games.

Remember how, in high school math class, a lot of the work you were doing felt really, really pointless?

Consider Dan Meyer’s question for math educators: if math is the aspirin, then how do you create the headache?

In other words: if you introduce the solution (in this case, a new kind of math) before introducing the kind of problems that it’s meant to solve, the solution is likely to come across as pointless and arbitrary. But if you first let students try to tackle these problems with the math they already understand, they’re likely to come away with a kind of intellectual “headache” – and, therefore, to better understand the purpose of the “aspirin” you’re trying to sell.

Functional programming

— Locked doors, headaches, and intellectual need

— 27 October 2015

— Affording Play

Here are some excerpts of an elegant essay. Please go to the author’s website to read the whole.

— Me@2015-11-03 03:46:41 PM

2015.11.03 Tuesday ACHK

Passion Test

The Top Idea in Your Mind, 6 | 事業愛情觀 6

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To check whether a project is your true love, ask yourself:

Am I willing to spend INFINITE time on it?

— Me@2015-07-05 04:26:24 PM

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Do you want it to be one of your lifelong projects?

Are you willing to follow it up for your whole life?

— Me@2015-07-12 11:00:11 AM

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2015.07.12 Sunday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Market price 2

Joel Spolsky

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Livingston: If people have to pay more, they take the product more seriously?

Spolsky: Definitely. There was a five-user license that was like $199, and that just feels like shareware, practically. But today, when you say that a ten-user license is $999, it starts to feel like a more substantial product. In that market, it still is actually a good deal. But you really have to have a price point that conveys what you think the product positioning should be. Many people will judge where your product fits in the market based on its price.

— Joel Spolsky, Cofounder, Fog Creek Software

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2010.11.23 Tuesday ACHK

兩不合理取其輕 1.2

這段改編自 2010 年 4 月 10 日的對話。

接著,我跟她(的顯意識)解釋:

你的潛意識雖然沒有錯,化學科需要背誦的東西之中,真的有一半是『不合理』的東西;但是,如果你因為不肯背誦『不合理』的東西,而導致入不到大學,那就更加『不合理』。

兩害取其輕,兩利取其大。入大學前,在化學科之中,你要用你的『顯意識』,凌駕你的『潛意識』。

可以避免的東西,就盡量避免。但是,對於一些考試必須、不能避免的『原材料』,無論『有意義』還是『不合理』,你也要背誦。

那就是為什麼我會話,我當年有部分科目,A 不到的主要原因是,我當年不肯做,不合理的事情。當年的我以為,數學和物理,是思考的科目,不應背誦,所有東西也應該是,自己想出來的。那想法近乎完全錯誤。

正確的版本應該是,數學和物理,是思考的科目,所以大部分的東西也可以「生背」,只有小部分要「死背」。而「生背」的意思是,先明白道理,後背誦結果。可以「生背」的東西,就不要「死背」,因為有明顯道理的東西,就即是有上文下理,你背誦以後,就不易遺忘或記錯。

企圖選擇「生背」,盡量避免「死背」之後,仍然殘留下來,必須「死背」的東西,就唯有「死背」,不宜再作無謂的盤算。

總括而言,無論是為了學問還是成績,背誦(生背和死背)不單是必須的,而且要大量地進行。

— Me@2014.08.18

2014.08.19 Tuesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

兩不合理取其輕

這段改編自 2010 年 4 月 10 日的對話。

我現在知道,我當年有部分科目,A 不到的原因。其中一個原因是,我不夠聰明。但是,更重要的原因是,我當年不肯做,不合理的事情。

有時,我會有靈感,導致我會講到一些,其他人講不到的東西。例如,我有次講得到某個學生,一個讀書方法上的重大缺點。我猜想,只我才會準確指出,她那個缺點的詳情,令到她可以改正。

去年有一位學生,她說有很多次,在閱讀化學考試卷題目時,都有一頭霧水的感覺,連答案的第一步,都未必寫得出來。然後,我告訴她,如果沒有足夠資料,一個人多聰明也沒有用。正如,即使你是烹飪天才,如果沒有足夠的食物材料,也沒有辦法煮到美味的菜色。所以,我估計她「一頭霧水」的原因是,在化學科之中,沒有作足夠的背誦,導致作答題目時,「原材料」不足。

她不會知道,她不肯背誦化學的真正原因,所以我告訴她。她的性格是,從來不肯做「不合理」的事。雖然她的顯意識不知道,但是潛意識感覺到,化學科需要背誦的東西之中,有一半是無謂的東西。「無謂」的意思是,沒有道理、不能合體的零碎資料。所以她的潛意識會自動反抗:「即使我用功背誦,長遠來說,那堆無謂的資料,一來不是有趣,二來沒有用處,三來會高速忘記。那我背來有什麼意義呢?」

接著,我跟她(的顯意識)解釋:

你的潛意識雖然沒有錯,化學科需要背誦的東西之中,真的有一半是『不合理』的東西;但是,如果你因為不肯背誦『不合理』的東西,而導致入不到大學,那就更加『不合理』。

兩害取其輕,兩利取其大。入大學前,在化學科之中,你要用你的『顯意識』,凌駕你的『潛意識』。

可以避免的東西,就盡量避免。但是,對於一些考試必須、不能避免的『原材料』,無論『有意義』還是『不合理』,你也要背誦。 

那就是為什麼我會話,我當年有部分科目,A 不到的主要原因是,我當年不肯做,不合理的事情。

— Me@2014.08.14

2014.08.14 Thursday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

點石不成金

這段改編自 2010 年 4 月 10 日的對話。

我發現我有一個,一般人沒有的優點,就是除了想自己才智過人外,亦同時想令到身邊的人,有我的才智,或者有超過我的才智。

(安:我都有一點兒這個傾向。但是,最大的問題是,我發覺大部分人,也是不能提升的。例如,我試過以一個免費補習的形式,教導一位舊同事英文文法。那樣,他就可以有系統地,學習英文文法。

我不是說我是英文文法專家,但我純熟過他很多,所以,我教他的文法,一定足夠他平日工作使用。

不過,在上了很多課之後,我發現他仍然會問我一大堆,在課程之中,明明已經教過他的東西。換句話之,我花了那麼多時間後,他竟然可以近乎一句不漏地,把我教的內容忘記。)

有些情況下,應該幫助別人。有些情況下,則不應該幫助別人。至於哪些情況下應該幫,哪些情況下不應幫,可根據一個大原則,就是

如果你幫他,事情的發展是好還是壞?

換而言之,你要企圖做好事,但千萬不要企圖做好人。時刻「企圖做好人」的危機是,你很多時會「好心做壞事」,害了別人,又害了自己。

你在這件事上,棋差一着的地方是,你竟然「免費」教導他。沒有成本,自然不會上心。毋須付出,自然不會重視。

如果他有交學費,而那些學費是來自他自己,不是來自他父母金錢的話,他就不會對你的教導,左耳入右耳出。

— Me@2014.06.23

If you’re good at something, never do it for free.

— The Dark Knight

When you give a lot of importance to someone in your life, you lose your importance in their life.

2014.06.23 Monday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

The Nice Guy Paradox, 2

Being a nice guy can be a problem, because “always being nice” gives no feedback and no directions. In effect, “always being nice” gives people an infinite number of choices. Remember,

choices ~ headaches

In other words, you should be nice as often as possible, but not always. Be angry when you have to.

— Me@2011.06.26

— Me@2014.06.22

2014.06.22 Sunday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

結果為本 3.2

答非所問 4.2

這段改編自 2013 年 11 月 16 日的對話。

同理,解決「不夠勤力」的最好方法是,令到自己不需要「勤力」。你要設計一套溫習系統,令到自己無論「夠不夠勤力」,也能奪得上佳的成績。

(A:有那樣的系統嗎?)

我上幾次教你的讀書方法,例如「魔法筆記」和「魔法時間表」等,就是那樣的一個系統。

記住,成績表並不會有一欄分數,叫做「勤力分」,來評價你勤不勤力。

溫習的重點,在於「適量」和「正確」,即是對症下藥,而不在於「勤不勤力」。追求「勤力」的主要問題是,你往往會忽略了做事的「效率」;你往往會為了得到「勤力」的感覺,而做了一大堆沒有用途的事情。相反,如果你追求的是「學問」和「成績」,你自然會重視做事的「效率」,不會盲目追求「勤力」;你自然會在應該「勤力」的地方「勤力」,應該「懶惰」的地方「懶惰」。

例如,明天考試的範圍是第一和第二課。但你沒有足夠時間,去完全溫習兩課的內容。而老師又明言,由於第二課是新教的,所以會佔了大部分的考試內容。

如果你追求的是「勤力」,你很可能會不自覺地,由第一課開始,詳細地溫習。漸漸地你會發覺,你不會有有足夠的時間,去溫習第二課。相反,如果你追求的是「結果」,你自然有計劃地,在溫習第一課時「懶惰」,在溫習第二課時「勤力」。例如,你先溫習第二課,有時間剩餘,才處理第一課。

— Me@2014.05.11

2014.05.11 Sunday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

In Time

Plot

In 2169, people are born genetically engineered with a digital clock, bearing 1 year of time, on their forearm. When they turn 25, they stop aging, but their clock begins counting down; when it reaches zero, that person “times out” and dies instantly. Time on these clocks are the universal currency; by touching arms, one person can transfer it to another, or to/from a separate clock (a “time capsule”). The country is divided into “time zones” based on the wealth of its population. There are two main time zones: Dayton, which is poor, and New Greenwich, the wealthiest zone, where inhabitants are constantly surrounded by bodyguards.

— Wikipedia on In Time

2014.03.12 Wednesday ACHK