Sunday, October 23, 2011

The autodidact advantage. 2 : Much more aspects

The weighting problem. In reality, the distribution of the importance of different parts of knowledge, is highly skewed. Some ideas are immensly more  relevant than others. I suspect that formal training makes you treat all knowledge with the same importance (got to pass exams;))

Very exciting to think freshly and at your own interest and pace.

Since everyone thinks that formal education is where the wisdom is, there is much more place to invent and learn in the less trodden way. It is like digging gold in a new continent. You do not dig gold in newyork city center.

Since most formal training is not teaching you much, it is a huge waste that can be utilized to much more effective study.

If you want a hundred papers looking for minor variances of known phenomena maybe you are better off with those people who are "in the trade". If you prefer a single breakthrough, you may be better off trying to listen to foreigners

Being AD, you can concentrate on the areas where you have the most advantage. i.e. you can optimize your learning inline with your personal strengths. (remember the 20/80 adage "You win by entering the races where you have an advantage, not by striving to improve your performance in 'the race'" – The 20/80 principle P.142).
You may also focus your learning toward your goals.

The mistake of selection. Some notice that people with degrees are sharoer on average. Yet the degree is probably not the cause. Smarter people have higher chance to enroll and finish formal studies. 
Most of the effect of formal degrees is to signal who is capable. Possibly the study itself is not adding (there is no easy data on how much of  degrees effect to salarie is signaling  and selection, but it is very plausible)

Looks like learning and reading without the purpose of passing exams and writing a paper may be much more optimal. Because you can do shortcuts, and once you get the point you are done.

AD is a selection toward true interest in the topic, and a real interest may increase truth seeking and investment is whatever needed to know better. But formal learning is usually oriented toward a goal, and when your goal is to accomplish your PhD, truth and intellectual curiosity is not the highest value.

{copied}"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world," wrote George Bernand Shaw. "The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." 
we need sutodidacts that are not in the habit of accomodating themselves to the system

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The autodidact advantage. The beginning......

Ultimately Being autodidact is about creativity. The difference between predictable ways of doing knowledge and autonomously chosen wyas, is what differs institutionally taught thinkers and self learned. Creativity and self created order is a double edged quality. But only a moron will say that predefined order is always better.

Autodidact is about enjoying learning and thinking. When you are free, you tend to learn with joy. In enjoyable ways. You choose the most interesting subjects and so on. 
Ultimately, the more you enjoy the process the more productive you are. And more creative ( good mood breds ceativity, research shows)

Self study has more relevance. You have no system to force you, so you gravitate towards what is naturally most interesting. Which is usually the more relevant questions

More practically oriented. 

Better odds for interesting findings. Much of academ is about doing thing is a quite known way. Hence, many people act similarly and may get incrementally better results, but not much unexpected breakthrough. Autodidacts have better chnaces to find really new things (steve jobs was thinking differently)

No domain insulation. Much insights come from combining different fields. Autodidacts are less field secluded.

Do not listen to phds about this
The self interest of the phds is against autodidacts. Every critic of this that has a phd, is suspect. As he has a strong self interest to exalt the value of his institutional (and overvalued) "knowledge"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why voting is rational

Assume the value of difference between two candidates is half a trillion dollar (reasonable with crises, iraq etc.).

With twenty or less million votes being critical, the probability of a. Sngle vote changing who is president is 1/20,000,000. 

The expected value of a single vote is the soceity value ($500,000,000,000) times teh probability of the vote being pivotal. * 1/20,000,000

==== $25,000 value of a single vote. 

This is the value for soceity.

Thus, if voters care about their soceity as a whole, they are very reasonable in spending one. Hour to vote and giving. The public $25,000 in value.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Your first idea, vs. the rest of newere ideas

You have a first idea that come to your mind. then you start entertaining other possibilities. maybe maybe and maybe. 
there is the one first idea, and the myriad of alternative ideas. who is better? (on average)

The first idea that comes to mind, compared to every single other idea, is generally better. Not better than all the ideas. But better than the next one, or if compared to one idea of the bunch chosen randomely.
the reason is that what comes first to mind is not coming first for no reason. the system is usually bringing the seemingly best idea first, and every additional idea is on average of lower quality.

Now one of the additional million ideas, is probably better tahn the first one. But this is only this idea that is the best of all the rest. 

So if you select the best idea of all the all the newer ideas, you can get a much better idea than the first. But the average idea is worse.
PS> related to stupid openmindedness post above

stupid openmindedness

being open minded is many times bad. very bad.
open mindedness is useful only when the outcome of opening ones mind is better than the closed minded alternative. 

So opening your mind when stupid people are around, or those who do not understand your issues etc. is stupid. 

I am now walking on the street and a couples of advertising teenagers stop me to give me a leaflet of a boxing match. This is distracting and useless.
Openmindedness suggest that I will think again "maybe I hsould take the leaflet?"
This is stupid openmindedness.

stupid open mindedness is very common when we have an emotional want to something. trying again with the ex? do nto be closed minded, give it a chance.
some newspaper is on the desk, you know it is poisenous for the brain and the psyche (only troubles there), yet you are enfatuated to read it. so you become openminded "maybe there is still something useful" + " do nto be so sure on your opinion, some people find newspapers sueful" etc.

The same idea holds when people that have a vested interest tell you to be openminded and listen to them. I have a rule "never listen to self improvement advice from someone currently arguing with you / complaining. Note that the very giving of advice in this case is highly inelegant. Again, stupid openmindedness makes you listen, and again you r self interest.

assumptions (theories) and local optimizaitons of individuals

some peopel ahve a grand theory of life. Like having a specific health approach, or to thinking.

They are immensly successful and have many success stories of followers as well.

These guys are efficient, smart, and are DOERS.

Being efficient, smart and a DOER is a good way to have lots of success.

Yet, they attribute their successes to their grand theory of things. Instead to plain old doing things well, maximizing, working hard etc.

This is a huge delusion, and very easy to fall into.

Germ free pigs, air condition, and the optimized life

Pigs that are grown with zero germs are healthier than the average pig.
This statement is highly misleading. Wile technically true, it ides the fact that these pigs are very very sensitive.

They must get a very special kind of food. Small change in food and they are dead.
If by whatever accident they get a bacteria - end of story.

So they are healthier in case they were perfectly handled (which is the case much of the time).

The same story holds for some technical innovations.
Air condition in the hot summer improves feeling for most, and we can see that work performance gets better (for every temperature decrease from 30c down to 22 you improve work by 2%).

When you do not sterelize the airconditioner from accumulating bacteria, you get lots of upper respiratory infections. Solution is available. Yet until you do, there is lots of damage.
The sudden change of temperature when going out of the cooled room is dangerous. So, either you keep the in-out changes to minimum, or you minimize moving in-out. Again, the average user is not taking care, and many like extreme cooling etc.

I have not researched that, I I think there is a driness problem. Again, completely solveable, but very few do.

In sum, a good improvement IF and a huge if you do all parameters right .

The average.
What counts for practical life is not the theoretical usefulness, nor the effect on some specific person. But the average over all people and the average parameter.

Here the germless pigs are LESS healthy than the average pig. Because we count all pigs, including those who died by some infection, and those who by some case got the less-than-perfect food.
We want to nkow how much is moving to this regime faring on the sum of all cases, not a subgroup that is imagined to be the best one....

Same with aircondition. For practical purposes one may say that airconditon is bad (assume the sum of the side effects is not wirth the results).

This fairly represents many modern "improvements" where a sub group is better of. In theory it is better of, but when considering the whole thing, it is going backwards. (like marriage where ALL research ignores the terrible effects of marriage on the divorced)