How to convert between Celsius and Fahrenheit in your head

When I lived in the Netherlands, along with my attempts to learn Dutch I also tried to get used to thinking of temperatures in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. Of course, I’d grown up with the formula for converting from Celsius to Fahrenheit, so in principle, anytime someone mentioned a temperature in Celsius I could work … More How to convert between Celsius and Fahrenheit in your head

Optimization takes effort

I love optimization—both the general principle of trying to make things the best they can be, as well as the specific techniques that go into making that happen. In an alliterative-adjective icebreaker game, I even introduced myself as “Optimizing Owen,” which somehow did not surprise my Intro Calculus students. But optimization has a cost—it takes … More Optimization takes effort

What we can’t spend

Some things, like money, time, and effort, are scarce resources that need careful budgeting to be used optimally. Some of those, like effort and attention, can return stronger after resting from difficult use, as if they’ve been built up like a muscle through exercise, which makes the calculus of optimizing how much and when to … More What we can’t spend

What we spend

Ever since I learned that the Dutch word for “to spend” (besteden) is used not just with time and money, as in English, but also with attention, I’ve started to wonder what else we have that we spend, and could be spending more wisely. Here is an incomplete list I’ve compiled: Money (of course). Time. … More What we spend

The Commonplace Book #4: “Scroll down / Scroll up”

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may have seen some of my commonplace book posts, where I take a short piece of clever writing, try to understand how it works, and make my own version. Today’s piece of writing is this poem I saw making the rounds on social media, which … More The Commonplace Book #4: “Scroll down / Scroll up”