A fun problem making the mathematical rounds: if you give everybody some number of dollars (say you give 45 people $45 each), and at every tick of the clock everyone with money chooses one random person $1, how will the money eventually end up distributed? You might think it’ll stay approximately equal—”approximately” only because of … More Spontaneous Inequality
I’m fascinated by cases where, in order to achieve something, it’s better to focus on something else instead. Here’s Viktor Frankl’s take on success and happiness: “Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; … More That which cannot be pursued
Volunteering is like eating vegetables—should you do it even if you hate it, or should you concentrate on the kind you enjoy? … More Whether to enjoy serving others
We often optimize by looking for a nice middle partway along a spectrum: Exercising means challenging your body enough to respond but not so much that you hurt yourself. Astronomers look for potentially habitable planets in the”Goldilocks zones” around other stars, the bands where it’s not too hot and not too cold. It’s appropriate to … More When is a mixture better than a middle?