Cognitive Overfitting

It can be kind of fun, in a self-flagellating way, to read about cognitive biases like the availability heuristic or the Dunning-Kruger effect, or just to browse through big lists like this one. If only our brains could take into account all the information they have, process it instantly, and store it forever! But machine learning engineers know that … More Cognitive Overfitting

Ted Chiang on unspendable grief

Since I read Ted Chiang’s collection of short stories “Stories of your life and others,” including the marvelous title piece that inspired Arrival, I’ve been looking forward to his newly published collection “Exhalation.” The first story’s main character tells of his experience coping with the loss of his wife, and has this beautiful passage describing … More Ted Chiang on unspendable grief

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

When Morals Collide

Monday night is chore night at the Biesel household, and that usually means a rush hour trip to the grocery store to pick up the week’s supply of ingredients. It often happens, as I’m waiting in line at the checkout, that the person behind me is purchasing a smaller load of groceries than I am. … More When Morals Collide