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Archive: May 10, 2011

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X, actually

Tuesday,  05/10/11  10:51 PM

The Most Human HumanSo I'm reading The Most Human Human, a *great* book (honestly it is the closest thing to a sequel to Godel Escher Bach I have yet encountered) and the book makes the most interesting point that interesting comes from surprise.  If you already know what's going to happen, that's boring.

And what's the most commonplace question everyone uses to start a conversation?  "How are you?"  You are showing interest and caring and hitting the ball cleanly over the net.  But now what, how do you reply?  If you say "good", bssssp, that's it, rally over.  How about "good, actually"?  In fact, adding ",actually" to any reply makes it more interesting.  There's a surprise factor, a hint of something more.  You are returning the serve with topspin.

I love the idea that being interesting comes from being surprising.  If you know me at all, you know that one of my favorite questions is "what was surprising to you?"  If you went to a meeting, if you attended a conference, if you had dinner with someone; that's what I would ask.  And I now realize this was a proxy for asking "what was interesting?"  What differed from what I was already expecting.  Viewed this way, conversation is not only asking for and providing information, it is asking about and explaining what was different from expected

I love it, actually :)


the balancing barn (NY110411)

Tuesday,  05/10/11  11:09 PM

most excellent
(click to enbiggen)



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Correlation vs. Causality
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estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
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Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
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world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained