10 Predictions for 2018

I saw a number of prediction posts for the upcoming year as I was surfing the web today, and I figured I’d write my own. So without further ado, here are ten predictions for this year: Donald Trump will still be president at the end of 2018 (confidence level: 8/10) The cryptocurrency space will attract…

A Brief Exploration of the Cute

In 2016, I wrote about what makes things “creepy” in another brief exploration post, which you can find here. This time around, I’d like to take a look at what makes things “cute.” Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, our notion of cuteness stems from evolutionary biology. In 1949, Nobel laureates Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen described the “Kindchenschema (infant…

Six Links: Healthcare, Emotions, Thoughts

“5 Questions to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills” by Ameet Ranadive: A persuasive message is making an argument which attempts to convince us to believe certain things or act in certain ways. The argument’s goal is to convince us to believe a particular conclusion. The author or speaker wants you to believe the conclusion based…

Six Links: Knowledge, Data, Abuse

Here’s the second installment of Six Links! I’ve been neglecting Thought Distiller far too much lately; consulting, unknown to most, is in fact a seasonal business that is light in the summer and heavy in the winter. So with a lot of work in the pipeline for this holiday season, I thought I’d at least carve…

The Contours of Memory

Roy Batty, Rutger Hauer’s character in Blade Runner, dies after giving one of the most famous monologues in modern history: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like…

Extending the Peter Principle for General Competence

The Peter Principle is a management concept posited by University of Southern California professor Laurence J. Peter in the late 1960s. The principle states that employees get promoted based on performance in their current roles, rather than on their qualifications relevant to their intended roles. Therefore, employees stop being promoted only when they become ineffective in…

Request for Startup: Machine Vision for Haircuts

I recently got a haircut and one thing I’m always struck by is the inconsistency of quality. Even if I’m going to the same barber or hairdresser for successive haircuts, I still face a risk of getting a subpar haircut. That realization got me to thinking about whether something could be done to fix haircuts.…

Six Links: Contracts, Options, Brevity

I’ve decided to try a new format of blog post today; I wanted to share some of the more interesting things I’ve been reading, emphasizing those that I believe other people are not likely to be reading. In some sense, I’m trying to curate signal in the midst of all of the overwhelming noise in…

Why Escapist Fantasies Are So Compelling

I spent the last month writing a lot about work and careers, and I want to get away from that a bit to better fulfill the promise of this blog: Connecting and condensing the world’s most useful information, not all of which is about careerism, obviously. So today, we’ll discuss why people seek out escapist…

The Easy Way to become an Expert-Generalist

I often think about what skills people need to succeed in their careers. And this generally leads me to inquire whether educational institutions teach their charges the right skillsets in order to prepare them for an increasingly uncertain world. By and large, I think most fail on this count. The average grade school or university…