Reasons for not writing

    One of the reasons I continue with Thought Shrapnel is because it’s an easy way to ‘blog’ when I don’t feel like writing something from scratch.

    I came up with seven reasons that I use to justify why I’m not writing. In a confusing twist of perspective, I’m also going to try and talk myself out of them by explaining to you, dear Reader, why they are bullshit.
    The seven reasons?
    1. I don't have time
    2. I don't have anything interesting to say
    3. I gotta fix [X] on my site first
    4. Others have already written about this
    5. The moment for this has passed
    6. I can’t get it to sound right
    7. Nobody’s going to read it anyway
    Source: 7 Reasons why I don't write | Max Böck

    Precrastinators, procrastinators, and originals

    A really handy TED talk focusing on ‘precrastinators’ (with whom I definitely identify) and how they differ from procrastinators and what Grant calls ‘originals’ in terms of creativity.

    (I always watch these kinds of things at 1.5x speed, but Adam Grant already talks quickly!)

    [embed]www.youtube.com/watch

    Source: The surprising habits of original thinkers | Adam Grant

    Saturday strikings

    This week's roundup is going out a day later than usual, as yesterday was the Global Climate Strike and Thought Shrapnel was striking too!

    Here's what I've been paying attention to this week:

    • How does a computer ‘see’ gender? (Pew Research Center) — "Machine learning tools can bring substantial efficiency gains to analyzing large quantities of data, which is why we used this type of system to examine thousands of image search results in our own studies. But unlike traditional computer programs – which follow a highly prescribed set of steps to reach their conclusions – these systems make their decisions in ways that are largely hidden from public view, and highly dependent on the data used to train them. As such, they can be prone to systematic biases and can fail in ways that are difficult to understand and hard to predict in advance."
    • The Communication We Share with Apes (Nautilus) — "Many primate species use gestures to communicate with others in their groups. Wild chimpanzees have been seen to use at least 66 different hand signals and movements to communicate with each other. Lifting a foot toward another chimp means “climb on me,” while stroking their mouth can mean “give me the object.” In the past, researchers have also successfully taught apes more than 100 words in sign language."
    • Why degrowth is the only responsible way forward (openDemocracy) — "If we free our imagination from the liberal idea that well-being is best measured by the amount of stuff that we consume, we may discover that a good life could also be materially light. This is the idea of voluntary sufficiency. If we manage to decide collectively and democratically what is necessary and enough for a good life, then we could have plenty."
    • 3 times when procrastination can be a good thing (Fast Company) — "It took Leonardo da Vinci years to finish painting the Mona Lisa. You could say the masterpiece was created by a master procrastinator. Sure, da Vinci wasn’t under a tight deadline, but his lengthy process demonstrates the idea that we need to work through a lot of bad ideas before we get down to the good ones."
    • Why can’t we agree on what’s true any more? (The Guardian) — "What if, instead, we accepted the claim that all reports about the world are simply framings of one kind or another, which cannot but involve political and moral ideas about what counts as important? After all, reality becomes incoherent and overwhelming unless it is simplified and narrated in some way or other.
    • A good teacher voice strikes fear into grown men (TES) — "A good teacher voice can cut glass if used with care. It can silence a class of children; it can strike fear into the hearts of grown men. A quiet, carefully placed “Excuse me”, with just the slightest emphasis on the “-se”, is more effective at stopping an argument between adults or children than any amount of reason."
    • Freeing software (John Ohno) — "The only way to set software free is to unshackle it from the needs of capital. And, capital has become so dependent upon software that an independent ecosystem of anti-capitalist software, sufficiently popular, can starve it of access to the speed and violence it needs to consume ever-doubling quantities of to survive."
    • Young People Are Going to Save Us All From Office Life (The New York Times) — "Today’s young workers have been called lazy and entitled. Could they, instead, be among the first to understand the proper role of work in life — and end up remaking work for everyone else?"
    • Global climate strikes: Don’t say you’re sorry. We need people who can take action to TAKE ACTUAL ACTION (The Guardian) — "Brenda the civil disobedience penguin gives some handy dos and don’ts for your civil disobedience"