TV Show: The Science of Stupid

I rarely watch TV, but caught the trailer of a show and decided to binge watch all 14 episodes of it (each is about 20 minutes long). It showcases accidents and provides short, but insightful scientific explanations on why did they happen.

The Hungarian title is “Pedig jó ötletnek tűnt…”, which translates to “But it seemed to be a good idea…”. In Germany, it was aired with a title “Wissenschaft der Missgeschicke” which is “Science of the Unlucky”. I like both of these titles more than the original, because the word “stupid” is quite derogatory for people suffering accidents while trying to push the limits of human achievement or simply having fun.

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Book: Pitch Anything – Oren Klaff

I’m not sure that everything in this book is based on actual science, but the author creates a good-enough framework to talk about his main idea: “There is a fundamental disconnect between the way we pitch anything and the way it is received by our audience.”

Some parts are autobiographical, and as some reviewers at Amazon — who claim to know him in person —  has pointed out, the descriptions of the events are not always accurate, slight exaggerations are present. Despite of that, I think he writes about his own experiences in a friendly manner and I didn’t feel at any point that he was bragging about his achievements. The examples are used to illustrate his ideas, not show how great he is (or might be).

Another reviewer went as far as seeing a connection between his pitching techniques and the techniques used to seduce women. A connection which, I must admit, also come into my mind. And that shouldn’t surprise anyone: smooth social dynamics is essential to every kind of human relationship, be it with a friend, a business partner, a family member, or basically any other human being. This can be called small talk, chit-chat, flirting, etc. based on the participants of the situation (the author calls it push-pull), but the fundamentals are very much the same.

It’s a relatively short read (~65,000 words), but it took me a bit more time than usual. I had to continuously stop and evaluate what he says. Sometimes I wholeheartedly agreed with him, sometimes the exact opposite: the discrepancy between his and my experience is so big that I had to quit reading for some time to recover. I guarantee that will happen to you as well, but be skeptical: there’s no absolute truth to find here.

Some quotes from the book:

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The 2 YouTube videos you must watch before you die

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this two talks, they were saved in my bookmarks for quite a long time, and now finally now I managed to watch them.

Both are excellent lectures full of with advice that can be applied not only to programming, but to many, if not all, areas of our lives. I highly recommend you watching these.

“There’s no happiness to be found in the external world. Happiness can only come from within.”

That’s my favorite anti-materialistic quote. Every time I feel sad or lost, I always try to remind myself of that. The problem is, in my opinion, that we generally tend to link our happiness to owning stuff. We see someone happy and assume that it’s because of some kind of materialistic wealth, and we don’t tend to think about other aspects of their lives. And don’t think that it’s because of capitalism, technology, bla bla. It was always like that. Having a primarily materialistic world view is natural because as long as we are made out of atoms, we will be craving for atoms.

So while living an ascetic life is not we are made for and one can certainly find joy in consumerism, embrace the idea that happiness is about finding inner peace, inner beauty, and inner love in yourself, others and nature. I’m sure that it’s a hard pill to swallow, but consider this: you have a higher quality of life than the richest, most powerful person had a 1,000 years ago (especially if you live in a developed country). Many of the things are very easy to get today that simply did not exist in the past. And yet, there were happy people in the past.

Money is important, but centering one’s life around money sounds like a living hell to me.  Not because it’s selfish (it might be, but not necessarily), but because while living so you are being controlled by your desires. And who forms your desires? You think you always do? Think again. Artificial desires are being created by those who have the solution: the entire advertising industry is based on this simple idea.

A blog without posts is like a body without a mind

I started this blog about one and a half years ago with no specific goals in my head. Soon, I realized that I’m a really bad writer. Every time I had ideas about a potential new post, I was stuck with putting them into a form that is concise, easy to follow and not just the regurgitation of the stuff I read.

On the other side, I do a lot of things that is not publishable. For example, would you think that one of the largest stock photo services had a bug that allowed the download of their files for free? I reported that, the issue got fixed, but got no other response. What would have happened if I wrote a post on the process? From a technical point of view, the bug was very easy to exploit (it was simply about changing the parameters in the request sent to the server and the response contained the high-quality files), but illegal as hell. Of course, writing down the process falls under freedom of speech, but by doing so one also acknowledges an act of “unauthorized use of a computer system”. That’s not a wise thing to do by any measures. Other stuff I do, like internal tool for a client company, involves non-disclosure agreements and are completely boring  for those not involved in the project.

Also, I’m very bad at teaching things to others. I love learning on my own and doing things on my own. I want to change that a little bit. Now, here’s 3 post categories I define as goals: 1) my side projects, 2) books I read, 3) article recommendations. Hopefully that will put me into the blogging mindset. I will take it as a success if I manage to produce at least 1 post per week for the rest of the year. If that happens, I will buy a WordPress premium to edit the template a bit.