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Wrestling with Life - My Letter to University of Maryland Athletic Director

Posted on April 4th, 2020

This Essay is broken down into two parts. Part I is my thoughts on wrestling as a metaphor for life. Part II is my recent letter to the Director of Athletics for the University of Maryland Terrapins. Part I: Wrestling as a Metaphor for Life.One of my most favorite art pieces is "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel" by Gustave Dore. It’s both simple in its appearance and complex in its meaning — a compression algorithm, of sorts. To live...

Why Read the Classics?

Posted on March 31st, 2020

Author: Italo Calvino Translator: Patrick Creagh Issue: October 9, 1986 (www.nybooks.com) Let us begin with a few suggested definitions. 1) The classics are the books of which we usually hear people say: "I am rereading…" and never "I am reading…." This at least happens among those who consider themselves "very well read." It does not hold good for young people at the age when they first encounter the world, and the classics as a ...

The Expert and Establishment Problem

Posted on March 14th, 2020

DRAFT. It is March 14, 2020. In the midst of COVID-19, many are beginning to realize there is an "Expert and Establishment Problem": Simply, many of those we consider "Experts" are in fact pseudo-experts who do not know what they are talking about when it comes to complex domains. I think this is because of three problems: Scientism.No Skin in the Game.IYI [1] Parroting. Scientism. Experts cannot tell Science (the process) from Sc...

COVID-19 PSA: Why To Avoid Experts in Complex Domains

Posted on March 8th, 2020

I am not an expert in infectious diseases, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night... Seriously, though, I do have a certificate from the Real World Risk Institute [1] which I believe makes me a kind-of "anti-expert" [2] in infectious diseases and other things related to complex domains (economics, sociology, synthetic biology, psychology, medicine, diet, exercise, etc.). As an"anti-expert" — or more colloquially refere...

Beethoven's Heiligenstadt Testament and Emerging from The Abyss with Nietzsche

Posted on March 7th, 2020

The Heiligenstadt Testament is an early will (and letter) written by Beethoven to his brothers Carl and Johann on 6 October 1802 concerning his increasing deafness. An addendum is dated 10 October 1802. It was discovered among his papers after his death and published (in German) in October 1827. Almost thirty years old, Beethoven discovered he was losing his hearing. After failed attempts find a cure, his hope was shattered. Hearin...

Notes on Stoicism

Posted on January 4th, 2020

Is Stoicism and Hedonism Compatible? Stoics believe that the only things you can control absolutely are your own thoughts & volition. Everything else is outside of your complete control and can be taken from you by fate. This includes your life, your health or even your limbs. While a stoic would prefer not to lose a limb, a stoic needs nothing external to be happy. As a stoic you seek to live a virtuous life. This is completely w...

Chuang Tzu

Posted on January 3rd, 2020

內篇 - Inner Chapters Chapter 1: 逍遙遊 - Enjoyment in Untroubled Ease Chapter 2: 齊物論 - The Adjustment of Controversies Chapter 3: 養生主 - Nourishing the Lord of Life Chapter 4: 人間世 - Man in the World, Associated with other Men Chapter 5: 德充符 - The Seal of Virtue Complete Chapter 6: 大宗師 - The Great and Most Honoured Master Chapter 7: 應帝王 - The Normal Course for Rulers and Kings 外篇 - Outer Chapters Chapter 8: 駢拇 - Webbed Toes Chapter 9:...

The Poetry of Tyrtaeus

Posted on December 15th, 2019

Greatly superstitious and loving of their fellow brothers and beloved erōmenos, Spartans would chant verses of poetry composed by Tyrtaeus to reinforce piety that was the foundation of Spartan morale and the ethos of eumonía. In this hortatory elegy, Tyrtaeus draws Spartans’ attention to the manner in which their well-being depended on the fate of the polís itself: It is a noble thing for a brave man to die, Falling in the front ra...

Warlike men are a city’s tower of defense

Posted on December 15th, 2019

It is commonplace for scholars and academicians to allude to the Greek quest for political solidarity (homonoia) and to the hostility to commerce by saying that the ancient economy was embedded in society. Those who speak of the economy being embedded in society take for granted the distinction between government or state and society; and this distinction, prepared if not explicitly introduced by John Locke, belongs to the world of t...

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

Posted on October 26th, 2019

In a caption "Prado" from Francisco Goya’s Los Capricos, he wrote "Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters : united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels." In this etch resides a duality: There is a need for reason to remain in partnership with faith, because unrestrained fantasy leads to disaster; there is a need for fantasy to remain in partnership with reason, because unrestrain...

John Harte: Maximum Entropy is a Foundation for Complexity Science

Posted on September 16th, 2019

Professor Harte speaking about the Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt, or Maximum Information) principle as a basis for understanding complexity in all ecosystems.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Compendium

Posted on August 31st, 2019

Nassim Nicholas Taleb traveled the conventional route of education to real-life and theory to practice in inverse sequence from the common one, moving from the practical to the philosophical to the mathematical. He started as a trader, then got a doctorate in mid-trading career; he wrote literary books before writing technical papers, and his work became progressively more technical and formal with time. - Taken from Bio Notes Li...

Cascades

Posted on July 5th, 2019

First, The Basics. Cascades are the standard readjustment for complex systems. There is an *essential* distinction between the conditions that allow crises to emerge, and the particular events that trigger the cascade into crisis. — Joe Norman Big whirls have little whirls that feed on their velocity, and little whirls have lesser whirls, and so on to viscosity. — Lewis Fry Richardson, (1922) Interdependence. Strong Interdepende...

To Be or To Do?

Posted on June 25th, 2019

[July 1, 2007 – Of all the things Boyd wrote or said, we probably get the most requests for his "To be or to do?" invitation. Although Boyd associated with many junior officers during his Air Force career, there were a few, perhaps half a dozen, that he had such respect for that he invited them to join him on his quest for change. Each one would be offered the choice: Be someone – be recognized by the system and promoted – or do some...

John Boyd Compendium

Posted on June 24th, 2019

John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever -- the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than forty seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft -- the F-15 and F-16. Still others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They k...

Three Essentials of Leadership by Master Fushan Yuan

Posted on May 21st, 2019

Master Fushan Yuan said: There are three essentials to leadership: humanity, clarity, and courage. Humanely practicing the virtues of the Way promotes the influence of the teaching, pacifies those in both high and low positions, and delights those who pass by. Someone with clarity follows proper behavior and just duty, recognizes what is safe and what is dangerous, examines people to see whether they are wise or foolish, and disti...

Gregory Chaitin Compendium

Posted on May 14th, 2019

My Notes on Gregory Chaitin - Against Method About the documentary: Gregory Chaitin (b. 1947) already as a young prodigy contributed greatly to the philosophy of mathematics and computer science. He states that although there are truths in science that cannot be proven, there is reason for optimism. He sketches a theory of the source of beauty and creativity in nature. We'll be meeting the Chaitins at the tiny Brazilian island, thei...

The Kingly Man

Posted on May 12th, 2019

My Master said: That which acts on all and meddles in none-is heaven . . . The Kingly Man realizes this, hides it in his heart, Grows boundless, wide-minded, draws all to himself. And so he lets the gold lie hidden in the mountain, Leaves the pearl lying in the deep. Goods and possessions are no gain in his eyes, He stays far from wealth and honor. Long life is no ground for joy, nor early death for sorrow. Success is not for him t...

The Odyssey by Homer — Invocations of the Muse Translations

Posted on April 5th, 2019

The Invocation ritual is a conscious, focused way of calling up images: Pray to harness the energy of the Muses, direct it inwards such to embody it, and then becomes the vehicle for the story. "The odd thing is that once I say the prayer, I feel like the matters I’m about to craft are more serious, and so I am far less tempted to check my e-mail or FB or Tweet or what have you. I’m all about the work." — Unknown These are my favor...

I Have a Rendezvous with Death by Alan Seeger

Posted on January 29th, 2019

I have a rendezvous with Death At some disputed barricade, When Spring comes back with rustling shade And apple-blossoms fill the air— I have a rendezvous with Death When Spring brings back blue days and fair. It may be he shall take my hand And lead me into his dark land And close my eyes and quench my breath— It may be I shall pass him still. I have a rendezvous with Death On some scarred slope of battered hill, When Spring comes...

If— by Rudyard Kipling

Posted on January 28th, 2019

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; ...

Aristotle's moderation as a framework for effective leadership

Posted on January 15th, 2019

Aristotle observed that eudaimonia is the highest good for human beings; that which distinguishes humans from animals is our "human essence". That is, we are a rational and social animal, so living a good human life means seeking to know and acting rightly — virtuously — with others. So, how does one become virtuous? Meden Agan (μηδὲν ἄγαν) - 'Nothing in excess’ — Inscription at the temple of Apollo at Delphi Aristotle believed ...

Dokkodo

Posted on January 14th, 2019

The Dokkōdō is the only one of the three texts of which we have a copy in Musashi’s own hand. On that faded scroll are Musashi’s last written instructions — it consists of 21 precepts — to his students, and to any who would follow his path later. it constitutes the hard-won wisdom from the rigorous and perhaps sometimes lonely life of the kensei (’sword saint’). Dokkōdō "The Path Walked Alone" Do not ignore the many ways in the w...

The path walked alone

Posted on January 13th, 2019

The Dokkōdō was written by Musashi. Musashi’s Dokkōdō is not the guide for life, but a guide for his life. The timelessness of the Dokkōdō lies both in its simplicity and complexity — a trademark of ancient Eastern texts which contrasts sharply with ancient Western texts. It has become a foundation for expressing that which only a Master could intuit into written word, and perhaps only that which a budding master could interpret. ...

Chuang-tzu's parable of the ox

Posted on January 11th, 2019

Prince Wen Hui’s cook Was cutting up an ox. Out went a hand, Down went a shoulder, He planted a foot, He pressed with a knee, The ox fell apart With a whisper; The bright cleaver murmured Like a gentle wind. Rhythm! Timing! Like a sacred dance, Like "The Mulberry Grove," Like ancient harmonies! "Good work!" the Prince exclaimed. "Your method is faultless!" "Method?" said the cook, Laying aside his cleaver. "What I follow is Tao, Beyo...

Chief Tecumseh's Words of Wisdom

Posted on January 10th, 2019

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salut...

An exercise on assessing character

Posted on January 9th, 2019

(Originally published on November 27, 2017) My friend wrote an article on why you should only take money from investors you can trust. It is a thoughtful post and it got me to reflect on my own experience. I continue to be surprised how nasty some investors get when startups begin struggling, get acquired on unfavorable terms, or fail. I am also surprised when I encounter bad actors: Investors and former employees who kill deals, a...

Bank as a Platform

Posted on January 9th, 2019

(Originally published on October 25, 2017) WePay was recently acquired by JPMorgan Chase. This acquisition immediately impacts Chase’s Merchant Services division but I believe the bigger opportunity is in "Bank as a Platform". Bank as a Platform is a massive opportunity to open revenue channels and catalyze business.WePay’s technology would drive deposits, partner adoption and expansion, and revenues across JPMorgan Chase’s product ...

Nassim Taleb Excerpts with John Boyd

Posted on April 24th, 2015

These are excerpts of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book Antifragile. I use Maestro’s words as a skeleton to build upon some ideas synthesized by Col John Boyd and Miyamoto Musashi. Themes include: Knowledge as intuition built from engaging with reality, understanding when an adversary is employing the Art of the Advantage against you and when to call bulls*t, and why it’s important to embrace uncertainty and randomness in order to affirm ...

25 Rules of Thumb for Acting Under Uncertainty

Posted on March 25th, 2015

1. Beware of obvious rewards and excessive competition—they increase exposure to chance events and reduce the role of skill in acquiring rewards2. Watch for hidden correlations3. Be suspicious of stability or the appearance of stability—there are higher dimensions of risk lurking in the shadows4. Remember that volatility begets volatility5. Invest in preparation—insure against the worst-case-scenario6. Take a large number of risks wh...

What Education Doesn’t Teach You: Training, Teamwork, and Pressure

Posted on March 16th, 2015

What high school kids don’t understand is that they are playing the wrong game. The edumacation game is entirely the wrong game to play. The end goal in the education game is to get the best grades. Why? Because you got to get into the best college. But what happens when you get into the best college? You end up with a ton of debt (perhaps) but worse you end up competing to get the best grades again. Then what happens when you end ...