Short-form posts to share interesting things I learn or find online. This is similar to a more traditional blog.

Links: Week of 04-08-22
Published: 5/17/2022, 12:03:12 AM

The Kind of Smarts You Don't Find in Young People, The Atlantic

One of the main frustrations between the young people and older people in the workplace, that I've observed at least, is the dichotomy between trying new things/innovating and sticking to what has always been done. Young people, fresh out of college and with a lot of new ideas wants to try new things. People who are more experienced preach the benefits of "sticking to the method." Interestingly, most of the discourse I've seen on hiring explains the values of hiring young because of their skills for innovation. But this article from The Atlantic argues most companies don't just need more innovation, they also need more wisdom.

Researchers had long noted that some skills—analysis and innovation, for example—tend to rise quickly very early in life and then fall through one’s 30s and 40s. Meanwhile, one’s knack for combining complex ideas, understanding what they mean, and relating them to others rises throughout middle age and can stay high well into old age.

Create For Just One Hour Each Day, More to That

So the key is to continue cultivating the patience required to show up each day, knowing that the fruits of your labor will arrive long after you’ve sown the seeds.

One Parenting Decision That Really Matters, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, The Atlantic

I'm not close to the life stage of having kids, more just thinking about when and how I want to have kids. I've always wondered, as a parent, what really affects your kids life? I don't think it's academics or extra curricular. I've always hypothesizes that it's the friends your kids makes. The people who your kid spends time with really matters. This article doesn't prove that, but your could argue for that potentially. I really liked this one.

In fact, putting together the different numbers, I have estimated that some 25 percent—and possibly more—of the overall effects of a parent are driven by where that parent raises their child. In other words, this one parenting decision has much more impact than many thousands of others.

New Ways to Measure Science, Samuel Arbesman, Wired

The idea of measuring one's contribution to science or academics by the amount of academic papers published has never made sense to me. But honestly, most things in this world don't. That's why I was excited to see Arbesman argue for a different metric. Helpfulness. Or, as Jason Priem has coined, "altmetrics."

Political Parties. Interesting...
Published: 5/16/2022, 3:42:04 PM

Below is a bit of a political ramble as I'm trying to understand the political system (and Americans in general) more and more. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this lately and am trying to come to terms with a philosophy. Below is what I think are the roots of something important. I'm scared to hit publish on this because I'm not sure what the response will be. If you disagree, agree, or have thoughts, I'd love to hear them. Just please keep them rational and kind.

Political, what?

The last presidential election was the first one I was old enough to vote for. Before then, I wasn't much of a political person, and I'm still not, but I did want to educate myself a bit more on political parties and some common ideas before pledging my very important vote.

As I studied more and more, I could not understand the idea of a political parties. I find it very troublesome when anyone outsources their linking to someone else. Political parties, on the most basic level, seem to be exactly that. Someone has a few beliefs about something, looks at which party identifies with those beliefs the closest, and then assumes that identity. The practical next steps of this scenario is that the person who adopted this party based on a few things they actually believed now assumes they believe everything that party stands for, whether or not they've done the intellectual research to take a stand on that specific topic or not.

This kills any nuance in political conversations, and therefore ruins those fun family dinners around the holidays when people from opposing parties are forced to eat from the same turkey. And that's what bothers me. Someone on the left thinks everyone on the right are evil and someone on the right thinks everyone on the left are crazy. There is no nuance in political discussions.

The only ads I see during election season are bashing the opposer and not promoting the policies and ideas of the candidate the advertisement was made for. So now, instead of being influenced by what someone plans to do in office, people are influenced by whichever story they believe the most about the opposite person. This is not a good thing.

The biggest problem that I see nowadays is the lack of important, structured debate on important issues. When a culture lacks the ability to have mature conversations about hot-button topics, the only road that lies ahead leads to stupidity with a dash of ignorance.

I'm not arguing for one side or the other. I think people who are radical on both sides of the political spectrum are important to have in the American democracy, as long those people can keep an open mind, admit when they're wrong, and be honest about the fact that no one really knows the best path forward. We're all just taking bets and hoping we're in a better place in 100 years than we were 100 years ago. If we knew what the right answer is, I don't think we'd be arguing.

Most books nowadays have one main thesis that the book is arguing for with a lot of supporting ideas and observations.

Atomic Habits thesis is that tiny changes make a big impact. The rest of the book explains how tiny changes make a big impact and then gives a few frameworks for helping the reader make the tiny changes that they want to make in their life.

Most finance books end up with the thesis that you should spend less than you make and also that it's a good idea to invest money in index funds. The rest of the book usually gives strategies for spending less than you make, explains how to budget, and maybe talks a little bit about debt.

This information, the leftover bits in books, podcasts, or essays is what I call "intellectual scraps." They are the leftover bits of ideas that the author touched on here or there with a few throwaways sentences, but never revisited. These intellectual scraps are gold mines for finding fresh ideas to write and think about.

A good way to spot intellectual scraps is to take note of whenever you think, "Man, I wish they talked/wrote more about that in their podcast/book."

Creative procrastination
Published: 5/9/2022, 3:01:33 PM

Leonardo da Vinci on "creative procrastination:"

Men of loft genius sometimes accomplish the most when they work the least, for their minds are occupied with their ideas and the perfection of their conceptions, to which they afterwards give form.

New podcast with David Sinclair
Published: 5/5/2022, 2:52:35 PM

At Farnam Street, one of my main responsibilities is working on The Knowledge Project podcast and YouTube channel. We publish a new episode every week.

This week is a conversation with David Sinclair. Dr. Sinclair is a professor of genetics and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School. Here's a highlight from the conversation between Shane and him:

80% of our longevity and our health in the future is in our own hands. Only 20% is genetic, which we cannot yet do much about. Some of these changes are very simple.

Listen here.

Documenting what you do
Published: 5/5/2022, 4:08:10 AM

My wife has pulmonary fibrosis, so we spend a lot of time in doctor's offices and hospitals. It's always a joy for me to observe and compare how one nurse handles certain situations than another. Personality shines through everything you do.

One thing that we've struggled with is the lack of documentation of how certain things work. Specifically, the notes left in the chart from each visit that other nurses and doctors consult at the following appointments.

We were in the hospital for a few days in a row one time and my wife was getting an antibiotic through an IV. One morning, she was getting the IV and it started to burn. So, the attending nurse turned the flow rate down a little bit. That seemed to solve the problem. Yet, that nurse didn't document in the chart this rate change.

Later that same night, when the nurses started the antibiotic once more, it started to burn again. We told them the nurse earlier in the day slowed the flow rate and that helped. But, lo and behold, they checked the chart and didn't see any documentation of the rate change. So, they had no idea what number to go down to or why that may have solved the problem. Instead, they stopped the flow of the antibiotic. This meant we had to wait for the head nurse to come in and guide us on the next steps.

I suspect this happens in every company and on every team. But it's a great illustration that explains the importance of documenting what you do.

The value of niche secrets
Published: 5/3/2022, 2:01:12 PM

The coolest thing about the internet is the vast amounts of niche knowledge available in an instant.

Some knowledge can come from people's personal blogs who work a very unique job and also share that online. But the amount of people who have a unique job is quite small and the subset of people who write about what they do is even smaller still – so this type of blog is few and far between.

Another good way to find niche secrets online is to follow the footnotes. Traditional media companies sometimes write about what's going on in the world and will link to an original source. That original source likely contains much more fascinating insights than the piece that is synthesizing what they say. Try reading the original piece. This is also a good habit to get into because you learn how to shape ideas for yourself instead of relying on someone else to tell you what to think.

When you discover a niche secret, combine that with something you already know, remix a story from history, and you now have a new idea, complete with an illustration to use as an example that you discovered and synthesized all alone. How cool!

The passage of time
Published: 4/20/2022, 12:52:22 PM

From this article.

Many ancient civilizations had a rough approximation of the passage of time. Obviously, a day began when the sun rose and night began when the sun set. Somewhat less obvious was the passage of weeks, months, and years; however, these too had been approximated by ancient peoples. A month was the length of time of one complete lunar cycle, whereas a week was the length of time for one phase of the lunar cycle. A year could be estimated based on the changing seasons and relative position of the sun. Once the zenith of the sun was determined, scholars could count the number of sunrises/sunsets that passed until it reached its zenith again. In this manner, the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, and Babylonians, among others, determined that the year had 360 days.

From Joel Chan, this process for synthesizing notes is the best I've seen. It's a bit academic in nature, but with a careful read can be easily understood and you could have a new process for note-taking. I know I do.

The process goes like this

  1. Begin with a set of question notes and papers
    • Every paper or source is read with these questions in mind.
  2. Create observation notes
    • Observation notes have the potential to inform one or more questions that you started with.
    • Each observation note is grounded in at least one quote or context from a source and then directly linked to a question note.
  3. Develop synthesis
    • What does the literature have to say about the questions of interest?
    • Synthesis notes also get explicitly linked to relevant question note.
  4. Compose and combine synthesis notes and questions of interest into arguments and theories.
    • If done well, this process will reveal even more questions. That's okay. Go back to the question phase.

Example images

Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 8.00.34 PM

Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 8.00.53 PM

I reccomend you read the entire article. Do so here.

You can't go there by doing that
Published: 4/20/2022, 12:02:29 AM

Oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon are some of the fundamental elements for creating life. Without either of these, life will have a very hard time existing (if it can even get off the ground at all).

But there are other elements required to sustain life. Iron is needed to create hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that moves oxygen and carbon dioxide around in your body. Cobalt is one of the elements that B12 binds to in the body. Potassium and a small amount of sodium are used in controlling the nerves. Without them, it would be hard for your brain to send signals to your body and vice versa.

As you can see, the elements needed for creating life and the elements needed for sustaining life are not the same. So it is with most other ventures in the world.

The employees who took a company from 0-1 are not likely the same employees that are needed to take the company from 1-10.

The push you need to get a project started requires a lot of motivation and some excitement. But it requires careful planning and execution of that plan to finish the project. The one off motivation burts don't do well for achieving long term goals.

This is one of the many ways the real-world mimics the forces that control it. This is why it’s important to have a brief understanding of how things in the world work. It helps you identify patterns and rules you may otherwise miss.

Sometimes your room for error, isn't enough
Published: 4/17/2022, 6:53:33 PM

In Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel, he writes about the idea of living with a margin of safety or room for error. It's a common idea, but an uncommon practice. In the book, Housel explains living with room for error means having more cash on hand than you think may be necessary to wither the unexpected storms that life brings.

The difficulty, though, is knowing how much room to give yourself. Living with too much room for error in the context of personal finances means you'd be losing out on some returns from stocks or other illiquid investments. Not enough room for error means you could be wiped out completely if something terrible happens. So living with room for error is a good thing, but knowing exactly how much room to live with is difficult.

Harland and Wolff, a shipbuilding company, had a practice for all of their vessel's maiden voyages. National Geographic explains, they sent men, called the Guarantee Group, aboard the ship who were experts in skills like "plumbing, electrical systems, carpentry, and machine fitting." Essentially, if anything went wrong, they were there to fix it. Harland and Wolff were living with room for error.

One of the most famous Harland and Wolff creations was the Titanic, so indeed, the Guarantee Group was aboard the vessel at the time of its sinking. Still, there was no stopping the ship's inevitable doom. Harland and Wolff's room for error wasn't quite enough.

So it goes with things in life.

On Physiognomy
Published: 4/17/2022, 4:15:46 AM

I learned this was a real science today while reading Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. Britannica describes physiognomy as:

The study of the systematic correspondence of psychological characteristics to facial features or body structure.

Put simply, judging people's character or competence by how they look. It's quite a crude practice indeed, but nonetheless was important enough at some point in time to have a term created out of it.

The earliest work on physiognomy was attributed to Aristotle. It contained six chapters to:

The consideration of the method of study, the general signs of character, the particular appearances characteristic of the dispositions, of strength and weakness, of genius and stupidity, and so on. Then he examined the characters derived from the different features, and from colour, hair, body, limbs, gait, and voice. While discussing noses, for example, he says that those with thick, bulbous ends belong to persons who are insensitive, swinish; sharp-tipped noses belong to the irascible, those easily provoked, like dogs; rounded, large, obtuse noses to the magnanimous, the lionlike; slender, hooked noses to the eaglelike; and so on.

Thursday's Assorted Links
Published: 4/15/2022, 4:18:21 AM

Did a brief dive on time this morning and read some interesting article on whether or not time exists. One interesting point one of the articles made was that we know what chairs and tables are made out of–particles–but we don't know what time is made out of. Surely it doesn't just exist? Is it made out of space, like Einstein's General Theory of Relativity posits? Maybe.

Tuesday's Assorted Links
Published: 4/13/2022, 4:54:38 AM
Monday's Assorted Links
Published: 4/12/2022, 12:52:39 AM

In James Clear's 3-2-1 Newsletter, he shared a thought that I've been feeling for awhile, but couldn't put to words very well. This happens a lot with James Clear and other great writers. They're able to say what you've been thinking. This is what Clear wrote:

Powerful combination = Hate being bad at stuff + Willing to look like a beginner.

People who hate being bad at stuff are driven to improve. However, if they are unwilling to look like a beginner from time to time, they will avoid new challenges and struggle to reinvent themselves.

Meanwhile, people who are willing to try new things, but lack a thirst to improve will settle for mediocre results.

It's the willingness to look foolish for a short time—but not for a long time—that leads to jumps in performance.

This reminded me of an essay I wrote earlier in the year, "How to Be Great? Be Okay With Being Bad." If you want to get good at something you're currently bad at, you have to be willing to look like a fool for awhile. If you're afraid to do so, you'll never be open to new challenges. And if you're not open to new challenges, you'll never adopt new skills.

As I wrote in the essay, I want to be really good at golf. My goal is to be much, much better than your average weekend player. The only way I can get better is to go out there and try. I've become much better in the last few months, but when I first started I was embarrassed to go to the driving range and shank balls, duff chips, and miss two foot putts. The paradox in this is that the only way I could get better at not shanking balls, duffing chips, and missing those two foot putts is to practice those things. Sure I can take lessons, and I did, but I still had to put in a lot of time outside of the lessons. And most of that time was spent being embarrassed at my performance and the fact that I looked like a beginner.

Don't be afraid to look like a fool for a year in order to look like a master in ten.

Thursday Assorted Links
Published: 4/8/2022, 2:44:55 AM
  1. Scientist's discover the furthest galaxy to date. (Image below) scientists-have-spotte
  2. Essays so good, they eventually became books. Save time by reading the essays, get nuance by reading the books.
  3. Why George Orwell hates the way you (and most likely a lot of people, specifically academics and people who use big words to sound smart) write.
  4. A bit of tension at the Vatican.
  5. An essay on Countersignaling being so rich you are allowed to act poor.
Moravec's Paradox
Published: 4/7/2022, 3:22:43 PM

Computers are exceptional at doing really hard complicated things, but struggle at doing simpler things. In other words, tasks that humans think are hard, are easy to teach AI but tasks that humans think are easy are difficult to teach AI.

Hans Moravec, a faculty member at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon, made this observation in 1988:

It is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility

Wednesday Assorted Thoughts
Published: 4/6/2022, 7:45:19 PM

Things I Learned

"If by whiskey..." (or Russell Conjugation) - A tactic used in certain arguments or debates to change the meaning or language used to describe something.

"If by whiskey" caught on from a speech in 1952 on whether or not Mississippi should change their prohibition laws. The lawyer making the speech said "If by whiskey you mean..." and went on to say all of the bad things that whiskey can do. Here's a brief excerpt:

If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children...

If that's what they meant by whiskey, then certainly he opposed it. But, he continued, saying:

But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning

If that's what they meant by whiskey, then surely it was a good thing to have around.

Reading advice from Tyler Cowen
Published: 4/6/2022, 4:07:07 PM

Tyler Cowen has easily risen to to the top of my "thinkers I like" list. There's probably no one else I know of today that I look at and think, "I want to be exactly like them when I grow up" other than Tyler Cowen. His curisoity and breadth of knowledge is amazing.

Part of that knowledge stems from reading. And reading a lot. Here's some advice:

  • People don’t read enough, and I think as a society we’re under-investing in reading. People feel compelled to finish books they’ve started – that’s just a tax on your reading. Why would you do that to yourself? Imagine a world where any restaurant you tried you had to keep on going there for days or weeks, you’d hardly ever go out to eat.

  • So I advocate reading books in cluster – the author can be the clustering factor, it can be the topic, it can be the historical period – but you really get into a person’s mind if you re-read everything they’ve done within the span of a few weeks or months, and then watch them on YouTube, and just try to think about and write out notes, “What am I going to ask them?” One of the very best ways to read is to have your own podcasy.

  • So the way you read well is just by reading a lot, and by reading a lot your whole life. And then when you go to read actual books you’re like “I know that, I know that, I know that,” and you keep on going, and you read much more quickly. And that’s really the way to read a lot. There are these compounding returns to being obsessed with reading, and starting young, and never stopping.

Read more reading advice from Tyler Cowen here.

Where Dead Cells in the Body Go
Published: 4/6/2022, 2:59:37 AM

The researchers recently used a fluorescent marker to visualize and track the cell death and digestion process inside a living animal in real time. Using a novel tool, Davidson, a postdoc at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, observed immune cells rushing to gobble up any dead cells near them

From: Cell death and digestion observed in real time inside a living animal

Popular sayings
Published: 4/2/2022, 9:18:21 PM

I've always been curious where popular sayings come from. While they usually have an interesting origin story, most of them also have witty clap-backs.

Here are the second half of some popular sayings:

  • Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.
  • Great minds think alike, though fools seldom differ.
  • For the love of money is the root of all evil.

(Most people say "Money is the root of all evil." Money isn't evil. The love of money is evil.)

  • An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
  • Jack of all trades, master of none but better than a master of one.
  • Birds of a feather flock together until the cat comes.
  • The early bird catches the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.

A lot of people hear these and wrongly assume these were the original and the second half got cut off sometime in the past. That's mostly wrong.

Instead, what probably happened was someone came up with a creative way to shut up the people who kept saying these quips to explain a point.

Naturally, they didn't catch on as well as the first half. But the idea that these are the "full" sayings is incorrect.

Private Eye: 1, Everyone Else: 0
Published: 4/1/2022, 7:56:29 PM

Letters of Note shared a hillarious letter exchange this week from Private Eye, a satirical news publication. The instigator was Private Eye, after they published an article claiming James Arkell, a cred manager, had done some shady dealings. Arkell had his lawyers reply to Public Eye demaning they redact the article and pay him. They note, quite weirdly to be honest, "His attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of your reply."

Private Eye, not missing a beat, responded with this:

Dear Sirs,

We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr. J. Arkell.

We note that Mr Arkell’s attitude to damages will be > governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off.

Yours, Private Eye

For reasons you can imagine, the response is quite notorious. Rumor has it, the phrase, "I refer you to the reply given in Arkell and Pressdram (Public Eye's publisher), is quite popular between lawyers and journalists.

How to Add Conditional Class Rendering in Next JS
Published: 3/31/2022, 10:25:17 PM

Conditional class rendering is pretty simple, but I've had to think through it a few times and always forget how to do it immediately. Hopefully this helps me and will help you too.

Important ⚠️

I'm using Tailwind for my CSS, but if you're using custom CSS, the idea is the same, the classes will just be different.

In this example, I'm trying to render different classes based on whether or not there is an image prop passed to my PageTitle component. I'm using this to display the title and description on my site, but on the home page I have a .gif that I don't want on any other pages. So on the home page, I'm passing an image prop and on the other pages I'm not. I have conditional rendering statement adding a div as a child to flexbox if there is an image prop.

The issue I was trying to solve was my mobile display of the PageTitle component. If there was an image, then the text covered 2/3 of the screen and the image was next to it. All good there. But if there wasn't an image, the text still covered 2/3 of the screen and created an awkward empty space. So on mobile, if there was no image prop, I wanted to take the flex property off the container but put it back for larger breakpoints because I didn't want to description text to span the entire page container. So here's what I did.

The Solution

First, create a variable with a ternary operator to check whatever you want to check. In this case, if image was true, I wanted to add flex class. If image was false, I wanted to add flex-none and sm:flex breakpoint. sm-flex says "On break points larger than small, do this." flex-none is the behavior of all other breakpoints. In this case, just the xs breakpoint.

const PageTitle = ({title, description, image}) => {

const condition = image ? 'flex' : 'flex-none sm:flex'

Next, I added that ternary operator as a string template literal to my classes on the container rendering the component:

const PageTitle = ({title, description, image}) => {

const condition = image ? 'flex' : 'flex-none sm:flex'

return (
    <div className={`flex-row items-center ${condition}`}>

So if image is true, the flex container will be added as a className and the component will flex naturally. If it's false, on breakpoints smaller than small, it will be a normal, full-length row.

Note: If you don't have any classes there in both instances, you can just add the variable to the className and don't have to do a string template literal.

The following code example came after wanting to redirect my 404 page after someone landed on it. I've been using an astronaut for my branding and have been loving it. I found a picture of an alien beaming the astronaut into its spaceship, so wanted to 'beam' the user back home. The easy way out was to use a button and have them click it, but that didn't make sense to me. Since it's 'beaming', it should happen automatically. So I did the following:

import { useRouter } from 'next/router'

const Custom404 = () => {
    const router = useRouter()
    useEffect(() => {
        const timeout = setTimeout(() => {
            router.push('/')}, 2000);

The first line of code imports next/router from Next, don't miss that step. Then, I added a useEffect hook to set the timeout interval. I had to use that function inside the useEffect hook because it can only run client side. When I tried it without the hook, I kept getting an error because it was running on build. Silly me.

The argument in router.push is the page you want to redirect to, so change as needed. I'm redirecting home.

How to Enable Word Wrap on Only MDX in VS Code
Published: 3/31/2022, 10:20:54 PM

I love editing in VS Code, but I couldn't get my MDX files to wrap on a specific column width without affecting all my other files. I want my MDX files to wrap because that's how I write blog posts, but I don't want any of my JS files to wrap because it makes it much harder to read. After doing some research, I was able to piece together a solution.

Paste this code in your settings.json file

    "[mdx]": {
        "editor.wordWrap": "wordWrapColumn",
        "editor.quickSuggestions": false,
        "editor.wordWrapColumn": 80,

If you use markdown instead of MDX, change the [mdx] to [Markdown].

Be prepared for the disasters you can't imagine
Published: 3/28/2022, 11:42:34 PM

If you're only preparing for the disaster you can imagine, you're going to be unprepared.

No one expected the economy to crash so hard during the Great Depression until it did.

No one expected (or maybe they did but didn't prepare) for a disease to put the entire world at a halt until it did. So, we had a lack of protection equipment for doctors, nurses, and other first responders. Hospital's had no idea how to handle the high capacity. Businesses had no idea how to sell to customers who couldn't come into their stores.

No one prepares for the disasters they can't see.

That idea stems from something Morgan Housel said on The Tim Ferris Show this week. They were talking about risk and how to not lose all your money when you're financially panicking. Housel explained it's important to have more savings than most people would think is necessary.

If cash returns 1% and stocks return 10%, that 9% difference your cash could be earning will eat you up every day of the week. But if the cash on hand ensures you don't have to sell your stocks at a loss because you need the money during a financial crisis, that cash actually returned much more than just 1%.

Are you playing a game you want to win?
Published: 3/28/2022, 11:58:27 AM

If you win at whatever game you're playing right now, would you be happy?

This is such an amazing question to ask yourself. The best thing about it is that it can apply to so many contexts.

For me, I think about it in terms of content creation and the persona I'm trying to create for myself online and relates to [[Why I'm Learning how to code and not how to build an audience]]. I want to win the game by building an amazing product, creating an inspiring video, or writing a ground-breaking article.

Is that going to take time? Yes. Will other people succeed faster than me? Yes.

But I want to win the game that I want want to play. In other words, I don't want to win a game I never wanted to play in the first place.

Writing in Your Head
Published: 3/28/2022, 11:57:42 AM

Thinking of ideas and paragraphs while walking or lying down is "writing", it's just doing the mental part of writing. Your fingers aren't physically tapping keys, but that doesn't mean you aren't writing.

When someone imagines a "writer", they picture them sitting in an old cottage with a rickety brown desk filled with crumpled up papers, whiskey, and cigarette ash. While this sounds like a picture perfect scene (minus the cigarettes), that's only part of what the writing process looks like.

Most writing occurs in a writer's head. This is where they put different ideas together in various ways, think of illustrations and stories to use, and substitute words for one another. They arrange the sentences and paragraphs in their mind as well.

What's interesting about this process is that it's usually not intentional. Someone doesn't go out to the grocery store thinking, "I'm going to finish writing this article while I'm out." Instead, they hear something on the radio, or see an interesting billboard and think about how it might be useful for whatever it is they're writing about.

If you're struggling to write, get away from your desk and out in the world. Most writing happens in your head.

Solving the vague errors
Published: 3/31/2022, 9:53:54 PM

When you write code, you have a local development environment you're able to work on. This gives you a real-time look at what your code does and how it functions. Once you get it working as you wish in development, then you push it to production, which allows others to visit a URL and actually view it.

The development environment is as close to the production environment as it can get, but there are still flaws. You can solve for a lot of the errors before you push it to production, but sometimes while you're trying to push it to production, you get errors. This is infuriating.

"It works perfectly in development, why isn't working in production?!"

The worst part of this experience is the error message the production logs give are usually vague and not very helpful. Most of the time it's something along the lines of, 'Hey this page had an error. May the odds be ever in your favor."

Life is the same way.

You can prepare for a situation as much as you want, but practicing and being in the situation in real-life will never be the same thing. There are too many outside variables in real life affecting your environment. Sometimes, you're forced to solve the vague errors on the spot.