Monday, February 22, 2016

Delayed Gratification as a Modus Operandi

I eat only once a day. It is always dinner and it is always whatever I fancy. Until then, I consume nothing but water, Diet Coke or tea. As a weight-management strategy, it is some use, maybe. “Intermittent fasting” has its advocates but others insist the total number of calories you consume matters more than their distribution across the day.

Either way, losing weight is not the end I have in mind. The gains are all mental. I feel meerkat-alert throughout the day. Mid-afternoon pangs of hunger are no trouble to get through, and preferable to the languor I used to feel after lunch. On a full stomach, crafting a sentence or even testing an argument in my mind is like trying to do abdominal crunches five seconds after waking up. A kind of haze stops you.
"Eat, drink and be merry but only after work" - Am I the only Janan Ganesh fan out there?

You have to marvel at how Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, a former Special Operations commander and the newly appointed leader of American forces in Afghanistan, does it. Mastermind the hunt for Al Qaeda in Iraq and plot stealth raids on Taliban strongholds in the Hindu Kush while getting just a few hours of sleep a night, exercising enough to exhaust a gym rat and eating one meal a day to avoid sluggishness. One meal.
"No Food for Thought: The Way of the Warrior" + Tim Ferris Interview with McChrystal

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Orwell's Ideal Bar

In the Moon Under Water it is always quiet enough to talk. The house possesses neither a radio nor a piano [...]

Upstairs, six days a week, you can get a good, solid lunch—for example, a cut off the joint, two vegetables and boiled jam roll—for about three shillings [...]

Many as are the virtues of the Moon Under Water, I think that the garden is its best feature, because it allows whole families to go there instead of Mum having to stay at home and mind the baby while Dad goes out alone.
from The Moon Under Water by George Orwell

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

Economics is a science of thinking in terms of models joined to the art of choosing models which are relevant to the contemporary world. It is compelled to be this, because, unlike the typical natural science, the material to which it is applied is, in too many respects, not homogeneous through time…Good economists are scarce because the gift for using "vigilant observation" to choose good models, although it does not require a highly specialised intellectual technique, appears to be a very rare one
from J. M. Keynes' letter to Harrod, 4 July 1938

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More Commendments

Szilárd Leó's Ten Commandments

Advice to people at the beginning of their careers: do not imagine that you have to know everything before you can do anything. My own best work was done when I was most ignorant. Grab every opportunity to take responsibility and do things for which you are unqualified.
Freeman Dyson on being 60 years in the same job