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The Average is Not Real

December 4th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
The average is not a real number. If one fish is fresh water and the other salt, optimizing for the average kills both. If one man is poor and the other rich, helping the average helps no one.
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Let Me Tell You a Story

November 27th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Let Me Tell You a Story by Blake Robinson
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Three Tiers of Mind

November 11th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
This is a long piece but one I've been thinking through for a while.  I've come gradually to see people as being in one of three Tiers when it comes to their motivations, mindset, and ability to make things happen.  Before I begin, I want to make clear that this is not the case of one group of people being better than another.  There's nothing wrong with being in one Tier vs another.  You're not a better or worse person for it.  It is also not a relative scale or spectrum; the conditions for each group are explicit, discrete, and absolute, based solely on whether the person has or does not have the ability to direct not only his own fate but that of others.  There is no in between.  Lastly, it is important to understand that these are mindsets, not people.  It is no different than discussing beliefs rather than the believers themselves, the substance of an opinion rather than the person who voiced it.  It has nothing to d...[More]
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Microsoft Word Now Spellchecks Writing Style

November 6th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
I normally run my stuff through spellcheck just to check for quick errors.  The other day I had about 100, all for "readability" and "conciseness" under the pretense of grammatical errors.  What?

Here are some of the examples:
"perhaps as a result of..." => "perhaps because of"
"the only thing they really have is the past" => "the only thing they have is the past"
"it's absolutely essential that..." => "it's essential that..."
"someone who says their ultimate goal is to..." => "someone who says their goal is to..."

The biggest issue here is none of those phrases are actually grammatically incorrect (MS Word just corrected what I said to "actually grammatically incorrect").  It's someone's opinion on how I should write, and it actually changes the meaning of what I'm saying.  That is pretty ridiculous.  Sure, I can strip out every adverb and adjective from my writing, but that would make for some pretty dry and boring - sorry, some pretty dry and boring - literature.  It removes color, emphasis, emotion.  We're not writing for robots here.

The sad part is people learning to write for the first time would likely trust the spellcheck to clean up all "errors" in their writing.  It's not an error to say more than you have to to make a point.
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Shaping Dreams

November 5th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Some let the world shape their dreams.  Others let their dreams shape the world.
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Unlimited Clean Energy From Solar Winds

October 29th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
It turns out there's enough energy right at the edge of our atmosphere to power the entire planet for free.  The energy comes in the form of charged particles from the sun called the solar wind, which is much more energy rich than what makes it past the Earth's magnetic field to our ground-based solar panels and is responsible for phenomena like the northern lights (aurora borealis).  It is pretty much unlimited pure energy, free for the taking, that you could collect through a sail or panel or even just a regular conductor (at the ionosphere just before space, it's pretty close to actual electricity) with no worries of pollution or detriment to the environment, and it's rather surprising there hasn't been more interest to reach it as it seems like such a land grab.

The main problem I read about is the practicality of transporting the energy back to Earth, as much of it can be lost if you...[More]
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Function and Choice

October 25th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Function does not imply purpose.  Purpose only comes from choice.
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It Only Takes One

October 22nd, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
If you drop a book a thousand times and just one of those times it doesn't fall, then that is the datapoint worth looking at. (inspired by "I Origins")
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Apricus

October 13th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
I looked at the sun and was blinded.
I flew to the sun and was burned.
I listened to the sun and could hear only silence.
I sat back in peace and felt the warmth of its rays.
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