[in particular]

In which Mike writes about the particulars of things.

On rules and expectations and what it means to be part of a team.

What is the value of the natural world? The question seems unanswerable on the face of it – without fresh water, fertile soil, mineral deposits, solar energy, and adequate sinks for waste, no one would be around to do the valuing – but attempting to answer unanswerable questions is often revealing and worthwhile.

We’ll start with a puzzle: why is software slow? And why does the same device seem to get slower and slower as it ages?

Every so often, one is lucky enough to stumble into a new, untapped source of good ideas and alternative ways of thinking. Steps to An Ecology of Mind, a collection of essays by Gregory Bateson, is a just such a repository of careful thought....

So I’ve been reading through the archives of Mark Manson’s blog lately. Something I’ve noticed, a theme he repeats frequently, is the idea that you should take responsibility for your own emotions and no one else’s.

Think back to a book that had a big impact on you. Maybe it changed the way you look at your life or the world. Maybe it changed how you approach your relationships.

The accomplished and iconoclastic architect Christopher Alexander wrote Notes in 1964. For a 51-year-old book about efficient search through arbitrary design space it’s held up surprisingly well, despite some idiosyncrasies...

Well that didn't last long. A few months ago I was pretty excited to switch from WordPress to Octopress. Now I'm rolling my own site with Harp.

You may have noticed that resolutions are hard to keep. If you're like me, you greet each new year with hopeful visions of a new self—and come Spring your day-to-day life has derailed your best intentions.

“And if not now, when?”

This is a rhetorical question, of course, because frequently the best answer to “when?” is “now.” And if you think of yourself as a consortium of extremely similar deciders, your personal decisions become amenable to the analysis of game theory.

Rewards are powerful motivators and we should use every tool available to us in the quest to become better versions of ourselves. So how about rewarding yourself for going to the gym? After a good workout it's tempting to indulge yourself with a rich meal or an ice cream sandwich.

Last Thursday I wrote about taking advantage of the peak-end rule to make it easier to do more of the things you want to be doing, like going to the gym. There's another way to think of yourself as being made of different selves, and it leads to the very useful technique of setting policies and sticking to them.

I often have trouble getting myself to do the things that I'd like to be doing, like going to the gym or meditating regularly. Recently I ran across a big idea that helped me understand why this is true, and also provided a few hints that allowed me to improve the situation.

I write software for a living, and I am becoming more and more convinced that my job will soon – in a few years or a few decades – be outsourced.