Various dithering re: Operation Headache

I started the bibliography of Operation Headache off with Cal Newport. It had struck me yesterday that writing a nonfiction book is actually just drawing out a few insights in between a bunch of related book summaries. So what I is sayin is the way to write a book is to have an opinion, write it down as chapter 1, then do a book summary per page length you want the thing to be. And at the end of each book summary you just say “and that’s why my new framework is right”. I think I may be rediscovering the research paper method from the perspective of a blogger.

Initial bibliography for Operation Headache. These three in particular are standouts:

Deep Work
Peak
The Art and Craft of Problem Solving

I haven’t read it, but “Moonwalking with Einstein” is probably quite relevant, or something close to it.

The training activities I want to really narrow in on are:

  • Competitive memorization
  • Jeopardy! (trains recall)
  • Dual N-back
  • Chess
  • Math competition problems
  • Mental math

There’s probably a critical area I’m leaving out, the idea is just to start narrowing things down a bit. I figure a good litmus test for inclusion is if it’s common advice in the area to restrict practice to 2-4 hours per day at most, and eat right to perform well. Maybe add rapid learning to this too, like Daniel Tammet. There’s some interesting stuff in that area. We could restrict that area to rapid language acquisition. This reductionism eliminates stuff like music and slogging through Kant which, though laudable, are more about motivation.

I’d also like to focus more on serotonin-building, daily repeatable deep work than inspired work (e.g. hackathons). In the former, the idea is to work on the same big project for weeks at a time like a marathon runner, and in the latter the idea is to knock something out in a single period of intense dopaminergic engagement before collapsing in a heap. The latter has basically been my area for a long time and I’ve got a good handle on it. It’s worth studying and writing about in its own right; A good place to start might be “unconscious thought theory”. But I suspect that, like sprinting vs. endurance, it’s more nature than nurture, AKA less amenable to training than deep work.

An old anecdote iSteve is helpful here: The New Yorker recently inquired “How Fast Would Usain Bolt Run the Mile?“, only to find out according to his agent that “Usain has never run a mile.” https://www.unz.com/isteve/the-single-most-amazing-number-in-human-biodiversity-studies-72/. Great post. I reference the ideas often when talking to normies. Especially: “Carl Lewis only worked out 8 hours per week getting ready to win four gold medals in 1984, so he had time to be a disco music star in Japan.” Normies have a lot of trouble with the idea that an Olympic athlete trains fewer hours per week than they could fit into their normie life. Same could very easily go for mental athletes, from what I’ve read already.

One big thing that’s missing from my activity list is visualization ability. I’d bet it’s possible to train up to Tesla’s level given the right training plan and an unlimited supply of milk. This subject came up once, I think somewhere in this mess: http://lymcanada.org/riemman-for-anti-dummies/. It would be hard to find the quote in that link, but the idea was that part of training in math should be the ability to visualize graphs in 2D and space with extreme precision and acuity.

It pains me to suggest it, but something like a Solidworks competition would probably be the best way. One would certainly begin to dream in Solidworks. Drawing/drafting would be good, but painting is a little too impressionistic to translate into the 3D rotation subtest of the WAIS. Art appreciation would actually be great, except how do you turn that into measurable performance? Minecraft may actually be a good entry-level trainer.

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11 Responses to Various dithering re: Operation Headache

  1. Raphecaus says:

    Hey aeoli, I’ve been reading some of your speculative anthro posts and while I don’t totally agree with you (which makes sense cuz they’re speculative), I do think your ideas are very interesting and I think you have a unique though process. Have you read anything on the Lomekwi site in in Kenya? In summary it’s a relatively recent archeological site from 2011 around lake turkana where they discovered 3.3 mil y/o stone tools and incomplete fossil evidence of a hominid distinct from early human and Neanderthal ancestors they called kenyanthropus. It was much larger than modern humans and had an unusually flat face and large skull, which came to my mind when reading your melonhead ideas. Idk if you’ve read into this at all but if not I felt this would be something of interest for you

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I hadn’t read it and I haven’t been doing weirdo stuff in that area for a while, but I may get back into it soon if I ever start pulling the notes together.

  2. aiaslives says:

    > Mental math

    Get an abacus, and simulate it in your head once you’re comfortable with the complementary additions/subtractions. Multiplication and division is also pretty easy.

    This is the kind you should buy:

    Or you could go full Sidis and use rotating lines.

    > I’d bet it’s possible to train up to Tesla’s level given the right training plan and an unlimited supply of milk.

    Only possible if you’re born with it. You might get a small degree of improvement, but it’ll go away if you stop practicing.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >Get an abacus, and simulate it in your head

      I went down this rabbithole a bit with the Galen schools. But I’d be more curious to learn whether there are competitions, and if so what method the winners use.

      • aiaslives says:

        I learnt arithmetic on an abacus before I did on paper. I had multiple practice books, from one-digit arithmetic to six. A regular exercise was adding numbers from 1 to 100 to build muscle memory. If you didn’t get 5050 at the end, you’d get to do it again. There were competitions for kids, and usually the kids that scored high were the ones who completed their workbooks.

        Adults winning mental math competitions wouldn’t need to learn an abacus.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >Only possible if you’re born with it.

      Whenever I see a Pareto distribution in skill, I expect to find obsessive practitioners in the right tail. Assuming 100% nature suggests a bell curve in ability, and that’s not what I see. Most people can’t guess whether a couch will go through a door, but your average mechanic with an IQ of 110 can disassemble an engine in his imagination and put it back together, all with vivid detail.

      • aiaslives says:

        > but your average mechanic with an IQ of 110 can disassemble an engine in his imagination and put it back together, all with vivid detail

        I doubt that’s true for even 10% of “average mechanics”.

        What they might be using isn’t visualization, it’s familiarity coupled with an intuitive sense. It’s kinda like being able to tell when the door / windows of a room you’ve spent a lot of time in are open and / or not properly shut.

        • Aeoli Pera says:

          The fact is, traditionally, there is nothing in traditional education pushing this ability to its phenotypal limit:

          >While those with verbal and quantitative strengths enjoy more traditional reading, writing, and mathematics classes, there are currently few opportunities in the traditional high school to discover spatial strengths and interests. Instead, students who might benefit from hands-on, technical material must find an outlet on their own time, or just wait until their post-secondary education. And, in the worst case, they may drop out of the educational system altogether.

          https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/recognizing-spatial-intel/

  3. Miu Ayano says:

    > One big thing that’s missing from my activity list is visualization ability. I’d bet it’s possible to train up to Tesla’s level given the right training plan and an unlimited supply of milk.

    I’m wary. Spatial rotation seems to be a pretty inherent thing. Ceiling is most likely genetic. Though I imagine there is a lot of payoff if you have native ability.

    > “Carl Lewis only worked out 8 hours per week getting ready to win four gold medals in 1984, so he had time to be a disco music star in Japan.”

    I wonder how much Phelps could have minimized his training.

    > It would be hard to find the quote in that link, but the idea was that part of training in math should be the ability to visualize graphs in 2D and space with extreme precision and acuity.

    I doubt you’d ever see this in public school cause boys would perform significantly better than girls. Middle school and high school math, and (even undergrad at mid/low tier unis) is mostly book keeping, high conscientiousness type stuff for this reason. Also may be due to goys/Asians being strong in this area.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >I’m wary. Spatial rotation seems to be a pretty inherent thing.

      Other than actual mechanical and engineering work (as distinct from engineering school, which is heavily analytical/numerical and very weak on visuospatial), I don’t see any areas where this ability gets any exercise. I’d guess most men are well below their genotypal limit.

      >I wonder how much Phelps could have minimized his training.

      Unlikely he could have cut much. There’s more to life than HIIT, despite current fads.

      >I doubt you’d ever see this in public school cause boys would perform significantly better than girls.

      As John Taylor Gatto points out, school exists only to extend the values of the elites who make up the state apparatus. Students are the product, not the consumers.

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