Notes on entropy

In my experience, entropy as an idea is generally misunderstood. Like many, I had a gut level understanding of “entropy is disorder”. It’s easy to misapply that intuition and draw wrong conclusions about areas far removed from physics (business, economies, cultures, etc.) Remember: thinking in analogies is dangerous?

So, I decided to dive deeper into entropy and here are my notes on the topic (as a series of easily digestible tweets).

1/ A short thread on ENTROPY, and its misapplications ...  Read the entire post →

The long (psychological) guide to achieving your new year resolutions

It’s that time of the year when people set their new year resolutions. Most of these are health-related: losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol dependence, eating better or meditating. Everyone knows that failure rate of such personal goals is high. But psychologists are a curious bunch and wanted to be sure of that. In an experiment, they tracked people’s new year resolutions and discovered that only 40% reported sticking to their yearly goals by the end of six months.

I find this high failure rate for new year resolutions utterly fascinating. How can someone fail at achieving a goal that depends solely on their own actions? If your goal is to lose weight, why not simply start eating foods with less carbohydrates? Of course, intuitively we know that achieving personal goals isn’t as simple as that. Even the staunchest believers in free will fail at quitting smoking.  ...  Read the entire post →

Librarians make more money than scientists

Post-docs (people with PhDs who aren’t professors yet) get an average of $52k of salary per year. Librarians and postal service works get $55k and $57k respectively. I came across these figures on an angry blog post where the author concluded:

The hard truth is academic postdocs are not valuable.

Why are intelligent people who’ve spent five or more years making an original contribution to the world (PhDs) paid less than people who’ve done short vocational training (librarians, mailmen)? ...  Read the entire post →