Trains of Thought and Rambling. Low-effort Mini Essays.

21 Nov 2020

This section is just a place to put my unfinished ideas and rambles, and shouldn’t be taken very seriously. Nor should you expect anything here to be comprehensible or coherent, and definitely not useful.

If you find a typo anywhere in here, please make a PR to add a fix to it! You can also feel free to add your own opinions on any of these subjects and append them on a PR, with a link to your blog or source if you want.

Bill Gates’ hidden agenda?

Whenever Bill Gates releases his yearly ‘books to read’ list, I find that none of the books he recommends are interesting or seem useful to me. I wonder if he just uses the enormous influence he has in this regard to signal-boost whatever books reflect his worldview or opinions the most, instead of actually trying to do the recommendations which provide the most value. It may also be that since this is annual, he recommends books under time constraints (books that came out in the last year) instead of sampling from his “global” books list, which contains the best books ever.

Overdoing it as fault tolerance

This came to me due to my current Japanese studying schedule of 1.30hs a day, every day of the week. My smart goal is to keep learning 15 new words from JLPT3 deck every day.

However due to a thing called life, every once in a while a thing would pop up and I’d be busy or distracted, and would not be able to dedicate the allocated time for Japanese studies that day. This mostly happened on days where I saw people or had Discord parties (lockdown times make us creative).

My solution? Move the Anki bar so it’s 18 new words a day. This way, since 618 > 715, I can skip a day a week if I feel like I won’t make it (or will have to squeeze it too tight on my schedule, preventing relaxed study), and still make my original quota.

This is nothing new, companies do this with KPIs all the time: overshoot so you hit the mark. But I’d never thought of what this implies for fault tolerance: if every day I’m overdoing it a bit, then when a random event brings down a piece of my infrastructure or resources, I can still survive.

It’s like stocking up for the winter!

### Do bees like celery? On randomly lost knowledge.

So today I was walking to get food and thinking: the api in apiculture -should mean bee- sounds a hell lot like apio (celery). And apio totally sounds Latin, like it should’ve been Apium or something way back when. So I wonder if bees are the apio-eating insect or whatever, and that was very common knowledge in ancient Rome but now a random person like me wouldn’t know it.

A quick check in the wiktionary entry for abeja says:

From apis (“bee”) because of bees’ perceived inclination towards the plant.

Seems like my guess was correct! But now I have to wonder. What other things are embedded in ancient names, and how many are true knowledge like this one, and how many just lies? Man, I love etymology.

So 文句, 文字, 文明 all start with the same kanji, but it’s read different every time. Namely, もんく、もじ、ぶんめい  respectively. Seriously, nipponjin? That’s today’s rant.