Validate Your Life : Productivity and Minimalism, Tech, Atheism, and More show

Validate Your Life : Productivity and Minimalism, Tech, Atheism, and More

Summary: The Validate Your Life and TheNerdCoach main podcast for all projects include audio blog archives, the new audio blog, one and the same recordings episodes, the NLP Practitioner Series, Linuxgeekoid recordings, and the Christmas Carol recordings. This is, unquestionably, the motherload!

Join Now to Subscribe to this Podcast
  • Visit Website
  • RSS
  • Artist: John Thomas Kooz
  • Copyright: Copyright Validate Your Life, TheNerdCoach, and John Kooz. 2003-2012.


 Egyptian Fractions and a Superb Formula: The Certainty of Math | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:46

This is an incredibly exciting post, not because it is breaking news (the content of it is 3,000-4,000 years old!), but because it is true and epitomizes the certainty of math.   The Certainty of Math In doing the (admittedly very fun) 1/a=1/(a+1)...

 Three Components of Sherlock Holmes: Observation, Knowledge, and Deduction | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 19:20

Introduction Personally, I like a mixture of a wee bit of philosophy and physics and astronomy and other sciences that describe how the world works but also in conjunction with highly  situation-specific information and knowledge unrelated to the general existence of the planet and universe (possibly related to coaching).  While I find that equilibrium agreeable, Sherlock Holmes would have nothing of the former in his repertoire of knowledge.  If something wouldn't help him with sleuthing puzzles as a consulting detective, he wouldn't have it in his 'brain attic'. Although he may have looked like a philosopher at times, Sherlock would never have been a philosopher because Sherlock deliberately made himself horribly naive and uninformed about certain areas of knowledge irrelevant to his line of work.  Holmes' reveries and meditative reflection in solving a case could be misconstrued as the type of world 'how everything works' pondering that a philosopher may do, but he was a machine for solving detective puzzles.  Watson pointed out that Sherlock Holmes thought for hours, days even, about a case, but this is not like a philosopher who thinks about trees falling in forests with no one around, or a fusion of a variety of diverse knowledge, or how the world works.  So while Sherlock thought very deeply it was always about very specific scenarios related to his current case.  That focus on highly nuanced (and to an outside, odd) knowledge was one of the three key ingredients (the others you will shortly see are Observation and Deduction) that made Sherlock one of the (if not The) foremost experts in areas of knowledge that were incredibly nuanced, but crucial to his work as a consulting detective. Observation Sherlock Holmes a)knew what to look for and b)observed with incredibly detail and scrutiny.  Both knowing what to look for (see the Knowledge component of the triumvirate below) and being able to keenly spot crucial details was 1/3 of the invaluable triad of components that made Sherlock perform what seemed to some like magic.  But it was far from magic, it was a lot of work learning his specific type of knowledge, scientifically observing, and then reasonably deducing.  There was a methodical process to Sherlock's work; it may have looked like a 'poof and abracadabra' but it was definitely the exquisite mixture and fusion of these three ingredients. Knowledge Holmes is interested in minutiae: -tobacco - Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccoes -hands (affected by vocation) - "upon the influence of a trade upon the form of the hand, with lithotypes of the hands of slaters, sailors, corkcutters, compositors, weavers, and diamond-polishers." -footsteps - upon the tracing of footsteps, with some remarks upon the uses of plaster of Paris as a preserver of impresses. - Paraphrased from Chapter 1 of Sign of Fou Deduction Deduction is clutch.  It is what fuses and ties together the Observed minutiae Knowledge.  Without Deduction, good ol' Sherlock would just have at best a jumble of, well, observed minutiae knowledge! Conclusion You can apply the observation of very specific knowledge and then deducing things to many things outside of Sherlock's focus of criminal cases.  When working on a coaching problem I like to try to combine a similar triple combo of observation, deduction, and specific knowledge.  That combo can be applied to sciencres, progress, staying focused, it can be used for a numerous different types of puzzles in numerous cateogories.  One particularly relevant 'category' might be medicine or surgery (Sherlock Holmes was partially based off a Scottish surgeon) where the doctor has to observe very obscure knowledge in ways that others don't even know about and instead of a deduction, make a diagnosis.  Whatever the category the triple Knowledge-Observation-Deduction(or Diagnosis) is superb.  Jolly good! Podcast #145.

 Kepler’s Three Laws of Planetary Motion and Movement | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:48

When there's something I really truly want to understand thoroughly, I only deem it "understood" until I am able to explain it well.  That's what I've done with Kepler's Three Laws.  In this post (and the podcast recording) I'm confident that you, even if you don't know a smidgen of physics nor astronomy, can and will understand these three paradigmatic laws of Kepler.  At the end of the post I list sources that I found invaluable to understanding these, as well some resources that are inspiring and helpful for studying astronomy and I encourage you to peruse those as well. Kepler and his discoveries are amazing for his time without having Newtonian gravity yet for explanation!  Kepler discovered that planets orbit in an ELLIPSE!!!! amazing!  Tycho, unlike Kepler, didn't believe Copernius, but Kepler knew that Copernicus was spot on and his acceptance of a heliocentric solar system is what partially made the discovery of the three laws possible.   That's pretty profound, amazing, and incredible. Kepler was 100% ignorant of the certainty of gravity (he may have had hunches, but was grossly ignorant) and still ascertained that planets orbit in one and only one curve: an ellipse. Kepler also deduced that that the # of days it took a planet to orbit a sun, must be related to its distance from a sun. Spot on again! (or in other words the radius of the elliptical orbit of a planet; the larger the foci radii, the longer the orbital period, the smaller the foci radii the shorter the orbital period of a planet). Want to know one of the most amazingly astonishing things about Kepler? This will really flabbergast you, as it died me, if you know even a smidgen of physics and astonomy. *timpanic...drum roll...* Kepler was oblivious to gravity.  Yes, I wrote that correctly and you just read that accurately.  Kepler was, indeed, oblivious to gravity.  Kepler was pre-Newtonian era, so gravity, as a formal law of physics had not yet been confirmed.  That is fall-off-your-chair astonishing. It truly is! That a man without knowing about gravity could make such extremely accurate mathematically accurate "guesses" (and they were spot on) about the speed and orbital shape of planets floating around in the solar system. Of course planets don't float; they orbit. And they don't just orbit; they orbitg in ellipses. And it was Kepler in all of his astoundingly pre-gravity glory and ignorance, whom discovered that! What an amazing man, and the fact that he was pre-Newtonian makes his discoveries all the more undeniably unfathomably impressive. He made observations, deduced, and calculated three laws of planetary motion. First Law of Kepler Kepler's first law is superbly important for astronomy, but quite simple: planet's orbit in the shape of an ellipse with a sun being at one of the foci of an ellipse. That's it! An ellipse, mind you is a shape where the sum of the distances from each foci is the same for any point on the ellipse. If the ellipse is close to one foci then it is far away from from another and the sum of those distances are always the same for any ellipse. Mind you, a circle is even a special form of an ellipse, but one where the "two foci" share the exact same spot. You can then guess that a normal ellipse with foci very close together more and more resembles a circle; whereas an ellipse with foci very far apart will appear noticeably oblong and like an oval. Kepler's Second Law Kepler's Second Law is slightly more complex. It is that for an equal period of time, the area sweeped out by an orbitting planet will be the same. IF a planet is very close to the sun, it will orbit faster covering more distance on the arch of the planet, but it's area length will be shorter. If a planet is far away from a sun it orbits much more slowly, covering a short arc distance on the ellipse, but the area of the sweeped out triangle will have longer sides and is that area, with equal time-durations,

 If You Were Trapped in a Fictional Story, What Would Be the Scariest Genre? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 21:40

One of the scariest fictional stories to be trapped in without knowing it? Time travel . Think about it. Almost any other genre of film or story (or game) you would probably easily find out what genre of film/story/game it was. If you see a bunch of dwarves and know you're in a fantasy story. If there's monsters with knives attacking you, you're probably in a horror story. Yes, that would be frightening, but you could engage protective measures. If there's crimes and detectives and sleuthing, obviously you're in a mystery crime story. However, time travel stories...are an entirely different matter. You likely wouldn't know you're in a time travel story. Sure, odd things from the past and/or future would bubble up but if you didn't know that that was the genre of story you were in, it would be horrifying and confusing. This is obviously a very weird and odd brain experiment, but time travel and causal loops really interest me; it's one of the most alluring and interesting aspects of science fiction. Take Back to the Future. Marty knew he was traveling back or forward in time. So he knew what to look for. But could you imagine geing stuck in a time travel story without knowing it? The amount of confusion experienced by unknowingly being in a time travel story would be much more horrifying and daunting than, say, the horror of a monster stalking you (which is relatively palpable) in a scary story. I guess seeing people you knew that were aged, suddenly infants or young people old and whithered might be a clue, but what if it were more subtle? This is an odd thought experiment, but an interesting one. Time has one direction. It flows forward. The only way to access the past is observing history (primary documents, journals, old articles, timestamps, archives, and the like) but one is never "IN" the past or future (unless of course you're trapped in a time travel fictional story!). You can be using out-dated antiquted technology that's so historical that some people use the phrase "technology from the past" or technology that seems so cutting edge that it's "like from the future", but you're still in the present. You can never be anywhere (by the laws of physics) other than in the present. This, by the way, is not a silly "live in the present moment" rubbish hoaky thing; it's an analysis of the relationship of future and past time. Theoretical Physicist and author, Michio Kaku, wrote a (fairly superb) book called Physics of the Impossible .  It's accessible to non-physicists and is quite fascinating.  In that great book he investigates various wonders of physics like Force Fields, Perpetual Motion Machines, Teleportation, and...Time Travel.  He does a pretty good analysis of all of those topics and classifies wonders like that into different types (Type 1,2, or 3).  Type 1 is only a limitation of technology, and thus, plausible.  Type 3 Impossibilities are against the laws of physics, and thus, practically truly (or 100%) impossible. Kaku references how a lot of fiction even oldfiction like Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", where the protagonist travels to the future and past (via the Ghosts of Chirstmas Past and Future), addresses time travel but what about within the realm (and intractable and awesome laws) of physics? The first time machine involves a wormhole. There are many solutions of Einstein’s equations that connect two distant points in space. But since space and time are intimately intertwined in Einstein’s theory, this same wormhole can also connect two points in time. By falling down the wormhole, you could journey (at least mathematically) into the past. Conceivably, you could then journey to the original starting point and meet yourself before you left. Kaku, Michio (2008-03-11). Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel (p. 222). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition. sdfgfsdgsfd

 Bad and Superior Coaching, Regression to the Mean, NLP Logical Levels, Abandoning Service, and Other Stuff | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:23:04

Talking Regression to the Mean In his book, Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks Ben Goldacre says, "Regression to the mean is basically another phrase for the phenomenon whereby, as alternative therapists like to say, all things have a ...

 The Scam of Detox and the Mars Rover Curiosity Touchdown | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 16:59

This post first focuses on Goldacre's analysis of the rubbish Detox scams and then switches to something supremely exciting, the Mars Rover, Curiosity!  Are those two topics related in anyway shape or form?  One could link the two with a whalloping stretch of the imagination (like...detox scams are spurious and the science and physics utilized to engineer Curiosity are truth), but generally, no; they're just topics I found interesting content for a Tuesday Post. The Scam of Detox Ben Goldacre, a medical doctor and sort of a British medical debunker of scams (maybe like a medicinal version of James Randi, but not that extreme), penned a great book called Bad Science.  In that book he debunks (amongst other things) many things related to detox.  First off, Goldacre addresses (and cunningly and accurately annihilates) the absurd Phenonemon of the 'Foot Bath'.  Apparently (I was not aware of this, fortunately), some imbeciles pay top dollar to go to a spa, dunk their feet in a bath of water and watch it turn brown.  Why would anyone do that?  Simple, they're victims of a scam, a deplorable hoax!  The 'foot baths' supposedly release 'toxins' from the body.  However, what really happens is  the Sodium Chloride in the water turns the water "brown, due to a very simple process called electrolysis; the iron electrodes rust, essentially, and the brown rust goes into the water" (Goldacre "Bad Science", pg. 5).  A strange smell is also released.  Footbath conmen declare that 'chlorine-like' smell has to do with the toxins released from the body, but really it's just chlorine gas given off from the breakdown of NaCl in the water.  The 'footbath' doesn't have anything to do with 'detoxifying'!  At best it's a chemistry experiment that will make the epidermal layer of your feet wrinkly!  Goldacre's ridicule of the entire concept of 'bodily toxins' is profound as well: "Are there toxins in the water/  Here we encounter a new problem: What do they mean by toxins?  I've asked the manufacturers of many detox products this question time and again, and they demur (one of the handful of well-chosen words I had to refresh memory on its definition, which means to suspend judgement or hesitate).  They wave their hands, they talk about stressful modern lifestyles, they talk about pollution, they talk a bout junk food, but they will not tell me the name of a single chemcial that I can measure.  "What toxins are being extracted from the body...tell me what is in the water, and I will look for it in a laboratory." (Goldacre pg. 6) I really liked that because not only are the claims of toxins being released from one's feet (freakishly absurd) spurious, but the entire existence of 'bodily toxins being released' is nonexistent!  Goldacre moves on and quickly dismantles 'Detox Foot Patches', noting the key ingredients are "pyroligneous acid" (wood vinegar) and "hydrolyzed carbohydrate" (sugar). The moisture of one's feet makes for another trivial chemistry experiment when that moisture causes the vinegar and sugar to turn brownish, which is just vinegar and sugar, not "purging detox of one's body"! It's taking me awhile to get through that book not because it's dense; it's very accessible and beautifully written, but because it's true.  I had relatives claiming the benefits of ear candles (another thing Goldacre debunked as just fluid in the candle itself draining out, not anything from one's earlobe) and have seen ads and people claiming the benefits of 'detox'.  It's reassuring to read Goldacre's book.  I feel safer from scams, but I also have an increasing horror of the people who a)devise these scams and b)actually are duped by them.  The debunking of these medical scams a)doesn't interest me enough and b)is something I am not nearly as qualified as one should be to investigate them, so my analysis of them will be  brief, but, while it's reassuring that people like Goldacre are cracking (or have cracked away at) away at those scams,


Login or signup comment.