Simfish/InquilineKea's Thoughts

Mind-expanding things to try out

There are loads of these lists on the Internet, but few of them cater to analytical nerds. So I’ll make one myself

Anyways the below is for the fact hounds, for facts pertaining to reality. those into fantasy will probably not find this list useful. that being said, fictional worlds are often the best since they don’t suffer from the same constraints that the real world suffers from. star wars universe is especially interesting. as is alpha centauri (the game) universe.

also, there is a difference between learning the rules and really internalizing manifestations of the rules. a person may want to learn about all possible combinations of chess RULES, but one may also want to learn about all possible combinations of chess POSITIONS given the rules. Sports fans, in particular, are really good at learning the possible manifestations of sports positions/outcomes given the rules. This gives them a knowledge of the structure that is quite different (but still interesting) from a knowledge of the structure of multiple possible rulesets. DnD players might be internalize both different manifestations of rulesets given the rules, as well as rule systems. As would computer game players who don’t stick to the same game. As would some board game players.

It’s sort of a breadth vs depth thing. One can study a single organism in depth (think E. coli, C. elegans), but one can alternatively study the diversity of all organisms in depth (and even the diversity of all possible genetic systems). Both can be very interesting in themselves. Although one can be very superficial even when one’s studying them (not all sports fans are very bright or introspective, but they still do learn a lot of interesting manifestations, although they may fail to tie them in together)


so there are the moments in life when i feel listless and bored. certainly when i don’t have the energy or time to do anything intellectually stimulating, but also when i don’t want to squander away more time. so perhaps there are opportunities for me to explore my curiosity (or in other words, find new local (and even possibly global) maxima in search space.

and hm, maybe i’ll make a list of ways to explore it

– look up the author of each book i find interesting. if especially bored, google the author’s name

– look up the wikipedia, amazon, and other pages of such author

– look up the publisher or series of the book

– use a different OS (use different linux distros too), web browsers, applications, etc. dont do it too much (at least at the point where it starts to significantly compromise on one’s ability to get familiar with the program’s settings/programming language’s libraries/etc)

– learn a new language (cliche lolz. probably more desirable for non-info-geeks).

– wikipedia lists/categories. those are excellent.

– learn vi, emacs

– explore different school systems, school curricula. MIT course catalog is low-hanging fruit (due to OCW), so try another university’s course catalog. bonus points if it’s a foreign university

-look up wikipedia page of EVERYTHING you see

-if webpage interesting -> it for related websites

-think about how you could automate any arbitrary process (through programming)

– go through old notes/blogs and organize them

– comparative politics.

– learn a new geographical system. internalize the 3-D stellar distribution of the milky way


– learn a new geographical system back in history. e.g. roman empire, han dynasty commanderies/provinces, etc.

– political geography.

– comparative linguistics. comparative logical systems. comparative X

– biohacking, lifehacking, mindhacking, and obviously, computer hacking.

– learn about different weapons the military uses. internalize airplane specs, specs for cars, etc. for historical weapons too. and read about how people used them (diaries, etc). computer game players already have internalized the relative efficacies of a huge number of weapons.

– fully internalize the differences between jpg/tiff/png/etc, and read their respective wikis. same goes for pdf/djvu/ps, doc/docx/otf, tex, xls/csv/sqlite, etc…

– self-study courses. a huge number of them.


7 Comments so far
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Use different programs for things. e.g.

try something out of many of these haha

Comment by inquilinekea

learn dif shells: korn shell, bash, command line, win powershell

Comment by inquilinekea

learn to multithread/parallel program

Comment by inquilinekea

look up the company of every product/service you try. look at its webpage, its page on wikipedia. for each store you go to, try looking at its yelp page.

Comment by inquilinekea

look up all the devices you have under “device manager”. of course, as usual, go to their product websites and wikipedia pages. easiest to do when you have problems with them

Comment by inquilinekea

learn each file format and the idiosyncrasies of them

Comment by inquilinekea

look up the professor webpages for professors whose research you hear about in the news

Comment by inquilinekea

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