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About Michio

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  1. Michio added a post in a topic Good Philosophy vs. Bad Philosophy   

    I was trying to avoid a smattering of links to reddit, but I made this thread based on at least 30+ threads I read that dealt with this question of good vs. bad philosophy, good vs. bad students, or even good vs. bad philosophies in some form. No crickets here, but a torrent of discussion, even when the OP barely wrote anything, from both layman to people 'more familiar' with the subject.

    Here are a few:

    I was curious about what TGL would say, in particular what a student should do, or a completely average person should do when they approach philosophy.

    I'll leave it at that. Again, interesting post heretic, but my sincerest apologies for not being impressive enough nor spending my time correctly. Mistakes happen. I'll stay on reddit from now on.

    Happy 'murica day by the way!
    • 1
  2. Michio added a post in a topic Good Philosophy vs. Bad Philosophy   

    That's good. That means you're about to add something.

    My intention was not to write anything groundbreaking nor personal, and I would have to spend more than a "little time".

    I have read very little philosophy these past several months btw, hence the lack of references to Aristotle, Nietzsche, or otherwise. Most of my studies these days involve looking at code and fiddling with computers. Not too relevant here.

    I essentially posted a summary of various discussions that was had in various threads on the philosophy network on reddit. I should have added that, because you inferred strange things. Don't worry, those people are quite familiar (grad students + professors).

    There is a strong sentiment that many people (at least there) get introduced to philosophy poorly, and there were a few professors who were particularly frustrated with undergrad papers, even after telling them what they needed to do.

    The slapdash points summarized in the OP is intended to tackle the common person and give them a starting point to approach philosophy. The assumption is that this is a good thing--making learning philosophy more accessible to more people. More accessible in the sense of, spending their time more productively by understanding the arguments of the philosophy they read, better and more accurately. The context of the discussions were undergrad philosophy students, who, according to grad students and teachers, view philosophy as simply semantics and showmanship.

    Not everyone is Aristotle or Nietzsche.

    The good vs. bad distinction in good or bad philosophy garners a very strong negative reaction, but typically not from others "more familiar with the subject and more earnest". Then again, the reddit philosophy network is composed of current academics, which may have something to do with their attitude that there is clearly good philosophy and bad philosophy.

    But interesting post heretic.
    • 2
  3. Michio added a topic in Learn   

    I have never received a good answer to, "How do I learn history?" So I figured it out on my own. The following is what has worked for me.

    Why learn history?

    - Makes one's place on Earth more meaningful.
    - Gives old literature / mythology context.
    - Makes current events and politics sensible.
    - Makes one extremely intellectually well-rounded.
    - Upgrades your Bullshit Detector to version 2.0 when people start talking about controversial politics.

    How to learn history?

    The place to start learning history is world history. After getting an overview of world history, you can decide on a specialized topic and research good resources for that specific topic. Even if you have a topic picked out beforehand, learning about world history might make you decide on something different. Additionally, knowledge of world history will give you context for specialized topics.

    Geography is a central part of learning history. If you aren't familiar with Earth's geography, much of world history will not make any sense because there will be references to countries and places that will be nothing more than a meaningless name if you can't locate it in your mind in relation to other places. You should know major mountains, seas, rivers, regions, and the borders of nations and empires (how they evolved).

    As you read, you should have a map open that you can reference. These are the two I use:

    This is National Geographic's World Map. It has the locations of all major geographical and political features and it seems current. When you zoom in, more details and features appear.

    This is TimeMaps. Indispensable reference. It has a map of major regions relevant in world history, and allows you to jump to major periods in world history showing the evolution of nations and peoples as empires crumbled and populations migrated.

    I recommend the following resources in the following order:

    (4) The History of the World - Roberts & The Earth and its Peoples - Textbook

    Comments on the above:

    - For Crash Course, I casually watched it, I didn't take notes. He oversimplifies, but it's a crash course. The purpose was to get a taste, a bird's eye view, before diving into a book.
    - I read Roberts' book and the history textbook in tandem. I read the chapter summaries on the cengage website and do the quizzes.
    - When I come across new names of places, I always look it up on the Nat Geo map, in order to make the region and its people meaningful.

    Other things I've liked so far:

    I brute force memorized some geography on this site.
    Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - Podcast.
    Podcast History of Our World. Work in progress. He has been consistently adding a new episode about once a month.
    • 3 replies
  4. Michio added a topic in Explore   

    Good Philosophy vs. Bad Philosophy
    Let's explore the difference between good philosophy and bad philosophy.

    - What is good philosophy vs. What is bad philosophy

    - What are the habits of good philosophy and the mindset of professional philsophers


    Before distinguishing good from bad philosophy, it is important to define what philosophy is. This is unfortunate because that is itself controversial and there are many possible answers. It is difficult to give a clear, one-sentence definition.

    Here is one that I personally like: Philosophy is the application of logic in order to answer fundamental questions about the world using primarily a priori methods.

    Here's a short write-up from Florida State.

    Source: Wilfrid Sellars

    Source: Gilles Deleuze

    While the quote, "Philosophy is the love of wisdom." has been repeated ad nauseum to the point of meaninglessness and pretention, defining wisdom in this context is useful.

    Wisdom is perspective rather than bias. A person who loves wisdom, i.e. a person who engages in philosophy, is a person who seeks perspective, as opposed to illogical single-minded attachment to any particular conclusion.

    What philosophy is not is helpful in defining what philosophy is.

    1. Questions better answered by another field.

    2. Woo.
    e.g. Deepak Chopra. New age mysticism. Meditation. Self-improvement. Quantum mechanics. Tripping balls. Inspirational quotes overlayed on a nature wallpaper. etc.

    While tripping balls is fun and may inspire a person to ask metaphysical questions, that is not philosophy, except in a very casual sense. Any 5 year old can ask surprisingly deep questions, but not everyone can engage in rational argumentation and draw upon philosophical tradition in order to answer those questions.

    With that said, how can we engage in good philosophy and avoid bad philosophy?

    Answering the following question will provide good answers to the previous question.

    When people ask, "Where do I start if I want to learn about philosophy?" People have a tendency to provide a stack of reading materials, which is terrible advice, because it is likely that the individual will engage in bad philosophy unless they already have a knack for the habits of good philosophers.

    Many people, including many intelligent professionals in other fields, see philosophy as nothing more than a semantic, obtuse, pretentious circlejerk of bullshit, name-dropping, and $20 words. This is because that is how those people engage in philosophy, or how they would engage in philosophy if forced to do so. Therefore, they imagine all people who do philosophy behave in such a way.

    So the first step for this beginner is to learn the fundamentals.

    If someone asked, "I want to design a skyscraper, where do I start?" You don't tell them to read a 1000 page book called Designing Skyscrapers when their math skills never made it past arithmetic.

    If mathematics is to engineering, then what is to philosophy? What is: reading comprehension, writing skills, logic, social skills, attitude, and good habits.

    I presume the importance of the first three are obvious. Why are social skills, attitude, and good habits important?

    - The social aspect of philosophy is down-played, and casual observers of philosophy view the practice of philosophy as
    (either that, or a circlejerk). Philosophy shouldn't be seen as a lone activity, it is more like a 3000 year long conversation. Engaging in philosophy as a loner is more likely to end in pseudo-philosophy territory.
    Basic social skills are important in order to charitably interact with other students of philosophy and produce productive discourse.

    - The core of philosophy is rational argument. Students of philosophy should always be concerned with arguments rather than conclusions. This prevents ego-attachment to -isms and taking criticism of a certain idea personally.

    - Avoid "I think", "I believe", "I feel", "It seems that", "some people say", "you could argue" etc. as much as possible. It's easy to bullshit in philosophy with these phrases, at least with non-professionals + non-academics. These phrases are used when people (1) are ignorant about the topic (2) lack confidence (3) want to be humble.

    Strong assertions should be made. This allows the body of writing or speech to convey a clear message, leading to productive discourse. Confidence, definitiveness, and assertiveness are not incompatible with humbleness. Additionally, people will not be distracted by inconfidence and will respect the conveyer more, even if the audience disagrees.

    - Avoid "I" and "you" as much as possible. This keeps the discourse focused on the arguments rather than the people. Criticism is handled better from both sides in this situation, and the resulting discourse is logical and productive.

    - Philosophy is not psychology or biography. Wondering how Nietzsche's life on a mountain informed his later works is irrelevant information as far as philosophy is concerned. It is pointless to ponder too much about what a philosopher "thinks" or "believes". The focus should be on the arguments. Kant is some guy, a human, like all of us. No big deal.

    - Philosophy is not politics. A philosopher is not an -ism. Philosophers discuss the prescriptions and descriptions of political thought, but are not necessarily politicians or revolutionaries.

    - Think ahead. This is accomplished by examining counter-arguments. Professionals are familiar with a chain of arguments and counter-arguments to a thesis. Formulating counter-arguments to one's own argument prevents ego-attachment to -isms, deepens understanding, and accelerates the conversation of philosophy.

    - Good philosophy draws upon philosophical tradition (the ongoing conversation). In other words, being familiar with what has been argued. It is extremely unlikely that a complete amateur will formulate a novel idea while examing none of the tradition.

    This is an exercise in time-wasting. This would be similar to formulating Newtonian mechanics, then screaming about your findings in 2015, when that has already been massively explored and extended upon by modern physics for the past three centuries.

    - Don't worry about being or looking smart. Many young, curious kids are obsessed with appearing smart because they were raised poorly by their parents and the education system. When they approach a subject like philosophy, they immediately attach their egos to specific -isms the same way they choose shirt. It's all an exercise in fashion and showmanship. They will never learn anything about philosophy aside from petty arguing on the internet.

    As for where someone curious about philosophy should start reading, there are many Introduction to Philosophy books that people recommend all the time, but it's better to start with basic logic and reasoning.

    A Rulebook for Arguments. This is short, 100 pages. Someone wanting to learn philosophy has no excuse for not reading something short like this.

    Rationality: From AI to Zombies. This is an exploration of rationality. Fascinating and anyone curious about learning philosophy will enjoy this.

    When learning about cognitive bias and reasoning, the student should keep in mind the fallacy fallacy.
    • 6 replies
  5. Michio added a post in a topic What else can I read or watch?   

    Book list I found from a guy interested in power play/power game.

    - The Art of War, Sun Tzu
    - 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene
    - Tempo, Venkatesh Rao
    - The Joy of Selling, Steve Chandler
    - Propaganda, Edward Bernays
    - Influence: the Pyschology of Persuasion, Robert B Cialdini
    - How to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie
    - Battle Leadership, Captain Adolf Von Schell
    - The soldiers load and the mobility of a nation, USMC
    - FMFM1, Warfighting, USMC
    - Tao Te Ching, any translation
    - The Prince, Machiavelli
    - Guerrilla Warfare, Che Guevara
    - on Guerrilla Warfare, Mao Tse-Tung
    - Soft Power, Joseph Nye
    - Rules for Radicals, Saul D Alinksy
    - Understanding Power: the indespensable Chomsky, Noam Chomsky
    - End The Fed, Ron Paul
    - Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
    - The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
    - The Ugly American, William J Lederer
    - Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson
    - My Early Life, Winston Churchill
    - Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobedience, Justice Abe Forbes
    - MoneyBall, Micheal Lewis
    - The Conquest of Gaul, Julius Ceasar
    - First to Fight, Krulak
    - Eagle Against the Sun, ???
    - Making the Future, Noam Chomsky
    - Imperial America, Gore Vidal
    - A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn
    - Revolution 2.0, Wael Ghonim
    - The 48 laws of power, Robert Greene
    - "The 50th Law", 50 Cent and Robert Greene
    - "What everybody is saying", Joe Navarro
    - Impro, Keith Johnstone
    - Reframing, Richard Bandler and John Grinder
    - Meditations, Marcus Aurelius.
    - Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche
    - Games people play, Eric Berne

    • 0
  6. Michio added a post in a topic electronic music   

    This is where I deviate from some people who don't care for contemporary music. I grew up on electronic music, and all vocals are heavily edited and sampled. Despite the fact that I like certain singers in electronic music, I've never heard their real voice, because I know the producer has heavily edited it to sound good.

    But this isn't like pop music where auto-tune is a thing. I don't hear that generic auto-tune sound in electronic music. The singers do know how to sing, but contemporary electronic music is characterized by digital perfection. The producer will strive to make everything perfect.

    The voice is edited so that it becomes another instrument in the song, it's not the focus of the song. When I listen to electronic music, the vocal samples don't feel human to me, it is on the same level as all the other sounds in the song. The lyrics can even be totally nonsensical or indecipherable, but it's fine, as long as it sounds good. Even in vocal trance, I feel that the function of the vocals is to provide texture to the overall track.

    I don't listen to electronic music to admire musical talent or listen to genius lyrics.

    Does it sound enjoyable to me? If the answer is yes, I consider it a good track.

    This isn't limited to electronic music, but I think electronic music culture has more of a populist character to it than other popular music cultures. In particular, there aren't many "rock stars" in electronic music.

    I wasn't around at the time, but I heard that in the 80s/90s, the underground house music scene was the epitome of this populist ideal. You would go to these nightclubs that played house and the focus was on the dance floor and the music. You often never even saw or knew who the DJ was.

    You wanna be famous? Get your ass up there and dance. Now you too can be rock star.

    Only recently with electronic music going mainstream did the rock star persona on the big stage come back. Go to any large electronic music festival these days, and you have famous producers on the big stage, and everyone's bodies are pointed toward the stage, the DJ, not toward each other. People who are 30+ years old that have been in the electronic scene a long time lament this state of affairs.

    Anyway, I think contemporary electronic music is still very populist and also... depersonalized?

    (1) low barrier of entry, all you need is a half-decent computer which everyone has these days and you can make a great song if you work hard, you don't need a full band, just yourself
    (2) ease of music distribution (soundcloud, youtube etc.), a lot of electronic music artists enjoy distributing their music for free and don't care too much about money
    (3) streaming sites like to promote amateur producers and DJs
    (4) mixing and remixing is big, people are cool with you modifying their song and releasing the remix, just put "your_artist_name remix", a lot of electronic music artists are friends with each and share ideas and music
    (5) there is a massive torrent of good music, and many of these artists are completely faceless... I've heard hundreds of good artists and I have no idea who these people are. Most of them have an artist name or a fictional persona rather than attaching their name to their music.
    (6) one-hit wonders, you don't have to create a full album and sign onto a label to get your name out there, make a single good song and it might get blown up online
    (7) the vast majority of electronic music producers don't play an actual instrument in their songs, it is programmed, therefore there isn't a culture of talent, this causes people to focus more on the music than the person who made the song... they may use a MIDI controller or something, but this is different than a band of instruments being completely controlled by humans
    • 0
  7. Michio added a post in a topic What else can I read or watch?   

    thanks dude

    I now have

    The Complete Book of Five Rings - Miyamoto Musashi
    The Prince
    A Seducer's Diary
    The Years of LBJ
    Hannibal - Theodore Dodge
    The Generalship of Alexander the Great - Fuller
    A Sorrow in Our Heart - Eckert
    Boyd - Coram

    This should be enough for the next year or two. XD

    I'm gonna be in the military soon, and while I'm just bottom-of-the-barrel enlisted trash, I want to be by far the best among my peers, I want my superiors to greatly respect me, I want mental and physical strength, and I want to develop a social circle with high status individuals. This is probably my last and best chance, so I can't fuck this up.

    I've already had a surprising amount of social success by being more extroverted and making very minor tweaks to my behavior. "The Game" is fun. Really fun... And I believe I can be good at it.

    I see nothing wrong with intentionally manipulating people around me, since I'm constantly being gamed by everyone else anyway, whether they do it consciously or not. Since I'm an empath, I want to learn and develop a strategy for defending myself against dark triads, while creating win-win results instead of being an exploitive leech.

    But honestly, I don't know if an empath can ever be as good as a dark triad at the game.
    • 0
  8. Michio added a post in a topic electronic music   


    I listened to Tangerine Dream's album Phaedra... Damn man. I'm surprised that sound existed back then lol.

    It's not something I would listen to casually, for entertainment, but it's interesting. I'll be honest, the biggest reason is because I'm spoiled by the modern computer which can produce extremely clean, perfect digital sounds, and of an utterly massive variety. I'm a spoiled Generation Y.

    The mood and style and the actual sounds in Phaedra are very close to a type of ambient/chillout/downtempo I love.

    I grew up listening to upbeat, happy/positive music, so I usually don't like dark sounds, unless it feels mysterious and dreamlike, like in a lot of space music. Know what I mean? haha.

    Like, some of the sounds used in Phaedra felt really grating to me, but overall it's close to what I like.

    Carbon Based Lifeforms & Stellardrone capture that mystery and dream feeling perfectly... When I listen to that music, I feel like going on an adventure through stars and nebulae and galaxies and intergalactic voids and alien worlds and starlight over landscapes untouched by civilization full of mystery and wonder.

    Fuuuuck dude.
    • 1
  9. Michio added a topic in Read   

    What else can I read or watch?
    I'm looking for books (fiction or nonfiction) or films pertaining to social/power dynamics and social dominance. In particular, I'm really interested in the dark triad (narcissism, machiavellianism, and psychopathy). I've never actually read The Prince. Should I read it?

    I want to explore the techniques and behaviors of the dark triad, so I can use them for my own benefit and to protect myself against these personalities in my professional life and social life. I'm not looking for anymore information about sexual strategy/pick up. I'm good on that.

    Maybe good examples of Don Juan characters? I don't think I've read any stories (fiction or nonfiction) about a Don Juan.

    Some relevant stuff I've seen:

    Kevin Spacey's character in American Beauty - the transformation of a beta male to an alpha male
    Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross - psychopathy/narcissism
    Ben Affleck in The Boiler Room - narcissism
    American Psycho - the ultimate dark triad
    Light in Death Note - psychopathy/machiavellianism
    Lelouch in Code Geass - machiavellianism
    Littlefinger in Game of Thrones - machiavellianism/psychopathy

    Relevant stuff I've read:

    The 48 Laws of Power & Mastery - Robert Greene
    No More Mr. Nice Guy - Robert Glover
    The Rational Male - Rollo Tomassi
    Playing to Win - David Sirlin (
    Models - Mark Manson
    Commentated version of The Art of War


    Dimensions of Body Language (http://westsidetoast...nguage/toc.html)
    The Red Queen - Matt Ridley
    Influence - Robert Cialdini

    Haven't started reading this yet, but it looks interesting: http://www.ribbonfar...k-and-gametalk/

    Oh, I think I should learn more about psychology itself.

    ^ Part of the OCW Scholar series, which are for the self-learner, so it's a full course.
    • 4 replies
  10. Michio added a topic in Extend   

    electronic music
    This came up in chat. I was surprised scotty and david didn't know what "EDM" or electronic music was at all, dafuq? I just assumed everyone on the internet has heard it lol.

    It's hard to explain what electronic music is... it's evolved so damn much, and genre-creation in the electronic music world is ridiculous. Now that electronic music has gone mainstream, and we're in the midst of a tech-savvy/internet-savvy/remix culture, the music evolves so fast and there's an unbelievable volume of fucking songs being made all the time.

    I hate genre labeling personally. It's full of elitist/pretentious bullshit to be honest. And I will shy away from any argument about what a genre is, exactly, and what song should be pidgeon-holed in which genre(s).

    Does electronic music require 0 talent to make? I'm not sure how to answer that. The process by which a typical electronic music track is made is quite different to ... songwriting when you're playing in a band or something.

    One of my good friends, when we were in junior high, we downloaded fruity loops, a popular software suite among amateurs for all kinds of mixing and sound creation. Now, this guy had several years of experience playing the piano, and a few years playing the guitar and was well acquainted with music theory. He was no noob to music. Even though we worked together, we never made anything good, it all sucked. I tried really hard to learn and he taught me some basic music theory. Sometimes we spent an entire weekend trying to come up with something, and barely getting a single layer worth keeping. It just didn't compare to a professional production at all.

    People who aren't familiar with electronic music don't understand the extreme patience required to learn and familiarize yourself with the software (it's VERY complex...), and usually they don't notice how much is happening in the song, and therefore it's just a blur of sound and it's like, "wtf anyone can do this". Professional producers use hardware in conjunction with some software suite btw.

    I recommend a high quality pair of headphones while listening to electronic music, as well as 320kbps mp3s if possible.

    Here's armin van buuren and ferry corsten working on a song:


    You're right, learning what all the buttons do on a software program is nothing like mastering an instrument say. But, I mean... even then, you could say the instrument is the computer.

    At the end of the day, the limit is not the tool, but the human. Make sense?

    First, I would recommend checking out this link:

    This goes through the history of electronic music through roughly the mid 00s.

    Why are all the kids these days loving this kind of music suddenly? It all started with dubstep exploding in popular on the internet around 2008 I'd say?, which coincided with rave culture becoming mainstream IMO. Promoters finally figured out how to successfully market the music to a wider audience or something. I believe certain pop music started to incorporate electronic dance music elements into their music. You started hearing the music played in advertisements and what-not, and almost overnight it became the new cool thing.

    It's about the loud music, the droning thump-thump at a party, it's easy to dance to, it's new and constantly evolving, there's a massive variety of sound for any mood and situation, it's cool as shit and the music of the 21st century. What's not to love? It doesn't matter whether or not someone has "talent", it's about the music, the fun, the moment, the beauty itself. Let's not pedestalize artists and musicians too much, but just enjoy the fruits of their labor, however that labor came to be. Why get into a dick-measuring contest about who has more talent than another?

    I was born in 1990, I've been listening to some kind of electronic music since I was 8 or 9, and my exposure to electronic music was fairly limited until about 13ish when I really started seeking out new music on the internet.

    I used to listen to a radio station in my area that played cheesy commercial dance music when I was 9, and they occasionally broadcasted live from a nightclub that was playing house/trance music.

    Here's an example. Ian Van Dahl - Castles in the Sky

    This was the shit man, back in the day... LOL. I'm getting tears listening to this again. When this track came out at the turn of the millenium, this was the music of the future to me. Pure magic and energy.

    When I first got internet access at about age 11, I looked up producers I heard on the radio. I listened to a ton of vocal trance tracks similar to castles in the sky and lots of cheesy commercial dance.

    Here's some modern vocal trance from 3 big names. Definitely one of the most beautiful tracks I've ever heard.

    Vast Vision feat. Fisher - Everything (Aly & Fila remix)

    When I was 13ish, I discovered, which opened up a whole new world to me of many different kinds of styles.

    There's too many, jump around on youtube and listen to random stuff in the related videos. I don't wanna get into it too much. The following is the sort of music I enjoy these days.

    Here's some trance. Just pure, uplifting, powerful trance.

    RAM - RAMsterdam (Jorn van Deynhoven remix)

    Tech Trance.

    Orjan Nilsen - Arctic Globe (W&W remix)

    Full-on psychedelic trance.

    Electric Universe - Bodhisattva

    Drum n Bass

    Rameses B - Visionary

    Progressive House

    Reverse - Absolute Reality (Arty remix)

    Progressive House (I guess)

    Mat Zo & Porter Robinson - Easy

    Disco House

    Swing Kings - Sledging

    Electro Swing

    Jamie Berry - Delight


    Mord Fustang - Lick the Rainbow


    I believe Savant is the one who said, "Fuck genres.", therefore I will not pidgeonhole him.

    Savant - Wildstyle


    Ya you all know what dubstep is...

    A small mix of dubstep.



    Tired of the noisy shit above? Relax and sleep to this.

    Jeff Scott Castle - The Stars Will Guide Us Home


    If you would like to discover more music falling under "ambient" and "chillout" with a psychedelic twist, check out this channel:

    If you want more pure space/ambient with absolutely no beats or drums or anything, you need Stellardrone.


    MrSuicideSheep's channel is the go-to for chill shit.

    Browse around, see what you like, jump related videos on youtube and discover new stuff. There's tons and tons of channels on youtube of just music like this.
    • 6 replies
  11. Michio added a topic in Play   

    preparing for basic + olympic lifts
    I used to do powerlifting with the goal of putting on as much weight as possible, but I neglected my body for a long time unfortunately (several months). I’ve recently been getting back into the groove. I’m doing as much as my body can handle. Just making sure I’m eating well and sleeping 8 hours a night.

    I’ve always been interested in olympic weightlifting but they’re significantly more complicated than the powerlifting movements. You can teach those to yourself by watching youtube videos and reading.

    Olympians will spend years just perfecting their technique on OLs. And honestly the gyms I’ve been to didn’t have a platform for doing OLs, or bumper plates, or even tolerated people doing that stuff... so it wasn’t safe anyway. The gym I’m going to right now is awesome and caters to powerlifters and weightlifters.

    I started by doing conditioning/plyometrics 6 x week for 2 weeks since I was out of shape: interval running, box jumps, push/pull weighted sled, pushups/pullups on olympic rings, planks, kettlebell swings, medicine ball stuff, doing lightweight squats + deadlifts + overhead press to get my form back.

    Shoulder + elbow flexibility is critical for OLs, so I started doing these arm stretches using a stick every day. I dunno how to describe it or what it’s normally called but searching “stretch broomstick” brings up good examples.

    My final goal is being able to do a clean & jerk and a snatch. These are very technical, you’re doing so many things throughout the entire movement. So you have to work up to it by breaking the movements down into pieces.

    The exrx page on olympic weightlifting is good:

    Clean & Jerk:


    I dunno how hard those look if you’ve never done barbell lifts but it’s probably a lot more complicating than it looks.

    On my first training session, my trainer had me do a back squat and deadlift to check my form. This is where you start when you learn the OLs. He said my form and flexibility in my lower body is very good, so next step, he showed me how to do a proper front squat, push press, and clean, then doing a clean & press in one movement

    Front squat:

    Notice how the girl’s tricep is parallel to the floor. It was impossible for me to do that when I first started.

    Push press:


    No .gif for clean & press but it’s just a clean, which naturally brings you to a position to do a push press. When you’re coming up with the bar, at around third/quarter squat position, explode with your core & legs as hard as you can to push the bar up.

    When he showed me how to push press, it was weird because I did overhead press for a long time. Not just my flexibility lacking, but the entire movement for the overhead press is generated by your arms. On the push press, you pretend you’re going to jump into the air, so initially the movement of the bar is generated completely by exploding with your legs and core, 0 arm strength. Then you finish it out with your arms.

    step 1:

    My trainer recommended I do front squat, push press, and clean on Monday, Wednesday, Friday for 4 weeks. On Friday, also do clean & press sets. On Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, work on my 2 mile time and do a variety of pushups and pullups.

    step 2:

    After that we’ll do another session and he’ll start me on a split program where I do one day with 4 push movements, rest day, then one day with 4 pull movements, rest, etc. for 4 weeks. I’ll be starting a split schedule next week.

    step 3:

    Finally, we’ll do another session and I’ll learn to do the clean & jerk and snatch. My schedule will be a day with clean & jerk + assistance lifts, rest, then snatch + assistance lifts.

    So how am I preparing for basic? By doing all of this. I looked up what happens in basic training, and honestly it’s baby stuff... lol. My trainer went through army basic training and he said I don’t need to think about it or worry about it. If I do olympic lifts + run and do pushups and pullups it’ll be a cakewalk.

    I’m glad to be getting my body back too. I’m rapidly getting stronger and my body is changing fast, I'm starting to feel strong again. It’s motivating.

    I’ve been sore throughout my entire body for the past 3 weeks. I’ve been sore literally every day, and in strange places that I used to never be sore in.

    The OLs are REALLY fun btw. I’m not going to stop doing these.
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  12. Michio added a post in a topic Following your passion is bad advice?   

    I think "looking back" on things is a pretty interesting philosophical problem in itself. Human beings are obsessed with seeing patterns in things. People do things like see faces on Mars, speculate about massive conspiracy theories, we get suspicious of others and attempt to uncover plots against ourselves, tell stories about our life, ponder about the meaning/purpose/direction of things, our justice system relies on the existence of logical stories, the way we judge others relies on the stories we have constructed in our thoughts.

    For some reason, people are more likely to go mad studying orderly things (math in particular, see "Pi" and "A Beautiful Mind", or any movie with the trope of the mad scientist), rather than creating art.

    Personally I think the truth is that we're all out of control. I don't believe in free will, I don't think it exists. Possibly even worse, scientists are now telling us the universe is completely random and the best we can do is map probabilities about the future, no matter how powerful our calculations. Psychologists and neuroscientists tell us we are far, far more biased and out of control than we believe. I'm pretty sure most people find this reality very scary.

    The movie Irreversible is a good take on this.

    I think the story we create in our heads when we look back on life is an illusion, and very arrogant in itself. I do it myself. I sometimes think about what happened to me, in my own life. I usually point to 2 main events. The first one was failing out of the Texas Academy of Math & Science where my life was set. The second one was my mom discovering my pipe for smoking weed, which lead to a massive argument, which lead to me running away.

    But I think the truth is, both of these things are hardly more significant than the direction of the breeze outside, or accidentally bumping into a specific stranger out in public one day and saying, "Excuse me."

    For example, I remember the day my mom found my pipe, I actually went for a run around the neighborhood, during that time, she discovered it. I was planning on tossing it, because I figured it was too risky to leave anywhere in the house. I could have easily have grabbed it, stuck it in my pocket, then tossed it anywhere. Why didn't I do it just then? Maybe I heard a sound in the environment that jolted my thoughts a certain way, causing me to forget about it. Maybe if I had just tied my shoes next to the drawer that contained it. Maybe if my mom said something to me beforehand, or not.

    How different could my life be if the tiniest, arbitrary thought or fluctuation in the environment caused me to simply put a piece of glass in my pocket and walk out the door? How different could my thoughts, ideas, and feelings be right now? Where could I be right now? Who could I be? I could be dead for all we know.

    But why stop there? What if you rewind the tape even further back? What if you wind it forward? Where do you draw the line where the story starts and ends? Who or what do you blame? Not only are there virtually infinite permutations to the story, there's at least as many different ways to interpret it and tell it.

    There's a million billion little strings attached to every event and every decision in a person's life. But for the sake of practicality and sanity, humans simplify the narratives of themselves and the world into more manageable, culturally relevant stories. Despite what I just said, this isn't totally worthless, because society & culture naturally causes the universe around us to gravitate toward certain things. It isn't totally meaningless to say, "If I go to college and study hard, I'll be more likely to get a good job and become happy." That's probably true, just not necessarily.

    In summary, identifying and judging yourself or someone else with an arbitrary story is arrogant, because it assumes you have somehow discovered the "true" story out of all possible stories and interpretations. This leads me to believe that judging your past or someone else's past is a waste of time, but for the sake of making a decision in the present moment, you should use reason to figure out what action should be taken. There's the saying, "Don't shit where you eat." in other words, having sexual relations with a co-worker is not a bright idea, because there is a strong correlation between said action and drama/work dissatisfaction. Simply take this probability into account, analyze it, then make a practical decision. Nothing more or less. Ideally, you shouldn't judge yourself or anyone else about anything they do, no matter how evil or noble. Regret/grudges & pride are both useless.
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  13. Michio added a topic in Explore   

    Following your passion is bad advice?
    I watched this google talk by Cal Newport.

    The youtube description sums up the talk pretty well:

    In particular, he references what Steve Jobs said in one of his speeches at Stanford. It's now a very famous speech where he advised people to follow their dreams and to never settle. Newport points out that this is actually really bad advice.We don't have any reason to believe that you should follow your passion, if your goal is to love what you do.

    First, not many people have a pre-existing passion. A lot of people struggle with picking out their passion from their interests. Many times, people's passions are very ill-suited for the job market as well. He said there was a psycholgist who designed a test that would determine what a person is very passionate about, and this psychologist gave this test for 500 Canadian university students. Only 4% had a practical passion, whereas most of those students were just passionate about hockey.

    Second, This advice does not support the research on job satisfaction. People who have satisfying careers often do something that does not match their interests.

    The path to passion is usually complex. It's rare to find a case where an individual knew what they wanted early on, then they went after it, got it, and had a satisfying career.

    In Steve Jobs' case, if we go back to his high school and college years, there was nothing that showed he had a specific passion for technology. He went to a liberal arts college, dropped out, lived very poor for a while, bummed food and what-not off other students, got a night shift job at Atari briefly, went to India, moved to the west coast to student Eastern mysticism etc. etc. This is a portrait of a person who is seeking, and not someone who has a specific passion for something and they're running after it. How he ended up creating a business of selling personal computers was very opportunistic. He didn't go to college to study electrical engineering, or entrepreneurship etc. The way he ended up in the business of selling personal computers was chaotic.

    If following your passion doesn't work, then what should you do? Newport uses the case of Bill McKibben, which he thinks is an ideal case for obtaining a career that you love. McKibben is the author of The End of Nature, possibly the first book written for a general audience on global warming. In his life, he went to Harvard, and got involved with the student newspaper. He worked hard there, became an editor, and he used that to land himself a job at The New Yorker. He didn't stay at this job for very long, he actually quit, moved to a cabin in Vermont, and he wrote End of Nature.

    Newport's main point is that it doesn't matter what McKibben would have done with his life. McKibben isn't happy with his life because he's a freelance writer that writes about environmental issues. He's happy because what he does contains general traits that he likes. For example autonomy and doing something that impacts the world.

    He is able to have a career that has these traits, because he traded it for a rare and valuable skill that he built up over time.


    What Cal Newport is saying here seems very similar in spirit to all the things I've read from other people at Reddit's discipline community. People end up on that board all the time who are usually 18-25 years old and they don't know what to do with their life or how to motivate themselves.

    "How do I find my passion?"
    "Where does motivation come from?"
    "Is it possible to develop passion?"
    "I'm a 25 year old loser/failure neckbeard and I still live in my parents' basement. Please help."

    The general advice from older members and people who have a good sense of what they're doing is, motivation comes after discipline. You have to just establish some kind of goal, and then do it with great intensity. This sets up a dynamic in your life that causes you to gravitate toward bigger and better things. Most people need certain experiences before they get a sense of identity. And these experiences are very often only possible with a high amount of discipline. You have to just do stuff, whether you want to or not. People often don't end up where they planned, that's rare (especially if you're a teen or in your 20s).

    I really like Cal Newport's advice, because it's practical and realistic, but optimistic that career/work satisfaction is simple.

    The reality is that we all live in society, so we have to work with it. To survive, we all need income, so we can trade it for food and shelter. If you don't agree with this, you can move to the Alaskan wilderness and live off the land.

    If you want a job that has these often rare and appealing traits, you have to trade your rare and valuable skill to get that. People who are successful and happy with their work often worked very hard to build themselves up. Later, they traded this for a job that possesses more general traits that match their wants.

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  14. Michio added a post in a topic Mathematical Intro to Special Relativity with Brian Greene   

    I've been powering through the math on khan academy. At the rate I'm going, I think I will have practiced and review everything in about a week.

    I was very disappointed with myself when I was unable to derive a proper solution to the first problem in the speed of light module... and it was really basic. :/

    I dusted off Greene's book The Fabric of the Cosmos today and crammed the first 80 pages. The history of this question is a long one. The fundamental question is what is space? Newton thought about what would happen if you tied two rocks together and spun them around in a completely empty universe. Would the rope between them go taut, or remain slack? What are the rocks spinning with respect to?

    There were 4 main ideas.

    Newton - Space is an entity, accelerated motion is not relative, absolutist position.

    Leibniz - Space is not an entity, all motion is relative, relationist position.

    Mach - Space is not an entity, the force of accelerated motion is proportional to the amount of mass in the universe, relationist

    Einstein - Spacetime is an entity, accelerated motion and gravity are equivalent forces (principle of equivalence), everything moves through time at the speed of light (in a way), moving through space converts movement through the time dimension into movement through space

    People had no idea gravity could be a field (how did gravity exert a force?) until Faraday & Maxwell discovered that magnetism was a field that exerted a force without anything seemingly touching.

    According to general relativity, the benchmark for all motion, accelerated motion included, are freely falling observers.

    If you are freely falling toward the Earth in a vacuum, you feel nothing, you will feel weightless, and you would be justified in saying the Earth is rushing toward you.

    A person on the ground, watching you fall toward the Earth, would not be justified in saying that you are falling toward them, because you are on the ground, feeling the force of gravity. You are the one who is accelerating upward.
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  15. Michio added a topic in Explore   

    Why do people hate math?
    Well that's unfortunate. I wrote a long post, posted it, and it successfully posted.

    Then I edited it to add something, and it worked... Then I view the thread again a few minutes later, and everything is gone.

    Shit happens I guess. Needa start saving posts to notepad.

    At least I was able to organize my thoughts a little by writing it out.

    I wrote about the following video:

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