I got my Christmas present mailed in plenty of time. This was one of those times when a deadline made me procrastinate less and not more.
Polyphasic sleep apparently doesn’t work for me. I’ve drifted into some form of it by accident, and it’s leaving me feeling disordered and dissatisfied. If I can find the motivation somewhere, I’ll try to get myself into a more normal sleep schedule.
I bought a Humble Book Bundle on personal finances and investing. It was well timed given my current project of updating my finances and trying out investing. I need lots of help on that second one. It seems like an easy way to wreck the first. The books are all published by Wiley, and they include such titles as The Savage Truth on Money and Online Investing for Dummies.
Robert Alan Burton questions why we’re so quick to feel certain. In On Being Certain, he argues that the feeling of knowing is thought’s reward system, and feeling it about thoughts that could be wrong motivates us to investigate them in case they’re right. The reason I picked up this book was a study I read about many years ago in which patients reported a sense of familiarity merely when a surgeon electrically stimulated a certain spot on their brain. This conflicted with my assumption that the sense of recognition somehow comes directly from the brain’s matching external facts with its internal knowledge base. Similarly, the surgeon could trigger a sense of strangeness in the same way. Burton looks at the feeling of knowledge from this and other angles, and he arrives at a conclusion that skeptics will find familiar, that as natural as it is, we can’t rely on “knowing that you know” as a sign of knowledge. We have to check it against evidence and logic.
Tuesday Jeremy and I found a solution for socially distanced socializing in the cold. We had a last-minute get together at Panera before I began my self-isolation for my Christmas travel. We didn’t want to eat inside and couldn’t anyway, but it was too cold to eat outside. So we parked opposite each other, ate in our cars, and talked over the phone. It worked surprisingly well.