Sunday Links #21

“Five Ways to Instantly Become More Productive”: (1) Don’t multi-task; (2a) track how you spend your time; (2b) consider using apps like RescueTime, Self-Control, or Chrome Nanny; (2c) understand and be comfortable with struggling for the first couple of weeks, knowing it will make you better in the long-run; (3) only use online chat if you absolutely have to; (4a) turn off automatic email notifications; (4b) don’t check your email first thing; (4c) split your email into two folders, “Action” and “Non-essential” and automatically sort each email you get as you get it, coming back to the “Action” folder later; (4d) unsubscribe from as many things in your email as you can; (5a) declutter as much as you can; (5b) turn off as many notifications as you can; and (6) start slow. Ok, so that was actually way more than five things, but they’re all good advice and I follow most of them. For more, I wrote “How I Am Productive” and I’ve heard from a half dozen people now that they found it helpful.

Allison Smith, writing for the Animal Charity Evaluators blog whether protests hurt animal activism, citing a study that finds “participants were more likely to agree with the article when the author was an ‘atypical’ activist or was not described in activist terms at all”. This leads Smith to wonder whether activists are actually hurting the animal rights movement. I’d be tempted to think that, however, it’s important to have both hard-hitting activists and diplomatic atypical activists in the movement for reasons Greta Christina mentions about atheists and the LGBT movement in “Good Cop, Bad Cop: Atheist Activism”.

In similar news, Nick Cooney wants to change vegan advocacy from an art to a science. “Letter to a Young Matt” is also another good resource on the proper frame of mind that is needed for vegan advocacy.

Eliezer Yudkowsky distinguishes good humility from bad humility: “What about the student who humbly double-checks the answers on his math test? Again I’d categorize that as good humility. What about a student who says, ‘Well, no matter how many times I check, I can’t ever be certain my test answers are correct,’ and therefore doesn’t check even once? Even if this choice stems from an emotion similar to the emotion felt by the previous student, it is less wise.”

Richard Yetter Chappell does some good work over at Philosophy, Etc. to reconcile scalar, maximizing, and satisficing consequentialisms by breaking apart two notions of obligation: an “ought of most reason” and the “ought of minimal decency”.

A pretty good way of understanding public opinion: as a thermostat. Just like a thermostat cools the room when it gets warm and warms the room when it gets cold, public opinion tends to swing more Republican in Democrat majorities and vice versa.

Here’s pretty good advice for students working on research with professors.

Mr. Money Mustache on why insurance is basically just a tax on people who are bad at math.

Need more Sunday links in your life? Here’s some more people doing Sunday Links: Foldl, Abnormal Returns, Seahawks Blog, and Simply Statistics.