# What are you working on? December 29, 2022

edited December 2022

# What I'm Working On

## 14 New Zettel in the Last 7 Days.

I whipped up this short dashboard practicing my python skills and thought I'd share it with you. I use something similar for reviewing note titles and summaries. Something I want to concentrate on more.

Titles and a one-sentence summary of atomic zettel. These are the ideas I'm currently wrestling with. They represent a 7-day window of new notes.

This is generated with nothing held back. I would love to talk to you about anything on this list. If any of this is of interest to you, please start a thread here, DM me, or get in touch via email.

Hanlon's Razor
- Credit misunderstanding ahead of malice when interactions are contentious.

Occam's Razor
- Simpler explanations are more likely to be true than complicated ones.

Probabilistic Thinking
- This note is in a rough draft stage

Necessity and Sufficiencies Interaction
- A thing might be necessary but not sufficient for activation.

Second-Order Thinking
- This note is in a rough draft stage

textwrap, pprint, tempfile, webbrowser standard python modules
- Python Coding

How to Use ChatGPT and Still Be a Good Person
- AI and GPT ethics. Since we’re sprinting into an era where bullshit is easier to produce than ever, you might like to put more oomph into fact-checking from now on.

Git log commands
- Basic git help

ChatGPT empowers professionals
- AI works best at enabling professionals, not replacing them, allowing "professionals to be directors of their work."

Role specialization can breed dependence
- Until now, specialization has led to advances in the social-political-economic sphere. Going forward, it is a question.

GPT Prompts and their importance
- Developing skills at prompting GPT will be what separates the knowledge elites from the masses.

Some lists are better represented as grids
- Some projects and events are better served by being mapped on a grid.

AI will sharpen an elite intellectual class
- The far-flung idea is that those with mediocre thinking skills will look to those with exceptionally developed thinking abilities as an antidote to the prevalence of GPT.

Alternatives to - How are you?
- List of conversation starters used as prompts.

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

• edited December 2022

@Will said: ChatGPT empowers professionals

The following remark should not be construed to mean its directed towards forumites.

Perhaps these wizards, educated beyond their intellect, only know how to push buttons on such a machine without ever intimately understanding its inner workings. The implications ought to give us pause.

The price for taking shortcuts...

edit: typos, clarity

Post edited by Mike_Sanders on
• edited December 2022

This week

1. Decided to ditch categories and category notes, based on a blog post by Forrest Perry, the FP of the series of YouTube videos introduced into the forum by @Sascha. This amounts to replacing the top-level categories with a single alphabetic index, distributed over a few notes. The top-level categories were fine to begin with, but over time as certain note sequences progressed further from the category of the initial note of the sequence, their IDs remained stuck in the category of the first note. But by eliminating categories, there is no category for a sequence to get stuck in.

3. And I am returning to a math project written in SageMath, already on Github. I may have to retire to get anything done.

Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies sometimes delayed since life is short.

• @Mike_Sanders said:

@Will said: ChatGPT empowers professionals

The following remark should not be construed to mean its directed towards forumites.

Perhaps these wizards, educated beyond their intellect, only know how to push buttons on such a machine without ever intimately understanding its inner workings. The implications ought to give us pause.

You have hit the nail on the head, Mike. This phenomenon is evident in many technical areas. As an example, in my field there are several very complex and fancy numerical analyses programs that let one model a natural system (in my case, let us say a soil slope) and predict how it will deform as some external load is imposed.

Most young geotechnical engineers know how to run these programs and get "results". But many (if not most) of them are simply operators (like the driver of a car). They have no idea of the innards of the program, the assumptions it makes, it's limitations, or how well it is actually modelling the real soil slope under consideration. They may have input soil layers or zones with assumed properties, but never actually looked at, felt (or in some cases, tasted) the soil. I could go on and on about what they do not know; their ignorance is legend. Yet they are happy to report their predictions of movement to 3 decimal places (in the metric system, to millimeters), with fancy colour drawings and graphs that look most impressive and convincing.

Our ability to model the real world (or a real human being) is pathetically limited, but due to the fancy output, we may not even realize it. And there is the fact that our expectations are highly inflated due to watching Spock on Star Trek with his "recorder" or, more applicable to ChatGPT, watching Data on Star Trek act like a real human. Note that I did not say that these depictions of future capabilities will not ever be accomplished, just that our present expectations of what we can do are highly inflated.

I am constantly trying to bring my young soil and rock modellers back down to earth, as to what they know and what they can predict.

• edited December 2022

@Will I like Hanlon's Razor (hadn't heard it before but it is spot on) and Occam's Razor (which I apply in my engineering work all the time).

I'm interested to see what you have written about probabilistic thinking (your idea of what this means may be different than mine). Probability and risk are concepts that I work with all the time. I have about a dozen zettels on topics such as probability, risk, black swan events, etc.

I am also intrigued by the title "Second-Order Thinking".

As an example of one of my zettels on risk, here is one on Risk Assessment:

# 202007122029 Risk Assessment

[[202007122029]]
07-12-2020 08:29 PM
tags: #Risk_Concepts #List

A risk assessment is an exercise to evaluate the level of risk associated with some event and to identify ways of mitigating the consequences of that event. The estimate may be entirely quantitative or it may contain some or all qualitative (i.e., judgemental) elements.

There are a variety of methods used to assess risk. Common ones in engineering are a) Failure Modes and Effects Analyses, and b) Bow Tie Analyses. For more complex systems involving a multitude of diverse values, a Multiple Accounts Analysis could be performed. Links to articles on these subjects are given below.

Risk mitigation involves identifying and implementing measures that reduce the consequence of a failure event, reduce the probability of a failure event, or monitor and forewarn of a failure event. For a particular structure or process, the intent is to make it more resilient and more robust. In some cases it is possible to introduce elements of antifragility.

Some terminology inherent in risk assessment:

• Fragile: The condition of being weak, easily damaged or easily broken.

• Robust: The condition of being strong, able to survive being used a lot and not likely to become weak or break.

• Resilient: Able to quickly return to original shape or serviceability after being subject to stress and/or shock.

• Anti-fragility: The opposite of fragility. In its fullness, a condition beyond robustness or resilience; an ability to not only survive stress and/or shock but to improve as a result of that stress and/or shock.

Note that not all events can be predicted, in terms of probability and/or consequence (e.g., Black Swan [[202006191943]] but also many human behaviours).

[[S 202007122008]] Risk
[[202006191943]] Black Swan
[[202006191955]] Antifragility
[[202008011843]] Managing Slope Failure Risk
[[202006121454]] Resilience in People

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Failure_mode_and_effects_analysis

• @GeoEng51, the notes you mention are part of a book-level note. The book I finished reading on December 29, 2022, and processing my notes, is Shane Parrish and crew's, General Thinking Concepts, Penguin Books. 2019. The note Probabilistic Thinking was in a rough draft stage when this thread started but is now in my review cycle, renamed Thinking About the Probability of Events. In the chapter on "Probabilistic Thinking," three factors are described, and I have them currently on the same note. This might change as the note travels through the review process.

There are three important aspects of probability that we need to explain so you can integrate them into your thinking to get into the ballpark and improve your chances of catching the ball:
1.Bayesian thinking
2.Fat-tailed curves
3.Asymmetries

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

• I was going to make some picky suggestions on how @GeoEng51 could improve his note, but I got interrupted by having to take Zivon out for his evening constitutional. While outside, I had an epiphany that I could turn my critique on myself. There must be a name for it; Finding it easier to see where others can improve but more challenging to see where our output can be improved.

1. I remove the duplicate link.
2. Made clear the reason for the first link in the note, Probabilistic Thinking [[201812311732]] was because it was, in a sense, a duplicate of this note from Dec. 31, 2018. This is a weird time collision. It turns out this same idea was in a Farnam Street Newsletter back then.
3. I tried to explain what I mean by Bayesian Thinking tieing information that changes one's base rate with Bayesian Updating.
4. Added some of my understanding about Fat-tailed curves and estimation asymmetries.
5. Fixed a few grammatical errors.
6. Opted to keep the "three" "aspects of probability" in the same note rather than split them up, at least for now.

Thanks.

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

• edited December 2022

Hey-hey Geo

An excellent example of what I'm referring to. And yet, this is the world we find ourselves in no? When I stop to consider it, we've been traveling down this path a couple of decades now if 'googling' for answers counts as a proto-typical (arch-typical?) AI.

But I'm going to quietly tiptoe out of Will's thread. My last few interactions have me unwittingly trampling over his carefully laid out posts & I don't want to skew the conversation one way or another. The thing is, he always posts interesting stuff... part science, literature, code, pinch of rant. Makes me want to join in!

• edited December 2022

My focus is on taking Smart Sketchnotes. An idea to work with networked visuals based on sketchnoting. Here is my timeline from this year and I will keep this focus also in 2023.

There seems to be enough free space for this topic: https://www.google.de/search?q="smart+sketchnotes" ;-)

Next step will be to go deeper in: https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/2471/inspect-and-adapt-why-you-need-empirical-process-control-for-your-zettelkasten

• edited December 2022

@Edmund, that is quite an impressive timeline. Could you keep us posted on what happens in 2023?

I may have missed it, but what is your GitHub handle? I'm interested in looking at "How to create Smart Sketchnotes."

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

• edited January 1

@Will said:
@Edmund, that is quite an impressive timeline. Could you keep us posted on what happens in 2023?

I may have missed it, but what is your GitHub handle? I'm interested in looking at "How to create Smart Sketchnotes."

Here is my link to GitHub: https://github.com/groepl/Smart-Sketchnotes and I‘ll wish you a Happy New Year. 😀

Post edited by Edmund on
• edited January 2

An update. Some people think I'm a good programmer. I'm not a good programmer, but I've broken a lot of code by programmers who thought they were good. (I'm paraphrasing a banned commercial featuring the Australian criminal and author Mark "Brandon" Chopper Read.)

For this installment, I wanted a feature of Zettlr in Obsidian, even though Obsidian doesn't have the tight pandoc integration of Zettr (along with my modifications of the pandoc LaTeX template, etc), it does have re-linking features that are useful. The feature in Zettlr I wanted to reproduce in Obsidian is "show the first H1 header as the title in the file explorer."

There is one Obsidian community plugin that could do this, the "File Explorer Markdown Titles" plugin. However, it only works provided your IDs are either all numeric or all alphabetic or if they occur to the right of the title, which seems to be the convention in Obsidian. With my H1 header titles, the code right-justifies the title past the edge of the files pane. However, it can be made to work by someone unfamiliar with Obsidian programming, JavaScript and RollUp, by changing a single regular expression in the file https://github.com/Dyldog/file-explorer-markdown-titles/blob/main/src/folder-title.ts at line 24 from /([0-9]+|[a-z]+)/g to that appearing in the excerpted code below:

    let idMatch = item.file.basename.match(/(\w[\w\.]{12,}\w)/g);
if (idMatch) {
let indentCount = (idMatch.length - 1);
let indentStr = (indentCount * 20).toString() + "px";
item.titleEl.style.marginLeft = indentStr;


There are two "issues": one is that changing the first H1 header does not update the file explorer. You can rename the file in Obsidian, but this will include the entire H1 header. Maybe not such a bad thing (Zettlr will accept it either way, though a change of title will require the use of the re-linking facility in Obsidian). The second is that the related files pane ("what links here") doesn't seem to work the same way. In any case, getting Obdidian to work more or less like Zettlr in this one case was relatively easy.

Add that to the list for this week.

Post edited by ZettelDistraction on

Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies sometimes delayed since life is short.

• Thanks, @Edmund. I use The Archive to host my ZK. I read and processed the draft of your book (note below). I'll be interested in seeing how this fills out.

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

• Since we have been thanking each other, I want to thank @ZettelDistraction for introducing a very interesting and informative series of posts. Also @Will for starting the thread.

Erdős #2. ZK software components. “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” -- Leslie Lamport. Replies sometimes delayed since life is short.

• edited January 4

@Will said:
Thanks, @Edmund. I use The Archive to host my ZK. I read and processed the draft of your book (note below). I'll be interested in seeing how this fills out.

Thanks, @Will. It‘s a great honor for me to become part of your Zettelkasten. But let me also share a note about you:

Technical question: Is there a option to reduce the size of an image in a post? Like: width=50% or width=300px

• Thanks, @Edmund. It‘s a great honor for me to become part of your Zettelkasten.

To reduce the size of an image in a post, you reduce the image size. The tiny screen of the phone makes this irrelevant.

600 px

300px

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com

• Great photo, @Will ! I really like it

• ## Re: ChatGPT

It's a great tool for mundane tasks:

ChatGPT’s current killer app isn’t search, therapy, doing math, controlling browsers, emulating a virtual machine, or any of that other cherrypicked examples that come with huge disclaimers.

It’s a lot more quotidian:

Reformatting information from any format X to any format Y.

(followed by pictures of a chat where he pastes tabular text copied from a website and asks for a Markdown table)

In my experiments, ChatGPT would "lie" and tell me to check out "these three useful open source projects", none of which existed I knew 2 of the 3 authors ChatGPT imagined would've done this, and told them about that. One was actually interested. So maybe it's premonition?!

ChatGPT may also be good at summarizing and helping with search. There are browser plugins for that. You can get a TLDR, more or less, in a popup window. Didn't try that a lot myself, though.

What I did try was using it to provide interactive introductions to new technical topics. It magically felt like talking to a tutor. But one that, given its propensity for 'imaginative' solutions, would happily provide you with all the wrong answers if you asked for them

Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

• WOW! I hadn't considered how GPT might be used in the format conversion of tables to markdown. I wonder how it might help create LaTex markdown arguments. Although, I wouldn't go so far as to say that ChatGPT's killer app is format conversion.

Will Simpson
The quality of our thinking is directly proportional to the quality of our reading. To think better, we must read better. - Rohan
kestrelcreek.com