Sunday, May 24, 2009

The 306 Greatest Books #84 - The Nicomachean Ethics

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is The Nichomachean Ethics (AKA Ethica Nicomachea) by Aristotle. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List. 

Generally I have found the Philosophy books to be a weird mix of "well, duh" and "what is going on here". The Nicomachean Ethics in particular, is a difficult book to describe because much of what Aristotle goes into is common sense today. In the book, Aristotle goes through and describes each of our emotional attributes and describes the extremes of them; from bravery to cowardice, and so on. The result of his analysis was that the middle of the road response in most cases was the "good" response and that most people should strive to be "good" people. Overall, I felt like I was reading a treatise on the seven deadly sins and I did not gain much from it afterwards. I can't imagine ever having to recommend this to anyone.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bar Done!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!

Yes it has been several months since I started working on the bar. You can see the first part of the bar done HERE. The second and last part is pictured below. The main problem I ran into is I miss-stained the bar the wrong color, a far darker color, so it took me over a month to unstain it. That was a pain. Also I had to figure out a way to saw 5" logs in half. Also not a fun thing since I only had my little circular saw. But it is all done and ready for use. YEA!!!!.

View of the front of the bar with the bar top down.
View of the front of the bar with the bar top open.
Side of the bar showing the three pillars.
Back of the bar with a closeup of the checkerboard bar top.
Everything done and in place with the bar of the bar all set up.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Over Thinking Things

I just read this in Money magazine and I felt it was especially apt for pretty much anything. It is from an interview with Philip Tetlock, a guy who studies the odds of financial forecasters and how much they get right.

"I once witnessed an experiment that pitted a classroom of Yale undergrads against a lone Norwegian rat in a T-maze. Food was put in the maze in no particular pattern, except that it was designed to end up in the left side of the "T" 60% of the time. Eventually, the rat learned always to turn left and so was rewarded 60% of the time. The students, on the other hand, fell for a variant of the"gambler's fallacy." Picture a roulette player who sees a long sequence of red and puts all his money on black because it's "due." Or more subtly, he looks for complex alternating patterns - the same kind of mental wild-goose chase that technical stock pickers go on. That's what happened to the Yalies, who kept looking for some pattern that would predict where the food would be every time. They ended up being right just 52% of the time. Outsmarted by a rat."

Now I understand they were just undergrads, but hey, I feel this can happen to anyone of us. Over thinking things has become a staple of human life. We always try to find what isn't there. Sometimes we just need to sit back and look for the simpler pattern. Sometimes it is just that simple.

Friday, May 1, 2009

2009 Personal Goals - May Update

4 Months in and so far not too bad, I feel like I stalled on some things though.

1. Finish the first draft of my fiction novel.
Start of 2009 - I have the first 1/3rd of the book written
February 1st - Nothing more written
March 1st - Nothing more written
April 1st - Nothing more written
May 1st - Nothing

2. Drop my weight to 167lbs.
Start of 2009 - I started the year at ~185
February 1st - ~180
March 1st - 175.2
April 1st - 172.2

May 1st - 172.2 (somehow again)
Not only am I trying to get a 6-pack now but I am also training for a Sprint Triathlon. How do I get into these things.

3. Pay off all my credit cards.
Start of 2009 - I started the year with 5 credit cards with balances and one relative we owed money to.
February 1st - Payed back the relative. Still 5 cards with balances.
March 1st - Payed off 1 card. 4 cards with balances.
April 1st - Payed off another card. Currently 3 cards with balances.
May 1st - Payed off one more. Down to 2 cards with balances. 1 with 0% APR until 2011 though so that one may be waiting a while.

Other achievements of note.
Currently on the bar status - The bar has been entirely stripped and restained and is mostly finished. 1/3rd of it is complete and installed. All I am trying to finish is get a nice bar top. I've decided that polyurethane wasn't working and I changed it to epoxy. So far so good.
I also finished one book on my 100 greatest books list.
And working on getting University of Utah paperwork straightened out.