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A few years ago I took an adult ballet class. The class was hard. Exhausting. I was terrible. Really really bad. I never got much better. And it made me angry.

Then I realized how rare it was that I’m bad at *anything*. Not because I’m universally fabulous, but because I’m old enough I rarely do anything new. All the stuff I’m bad at has been weeded out. I like having expertise and skill, it’s satisfying and comfortable. But ballet taught me how valuable being terrible at something can be. Renewed empathy for those struggling. Humility. Accepting limitations. Knowing when to quit. Patience. Persistence. All the things it’s easy to forget when you spend all your time being competent.

So go try something new. You can only gain from it.

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10 Image #CaptionTips from a transcriptionist:

1. Any words are better than nothing.
2. You don't need to say it's "a picture of…" screen readers will already say it's an image.
3. Start with the framing or format (i.e. close up, landscape, meme, text).
4. Think about the reason you're posting the pic and describe that first, add background details if you have time.
5. Pretend you're talking to someone on the phone and want to tell them about this cool thing you're looking at.
6. Transcribe any and all text in the image, even if it's the only thing you do.
7. If you've described the image in your post, you don't need to copy and paste it again in the caption. But again, don't leave it blank, just put something like "as described."
8. You can add small subjective notes, but don't give too much interpretation of the image in your own opinion.
9. Caption jokes are fun, as long as they still describe the image objectively.
10. Use punctuation, and capitalize words properly. A lot of us have interacted with this tech when calling customer service or talking to Siri, so keep in mind that you're writing for a computer to read, and it needs all the help it can get.

Interesting, I didn't know this about the half-life of S-modafinil. A lot of people I talk to complain about the long half-life of R-modafinil, so it seems like switching to esmodafinil would be a major win for them:

moreisdifferent.substack.com/p

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@zebrask so by analogy, you could do something similar for Sunni/Shia. Start with geography, then go to culture, then draw cultural comparisons across established dimensions.

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@zebrask It seems like the most resonant way to draw the Cath/Prot distinction -- in the modern day, for practical purposes -- is to point to the cultural-ethnic geography:
Prots carved off lots of northern/Germanic cultures, and so have a lot of ethnic norms you'd find there (in Hofstede's dimensions, those include higher individualism and lower power distance).
By contrast, Caths kept lots of southern/Med cultures (collectivism, high power distance).

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hofste

Or, sticking with religion, I feel like maybe the Catholic church vs. the Orthodox church might be the Christian version of "US vs Canada", since I get the impression that the Orthodox church is similarly hierarchical with highly formal rituals, but the hierarchy and rituals are slightly different (they even do their holidays at slightly different times).

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Is there an equivalent comparison for Sunni vs. Shia? Or is it more like asking people to compare "People from Canada" with "People from the US", where there are a bunch of small differences, and Canadians in particular don't like being mistaken for Americans, but there's no overarching theme to the differences, it's just slightly diverging cultures.

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It seems to me that Catholics and Protestants are fairly easy to compare, with the most broad-brush explanation of the differences being that Catholicism has a strongly hierarchical arrangement of religious authority while most Protestant denominations have more decentralized authority. They disagree on a bunch of minor bits of doctrine that probably most people don't care about, the big differences are around the culture of religious authority and the degree to which rituals are formalized.

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I feel like every time someone is asked to explain the difference between Sunni and Shia, people give the same incredibly unsatisfying answer about the schism arising from a disagreement about who Mohammed's designated successor was.

No one ever seems to answer with the thing that people actually want to know, which is "What are the differences between these two groups *today*?" I'm not even sure I know the high points of the differences.

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I looked at 325 psychology study replication results today, and the best simple rule I found for telling if a study would replicate is this:

When the original study's p-value was at most 0.01, about 72% of the papers replicated.

Whereas when p>0.01, only 48% replicated.

Others have found similar results.

For instance, @uebernerd has suggested p=0.005 as a cutoff:

replicationindex.com/2021/05/1

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I made an open source mastodon web client with a user-controlled algorithmic feed and threaded posts. It's not done yet, and has some rough edges, but it's to the point where I'm using it as my main feed reader. jefftk.com/p/introducing-shrub

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If artistic *style* gets copyright-level protections, most of the styles will be owned by corporations within a generation, and there's a decent chance you'll end up needing to pay a licensing fee or something equally absurd to publish your own art.

Just, like, before you go driving that direction.

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The phrase "attention passengers" makes sense for auditory announcements, but not for textual signs. jefftk.com/p/attention-passeng

The pickup truck was a horrible mistake, but I think that was specific to the lemon I bought and not to the idea of owning a pickup truck.

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When I moved to Texas, I bought a pickup truck. Now, three months into living in Somerville I'm actively shopping for cargo bikes.

I may be easily swayed by the prevailing culture 😅

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@zebrask "Yes. Yes. I *have* been traumatised by living in a society without priorisation or numeracy. I would like to see someone."

The email says they will provide students and staff "the support they need to process this and other recent events."

I can only hope that this support takes the form of a course in statistical literacy and a warning against reading the news, but somehow I suspect it is just going to attempt to validate the narrative that it is right to think about extremely rare violence and to spend our precious life trying to reduce extremely small but salient risks. 🙁

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Seriously, I'm sorry that the media tricked you into caring about unimportant stuff that you can do nothing about, but please don't take it out on my inbox.

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Looking it up, about 5 people died and maybe 20 were injured, about half of those hospitalized. According to the CDC, the low end estimate of deaths/hospitalizations from flu this year so far is 2900 / 53,000, for a 50 day period. So it's killing 10x and hospitalizing 50x as many people as that shooting *every single day*, and the only mention of flu I see is not a dedicated email, it's item 5 in a monthly newsletter. And I don't even think they need to send me that.

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My kid's school decided it was very important to email me about a shooting in a night club in *Colorado*, thousands of miles away from me.

When I asked them to please separate their emails into separate mailing lists for things like, "Friday is a half day" and things like, "Here is a thing that happened in the news", they acted like it was their solemn duty to tell everyone about some random shooting that happens to be in the news and didn't even happen at a school.

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