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Alan Watts

Alan Watts
Alan Watts

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Born in Chislehurst, he moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Pursuing a career, he attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where he received a master’s degree in theology. Watts became an Episcopal priest in 1945, then left the ministry in 1950 and moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies.

Watts gained a large following in the San Francisco Bay Area while working as a volunteer programmer at KPFA, a Pacifica Radio station in Berkeley. Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on subjects important to Eastern and Western religion, introducing the then-burgeoning youth culture to The Way of Zen (1957), one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism. In Psychotherapy East and West (1961), Watts proposed that Buddhism could be thought of as a form of psychotherapy and not a religion. He also explored human consciousness, in the essay “The New Alchemy” (1958), and in the book The Joyous Cosmology (1962).

Towards the end of his life, he divided his time between a houseboat in Sausalito and a cabin on Mount Tamalpais. His legacy has been kept alive by his son, Mark Watts, and many of his recorded talks and lectures are available on the Internet. According to the critic Erik Davis, his “writings and recorded talks still shimmer with a profound and galvanizing lucidity.

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3 things I learned while my plane crashed

Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for the first time.

Ric Elias is the CEO and cofounder of Red Ventures, a portfolio of fast-growing digital businesses.

Why you should listen

Ric Elias was given the gift of a miracle: to face near-certain death, and then to come back and live differently.

Video 4m 45s

Ric Elias – Ted Talks

A native of Puerto Rico, Elias attended Boston College and Harvard Business School before starting his career as part of GE’s Financial Management program. He cofounded Red Ventures in 2000, just months before the dot-com bubble burst. The company weathered the storm; by 2007 it was ranked fourth on the Inc. 500 list, and in 2015 the company was valuated at more than $1 billion. Elias has cultivated an award-winning company culture, ranking as a “Best Place to Work” in Charlotte, North Carolina, for ten years in a row.

Elias’s leadership style and personal life are deeply influenced by his experience as a survivor of Flight 1549, also known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” He is devoted to using his platform to “leave the woodpile higher than he found it” — spinning out multiple nonprofits from Red Ventures over the years, all of which are aimed at creating educational opportunity and economic mobility for under-served groups. In 2018, Elias launched Forward787, a social enterprise committed to raising and deploying $100 million to build businesses in Puerto Rico that compete with the world’s top companies. In 2019, he launched a podcast, 3 Things with Ric Elias, as a continuation of the learning journey he shared on the TED stage.

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The Three Laws of Recursion

Like the robots of Asimov, all recursive algorithms must obey three important laws:

  • A recursive algorithm must have a base case.
  • A recursive algorithm must change its state and move toward the base case.
  • A recursive algorithm must call itself, recursively.

Recursion is the process of defining a problem (or the solution to a problem) in terms of (a simpler version of) itself. For example, we can define the operation “find your way home” as: If you are at home, stop moving. Take one step toward home.

Let’s begin our discussion of recursion by examining the first appearance of fractals in modern mathematics. In 1883, German mathematician George Cantor developed simple rules to generate an infinite set:

Cantor’s rule for an infinite set

There is a feedback loop at work here. Take a single line and break it into two. Then return to those two lines and apply the same rule, breaking each line into two, and now we’re left with four. Then return to those four lines and apply the rule. Now you’ve got eight. This process is known as recursion: the repeated application of a rule to successive results. Cantor was interested in what happens when you apply these rules an infinite number of times.

George Cantor

Dichotomy paradox – Zeno’s

“That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal.”

— as recounted by Aristotle, Physics VI:9, 239b10

Suppose Atalanta wishes to walk to the end of a path. Before she can get there, she must get halfway there. Before she can get halfway there, she must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a quarter, she must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on.

Zeno’s paradox was recursive by cutting the distance in half each time to the infinitesimal. This is also how the Tortoise beat the Hair by questioning time over distance.

Recursive Function Calls

The tortoise and the Hair – the paradox of time
int factorial(int n) 
{ if (n == 1) { return 1; }
else { return n * factorial(n-1); } }

A function that does call others is called a nonleaf function. … The factorial function can be rewritten recursively as factorial(n) = n × factorial(n – 1). The factorial of 1 is simply 1. The image shows an object trace of the factorial function written as a recursive function. Each call goes in the run time stack until the base case is reached, and the the stack is popped as the result is passed to each function on the stack.

Five Factorial (5!) in recursion

What Is a Fractal?

The term fractal (from the Latin fractus, meaning “broken”) was coined by the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975. In his seminal work “The Fractal Geometry of Nature,” he defines a fractal as “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole.”

Recursion in Nature

Looking closely at a given section of the tree, we find that the shape of this branch resembles the tree itself. This is known as self-similarity; as Mandelbrot stated, each part is a “reduced-size copy of the whole.”

The Three Laws of Robotics

Isaac Asimov was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. A prolific writer, he wrote or edited more than 500 books.

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws
Partial sources:, Wikipedia, Google 
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Alan Alda | The 3 Rules of 3

We Were Built to Connect with Other People — Here’s How to Be Better At It. Before you follow another “tip” or “trick,” there’s something Alan Alda wants you to know.

His best tip to become a better communicator is what he calls the three rules of three. Listen to his practical hints for becoming a communication pro but, as he remarks, try to get there organically through the process. Alan Alda’s most recent book is If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?

“So the first rule is, I try only to say three important things when I talk to people”.

“The second rule is, if I have a difficult thing to understand, if there’s something I think is not going to be that easy to get, I try to say it in three different ways”.

“And the third tip, which I always forget, is that if I have a difficult thing that’s hard to get, I try to say it three times through the talk”.

—- Alan Alda
Alan Alda
Alan Alda

Alan Alda doesn’t want you to take “pro tips” from anyone-not even Alan Alda. When it comes to his area of expertise public speaking and empathetic communication there are no hacks or shortcuts; if you want to be a world class public speaker, you have to earn those stripes through the process of deeply understanding what it is to talk, listen, and connect.

Alda calls tips intellectual abstractions; it’s akin to the difference between information and knowledge, between parroting a few words in French and speaking the actual language. But, when pushed by yours truly at Big Think, Alda does give up the goods (willingly we promise no Alan Aldas were harmed in the making of this video).

5 min Video

Alan Alda | The 3 Rules of 3

Alan Alda has earned international recognition as an actor, writer and director. In addition to The Aviator, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, Alda’s films include Crimes and Misdemeanours, Everyone Says I Love You, Flirting With Disaster, Manhattan Murder Mystery, And The Band Played On, Same Time, Next Year and California Suite, as well as The Seduction of Joe Tynan, which he wrote, and The Four Seasons, Sweet Liberty, A New Life and Betsy’s Wedding, all of which he wrote and directed. Recently, his film appearances have included Tower Heist, Wanderlust, and Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies.


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Noise by Daniel Kahneman | 3 Distinctions

The Michael Shermer Show with Daniel Kahneman – Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment


Imagine that two doctors in the same city give
different diagnoses to identical patients. Now
imagine that the same doctor making a different
decision depending on whether it is morning or
afternoon, or Monday rather than Wednesday.
This is an example of noise: variability in
judgments that should be identical.

Shermer speaks with Nobel Prize winning
psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman
about the detrimental effects of noise and what
we can do to reduce both noise and bias, and
make better decisions in: medicine, law, economic
forecasting, forensic science, bail, child
protection, strategy, performance reviews, and
personnel selection.

Video clip – 3 minutes

Noise by Daniel Kahneman | 3 Distinctions

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Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google
Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and Tuneln.

Full Video – Noise by Daniel Kahneman

Full video at

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Michio Kaku: 3 mind-blowing predictions about the future

What lies in store for humanity? Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku explains how different life will be for your descendants—and maybe your future self, if the timing works out.

15 min

Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku: 3 mind-blowing predictions about the future
  1. We will become a space-faring species
  2. We will expand the brain’s capabilities
  3. We will defeat cancer


Michio Kaku (Japanese: カク ミチオ, 加来 道雄, born January 24, 1947) is an American theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science (science communicator). He is a professor of theoretical physics in the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center. Kaku is the author of several books about physics and related topics and has made frequent appearances on radio, television, and film. He is also a regular contributor to his own blog, as well as other popular media outlets. For his efforts to bridge science and science fiction, he is a 2021 Sir Arthur Clarke Lifetime Achievement Awardee.

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Warren Buffet | 3 Life Decisions

Warren Buffett Says 3 Decisions in Life Separate
High Achievers From Mere Dreamers. If the third-richest man in the universe says it, who’s to argue?


Warren Buffet​
Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett is smarter than me. Much smarter. But, outside of his complete mastery of all things related to investment, is the earthly wisdom Buffett imparts on us mind-boggling? Probably not. It’s the fact Warren Buffett is saying it. He is articulating, in the simplest of terms, things our eighth-grade teacher could have told us, but their coming from Buffett is what makes all the difference.

Nearing the age of 90, the Oracle of Omaha is a success juggernaut whose common sense resonates deep within our souls. Some of his advice just might transform you, but you need to apply it. Here are three inspiring Buffett lessons to move you from dreamer to high achiever.

  1. Don’t risk what you have to get something you don’t need. Buffett once advised graduating students at the University of Florida that he has witnessed both businesses and individuals put themselves at risk to chase after bigger things, usually out of greed when they should have held back.

Buffett said, “If you risk something that is important to you for something that is unimportant to you, it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t care if the odds you succeed are 99 to 1 or 1,000 to 1.”

  1. Invest in relationships with honest and ethical people.

He also asked University of Florida students to think of a classmate they felt had the makings of success long term, such that they would want to get 10 percent of that person’s earnings for the rest of their lives.
“You would probably pick the one you responded the best to, the one who has the leadership qualities, the one who is able to get other people to carry out their interests,” said Buffett. “That would be the person who is generous, honest, and who gave credit to other people for their own ideas.”

  1. Measure your life’s success through one word: love.
    In the Buffett biography, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, Buffett explains that the highest measure of success in life comes “by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.”

Some people die filthy rich and get buildings named after them but “the truth is that nobody in the world loves them,” says Buffett. In the end, the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life comes down to love.
“The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it. You can buy sex. You can buy testimonial dinners. But the only way to get love is to be lovable. You’d like to think you could write a check: I’ll buy a million dollars’ worth of love. But it doesn’t work that way. The more you give love away, the more you get,” asserts Buffett.

Warren Buffet​
Warren Buffet

Source: Inc.

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Trilogies as Persuasion | 1 min watch

Little Lawyer Lesson #1: Use Trilogies #shorts. Robert Gouveia Esq.

Trilogies can be very powerful tools of persuasion.
Terence McCarthy, author of MacCarthy on
Cross-Examination, explains just how important
trilogies are in trials.

Little Lawyer Lesson #1: Use Trilogies

Robert Gouveia (formerly Robert Gruler) is a
criminal defense lawyer in Scottsdale, Arizona,
and host of Watching the Watchers, a show
focused on Accountability, Transparency and


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The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther Knig Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Speech Text:

I want to use as the subject from which to preach: “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.” (All right) You know, they used to tell us in Hollywood that in order for a movie to be complete, it had to be three-dimensional. Well, this morning I want to seek to get over to each of us that if life itself is to be complete, (Yes) it must be three-dimensional. . .

Three Sound Clips from the speech:

  •       Master the Length of Life
  •       We are Dependent on One Another
  •       The Power Of God

Audio of Complete Speech

      Three Dimensions of a Compete Life

Speech Text:

I want to use as the subject from which to preach: “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.” (All right) You know, they used to tell us in Hollywood that in order for a movie to be complete, it had to be three-dimensional. Well, this morning I want to seek to get over to each of us that if life itself is to be complete, (Yes) it must be three-dimensional.

Continue reading The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

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Three types of paradoxes

The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays

by W.V. Quine

There are essentially three categories of paradoxes

  • Falsidical – Logic based on a falsehood
  • Veridical – Truthful
  • Antinomy – A contradiction, real or apparent, between two principles or conclusions, both of which seem equally justified

Willard Van Orman Quine (AKA W. V. O. Quine, or “Van”to his friends) (1908 – 2000) was an American philosopher and mathematical logician, widely considered one of the most important philosophers of the second half of the 20th Century.

Three types of paradoxes
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Cognitive Ease

Cognitive ease or fluency is the measure of how easy it is for our brains to process information. … The Cognitive ease principle reveals that when people have to switch to the second system of thinking, causing cognitive strain, they become more vigilant and suspicious.

Frequent repetition can be enough to convince people to believe things that are not true because familiarity generates a sense of cognitive ease. Called the mere-exposure effect, advertisers make use of it, but they aren’t the only ones. Information that is easy to understand also gives us a sense of cognitive ease.

Humans tend to avoid stressful and demanding cognitive strain, often making them vulnerable to many biases. This “laziness” and desire for cognitive ease often invites individuals to a world of irrationality where the decisions made can be detrimental.

Cognitive Ease – Veritasium
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Cantor’s threefold division of infinity

Excerpts from Infinity and the Mind

Rudy Rucker
Infinity and the mind by Rudy Rucker
Infinity and the Mind

… This threefold division [of infinity] is due to Cantor, who, in the following passage, distinguishes between the:

  • Absolute Infinite
  • Physical infinities
  • Mathematical infinities

The actual infinite arises in three contexts: first when it is realized in the most complete form, in a fully indepen dent other-worldly being, in Deo, where I call it the Absolute Infinite or simply Absolute; second when it occurs in the contingent, created world; third when the mind grasps it in abstracto as a mathematical magnitude, number, or order type. I wish to make a sharp contrast between the Absolute and what I call the Transfinite, that is, the actual infinities of the last two sorts, which are clearly limited, subject to further increase, and thus related to the finite,


There are three ways in which our world appears to be un bounded and thus, perhaps, infinite. It seems that time cannot end. It seems that space cannot end. And it seems that any interval of space or time can be divided and subdivided endlessly. We will consider these three apparent physical infinities in three subsections.

Temporal Infinities

One of the chief consequences of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is that it is space-time that is fundamental, not isolated space which evolves as time passes. I will not argue this point in detail here, but let me repeat that on the basis of modern physical theory we have every reason to think of the passage of time as an illusion. Past, present, and future all exist together in space-time.

So the question of the infinitude of time is not one that is to be dodged by denying that time can be treated as a fixed dimension such as space. The question still remains: is time infinite? If we take the entire space-time of our universe, is the time dimension infinitely extended or not?

Möbius strip ​
Möbius strip

Spatial Infinities

Whether or not our space is actually infinite is a question that could conceivably be resolved in the next few decades. Assuming that Einstein’s theory of gravitation is correct, there are basically two types of universe: i) a hyperspherical (closed and
unbounded) space that expands, and then contracts back to a point; ii) an infinite space that expands forever. It is my guess that case i) will come to be most widely accepted, if only because the notion of an actually infinite space extending out in every direction is so unsettling.

The fate of the universe in case i) is certainly more interesting, since such a universe collapses back to an infinitely dense space-time singularity that may serve as the seed for a whole new universe. In case il), on the other hand, we simply have cooling and dying suns drifting further and further apart in an utterly empty black immensity … and in the end there are only ashes and cinders in an absolute and eternal night.

The question we are concerned with here is whether or not space is infinitely large. There seem to be three options: i) There is some level n for which -dimensional space is real and infinitely extended. The situation where our three-dimensional space is infinitely large falls under this case. ii). There is some n such that there is only one n-dimensional space. This space is to be finite and unbounded, and there is to be no reality to n + 1 dimensional space.

The situation where our three-dimensional space is finite and unbounded, and the reality of four-dimensional space denied, falls under this case. iii). There are real spaces of every dimension, and each of these spaces is finite and unbounded. In this case we either have an infinite number of universes, duoverses, triverses, etc., or we reach a level after which there is only one n-verse for each n.

Read more in his book Infinity and the Mind