Notes from the Library

Sat, 03 Oct 2015


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Thu, 01 Oct 2015

How an 18th-Century Philosopher Helped Solve My Midlife Crisis

Thu, 24 Sep 2015

Someone on reddit asks about meditation making it harder to quit cannabis:

So I am trying to quit smoking weed because I think it’s a waste of money, makes me super lazy, and I don’t want to keep hanging around sketchy people like drug dealers and such.

Today I was thinking about it all evening, and fighting myself not to go pick up an eighth that I had my dealer prep for me earlier. Eventually (just an hour ago actually) I decided I wasn’t going to go pick it up, and that I was gonna break my pipe and delete my dealer’s number.

…Then I meditated for about 20 minutes…

And felt amazing. So now I’m like fuck it, I’m gonna go pick that shit up.

A reply uncovers some facts about the connection between motivation to change our lives and our day-to-day emotions, which I found very insightful:

When feeling shitty, usually the mind is also in a negative, fault-finding state; bent on criticism: “This is a waste of money, it makes me lazy, I don’t wanna hang with bad people, ugh, I have to change this”

When feeling happy, the mind isn’t interested in finding faults, so whatever behavior that was motivated by negativity, goes out the window.

I’d say the problem is that the desire to change comes from self-loathing. It’s basically impossible to loathe if you’re happy.

There are plenty of good reasons to quit weed, and it would be good for you to do it, but what if you did it out of genuine compassion for your own well-being instead?

Then you would feel good doing it, because it would be an act of kindness towards yourself.


It’s the fifth week of the semester and back in Oxford it would be time for people to start talking about “fifth week blues” and how we might deal with them. I’m experiencing some blues this week, although it’s the fifth of around 14 weeks rather than the fifth of eight. I’m having difficulties because I’m finding my study skills not to be up to scratch. I’m not sure that they have ever been up the level that they now need to be, but they’re definitely down below the level they were at (parts of) my time as an undergraduate at Oxford.

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Tue, 08 Sep 2015

Today I’ve been investigating tools to let you have a full GNU/Linux distribution in your home directory, with no root access required. This is great when you can’t build software because your sysadmin has put standard libraries in non-standard locations, and messing with C_INCLUDE_PATH and friends is driving you crazy.

Be sure to unset C_INCLUDE_PATH, LD_LIBRARY_PATH and PKG_CONFIG_PATH to avoid these being involved in builds inside the chroot.

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