A marriage counselor was giving a seminar to a room filled with people seeking marital advice…

— From Invest Like a Guru – How to Generate Higher Returns at Reduced Risk with Value Investing P. 39

… he projected his first slide, the key to a successful marriage, which showed just one phrase:

‘Love each other, forever.’

Participants started to shake their heads and said the sentiment was hard to put in practice. Then the marriage counselor put up his second slide, which said:

‘If you cannot do that, now you need to follow these four rules: (1) Compromise, tolerate, and forgive. (2) Make it a habit to compromise, tolerate, and forgive. (3) Pretend to be a fool. (4) Make that a habit, too.’

The participants grew more vocal, saying the four rules are impossible to follow. Waiting until they quieted down, the counselor put up his third slide, which said:

‘If you cannot follow these four rules, now you need to do these 16 things right: (1) Don’t lose your tempers at the same time. (2) Don’t yell unless it is an emergency. (3) When getting into an argument, let your spouse win. (4) Don’t let an argument last overnight. (5) Always be ready to apologize …’

After reading these, some laughed and some sighed. The counselor then showed his fourth slide, which said:

‘If you still cannot follow 16 rules, now you need to do these 256 things right…’ 


Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, & Machine Learning?

— From The Master Algorithm – How the Quest for the ultimate learning machine will remake our world by Pedro Domingos P. 67

A conjunctive concept is what Tolstoy had in mind when he wrote the opening sentence of Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The same is true of individuals. To be happy, you need health, love, friends, money, a job you like, and so on. Take any of these away and misery ensues.

In machine learning, examples of a concept are called positive examples, and counterexamples are called negative examples. If you’re trying to learn to recognize cats in images, images of cats are positive examples and images of dogs are negative ones. If you compiled a database of families from the world’s literature, the Karenins would be a negative example of a happy family, and there would be precious few positive examples.”

In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: “And how are you crazy?”

New York Times

we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others. We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: “And how are you crazy?”