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If you nonetheless find yourself being grilled by the Alex Trebek of journeyman idealism during a phone screen or interview, you can stop the process without being impolite. Apologize heavily, but stand your ground. “Oh, I think we’ve gotten our wires crossed somewhere. I’ve participated in the hiring process on your end plenty of times and have had some pretty bad luck with this style of interview, to the point where I just have a policy not to participate in it on either side. So I don’t want to waste your time or mine by going any further. If you want, I can reach out to some people that might be a better fit.” The reason I recommend this route and not a combative one is relatively simple. The combative route smells like sour grapes. This one is a very polite statement about your opinion of the way they do things. You’re saying, “Oh, I don’t really want to work here anymore because your interview process is dumb. But I probably know some dummies that are more your speed.” That advances our cause and gets us away from ludicrous hiring practices.
Any time you have more than two humans in a room together, you have politics.
The reason that technological progress exacerbates our feelings of impatience is that each new advance seems to bring us closer to the point of transcending our limits; it seems to promise that this time, finally, we might be able to make things go fast enough for us to feel completely in control of our unfolding time.
A few researchers and science-fiction authors have speculated on an alternate scenario, where life emerges around the silicon atom. Silicon sits directly below carbon on the periodic table, and shares its four valence electrons. But silicon lacks carbon’s unique versatility, its ability to form the double and triple bonds that create the long chains and rings of fatty acids and sugars. Silicon also requires far more energy to form bonds than carbon does. Tellingly, the earth contains over a hundred times as much silicon as it does carbon, and yet Mother Nature decided to base life on the much rarer element.
Almost all the atoms in intergalactic space are hydrogen or helium, so there is no chemistry. No life could have evolved there, nor any intelligence. Nothing changes there. Nothing happens. The same is true of the next cube and the next, and if you were to examine a million consecutive cubes in any direction the story would be the same.
AI Trick of the Day
When writing with AI, the start of a paragraph autocomplete will be worse than a middle or end of paragraph autocomplete. The reason for this is that there is much more space to search and create tokens for at the start of a paragraph than in the middle where the search space is smaller.
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