Questions

I think about a lot of things. Here is a list of questions I’d one day like to answer. I’ll add ones that I’m curious about and cross out questions that I’ve found the answer to.

  • Can we ever motivate an unmotivated person? 
    I had a classmate that was content with making enough money to live off and buy what he wanted, even if he had to pick up garbage everyday for the rest of his life. He was at a four-year university, dropped out a semester before graduating, and spent some time working as a waiter and mechanic assistant, and now is enrolled at a community college to get an associate’s degree.  He doesn’t aspire to earn a higher degree, and only sought after it to get a the bare minimum qualification for a desk job.
    Answer: No.If they don’t have the motivation to do something, effort will be wasted trying to find motivation for them.
  • Why do some societies/communities value degrees over others?
    I’ve become more and more a believer the fact that degrees are really signals more than anything. In the Middle East, the number of degrees you have guarantee you a number of years as experience in the field, even if you hadn’t worked a day in your life at that point. Why do they value degrees more than, say, the tech industry in the US?
  • Why are some people more willing to learn than others? 
    I’ve always been the person in my friend group who shares plenty of weird facts and likes to learn about a variety of subject, and I credit that to my curiosity. Children are naturally curious, but why do some children grow up to be adults that like to learn more than their peers?
  • Why are we paying people to do bullshit jobs?
    This question is referencing this article.
  • How can cities be more accommodating to families?
    Apartments and condos can maybe suffice a family of four or five, but usually nothing larger than that (unless you’re cramming 10 people in an apartment mean for 4). Streets take up more space than sidewalks, which causes parents to anxiously worry about whether their kid got hit by a car walking to school or playing outside. Pollution is a problem, too, as is crime.
  • Why do some industries collateralize debt and sell it for a fraction of the cost?
    The numbers don’t add up. If the chances of the person requesting the loan paying back the loan are so low, why are banks and companies giving it to them anyway? It doesn’t make sense for them to hand over that money if they’re going to collateralize the loans and sell the debts for a fraction of the amount they loaned out later on.
  • Will everyone learn to code?
    I’ve heard some people claim that writing code will be like second instinct to everyone in the future, like how writing has become now compared to a few hundred years ago. Will it? Code at its foundation is logic, so is that a claim that we’ll have more logical people?
    Answer: No.
  • Why do learning disabilities or neurological and cognitive conditions such as ADHD or autism produce some of the most brilliant minds on the planet?
    Picasso, Van Gogh, Sir Richard Branson, Dean Kamen, Jim Carrey, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Henry Cavendish, and more have some condition that made them stand out as the brilliant people they are.
  • Is it harder to become a polymath/generalist today than it was in the past? How can we encourage polymathy?
    I wrote about this topic here.
  • Is the trend of successful innovators retiring from entrepreneurship to focus on investing actually robbing the world of their talent and potential contributions?
    Imagine if Elon Musk hadn’t founded SpaceX and instead began investing in his own space-tech firm. Wouldn’t the private aerospace industry (really, the entire aerospace industry) be much worse off or stagnant for longer? (h/t Geffen for this question)
  • Why is it so hard to find young people with the drive to work on world-changing projects in science and tech? Is dedicating a large amount of time to search for them the best way to find them?
    While this problem is partially solveable through programs such as the Thiel Fellowship or even the Pioneer tournament, not everyone hears about them. There are more diamonds in the rough out there than we know about, and we need a better way to find them.
  • How much farther would our understanding of math and science be if we had been able to record all that was ever written in history?
    A lot of traditional medicinal practices fade with globalization, and many libraries burned throughout history. How much knowledge was lost? Could we have cured Alzheimer’s or cancer by now?