It doesn’t matter what your profession is at any given time. There’s truth in all of them. They all contain patterns.

It is those patterns that are universal, and can be transferred to any domain, at any point in your life.

But you have to learn those patterns. Meaning you have to go deep. You have to build. And that’s not going to happen if you aren’t frequently compelled to solve things others haven’t.

Many choose their education and careers for social perception and prestige. They never understand much of anything because they’re never engaged.

Their “success” is artificially propped-up…

Eren Asena recently asked me the following question on Twitter:

To what extent does the abstraction of code through libraries prevent understanding? How to balance building faster and understanding more deeply?

I’m republishing my response here.

Many assume that deeper understanding comes from diving into the guts of a subject. This isn’t a good understanding of how information works. Diving deeper isolates your understanding, keeping your knowledge out-of-context and sterile.

The ability to discern comes from seeing a concept play out under varying contexts. Seeing what stays the same when everything else changes. …

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Nothing compares to math and programming when it comes to backwards teaching. Nobody comes out of schooling thinking either of these is a particularly creative discipline. Yet real-world math and programming only look like their scholastic counterparts on the surface.

Languages only use rules insomuch as they liberate the speaker to bring about something new. The mindless symbol-shuffling promulgated by today’s teachers is as impaired as their ability to create.

Language is about expression. If you aren’t *creating* something then you aren’t speaking the language. People don’t communicate through thoughtless adherence to rules. …

End-to-End Steps for Turning Your Idea into Something Real

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

When Form Follows Function

People have ideas. Lots of ideas. But how often do they turn those ideas into something real? There is a distinct difference between what’s in our heads and what can be created.

Most people don’t build software. This includes many people on actual software teams. If you’re not coding now you see the creation of working software as someone else’s job. Perhaps you’ve wanted to start learning (or relearning) yourself but assume it takes too long, is too technically challenging or just not something that interests you.

Ideas typically live as drawings, post-its, mockups and “clickable apps”, all of which…

Embracing the “Correlation of the 21st Century.”

The logical relations between various concepts underlying Mutual Information.


Causality is a central concept in our lives. It refers to the idea that one event influences another event. Our perception of causality underlies many of our personal opinions. If I believe the internet makes people dumber, or that the President has made things worse, I am suggesting a causal connection; real or not.

In business we look to understand what makes a good hire, a good decision, a good product. In government we create new legislation and policies based on evidence for social and economic causes. …

Facilitating Scientific Discovery by Uncovering Analogical Connections


In a recent Nature article¹, researchers used word embeddings to discover candidate compounds for materials science. One of the authors, Vahe Tshitoyan, also published an overview² of the work on Medium. Specifically, they showed that new thermoelectric materials could be discovered by mining scientific journals.

I think this is an interesting use of the well-known word embeddings technique. With word embeddings, we look to create vector representations for important words in a document. Once vectorized, these words can be used with the usual vector operations from linear algebra. Thus we can add and subtract words to find results that match…

Detecting, Extracting and Classifying Circuit Board Defects using Image Processing and Deep Learning

The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is in most electronic products, mechanically supporting and connecting components along conductive tracks. Their prevalence underlies the modern electronics industry, with a world market exceeding $60 billion¹.

PCBs are prone to a variety of defects that impede proper manufacturing, costing companies money. Defects such as shorts, spurs, mousebites, and pinholes cause issues like current leakage and open circuits, quickly degrading performance or rendering PCBs useless. PCB manufacturers must strive to ship defect-free units to remain competitive and ensure customer satisfaction.

Failure analysts are employed to ensure defects are kept to a minimum. But inspecting and…

The Fluid Universality of Math and Computation

Most people are uncomfortable with the notion that human cognition is nothing more than computation. After all, humans are currently far superior to machines at most tasks. It seems too limiting to frame the abilities of the human mind in terms of some symbol-churning machine that dryly converts inputs into outputs.

But the arguments around why this is seem to always fall flat. What is it about human thinking that is so different? If human intelligence is something more than computation where does this more come from?

I argue that people’s aversion to the machine analogy stems from their misunderstanding…

Some Thoughts for Tomorrow’s Generation

You cannot engineer your career. You cannot craft your success. Your accomplishments will not come by following a plan, mimicking your hero’s habits, or staying up-to-date on the latest trends.

Your luminaries are statistical aberrations, with stories no more interesting or unique than those who have failed. You are reading but one of countless plausible narratives in an ocean of silent evidence.

That feeling you get after purchasing the latest book from the business section is just the recycled high that accompanies the illusion convenient narratives provide. An endless attempt at grasping the mirage of an unworkable blueprint.

You are…

A Conceptual Tour of Why Intelligence Testing Fails in Both Scientific Validity and Real-World Utility

The debate over the validity of IQ is nothing new. Every once in a while a fresh report pops up against the background of ongoing intelligence research, either defending or attacking its foundations. Proponents of IQ argue the research behind the intelligence quotient is sound and its utility proven. Opponents argue IQ studies have never rested on good science, exaggerates claims, and has done far more damage than good.

Recently this debate has arrived on social media by way of Twitter. 2 major voices in this debate are Nassim Nicholas Taleb (author of Incerto) and Claire Lehmann (founding editor of…

Sean McClure

Founder Kedion, Ph.D. Computational Chem, builds AI software, studies complexity, host of NonTrivial podcast.

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