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Thoughts Overview

Luke Breuer
2007-04-20 18:06 UTC

I strive to discover truth, achieve excellence in what I do, and communicate what I've learned. Truth is an accurate description of reality, by an unbiased observer. It includes both theistic truth and empirical truth*. Excellence means doing whatever I do the best I can, whether it be debating, writing software, or fixing gadgets. Anyone who spends much time around me will tell you that I am constantly looking for better ways to do things. Finally, communication is crucial to achieving the above and helping others to achieve it as well. I know I stand on the shoulders of giants; I would like to help others do so as well. The more effectively I can communicate, the more I and others will learn.

* It would be better to say approach truth when discussing science. At this point (03.01.07), TIME contains almost no theistic content; that will eventually change.
During my first two years at school, I got quite frustrated at the fifty-year-old method of teaching. In particular, I felt that the power of computers and the Internet was hardly being tapped. We mostly relied on books, lectures, and recitation sections with TAs. Problem sets, solutions, and sometimes notes were posted on class websites, but that was all. There were no wikis, no forums, no way to improve the learning experience for the next year of students. One could talk to the prof, who might make some changes if it does not detract too much from research. I want more; I want the energy I put into learning benefit others. I think there are ways to greatly multiple my efforts.

I am currently developing software for better presentation, association, and discussion of information. I would like to get away from static, book-style presentation of information and move to something I call adaptive content. Much information is read much more than it is written, so I think the extra effort to present it in an adaptive fashion is merited. We associate ideas in our heads, so why not make those associations explicit electronically? TIME is designed to do just this. Last but certainly not least, I want a better way to discuss ideas electronically. I've come up with three elements to this in my thoughts on forums: an advanced quotation system, linkage with TIME, and trust.
All Roads Merge
In much of what I do, I am reminded of the inadequacies of how information is stored and retrieved. When I'm writing software I come across a method that is not documented well. I search the web and there are many, many hits. I would like to be able to see the distinct issues discussed so I can get an overview of what's out there, but right now I have to scan individual articles, complete with duplicated information. When I am debating, the same issues seem to be discussed over and over with little improvement because the information from each debate is not persisted in a useful format. It just seems to me that there is a lot of duplicated effort in this world, due to people reinventing wheels.