Chris Lakin


Hello! I write quick essays about ideas that I like.

Looking to work on important and neglected STEM problems.

Aspiring generalist, also presently studying mathematics or physics at Carnegie Mellon.

Favorite Essays

Deliberately inject randomness into your decisions.

We’ve figured out how to get exactly what we think we want, and none of what we need.

Fulfillment ≠ Pleasure.

Email list

All Essays

Sorted by date posted or last revised. Newer ≠ better.

New: If you walk into a dead end in a maze, you don’t go “Fuck! I’ve failed!”

New: ‘Decision fatigue’ exists. Fight ambiguity.

Focus on learning what’s possible, not specific procedures.

There is a sweeter kind of freedom.

Input mode: reading, watching. Output mode: writing, creating. Output is more important.

Solitude deprivation: Are you depriving yourself of solitude?

We’ve figured out how to get exactly what we think we want, and none of what we need.

Evolution explained in 6 words.

Much of expertise is pattern recognition. How do we teach that?

Fulfillment ≠ Pleasure.

Unscientific: Ask questions even when ideas seem preposterous.

Open-minded: How to quickly determine whether someone is open-minded.

Parroting: the only way to understand someone else with certainty.

Deviate: Deviate from what’s typical to win a winner-takes-all game.

Beliefs: What’s useful may not be true.

Food: The purpose of food is to nourish!

A mental model for building meaningful relationships.

We humans stand a real chance of destroying ourselves in the next few centuries

What if we are the only life in the universe?

Forwards: The difference between ‘Thinking Forwards’ and ‘Thinking Backwards’.

Deliberately inject randomness into your decisions.

Stoicism: A summary of a philosophy which has done me considerable good.

Choosing a career path.

Does ‘intelligence responsibility’ exist?

We’re biased towards explanations, and away from randomness: Apophenia.

If you’re going to have an ego, at least make it meta.

How do you find people you’ll like? Be polarizing.

Idea Sex: How to increase idea quality.

Orange glasses: sleep and Stoicism.

How blocking blue light affects sleep.

We may have to force ourselves to do not-yet-habitual activities, even if we enjoy them a lot.

Corner of less important essays.


How to Tame a Chipmunk (2020)

My (wild) chipmunk pal, Stripes.

No Use Crying Over Mixed Milk (2020)

An actually good conceptual explanation of entropy (video).

Open Ideas List (2020+)

Supposed to be crazy. Meant to help inspire other good ideas.

Mistakes (2002+)

Too often all that’s shown is the final product. So why not make a page of my mistakes, and my worst work?

Other Random Projects

Boring, trivial, or unfinished stuff I try to keep off of the main page.