Divine Discontent at Princeton

If you have read Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep, then you will understand this diagram:

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There are four concentric volumes known as zones of thought.

At the center, only minimal forms of intelligence are allowed to exist. In the Slow Zone, you have the original form of humanity. In the Beyond exists artificial intelligence. In the Transcend exist incomprehensible superintelligences.

I have been known to express a tendency to embed myself in the true status hierarchy. One in which I am a tiny little dream character in the ocean of all possible mind configurations layered adjacently, orthogonally, and over me.

However, it is sometimes more useful to draw a fictitious little room around yourself in which you perceive only that which your very personal naive ontology would imagine was true.

I perceive myself to have spent my entire life in the unthinking depths and the slow zone. Phrases that apply to my background are: “lower-middle income household,” “ghetto schools,” and “parents who did not complete elementary in their country.” However, this perception is a willful choice. I could also choose to perceive myself as existing in the Transcend relative to cockroaches. Or I could choose to identify as a single breath in the midst of all other qualia, and have nothing to do with this scheme.

The thing that causes us to identify with the voyaging agent permanently inhabiting the inner circles and journeying outward is what I call Divine Discontent.

Divine Discontent pushes us outward because this is adaptive. To have noticed that what is adaptive is what is intelligent already speaks of privilege, since there exist humans who do not rank their circles with regard to that variable.

Squeezed out of that inner circle like stomach acid, I find myself in Princeton University.

Here, I expect to find the Beyond and the Transcend relative to the Slow Zone and Unthinking Depths of my past.



So far… not impressed.

I expected some kind of infectious energy – a sense of meaningful struggle as antithesis to the guy delivering packages I was sitting next to just two days ago.

Instead, it feels like one massive scam against high-achievers who are not very aware of their hidden motives, leading to pervasive unhappiness.

You would think that they would at least try to fake a state of happiness, since expressing happiness indicates a state of dominance. A state of dominance is what your time here is purchasing after all. And this status signal is “real.” The people operating leaf blowers lower their gaze when you walk. The air of people at restaurants and pharmacy shops is tangibly submissive or admiring in a way that it is not if you do not look like a Princeton person. Hence why the Leviathan chugs along unslaughtered.

Yet a large amount of the professors and students here are not even trying to fake the happiness signals. Perfect SAT’s; GPA’s of 3.9 and above; in other words, a pristine capacity to detect orderly conduct and avowedly surrender to it, get you this. There’s too much selection for rigid conscientiousness. The people are sharp but rigid.

I am biased in the sense that everyone props up their phenotype. The world we create with our thoughts and words is that which sets up our own kind to be the true heroes. This is necessary in order to create alliances and to escape from submission to the tangling values fashioned from other neurotypes… The alternative is to adopt a submissive role under the judging eyes of values that you are capable of understanding but not living up to, hence experiencing the symptoms of low-status such as depression.

I am the sort of person who achieved the highest mathematics MAP score in my entire high school and was the best writer but who, when presented with something as arbitrary and boring sounding as the ACT’s, crossed his arms and slept on top of the silly little circles. The fact that I am even mentioning it reveals that I care and yet don’t, in the same way that an atheist’s conceptual lenses are colored by theism. Eventually, I’ll do a blog post on the mechanics of counter-signaling.

But in short, the intelligent people I value are those deviants who were smart enough to go and sell people money, those who go and build a meaningful startup, those who are voices not afraid to believe in themselves and pave a new path for mankind, those who go. To go is to do better than the average allowed by the enveloping pressures.

Designing A Game That Teaches Real Business Skills

If a team of game developers wants to build this game, please contact me. It is a game that teaches real business skills. I increasingly see these open-world games which allow you to choose your life path based on what conversational options are chosen. How about we start leveraging this technology to better prepare people on the quest to become rich in the real world.

We may take common sense for granted, but the fact is that even making our bed requires training subroutines on subroutines and then running them at will from muscle memory. Our brains must rehearse the motions before becoming adept at something, and often the difference between having pre-established neural pathways or not having such etched-and-burned passages is the difference between feeling the drive to perform a given action.

Being business-savvy may feel common sense from a distance, but developing the skill actually requires embodiment. And that’s why a game that properly projects the player into real life business situations would probably hold more value than all middle school and high school combined.

For example, it is said that the most important question to ask the business seller is ‘Why do you want to sell?’ Nothing else matters until you understand why the seller wants to part with the business. And since you have to ask the vital question after you have established a rapport with the seller, this fact should also be built into the game’s structure.

And then say there are five main reasons why a business owner wants out. They are:

  • Burnout, health, partnership problems, or a desire for a change in lifestyle (common in the bar and restaurant trade).
  • Retirement. But, if it’s a good business, why is the seller not keeping it in the family?
  • Poor business or problems with the landlord. The player must learn to be careful here.
  • The vendor is not really serious about selling, but will do so for a high price.
  • The seller developed a start-up and wants to realize the capital gain, take a holiday, then start all over again. The player must be careful here not to lose his/her customers and employees.

Below are detailed responses to the crunch question: ‘Why do you want to sell your business?’ Set up the game so that some answers will be absurd, but the usual replies are as follows:

Partnership Problems

Sometimes the joint investors disagree on key management issues. However, the player must recognize that this usually happens when the business is underperforming. If the business is doing well, what is there to argue about?

Health Problems

Some sellers are forced to give up their business due to severe health problems. The shock of a heart attack may be the catalyst for a complete shift in lifestyle.

We can have the player come across one man who ran a number of successful service businesses and experienced a serious health problem that required surgery. Immediately, he placed all of his companies on the market for sale. His businesses were genuinely profitable and the reason for sale was quite easy to validate. Many of the neighboring businesspeople probably knew about the operation and some may have visited him in the hospital. (The player would gather all this data like a detective by exploring around and asking.)

Not Enough Time

Two common answers in the game are ‘Not enough time’ and ‘Need to spend time on other businesses.’ The player should learn through experience that both answers are unconvincing. If an owner is selling his business because of preoccupation with other commercial activity, maybe it’s because the original business is an under-performing concern. If the seller does not have enough time, find out what he does allow time for. Usually these sellers have given up on the first business and have already started another one.

I Need More Quality Time

Some semi-retired people buy a business to occupy their time and alleviate boredom. They often discover, to their peril, that the business is much more demanding than they had expected. The business may have potential but they don’t have the energy to exploit the opportunity. The seller’s reason for sale could be genuine, but the player should get confirmation.


Many sellers say they want to relocate to another city, another country, or even another continent, or, or, even another planet (set it in post-Mars colonization period). A death in the family or severe sickness of a relative may provide a reason for rapid departure. If the reason given is genuine, they would probably want to sell quickly at a low price. Most sellers wanting out of the business and the location have some serious problems they may not be willing to discuss.

Due Diligence

Another thing to be taught is due diligence. Due diligence is the process of substantiating the seller’s representations including the financial statements. Due diligence is the buyer’s responsibility; business brokers do not have any responsibility (or enough skin-in-the-game) to check the information they pass on from seller to buyer.

Perhaps set it it up in third-worldish contexts. For example, small businesses in Thailand do not keep records or accounts. Thai businesspeople usually negotiate a tax settlement with a tax officer from the Revenue Department once a year; maybe every three years. Some businesses maintain two sets of accounting records: one set for the authorities, to minimize tax; and and actual record of the transaction for themselves.

One practical way of checking gross sales is to employ a person to count the number of customers visiting the business.

Daily Sales = Number of Customers x Estimated Average Sales Value

This would look like something in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, where you send others to work the streets at designated locations. But instead of indulging murder fantasy, the player absorbs these basic intuitions (which, again, aren’t so basic so as to be like vacuuming the house, but should be).

A game is absolutely the best medium for learning these things because of the time factor. Everything happens much quicker in a game and the information is tidy, so engraving the behaviors of the avatar into memory is much quicker than if one were to actually go out and spend “real-world” conscious computations at a marketplace. (I write that in quotes because I’m not entirely convinced that we aren’t already in such a game, and are being harvested for knowledge by computations running much slower.)

For example, we teach the player to estimate the average gross sales value per customer transaction. The business seller may provide this information, but it may be a better idea to watch what the customers order and estimate the average transaction value.

Because of the sped-up sandbox nature, we can also take into account the time of year and develop a gut feeling for the different monthly sales correlated with that single variable. If the business is tourism-oriented, we may even provide the player with an unlockable equation to fit their hard-earned reconnaissance, estimating annual gross sales in the following way:

Annual Sales = (4 x Monthly Sales [in low season]) + (8 x Monthly Sales [in the high season])

Sales in the high season may be three times higher than in the low season. But you have to estimate this multiple with the help of businesspeople in the neighborhood. The seller may provide an accurate multiple.

I envision a game in which you would continue due diligence testing until you are reasonably sure of the actual business performance. However, if the business is underperforming and you intend to develop the business, future results may improve significantly.

In order to avoid any possible conflict of interests, you would have to not use any advisors who are directly connected with your business broker or the seller. For larger businesses, you can hire an independent consultant, accountant, and lawyer to audit the financials.

The player should tend to go broke and lose the game if they complete the business transfer without sufficient evidence to verify the seller’s financial representations. If you have sufficient evidence that the seller has misrepresented the performance of the business, you are supposed to re-negotiate or withdraw your offer (and reclaim any deposit paid). After the business transfer, it would be very difficult to claim recourse; the seller may be sipping champagne in a jacuzzi on the moon by then.

The player should download the program of business evaluation with the same level of simple mastery as breathing:

Business Evaluation Checklist

Before you hand over your life savings to the seller, make sure you have evaluated the business thoroughly. This should be a checklist that unravels through extended gameplay:

Business Location: The player learns through experience if the location suitable for their purposes? Don’t forget that being only thirty meters away from a good location may be too far away without a sound marketing strategy. A noob might not know this and hence lose capital in the marketing, losing the game.

The Landlord: Are the lease terms reasonable? Is the remaining term of the lease long enough to recover your investment and make a reasonable return? Is there any evidence that the landlord will maintain the property according to the lease terms? Have you checked the rent level against the market rent for similar properties in the area? These are all important for winning the game. In easy mode (suitable for business classes and people with the sole intention of attempting to learn) you are guided through this process by being explicitly told that this is all necessary. In hard mode (suitable for people wanting a more realistic immersion experience) these are all things that must be discovered.

The Seller: Do you have good rapport with, and trust, the seller? Why is the owner selling? Is the customer base loyal to the seller, the business, or the product? There should be a gauge meter that gets filled on all these parameters based on the information collected by playing the game.

Accounts: Has your due diligence and research supported the seller’s representations and financial statements? If there are no proper accounts available, have you prepared your own budgetary forecasts? Perhaps set it up so that reckless players who did not undergo this process are always bashed with a bad business purchase. This may not be the case in real life, since you could get lucky. But we want the right kind of reinforcement learning if we are going to bother creating a useful simulation.

Legal Structure Of Acquisition: Are you buying the assets of the business, or are you buying shares in the seller’s company (which owns the business assets)? If you need a work permit, there are advantages to taking over the seller’s limited company. This avenue will save you government stamp duty, time, and lawyer fees; also, because the lessee does not change, dealings with the landlord may be more straightforward. It may save you a rent increase and transfer fees too.

Environment: Do you like the environment of the business? If you will be working full-time, or even part-time, you must like being there. The player will have an environment-satisfaction meter which depletes your motion and luck and available options when it is low. This should serve as a lesson highlighting the need to make tradeoffs between price of location and environmentally-induced happiness. Some players may be tempted to just go with the cheap locations and crummy looking shanty’s in order to save money at the beginning. But they must learn the hard way that in real life, initial environment plays a huge role in subsequent motivation.

In-Game Case Study (Asset Sale)

The following case study of a beauty salon is typical in the game:

A partnership dispute forces the sale of this six-month-old Pattaya beauty salon. The business is offered for sale at asset value. The shop measures forty square meters and is in a shopping mall near the city center. The partners spent 800,000 baht on fixed assets and 300,000 baht on the inventory. The salon has been well promoted and has its own website. There is a growing loyal customer base. The estimated gross sales for the first year are 1.5 million baht. Monthly rent is 24,000 baht and monthly salaries total 24,000 baht for three full-time employees. There is ample parking space for customers. The salon offers a full range of beauty services including massage and reflexology. Asking price: one million baht.

Projected profits for the first twelve months:




Depreciation………………..266,666 (800,000 baht of assets over three years)

Cost of consumables……300,000


Accounts and legal……….50,000

Total Costs……………………..1,252,666


The net profit is apportioned between two partners. Each partner is expecting to receive 123,667 baht each year, or 10,306 baht per month.

If the partners aim to recover their capital of 1,100,000 baht over a three-year period with a return of twenty percent, they need net profits of 476,667 baht each year (compared to 247,334 baht).

If the business only generates net annual profits of 247,334 baht, they need just under four and a half years to recover their investment without any return. Clearly, the partners would have had fewer arguments if they had invested their money somewhere else.

Conclusion: the above business failed. The investors want to cut their losses and get out as quickly as possible. They are open to any offers.

If you, as as player, or one of your scouts (or in-game spouse, gf/bf) has unlocked knowledge of this trade, then all that is needed is to know that the location is good and the lease terms are reasonable, in order to proceed into making a low offer for the business assets. A list of the assets you want can be easily selected, and this includes an estimate of their purchase prices. The player is then free to offer a proportion of the total depending on the conditions of the assets. The sellers may eventually give the assets away – or even pay someone to remove them.

Property Prices

You will also be able to buy real estate. I’m not sure if there already exists a game that has well fleshed out mechanics for this. But we can’t have a proper business game without considering real estate properties. Just like in real life, I envision a game in which if you want to buy land or buildings, you must consider property values separate from the value of the business. If the buildings are old, and you need to demolish them, you have to research the market value of the land minus the cost of demolition and removal of waste.

Land prices are going to vary enormously from province to province, from city centre to rural areas, and even within confined areas. Say we set this in Thailand. In rural areas, land may cost under 100,000 baht per rai. In cities, it may cost over 40 million baht per rai.

One method of assessing the value of land is to obtain a valuation by the valuation by the nearest office administered by the Department of Land (DOL). However, the player must be aware that the DOL’s values are usually below market value because property buyers often register lower property prices to reduce land transfer fees.

You also have to collect websites and phone numbers.

Before the DOL release valuation data, they require the following information: property deed (chanote) number, map reference number, and the name of the administrative area.

We can use real information to texture the game. For example, the average cost of building a property in Thailand during 2006 was estimated as follows:

  • 5,000 baht per square meter for a bungalow.
  • 10,000 baht per square meter for a standard two-level house using concrete.
  • 15,000 baht per square meter for a luxury villa with high-quality fittings.

The cost of buying a condominium varies from as little as 10,000 baht per square meter for an unfurnished unit to over 60,000 baht per square meter for a furnished luxury apartment. The cost per square meter is an effective way of comparing condo prices (by dividing the asking price of the property by the area in square meters).

We can also teach caution by having the player charged criminally for not understanding law in certain countries. For example, it is unlawful for foreigners to buy land in Thailand. However, your lawyer can arrange a long lease of up to thirty years; there may be an option to renew the lease for a further thirty years. Previously, many foreigners purchased land using Thai limited companies with ‘nominee’ shareholders who neither invested in the company nor participated in the profits. This practice is illegal and the government cracks down on this method of property acquisition.

Ultimately, we want to cement this into the neuronal forests of the aspiring businessman playing the video game:

The Stages of Buying A Business

The key stages of buying a business are:

  • Defining your objectives
  • Research
  • Sourcing businesses
  • Business evaluation
  • Offer to purchase
  • Negotiation
  • Due diligence
  • Completion

Defining Your Objectives

To be clear about what you want to give – and take from – the business.

Once all of these computational roles are engraved in the axon and dendrite webs that form the silken memories of spacetime, we can rest knowing that entrepreneurs are better prepared to face the world.

For this one in particular, that is, defining your objective, there is a list of questions to ask:

  • What is your maximum total investment in the business?
  • What will be your role in the business?
  • What is your required payback period and return?
  • Which types of business will you consider?
  • Which locations will you consider?

And, again, having these menu screens in a game makes it easy to absorb and therefore replay in real life. The reason its easier by having it in game form (as opposed to reading about it) is that you can make rehearsing motions. It is easy to understand and most importantly: reachable. Like deciding to clean your room, like deciding to take a walk – it is actionable; it is small. Everyone loves bite-sized motions, and everyone panics at the prospect of dining int the real buffet of chaos.


During the research stage, if the player is in Thailand, they should become as familiar as they can with Thai culture and etiquette. They should try to acquire a working knowledge of the Thai language. (Yes, I’m genuinely advocating for a game in which you have to invest your player into learning the language or else the subtitles don’t appear.) You also have to meet local businesspeople and find out how business is done in Thailand. There should also be an in-game version of the Internet, to add realism. You can look for businesses for sale on the Internet.

Sourcing Businesses

In “real” life (yes, I’m still using quotes), if you are good at networking and doing independent research, sourcing businesses for sale is straightforward, with or without a broker. So the game should be set up such that it is beneficial to ask as many businesspeople and expatriates as possible. Many expats and locals (say, Thais) have friends who want to sell a business. The introducer would normally receive a three percent commission from the seller upon transfer of ownership.

So you are wandering this country of your own choosing, and you might be tempted to play by the rules. To always just go with what is written. Using menu screens like rigid Monopoly instead of moving on two feet and free-exploring. The player should be penalized with lack of opportunities if they don’t actually go running around embracing randomness.

For example, they’re building their business in a place like Thailand. And in Thailand, the majority of businesses are potentially for sale ‘at the right price’; but the selling price may not suit you, the buyer. Therefore, an important lesson becomes: don’t restrict your search to businesses that are actively marketed for sale.

A good starting point is the online listings of local business brokers. The website addresses of the major brokers should be listed in some menu option. The player is then free to select any of the listings that interest them and visit them.

But businesses are also advertised privately by owners in the Bangkok PostThe Chiang Rai MailThe Pattaya Mail, and Bahtsold.com. The player should learn where to get the information as opposed to just being given linear missions. And while part of the point of a game is to reduce the complexity of the real world, there should be a sweet-spot. In the fake, in-game internet, the website addresses should be unlockable with experience and form a list in some kind of “References” menu option. The website addresses are limited unlike in the seemingly unlimited havoc of the real Internet, but nonetheless serve to ease the player into an understanding that collecting tangible Schelling points is crucial. (In game theory, a focal point is a solution that people will tend to use in the absence of communication, because it seems natural, special, or relevant to them. The concept was introduced by the Nobel Memorial Prize-winning American economist Thomas Schelling in his book The Strategy of Conflict.)

Business Evaluation

Businesses for sale sometimes display a ‘for sale’ sign outside their premises, like bunny-eared girls raising up their skirts, but these owners are usually desperate to sell. So the player should be wary and also check local public notice boards. If you see potential in any of these businesses for sale, work out what it is worth to you, discount the number, and make an offer. This process would be partially automated, to remove the tedium of calculation but you would still have to press the commands. Then there would be up-and-close actions that can help you. For example, the sight of crisp bank notes can sometimes facilitate a quick (and favorable) decision by the seller.

But, like with the real world, you should be careful if you choose to approach business owners directly. If you are in Brazil, you visit with a polite, presentable Brazilian colleague so he can deal with the Brazilian owners. If the owner is Brazilian, it is usually wiser to ask whether he/she knows of any businesses for sale in the area. Some people may even be offended if you ask them directly if their business is for sale.

In the game, direct canvassing of specific businesses in targeted locations can be very effective. If you know what you want, there are few businesses to target. A buyer might approach fifteen guesthouses in the same area on the same day. Exchange name-cards with each owner and follow up a few days later. The game is set up so that you have to quickly press the button for exchanging business cards at the beginning of a conversation, or else you can no longer press it with that seller (to simulate punishment and you don’t neglect its importance when translating to real life.)

You ask as many local businesspeople, including real-estate brokers, if they know of any suitable businesses for sale. The best freelance sales people have adept customer-service skills, commission-induced motivation, initiative, and resourcefulness. They are worth their weight in gold. In a game-context, the developers can exaggerate that faculty of nature and build that muscle in the player.

Some brokers distribute circular letters ‘for the attention of the business owner,’ written in both English and the local language. This approach could suit a buyer too. You can then write a polite letter to the owner explaining that you are looking for business in the area, and also have it translated into Thai, or whatever.

Offer To Purchase And Offer Price

A key aspect of the game is unlocking formulas. For example, if you play the game well (make good decisions, and don’t crash your initial stages) you can collect formulas under your belt that are automatically used (Again, there is no need to actually do tedious calculation by hand. But there is a need to understand that these formulas exist and that they bring more profit when used.) They are weapons or power ups. For example: How much is the business worth to you? At some point you can use the following formula to estimate an appropriate offer price:

Offer Price = (Payback Period [years] x Adjusted Net Profits [real earnings] – Additional Costs)

The payback period (in years) is the maximum period to recover the total investment. Additional costs include property refurbishment, replacement of furniture equipment, and advances to the landlord.

Example: Tidus wants to recover his investment within a two-year period. The real earnings of the guesthouse are 1.5 million baht per annum. He estimates additional costs, including replacement of furniture, to be 350,000 baht. Using the above formula, his offer price would be 2.65 million baht.

Before unlocking the formula through decent play, you would be free to offer whatever the hell you wanted, and unless you were already business savvy or had a reputable textbook at hand, you would get slayed in the game.

Direct Offers

Now this is what games are made for. So you can get scammed there and not in “real life.” (Although we may be getting scammed if we are already ems paying for our continued existence to Multiverse level IV entities or whatever else is running our simulation. But you get the point.) In the game, if you are not using a business broker, do not support your offer with a deposit unless you are prepared to lose the money. If the seller is unscrupulous, he or she may accept a higher offer the next day, and it may be difficult, in some cases impossible, to recover the deposit.

You need to convince the seller that you are a serious buyer and have the funds. After establishing the terms of the new lease, you arrange a meeting between your Thai representative, the seller, and landlord. Then exchange your certified bank check for a signed lease and specified business assets.

Offers Via Brokers

The offer to purchase marks the beginning of negotiations. The business broker prepares the offer document on behalf of the buyer. The offer is accompanied by the buyer’s deposit (of between ten percent and twenty percent of the price offered). Your broker will tell you that an offer without a deposit is not a real offer.

The offer provides the names and addresses of the buyer and seller, the date of offer, and the proposed date of completion. The document also states the price offered for the business, the deposit paid, and balance payable. Assets included in the sale are specified (such as furniture, fittings, equipment, trademarks, goodwill, and inventory). All business liabilities remain the responsibility of the seller unless agreed otherwise.

Most offers stipulate specific conditions. Typical conditions are:

  • Landlord’s permission to modify the property as required.
  • The maximum acceptable rent on the new lease.
  • The minimum lease term.
  • The landlord’s security deposit is included in the selling price
  • No competition by the seller in a similar trade within a radius of two kilometers of the premises for two years.
  • Training and support for two weeks after transfer of the business.
  • The seller is responsible for the payment of all business liabilities as at the date of completion.
  • The seller agrees to finance the transaction by accepting sixty percent down-payment with the balance payable in two equal installments, three months and six months after completion.
  • The seller agrees to allow the buyer access to all accounting and financialrecords between the offer date and completion.
  • The seller agrees to terminate the employment of (name of employee) before completion; the buyer will reimburse the legal cost of severance.
  • The seller agrees to include a minimum value of inventory in the sale.

Your broker takes your signed offer to the seller. There are three possible outcomes: acceptance, outright rejection or counter-offer. There are many variables to negotiate, other than price, including exclusion of the security deposit or specified assets, and buyer finance (or credit terms).

Once the offer has been agreed and signed by both parties, it is the seller’s responsibility to meet the conditions of the offer. If the seller does not comply with the offer terms, the broker must return the buyer’s deposit in full. The buyer has until the agreed completion date to fulfill all due diligence and validation of the seller’s representations. If the buyer can show evidence of misrepresentation by the seller, the offer is annulled.

A common obstacle in business transfer is the landlord increasing the rent to a level unacceptable to the buyer. Sometimes the landlord is not prepared to offer long enough lease terms to suit the buyer.

So in the game, you obtain a detailed list of all assets included in the sale, signed and dated by the seller. Unlike in real life, you don’t actually go through this list item by item and estimate the value of each asset before completion, instead this is process is shown to completion automatically.


Completion proceeds after the conditions of the offer to purchase have been fulfilled and the seller’s representations have been validated by the buyer. The date of completion is the cut-off point for due diligence. The key stages of completion (in order) are:

1– Signing of a new lease by the buyer and landlord (the buyer pays rent in advance, plus a security deposit to the landlord).

2– Agreement of the terms of business transfer.

3– The buyer pays the agreed purchase price to the seller by bank check or in cash and receives a written receipt.

The business transfer is complete when:

  • The new lease has been agreed and signed by the buyer and landlord.
  • The business transfer agreements (including asset transfer agreement) have been signed by the buyer and seller.
  • The seller has complied with all conditions of the offer.
  • The seller has agreed to settle all liabilities of the business as of the date of completion.
  • The buyer is satisfied that all assets and inventory included in the sale are on the premises.
  • The buyer pays the seller for the business.
  • If you use the in-house lawyer of your broker, he will probably insist that you sign legal disclaimers relieving them of legal responsibility.

In addition to independently choosing the right options with regard to these variables from a list of actions, the player should also attend the completion meeting with a totally reliable local representative or lawyer, in order to stand a greater chance of winning the game (you win the game by making successful business purchases, and becoming the richest in the chosen neighborhood – this requires tons of correct choices.)





Sequential Search of Unsorted Array in Java

Let’s imagine we have mountain climbers. They are climbing Mount Sobo and can be at a unique height along this mountain. Let’s say there are five locations at which there exist fauna at any given time. These positions along the height axis are chosen at random. If you then type the correct randomly-selected height, you will have found fauna.

This is how we set up the MountSobo class with two array instance variables:

  • An array of ints that holds the heights which are populated with fauna sought
  • An array of Strings that holds the corresponding fauna

Both arrays have five elements and there is a one-to-one correspondence between the two arrays. The populated location #1 will have fauna #1,  populated location #2 will have fauna #2, and so on. This programming technique is called parallel arrays.

We fill the populated heights array with heights chosen randomly from entries. We fill the fauna array with Strings representing fauna descriptions. When we enter a climber’s height along the mountain, we can look through the populated heights array for the climber’s position. If the climber’s position up the mountain is in the populated heights array, you use its array index in the fauna array to retrieve the fauna that the climber found. If the height was not found in the array, you know the climber is not in a position where fauna currently are.

Here is the MountSobo class:

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The constructor randomly generates values to fill the array by calling the utility method, fillPopulatedheights (lines 25–32). The fillPopulatedheights method does not necessarily generate different numbers; however, the likelihood of two numbers indicating the populated position being equal is very small. We declare the fillPopulatedheights method as private because it is designed to be called only by the methods of this class. The indexOfHeight method (lines 52–60) performs a Sequential Search, which compares the climber’s position up the mountain to each element in the array one by one. The indexOfHeight method accepts a parameter, travelerHeight, which is searched for in the array. If travelerHeight is found, indexOfHeight returns the index of that array element. If travelerHeight is not found, that is, if none of the elements in the array matches the value of travelerHeight, indexOfHeight returns −1. Since −1 is not a valid array index, it’s a good value to use to indicate that the search was unsuccessful. Notice that if the current array element matches the travelerHeight, the indexOfHeight method returns immediately to the caller (line 57); that is, the method stops executing. The return value is the index of the element that matched travelerHeight. If, however, the method finishes executing all iterations of the for loop, then the method has looked at every element in the array without finding a match. In that case, the method returns −1 (line 59), indicating that travelerHeight was not found. Our getFauna method (lines 39–46) calls indexOfHeight to check if its travelerHeight parameter is a winning number; if it is, it uses the array index returned by indexOfHeight in order to return the corresponding element of the array fauna (line 45).

Here is a client application that uses our MountSobo class:

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We instantiate a MountSobo object reference named inhabitedHeights (line 14). We then prompt for a traveler’s height up the mountain (lines 17–19) and call the getFauna method (line 25) in order to output any fauna that may have been found at the current height.



Balancing Knowledge and Creativity, or How to Not Be an African Hebrew

There is great virtue in seeking knowledge. I would hesitate to ascribe to my eight-year-old self’s shimmering eyes a signaling motive when he first learned about the multiverse.

However, a craving to consume knowledge created and discovered by others can become overbearing, debilitating, even crippling, when this drive is excessively internalized.

I used to listen to Wikipedia articles all day, every day. Clicking every link in order on articles such as the Multiverse, Universe, Evolution, Consciousness, Artificial General Intelligence, Biological Senescence, and others like them. I had the feeling that there was so little time, and so much to learn.

Being exposed to the sheer vocabulary and amount of equations that I would never fully understand, was an exercise in pummeling myself to the beat of Samantha’s jarring robot voice.

But I couldn’t stop. I had internalized a particular virus species of Thanatos. The drive to self-destruct. Some memetic strands of Thanatos have extended phenotypes which effect themselves with alcohol, others with meditation, and amongst populations of soft-spoken academics and scientists there is rampant evidence of knowledge-based contagion.

“How could too much knowledge be a problem?” the naive one asks.

“The most valiant swore to rip himself from the throes of the womb and swallow the entirety of providence. But the light of truth was not kind, and the weight of the world crushed through his naked eyes.”

A certain submissive quality is what one gets when humbled by reality. Only people past a certain level of exposure to the sheer immensity can understand.

This is why specialization, echo-chambers, and willful ignorance are methods of damage-control. Most people need to nurture a coherent sense-of-self.

The lack of attention to this fact is one of the many reasons why schools are catastrophic. They are bad at encouraging individual interests and hence preserving a healthy self-drive. Each arbitrary, disjunct class-subject is like a little window that lets in some of that irradiating light of the Great Vastness. It is only natural that students will attempt self-preserving anti-intellectualism, sub-cultural cliques, and so on. The problem is that little trigonometry neurons, and outdated-chemistry neurons, and Great Gatsby neurons, are built, only to be discarded for the next round. The brain learns that this is a useless waste of resources and invests in a defense-mechanism.  This defense mechanism may manifest itself as: “Don’t actually read and understand the textbook. Just memorize what you need for the test.” or “This is all stupid. Do something else with your life.” Either way, this reckless high-speed grating of young people’s minds serves no one.

Some rise to the defense of the so-called “general education.” Arguing that people should at least know a little bit of everything. Yet a general education only sounds good to people who don’t understand what the world general actually implies in the context of the 21st century information corpus. There is nothing general about the 7 subjects in an American high school classroom. This as myopic a narrowing of the world as anything. It is not some noble 7-fold path that guarantees the diligent student the enlightenment of a “general education.”

Somewhat paradoxically, non-submissive types who readily understand all of this can end up being precisely the intellectuals who voraciously over-consume knowledge. They have inherited the initial spark of craving for particular flavors of data from their school years, but realized that school teachers alone could not satiate this desire for knowledge. They defy the system by reading more, and hopping over the pendulums to the quantum fields and hilbert-space doppelgängers. This is quite a bit like the African American movements who believe they are the Israelites. They fully swallow the oppression of the Bible, and then revolt within that context.

Whenever you see an otherwise brilliant academic wasting away in a useless corner of mind-space: African Hebrew. Whenever you see a try-hard student who can’t figure out why she’s depressed at Princeton: African Hebrew. Whenever you are adamantly gazing into symbols and text you don’t understand: African Hebrew.

How to know when to stop consuming knowledge.

  1. What you are consuming is likely to be forgotten soon. You will not employ it creatively: in your work, in conversation, etc.
  2. You are being asked to pay for it.
  3. Extraneously-imposed volition. (Someone online has a step-by-step guide, a teacher told you, a course told you, etc.)
  4. It is expressed in an overly-complicated way, and you can infer African Hebrew authorship or incentives.

#1 and #2 are obvious if you can stop to remember their logic.  And for #3 and #4, the fact is, there is no time to mechanically guzzle through text or be confounded by culturally-incentivized obfuscation. Cuz aging. Our telomeres are shortening. And if we lengthen them, we invite cancer. You get the point. We are dying.


The solution is CREATIVITY.

Being creative is easy when one is confident in oneself. But remember:

Dunning Kruger Chart


Creativity is the solution. It allows you to be you. And society values it. Win-win.

The problem is that we are often enamored with the notion of creativity we hold at the Peak of Mount Stupid:



To be clear, this is not what society values.

Today, creativity needs to be constrained. Real creativity is hard, and can only be achieved by logging in much mileage on that gorilla.

By seeking to be creative, you will naturally develop an intuition for what knowledge to seek. It will force-reveal the parts that are actually useful. A coding project has no use for formalities, meandering histories, and vague analogies. You get the fucking neural network to breathe out text or not.

And what kind of artist answers the question on an art textbook? Form your own questions, but cunningly climb the shoulders of giants to reveal the answers.




A Tour Through the Transhumanist Academy

Anahi attempted to form curly brackets with her eyebrows. “Why are we in a Catholic church? I thought this school was supposed to be all sciency.”
“It’s not a church. Those paintings are not religious. The triangle with the three figures represents the forces of the Standard Model when they were unified. And that demon-like creature is dark energy stretching the universe. All the paintings represent an epoch of the universe. If you look closely you’ll see the time in Roman numerals inscribed under the frames.”
“Oh, wow that’s kind of cool. They made it all dramatic.”
“Yeah, from left to right, it’s the history of our entire universe.”
Anahi let out a sweetly loud laugh, “No wonder I thought the Virgin Mary looked weird. Like what’s going on with the design protocol – did they come up with a new model?”
I tried laughing with her and said, “No, no, that’s Artificial General Intelligence, the final creation of humanity.”
What I was explaining was so serious, that it almost bothered me that she kept laughing about everything, although I liked how her eyes reminded me so much of stained glass.
“Okay, to the project hall.”
As soon as we stepped out from the Core, and into white, sleek light, I felt the shadow of profundity release me, like I could suddenly enjoy talking with her now – we’re just a normal boy and a girl who go to school because that’s what young humans do.
“The view is nice,” her attention locked through invisible glass into the dark green forestry outside. “Yeah, we often do things outside too. People associate this school just with technical math and science – as the polar opposite of a hippie, free-spirit Montessori, but they couldn’t be more wrong. We even have mindfulness meditation classes in the Rationality and Personal Development department – RPD for short, we call it.”
“I’ve always loved nature. Running through the rain as a child, and collecting all kinds of critters to archive in my little notebook, so what you say makes me really happy.”
I felt intensely proud for being the object catalyzing her happiness, ignoring the fact that I wasn’t the mastermind who designed this place. Then I reigned in our excess excitement by taking on my role again. “Okay, you see this entire thing? This is all the project hall. There are no boundaries here between academic subjects. You just use the touch screens on the walls and the tables, and everyone is using the same software, so you can work with anyone and contribute to anything you want. Of course, there are no grades, as the point is not arbitrary rankings but rather mastery. And because of your fingerprints, they’ll know how much you contributed specifically. If you are slacking or falling behind in contributions, they’ll bring out a mentor to get you up to speed.”
“So what about the lectures, or normal class?”
“There are no one-size-fits-all lectures.”
She looked at me half-joyful, half-suspicious, and then almost let down.
“What’s wrong?”
“Well, my parents will probably change their mind once they realize how this really is. They want me to go to a really, I don’t know, overachieving, try-hard kind of school. When they find out this is so loose, they won’t like it.”
“Well, we still learn in that way too – consume information and all. But it’s been proven that people learn better at their own pace, so we have video lectures and game modules to do at home or in the dorms. These are not administered forcefully upon your current cognitive constitution, rather, it’s more like a search engine that contains useful knowledge that matches our philosophy. You can learn anything, but it’s not useless trivia or anything like that.”
“So how do I ever actually become good at something if I’m not being forced to keep to a single set of subjects?”
“The idea is that you will naturally develop a personal rabbit hole through what is initially a free field of information. As your habits are tracked, and you prove your learning, more is revealed in that particular area. You won’t have access to things you cannot understand but you will be able to move horizontally, say from some cognitive science you find interesting to some algebraic topology you find interesting. It’s a very gameified system but also very structurally sound, in terms of laying down new content only upon established foundations. It is also very free and very driven. You are free to be you, but you are not free to be wasting your valuable life. So it’s a carefully tailored freedom, not just painting with crayons and reading comics.”