Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2015/ Glossary


This is mostly for my own reference.

Real Things

Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon: you start seeing something everywhere after learning about it for the first time.

Dunning-Kruger Effect: incompetent people do not realize they are incompetent, because they overestimate their abilities.

Gell-Mann Amnesia: When we see news stories about some topic we understand those news stories are riddled with errors, but when we see news stories about topics we know nothing about we trust them as being factual.

Goodhart's Law: when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Hofstadter's Law: it always takes longer than you expect, even taking into account Hofstadter's Law. (I thought it was "three times", but apparently not.)

IKEA Effect: we value things we helped create more than the ones we just consume.

Laffer Curve: There is a tax rate which maximizes government revenue, and the amount of revenue from governments is a curve. At 0% taxation there is lots of incentive to work and no tax revenue; at 100% taxation there is no incentive to work and therefore no tax revenue.

Lies to Children: A simplified model of the truth that is easier to understand than a more accurate model. Used as a teaching tool. Also known as "Wittgenstein's Ladder"

Miller's Law: To understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of.

Moral Hazard: a party takes on additional risk because somebody else bears the responsibility for the consequences.

Overton Window: the acceptable range of positions one can take on an issue. By introducing (and popularizing?) positions that are beyond the extremes of the Overton window, people attempt to shift the window so that positions once thought extreme become normalized.

Parkinson's Law: work expands to fill the time available.

Restraint Bias: we think we are better at self-control than we actually are.

Typical Mind Fallacy: We think everybody else has the same thoughts/underlying motivations/perceptions that we do.

Warnock's Dilemma: it is difficult to intepret why nobody responded to your post.

Unreal Things

Science: A psychological tool to determine whether things are true independent of your wishes for those things to be true.

Skala's Law: If you use a specific example to illustrate an abstract concept, all subsequent discussion will focus on the specific example only. (From Matthew Skala, whose blog you should all read.) See also:


Abulia: the inability to make decisions

Akrasia: doing things that are harmful even though you know they are harmful

Anagnorisis: moment of revelation (in a play)

Anhedonia: the inability to feel pleasure

Apodictic: incontestable

Apricity: the sun's warmth (on a cold day?)

Dysania: difficulty to get up and going in the morning

Enantiodromia: creating the thing you are trying to avoid

Eudaimonia: being happy and contented

Fudgel: Pretending to do work while wasting time

Kenopsia: the eerie feeling of an empty room that is usually bustling

Kummerspeck: worry bacon (weight gain via overeating)

Limerence: involuntary romantic attraction to another with an overwhelming need for reciprocation

Paramnesia: The inability to recall the correct meaning of a word

Primigravida: A woman preganant for the first time.

Sanud: Profitless consideration of unsettling yet inconsequential things. (See also: bikeshedding)

Tartle: The (awkward?) hesitation when introducing someone, because you have forgotten hir name.

Uhtceare: early-morning angst when you wake up worrying