Weekly I/O #53

Bluetooth, Noncompetitiveness, Running Suits Me, Body Blessing in Disguise, Smart and Stupid

Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維
4 min readFeb 18, 2023

Weekly I/O is a project where I share my learning Input/Output. Every Sunday, I write an email newsletter with five things I discovered and learned that week.

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The below is extracted from the email sent on Feb 12, 2023

1. How does Bluetooth works?

Video: How does Bluetooth Work?

This video does a great job explaining how our AirPods work. Some of the things I learned:

  1. Bluetooth uses different wavelengths to represent 1 and 0. It can change wavelength every 0.000001 seconds, which means it can send 1 million bits a second.
  2. Bluetooth operates in the electromagnetic spectrum between 2.4GHz and 2.4835GHz. This section of the spectrum is further broken into 79 different channels. Each channel has its specific wavelength to represent 1 and 0.
  3. Bluetooth hops around from channel to channel to send packets. For example, the phone will tell the Bluetooth earbuds to receive one packet (bits) in channel 35 and the next packet in channel 58. It hops 1600 times a second.
  4. Hopping around channels to send packets (Frequency-hopping spread spectrum or FHSS) avoids interference and eavesdropping. Therefore, multiple AirPods can play music independently and simultaneously without blocking other’s wavelengths and stealing other’s bits transmission.
  5. If you put your phone in the microwave (don’t turn it on!), your Bluetooth earbuds will lose connection because the microwave is designed to block that signal’s wavelength. Pretty useful information.

2. Marathon runner competes with no one but a time they want to be. Writer competes with no one but a standard they want to attain. Sustainable motivation requires following something we won’t compete with.

Book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir

Imagine a marathon runner uses the desire to beat a particular rival to spur them to train harder. What happens if their competitor drops out of the competition? If their motivation diminishes, it’d be hard for them to remain runners in the long term. Marathon runners who stick to running are usually motivated by an individual goal: a time they want to beat.

It’s the same for being a novelist. For Haruki, there’s no such thing as winning or losing as a novelist. Neither number of copies sold nor the awards won matter. What’s crucial is whether his writing meets the standard he wants to attain.

This reminds me of Mimetic Theory (#33.4) because they both emphasize the significance of following something you won’t compete with. Peter Thiel suggested we find a role model with which we won’t compete. And in David Perell’s, “If you’re going to model a famous writer, pick a dead one such as Tolstoy or Hemingway”.

3. The reason I can run for more than twenty years is not that I have a strong will. It just suits me.

Book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir

In Haruki’s words:

“To tell the truth, I don’t even think there’s that much correlation between my running every day and whether or not I have a strong will. I think I’ve been able to run for more than twenty years for a simple reason: It suits me.”

Long-distance running suits his personality. The noncompetitiveness, the contemplative nature of running (#52.1), and the desire to spend time alone all suit his personality.

This makes me think about my love for basketball. The social nature of playing basketball (always need to communicate and collaborate), the quick feedback loop (good shot or not), the flexibility to train alone, and even “bromance” (playing with friends and making new friends). That’s how basketball suits me.

What’s the sport that suits you? If you have yet to find one, remember Haruki started running at 33!

4. Having the kind of body that easily puts on weight can be a blessing in disguise. It forces you to stay healthier.

Book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir

In Haruki’s words:

“…having the kind of body that easily puts on weight was perhaps a blessing in disguise. In other words, if I don’t want to gain weight I have to work out hard every day, watch what I eat, and cut down on indulgences. Life can be tough, but as long as you don’t stint on the effort, your metabolism will greatly improve with these habits, and you’ll end up much healthier, not to mention stronger.”

“I think this physical nuisance should be viewed in a positive way, as a blessing. We should consider ourselves lucky that the red light is so clearly visible. Of course, it’s not always easy to see things this way.”

“Life is basically unfair. But even in a situation that’s unfair, I think it’s possible to seek out a kind of fairness. Of course, that might take time and effort. And maybe it won’t seem to be worth all that. It’s up to each individual to decide whether or not it is.”

5. People thinking others are “just stupid” indicates that they are avoiding thinking by jumping to conclusions.

Article: Smart people don’t think others are stupid

There are no smart or stupid people, but people being smart or stupid. People who say “they are just so stupid” usually mean that they aren’t being smart.

Being smart means thinking things through. Use first-principle thinking to find the real answer and second-layer thinking to take people’s motivation and background into consideration.

Being stupid means avoiding thinking by jumping to conclusions. Searching for the real answer is too painful, and labeling people as “just stupid” is an acceptable explanation.

“Saying I don’t know” is underrated because it takes intellectual honesty to draw the line between the known and unknown.

This reminds me of Wittgenstein’s ruler (#31.1): If you don’t have confidence in the ruler’s reliability, when using the ruler to measure a table, you may also be using the table to measure the ruler.

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Cheng-Wei Hu | 胡程維

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