Newsletter – January

Great conversation about technology, with a focus on the bad. Touches many topics. I still agree with Kevin Kelly’s 51% vs 49% view.
Nick bilton is also the author of one of my favorite books last year – American kingpin. A must read.Is Facebook Becoming Marlboro? – Inside the Hive with Nick Bilton

Tay Tay Cowen speaks with A16Z. Tyler is consistently asking the best questions and getting fantastic interviews. Also look for his podcast conversations with Tyler.
a16z Podcast: Talent, Tech Trends, and Culture – with Ben, Marc, and Tyler Cowen – a16z

If Tay Tay Cowen was born in the late 80s, he would be much like Paddy C.
All interviews with Patrick is worth reading, so is this podcast.
#353: Patrick Collison – CEO of Stripe – The Tim Ferriss Show

Josh Zeps talks to bettina Arndt about sex and modern sexuality.
Second half is very interesting where they talk about disenfranchisement/ loss of agency of young women and how they can’t be responsible with the path set forward by 3rd wave feminists.
Women losing agency over their sex life.

Sam Harris and Peter Atia sits down for a chat about mindfulness.
An interesting thing that Peter said:

The inability to recognize how distracted we are are seems to be one of the greatest drivers of misery.

Which he follows up with 3 quotes spanning 1700 years.
Seneca: We suffer more in our imagination than in reality.
Shakespeare (Hamlet): for there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Pascal: Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for miseries and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.”

Add this with another Pascal quote: sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.

David Foster Wallace also had a good take on this

“To me, at least in retrospect, the really interesting question is why dullness proves to be such a powerful impediment to attention. Why we recoil from the dull. Maybe it’s because dullness is intrinsically painful; maybe that’s where phrases like ‘deadly dull’ or ‘excruciatingly dull’ come from. But there might be more to it. Maybe dullness is associated with psychic pain because something that’s dull or opaque fails to provide enough stimulation to distract people from some other, deeper type of pain that is always there, if only in an ambient, low-level way, and which most of us spend nearly all our time and energy trying to distract ourselves from feeling, or at least from feeling directly or with our full attention. Admittedly, the whole thing’s pretty confusing, and hard to talk about abstractly…but surely something must lie behind not just Muzak in dull or tedious places any more but now also actual TV in waiting rooms, supermarkets’ checkouts, airport gates, SUVs’ backseats. Walkman, iPods, BlackBerries, cell phones that attach to your head. This terror of silence with nothing diverting to do. I can’t think anyone really believes that today’s so-called ‘information society’ is just about information. Everyone knows it’s about something else, way down.”

Sam Harris, Ph.D.: The transformative power of mindfulness (EP.34) – The Peter Attia Drive

The third plate by Dan barber –
How the prairie was difficult to toil and how the story of John Deere of tractor fame and Lincolns homestead act are intertwined.
The book also talks about the correlation between soil nutrients and the military draft in WW2. The soils close to Mississippi was nutrient deficient and the soils in Illinois was richer. per 1000 drafted the former group had 400 unfit for duty and the latter had 200. An area in between had 300. Is there a modern parallel to the economy and poverty of the areas?

Stranger in the woods by Michael Finkel
was a really interesting book. It’s about a man who moved out in the woods when he was 20 and was found at 47. In those 27 years his only human interaction was with other humans was saying “hi” to a hiker in the 90s. The book tells two stories, both interesting – one about Chris Knight and the other about the science and history of hermits, nature, and solitude. Short and interesting look into a strange mans life.

Mythos and Heroes by Stephen Fry is interesting. I’ve always been interested in mythology in general and the greek ones are the big ones. The book reminds me of Neil Gaimans Norse Mythology in a good way. Fry writes, as always, in a funny and interesting way.

The convo about David Foster Wallace is great, it’s in the middle. But the whole thing is good.
Paul Conti, M.D.: trauma, suicide, community, and self-compassion (EP.15) – The Peter Attia Drive

Most people are waiting for someone to make the first move.


The United States is Underpoliced and Overprisoned – Marginal REVOLUTION

For a long time I’ve been a fan of putting on KEXP videos in the background when I do stuff around the house. It’s like putting on music, but the interviewer asks great questions and you’ll get a somewhat different take on the songs from the artist you like. Most of them are around 30 min. NPR Tiny Desk concerts are in the same vein.
A great place to start is with an evening with Ben Gibbard. Its longer than normal, but its special, you’ll hear why.

January is also when I have my birthday so here the toast:
The Farewell Toast

59 – Bjørn Lomborg – The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast
Discount rate on the future. Interesting mental model.
How important is the future? We do many things for the future to be better. But not a lot, we still want Starbucks and not lower our living standard. 1$-42$ the best future for all. Cost benefit analysis on climate change.

#147 – Stephen Fry – Waking Up with Sam Harris

The names says it all

PS: I want feedback!:)

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