Interesting stuff (to read)

  1. Bike helmets are not as safe as protecting bicyclists from cars. Related: Cities are fighting to keep car-free spaces
  2. 3D-printed houses are coming
  3. Bomb Cyclone? Or Just Windy with a Chance of Hyperbole?
  4. A 20-something hustles JP Morgan out of $175 million
  5. How Musk destroyed Twitter
  6. Trying to Live a Day Without Plastic (nope)
  7. The Rise of Mass Social Engineering (Hitler wasn’t first)
  8. The key to human happiness? More face-to-face meetings with friends
  9. Instagram threw $millions into useless video content
  10. Big screen TVs are cheap because they are selling your data. Related: How consumer demand results in cheap, disposable products

Interesting stuff

  1. Read: Americans don’t have a lack of free speech, they have a lack of listening.
  2. Lex Fridman’s podcasts are really long (sometimes 3-4 hours), but these are interesting:
  3. Listen to how police used the blockchain to identify and arrest dozens of men abusing children (and sharing videos of that abuse). A little less of that disgusting evil.
  4. Read: Wanna save the environment? Empower indigenous people to protect (and own) their traditional lands. (I’m seeing examples of why this is necessary in the southern African countries I am visiting, where aggressive locals displaced hunter-gatherers and colonizers destroyed everything to extract resources.
  5. Read: The implications of tech mayhem in 2022.
  6. Low-tech Magazine has a lot of deep, insightful stories:
  7. How novelists are using ChatGPT (AI) to write
  8. Watch: The great places destroyed by suburbia
  9. Listen: Freakonomics rediscovers the “real” Adam Smith

Interesting stuff

  1. A history of that disaster — the residential lawn
  2. The Dutch Prime Minister’s apology for slavery is 150 years late but surprisingly interesting and useful
  3. In 1969, the oil industry commissioned a report on the dangers of green-house-gas emissions. It warned of the dangers we are seeing today. They knew of the dangers, but they did nothing — because profits. #reparations
  4. This article on using fish to clean sewage from the very interesting — and insightful — Low-Tech Magazine is full of amazing examples of how we worked with, rather than against, nature.
  5. How to dress for cold weather (hint: loose layers)
  6. The circular economy is a sham that (accidentally?) supports unsustainable growth and consumption.
  7. Surprise! (Not!) Artificial sweeteners are (probably) worse for you than basic sugar.
  8. If we want a sustainable energy system, then we should focus on matching demand to supply (running machines when energy is available), not the supply to demand (e.g., battery storage)
  9. We stayed next to “Masi,” a township of poor South Africans (mostly “Black” — a loaded term from the Apartheid era) that that has far outgrown its planned population. Right next door? A gated community of rich, mostly White, people who complain about their neighbors encroachment on a wetland.
  10. Related: Watch why South Africa is still so segregated (economic redlining has replaced political redlining). My thought is that SA is at least 30 years — and probably 100 years — behind the US in reducing its problems of opportunity, safety and dignity.

Interesting stuff

  1. Watch this expose on the mainstream media (e.g., NYTimes) taking oil money in exchange for better coverage.
  2. Listen to how (re)insurance companies are dealing with climate risk. It’s messy, but money talks so listen!
  3. Read: Confessions of a Celebrity Ghostwriter
  4. Watch What is water scarcity really? (I make an appearance)
  5. Read: A campaign (successful!) to stop the massacre of migratory raptors in India
  6. Read: The push for fareless transit is downstream of a larger failure: underinvestment in infrastructure.
  7. Stories from a solar-powered website that sometimes goes offline:
  8. Read AI is finally good at stuff, and that’s a problem (ChatGPT — is it the enemy or the beginning of a beautiful partnership?)
  9. Read about fermentation as a sustainable and healthy way of adding value to food — also handy when global food trade starts to fall apart!

H/Ts to YK and AC

Interesting stuff

  1. It’s always useful to take a step back and reconsider during “crypto winters” — listen to this podcast with the founder of Coinbase to learn a bit.
  2. Read: The population of college-age Americans is about to crash. It will change higher education forever.
  3. Read: The Myth of the 25-Year-Old Brain (I’m standing by my long-running comment on this: “Under-25” surcharges for car rental.)
  4. Watch: Wow, SBF tries to dodge the depth of his fraud (FTX)
  5. Listen to Magatte Wade on real entrepreneurship!
  6. Read: Expiration Dates Are Meaningless
  7. Read: The World Cup of Microsoft Excel (not yet ruined)
  8. Listen/read: Are greedy corporations to blame for inflation? (No.)
  9. Listen: How AM radio in the US turned into a right-wing circus
  10. Cute:

H/T to DL

Interesting stuff

  1. Listen to the origins of “culture war”
  2. Listen to this long (nearly 4 hours!) conversation with a former KGB agent. (One tidbit: Putin was not good as a spy but very good as an organizer)
  3. Read: The U.S. Needs More Housing Than Almost Anyone Can Imagine
  4. Read: The legit alternative to Twitter: Mastodon.
  5. While visiting the RetroFuture exhibition in Eindhoven, I came across this gem:This image alone falsifies the idea that we understand how technology affects (defects?) our lives. Here’s the video of Dutchies claiming they don’t have any use for mobile phones…
  6. Read: French farmers (with 70% subsidies) are draining (commons) groundwater to fill (private) reservoirs. Another development in line with an end of abundance!
  7. Read how a journalist “lost” 20 years of emails… and felt lighter.
  8. Listen to Jeremy Grantham — a famous Silicon Valley investor — explain the existential risks of climate change
  9. Listen: Sometimes it’s better to quit rather than struggle through…
  10. Watch Steve Jobs (and all his engineers!) make history in 1984

H/Ts to GK and ME

Interesting stuff

  1. Read: Europe’s cities are re-densifying (Amsterdam was 4x denser before WWII)
  2. Listen: Much of success can be traced to your birth month. (This is science, not astrology.)
  3. Listen: Refugees need kindnesses, not a “system”
  4. Read: More US cities are removing “minimum parking requirements“– thereby freeing space for other, better uses.
  5. Read: The Dutch “green revolution” runs into Dutch miserliness and profiteering
  6. A Dutch child adapts

H/T to BA

Interesting stuff

  1. Move: Leaving the Twitter dumpster fire? The Guardian explains Mastadon.
  2. Read: Why are R campaign emails getting marked as spam? They send too many to anyone who signs up for ANY list. So, yeah. Spam.
  3. Listen: In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Malcolm Gladwell released his reading of a chapter on a similar abuse of vulnerable people by those in power: The British Army versus the Catholics of Northern Ireland. Those who have power should not abuse it.
  4. Watch (and weep): A satire on GoFundMe as the #1 source of American health care.
  5. Listen: Are elections biased in favour of running for office rather than  actually doing the job?
  6. Watch: At this point in the video (building a boat), the boatbuilder mentions “it’s been a good week. When we get faster, then we can knock off at 3pm.” It struck me that such a system strongly encourages workers to get more efficient, teach each other, etc. whereas the office system of “9 to 5” gives no such incentive. Why bother to work smarter if all you get is more work in the “working day?” Now I see where bullshit jobs come from. Related: Hunter gathers worked less and with more variation — another reason why we (their descendants) hate office “regularity.”
  7. Amazon is turning into the monopolist nightmare predicted by many, first with using other sellers’ data to push their own products (since 5+ years) and now with advertising EVERYWHERE on the platform (making it mostly useless, IMO). Time to find another “store”.
  8. Watch this discussion of the Ship of Theseus, i.e., what gives a boat identity if you replace all its planks?
  9. Listen: You should wash your clothes in cold water… with the right soap
  10. Read: “…because of how people actually use Twitter, the lines between “comedy club” and “town square” and “room full of monetizable user data that drive advertising revenue” aren’t always apparent.” Related: “From being asked to review every product you buy to believing that every tweet or Instagram image warrants likes or comments or follows, social media produced a positively unhinged, sociopathic rendition of human sociality. That’s no surprise, I guess, given that the model was forged in the fires of Big Tech companies such as Facebook, where sociopathy is a design philosophy.

Interesting stuff

  1. Watch this guy explain crypto pump and dumps
  2. Listen: Malcolm Gladwell tells how a principled scientist stood up to political bullies (USA 1980s)
  3. Read: Of Course Instant Groceries Don’t Work (like they didn’t last time)
  4. Read: Moneyball-for-Everything Has (destroyed) American Culture. I see this with music, auto-tune and streaming hits (rather than discovering the B-side).
  5. Read: The drug trade has wrecked Amsterdam (legalize it!)
  6. Listen: The Boston Tea Party wasn’t about liberty, but smuggling. (I always say the US was founded by bankrupts; I should have included drug dealers — culture runs deep!)
  7. Listen: The LSAT (admissions test to law schools) doesn’t identify good lawyers
  8. Listen: What happens when a layman takes on the Vatican [on birth control]? 
  9. Study: The USGS just debuted a complete remaking of the water cycle diagram—with humans as headliners
  10. Read two fascinating articles on local digital territories and taking them back from the global bureaucracy/technocracy: “Protocols created for the World Wide Web don’t take into account the possibility of local digital territories, and the possibility that these territories might not exist online today or may not need to in the future. In the past decade, the complete takeover of the Internet by corporate actors has made it obvious that the global network’s original vision of being a democratic space has been co-opted by huge centralizing for-profit platforms.” The magazine publishing these articles uses the decentralized web.

Interesting stuff

  1. Read this interview — and gripping story — of a female sailor whose struggles against a dangerous ocean were not helped by the chauvinism projected on her.
  2. Read How the U.K. Became One of the Poorest Countries in Western Europe
  3. Read Should you wash your hands? Yes. Does it matter for respiratory viruses (Covid)? Not as much as we once thought.
  4. Read: Why (and how) is English such a different language?
  5. Think: Are three mega-cycles (Technological, Political and Revolutionary) coming into synchrony around now? What does that mean for us? Fun times ahead!
  6. Read: An academic journal gives up on the pretense that “peer review” reflects a nuanced conversation among authors and reviewers (it’s more like a strategic negotiation) and goes for publication of the article and its critiques. Sounds like a good step towards my idea of “An auction market for journal articles.”
  7. Read: To win the war in Ukraine (by reducing Russia’s profits from fossil fuel sales), it makes sense to end daylight savings madness, which — an academic has calculated — increases winter energy consumption. I concur (since 2010, if not earlier).
  8. Read: “Europe’s geography may have been determined by its wars, but you can’t understand it solely through lines on a map. The ink refuses to stay where you put it; it bleeds across the page, just as people have roamed and traded across the continent, have marched, or fled, or found new homes”
  9. Read: AMTRAK’s “California Surfliner” train may fall into the rising seas.
  10. Read: No limp guns! “The NRA responded to national concerns over the waning of “masculine virtue” by founding its youth programs in 1903, aimed at urban and suburban boys

H/Ts to AR and PB