Links

Links - July 21st, 2017

It seems like this is a post where articles are paired up in some way or another. That didn’t happen on purpose.

  • How did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance?
    Alex Mayyasi - Aeon
    Religion's role in the rise of finance is an interesting topic. I remember reading about it in Dimont's God, Jews, and History 10 years ago (I should probably it read again), and being surprised by how much of a role Judaism had in the development of modern banking. This article discusses the changing views of money within Christianity, and how lending shifted from being sinful to respectable. The development of money and commerce is related to slowly expanding our circles of trust - from families, to tribes, to villages, to towns, and eventually to cities and countries. As transactions become trustless, finance becomes faceless, and lending at interest is no longer one person screwing the other one, but oil in the gears of a bigger machine.
  • Apple Prime and the iPhone Pro
    M.G. Siegler - 500ish Words
    It is interesting to think about Apple products as part of a subscription model. M.G. makes good points, none of which I can comment on.
  • Wall Street Has Begun to Think About Apple In a New Way
    Neil Cybart - Above Avalon
    And speaking of Apple and things I can't comment on, here's some more interesting financial analysis on the company. When I read articles like this one I wish I had paid more attention in my corporate finance classes.
  • Why Not Taxation and Representation?
    Timothy Taylor - Conversable Economist
    How would an alternative history where the American Colonies get seats in the British Parliament have played out? In Imagined Communities, Anderson repeatedly mentions that the colonial nation state emerges in the Americas partly because creole colonists are not given the same opportunities as the "actual British" or the "Actual Spanish." A colonist could rise in the state bureaucracy up to a certain point, but never reach the highest courts. This led to an imagining of "us" against "them" where the "us" were the colonists, and the "them" was the empire. This dynamic led to rebellions, and a variety of fights for independence across the continent. Are there any examples of colonies that were granted full "part of the empire" status? I couldn't think of any.
  • Content isn't king
    Benedict Evans
    Holding the keys to the content is not as important as it used to be. Partially, I think this has to do with the fact that the market for content has been totally flooded, an aspect that Evans does not touch at all in his article.
  • In Urban China, Cash Is Rapidly Becoming Obsolete
    Paul Mozur - The New York Times
    I would love to spend some time in China and understand how some technologies are being leapfrogged over there. The article reminded me of Charlie Warzel's cashless Swedish adventure, which I shared when it came out last year, and is totally worth your time. Especially interesting here are the aspects of consumer lock-in to these two companies (Alibaba and Tencent) mobile payment systems, and the lock-out experienced by foreigners.
  • Alienation 101
    Brook Larmer - 1843 Magazine
    As international student who landed in the Midwest for the first time for college, this was interesting. Granted that the cultural differences between the US and China are much larger than those with Costa Rica, but I can still relate to a lot of it. It was much easier to hang out with other Latin American students, and enclose myself in the international bubble, but spending time with people from all around the world, including the US, was one of the highlights of my college experience.
  • The Cost of a Hot Economy in California: A Severe Housing Crisis
    Adam Nagourney and Conor Dougherty - The New York Times
    Last night I attended an event about the interaction between technology and housing. As you'd imagine, this is a hot topic in San Francisco. One of the panelists pointed out that unlike other countries, in the US home ownership is seen as an investment, and not as a means of shelter. From her perspective, this philosophy has led regulators to crystallize a perverse set of incentives into law, in order to preserve the value of those investments, at a huge social cost. And I totally agree. When I see all the single-family two story homes in the western side of San Francisco, or the low rise buildings neighboring the downtown area, I just get more convinced that this is a policy issue, not an innovation issue. Having an economic boom should be a good thing!
  • Should we build lots more housing in San Francisco? Three reasons people disagree
    Julia Galef
    Disagreeing over the facts, and these levels skepticism over quantitative analysis is almost laughable, but NIMBYs, and other critics of the pro-housing movement do have some good arguments. Here's a quick summary.
  • Trump's Lucky Break on the Economy
    Justin Fox - Bloomberg View
    I have always said that who is president does not matter as much as the historical context, and who that person surrounds themselves with. The fact that things were going well when he got to power means that people shouldn't be too unhappy (yet!) but they are. What will happen once the economy goes south?
  • The Death of a Pig (1948)
    E.B. White - The Atlantic
    Hannah made fun of me for reading this without knowing who E.B. White is. Sometimes, even she forgets that I'm not American, and that I don't know everything about this culture. I read this essay because it strangely showed up on Hacker News. I still have not decided what I think about it.
  • The Ceremony (podcast)
    Radiolab
    I have mixed feelings about the fact that ZCash is on Radiolab. On the one hand, it's great to see good reporting on cryptocurrencies, and they do a pretty good job of making it accessible to laymen, but on the other hand they hide the math behind mysticism and science. It is ok to explain simplified versions of the concepts, but even the title of the episode gives it a magical connotation that I can't come to terms with.
  • The Golden Era of Productivity, Retail, and Supply Chains (podcast)
    Marc Levinson, Hanne Tidnam, and Sonal Chokshi - a16z
    The episodes of a16z where people talk about the past are way better than those where they talk about the present or the future. "How did we get to now" says a lot more about where we are going than the latest and the shiniest.
  • Jones Iver - Alex Jones Rants as an Indie Folk Song
    Nick Lutsko
    This is funny, but it is also sad. Sad!

Links - July 2nd, 2017

  • Should Startups Care About Profitability?
    Mark Suster - Both Sides of the Table
    Dealing with the trade offs between profits and growth is one of the toughest problems in business. Suster frames his article as "profits vs. growth," but when he compares companies under different scenarios he's really talking about the decision of raising VC money to fuel growth, not about picking a plowback ratio. The argument put forward in the post is that the calculus of "cash in hand today" vs. "debt today plus a promise of more cash tomorrow" is not a big question in high margin businesses with "winner takes most" outcomes.
  • Getting Past the Dominance of the Nation State
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    This is one of the topics I keep bringing back in conversations with friends, and which I keep getting made fun of for. People forget that the institution of the nation state as we know it is only a couple centuries old, and that it also replaced a seemingly irreplaceable structure. Reading Imagined Communities (see my notes as I go here) has convinced me that the status quo is fragile, and while it won't change overnight, there is pressure at both ends to revise it. We're moving towards globalization, while cities gain prominence and develop as smaller localized units that don't necessarily respond to "the nation". Countries will be around for a long time, but I am certain that within my lifetime the power balance will have shifted.
  • Health Insurance and the R Word (Redistribution)
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    Lots of talk these days about insurance these days, for obvious reasons, so here's another post by Wenger.
  • Thoughts on Insurance
    Aaron Harris - Y Combinator
    This one is less about the politics of it, but the actual mechanics. The business of insurance is one of pricing - the better you are at calculating the likelihood of whatever mishaps you are insuring against, the more money you'll make. Harris explains the various players along the value chain, and discusses how the insurance market is structured.
  • Why libertarians should read Marx
    Chris Dillow - Stumbling and Mumbling
    Dillow lists three reasons. First, he starts with Marx's view of economics as a historical process. Since the economy is "founded upon past injustices" and the "denial of the rights and freedom which libertarians celebrate," the status quo can't be regarded as legitimate by libertarians. Second, he discusses Marx's perspective on property rights, and how they might discourage investment and innovation. Lastly, he posits that Marx’s gripe with capitalism was not that it was unfair, but that it robbed laborers from their freedom. As someone mentioned on HN a few days ago in the context of a minimum wage discussion, "When a person is desperate, 'voluntary' starts to lose all meaning." I'm not a libertarian, but I should read Marx.
  • iPhone Turns Ten
    Neil Cybart - Above Avalon
    The insanity of transforming the way we interact with technology a second time. "Apple had sold approximately 180M devices since being founded in 1976 (70M Macs and 110M iPods) [...] Apple is on track to sell its two billionth iPhone at some point in 2020."
  • There Goes the Gayborhood
    Scott James - The New York Times
    Hannah has been reading a lot of books on gentrification lately, so we've been discussing the topic more than usual. What is the meaning of gentrification today in these neighborhoods, when the gay population were the original gentrifiers? I live a few blocks away from the Castro, so you could put me in the bad-guys bucket in this story. This is a hot-button issue, and I have no answers on what's the right way to solve it, but I am convinced the real cause is policy, not the people moving in.
  • What can developers learn from being on call?
    Julia Evans
    On call rotations are about aligning incentives. Code that is suspected to have bugs is never merged and pushed to production on a Friday afternoon when the person writing it is on the hook to fix the error over the weekend. In my two years at Apple I have learned a lot about monitoring and logging, and one of the biggest lessons has been to write fool-proof error messages for anyone else in the team to quickly get context and all the information needed to debug without thinking too much. The post is full of other examples.
  • The Danger Of Inadvertently Praising Zygomatic Arches
    Robert Sapolsky - Edge.org
    I thought I had posted articles from Edge.org before, but apparently this is a first one! If you haven't visited their website, you definitely should. Every year they post a broad question, and ask people from a wide range of scientific and technical fields to answer it. In 2013, the question was "What *should* we be worried about?" and Robert Sapolsky answered with "What really worries me is that it is so hard for virtually anyone to truly act as if there is no free will." Go read his answer, and then more questions on Edge.
  • Revising the Fault Line (Podcasts)
    Radiolab
    And if that was not enough, here's some more Sapolsky on free will.
  • Mexico 68 (Podcast)
    99% Invisible
    Design meets history, meets civil unrest, meets politics.
  • You Should Do a Story (Podcast)
    99% Invisible
    5 stories in 1. A Standard Oil gas station in San Francisco to comply with trademark law, "desire paths" and how user experience beats designers wishes, 50-Hz vs 60-Hz electrical systems, and a whole section on local design solutions, followed by a strange story about street naming.
  • A Not-So-Simple Majority (Podcast)
    This American Life
    Another fight over public governance, funding, and what happens when we can't agree on what the government should and should not provide. This case on public education is insane. The religious side to this story makes me especially angry.
  • Shrimp Fight Club (Podcast)
    Planet Money
    Another fight over public governance, funding, and what happens when... Wait, that's the same description as the post right above, but here we're talking about the federal government and funding scientific research.
  • A good walk spoiled (Podcast)
    Revisionist History Podcast
    While the episode is framed as an argument against the game of golf, it really is about the strange taxation status of country clubs in California where the game is played. The reason it is specifically about California is [Prop 13](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_13_(1978)), and the extremely low property taxes that these clubs pay to the State. Under the proposition, land value is reassessed whenever the majority ownership changes hands, making for a really interesting argument on the nature of ownership under equity membership schemes of the clubs.
  • 3D Packing
    Michael Fogleman
    Another fun visualization experiment by Fogleman. How many widgets can one pack in a constrained volume? Math can give you the answer.

Another Great (Podcast) Link Dump - June 2017

  • The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency — Nick Szabo
    Tim Ferriss Podcast
    I generally can't stand Tim Ferriss, but this is a good episode. Nick's blog is great (if you haven't read him, start here).
  • Extra: Henrietta Lacks
    Radiolab
    At Northwestern, the "One Book" program tries to build community by sending incoming students a copy of a book before they arrive on campus. My year, it was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This episode gives an overview of her story, and by interviewing her family members, and some of the scientists involved in the research that her case spawned. To be honest, I started the book that summer, but never finished it. I'll get to it some day.
  • Funky Hand Jive
    Radiolab
    Microbiomes are interesting. It's odd to think that so much of our life is defined by bacteria.
  • Squatters of the Lower East Side
    99% Invisible
    Planning urban development is hard, and sometimes, the unplanned spontaneous decisions of many lead us to interesting places that central planning couldn't reach.
  • Reversing the Grid
    99% Invisible
    I had never thought about the political implications about generating electricity at home. This episode discusses "net-metering," or the billing mechanism that allows someone with PV panels on their roof to get credit for generating more electricity than they consume. How did it come about? Some guy plugged his PV panels into his meter, and it started going backwards!
  • Speed Dating For Economists
    Planet Money
    This makes the idea of getting an economics PhD even less appealing than it already was. The fact that even the people who arguably know the most about how markets function can't build a better matching market.
  • Spreadsheets!
    Planet Money
    It's ridiculous to think that spreadsheets were so revolutionary only a few years ago.
  • Slot Flaw Scofflaws
    Planet Money
    Is it illegal to study how a system works, to the point that you understand it so well that you can exploit it? No, that's the whole point of open source software. Patch the issue, give the gray hat his bounty, and move on.
  • Passports
    50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
    This series of podcasts by Tim Harford has given us strong history lessons, telling us why things are the way they are. This specific episode though, focuses more on asking whether any of it makes sense "From a certain angle, it is odd. Many countries take pride in banning employers from discriminating against among workers based on characteristics we can’t change: whether we’re male or female, young or old, gay or straight, black or white. [...] But mostly our passport depends on the identity of our parents and location of our birth. And nobody chooses those." Somehow, this seems ok in our modern mind set - it is all a game of Us & Them.
  • What Kind of Idiot Gets Phished?
    Reply All
    Lately I have been more paranoid than usual about this, and I am considering changing how I handle my password management all together, and even buying a YubiKey for personal use. This episode just backs that feeling even more.
  • Blockchain Beauty Contest
    Exponent
    If you think about it hard enough, everything is made up. Countries, money, companies, the constitution, everything! And, blockchains, too...

Another Great Link Dump - June 2017

Ha. And here I was thinking I’d post links more often… My stats say that while I used to read roughly 10-12 articles a day, these days I am barely hitting 5. My yearly rolling average peaked in mid-2016.

To be honest, I am not sure what to make of it.

This round-up is full of Apple stuff, so not too many comments on my end, but sharing some interesting perspectives. There’s also a ton on cryptocurrencies, because that’s the latest craze in tech, and I have also been following along.

  • A Brief History of the UUID
    Rick Branson - Segment Blog
    Identity online is hard - and I don't mean tying your persona to social media, but actually tagging bits and bytes with other bits and bytes to identify them across machines. The self-incrementing column of integers is a mainstay of traditional databases, but what happens when scaling across machines becomes necessary? Here's some history of how that's been solved across the years.
  • Apple Isn't a Tech Company
    Neil Cybart - Above Avalon
    Posted without comment.
  • A Year of Google Maps & Apple Maps
    Justin O'Beirne
    Posted without comment.
  • Actually good Silicon Valley critiques?
    Noah Smith - Noahpinion
    While Noah lives in San Francisco, he's not really a Silicon Valley insider, so seeing his reaction to Scott Alexander's Reality Check was interesting. His take? "All in all, Silicon Valley represents one of the least objectionable, most rightfully respected institutions in America today."
  • Tulips, Myths, and Cryptocurrencies
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    In a strange melding of worlds, Ben moves away from the usual tech talk and goes deep into the history of financial manias. Using Yuval Harari's notion of shared myths, this post makes a clear difference between bubbles of irrationality, and bubbles of timing. I firmly believe that crypto is one of the latter.
  • Bringing back the Somali shilling
    JP Koning - Moneyness
    And if you really thought fiat is valuable, think again.
  • Blockchains are the new Linux, not the new internet
    Jon Evans - TechCrunch
    Evans with the counter-narrative: "It’s easy to envision how and why an interwoven mesh of dozens of decentralized blockchains could slowly, over a period of years and years, become a similar category of crucial infrastructure […] while ordinary people remain essentially blissfully unaware of their existence." Ah, and nice Fred Wilson burn. I also thought the Rare Pepe story was nuts.
  • The consequences of allowing a cryptocurrency takeover, or trying to head one off
    Tony Yates - FT Alphaville (Paywall)
    What are the implications of crypto for central banking? The written-in-stone aspect of the blockchain makes monetary policy way more credible, which is a good thing, but at the same time crypto knows no borders, making adjustments by one group of users spill over to others quite easily. A more in depth look here.
  • Chicago taxi industry sliding towards collapse
    Aamer Madhani - USA Today
    The writing has been on the wall for a while - is not a surprise - but the numbers are staggering: "42% of Chicago’s taxi fleet was not operating in the month of March [...] The average monthly income per active medallion has dipped from $5,276 in January 2014 to $3,206 [...] medallions hit a median sales peak of $357,000 in late 2013, just before Uber arrived on the scene in Chicago. In April, one medallion sold for just $35,000."
  • Buyer Beware
    Fred Wilson - AVC
    Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are all the rage these days. Some people will get screwed in this process, and I am staying away from buying any ERC20 tokens for a good chunk of time.
  • Options vs. cash
    Dan Luu
    A couple of years ago, right after my college graduation, I was very close to going the startup route, but ended up joining Apple instead. With hindsight, I can tell that financially the decision is a no-brainer: Cash is cash.
  • Is the United States Becoming Less of an Optimal Currency Area?
    David Beckworth - Macro Musings
    Currency areas, and defining regional economies is one of my long-time favorite topics. There is a trend in the US towards lower labor mobility, which has deep implications for the economy. Historically, if an economic shock hit a state like Oklahoma, its citizens would respond by migrating to California, where things were better. This is no longer the case. As this trend continues, the business cycles of different zones in the country may start to diverge, and at that point the monetary policy set by the Fed might stop making sense.
  • Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich
    Richard V. Reeves - The New York Times
    A note on inequality, since that's another recurring theme here.
  • When Pixels Collide
    sudoscript
    If you haven't heard about Reddit's April's Fools experiment from earlier this year, you need to read this. Emergent behavior is awesome.
  • Alpha (A translation of Genesis 1)
    Douglas Summer Stay - Llamas And My Stegosaurus
    We're training our computers to do some really strange things. This one translated Genesis 1 to only use words that start with the letter "A."

The Great Link Dump of April 2017

It has been a linkless month, so here’s a brain dump.

Links - March 26, 2017

  • Why does Donald Trump demonize cities?
    Will Wilkinson - The Washington Post
    This article was awesome. The basic idea it tries to get across is that because cities are multicultural and inclusive, they are also more productive. This vision of the city as a bastion of openness and tolerance, unlike the insular rural communities that voted for Trump, is not new, but the post sparked some interesting conversation online. For example see Noah Smith's, Ross Douthat's and Chris Arnade's takes.
  • The Disqus Demo Day Story
    Fred Wilson - AVC
    It is always good to hear these insider views of how companies got started. Much like Airbnb selling Obama-O's, or Drew Houston forgetting his USB drive, these origin myths are just that, stories, but they reinforce the idea that all you need to start a startup is to solve a pain point.
  • Complexity and Strategy
    Terry Crowley - Hackernoon
    Thinking about technical complexity as a moat is interesting, especially considering the initial discussion about "the shape of the cost-functionality curve." I definitely believe that there are increasing costs to adding functionality, or as the author says "Features interact — intentionally — and that makes the cost of implementing the N+1 feature closer to N than 1." This is exactly why a startup can come up with a simple product and blow a big co out of the water. They don't have to worry about how all the other pieces in the business - and in the code! - interact with each other.
  • The eigenvector of "Why we moved from language X to language Y"
    Erik Bernhardsson
    Stochastic modeling is a really cool topic, and here we see it applied to the transitions between programming languages.
  • What if Sociologists Had as Much Influence as Economists?
    Neil Irwin - The New York Times
    This is another version of Noah Smith's Beware of Thinking like an Economist. Here the argument is "there are certain problems that only sociologists can solve," which is probably just as bad. However, the historical aspect is interesting, especially the fact that there could have been a Council of Social Advisers.
  • How the Internet Is Saving Culture, Not Killing It
    Farhad Manjoo - The New York Times
    Nothing about Farhad's argument seems controversial to me. There are still unsolved problems in the vein of "finding a needle in a haystack" where separating signal from noise has become increasingly difficult, but the expansion of content produced by humans can only be a good thing. If we trust that willingness to pay will somehow sort out the good vs. bad content problem in the long run, we're headed in the right direction.
  • The Problem With Facts
    Tim Harford
    Starting with the case of Big Tobbaco vs. Medicine in the 50s and 60s, and continuing with Trump and Brexit, Harford makes an argument against ignorance. Agnotology, "the study of how ignorance is deliberately produced," is a really interesting concept that I had never heard of. The punchline is that we need to get people excited about learning, and make them curious about the world in which they live in, so that they seek out truth on their own. Not an easy endeavor.
  • Ask A Grown-Up
    This American Life
    Life somehow keeps teaching us that we have no idea what we're doing. "Growing up" is about learning from your experiences, but there are always new mistakes to make.
  • Public key cryptography
    50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
    All new technology can be seen as a double edge sword. Luckily, crypto wasn't killed by the US government.
  • The Russian Passenger
    Reply All
    The cyber is hard.
  • Sorry for the delayed response
    Susanna Wolff - The New Yorker
    This happens daily to me. Sorry. Not sorry.

Links - March 15, 2017

  • Voice and the uncanny valley of AI
    Benedict Evans
    Like I said last time Evans wrote about this, "voice interfaces seem to be adding more friction than they take away." Changing people's habits is hard. I constantly prompt my Echo by saying "Hey Siri," and find myself thinking of ways to phrase my questions to make them intelligible by the machines. Once or twice a week I get developer emails about "What's New With Alexa," but after many months my Echo only acts as a gateway to Spotify, and a party trick whenever there are guests. Voice might be the new platform, but it is nowhere near.
  • What Do Economists Actually Know?
    Russ Roberts - NewCo Shift
    The issue with modeling of any kind is that there are no alternative realities to compare against. We can only measure what we see, and by definition there are no counterfactuals, nor what-ifs. Making policy decisions under this state of affairs is hard, and the only thing we can do about it is internalize this limitation, knowing that we could be very wrong. Statistical analysis is a tool, and like any other tool, it is succeptible to operator error.
  • If There Are an Infinite Number of Parallel Universes, Some Must Be Terrible Places
    Dean Zimmerman - Nautilus
    I disagree with the author's position, but thinking of when the problem of evil meets 21st century math and science is fascinating.
  • Patagonia and The North Face: saving the world – one puffer jacket at a time
    Marisa Meltzer - The Guardian
    Good reads on the history of large well-known retailers are not usual, as most stories in the genre end up with a strong PR flavor. This article, by virtue of showing the origin stories of two seemingly rival companies at once, achieves a good balance.
  • Improving U.S. Healthcare and Coverage
    Stephen Cecchetti & Kermit Schoenholtz - Money, Banking and Financial Markets
    Americans are exceptional in their very own ways. This whole healthcare story is a fiasco, and I am amazed that the American people have allowed it to go this long.
  • White supremacism is not nationalism
    Noah Smith - Noahpinion
    I am reading Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities and Noah's arguments in this blog post fit right into the framework that Anderson proposes at the beginning of his book. Nations are made up. Expect a blog post about this soon.
  • Triple Pendulum CHAOS!
    Jake VanDerPlas - Pythonic Perambulations
    When I look at demos like these, I wish I had kept learning about differential equations after sophomore year of college. Complexity is awesome, and being able to model these crazy patterns with only a few lines of code would be great.
  • Update: CRISPR
    Radiolab
    The cutting edge of biological research gets more interesting, and more scary, the more I learn about it. Researchers are uncovering really powerful building blocks, but we have very little understanding of the complex relationships in the whole system. The ethical considerations discussed in the last part of this episode are especially worth listening to.
  • Hacking The iPhone For Fun, Profit, And Maybe Espionage
    Planet Money
    Something I will never understand is how someone can enjoy poring over low level buffer management for hours to find an overflow condition or some obscure vulnerability. Luckily some people like watching water boil with their white hats on, and do it for the greater good, too.

Links - March 13th, 2017

  • Why All Exchange Rates Are Bad
    Timothy Taylor - Conversable Economist
    The Trilemma makes it so that whatever policy a government decides to follow, it must be an active choice. Currency manipulation towards a stronger, weaker, more stable, or more volatile currency is a choice, and there is no default. Like everything else in economics, and the world we live in, it is a choice about tradeoffs, and understanding who gains and who loses (and by how much!) is the key to the issue.
  • A Big Little Idea Called Legibility
    Venkatesh Rao - Ribbonfarm
    I am currently reading several books at once, and one of them is Seeing Like a State. So far, the book has presented a bunch of ideas about the inner workings of what the author calls high modern states. In this post, Rao (who is not the author of the book) summarizes one of the most interesting ideas in the book so far: legibility, or reorganizing society to make it more understandable, and thus more governable.
  • President Trump Wants a Wall? Mexico Is It
    Eduardo Porter - The New York Times
    The average American has no clue of how immigration policy and actual immigration patterns work. Understanding how much effort other countries put into helping the US keep illegal immigrants at bay could be helpful in the current climate.
  • The Uber Conflation
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    2017 gave Uber a rough start. In an unusual post, Ben argues for a change of leadership, focusing on two questions: 'Is Uber’s approach to regulation wrong?' and 'Is Uber wrong with regards to the specific issue at the center of this controversy?'
  • Brains, Bodies, Minds... and Techno-Religions
    a16z Podcast
    One of my favorite episodes of a16z ever. Touching on the subjects of nationalisim, imagined communities, religion, governments, etc, etc, etc, and how all of these are affected by the rise of technology. I had shared a related piece from Harari a few months ago, but this podcast episode is way better.
  • Crafts, Garicano, and Zingales on the Economic Future of Europe
    EconTalk
    Having Russ Roberts and one of his guests debate on economic topics is fun. Having him and another three guests? Even better.

Links - March 12th, 2017

This post has been sitting half-baked on my draft list for far too long. In an effort to motivate myself, and to write more, I decided to post it as is and move on. My apologies to the authors of the uncommented links.

  • Manifestos and Monopolies
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    It has been interesting to see Ben apply aggregation theory to politics more and more. I agree with the views presented in this article about centralization (or lack thereof), regulation (or lack thereof), and market solutions (or lack thereof).
  • Surfing, metrics and creation: Facebook and Snap
    Benedict Evans
    Since Snap's S1 came out a couple of weeks ago, everyone has been discussing whether moats exists or not. The fact that their whole thesis revolves around the disintegration of sustained competitive advantages is fascinating. Evans' index fund analogy adds an interesting idea to the mix: Facebook, Instagram, and Google must reflect reality and serve billions, while Snapchat will aim to create N things, each worthwhile to M million people, such that N*M becomes significant while not overtaking the role of the index.
  • Segregation Had to Be Invented
    Alana Semuels - The Atlantic
    Not surprisingly, the past is different than we think it was. Thinking of the rise of segregation as a relatively new phenomenon is odd.
  • Hyphen-Nation
    Bayeté Ross Smith - The New York Times
    A great set of interviews. I constantly think about this topic of where identities overlap and how people view themselves vs. how they are sseen by others. More so these days. Belonging, otherness, and these social dynamics are very intriguing.
  • How did Europe become the richest part of the world?
    Joel Mokyr - Aeon
  • "Incentives" as bigotry
    Chris Dillow - Stumbling and Mumbling
  • People Actually Use Food Stamps to Buy More Food
    Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
  • Clock
    50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

Links - February 16, 2017

Unintentionally, there’s a lot of money/banking/finance content in this post. At least its not all about Trump, right?

  • The Future of the Euro
    Stephen Cecchetti and Kermit Schoenholtz - Money, Banking and Financial Markets
    "Markets price risk, not hope." In times like these, I wish I understood international finance better.
  • Money, blockchains, and social scalability
    Nick Szabo - Unenumerated
    I have previously discussed Szabo, and his view on human institutions as "trust-offloading mechanisms." In a way, money is the ultimate trust-offloading abstraction. Until the last few years, money -- American Dollars, the Euro, or the Costa Rican Colon -- still relied on trusting several points of failure -- states, the payments networks, the certificate authorities -- and our human interactions simply assumed those costs. Bitcoin and the internet have started to changed that, and further developments in technology promise much more. This is a post I'll probably re-read again soon.
  • Money as a Commons: Basic Income, Demurrage and Crypto Currencies
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    Something that surpised me about monetary policy rules when I studied them in college was how much their usefulness depended on people's expectations of their usefulness. Individual agents' beliefs on the predictability and stability of a state's decisions about its monetary policies were the fulcrum of all the models we studied in these intermediate economics classes. Thinking about how these rules can be baked into a crypto currency, such as bitcoin's pre-defined velocity rule, or freicoin's holding fees, is really interesting. Like Albert, I'm excited about these experiments.
  • Snap's Apple Strategy
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    I have seen the Snap <=> Apple narrative popping up over and over across the web. Except for the "obsessive-design-focused-mission-driven-CEO" story, which I can't really ascertain (and neither can the media!) , I haven't really seen any good arguments to back it up. Ben comes the closest, but doesn't quite convince me either. The Facebook <=> Microsoft analogy is much more believable, given the market conditions. I am bullish on Snapchat, and I am enjoying my spectacles (a different blog post soon?) but we'll have to wait and see how this one plays out.
  • What We Don’t Do
    Fred Wilson - AVC
    Thinking about this on a personal level is interesting. I know what my goals for the year are, to a certain level, but what are things that I should specifically not focus on? After all, focus means "saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are."
  • Understanding Python Class Instantiation
    Amir Rachum
    These one-off explanations of snippets of source code are always enlightening. Coding seems like magic, until you discover that there is not magic, just layers upon layers of well thought out abstractions, each one understandable on its own, but magical as a whole.
  • Square-Mile Street Network Visualization
    Geoff Boeing
    Urban development is super interesting, and thinking of how cities work by looking at their layouts is a good exercise. I wish I had worked more with geographic data while I was in the Apple Maps team. This seems like a neat library, and the fact that it is based on networkx makes me even more curious. There might be a side project brewing here.
  • Anthony Bourdain's Moveable Feast
    Patrick Radden Keefe - The New Yorker
    My friend Dana had already recommended that I read Kitchen Confidential, but after reading this, it got bumped up a few notches on my to-do list. Parts Unknown, Bourdain's show, is one of my go-to "half an hour to kill" shows on Netflix. It is very entertaining, and it makes an effort to show more than just the food of foreign lands. As the article describes, there is a layer of political complexity to the show that is unusual for its kind. Make half an hour to read this, and then make another one to watch an episode of the show.
  • Bitcoin, the Blockchain, and Freedom in Latin America
    Russ Roberts and Jim Epstein - EconTalk
    The confluence of artificially cheap electricity, price controls on imported goods, and hyper-inflation are making Bitcoin more and more mainstream in places like Venezuela. While the great majority of the population probably has no idea of what cryptocurrencies are, or how to use them, it is really interesting to hear about how the fringe slowly drifts.
  • Billy Bookcase
    50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
    There is a comment I especially liked here about how "...innovation in the modern economy isn't just about snazzy new technologies, but boringly efficient systems. The Billy bookcase is not innovative in the way the iPhone is innovative. The innovations are about working within the limits of production, and logistics, finding tiny ways to shave more off the cost..." The iPhone example is coincidental, I'm sure, but I immediately went to "this is the argument against Tim Cook." It is hard to appreciate how much of today's Apple is dependent on the advanced supply chain operation that the company has built. Pushing atoms is also innovation.

Links - February 12th, 2017

This is a podcast heavy list. I have been reading plenty of books lately (this year I’ve already finished 4, and I’m partially through 3!), so I’ve been spending more and more time on podcast land. There are a couple of programm-y things, but everything else is sadly about Politics.

  • Government Economists Are Going to Produce Statistics Trump Doesn't Like
    Gene B. Sperling - The Atlantic
    Data are the base on which we assess the validity of any policy, and on which we can measure the success or failure of ideas. When China announces growth numbers, no one believes them. Can the US potentially get to the same situation?
  • How to Spot Visualization Lies
    Nathan Yau - Flowing Data
    Facts don't need to be alternative to make you arrive at the wrong conclusions.
  • So You Want to Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? Here’s How
    Daniel Shapiro - Foreign Policy
    When I went back home, I was amazed by how many of my friends and family were convinced that having Trump in the White House was a good idea just for this. Someone with a little more experience tells us how simple the process would be.
  • This is the Republican plot to kill the US corporate income tax as we know it
    Tim Fernholz - Quartz
    The headline is a bit click-baity, but the content is good. Tax reform is not a bad idea. At face value, this variation on the VAT seems good, but to be honest I don't understand the full implications yet. This Planet Money episode tries to explain the same idea from a different, lighter angle. If you have other good explanations on this topic, please send them my way.
  • Senior Republican statesmen propose replacing Obama’s climate policies with a carbon tax
    Chris Mooney and Juliet Eilperin - The Washington Post
    I am very much in favor of a carbon tax. However, there is no way that the right kind of carbon tax will be instituted given Trump and friends' stance on the fossil fuel industry. It's not like the Secretary of State is the ex-chariman and CEO of the world's largest refinery business. While Rex Tillerson might have said that a carbon tax is the best possible policy, there is no reason to believe that the government will curb the industry as much as it should.
  • The Dirichlet is a Mixed Bag (of Nuts)
    Justin Bozonier - Data Bozo
    Using short code snippets, and a bag of mixed nuts as the motivating example, Bozonier explains a complex probabilty concept.
  • Buggy Software, Loyal Users: Why Bug Reporting is Key To User Retention
    Itamar Turner-Trauring - Code Without Rules
    Filing bugs sucks, every time, but few things are as satisfying as getting a message that says "this will be fixed in the next build!" and feeling like you're helping improve a system that you actively use. Whether it is opening an issue on an open source project, or filing a Radar for a different team at Apple, the less I have to think about how to report a bug, the more likely it is that I will continue using your software, and helping you improve it.
  • George Borjas on Immigration and We Wanted Workers
    EconTalk
    Understanding that the economy is not a zero sum game is essential when talking about immigration. Borjas and Roberts describe the short and long term implications of the demographic changes that are tied to immigration, not just on the economic side, but also in terms of culture.
  • Michael Munger on the Basic Income Guarantee
    EconTalk
    Lately I have been coming back to the Veil of Ignorance and how morality can be defined in terms of the choices we'd make behind it. If we did not know in which part of society we'll fall, our policy choices would be very different. This can apply at the level of a city dealing with its poor, a country dealing with its healthcare system, or the international community dealing with its refugees. The idea of a basic income guarantee is gaining more and more steam, and I think this Rawlsian exercise can help us understand why.
  • Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde on European Economic History and Macroeconomic Modeling
    Macro Musings
    I especially liked the section on why people remember hyperinflations, but not financial crises. Essentially, the argument is that hyperinflations affect anyone with savings. A financial crisis, on the other hand, can make you better off in real terms — as long as you keep your job.
  • It’s Working Out Very Nicely
    This American Life
    By far, act two was the best part of this episode. The Trump Administration's rhetoric implies that the current vetting system for immigration into the US is leaky, and useless. The wording of the executive order is one of "taking first steps," while "extreme vetting" suggests that the current implementation is not strong enough. Hearing the opinion of one the interviewers who actually take part in the vetting process shows how naïve the narratives coming out of the White House can be.
  • Cars and Cities, the Autonomy Edition
    a16z Podcast
    What happens to our urban environments when car culture goes away? What kind of businesses are enabled due to autonomous vehicles?
  • If Economists Controlled The Borders
    Planet Money
    More on immigration. This episode includes three interviews with three economists with very different views. First, Dean Baker, whose suggestion is that the US should open its borders for high skilled individuals, such as doctors, engineers, scientists, etc. The most interesting part of his argument is that he'd like to make it mandatory for these individuals to repatriate some of their income, and so improve their home-countries in return for the brain-drain. Next, Giovanni Peri makes an argument for an auction based system, in which companies bid for the most lucrative candidates. This is a system I'd be against. For starters, how would we control for living cost in different areas of the country? And importantly, money is not a good measure of how valuable a job is. Last, Alex Nowrasteh, whose proposal most aligns with my views: make it a free for all.

Links - January 31, 2017

The Trump Administration has been giving me lots of reasons to read on topics that I otherwise would not read about. I want to spend less time on social media trying to parse truth and facts out of the endless stream of articles, but it feels like I have to.

  • Every day, there’s an all new you
    Robert Sapolsky - SavannahNow
    The future exists, and we have a lot ahead of us. Let's remember that.
  • Standards Persist
    Drew Bell - Track Changes
    A story of weather reports, demonstrating path dependence1000. "Choices we agree on now are going to stick around, and get baked into the foundational brick of our biggest, most critical systems. Be careful what you toss in there!"
  • Continental Rift
    Joshua Kucera - Roads & Kingdoms
    Borders, names, in-groups and out-groups, are all arbitrary, and more fluid than we generally think. Herodotus spoke of the divide between Europe, Asia, and Africa 500 years ago: "I cannot conceive why three names [Asia, Europe, and Africa] should ever have been given to a tract which is in reality one."
  • Time to Take a Stand
    Sam Altman
    What is your red line?
  • Rules for a constitutional crisis
    Lawrence Lessig - Medium
    The Consitution, Senate, Congress, are all institutions, and institutions are just people. We don't live in a world of self-enforcing mechanics and contracts. We live in a world where rules and expectations put in place by people are enforced by people.
  • How Donald Trump Could Build an Autocracy in the U.S.
    David Frum - The Atlantic
    We've seen this before around the world. Let's use those lessons.
  • How To Get Your Green Card In America
    Sarah Matthews - BuzzFeed News
    This was originally published a full year before the election. Coming here legally is not an easy process. Even though Oman and Costa Rica are so different, I see myself, and echoes of my experience in the US in a lot of these stories.
  • I'm Loyal to Nothing Except the Dream
    Jeff Atwood - Coding Horror
    What is a nation anyway?
  • George Borjas on Immigration and We Wanted Workers
    EconTalk
    Immigration is a nuanced topic, but it is a fact that the U.S. would not exist as it does today without it.

Links - January 22, 2017

The new year has received me with a lot of reading, but of the dead tree variety. I’m halfway with books #3 and #4 of the year by now. I guess an unexpected trip, and an even more unexpected stay in Costa Rica helped too.

  • Metaphors We Compute By
    Alvaro Videla
    Language matters. Names shape how we think. This is as important in computer science as in any other field. We talk about queues and stacks and bugs and patches, not because we like jargon, but because metaphors are the only way we can get complex ideas across quickly. Communication is the hardest thing about software engineering, and pretty much any human endeavor. Picking the right metaphors can ease our job significantly, and shed light on how others have solved the same problems in the past.
  • San Francisco Asks: Where Have All the Children Gone?
    Thomas Fuller - The New York Times
    There are a slew of insane facts in this piece. For example, San Francisco has the lowest percentage of children of any of the largest 100 cities in the US. The rate for San Francisco is 13%, for New York is 21%, and for Chicago, 23%, which is also the overall average across the United States. The number of dogs is roughly the same as the number of kids: 120k. There is one additional student enrolled in the public school system for every 100 apartments sold in the city. The public school system has shrunk by 40% since 1970. More than 10 private schools have opened in San Francisco since 2009. This city really makes no sense.
  • The Department of Homeland Security International Entrepreneur Rule
    Fred Wilson - AVC
    Very excited for this. Hoping to take advantage of it at some point in the future.
  • Dismissing Python Garbage Collection at Instagram
    Chenyang Wu and Min Ni - Instagram Engineering Blog
    I've never even thought that disabling garbage collection could be a sensible option. It's always fun to see how people can take a deep-dive into the inner workings of their toolchain and come out with this kind of performance boost. Questioning basic assumptions can be a good idea.
  • Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours.
    The Upshot - The New York Times
    Another great data visualization project out of the NYT's "analytical journalism" desk, this time about the relationship between education and economic mobility. Finding your school is really easy. Here's Northwestern, for example. There are no surprises: the numbers are stark, as expected.
  • Looking for commonality among HTTP request APIs
    Brett Cannon - Tall, Snarky Canadian
    When Brett started posting a bunch of polls on how people use various Python libraries for HTTP requests, I knew he was up to something good.
  • The Sound of Silence
    Jessica Livingston
    This post has been making rounds on tech twitter, and several of the newsletters I follow shared it, too. I wholeheartedly disagree with Jessica here, which is exactly why I wanted to share this. I think Anil Dash's response summarizes my thoughts well.

Links - January 09, 2017

  • The Ten Year Anniversary of the Apple TV
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs unveiled two products that could change the world. One did. The other one was the Apple TV. Ben reminds us that how much he's idolized, "it’s worth remembering that even Steve Jobs hedged his bets."
  • Grappling With My Family’s Identity in a Post-'Brexit' Europe
    Katrin Bennhold - The New York Times
    It is too easy to start listing groups which you identify with. The author talks about her family, and their identities. What does it mean for her to be European, when she's faced with the contrast between her spouse's Welsh-ness and her own German-ness? What does it mean to have a name, or a passport? More importantly, what will it mean in 10 years, or 20?
  • Why read old philosophy?
    Katja Grace - Meteuphoric
    I had never thought about how Philosophy is studied in such a different way than pretty much any other discipline. What does this tell us about how we should study science, or how we should teach mathematics?
  • Reserves
    Fred Wilson - AVC
    While obviously biased, Fred has good points about the importance of having experienced venture capitalists backing your company. I knew that reserves, and follow-up rounds, were an important aspect of the business, but its always good to understand the mechanics in a deeper way.
  • The Economics of Fake News
    Matthew E. Kahn - Environmental and Urban Economics
    It is easy to draw a matrix to group the cases of what might be fake news, based on the belief of its publisher and its consumer. It is a simple confusion matrix, where the only quadrant we should really worry about is the one where "the supplier knows the story is false but the demander believes the story is true." Kahn exposes important issues about the economic environment in which a market for fake news might arise.
  • Entrepreneurship Is Intellectual Immigration
    Brad Feld - Feld Thoughts
    A quick read. The idea of moving away from your comfort zone, and perpetually moving towards new things is definitely an appealing one to most entrepreneurs.

Links - January 7, 2017

2017 is off to a busy start. After posting on books I read last year, gathering links from the year before that, and sharing photos of my last trip it is about time I curate some fresh links. Enjoy:

  • Things as authorities
    Nick Szabo - Unenumerated
    Humans have learned to defer decision making and process to "things" since time immemorial. The main goal of this is to offload brain cycles into simple rules, and ease our interactions with the world around us. Szabo brings up examples like clocks ands traffic lights, which enable coordination between humans that would require way more effort otherwise. We can also think of learned heuristics, encoded in folklore and religion, as other means of offloading. Clocks ease friction as long as we agree on their time, just like ideas of good and evil ease friction as long as we agree on their base truth. Clocks and religion are trust-offloading mechanisms.
  • Why Hayek Was not a Conservative
    David Glasner - Uneasy Money
    New ideas are not worth listening to because they are new, but shouldn't be disregarded for that reason either. Conservatism is a stupid idea. I wonder how it came up in the first place. Definitely related to my argument on Szabo's article above.
  • The Age of Fake Policy
    Paul Krugman - The New York Times
    The perverse effects of signaling becoming more important than reality.
  • Why Many Young Russians See a Hero in Putin
    Julia Ioffe - National Geographic
    I'd say this title is misleading. The article really is about the world views and identities built by young Russians since the break up of the Soviet Union. The author focuses especially on those in rural areas, who long for more urban lifestyles, even if that means a lower standard of living. In many ways, the story isn't that different from that of the US.
  • World War Three, by Mistake
    Eric Schlosser - The New Yorker
    The scary story of the 1960s technology that manages the world's nuclear arsenal. They had TDD back then, right?
  • Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People
    Maciej Cegłowski - Idle Words
    There are way more immediate ethical issues with AI than "oh noes, it's going to kill us!". We can keep researching and building better systems, and in fact I'd argue we should, but instead of thinking about how to regulate the companies' ability to kill us, we should regulate their ability to collect data indefinitely, as we don't know where it will land. I am more scared of humans than machines.
  • A Bigger Problem Than ISIS?
    Dexter Filkins - The New Yorker
    It'd be great if governments, and whoever is striving for power could care about real problems. "A dam in Mosul that's about to fail and potentially could kill a million people" sounds like a bigger issue than "those westerners are teaching us their disgraceful customs and insulting our god!" Kinda like how gun violence in the US is a bigger problem than bombs on airplanes.
  • There is No Now
    Justin Sheehy - ACM Queue
    Time is complicated, especially in massively distributed computing systems. I'd love to understand this topic better. If you have recommendations on what else to read, please let me know.
  • Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    I have had an Echo for several months now, and I still see it as a gimmick, but I understand why the strategy behind the device has so much going for it. Amazon is building a platform that makes a lot of sense, but the technology isn't quite there yet. It'll be interesting to see this pan out.
  • Jeremy
    Heavyweight
    I recently tweeted that about one of Gimlet's new podcasts, Heavyweight, calling it "Curb Your Enthusiasm, podcast version". Stories about people, told in a really fun way. This one is about young people developing their identities, and grappling with their religious beliefs. Two stories about two people who met as they were going in opposite directions 30 years ago, meeting again today.
  • The Last Bank Bailout
    Planet Money
    A story about the most recent crisis, and how Neel Kashkari, who worked at the Treasury at the time, and is now the president and CEO of the Minneapolis Fed, plans to avoid the next one. As the podcast put it, the fact that Bernie Sanders and the WSJ editorial board agree that Kashkari's proposal is a good way to move forward means that there is some intellectually solid ground in it.

Links - December 13, 2016

  • Increasing Returns and the New World of Business (1996)
    Brian Arthur - Harvard Business Review
    Twenty years after this article was published, both academia and industry are still struggling to understand the implications of increasing returns, network effects, and zero marginal costs. It is good to take a step back, and see how a view from the past can improve our understanding of business dynamics today.
  • Building a Prison-to-School Pipeline
    Larissa MacFarquhar - The New Yorker
    If we truly believed that prisons are about reformation, and correction, our systems would be set up differently. Here's a glimpse into the lives of a few people who made it through and turned their lives around.
  • Economists Pretend They Don't Pick Winners and Losers
    Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
    Normative economics, and therefore normative policies, are more prevalent than we would all like to admit. In Noah's lead example (the US opening trade with a poor country) he talks about two sides: the consumers, who get cheaper goods, and the workers, whose jobs are lost to globalization. Ultimately though, there is one more group missing in this tale, and it is presumably that of the biggest winners: the citizens of the poor country, whose economic gain from such a trade deal would disproportionately improve their standard of living. "What ought to be" is a matter of identity politics, and we ought to remember that identity can also be defined by a nation-state.
  • AI and Competition Policy
    Joshua Gans - Digitopoly
    How does pricing strategy work in a world where decisions are programmatic, and therefore can't be viewed through the lens of traditional game theory or antitrust case law? Can you blame a supplier who "sets and forgets" his pricing scheme, and somehow ends up selling a book for $23,698,655.93 (+$3.99 shipping)? Interesting times are ahead.
  • Money and Banking
    Josh Hendrickson - The Everyday Economist
    "You might be able to teach an entire course on the microeconomics of money and banking based on the following thought experiment" might be an overblown claim, but this is definitely a good way to introduce the topic. While most people these days are aware of the "fiat-ness" of money, or its imaginary value, the money creation process is a few logical jumps away that few actually take.
  • Functional versus Unit Organizations
    Steven Sinofsky - Learning by Shipping
    A treatise on the nature of companies, organizational structures, and getting things done when there are thousands of independently moving pieces. Throughout my four years in college, I mocked the idea of a major in "learning and organizational change." I still do, except now it's for a different reason: even with years and years of experience, and several real products under their belt, managers can only have a sliver of the picture. People are the hard part about management.
  • As Trumplethinskin lets down his hair for tech, shame on Silicon Valley for climbing the Tower in silence
    Kara Swisher - Recode
    The leaders of our industry are not bending their knee. At least not yet. Take it from Dave Pell: they sort of have to go. The real question is what will happen after the meeting, but Swisher got an important part right: "fuckfuckfuck."
  • This Man Will Teach You How to Cook
    Gilad Edelman - Slate
    In cooking, like in everything else, the basic skills are much more important than the recipes and the tutorials. It is a matter of learning, and of putting in the hours. After reading this, I went on a youtube binge.
  • 1213486160 has a friend: 1195725856
    Rachel By The Bay
    These past weeks I've been looking at a lot of hex, and a lot of bytes. Sometimes, weird patterns pop up when you least expect them to.

Links - December 07, 2016

  • What do cows want?
    Jayson Lusk
    Measuring a farm animal's utility is an interesting exercise. Choice is not only a human problem.
  • This Is What Happens When Millions Of People Suddenly Get The Internet
    Sheera Frenkel - BuzzFeed News
    A fascinating story about figurative walls coming down. It made me think a lot about the inadequacy of the label "third world." Coming from Costa Rica, which has the highest internet access rate in Latin America, the experiences told in this story are shocking. Widespread definitions and categorizations sometimes don't make sense.
  • Even Trump Is a Keynesian
    Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
    Tax cuts, and infrastructure spending are good ideas, but will he actually put them in motion?
  • The hardest problem in computer science
    Eevee (Lexy Munroe) - fuzzy notepad
    I'd wager that this is the hardest problem in all human endeavors, and not just in CS. Communication is hard, and while language helps us share our ideas, it is nearly impossible to be sure that the message we wanted to get across was properly conveyed.
  • I, Pencil
    Leonard E. Read - Library of Economics and Liberty
    The fact that anything works is crazy. Making pencils is nearly impossible, and yet, there is probably a store within a couple of blocks from you where you can get one, along with N other more complex items.
  • Swift and the Legacy of Functional Programming
    Rob Napier - Realm.io
    While I am not a swift-er yet (is that a thing?) I am slowly picking up functional programming, and I find the ideas in this talk quite valuable.
  • Prop 13, or, California's Progressive Blindspot Illuminated
    Diego Aguilar-Canabal - Bay Area Metropolitan Observer
    Shared without comment.
  • Knowledge Builds Technology and Technology Builds Knowledge
    a16z Podcast
    In this interview wit Joel Mokyr, Sonal Chokshi and the a16z team bring historical perspective into today's economic environment. Building new things is easier when you have an understanding of the past. The episode reminded me of why I should have taken Mokyr's class at NU, instead of signing up for an awful data structures course.
  • The History Of Light
    Planet Money
    Right up there with "I, Pencil" and the story of economic complexity, we have the story of economic growth. Consider this a case study.

Links - November 20, 2016

I am actively trying to de-emphasize content about Trump, and the election, but it is tough. Expect to find traces and parallels to these themes for the next few months.

  • A Bad Carver
    Sarah Perry - Ribbonfarm
    A dose of historical perspective for these times of economic anxiety and anomie. Unbundling and specialization leads to recondensation and reformation. In cycles, humanity tends towards complexity.
  • A Country Is Not A Company (1996)
    Paul Krugman - Harvard Business Review
    This is not about Trump. This is about (macro)economics, business, and the mind-bending realization that they are inherently different. Macro versus micro, closed systems vs. open systems, zero-sum games vs. growing pies. Out of all my classes at Northwestern, International Finance was probably the most unexpectedly enlightening. This is it, in a nutshell.
  • I’m a Latino in Tech, and I Think the ‘Diversity’ Discussion Is Broken
    Eric M. Ruiz - Observer
    A piece that echoes a lot of my own thouhgts on identity, well-summarized by quoting Nassim Taleb's Black Swan: "...a philosopher from Peru resembles a philosopher from Scotland more than a janitor from Peru."
  • Fake News
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    Facebook is a scapegoat among the aggregators. Hacker News could be just as guilty of this same issue, but they don't operate at scale, and are not frequented by Average Joe. People are lazy, including me, and we will read whatever confirms what we already think. Some of us just do a bigger effort than others to keep our biases at bay.
  • Who Will Command The Robot Armies?
    Maciej Cegłowski - Idle Words
    In classic Pinboard style, Cegłowski starts up high with evil armies, police, and governments, but shows how in the end individuals - in this case, technical individuals - are on the hook. Facebook, Amazon, Google, and yes, Apple, all are comprised of individuals. What do we do to make sure that our decisions remain moral?
  • You Are Still Crying Wolf
    Scott Alexander - Slate Star Codex
    The media is a shit-show. Yesterday I watched Amanda Knox (which I definitely don't recommend), and the whole time I kept thinking of this article. Unfounded phrases get repeated over and over for views and clicks, making monsters and presidents out of thin air. Trump is bad, but I trust that things will not change that much in the short term.
  • Wind Waker Graphics Analysis
    Nathan Gorodn - Medium
    Reading about graphics and procedural generation has become a new hobby for me.
  • Language, Meaning and Machines
    agibs010 - Goldsmiths, University of London
    Honestly, I don't remember how I found this article. I assume Twitter. Finding who to give credit for it was impossibly hard. In any case, while the whole thing was interesting, the most valuable piece was learning about Pierre Jaquet Droz and his 18th century robots.
  • A Trunk Full of Truffles
    Planet Money
    A fun look at an extremely small market, dealing only in high luxury fungi.
  • The Backlash Has Arrived
    Exponent
    Aggregation Theory applied to Trump.

Links - November 02, 2016

  • Uncertainty Wednesday: Limits on Explanations (Turing and Gödel)
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    Whether we like it or not, Turing and Gödel proved that there is irreducible uncertainty in the world, and when we build models and explanations, we need to keep that in mind.
  • What else are we getting wrong?
    Dan Ghica
    I agree with Ghica. We need research into whether strong, static type systems help or hurt. When do we pick which? The issue is that any empirical study would have to control for training, use case, and many other variables. The end result would be to artificially recreate industry, which is basically impossible.
  • I don't understand Python's Asyncio
    Armin Ronacher
    Me either.
  • Want More Startups? Build a Better Safety Net
    Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
    The argument is easy, make it cheaper to take risks, and more people will take risks. Incentives.
  • An Email History of the 2001 iPod Launch
    Steven Levy - Backchannel
    15 years went by quickly. I remember my first iPod, back in 2004. Hearing a bit of what the future looked like back then is worthwhile.
  • The iPad: it’s for everyone else (2010)
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    History definitely rhymes! "...here’s the deal. Most people aren’t power users" is exactly what I've been thinking the past 5 days after the Mac release event. I am convinced that this generation of MBPs will sell well. Even if I am not buying one, the majority will.
  • Paint Drip People
    Kent Beck
    Don't be a generalist, and don't be T-shaped. Be a paint drip.
  • And Then They Came for Me...
    Mark Suster - Both Sides of The Table
    Not much needs to be said about this, but Mark Suster makes great arguments about why backing Trump is completely wrong.
  • Behind the Mask: Scenes From Nicaragua's Sandinista Revolution
    James Estrin - The New York Times
    Growing up in Costa Rica, I somewhat lived with the after-effects of the revolution. A large portion of the population in Costa Rica is from Nicaragua (somewhere between 5%-10%, according to Wikipedia) and while I have heard some stories, and learned a bit about this in school, I feel like I should make an effort and learn the history of my own "other".
  • So Where Are We on the ‘S-curve’ for PC Devices
    a16z (podcast)
    The big question about technology today is who will be the leader for the next platform. As usual, great insights from the Andreessen Horowitz hallway.

Links - October 30, 2016

I meant to post these on Wendesday, which became Thursday, which became Friday… then Saturday. But here we are!

  • What Do Trump and Marx Have in Common?
    Jochen Bittner - The New York Times
    TL;DR, they were both "Wutbürgers," or "Angry Citizens." I don't think they had much else in common. Despite the poorly chosen title, the article does a good job of recounting previous political movements driven by anger, some more constructive than others, and showing how history echoes across time, as well as geography.
  • The Great Cooling Off
    Kim-Mai Cutler - Modern Luxury, San Francisco
    Are we at the tail end of the up-cycle in San Francisco? The economic indicators make it seem like we might be. With rents flattening over the past few months, and unicorns falling from their sky-high valuations, the Bay Area might become a little less insane in the near future.
  • It’s Trump’s Party
    Paul Krugman - The New York Times
    It will be interesting to see what happens with the Republican Party after Trump. Many key players have lost their credibility, but, sadly, I don't think that really matters.
  • Static typing will not save us from broken software
    David R. MacIver
    Writing software is a matter of trade-offs. There are costs to runtime errors, but there are also costs to over engineering. In the end, each feature, and each project ends up mixing and matching processes and strategies, but I haven't seen types pay-off their upfront expenses yet. Someone should spend the time modeling these choices in an economic model. I am sure several companies would be willing to fund such research.
  • The secret behind Italy’s rarest pasta
    Eliot Stein - BBC
    I want to eat this. On a more serious note, I think the most interesting part of this story is how a very specific skill, which has been passed down as a secret through generations is about to be lost because of lack of interest, and indifference.
  • A Tale of Two Stagnations
    Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
    Consider two very different options for why growth seems to have stoped: either people have stopped consuming enough to drive the economy forward, or we have stopped innovating and creating products as we used to. Each situation requires very different remedial policies, but as Smith explains, we're not sure which of the two worlds we're living in.
  • The stock market looks cheap
    Antonio Fatas
    One of the few things about finance that I actually enjoyed learning about in school was Gordon's Growth Model. In his post, Fatas applies the model and plays with the equation to come up with a "Bubble Index." While I wouldn't bet on it, the equation makes for an interesting exercise.
  • Contempt Culture
    Aurynn Shaw - The Particular Finest
    Holding others in contempt for not working with a real language is a problem. Putting down PHP, a commonplace occurence, is as bad as mocking Java for having industrial strength. As a Python guy, I constantly get comments on when I'll graduate to a static language. Making fun of each other's tools of choice, and marking them as being beneath consideration is a mistake.
  • Jane Jacobs’s Theories on Urban Planning—and Democracy in America
    Nathaniel Rich - The Atlantic
    I was first exposed to Jane Jacobs through a class in college. We were assigned an excerpt of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," and it was odd how much Jacobs' line of thought, once extranous, was so internalized into our own views that many of us didn't understand why her writing was interesting. After learning more about her, and putting things in historical perspective, it all made much more sense.
  • Shadowed Qualities
    Startup (podcast)
    While I don't yet know the pressures of being CEO, it is well known that depression, anxiety, and other issues are common among the startup crowd. Gotta hand it to Alex Blumberg for exposing himself as he did in this episode. It takes courage to let others into one's life as he did.
  • The No-Brainer Economic Platform
    Planet Money (podcast)
    People do not understand second order effects, and have trouble forseeing policy implications. I keep going back to how whenever we think of economics in terms of the study of "rational agents," we're making a mistake. And I don't mean it in the behavioral econ "we all have biases" way, but in the "People are dumb and don't have full information to make rational decisions" way. Democracy is hard.

Links - October 19th, 2016

As my friend Leo would say, my lack of link-posting has been circumstantial, not intentional.

Last week found me busy, and uninspired. The weekend, on the other hand, gave me a lot to think about. I listened to the audio-book version of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, and watched 13th, both of which I would highly recommend. I also attended a few LitQuake events, one of which was especially worthwhile.

For a while now, I have been saying that I want to write more, and this weekend gave me even more ideas, as it put a lot of things in perspective. The goal for the upcoming weeks is to put my thoughts down on paper.

Also, I read a bunch of interesting things about the election, but you’re probably tired of that. I am too.

In the mean time, here are links worth reading.

  • Developer hiring and the market for lemons
    Dan Luu
    A critique of Spolsky's Finding Great Developers, based on solid microeconomics. Luu compares the software engineering labor market to Akerlof's market for lemons. The argument against Spolsky's model seems to be based on two ideas: first, that there is an information asymmetry for both hiring managers, as well as engineers, and second, that the proportion of dysfunctional teams is larger than Spolsky implies. The article goes into an extensive study of the market structure, and possible solutions for both managers and engineers. The main takeaway, is that job hunting and hiring for software engineers is hard.
  • The White Problem
    Quinn Norton - The Message – Medium
    An explainer on race in the US, which I can't recommend enough. Norton's two part post helped me re-contextualize the present via history I was unaware of (part two, here).
  • Echo, interfaces and friction
    Benedict Evans
    We are nowhere near a transparent general AI, and all the companies buidling voice interfaces know that. By now, Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have all been positioned away from such an all-encompassing solution, pushing for ever narrower use cases. Like the AIs out of Facebook's bot fiasco of 2016, voice interfaces seem to be adding more friction than they take away.
  • An Economics Nobel for Examining Reality
    Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
    When people think of economics as a discipline, they tend to think of the broad themes they read about in the newspaper: interest rates, trade, unemployment, the housing market, etc, usually analyzed at the macro level. However, as Smith points out, microeconomics has slowly gained steam, developing more reliable models than macro in the last few years. Better tools, new methods, as well as data, are driving this change. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in more Nobel Prizes going to the microeconomists as of late, including this year's winners.
  • A half-million Brazilians want to break away and form a new country
    The Washington Post
    More of the same. I still believe modern nations might be unraveling. Another case of "we don't want to pay for them, because they are not us".
  • The Hard Raise
    Fred Wilson - AVC
    From an anecdote of a "hard raise," I think what Wilson makes in this post is an argument against easy money. When companies persevere against hard conditions, they come out stronger, with smarter theses, and better strategies.
  • How the Fed Turns Good News Into Bad
    Narayana Kocherlakota - Bloomberg View
    In which Kocherlakota explains so much of what's wrong with techno-pessimism, while making a case for paying attention to second and third order effects.
  • A Great Fight of Our Times
    David Leonhardt - The New York Times
    Throughout history, not all generations get to be better off than the previous ones, and that seems to be the case of the United States today... unless things change. "The moral case for a fairer society is clear. But there is also a self-interested case."
  • Our Need for Purpose and Recognition
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    I have been thinking a lot about Maslow's hierarchy as of late. Luckily, I am part of the minority that gets to worry about these things.
  • A Short Primer On The Thiel Dust-Up
    Alex Wilhelm - Mattermark
    Tech Twitter blew up on YC's face this week. It is rare for tech celebrities like David Heinemeier Hansson, Marco Arment, Thomas Ptacek, Jeff Atwood, and even Maciej Cegłowski to agree on things, but they have all come out with pitchforks after Sam Altman and Paul Graham for their defense of Peter Thiel. Even if Hillary wins, Trump has put strain on the Silicon Valley technorati.
  • Angus Deaton on Inequality, Trade, and the Robin Hood Principle
    EconTalk (Podcast)
    Not suprisingly, the idea of redistribution is not taken well by Roberts, but the underlying themes are more interesting anyway. Touching on cosmopolitanism, identity, and other recurring subjects of this blog, Deaton and Roberts discuss the state of the US's poor, questioning whether a poor person in the south is objectively worse off than a poor person in Africa, for example.
  • The Wells Fargo Hustle
    Planet Money (Podcast)
    The stories coming out of the Wells Fargo scandal are rough. Incentives in the financial markets are turned on their heads, and it is amazing that the extensive regulation can't handle these issues. Golden parachutes and bail-outs aside, this is insanity.
  • Half a House
    99% Invisible (Podcast)
    Necessity is the mother of invention, quite literally. This episode makes it easy to imagine what the village might look like, but after seeing the photos I think the audio doesn't do it justice. An excellent idea, and an important example of why the US sometimes lags on the innovation side.
  • In Line
    The Memory Palace (Podcast)
    A short episode, based on a 1964 New York Times article. Nate DiMeo tells us a story we've all heard before, but which, sadly, must be retold over and over again.
  • Map of the Internet
    Quartz
    I am sharing this, even though I honestly did not read the whole thing. An 11 part epic on how the internet works. A good production, even if a bit overwhelming.

Links - October 5th, 2016

Just like last week, these were ready yesterday, but the debate talk made me push them for a day. A lot of political content, but the kind that runs deeper than the election cycle’s scandal du jour.

It might be time for me to solidify some of these thoughts, and do a write-up of my own.

  • Why's that company so big? I could do that in a weekend
    Dan Luu
    If there is one thing I have learned over the last year, it is that even small projects require huge overhead when your tolerance for error is small. Building services with acceptable uptime, reliablity, and performance is extremely complicated, if not nearly impossible. "I could do that in a weekend" is a strawman. In fact, I have come to the opposite realization... it is surprising that anything works at all, even when thousands of human hours are invested!
  • Deep-Fried Data
    Maciej Cegłowski - Idle Words
    As usual with Maciej, there are many layers to this essay. The comparisons between libraries and the internet are not new, and his railing against large companies aiding online surveilance are more than expected. Much more interesting are the questions brought up about archiving the modern web - where content is selected, joined, and rendered dynamically per user at load time, with large portions behind walls: What is the point of building a community you don't own? What should be kept for posterity? What is a the point of a site's snapshot without the code that makes it work? What happens when a company dies, or misses, and we go beyond simple link-rot? The conclusion is hand wavey, but the future of the internet is, as Maciej put it, contingent.
  • When world leaders thought you shouldn’t need passports or visas
    Speranta Dumitru - The Conversation
    I had never thought about the fact that passports are a recent construct. Obviously, it makes sense, but when I first read it I was baffled that they were a new necessity only a hundred years ago. In historical context, freedom of movement ties very nicely with a lot of themes I have been thinking about related to sovereignty, national identity, shared culture, and their implications. Be it due to globalization, radicalization, or you-name-it-ization, the modern nation-state may be slowly breaking down.
  • Immigration: the right's problem
    Chris Dillow - Stumbling and Mumbling
    To continue the theme of freedom of movement, let's talk immigration policy. In short, Dillow argues that the free market right should support open immigration in much the same way they support free trade. If freedom was something that the conservatives really cared about, they could not be this inconsistent, and they surely would push for more lenient immigration laws than the left. Once again, it is a matter of boundaries, and identity: freedom for whom?
  • Trade Show
    Planet Money
    More of the same. I am on a roll, I guess. It is odd that both US presidential candidates are against trade in this election, so the Planet Money folks compressed a quarter millenium of trade history for us. While superficial, there is a good discussion of The Wealth of Nations, and who benefits from tariffs vis-a-vis open borders and other trade policies. They touch on concentrated benefits and diffuse costs, which we can see across the ladder from regional to supranational deals. I assume the bipartisan anti-trade sentiment in the US is just a blip, and that we'll soon revert to the trend of freer trade.
  • Why Are Politicians So Obsessed With Manufacturing?
    Binyamin Appelbaum - The New York Times
    It is easier to sell people on a safe past than an unsure future. Our brain is hardwired with biases, trained by thousands of years of evolution. It can trick us on false positives and overblow our fears, or it can make us think that the past was, by its own nature, better than the future. What seems irrational is that no candidate has capitalized on this, realizing that there is a discrepancy between public discourse and the numbers. Soon, some candidate will catch the tailwind instead of falsely promising restoration.
  • The Intellectual, Yet Idiot
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Medium
    The more I read Taleb, the less I like him. The IYI concept is worth sharing, though, because it is pervasive, and we all fall in the trope at times. "The IYI has been wrong, historically, on [a ton of things,] but he is convinced that his current position is right." The key to ridding one's self of the YI part is to have an open mind, accept errors as they are revealed, and course-correct accordingly.

Links - September 28, 2016

  • Startup Cargo Cults: What They Are and How to Avoid Them
    Leo Polovets - Coding VC
    We all fall prey to cargo cults: following our biases and finding patterns where there might be none, mimicking the inessentials and hoping we get the same results. Think hard about why you do things, and trim as necessary.
  • Snapchat Spectacles and the Future of Wearables
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    There is too much Apple speculation here for me to make strong comments, but go read it. Products don't exist in a vacuum.
  • Economics Has a Major Blind Spot
    Noah Smith - Bloomberg View
    A clear exposition one of my gripes about economics as a discipline: Once you layer in tax, after tax, after tax, and your policies start interacting with each other, they no longer achieve the desired effects.
    In the real world, no agent -however rational- can make optimal choices, as they don't have nearly full information. To make things worse, solutions proposed at a given time might alter the underlying reality before they even go into effect, and no longer work as expected! By the time they are in place, policies are hard to change (this week's EconTalk touched on that topic) and we deal with it by adding more crap on top. Living in a complex society does not by definition require the levels of complexity of modern legislation.
  • Amazon’s Newest Ambition: Competing Directly With UPS and FedEx
    Greg Bensinger and Laura Stevens - The Wall Street Journal
    Similar to the recent Bloomberg article. Amazon seems more and more serious about their last-mile effort, and the incumbents are still incredulous.
  • Trump was completely wrong about the Fed last night. But I’m glad the topic came up.
    Jared Bernstein - The Washington Post
    If the political system in the US is hard, and confusing, the Fed is probably one of the most misunderstood. Even having taken several courses on the topic, understanding the intended effects of central banking, and monetary policy, is tough. Bernstein makes a good case for the importance about better understanding it.
  • Uncertainty Wednesday: Limits on Observations
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    Another good one in Albert's series on uncertainty, easter egg included. "All observation necessarily entails compression of reality," further compression from our tool's resolution limits, and even more from measurement error. Regardless of how good your observations are, they will always be uncertain. Moreover, observations themselves can change the underlying state of reality. Not only in the uncertainty principle quantum sense, but also in the user research sense, for example.

Links - September 27th, 2016

  • How Slack and Facebook Are Making Access to Information Less Democratic
    Ezra Galston - BreakingVC
    There are clear tensions regarding how information is stored and accessed on the internet. In the OSS world, there is a loud group that constantly complains about the IRC => Slack trend, for example. Whether the fringe is becoming more or less accessible, I don't know, I have not tried to hang out there, but there is an overwhelming feeling of the walls closing in on themselves.
  • The Falsity of False Equivalence
    Paul Krugman - The New York Times
    The fact that this is not clearer to the public at large is insane. It is a bizarre time to live.
  • A mistake is just a moment in time
    Jason Fried - Signal V. Noise
    Internalize your mistakes, correct your course, but don't forget you messed up.
  • What San Francisco Says About America
    Thomas Fuller - The New York Times
    I lived in Chicago for 4 years, and I never saw levels of poverty and homelessness as intense as I see in San Francisco. However, both cities have poverty. Both cities have homelessness. In Chicago it is a matter of "out of sight, out of mind", while in SF you see it day in and day out. Market Street and the Magnificent Mile are a stark contrast, but both cases require society to provide solutions. This article is missing a call to action.
  • The Free-Time Paradox in America
    Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
  • Spotify Is Perfecting the Art of the Playlist
    Devin Leonard - Bloomberg
    Probably one of the best features in Spotify. Pretty cool story of how it came about.
  • Snapchat Releases First Hardware Product, Spectacles
    Seth Stevenson - The Wall Street Journal
    A glimpse into the future of media/advertising, an interesting personal story, and a product I'd love to try. The back story of how this story got leaked by Business Insider, and the WSJ ended up being whipped into releasing it early says a lot about journalism in the 21st century, too. A lot to unpack.
  • I Used to Be a Human Being
    Andrew Sullivan - New York Magazine
    Another piece about the perils of living attached to our screens, and taking a break from the addiction. These have become more and more common, but somehow Sullivan gives a refreshing view.
  • The MIT License, Line by Line
    Kyle E. Mitchell - /dev/lawyer
    I wish I understood licensing better, but this is a first step. Open source software is amazing. It is one of the reasons computers today are as powerful as they are.
  • Compressing and enhancing hand-written notes
    Matt Zucker
    Another cool project on image processing by Zucker. Code that solves a real problem, however tiny, is always worth reading.

Links - September 22nd, 2016

So much for making an effort to post more consistently… 🙄

Links - September 7th, 2016

  • Knowledge (2015)
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    In this post, Albert defines knowledge from a humanistic perspective. It nicely ties into a recent article I shared about nihilism. Knowledge only matters if it is worth reproducing.
  • Learning and mastering isn’t the same
    David Heinemeier Hansson - Signal V. Noise
    Slowly, one abstraction at a time, software engineering has become more and more accessible. The advent of Ruby on Rails marked the beginning of a wave that lowered the barriers to entry for programming, particularly web development, for thousand of engineers. I am one of them. Now it is time to put in the hours and master the craft.
  • Story of My Life: How Narrative Creates Personality
    Julie Beck - The Atlantic
    We contain multitudes. Our idea of the "self" is just an aggregate of layers of all previous actions and states of mind, wrapped in a narrative that also changes over time. It'd be an interesting exercise to try and model this computationally, somehow.
  • When You Change the World and No One Notices
    Morgan Housel - Collaborative Fund
    Real innovation takes time. It is, however, important to remember that cycles are contracting. Innovation itself is accelerating, and that needs to go into our decision making models, too.
  • How Apple Helped Create Ireland’s Economies, Real and Fantastical
    Adam Davidson - The New Yorker
    The events that are developing in the EU right now are potentially more important to the future of global culture than most people realize. Whatever conclusion comes from this case might define sovereignty and jurisdiction across national and supranational borders. As Tim Cook posits in his letter, "at its root, the Commission’s case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes. It is about which government collects the money," and that is the actually interesting question here.
  • How Harambe Became the Perfect Meme
    Venkatesh Rao - The Atlantic

Links - September 5th, 2016

  • Labor Day: From the Job Loop to the Knowledge Loop
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    What is the point of work? What should people spend their time on, and why? Wenger argues that we are about to enter a post-capital and post-labor world. I still haven't decided if I should read his book now, as a draft, or when it is published in a few months.
  • Are We Really So Modern?
    Adam Kirsch - The New Yorker
    I should make an effort and learn more about history and philosophy. We are solving different immediate problems, but ultimately trying to answer the same basic questions as those that came before us.
  • The Pill, the Condom, and the American Dream
    Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
    In a complex world, second order effects tend to be more important in aggregate than one would expect. Increased access to birth control results in better care for the kids who are born, and eventually a better society.
  • What to Make of Andreessen Horowitz’s Returns?
    Mark Suster - Both Sides of the Table
    Not often do you get a VCs view on another fund. Suster gives us some great insights in his piece.
  • How Uber Drivers Decide How Long to Work
    Noam Scheiber - The New York Times
    No data was released, but here is the original paper, in case you want to take a look.
  • Trying Not to Try
    Edward Slingerland - Nautilus
    Thinking fast and slow, from the angle of Butcher Ding and chinese philosophy. When your conscious mind lets go, the body can take over.
  • Will Amazon Kill FedEx?
    Devin Leonard - Bloomberg
    Amazon is an impressively interesting company (as an aside, the old timey look of the photos is great, too). The original bits and atoms startup, which somehow keeps innovating.
  • All about Microservices
    a16z (Podcast)
    Starting a career in software engineering during the days of AWS and Heroku gives me a strange vantage point. The story of how Netflix switched their whole infrastructure would not be half as impressive if I didn't understand the role of culture in organizational change. The fact is that "this is how we do things around here" can make or break you. This episode talks about the architecture that underlie the modern web stack.

Links - August 30th, 2016

  • Big data, Google and the end of free will
    Yuval Noah Harari - The Financial Times
    Harari discusses the jump from religion, to humanism, and now Dataism: Letting go of "religion" and "feelings" to guide our choices, and allowing computers to make decisions for you. As much as "knowing thyself" is great advice, making good decisions also requires knowing the rest of the world. No matter how much you know yourself, there will be unknown unknowns about the people and things you interact with. Computers might be able to help us there.
    A specific case I've thought deeply about is "choosing what content to consume," which applies to books, articles, podcasts, MOOCs, etc. Objectively, there is some optimal solution to this question, and Harari's Dataism probably has a better answer than humanism, regardless of how uncomfortable that thought makes you feel.
    The idea is powerful, and we can similarly extrapolate to other questions.
  • In Search of Ragu
    Roads & Kingdoms
    A cuisine's history, and its people's sentiments about it, can tell us a lot about culture and how it is formed over time. There is a lot of value when food becomes more than sustenance.
  • How artificial intelligence and machine learning work at Apple
    Steven Levy - Backchannel
    Another one that I can't comment much on, but want to share.
  • I Got Scammed By A Silicon Valley Startup
    Penny Kim - Startup Grind
    Lately I have been bringing up Maslow's hierarchy over and over. I am one of the few lucky people in the world who (like you, probably, since you're reading this) get to only worry about the very top of this pyramid. Food, shelter, health - all these are non-thoughts for me. My concerns are much less important. In the context of this article, I have been spending many hours considering how to be happier at work, and spend my time to maximize my learning and my future opportunities. Even in the tech bubble that I live in, things can be much worse, and it is sobering to remember that.
  • Building Better Algorithms Requires Human Judgment
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    The filter bubble, v2.
  • Hunting for great names in programming
    David Heinemeier Hansson - Signal v. Noise
    Naming things is much harder than it seems, and its implications much more widespread than one would expect. Spend more time thinking about names.
  • Types
    Gary Bernhardt
    Different languages have different ways of constraining and enabling programmers. Any language provides us with trade-offs. For a long time, I have thought of types as an added layer of complexity, which makes them unappealing. However, unit tests and documentation are also extra complexity, and I am more than happy to pay the cost for those. Perhaps its time to make the jump and get into static typing.

Links - August 24th, 2016

  • The Unicorn Hedge
    Dave McClure - 500 Hats
    As software seeps into our daily lives, everything becomes "tech". I don't like that word, it is too broad, and somewhat meaningless. A truck is technology. So is a self-driving truck, but the latter does much more by leveraging software. Every "traditional" company in some capacity uses "tech", and as time goes on more and more firms depend on software for their daily operations. This is at the root of the reality that McClure describes. AirBnB is considered a "tech" company, but it should be compared against Hilton and Marriott, not against Google and Apple. That's their actual competition. The hedge is real, and it is only a symptom of the overall trend towards a fully software enabled industry.
  • Programming without Programmers? Aka Software Eating Software Development?
    Albert Wenger - Continuations
    Software engineering, and the tools required for it, have evolved significantly over time. Barriers to entry have been lowered, making programming accessible for "normal" people, both in terms of monetary costs as well as in the amount of effort required to get started and build something significant. For better or for worse, modern programming languages are english-like enough that they can be grokked by children. Writing machine or assembly language can be seen as an esoteric exercise by today's standards. On the shoulders of giants, we've climbed up several levels on the ladder of abstraction, and as Wenger implies, this is not stopping any time soon.
  • Understanding VCs
    Fred Wilson - AVC
    The "PR angle" Fred talks about is true of the blogs of VCs, startups, programmers, journalists, and pretty much any other piece of content on the web, even including this curated set of links. We should cast wide nets, and get information from every possible source before making decisions. Remember other people are driven by incentives just as much as ourselves.
  • Penny Auctions - How to sell a $180 tablet for $7,264
    Curious Gnu
    Whether penny auctions can be classified as gambling or not, they could be a source of really interesting decision theory/behavioral economics research. If you know of any studies particularly worth looking at, please send them my way.
  • Milwaukee's Divide Runs Right Through Me
    Bassey Etim - The New York Times
    Over the last few weeks, I started watching The Wire. The longer I live in this country, the more I understand the tensions around race and class rooted in years and years of history. I want to spend more time reading about this, and exploring the narratives of the various sides. Building empathy is hard work.
  • It really is the future
    Paul Biggar - CircleCI
    A follow-up on last week's post on Docker, and the state of distributed systems on the web. This one being the non-satirical version.
  • Five Years of Tim Cook’s Apple in Charts
    Jan Dawson - Medium
    Being on the inside, I can't say much about this, other than: I'm still bullish.
  • But What If We're Wrong
    Russ Roberts and Chuck Klosterman - EconTalk
    Lots of interesting tid bits on culture, and how our perception of the world changes over time. What will we look back in N years and think "wow, how were we so stupid"?
  • Slavery and Racism
    Russ Roberts and Michael Munger - EconTalk
    The fact that two white economics professors at prestigious universities talk about this in public is already a big win. Not knowing the history of slavery in the US, this was quite interesting. The "us vs. them" framing, coupled with the Rawlsian ideas towards the end, was the most persuasive part. Incentives strike again.
  • On Average
    Roman Mars - 99% Invisible
    Had never thought about the fact that someone had to have introduced "average" into our culture. Another great episode from the 99pi team.

Links - August 22th, 2016

  • This is strictly a business decision
    Tim O'Reilly - Medium
    Incentives rule all our decisions. If the mandate of fiduciary duty is to "maximize shareholder value," that is what any board will do. Whether the "business decision" was correct or not is a question of short-term vs. long-term thinking, discount rates, and how much the company values its employees. When labor is interchangable, this is not a surprising decision. If the well-being of the employees were somehow baked in into the pricing model, there could be a different outcome.
  • Imaging, Snapchat and mobile
    Benedict Evans
    As usual, Evans gives us a lot to think about. Our phones aren't really just phones, and our cameras aren't really just cameras.
  • It’s The Future
    Paul Biggar - CircleCI Blog
    Overengineering is a real problem. I need to learn more about this new dev-ops world, and play with Docker et al, but the fact is that to get started, a monolith running on Heroku is more than enough. Scaling will be harder? Yes, but you might actually get something done and sell to real users. Good enough is good enough. Once again, short-term vs. long term incentives.
  • All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Gray
    Cate Huston - Accidentally in Code
    Perspective on software engineering impact: Somehow, the industry keeps moving forward as our projects die, 1 by 1. Stay motivated, and learn from your errors.
  • The stuff we really need is getting more expensive. Other stuff is getting cheaper.
    Christopher Ingraham - The Washington Post
  • The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Medium
    A draft of a chapter of Taleb's upcoming book. He argues that asymmetrical rules lead to minorities dictating choices when there are large benefits to a concentrated minority and small diffuse costs among the majority. All his examples are negative, but its not hard to think of how this same effect can affect us positively.
  • The Night That Obama and Hillary Founded ISIS
    Liz Meriwether - New York Magazine
    The world of politics is odd.
  • Page dewarping
    Matt Zucker
    Math lets us do some really interesting things. This post presents a relatively simple model that solves a real problem for a real person.
  • Firms and Inequality
    Claudia Sahm
    An analysis on the future of work, and labor compensation. I am not surprised that gains are concentrated in a set of firms, the real question, as Claudia points out, is "is rising worker segregation a sign of reduced competition, greater economic rents, or is it telling us about a change in the nature of production?" My guess? The latter.
  • The meaning of trust in the age of Airbnb
    Tim Harford
    The fact that we can walk into a store and exchange a piece of paper for a loaf of bread is a sign of trust. Our economies, and our lives, are all based on trust, and Tim's article explains how important this is in an age where "reputation" becomes currency. Reminded me a lot of Seabright's Company of Strangers.

Links - August 18th, 2016

Hello there old friends. It has been forever since my last post, and I apologize for that. Here is a mixed bag of technology, management, and politics pieces. My interests haven’t changed, hopefully yours haven’t either.

Expect more frequent updates coming back soon.

Links - July 14th, 2016

As you can tell from the articles below, I’ve read a lot about consciousness lately. In general, I like the topic a lot, but I was actually trying to find an article on the subject from a couple of years ago that I remember being really good. Sadly, I didn’t find it, but it did take me down the rabbit hole of the Internet, and I found all of the consciousness related posts below, so hopefully you will enjoy those.

Links - July 4th, 2016

I haven’t read much lately. I checked my stats today (yes, I keep track of how many articles I read) and my rolling one week daily average is about to hit 1 article read per day. That is scary, because I don’t know what is consuming my time in place of my usual online reading.

It might be Twitter, and the bots, but that doesn’t add up in my head.

Links - June 13th, 2016

Links - June 3rd, 2016

Links - May 31st, 2016

Links - May 27th, 2016

Hi there. It had been a while! I have read a lot less than usual lately, but here are a few things I’ve recently enjoyed.

Links - May 11th, 2016

Links - May 7th, 2016

Links - May 4th, 2016

  • The Increasing Problem With the Misinformed
    Thomas Baekdal
    Extreme clarity on the future of journalism, media, and strategies for companies in the space to respond to change. TL;DR: create better content or disappear. The arguments fit perfectly with Aggregation Theory, and while the article is a bit too focused on politics, the analysis could apply to any other news covered by the media, from the Tech Bubble, to ISIS, or Millenials. Long, but worthwhile.
    I have been reading Baekdal for years. I can't even remember how I ran into his blog, but it must have been 7 or 8 years ago, and I am glad I did.
  • Demystifying Venture Capital Economics (Part 4)
    Andy Rachleff - Wealthfront
    While I have read (...skimmed 🙄) Mary Meeker's report several years in a row by now, I had never consciously noticed the acceleration of adoption rates of new technologies.
  • AdBlock Plus teams up with Flattr to help readers pay publishers
    Anthony Ha - TechCrunch
    Possibly more interesting than the opt-in model championed by Blendle.
  • Inevitability in technology
    Benedict Evans
    Evans has a knack for finding great analogies from history. In most cases, path dependence, network effects, consumer lock in, and feedback loops matter more than any one decision. I wonder if we can systematically figure out the decisions that matter more...
  • My path to OpenAI
    Greg Brockman
    Somehow, the dots connect in the future.
  • Type Wars
    Robert C. Martin - The Clean Code Blog
    Was not expecting Uncle Bob to finish on that note. The history of programming languages is a big question mark for me. If you have a good book/blog post to recommend on it, please send it my way.
  • Everything as a Service
    Ben Thompson - Stratechery
    Ben sounds more bullish in this article than in the past few, especially Exponent.
  • Apple's Numbers
    Bob Lefsetz
    Yet another bear case for Apple pinned on the cult of personality for Steve Jobs. While I disagree with the overall message, the writing is really good, and Lefsetz does have a point on the strategy of innovation, viz. Christensen's disruptive innovation.
  • Obituaries My Mother Wrote for Me While I Was Living in San Francisco in My Twenties
    Bess Kalb - The New Yorker
    The title says it all.

Links - May 2nd, 2016

Links - April 27th, 2016

Links - April 26th, 2016

Links - April 25th, 2016

  • The Average 29 Year Old
    Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
    In this short and data-centric piece, Thompson makes the argument that since most mainstream media is based in large cities, "...well-educated journalists in these dense cities wind up with a skewed impression of the world" and they feed us their biases. "An irony of digital media is that the Internet distributes journalism, but it concentrates journalists."
  • Bots won't replace apps. Better apps will replace apps.
    Dan Grover
    Everyone talks about "bots", but "bots" are not new. Grover makes a great analogy between early iOS skeumorphism and the metaphors of "conversational UI" that have leaked into these new user experiences. He goes on to argue that the notification systems in modern operating systems are broken, which I fully agree with, and suggests the rise of meta-platforms like WeChat and Facebook Messenger as the path forward.
  • Why Write in English?
    Tim Parks - The New York Review of Books
    A few months ago, an article titled Teach Yourself Italian was published in the New Yorker. In it, the author (Jhumpa Lahiri) discusses her journey from the United States to Italy, and her discovery of how language affected her identity as she wrote a book in a language that wasn't her own. Parks discusses Lahiri's work, compares her to other authors that went through similar transitions, and ultimately explains why he still writes in his mother tongue, even after years of living abroad.
  • Minimum Viable Superorganism
    Kevin Simler - Ribbon Farm
    Perhaps a bit too paranoid, discussing conspiracy theories more than it should, but interesting nonetheless. Simler explains the economics behind the social structures that align our incentives to work together toward common goals.
  • Machine Learning Meets Economics, Part 2
    Nicolas Kruchten - Datacratic MLDB
    If you haven't yet, go read Part 1.
  • Making 1 million requests with python-aiohttp
    Paweł Miech
  • The Rich Don't Work Anymore—Working Is for Poor People
    Robert Reich - Alternet

Links - April 22nd, 2016

Links - April 18th, 2016

Links - April 8th, 2016

Links - April 5th, 2016

Between researching camera lenses and teaching myself machine learning, there hasn’t been much reading lately.

Links - March 31st, 2016

I have spent a lot of time lately trying to understand, and playing around with, computer vision, deep learning, reinforcement learning, and other machine learning models. Between Stanford’s Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition course, Trask’s neural stack explanation, playing snake with Keras and creating image analogies, I have spent a lot more time than usual coding and training machine learning models after work. More accurately, I have spent hours poring over complex equations I don’t yet fully understand, and waiting for models to converge.

Even if you are not a computer scientist, you should read the intro to reinforcement learning linked below. With some understanding of economic modeling, and a bit of effort, you’ll get the basics of how a system like AlphaGo works. Machine, or otherwise, learning is fun.

Links - March 29th, 2016

Links - March 27th, 2016

Links - March 21st, 2016

Links - March 17th, 2016

Links - March 16th, 2016

Links - March 15th, 2016

Links - March 14th, 2016

  • Resetting the score
    Benedict Evans
    Shifts in the landscape, and analogies of history, or how innovation in warfare technology can explain the implications of the rise of the smartphone.
  • The Second Smartphone Revolution
    Fred Wilson - AVC
  • Trackers
    Jacques Mattheij
    A story of anthropomorphic cookies, scripts, and ad-blockers.
  • The Blood Harvest
    Alexis Madrigal - The Atlantic
    Our dependence on other species is not surprising. The depth of our dependence is.
  • Zoning Plays a Big Role in San Francisco's Housing Crisis, Gentrification, and Wealth Disparity
    Kriston Capps - CityLab
    New wealth flowing into a city, plus old wealth's "build new things in other places" attitude leads to gentrification. We're not in a bubble, but in a bifurcation, and SF has no relief valve to rely on. Only new city policies could change that.
  • The First Micropayments Marketplace
    John Granata, Ali Fathalian, Michael Goldstein, Eli Haims, Saivann Carignan, Matt Storus, and Balaji S. Srinivasan - Medium
    In which 21, the Bitcoin company, unveils what the future of the web might look like.
  • Why Snapchat is an Important Media Company
    Mark Suster - Bothsides of the Table
  • The Obama Doctrine
    Jeffrey Goldberg - The Atlantic
    A fascinating (but, at 65+ pages, excessively long) piece on the Obama administration and its foreign policy legacy.
  • How to Code and Understand DeepMind's Neural Stack Machine
    Andrew Trask
    Academic papers tend to utilize terse language and jargon to precisely describe processes and outcomes, but these "precise" explanations end up being impenetrable walls for the uninitiated. Thankfully, there are bloggers like Trask, Olah, Karpathy, and others who lower the bar to understanding the intricacies of academic machine learning. I am still trying to get through this one. Trask definitely made the task accessible. The DeepMind researchers, on the other hand, did not.

Links - March 9th, 2016

Links - March 8th, 2016

Links - March 7th, 2016

Links - March 4th, 2016

Today I am posting from Indianapolis! I am spending the weekend here with Hannah’s family, and I got a lot of reading done on the flight here, so the article selection today is better than usual.

Links - March 3rd, 2016

Links - March 2nd, 2016

Links - March 1st, 2016

Links - February 29th, 2016

Links - February 25th, 2016

It seems like this is a good reading week for me. A ton of articles, plus about to finish two books. Can’t complain.

Links - February 24th, 2016

Links - Feb 21th, 2016

Links - February 16th, 2016

Links - February 11th, 2016

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much.” ― Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

As I said in my last post: attention is a zero sum game. I checked how much I have been reading online lately and I’m way below average (Yes, I keep stats on this. Yes, I know its nerdy). According to data from the past 2.5 years, I read about 10 articles per day (avg. 10.02, median 9) but in the last three weeks I’ve been floating between 5-7 per day. I think it will be impossible to keep up the usual 10-12 while maintaining my book reading goal and my new (bad?) habit of scrolling through Twitter a couple of times a day.

However, I’m proud to say that in the past couple of weeks I finished Why Information Grows and moved on to Cool Gray City of Love. Some thoughts on those two are coming.

Links - January 29th, 2016

Random assortment of thoughts:

  • I was sad to hear that Marvin Minsky passed away this week. I was exposed to his work by chance, as I picked up Society of Mind at a used book sale in Chicago during the summer I read GEB, and became obsessed with the seminal ideas of AI and consciousness. His book definitely helped me shape my views on intelligence.

  • A couple of weeks ago I started compiling a list of resources worth reading/watching. They are mostly programming related, but we’ll see how the list grows.

  • My resource list prompted my friend Leon to introduce me to Buster Benson’s Codex Vitae which is an awesome idea. I might do something similar in the future.

  • Attention is a zero sum game. I have started using Twitter which is fun (follow me! @avyfain), but is super time consuming. Its hard to come to terms with the fact that the stream is infinite while time is not. Between that, and my new goal of reading 3 books per month, blogs and news have taken the back seat.

  • Complex systems are awesome. I have been reading about them, and so should you.

Anyway, links for the past few days:

Links - January 20th, 2016

Links - January 18th, 2016

Links - January 14th, 2016

Links - January 11th, 2016

Aaaaand, we’re back…

Links - December 22nd, 2015

Links - December 21st, 2015

Links - December 18th, 2015

Links - December 17th, 2015

Links - December 16th, 2015

Links - December 15th, 2015

I have not actually read Feinstein’s whole paper, but the abstract makes it seem like an amazing read:

In this paper we study the financial repercussions of the destruction of two fully armed and operational moon-sized battle stations (“Death Stars”) in a 4-year period and the dissolution of the galactic government in Star Wars. The emphasis of this work is to calibrate and simulate a model of the banking and financial systems within the galaxy. Along these lines, we measure the level of systemic risk that may have been generated by the death of Emperor Palpatine and the destruction of the second Death Star. We conclude by finding the economic resources the Rebel Alliance would need to have in reserve in order to prevent a financial crisis from gripping the galaxy through an optimally allocated banking bailout.

Mind. Blown.

Links - December 14th, 2015

Links - December 11th, 2015

Well, I finished the first season of Startup, and then, I got bored… Take note Alex Blumberg! The reasons why I was enjoying it so much were the SV outsider tone, the feeling of surprise when lingo had to be explained, and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that I listened to a whole season of Reply All before I started with StartUp. To me, Gimlet is just a more interesting business to learn about than Dating Ring (sorry matchmaker aficionados).

Now, since I always NeedMoreContent™, I started a class on coursera and it has been awesome to learn about the low level pieces that make up a computer. It’s been less than a week since I started, and I am already halfway through week 4 of the course. The class is aimed at people with 0 engineering background, and I would definitely recommend it if you are interested in computing.

Links - December 1st, 2015

I have been listening to Startup the past couple of days, so I have not been reading that much lately. It provides a view of the tech and startup world from an outsider’s perspective, and when discussing concepts that I take as general knowledge it constantly makes me think “Wait, most people don’t know that?”

If you have not listened to it, you should.

Links - November 30, 2015

Took a break for thanksgiving. Read a lot. Choosing was hard. This week’s winner seems to be Noah Smith.

Links - November 20, 2015

Links - November 18, 2015

Links - November 17, 2015

Links - November 16, 2015

Links - November 13, 2015

Links - November 10, 2015

Links - November 09, 2015

Links - November 05, 2015

Links - November 04, 2015

Links - November 03, 2015

Links - November 02, 2015

Links - October 29, 2015

Links - October 28, 2015

Several comments today:

First, if you are reading the AVC posts, make sure to read them together. I think the analogy is flawed, but the underlying idea of “collecting the economic surplus of a revolution” is spot on.

Second, I’d like to thank my friend Yoav for pointing out Sapiens. I had skipped the EconTalk episode until he called it the best book he’s ever read. I trust his recommendations, even though he doesn’t trust mine.

Lastly, Politico’s website is kind of annoying, but their article about transportation-oriented development in Evanston was super interesting.

Having lived there for a good chunk of my life, I can tell first hand that Evanston doesn’t feel like a suburb. In fact, when discussing this article, I said “Evanston is actually part of the city, it is basically Chicago” and the response I got was “the fact that you think so means that the policy was successful.”

Guess so.

Links - October 27, 2015

Links - October 26, 2015

Links - October 23, 2015

Links - October 22, 2015

Links - October 21, 2015

Links - October 20, 2015

Links - October 19, 2015

Links - October 15, 2015

Links - October 14, 2015

Links - October 13th, 2015

It’s not that there were no interesting things to read on the internet this past week, its that I was lazy and have not posted them.

Here’s another catchup post.

Links - October 7th, 2015

Links - October 5th, 2015

Links - October 1st, 2015

Links - September 30th, 2015

Today I discovered an amazing LinkedIn feature that I did not know existed. It is called “Connections In The News”.

With the subject “News about Aaron Dallek” sitting in my inbox, LinkedIn’s email really intrigued me. Clicking through took me to a New York Times article about Opternative, the startup where I used to work, and where Aaron is CEO. Quite simply, LinkedIn parsed Aaron’s name from the piece, and notified me that one of my contacts was mentioned in it. How the software distinguishes between various people named John Smith, or whether it tries at all, is unclear to me, but the feature provided me with a pleasant surprise.

Links - September 29th, 2015

Links - September 28th, 2015

My apoligies for the lack of links on Friday. Hopefully today’s set makes up for that.

Links - September 24th, 2015

Links - September 23rd, 2015

I am amazed by the fact that Caltrain ridership tracks the Nasdaq. This is the kind of relationship that I would never think about on my own, but once I read it, it clicked and makes perfect sense. I wonder if similar correlations can be found for other cities and their public transit.

Links - September 22nd, 2015

Links - September 21st, 2015

I can’t recommend Gopnik’s article enough. It is a really interesting read about history, faith, and human life. If you read any online article today, this should be it.

Links - September 18th, 2015

Links - September 17th, 2015

I started a new book this week, which means my time has shifted from online consumption to staring at dead trees. More on that soon.

Links - September 16th, 2015

Links - September 15th, 2015

Links - September 14th, 2015

Links - September 11th, 2015

Links - September 10th, 2015

Links - September 9th, 2015

Links - September 8th, 2015

Links - September 7th, 2015

I spent most of last week moving to my new apartment in San Francisco, which meant I had no time to post links.

Here’s a big list to make up for a lost week:

Links - August 31, 2015

Links - August 28, 2015

Links - August 27, 2015

Links - August 26, 2015

Links - August 25, 2015

Links - August 24, 2015

Links - August 20, 2015

Links - August 19, 2015

Links - August 18, 2015

Links - August 17, 2015

Links - August 16, 2015

Links - August 15, 2015

Links - August 12, 2015

Links - August 11, 2015

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