Links - June 24, 2020
- NYT Is Threatening My Safety By Revealing My Real Name, So I Am Deleting The Blog Scott Alexander - Slate Star Codex
There is real value to pseudonimity, and Slate Star Codex is one of those treasured corners of the internet that wouldn’t exist without it. There are times when the value created for society by exposing personal information can eclipse personal losses. Not knowing the details behind how the NYT makes decisions about anonimity, nor what this story was actually supposed to be about in the first place, this doesn’t seem to be one of those times. The essay above clearly lays out a good set of reasons why Alexander should remain pseudonymous. Unsurprisingly, the author makes a good case for himself. I’m not more than an occasional SSC reader, but there’s been a lot of noise about this incident in my circles online recently, and it’s hard to see how the NYT could justify this. Now the onus is on the NYT to decide whether whatever story they were planning to write is actually worth publishing, outweighing the logic presented by Alexander and backed by a wide array of very-online-people.
- Living in own ideology Branko Milanovic - globalinequality
Sometimes it’s hard to realize how much we’re shaped by our own environment, and how we seldom question why we think the way we do - what the hell is water, etc, etc. Using examples from his youth in Yugoslavia, his time at the World Bank, and the moment in history we’re living now, Milanovic tries to explain that ideology is invisble. We assume it to be obvious, and call it “common sense,” brushing it away.
- The most remarkable product engineering over time in history. Steven Sinofsky - Twitter
In which Sinofsky, a long time Microsoft executive, explains what in his eyes is special about Apple in the context of the recent WWDC announcements.
- Wiener Schnitzel vs Cotoletta alla Milanese The Heart Thrills
Food history, particularly as it pertains to the dishes that are usually associated with a specific group of people, or a country, is a fascinating field of study. After tweeting about making my mom’s milanesas, and how the recipe was originally an import into Latin America that came with my German grandma, my friend Raffaele Colella pointed me to this piece on the origins of the dish.
- The Death of Engagement Orville Schell - The Wire China
Great weekend long read, on “…two countries that are no longer divided just by trade issues, but by a far wider set of discontinuities and contradictions that are made more irreconcilable by our two opposing political systems and value sets.” Set aside an hour if you want to read this, because every couple of sentences can send you through a different Wikipedia rabbit hole.
- Yuppie Fishtanks: YIMBYism explained without "supply and demand" Noah Smith - Noahpinion
This piece came up a few months ago while talking to one of my coworkers about San Francisco housing. For some reason San Francisco progressives (aka, conservatives) are allergic to the basic notion of supply and demand. Here, Noah explains a few reasons why the YIMBY solution should go beyond just “build more market rate housing.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t quite stop himself short of using supply and demand in his explanation.
- Antifragility Alex Danco
I wish this article used something other than COVID to explain such an interesting concept, and I also wish it didn’t end on such an unfounded navel-gazing note, but Danco does a great job of explaining antifragility, so here we are. I first read Taleb’s book on this topic back in 2013, and I think it’s due for a re-read.
- Say goodbye to the information age: it’s all about reputation now Gloria Origgi - Aeon
An essay on similar ideas to Ben Thompson’s recent pieces on zero trust information but perhaps more grounded in theory. Towards the end, the author quotes Hayek, saying that “civilisation rests on the fact that we all benefit from knowledge which we do not possess.” Today, having the capacity to figure out which knowledge comes from a trustworthy source and which doesn’t is more important than ever.
- Why Indian companies should take on different projects than competing Valley companies - an application of Cobb-Douglas Chris Stucchio
I probably learned about the Cobb-Douglas model a couple of lectures into my economics degree. In one short essay, Stucchio explained more about why it matters than any of my micro professors did.
- The End of OS X Ben Thompson - Stratechery
A bit of history. Now that we’re finally on macOS 11.0, let’s look at the operating system’s roots and heritage, to predict where it could be going.