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.



So it’s a bit over a year since I wrote about writing. Has anything changed? Well, yes. I initially thought I’d be sharing many more blog posts about my own thoughts, but for some reason those all end up in half-baked Google docs. Hitting publish is hard. It is much easier to write one or two lines of commentary on someone else’s writing, than to produce any essay worth sharing. But there is a gray area right next to content creation: Continue reading...



Hannah’s grandma was in town this weekend and we drove up to Napa. The art, the wine, the landscapes, and the food, were all wonderful. We enjoyed our time there. More...

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.



I spent this past weekend in New York. Each time I have visited the city, I have come back with more respect for it. I’d love to have more time to explore it in the future. More...

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