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.

A year and a half worth of Links

A year and a half worth of Links

It’s been a while since the last one of these, so here I am, dropping ~200 links on you, hoping that at least one or two seem interesting. It’s a very non-exhaustive list of interesting stuff I’ve read/listened to since early 2019, but I tried to focus on evergreen content. Continue reading...

I got 99 problems, but that's better than one

I got 99 problems, but that's better than one

Breaking up big problems into a series of smaller independent tasks is one of the most valuable skills in project management. Continue reading...

Crossing the Bridge

Crossing the Bridge

For Memorial Day weekend, we went on a hike that made it up for months of being locked down in our apartment. Hannah and I walked all the way from our apartment in the Mission to Kirby Cove and back, picking up our friend Nikhil a few miles in, near the Haight. Without thinking too much about it, we ended up doing a 21 mile day.

My feet hated me for it. More...

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