Author Archives: autolink

What Makes This Song Great? Ep.27 Peter Gabriel

What Makes This Song Great? Ep.27 Peter Gabriel October 17, 2019 at 08:55PM

Tolerance of outsiders is also a human instinct

Tolerance of outsiders is also a human instinct “Like many social animals, including several primate species, and also dolphins and elephants, we humans live in what are known as ‘fission-fusion’ societies – our allegiances are flexible; there is a fluidity in the size of groups into which we coalesce; and the boundaries between our groups […]

What is a Tech Company?

What is a Tech Company? “Note the centrality of software in all of these characteristics: Software creates ecosystems. Software has zero marginal costs. Software improves over time. Software offers infinite leverage. Software enables zero transaction costs. The question of whether companies are tech companies, then, depends on how much of their business is governed by […]

Maybe Your Zoloft Stopped Working Because A Liver Fluke Tried To Turn Your Nth-Great-Grandmother Into A Zombie

Maybe Your Zoloft Stopped Working Because A Liver Fluke Tried To Turn Your Nth-Great-Grandmother Into A Zombie “Throughout evolutionary history, parasites have been trying to manipulate host behavior and hosts have been trying to avoid manipulation, resulting in an eons-long arms race. The equilibrium is what we see today: parasite manipulation is common in insects, […]

The soccer stadium designed to be rebuilt every year

The soccer stadium designed to be rebuilt every year “Instead of cratering their downtown for an underground parking garage and pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the ground in the form of flashy, quickly-outdated amenities, the Wanderers built their Grounds with a much more humble plan in mind. They started with simple shipping containers […]

Talk to Transformer

Talk to Transformer “In February, OpenAI unveiled a language model called GPT-2 that generates coherent paragraphs of text one word at a time. For now OpenAI has decided only to release three smaller versions of it which aren’t as coherent but still produce interesting results. This site runs the largest released model, 774M, which is […]

How ergodicity reimagines economics for the benefit of us all

How ergodicity reimagines economics for the benefit of us all “Expected utility theory has become so familiar to experts in economics, finance and risk-management in general that most see it as the obvious method of reasoning. Many see no alternatives. But that’s a mistake. This inspired LML efforts to rewrite the foundations of economic theory, […]

Book Review: Secular Cycles

Book Review: Secular Cycles “If history is just “one damn thing after another”, there’s no framework for figuring out what matters, what’s worth learning, what follows what else. The secular cycle idea creates a structure that everything fits into neatly. I know that the Plantagenet Dynasty lasted from 1154 – 1485, because it had to, […]

A New Clue to How Life Originated

A New Clue to How Life Originated “It means that two of the essential components of life, a protocell’s membrane and its proteins, provided the conditions for each other to exist. By sticking to the fatty acids, the amino acids gave them stability. In turn, the fatty acids concentrated the amino acids, perhaps encouraging them […]

Peter Thiel’s Religion

Peter Thiel’s Religion “Moreover, cathedrals can only be built with scientific knowledge and communal support. They require scientists, mathematicians, engineers, craftsmen, and artists. And all of them need a long time horizon. Long time horizons aren’t just psychological. They’re cultural. Modern society suffers from temporal exhaustion. Or as, sociologist Elise Boulding once said: “If one […]

Notes from a nameless conference

Notes from a nameless conference “The industrial elites have lost their way. In every major profession and institution, they once commanded vast, widely-admired projects that filled their lives with meaning and endowed the entire class with an unconquerable confidence. But the twentieth century couldn’t be preserved forever, like a bug in amber. The elites now […]

Book Review: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Book Review: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test “Everyone had a movie. The cops had a cop movie, businessmen had a businessman movie, trauma victims had trauma victim movies. Everyone was just reading their script, doing what was expected of them. But with enough enlightenment (realistically: drugs), you could break out of other people’s movies – […]

The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream

The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream “Hearing stories of the American dream as a boy in New Delhi, Chetty adopted the faith. When he became a scientist, he discerned the truth. What remains is contradiction: We must believe in the dream and we must accept that it is false—then, perhaps, we will be […]

In Defense of Nationalism: Notes on Yoram Hazony and His Critics

In Defense of Nationalism: Notes on Yoram Hazony and His Critics “Hazony wants to shift our attention from questions about the conditions of legitimacy for a political order, which have dominated Western debates since Locke, to the conditions for sustaining a political order, the conditions that ensure that individuals see themselves as part of a […]

Coffee, Magic and the ineffable joy of Hunter Pence

Coffee, Magic and the ineffable joy of Hunter Pence ($) ““I can’t really control what others think of me, I can only offer love,” Pence says. “I can only control what I offer to others, and what I offer to the game. So I have a mindset that like I always offer love, regardless of […]

What the Burnaby Mountain Gondola Teaches us about Loss

What the Burnaby Mountain Gondola Teaches us about Loss “The working theory amongst city builders whenever a group of NIMBYs pipe up about any given development in an urban environment is that people simply don’t like change. That’s nonsense. People love change. If you get a sought-after job, a new girlfriend/boyfriend, a first car or […]

Whose advice should you take?

Whose advice should you take? “Rather than seeking out the general wisdom of our elders and superiors about the way things are, we should have a view of things that is probabilistic, about the way things are right now. We should evaluate it fairly constantly, and keep updating it. Finance advice is simple and fairly […]

Moral intuition vs. tradition

Moral intuition vs. tradition “Moral intuition is largely grounded in sub-Dunbar society. Our intuition tells us what is fair and just in a small tribe doing simple tasks. Tradition is how we were able to achieve cooperation at scale and complexity. We gradually evolved cultural norms and institutions that allow millions of people to cooperate […]

Book Review: The Secret Of Our Success

Book Review: The Secret Of Our Success “To start the ritual, the shoulder blade was heated over hot coals in a way that caused patterns of cracks and burnt spots to form. This patterning was then read as a kind of map, which was held in a pre-specified orientation. The cracking patterns were (probably) essentially […]

Social Status: Down the Rabbit Hole

Social Status: Down the Rabbit Hole “The beginning of wisdom about social status is learning to distinguish its two (and only two) primary forms: dominance and prestige. These are, as one research paper puts it, the “two ways to the top.” If dominance is the kind of status we get from intimidating others, prestige is […]