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This week I talked to Robin Hanson about signaling, hidden motives artificial life, UFOs and the role of Universities.
Plans for $400-billion new city in the American desert unveiled. There is infatuation with space lately, but I think the coolest project a billionaire can do is create a new city which would be great to live in. The idea of a desert location seems wrongheaded to me — isn’t it going to create a big complication around getting enough water? There's a lot of sparsely populated land in, say, Pennsylvania or upstate New York that seem better candidates for sure. Places with adequate rainfall and few weather threats, plus well-suited to benefit from global warming because they're not already too hot.
This is a great video on speed limits and how you can accomplish a safer and more efficient road by focusing on design rather than just posted signs. Changing the environment will change the behavior of the driver.
Branko Milanovic tries to compare historical wealth to today’s wealth. Was Croesus richer than Jeff Bezos?
This guy uploaded a video of him dropping a basketball from a dam entitled "Strange Applications of the Magnus Effect" and got practically no views, then somebody re-uploaded it with the title "Basketball Dropped from Dam" and got tens of millions of views. He decided to dig deep into how to make a viral video to grab the attention of people, including how powerful the youtube algorithm is.
This is very interesting (and looked at mice and humans). Skin exposure to UV light induces a skin-brain-gonad axis and sexual behavior.
The problem with book reviews is they are not written for the reader. They are written for the editor.
Companies have tried to solve the problem of car deaths for a long time. The 1930s saw the introduction of a particularly novel solution: the pedestrian catcher. Cars with sloped fronts designed to reduce wind-drag, but had the beneficial effect of being less lethal to pedestrians. They would roll up the hood instead of being crushed by the grill. And until the ubiquitous rise of the SUV, most cars did this - break legs - rather than smash heads.
This footage from the New York floods reminded me of when I lived in a basement apartment for a year. It was terrible. Low ceiling. No natural light. Hearing footsteps from the floor above. Not a fun year.
Noah Smith goes over the arguments for why People are realizing that degrowth is bad. I would replace solar with nuclear. A lot of degrowth activists are fond of solar energy precisely because it helps degrowth: no sun=no electricity.
David Hockney argues medieval artists after 1400, like Caravaggio, were essentially photographers. Using a device called Camera Obscura
Women are outnumbering men in college and the trend is going to get worse over the next decade.Many colleges use affirmative action for men to boost male enrollment to achieve more gender-balance. The article says:"Some selective colleges discriminate against women in admissions to maintain a gender balance, as The Journal reported. Generally, admissions officials prefer to limit the disparity to 55 percent female and 45 percent male."
Finite games are everywhere. They are those activities, in which the participant are bound by rules and regulations, and there are clear winners and losers at the end. These games are finite because the goal of the players is victory; they definitely keep score. It’s golf, Monopoly, Call of Duty or tennis. There are strict regulations in finite games. The games ends once someone wins or loses.
The infinite game, in contrast, is more like sandlot baseball: it’s a pursuit in which the only goal is to keep playing. White finite games have fixed rules, the players in infinite games often bend their rules to keep going. The play isn’t a means to an end. The play is the means and the end.
The beauty of infinite games, whether its players in a democracy or the process of evolution. Games played for the sake of playing are the best kind and they can bring out the best in their players.
Infinite games explain the endurance of culture, religion or art. You may see Hamlet once and think you get it, but then you see it again and you realize you didn’t get it or got it wrong. So you keep returning, you keep playing.
Certain texts are not composed with clear takeaways. The meaning of certain texts are mercurial and unstable.