A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: August, 2019

Read : 2019-08-29

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The corrupting of democracy” (The Economist, 2019-08-29). How many times have you heard those around you, even politicians, dismiss or call into question the entire political system, especially when it produces results they don’t like?

    [T]oo much cynicism undermines legitimacy.

  2. OpenAI has released the largest version yet of its fake-news-spewing AI“, by Karen Hao (MIT Technology Review, 2019-08-29). What shocked me most was what the “great example” of AI-generated fake news reveals about human-generated real politics: Perhaps the fake political speech is convincing, because most real political speeches are so devoid of meaningful content. Of course, this was well recognized by “The Simpsons” (Season 8, Episode 1, “Treehouse of Horror VII : Citizen Kang“) over two decades ago…
  3. Release strategies and the social impacts of language models“, by Irene Solaiman et al. (arXiv, 2019-08-24). Report by the OpenAI researchers regarding their “staged-release” of their GPT-2 language model.
  4. Google shocks Huawei: New Mate 30 will launch without Android software and services“, by Zak Doffman (Forbes, 2019-08-28). Another casualty of the trade war.

Read : 2019-08-28

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. How China uses LinkedIn to recruit spies abroad“, by Edward Wong (NY Times, 2019-08-28).
  2. “, by Tangotiger (Game theory: SaberSeminar presentation by Straight Arrow reader Vicente). Video of the presentation (9m18s) on YouTube.

Read : 2019-08-27

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. FMIA: Andrew Luck, the Colts and the retirement that rocked the NFL’s world“, by Peter King (Pro Football Talk, 2019-08-26).
  2. Emil Zápotek” ( Arrived here via a Zápotek biography “Today we die a little” referenced in this tweet on Luck’s retirement and the above article.
  3. How to quit a toxic interrupting habit“, by Kristin Wong (Forge, 2019-07-30). The article cuts to the heart of the matter — “[o]ften, when someone else is speaking, we’re not listening so much as waiting for our turn” — then gives actionable advice (listen to understand, keep a pulse on your breathing, practice reflective listening, reign in your ego).

Read : 2019-08-26

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Why six hours of sleep is as bad as none at all“, by Jill Duffy (Fast Company, 2019-03-07). An article exploring this sleep study from 2003.

Read : 2019-08-25

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What companies are for” (The Economist, 2019-08-22). The article raises relevant issues — businesses may not be best suited to addressing and solving all social problems, what is a social goal is not always obvious, the trade-off between stabilizing the status quo and upsetting it — but, in my opinion, misses the mark in analyzing each. If business is not well suited to addressing social problems, and government is gridlocked, what is the answer? (E.g., strengthening local governments at the expense of national ones, ceding more control to individuals and communities rather than to federal entities, etc.) If businesses ought not to pursue certain social goals for lack of information or conflict of interests, could this lack or conflict be addressed? (Let’s be real: Firms already pursue certain social goals behind the scenes, by dint of the products they produce or the lobbying they fund.) Why would corporate activism endanger dynamism? Because of “sheltering” by government? If we as society demand no such sheltering be allowed, would that solve the problem? It seems the bigger danger of corporate activism is it gives an outsize influence (in terms of power and money) to majority interests: Businesses may adopt majority values and goals in the interest of future business. Is majority rule always the best way to solve social problems? (I can think of several examples that suggest, if not prove, the answer to this question is “No”.)
  2. How life became an endless, terrible competition“, by Daniel Markovits (The Atlantic, 2019-09).
  3. Blame economists for the mess we’re in“, by Binyamin Appelbaum (NY Times, 2019-08-25). Appelbaum offers a scapegoat and sacrificial lamb for society’s current problems: Economists.
  4. AI reveals how ‘Old town road’ became the biggest song ever“, by Courtney Linder (Popular Mechanics, 2019-08-15).
  5. In the ultimate power move, Taylor Swift will rerecord — and own — her old albums“, by Michelle Ruiz (Vogue, 2019-08-22). Concerns over the journalist’s highlighting of power aside (I guess all issues come down to a power struggle, in the end, but is it human destiny to continue them, find better ways of resolving them, or something else?), doesn’t it make sense that artists should own their work? Kudos to T-Swift for pursuing what she believes in.

Read : 2019-08-24

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. How to write email with military precision“, by Kabir Sehgal (Harvard Business Review, 2016-11-22).
  2. Taylor Swift on sexism, scrutiny, and standing up for herself“, by Abby Aguirre (Vogue, 2019-08-08).

Read : 2019-08-23

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The next trick for CRISPR is gene-editing pain away“, by Antonio Regalado (MIT Technology Review, 2019-08-22).
  2. Terry Crews on being dead broke, his career turning point, and the mindset shift that fuels his success“, by Jenna Goudreau (CNBC, 2019-02-13). Accepting responsibility (though Crews’s “any time” is too extreme), doing what it takes, distinguishing money from “equity and honor”, turning goals into habits into you, finding someone you respect to tell you the truth, believing that “[y]ou don’t have to prove anything to anybody”.
  3. Huawei shows the Chinese internet will win“, by Michael K. Spencer (Medium, 2019-05-20).

Read : 2019-08-21

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Investors have a fast growth stock staring them square in the eye“, by Michael Henage (Seeking Alpha, 2019-08-21).

Read : 2019-08-20

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Eligible“, by Sarah Lyall (NY Times, 2016-04-25). Book review of a Jane Austen “update” by Curtis Sittenfeld.
  2. Great movies“, by Roger Ebert (

Read : 2019-08-16

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What’s the deal with that inverted yield curve? A sports analogy might help“, by Neil Irwin (NY Times, 2019-08-15).
  2. Many democrats love Elizabeth Warren. They also worry about her.“, by Jonathan Martin (NY Times, 2019-08-15). The article highlights a shocking degree of prejudice and pragmatism in the American electorate.
  3. How world leaders ruined the global economy“, by Steven Rattner (NY Times, 2019-08-15). Technocratic sentiment, through and through, but this quote rings true:

    Any chief executive officer who botched his or her job as badly as most of these leaders have would be fired.