Berlin in 1945 | Kottke
Seven minutes of color film footage of Berlin in 1945, right after the end of World War II. Lots of bombed out buildings, soldiers, bicycles, rebuilding, and people going about their daily business.
Towards an Enlightened Centrism | Richard Hanania’s Newsletter
I’ve wondered why I enjoy Hanania so much, despite disagreeing with him about so much (and always feeling a bit sheepish including his stuff in Links); he belongs to a particular tribe of thinkers that he describes well here:
That being said, I noticed that there was a group of writers who came to the correct position throughout the pandemic, and they crossed the right-left divide. […]
Yet I’ve seen strikingly little analysis of what these individuals do have in common, if it wasn’t a conventional political ideology or orientation.
I would propose that we call them “Enlightened Centrists” (EC). In politics, we usually think of a centrist as someone who is a moderate on most issues, like say Joe Manchin. That’s not the way I use the term here. In this context, a centrist is simply someone who has a constellation of views that don’t completely line up with either the right or the left. This centrism is “enlightened” based on certain traits, listed below, that such individuals share that I think make for sound political and social analysis.
Here...comes...INDIA!!! | Noahpinion
India’s economic rise tends to get overshadowed by China’s. There are a number of reasons for this, but the simplest one is that India started its period of rapid growth about 10 years later, and has grown at around 7% rather than the 10% that China mustered for decades. But that 7% growth adds up, and in terms of living standards, India as of 2019 was about where China was 12 years earlier, on the eve of the global financial crisis […]
With production costs no longer low in China and geopolitical risk rising, multinational companies are going to be looking for alternative places to put their factories and offices. And those alternatives are likely to be in other parts of Asia, rather than in Latin America or Africa or elsewhere, in order to be close to existing supply chains and manufacturing expertise and sources of capital. And India is really the only other part of Asia whose sheer scale has any hope of matching that of China. […]
A billion new customers. Fifteen years ago, those were the words that made Western managers and executives drool over the opportunity to invest in China, and it’s a big part of the reason why companies stay there. Now India represents an equally big opportunity.
Equally big, or maybe even bigger. Unlike China, India doesn’t mount a massive government campaign to copy (or steal) the technology of multinational companies that invest there, then transfer that technology to state-supported domestic champions. And although India has plenty of regulation, it doesn’t have China-like arbitrary state control that reaches into every economic sector in ways that are difficult for multinational companies to anticipate.
Life Universe | Oimo
Infinitely zoomable Game of Life with speed control. Very cool. (In case you’ve not come across the Game of Life before: Wikipedia link)
My Transplanted Heart and I Will Die Soon | New York Times
Today, I will explain to my healthy transplanted heart why, in what may be a matter of days or weeks at best, she — well, we — will die.
I slide my hand across my chest and speak aloud, palm to my heart’s crisp beating. “I’m so sorry, sweet girl.” She is not used to hearing me this way, outside my head, beyond the body we share. Up until now, the understanding between us has been internal. Like on our daily runs, when my ’70s yacht rock playlist propels each stride; this heart from a 13-year-old donor revolts in my body with thumps of Oh puh-lease — and we giggle together, picking up our pace to sprinting.
“She was an athlete,” the doctor told me after a surgeon removed my failing heart (the first transplanted one — yes, I’ve had two) and sewed this second beauty beneath my breastbone. Three weeks later, at my high school track I began the trial-and-error process of figuring out how to defy the uncomfortable staccato of her adrenaline-fueled pulse — a consequence of the permanently severed nerves that cannot regrow to full electrical function inside a recipient’s chest. The idea to run with my new donor heart stemmed from the lessons of my previous one that taught me the importance of mastering maximum heart rate sensations early on.
16 little UI design rules that make a big impact | UX Planet
A UI design case study to redesign an example user interface using logical rules or guidelines
Will there be a Millennial Big Chill? | Noahpinion
The standard story goes something like this: Educated Millennials (Americans born in the 80s and 90s) graduated into the Great Recession, putting a permanent scar on their earning power. At the same time, they took out record amounts of student debt to pay record high tuition, even as the college wage premium was shrinking. And at the same time, high housing prices kept Millennials out of the market, preventing them from getting on the same wealth escalator that made the Boomers rich. As a result, Millennials own far less of the nation’s wealth than the Boomers or Gen Xers did at a similar age. As a result, the Millennials rejected capitalism and embraced socialism, leading to the unrest of the 2010s. And if we don’t (make college free/ cancel student debt/ nationalize health care/ overthrow capitalism/ abolish billionaires/ whatever), then we’re headed straight for Revolution.
There were always some noticeable problems with this story. […]
The econ blogger Jeremy Horpendahl has been pointing this out for a few years now. He shows that that if you look at actual wealth per capita, instead of generational shares, Millennials are building wealth at the same rate their predecessors did
We Aren't Close To Creating A Rapidly Self-Improving AI | As Clay Awakens
The current paradigm will not lead to an overnight superintelligence explosion.
In Taiwan, Friends Are Starting to Turn Against Each Other | New York Times
A friend of mine in Taipei recently wrote a passionate Facebook post urging young people in Taiwan to prepare for war with China. The only way to respond to Chinese threats to seize the island was, he argued, with strength; anything else was a delusion. Despite being in his 60s, he vowed to take up arms if necessary.
It’s become a troublingly common sentiment in Taiwan, and I messaged him privately to say that strength should be only a part of Taiwan’s strategy, that our politicians and other public figures should show true courage by reaching out to China to somehow de-escalate. When a stronger bully threatens you, shouldn’t you first try to defuse the situation?
“Don’t be a capitulator,” he shot back.
That exchange, pitting friend against friend, is emblematic of the damage that China already is inflicting on Taiwan without a single shot having been fired.
The Mental Health Crisis Has Hit Millennials | After Babel
After my book iGen was published in 2017, I traveled the country giving talks about how smartphones and social media impacted the lives of Gen Z teens and young adults. But in city after city, I often got the same question: “Hasn’t this new technology affected all generations?”
That got me thinking. The traditional view of generations theorizes that experiencing major events (wars, terrorist attacks, economic recessions) at different ages causes generational differences. But technology – not just smartphones but washing machines, airplanes, modern medicine, and so on – have changed day-to-day life much more than events.
Tucker Carlson and the Age of Bad Feelings | Noahpinion
A lot of people are cheering about Tucker’s ouster, and I guess maybe I should be too. Yet I find that I don’t really care at all, because I see Tucker as nothing more than a symptom of the deep unhealed wounds in American society.
Why Are We So Afraid of Nuclear Power? | Mother Jones
Not a new message at all, but still worth repeating:
It’s greener than renewables and safer than fossil fuels—but facts be damned.
12 tentative ideas for US AI policy | Open Philanthropy
An interesting and well-considered list:
Software export controls. Control the export (to anyone) of “frontier AI models,” i.e. models with highly general capabilities over some threshold, or (more simply) models trained with a compute budget over some threshold (e.g. as much compute as $1 billion can buy today). This will help limit the proliferation of the models which probably pose the greatest risk. Also restrict API access in some ways, as API access can potentially be used to generate an optimized dataset sufficient to train a smaller model to reach performance similar to that of the larger model.
Require hardware security features on cutting-edge chips. Security features on chips can be leveraged for many useful compute governance purposes, e.g. to verify compliance with export controls and domestic regulations, monitor chip activity without leaking sensitive IP, limit usage (e.g. via interconnect limits), or even intervene in an emergency (e.g. remote shutdown). These functions can be achieved via firmware updates to already-deployed chips, though some features would be more tamper-resistant if implemented on the silicon itself in future chips.
Five Worlds of AI (a joint post with Boaz Barak) | Shtetl-Optimized
This is basically commentary on the diagram below.
Scans that are 64 million times clearer give a new look at the brain | New Atlas
Fifty years on from American chemist Pal Laterbur detailing the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scientists have marked this historic medical anniversary with the sharpest-ever scans of a mouse brain.
Welcome to the age of automated dating | Washington Post
Coyne Lloyd, a 35-year-old tech investor, was visiting his family in Upstate New York recently when he decided to set up some dates in the city. He fired up Hinge, his preferred dating app, and swiped on a few interesting women. After receiving a couple of matches, he turned, out of curiosity, to a new AI dating tool called Rizz to break the ice.
Painting iconic cartoon characters with precise brush strokes | Reddit
From the OddlySatisfying subreddit…this three-minute video was indeed oddly satisfying.
Polly Wants a Video Chat | New York Times
Parrots are popular pets, but they are highly intelligent creatures that need social connection and mental stimulation.
A team of scientists wondered whether technology might help provide it.
So they enrolled 18 parrots and their owners in an unusual experiment: Would the birds connect over video calls?
A Brief Compendium of Vintage Opium Underworlds | Messy Nessy
I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, so if you’re reluctant to step inside the world of 19th century junkies, I suggest you close the door and choose something a little lighter and brighter from our menu. I’m not quite sure how I ended up here myself, stockpiling antique photographs that have survived from the Opium Age and ended up on the internet. In my years of hunting and gathering in the far corners of the web, I’ve always been stopped in my tracks by these images because they seem like such rare and almost unreal insights into late 19th century society.
London Tube Network in the style of the NYC Subway map - Revision 1 | Reddit
Perhaps only interesting to residents of London and/or New York; as someone who’s spent nearly 15 years between them, I thought this was great.
Volcanic microbe eats CO2 ‘astonishingly quickly’, say scientists | The Guardian
Discovery of carbon-capturing organism in hot springs could lead to efficient way of absorbing climate-heating gas
Space Elevator | Neal.fun
I don’t know how to describe this. I guess it’s a fun illustration of what you might see on the way to space.
Japanese Buildings that are Shaped Like the Things They Sell | Spoon & Tamago
The other day we stumbled upon a building in Osaka that was shaped like a dachshund. As it turns out, it was a warehouse and distribution center for the Japanese pet food company DoggyMan, which made sense; what you see is what you get.
But it made us wonder: what other novelty architecture is there in Japan in which buildings are shaped like the things they sell?
The world's 25 most populated islands [OC] | Reddit
Cardboard Animal Sculptures | Kottke
Josh Gluckstein makes these remarkably detailed sculptures of animals out of cardboard and paper.
A Mosquito Factory?! | Marginal Revolution
A “mosquito factory” might sound like the last thing you’d ever want, but Brazil is constructing a facility capable of producing five billion mosquitoes annually. The twist? The factory will breed mosquitoes carrying a special bacteria that significantly reduces their ability to transmit viruses. As far as I can tell, however, the new mosquitoes still suck your blood.