Thursday, April 15th, 2021
If you want to feel like Western society is convulsing, there’s an app for that.
Ross Douthat, The Decadent Society
Monday, April 12th, 2021
Sunday, April 11th, 2021
Friday, April 9th, 2021
Israel’s INSS thinktank believes it’s time to more firmly oppose Assad’s Syria. Israel’s mostly hands-off approach towards this horrendous conflict on her borders may well go down in history as the main stain on Netanyahu’s record. Yet if Israel could have tipped the scales of civil war at some point to get rid of Assad, would things have been any better? We know from other interventions, eg Libya, the vacuum and chaos that would most likely have ensued. Very hard.
Thursday, April 8th, 2021
Apple’s new Find My service for 3rd-party products seems very cool. It leverages all the installed Apple devices around the world, kind of like a land-based GPS.
Wix is a tawdry Israeli success story. Wix’s dirty trix (by Matt Mullenweg, to be fair, the creator of WordPress).
Saturday, April 3rd, 2021
China bails out Iran with $400b deal as part of a Turkish-Iranian-Pakistani alliance, explains house favorite David P. Goldman.
Friday, April 2nd, 2021
Thursday, April 1st, 2021
In his Telegraph column, the invaluable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard lays it out that the UK has actually handled Covid pretty well:
We can see in hindsight that the UK began the war on Covid much as it has begun almost every major war over recent centuries: half asleep, in utter shambles, with obsolete contingency plans. The first wave had echoes of the Norway campaign in 1940, or the great retreat of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914. It always seems to take time for Britons to pull themselves together. Ultimately they do. By the end of the First World War, the British armed forces were arguably the best-run logistical machine on the planet.
Monday, March 29th, 2021
Strong medicine, this, and brave of Tablet to publish it. Dubbing deplorables as The Smiths, Angelo M. Codevilla beseeches regular Americans to simply disengage from the new American oligarchy.
And in the same publication, a transcription of an interview with the caustic political philosopher, The Codevilla Tapes.
Thursday, March 11th, 2021
By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s effect on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.
Monday, March 8th, 2021
Cool — 10 upcoming skyscrapers. Interestingly, most of them seem to be in Toronto. I love the Zaha Hadid one, if that ever gets built.
Saturday, March 6th, 2021
Cal Newport takes on GTD in the run-up to his new book against email as the world’s abysmal task management system.
The piece does start like a Tad Friend-esque hatchet job on Merlin Mann but that’s just a way to appeal to your squalid New Yorker reader.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
Thursday, February 18th, 2021
Monday, February 15th, 2021
Meaningless repetition of another person’s spoken words as a symptom of psychiatric disorder
The politicians are engaged in endless echolalia. The governor here (cum-Secretary of Commerce) actually had the chutzpah to say, “I know you’re all unhappy with the speed of vaccination, but our strategy is working.”
Friday, February 5th, 2021
In a sign of the times of economic inequality in America, Cheap RV Living by Bob Wells, a long-time VanDweller, is increasingly relevant.
Wednesday, January 27th, 2021
Tuesday, January 26th, 2021
A survey of American research on minimum wage by David Neumark & Peter Shirley at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Sunday, January 24th, 2021
Thursday, January 21st, 2021
Tuesday, January 19th, 2021
Nice backgrounder at Stat News on the history of mRNA vaccines.
Saturday, January 9th, 2021
A great grounds-eye view of the upset in Washington DC, “What I Saw at the Capitol Riot” by Declan Leary in The American Conservative.
To my left I hear “We don’t need Gitmo,” and I’m not quite sure what’s meant by it. From the same general area comes “I’ll donate a vaccination—.223 hollow point.” A little less ambiguous. Somebody with a megaphone is in the middle of a speech: “If you stand for nothing, you gotta stand for something.” Close enough. A young woman with a bullhorn of her own lets out a lone motherfucker. An older man looks at me with a smile and asks if she kisses her mother with that mouth. A few seconds later the same voice drones at nobody in particular: Pussy, pussyyyyy, pussy, pusssaaaaaaayyyyyy.
Tuesday, January 5th, 2021
Friday, January 1st, 2021
Friday, December 25th, 2020
Thursday, December 24th, 2020
The Basecamp fellows have released a new web development paradigm, Hotwire. I don’t quite get it, but with their pedigree and skill as the makers of Ruby on Rails, this could be big.
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020
This lengthy interview with Secretary-General Sayyid Nasrallah may be useful for insight into Hezbollah’s perspectives. There are some bizarre connections, such as the notion that Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 because of deep concern regarding Iran’s “liberation of Khorramshahr” in the Iran-Iraq War.
Monday, December 21st, 2020
High Output Management
Andrew S. Grove
In his careful, cogent and memorable take on effective management, Silicon Valley founding father Andy Grove places a surprising emphasis on meetings; he has the temerity to take issue with — or at least, refine — Peter Drucker’s admonition that they’re a waste of time. Grove’s issue: meetings are the very medium of management; his refinement: that there are actually two major types of meeting, routine and ad hoc, and it’s where there’s a profusion of the latter that something’s amiss.
This erstwhile CEO of Intel notes that while most management books are targeted either at the very top or the very bottom — at the CEO or at those who directly manage frontline workers — the majority of managers manage other managers, and it’s for them he mostly writes, the middle managers.
The book has the authority of someone eager to share lessons from his own extensive experience — indeed he seems to have always worked with one eye towards gaining such knowledge, in no small part because being able to convey what one knows ensures that one actually understands it; that is, managers should also write and teach.
Grove defines the aim of management as increasing the productivity of subordinates, which can be achieved in only two ways: by improving their skills and by improving their motivation. Skills are improved by training, which the manager should undertake himself, considering it not busywork but an opportunity to solidify his own understanding and role-model corporate behavior. Motivation meanwhile is improved best via one-on-one performance reviews. These measures for corporate success are bracingly clear and specific — both the reasoning behind them and how to undertake them.
A refugee from Nazi Europe, Grove may be a legend yet the book is suffused with a democratic humility, a great American sense that success can be approached by all as an engineering problem. A book among books.
PS — A high testament: I actually remembered all these points without reopening High Output Management. I don’t think that’s ever happened before.
Wednesday, December 16th, 2020
The architect would surely be pleased that there is once again a Frank Lloyd Wright hotel in Japan — though he’d probably say: Just the one? (Actually it’s not by Wright but Arata Endo, who seems a tasteful and disciplined disciple.)
The first lab-grown chicken meat will be served at a Singapore restaurant this weekend!
Good old Speccie:
For Britain, there are many lessons to be learned from the IDF, a democratic military machine that relies heavily on technology to engage enemies on various fronts and in diverse contexts.
This from “Britain is right to pursue closer military ties to Israel” by Jake Wallis Simons. I had not known that the source of Israel’s tip-off regarding Syria’s North Korean nuclear reactor was a British spy.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2020
Monday, December 14th, 2020
Dave Rupert does a nice job (April 2018) listing the pitfalls of card UIs. I’m beginning to think though that for Rupert, a long list of drawbacks is throat-clearing for “I’m going ahead with this.”
Friday, December 11th, 2020
I’ve been surprised and disappointed by just how many people are hesitant to take up the COVID-19 vaccines now coming online. In this concerned Nautilus article “How to Build Trust in Covid-19 Vaccines”, the authors take on the issue with sober good sense, eg:
Mandatory vaccination policies should be avoided because they could backfire. More acceptable would be tying vaccination status to travel or access to public places.
Thursday, December 10th, 2020
Monday, November 30th, 2020