Tuesday, January 1st, 2019
Chronicling from “below the API line”, as Venkatesh Rao calls it, are Austin Murphy with “I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon” in The Atlantic and Lauren Hough with “I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America” in The Huffington Post.
The depicted harshness of American work life for so many is terrible not just for those involved but for all. (Also these two share a prodigious unmet need to urinate on the job — is this the top new workplace tribulation?)
Monday, December 10th, 2018
The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success
This book seems like one for our times: a self-improvement topic given fresh life by being supported by social science data. There are sufficient surprising results — similar to say Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow — to warrant reading, despite, when stepping back and taking it on the whole, the thing feeling largely self-evident. But it is not, and probably deserves a reread.
Thursday, August 30th, 2018
“Breaking Smart” by Venkatesh Rao. This is the first collection, “Software is Eating the World”, inspired by a residency at Andreessen/Horowitz.
Monday, August 20th, 2018
David P. Goldman has been predicting this for years, and now it is happening (nudged along by Trump’s new steel tariffs): Turkey is in a horrible mess and likely to become a Chinese satrapy.
Contrast with George Friedman’s notion that Turkey will become a superpower, which to me seems comically misguided.
That said, Turkey does seem a fulcrum power, a bellweather of who dominates global affairs; if it falls to China’s influence, this is not great for the West.
To me, with my papercut exposure to Turkey, the fundamental problem is this: they are unsatisfied with being a nationstate. Instead, they want to be the local imperium, which cannot be. Turks, I say: apply your justified satisfaction with quotidian life to the national level. That way you will indeed make friends and influence peoples.
Perhaps Look to Britain for this, which once ruled much more than the Ottomans, but harbors no hopeless dreams to revive a moment in history.
Perhaps not coincidentally, both states are currently in some danger of a secessionist crack-up.
Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
Well, this an extravaganza of an article, practically a short book, on the American 9.9%.
Tuesday, May 8th, 2018
Even as the USA is troubled at the national level, it is often flourishing locally, argues James Fallows, who has spent five years criss-crossing the country with his wife.
“America is becoming more like itself again,” he writes. “More Americans are trying to make it so, in more places, than most Americans are aware.”
This is good, it seems to me; better than if the reverse were true.
Thursday, May 3rd, 2018
Eric Posner and Glen Weyl provide some diagnosis of and solutions for our new Gilded Age.
Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
Jaron Lanier on social media: “We got into this by trying to be socialist and libertarian at the same time, and getting the worst of both worlds … we have to choose.”
Saturday, April 7th, 2018
From 2014: The Economist introduces us to Sebastian de Grazia’s 1962 Of Time, Work and Leisure. Increasingly, leisure is not for the rich but for the poor.
Thursday, March 29th, 2018
A conversation with Kai-Fu Lee at edge.org. He’s an AI researcher who has worked at Apple, Microsoft and Google, and wrote AI Super-powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.
He believes SkyNet fears are ridiculous but that much needs to be done to handle the coming massive loss of jobs.
Thursday, March 15th, 2018
The Bloomsbury set thought about work and leisure, with ideas for today as we wrestle more universally with these issues.
Wednesday, March 14th, 2018
On February 19th, Israeli natural gas companies announced a $15b contract with Egypt. These interlocking infrastructure interests enmesh Israel with her neighbors and provide for further possibilities.
Friday, March 9th, 2018
Tyler Cowen has a modest proposal: polarized shopping. “You get better deals from the companies you patronize regularly, most of all from airlines and hotels. It requires only some stretch of the imagination to think that more of those programs could be organized around ideology.”
Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Amazon Go physical grocery store opens in Seattle, featuring no check-out.
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Sunday, December 31st, 2017
“Death to the dictator!” #IranProtests. Will this now be the Green Revolution?
Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
The guys at The Soul of Enterprise podcast interview George Gilder. I guarantee you he’ll bring you at least some new perspective. It’s about time.
The permanent drop in the US corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% is monumental, reports Forbes columnist Tony Nitti.
Monday, December 4th, 2017
On the EconTalk podcast recorded recently on stage in New York, Simeon Djankov speaks to the global Doing Business Report that he produces annually at the World Bank. This is world-improving stuff by dint of managed competition. It would be cool to see a a canonical BPMN version of each process.
Saturday, December 2nd, 2017
Ivan Rogers, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU during David Cameron’s tenure as Prime Minister, speaks to the events leading up to the Brexit referendum. There’s so much detail, and we see where Cameron was succeeding, but nonetheless a failure happened here.
Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
New York Times photo essay: parking and staying overnight at the Wal-Mart car park.
Monday, September 25th, 2017
In a nice interview about his book, the great Yanis Varoufakis reviews what happened during the Greek bailout negotiations.
Sunday, September 3rd, 2017
In defending Amazon against Trump’s recent broadside, Matt Seybold in the beautiful Los Angeles Review of Books brings out the literary big guns: he notes that Mark Twain defended Rockefeller’s Standard Oil against Theodore Roosevelt’s trust-busting.
Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
Friday, July 7th, 2017
What Cuba is like now, after the thawing with the United States. J. S. Tennant in The White Review.
Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
Anti-fragile: Things that Gain from Disorder
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I’ve been listening to the Commentary Magazine podcast lately, enjoying John Podhoretz’s knowledgeable and intelligent monologues, even if regularly exasperated by their ideological blinkers. This week their discussion reeked of black swan events but they fumbled around for the logic that applies. It was obvious that none of the three speakers had read any Nassim Nicholas Taleb, otherwise they would have had the framework and could have moved on. That made them seem ignorant. Which makes you realize these books are seminal. Yes there are irritations, but perhaps these will fade from a more distant perspective. There are echoes here of the iconoclastic spirit of Nietzsche — can there be higher praise?
Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
Sunday, December 4th, 2016
Francis Fukuyama coins and explains vetocracy. The intricacies are bamboozling—which is the point. Seems to me that fixing this is the first domino.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
Witty, prescient pre-mortem by the mendacious documentarian Michael Moore on 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win.
“The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.’ Salena Zito in this September 23 article in The Atlantic. What a thing.
Also Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept.
And What I learned after 100,000 miles on the road talking to Trump supporters by Chris Arnade in The Guardian.
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
Video and transcript of Peter Thiel’s speech to the National Press Club on his support for Trump.. Government isn’t the problem, pisspoor government is.
Tuesday, October 4th, 2016
New British prime minister Theresa May’s first major decision was the nuclear plant at Hinckley Point and it seems she took the easy way out.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars; it’s where the rich use public transportation.
Petro Gustavo, Mayor of Bogota
Friday, August 26th, 2016
Sports are the linchpin holding the entire post-war economic order together.
Ben Thompson, The Sports Linchpin
Sunday, July 17th, 2016
“The real story of this election is that after several decades, American democracy is finally responding to the rise of inequality and the economic stagnation experienced by most of the population,” writes Francis Fukuyama in Foreign Affairs [requires free registration].
Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
Saturday, April 23rd, 2016
Possibly the world’s most important story at the moment? American middle-class impoverishment, or as the author—himself afflicted—calls it, financial impotence.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
It’s been a couple of days since reading “What’s Next in Computing?” by Chris Dixon and I’m still harking back to it. It’s kind of made me a quasi-believer in the Singularity, made me think that these are the final handful of years in which there’ll be some continuity with what has always been. Disconcerting.
Thursday, February 4th, 2016
Thursday, January 28th, 2016
Looking for a way in to a responsive refresh, and because Engaging has a paid-up account at cloud.typography.com, I switched the main font at my personal site adamkhan.net from Georgia to Archer. However, this AIGA article, “Is Archer’s Use on Target?”, points to the font’s role in our larger socio-economic situation, and that I’m about 7 years behind the curve. There are also the Archer Alert and Archer Beat blogs. Turns out it’s everywhere, from US postal stamps to One Direction albums. Nonetheless I feel slightly redeemed by the conclusion at “The Devil Uses Archer”.
Friday, December 18th, 2015
China is taking the lead on converting from fossil fuels to renewables, which is one major reason it’s happening. This is predicted to foster a WWII-scale economic boom, which is the other.
Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
Valuable first-hand account of contemporary Saudi Arabia by their special man in the West, Thomas L. Friedman.
Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
I found this quite exciting: Mike Maas of Cisco expounds on how the Internet of Things will be integrated into the factory floor. (1:11:34)
Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
According to Michael Schrage in “Whether You’re Qualified Depends on How You’re Quantified”, being a paid-up participant in the Quantified Self movement will soon be a requirement for getting a decent job. “Best-in-class performers are relentlessly dedicated to measurable self-improvement,” he writes. “Consequently, they relentlessly self-quantify.”
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, talks to Die Zeit about Germany’s own debt relief and the proper way forward now.
The latest Troika loan package is an “exact repeat of the self-defeating policy that caused Greek debt dynamics to spin out of control in the last two…” rues this astute, outraged commentator. What with the Iran deal as well, we seem these last couple of days to be watching the West’s self-immolation.
Sunday, March 15th, 2015
Watch, enjoy and learn from Scott Galloway’s whirlwind macroscopic tour of the bleeding edge of the economy.
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
Greece’s problem is crony capitalism and the underlying cultural dysfunctions that allow for this to happen, WRM argues. To be sure, my exposure to Greece was brief and limited — 2 days in central Athens — but it seemed a dynamic place and that the people will do what they must to feel again that they are living well.
Tuesday, February 24th, 2015