Thursday, March 2nd, 2023
It’s over too quickly, these two great alliterative-entitled Americans in conversation, Alan Alda and Kevin Kelly on AA’s Clear+Vivid podcast. Alda has such a gracious voice, and Kelly’s meets it. Kelly introduces some novel standpoints, earning his “world’s most interesting man” Tim Ferris monicker. The impetus and much of the conversation revolves around AI chatbots.
Saturday, July 30th, 2022
Thursday, June 16th, 2022
So Marc Andreessen’s interview with Tyler Cowen is making some waves because he seemed unable to justify Web3 (see tweets from Ian Bremmer, and, more predictably caustically, Nassim Nicholas Taleb). Personally I think Andreesse ha’s made the case better elsewhere, for instance, saying that if the internet had originally had a money layer then we’d never have had spam. But for me, as the developer of a new RSS reader, I was more interested in Tyler’s question about RSS:
Tyler Cowen: Do you still use an RSS reader?
Mark Andreessen: I do. This is actually an exciting moment on that topic for those of us who love these things. I use Feedly, which I like a great deal. It’s a guy. The guy who does it is a guy who used to work for us, a wonderful guy. I think it’s a great product and the inheritor of the now-lost Google Reader, the ruthlessly executed Google Reader.
This is talking about books, but Substack — one of our companies — has a new reader. It’s primarily for reading Substack. It basically is recreating, in my view, the best of what Google Reader had. That’s the other one that is getting a lot of use right now. I use both of those.
TC: Why does RSS at least seem to be so much less important than before?
MA: RSS is one of those things. I would say this gets into a broader, overarching, huge debate-fight happening in the tech industry right now. Internet got built on two models, which are diametrically opposed.
So Marc Andreessen uses Feedly and Substack! I wonder why both. I also want to know which reader TC uses — I seem to recall him saying that he does use one. The man seems to reply to hoi polloi — maybe I’ll ask him.
Incidentally I was surprised that this was not one of the better Conversations with Tyler. It didn’t really warm up into a good actual converation. For instance, I’d have thought MA would have asked TC, the world’s most renowned information omnivore, which RSS reader he uses. MA came across as a bit robotic, whereas I hadn’t gotten that impression from him before.
Wednesday, June 8th, 2022
Tuesday, May 17th, 2022
So it seems that video gaming positively impacts childrens’ intelligence
We analyzed 9855 children from the USA who were part of the ABCD dataset with measures of intelligence at baseline (ages 9–10) and after two years. At baseline, time watching (r = − 0.12) and socializing (r = − 0.10) were negatively correlated with intelligence, while gaming did not correlate. After two years, gaming positively impacted intelligence (standardized β = + 0.17), but socializing had no effect.
Not only is it newsworthy that Israeli company Watergen is installing its drinking water generators in Syria, but that (opposition web site) Syria TV reported the fact.
Tuesday, March 15th, 2022
The BoJo Doctrine: Exploit the potential of all renewable energy technologies in this country, from tidal power to hydro to geothermal … Make a series of big new bets on nuclear power.”
Friday, March 4th, 2022
Saturday, February 19th, 2022
Following Tyler Cowen’s growing presence of a web-surfing morning, I note that although the elite is Leftist, the most eminent and influential public thinkers are not. As well as TC I’m thinking of Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, Niall Ferguson, Elon Musk. Maybe now even Joe Rogan?
Perhaps it’s a question of age; these guys are all Gen Xers more or less, and all would probably have considered themselves socially liberal and economically conservative by the standards of their youth and early adulthood in the 80s and 90s. There is also a large swathe of others in their wake.
Who on the dominant Left has their stature? Paul Krugman? Is it still Noam Chomsky?
Three of the five I mention are or were known first as builders of enterprises, and TC is now getting into that game, as is Ferguson with the new University of Austin.
Monday, February 14th, 2022
Marc Andreessen has just tweetstormed a section of an Ayn Rand lecture on the contrast between the tribes of Apollo 11 and of Woodstock. Whilst I commend his pro-Deplorables stand, I do feel that as one of the fathers of the age he could be utilizing his mystique to do more, starting perhaps with banging heads in San Francisco. During a recent podcast interview with I forget whom, he dismissed laughingly the prospect of running for office; perhaps he should reconsider. Also, just for some rounding, he might want to read Mailer’s Of a Fire on the Moon, surely an Apollonian who yearns for the Dionysian.
Tuesday, February 8th, 2022
eVTOL Innovation YouTube channel extols the Lilium as the most promising of the upcoming ways we will fly.
Tuesday, February 1st, 2022
The design of Lotus’s upcoming electric vehicle looks like a sleeker Esprit, reports Hearst’s Road & Track; when it’s released we can say we saw the blueprints for this car two years ago.
Sunday, January 9th, 2022
We will never inherit the universe until we learn how to live with radiation—and that means studying it honestly.
J. Storrs Hall, Where is My Flying Car
Sunday, January 2nd, 2022
Counting watts is a better way to measure a people’s standard of living than counting dollars.
J. Storrs Hall, Where is My Flying Car
Tuesday, November 16th, 2021
In American Affairs, my man David P. Goldman argues once again that the United States must step up its basic technological research if it is to avoid losing preeminence to China — and we are all to avoid falling prey to a rather less liberal hegemon. Spengler’s point:
The definitive inventions of late twentieth century technology — laser-powered optical networks, fast and light integrated circuits, and the Internet — all came out of Defense Department projects whose originators could not have foreseen the impact of the new discoveries … All the elements of the modern digital economy — integrated circuits, laser-powered optical networks, sensors, and displays — were invented at the behest of NASA or the Defense Department.
Saturday, October 16th, 2021
David P. Goldman blames the Web technocracy for the end of the American era, comparing it to how Britain lost dominance through the corruption of empire: by eschewing the true wealth creation of manufacturing.
Britain’s best and brightest left Eton and Harrow and went into colonial service, and made fortunes on the sale of British textiles to India, Indian opium to China, and Chinese tea and silks to the West. Britain’s country houses were built on the quick money to be earned from empire, and the British upper class eschewed the dirty work of manufacturing in favor of the faux-aristocracy of the nouveau riche masquerading as landed gentry.
The estimable Goldman is somewhat wrong here I think; web software is much more about conjuring up something from nothing, albeit an intangible digitized something, than it is just shunting stuff around at gunpoint, as he says late-Empire Britain did.
Thursday, October 14th, 2021
Hiconsumption presents the lovely Lambos.
Thursday, October 7th, 2021
From the bubbling, dexterous mind of Venkatesh Rao we have two rich essays posted within two days: “Storytelling — Cringe and the Banality of Shadows” and “Remystifying Supply Chains: Supply chains are TV for matter”.
The supply chain crisis is in some ways more unprecedented than Covid itself, given that containerized supply chains, and the world of distributed, networked, computationally coordinated production they enabled, are only a few decades old.
This is the first crisis of this magnitude to hit them.
To find a comparable crisis in history you have to go back to World War 2, with U boats sinking transatlantic shipping. And that was in an era when global trade was less than a third of today’s levels if I’m not mistaken (as a fraction of GDP) and still in the ancient mode of breakbulk shipping.
Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine
Antonio Garcia Martinez
As author Antonio García Martínez battles away as an eager newcomer at Facebook, his account jolts one awake to the somewhat forgotten power of literature: we are reminded that what will survive these times will likely not be the mammoth trillion dollar company but instead this book.
And shame on Apple, caving to those who campaigned to have Martinez fired recently from his new job there because of some gross and silly yet heartfelt generalization in the book of San Francisco womenfolk; such philistine snowflakes do little more than buttress his point, as well as forcing our author to remain up on these more commanding if perhaps less remunerative cultural heights.
Saturday, June 26th, 2021
If you do business in LatAm, you’ve got a Miami office. Prodigal son Antonio García Martínez returns to Miami, now on a Substack-fueled writing mission.
I was raised in the Miami of the wild 80s and 90s, and more or less abandoned the city for 20 years before going back due to a family illness circa 2014. Much to my everlasting shock, all the twee fineries of overpaid SF tech life were there: pretentious craft beer poured by bearded lumbersexuals inside stylized industrial loft spaces; whimsically-named, garishly-painted food-trucks clustered in parking lots-turned-parks serving Korean/Mexican fusion tacos; pompous ‘Third Wave’ coffee places (in a city where espresso was already ubiquitous) featuring pierced baristas conjuring a pourover with all the seriousness of a priest performing the eucharistic miracle; glass-clad, high-rise condo buildings, indistinguishable from the same douche-cubes in SF’s SoMa (“GRANITE COUNTERTOPS, STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES”) growing like mushrooms in a dewy field throughout the formerly sleepy downtown.
Monday, June 14th, 2021
Mary Catherine Bateson, conversations at Edge [via Hacker News, again].
Friday, June 11th, 2021
Jordan and Israel need to exchange electricity for water. Jordan can produce green solar-powered electricity at 60% of the cost that Israel can, while Israel is the world leader in processing sea water into drinking water. Jordan is in dire need of more water due to a massive influx of refugees who aren’t going anywhere, while Israel needs green electricity to power those desalinization plants.
Sunday, May 16th, 2021
Writing in TidBITS, Glenn Fleishman gives us 13 AirTag tracking scenarios.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2021
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defence in action, in a series of videos compiled by the UK’s The Sun.
Saturday, May 8th, 2021
This Dutch fellow tracked the mailing of an AirTag to his own home. It travelled 120km just go to 500m. Next he’s going to send one to Norway.
Thursday, April 22nd, 2021
MacStories does an AirTag review roundup.
Wednesday, April 21st, 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.
Tuesday, January 26th, 2021
Ra’anana-based Vertical Field signed with Emirates Smart Solutions & Technologies (ESST) to build a pilot of its vertical farms in the United Arab Emirates. Major cool.
Tuesday, January 19th, 2021
Nice backgrounder at Stat News on the history of mRNA vaccines.
Wednesday, December 16th, 2020
The first lab-grown chicken meat will be served at a Singapore restaurant this weekend!
Israel intercepts a cruise missile in a test of its 3-tier missile defence system.
Tuesday, November 17th, 2020
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
iPhone 12 Pro Cinematic 4K: New York by Andy To. Make sure to watch at full resolution.
Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Saturday, September 5th, 2020
Lunaz Design’s electrified 1961 Rolls-Royce Phantom V.
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
The iPhone matters more than anything … it is the foundation of modern life.
Ben Johnson, “Apple, Epic, and the App Store”
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
technovelgy.com, where science meets fiction, and a glorious taste of the old web.
Sunday, April 19th, 2020
Saturday, March 21st, 2020
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Friday, November 1st, 2019
A deep dive into the newness of the iPhone 11 camera at the Halide blog.
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
Volvo unveils its first full battery electric model, the XC40 Recharge SUV with 402bhp a 248-mile range. Featuring no front grille!
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
A deep dive into the Grand Seiko Snowflake on Hodinkee. “The entire thing seems to have been calculated to create an effect of serenity without boredom; of minimalism without sterility.”
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
AutoCar drives the electric Jaguar I-Pace from London to Frankfurt. As recently as two years ago such a journey simply wasn’t feasible. Now, once you have the more expensive car, it’s much cheaper than driving diesel let alone petrol. That said, charging stops are an hour rather than five minutes, and every 200 miles rather than say every 500. But I think there is some good here. Travellers must get out and stretch their legs for a longer while. All in all our automotive future looks improved.
Tuesday, October 8th, 2019
I’m excited by the Richard Mille Bonbon watch collection. Just fabulous. Crazy expensive but apparently all have been bought, most popularly in Malaysia.
Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
Thursday, September 12th, 2019
On the unstated significance of Apple’s new U1 chip.
I feel rather strongly the Apple U1 Chip, over time will be seen as one of the most important aspect of the September 10th, 2019 Apple Event. We will see it as the start of the HyperLocal world of computing that ultimately will lead to less of a need for the cloud.
Sunday, September 8th, 2019
This author’s 8 best e-bikes, each cooler or funkier than the next.
I want to ride the Goldenpass Express, a Swiss panoramic train designed by Pininfarina.