Monthly Archives: January 2020

Everything is a system

This comment on Hacker News: Everything is a system. The economy, society, relationships, nature, traffic. You don’t need math to reverse engineer a system. You just need to pay attention to it. You can say the right words to make … Continue reading

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The open web as playground

This custom CSS to re-skin Gmail in the browser shows why the open web and open standards like CSS are important to innovation. It’s impossible to change the Gmail app on iOS/Android, but the website? It’s a playground. Also: Greasemonkey.

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Every age of industrial development is characterised by a particular abundance and a particular scarcity, and those technologies succeed which conserve the scarce resource and waste the abundant one. – George Gilder, 2000.

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The writer William Gibson:  “In my childhood, the 21st century was constantly referenced,” he said. “You’d see it once every day, and it often had an exclamation point.” The sense, he said, was that postwar America was headed somewhere amazing. … Continue reading

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Public money, private money

A recent move by New York State to ban businesses from accepting only digital payment methods reminded me of this article from a few years ago, which made the argument that digital payment methods are essentially privatised money: ‘Cash’ is … Continue reading

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Upcoming India space missions

Astrosat-2: space telescope  Aditya-L1, 2020: observe the Sun’s corona, photosphere and chromosphere  Gaganyaan, 2021: foundation of Indian Human Spaceflight Programme; 3 astronauts in 400km orbit, 7 days Shukrayaan, 2023: explore Venus’ atmosphere, to get to within 500km of the surface … Continue reading

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The brain and its ‘default mode’

This article that starts out about silence but is about much more: For decades, scientists had known that the brain’s “background” activity consumed the lion’s share of its energy. Difficult tasks like pattern recognition or arithmetic, in fact, only increased … Continue reading

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Notion and personal databases

I read this excellent dive into the system of a Notion power user. Although I haven’t used the service, it made me realise how Notion is basically specialised personal databases: everything is either a task or a document. But tasks … Continue reading

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“A modern religion that purports to be the only source of meaning and purpose”

As part of an article in The Guardian reviewing “World without Work”, a book examining the sort of society we will need to build as machines get more and more competent at all sorts of work: “Sooner or later, we … Continue reading

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Content as moat (2/2)

Zerodha the Indian brokerage has done an excellent job over the years building up a massive content library that is now one of its biggest assets. Its blog Z-connect is organised by (investing and trading) topics, its Support portal is … Continue reading

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