Thiel’s fresh look at nationalism

At the 2019 National Conservatism Conference:

The nationalist view, according to Thiel… asks a simple question: Is it good for America?

A nationalist, Thiel argued, simply asks what Silicon Valley has done to improve the lives of American citizens. Outside of the Bay Area, he said, the answer is not much. Social media may consume more of our lives, but it’s not clear it’s making those lives better.

[The Iraq War] would have sparked the cold calculation of weighing the value of the oil against the cost of the war — a calculation that would have made it clear from the start that the war wasn’t worth it.

But

The problem is that it is all diagnosis and no cure. Thiel challenged important preconceptions but failed to even gesture in the direction of answers.

How to Build a Car by Adrian Newey

Finished “How To Build A Car: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Formula 1 Designer” by Adrian Newey.

The book is a whirlwind tour of an F1 designer’s career + how competitive the sport is, both for the constructors and the drivers. Ultimately, though the years blur into each other and it drags.

The problem is of balance; Newey spends too much time on the actual design and challenges compared to his experience as a senior member of an F1 team. Without curtailing descriptions of his design work, I’d have liked a book-length description of his years either just at Williams or McLaren or Red Bull (the last where he seemed/s happiest), than a tour of his entire career.

Nevertheless, a good one-time read.

Complement the book with this Aug 2018 WIRED longform article on the changes at F1 since the sale of the franchise to Liberty Media.

Cars as private spaces

In Japan, a survey of people who rented cars revealed that

one out of every eight users rented automobiles for purposes other than transportation.

An overwhelmingly large number of respondents said they slept or rested in vehicles, followed by customers who said they used cars as spots to talk with friends, family and business clients on the phone.

People also rented vehicles to watch TV in, get dressed up for Halloween, practice singing, rapping and English conversation, and even do facial stretches said to reduce the size of their face, NTT found.

A car may be one of the last truly private spaces left.

Using work apps for the home

A profile of families using email, Slack, Trello, Asana and even Jira the bug-tracking tool to coordinate housework has such examples as:

“We do family meetings every Sunday where we review goals for the week, our to-do list, and activities coming up,” she says. “I track notes for the meeting [in Trello]. I have different sections, goals for the week, a to-do list.” 

And

 it’s not uncommon for one of them to send an email recap, something along the lines of “As per our earlier conversation, we have decided that the children will be enrolled in tennis camp over the summer. Please let me know if you want to follow up on this.”

But also that such tools

might help even out the imbalances in household duties that often arise between partners—especially men and women—by making them more visible. “It tends to be that couples divide this work up in ways that aren’t exactly equitable, and that one person takes on more of that truly invisible work … Something like this might actually be a way for that person to say, ‘Look what I’m doing’

The moment of creation of Zcash

“Last November, journalist Morgen Peck showed up at her friend Molly Webster’s apartment in Brooklyn, told her to take her battery out of her phone, and began to tell her about The Ceremony, a moment last fall when a group of, well, let’s just call them wizards, came together in an undisclosed location to launch a new currency.”

Among my favourite Radiolab podcast episodes is this one from two years ago about the planning leading up to, and moment of creation of the Zcash cryptocurrency. A complex topic narrated entertainingly. This is high-quality journalism.