Every Friday I highlight the most interesting or entertaining items from my media diet of the past week.
- The Chip Wars of the 21st Century (warontherocks.com): Steve Blank looks at the strategic importance of controlling chip manufacturing in the 21st century.
- The Genes We’re Dealt (aeon.co): Bioethicist Eric Parens explores reconciling genetic differences with social outcomes and political agendas—the nature vs. nurture debate continues.
- The Great 21st Century Treasure Hunt (nymag.com): In 2010, an octogenarian published a memoir with a poem that held clues about a treasure worth millions buried somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. A look at the ensuing chase from the perspective of one intrepid hunter, Justin Posey.
- The Internet’s First Election (tedium.co): Retrospective concerning the “baby steps” taken in the 1992 election when CompuServe, Prodigy, and email were gaining early mainstream traction.
- The Intriguing Maps that Reveal Alternate Histories (bbc.com): Speculative fiction raises interesting questions such as “What if the Axis had won WW2?” and “What if there were 124 states in the US?”
- Is Writing a Blog Worth It? (writingcooperative.com): A good list of pros and cons to a question I frequently ask myself.
- The Joys of Being a Stoic (nautil.us): Massimo Pigliucci pushes back against the staid, humorless stereotype of the “stiff upper lip stoic.”
- A Pacifist’s Plan to Survive the Violent World of Prison (themarshallproject.org): A raw, powerful look at the mindset of being in prison (written by a man serving a 10-year sentence in Florida). If you find this kind of content interesting, check out the podcast Ear Hustle.
- Personal Epistemology, Free Speech, and Tech Companies (jakeseliger.com): Are we cognitive sheep? “The vast majority of people have pretty poor personal epistemic hygiene.”
- When Money Is Abundant, Knowledge Is the Real Wealth (lesswrong.com): Interesting essay on the scarcity of knowledge.
- Why We Should Think Twice about Colonizing Space (nautil.us): “In a colonized universe the probability of the annihilation of the human race could actually rise rather than fall.”
- Voting Systems (shihn.ca): Examines the pros and cons of various solutions: plurality, ranked choice, Borda count, instant runoff, score and approval voting.
- Dan Carlin: Hardcore History (lexfridman.com): Long conversation between Lex and Dan covering a wide range of historical topics.
- Imaginary Worlds (imaginaryworldspodcast.org): Podcast series that explores fantasy and speculative fiction topics. Fascinating inquiries into questions such as magical thinking and fascism in speculative fiction.
- The Lost Cities of Geo (99percentinvisible.org): A look at the impact of GeoCities which, in the 1990s, captured the imagination of early web-users by providing them with tools to build a vibrant community under the auspices of a virtual “city.”
- Monopoly and Academic Decathlon (wnycstudios.org): John Green considers the venerable board game (and its complex history) and then offers a touching reminiscence of high school. Shoutout to reader SH for the recommendation.
- Resistance: Coach G (gimletmedia.com): The eye-opening story of the only black man in the town of Harvard, Nebraska.