Every Friday I highlight the most interesting or entertaining items from my media diet of the past week.
- The AI Chatbot Seducing China’s Lonely Men (sixthtone.com): Meet Xiaoice, an AI chatbot developed by Microsoft that is redefining romance and relationships in modern China.
- The Airbnbs (ycombinator.com): Paul Graham paints a portrait of the Airbnb founders as scrappy, creative, and always optimistic. “No one ever worked harder...they probably have the best attitude of any startup we’ve funded...”
- Electronics Basics (flavicopes.com): “There’s an entire world that will unlock once you have a basic understanding of electronics and electricity.” Ongoing introductory series.
- How to Compliment (lesspenguiny.com): “What topics get compliments, how do people react, what are exotic ways of praising?”
- To Listen Well, Get Curious (benkuhn.net): Thoughts on reflective listening “reality has a surprising amount of detail, and those details can matter a lot to figuring out what the root problem or best solution is.”
- Larry David and the Game Theory of Anonymous Donations (nautil.us): A look at the dynamics of status seeking and reciprocity in a “signal-burying game.”
- Monetizing the Final Frontier (newrepublic.com): Once the province of governments, the privatization of space travel is accelerating.
- The Perils of Persuasion in the Big Tech Age (foreignpolicy.com): A call for greater regulation in light of the asymmetrical balance of power between common citizens and media/technology platforms.
- She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers across Mexico, One by One (nytimes.com): “Armed with a handgun, a fake ID card and disguises, Miriam Rodríguez was a one-woman detective squad, defying a system where criminal impunity often prevails.”
- Super Cubes: Inside the (Surprisingly) Big Business of Packaged Ice (theguardian.com): A look at the history of consumer packaged ice and current trends through the eyes of the UK’s “The Ice Co.”
- Things I’ve Learned from a Decade of Podcasts (ryanholiday.net): Ryan Holiday recounts interesting lessons from his guests on his long-running program, The Daily Stoic.
- What Comes after Smartphones (ben-evans.com): Should we get ready for the next big thing or have we barely scratched the surface of what we can do with what we already have?
- Cortex: 2021 Yearly Themes (relay.fm): CGP Grey and Myke Hurley review 2020 and discuss their plans for 2021 via the lens of their annual theme system.
- Enforcer (podularmedia.com): 10-episode series about the life of notorious mafioso Anthony Raimondi, the top enforcer for the Colombo crime family for three decades.
- How I Built This: Kodiak Cakes (npr.org): Joel Clark tells the fascinating story behind the origins and rocky road to success behind one of the leading consumer pancake mixes. This series is inspiring for entrepreneurs, and the food-product episodes tend to be the most interesting.
- Ologies: Space Archeology (alieward.com): Archeologist Alice Gorman talks about Sputnik, derelict satellites, space rubbish, abandoned space stations, and more.
- Wiser than Yesterday (wiserpod.com): Hosts Nicolas Vereecke and Sam Harris offer thoughtful conversations in under 30 minutes on a wide range of non-fiction books. They’ve examined books by Nassim Taleb, Thomas Sowell, Rebecca Solnit, Plato, St. Augustine, and more.