Author

Ed Dowding

Browsing

“The United States is such an outlier that it can no longer be used as a normative data-point for Western civilisation.” America now is just weird. As such comparisons with America and the rest of the West don’t shed much light. The USA shows what happens after positive feedback loops are left unchecked, but if we’re trying to look at anything routine (eg healthcare, prisons, food systems, environment, economy, democracy, defence, foreign policy, transport, urban…

Now the world’s engineers have brilliantly created thousands of designs for open source ventilators (bringing the cost down by 2 orders or magnitude), it begs the question: What machines should we tackle next? What’s important, expensive, and public good? NB before we begin the list, hat tip to the Global Village Construction Set which has been on this mission for many years with agricultural and town-scale hardware. MRI machines (£200k – £3m)CAT Scanners Electrocardiogram (ECG)…

I was thinking about how governments respond to ‘surge capacity’ issues like this.  Part of the reason they don’t drill for BIG things as well as they could is that they’re TOO complex. So rather than work out and maintain relationships with tonnes of organisations which you’re ‘very unlikely’ to need, you create emergency laws you can pass which requisition things into a command economy instead. However..  I wonder what a good non-govt response looks…

I’ve struggled with the word ‘love’ since forever. A word which can describe a feeling for which you will give your all, and then describe how you feel about chocolate ice-cream is too vague to be useful. As a word is seems to exist at the far end of many continuums, and change in relation to its objects. I’ve even tried card games with people to arrange a set of related words to better understand…

I meant to make this weekly but realised I wasn’t reading enough each week. In the August inbox cleanse, here are some of the more interesting articles I’ve read in the last 18 months. Bold = more interesting. Review of blockchain consensus mechanismsFuture of HQ TriviaRelationship questions for everyone109 Mental models for intelligent decisionsThe Most Gullible Man in CambridgePick a dollar amount. You receive that amount as long as most people pick a higher amount.It’s…