Category: General

Regulating free speech on Twitter

Inspired by a recent whatsapp group chat, a few idle thoughts on how I’d approach free speech on Twitter / what I would do if I were Musk. Very much a first draft with plenty of room for improvement and no doubt many instances of short-sighted idiocy. But a fun exercise for 20 minutes. We ...

Some of the books I’ve read in 2020

The most recommended are in bold, with some exposition on the most mentionable. Best book of the year: The Ministry for the Future History / now—ish The Pillars of the Earth The Forest Doomsday Book — I first read one of Connie Wills historical fictions which use time-travel as a device* to explore the past ...

American Flag Canvas Background

Dowding’s Law: “The United States is such an outlier that it should not be used as a normative data-point.”

“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 ...

Love: is it the absence of fear?

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 ...

Things I’ve been reading (March 2018 – now)

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 mechanisms Future of HQ Trivia Relationship questions for everyone 109 Mental models for ...

I’ll make them wild.

Maybe,Thought the CreatorWho knew everythingExcept when To use a new line –Or a capital For that matter – MaybeWe are the Mink. CondemnedOn every pathway.Worked to the bone they canCreate things of durable beauty But if free, wont to untold savagery. The Mink strives. — https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/marauding-minks/

Putting the Green back in the Greenback – Evolving capitalism for the 21st century

This is taken from a comment I posted on facebook today. It was long so saving here for posterity. Capitalism has been brilliant. It’s delivered a lot of great things and has been a useful tool for organising the distribution of resources for hundreds of years.  But like many good ideas, it has reached its ...

The lessons from suffering

“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time ...

Is the UK the best country in the world?

15th in maths and science 33rd in life expectancy, 20th for public debt 36th for education expenditure 34th in infant mortality, 27th for renewables 2nd biggest arms exporter, including to 22 of the 30 countries on the UK Government’s human rights watch list 146th in savings 10th in press freedom 10th in purchasing power 22nd ...

Migration policy suggestions from “The Strange Death of Europe”

Summary of the suggestions outlined by Douglas Murray in his book “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam“: Actually try to make it nicer where they are Admit there’s nothing wrong with being proud of being European Offer temporary asylum only, where appropriate Pay for refugees to do work in Middle Eastern countries Decide ...

SpaceTech

SpaceTech – what humans get up to when they aren’t worrying about with which country they belong to, who technically gets to make the laws they’ll have no control over anyway, which non-existent god to bother, which bathroom to use, or what height to be at whilst a bit of music is playing. Mind you, ...

What rules should govern AI?

Many people know Asimov’s 3 laws of robotics (basically humans come before robots), but as they develop more and more capabilities it’s time to look deeper at the guidance and governance which should apply to artificial intelligence (AI) to keep us safe and maximise benefits. The UN has already discussed (but not yet concluded) international ...

The narcissism of difference

The human condition: in which we are all dismayed by the same things at the same time, but because we’re dismayed for entirely different reasons we focus on that rather than actually addressing the problem.

The unbearable lightness of politics

Politics feels like EastEnders:  hyperbolic soap-opera melodrama in which seems to be the entire world, but it just a small square in London. Football tribalism for broadsheet readers. Until you remember it’s real and creating increasingly existential threats to humanity via its actions and inactions. Arse.

Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose & Utopia

Mandating “Good Things” = very hard and lots of fights Listing “Unacceptable Things” = really easy, lots of consensus Listing “Desirable Things” = easy, lots of consensus if not mandatory Things that make all humans happy: Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose. Allow people to work towards desirable things (purpose) without mandating them (autonomy) whilst getting better at ...

Customer service times

Numbers I’d like to see for every business: Live and average time to answer sales calls Live and average time to answer support calls Time between payment & service (re)activation

Value vs profit.

An insightful and well-articulated comment.

It costs the same to solve global warming as it does to solve it.

A research team at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, says it has studied how much it would cost for governments to stick to their worldwide global warming goal. They’ve concluded that for “a 70 per cent chance of keeping below 2 degrees Celsius, the investment will have to rise to ...

90% ape, 9% human, 1% angel.

We are 90% ape, 9% human, 1% enlightened being. Maybe. If we’re lucky. Our 1% angel conceives the wonder; our 90% monkey wonders how to make it happen. “This is no place to stop, halfway between an ape and an angel” — Benjamin Disraeli.

The challenge of staying positive

Here’s Stevie Wonder on the tremendous challenge of articulating a succinct and positive vision. Jump to 2m21. Epic fail. Waaaay too much to say and too little time to say it. Did you hear that bit at 2m46?! Neither did I. Anyway this morning someone said, “I don’t know how you stay so positive.” Here’s ...