September 2019 (Links)

https://www.economist.com/democracy-in-america/2016/01/31/from-the-archives-the-open-society-and-its-enemies-revisited

Karl Popper on democracy for The Economist. About democracy and why he thinks the two-party system is the best (of the worst).

“As we have seen, even one small party may wield quite disproportionate power if it is in the position to decide which of the two big parties it will join to form a coalition government.”

https://stratechery.com/2019/what-is-a-tech-company/

What is a tech company? “to classify a company as a tech company because it utilizes software is just as unhelpful today as it would have been decades ago.”

And “It was this economic reality that gave rise to venture capital, which is about providing money ahead of a viable product for the chance at effectively infinite returns should the product and associated company be successful.”

WeWork and Peleton are maybe not really tech companies, as defined by the criteria in the article. Though Peleton can be seen as a disruptive technology (ala The Innovators Dilemma).

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/gene-editing-humans-its-not-just-about-safety/

“Gene Editing Humans: It’s Not Just about Safety”

“There is a growing sense of inevitability that we will eventually do human germ-line modification and that our only obligation is to wait until it is safe.”

There is no hard line between curing/preventing diseases and enhancing our (future) children. We will be able to select the features of our kids, do we want to do that?

“Surely such control is a long way off, but we are now charting a path toward human enhancement that might ultimately reduce variation in the species or, over a long period of time, lead to subspeciation.”

https://www.quora.com/How-is-China-able-to-provide-enough-food-to-feed-its-population-of-over-1-billion-people-Do-they-import-food-or-are-they-self-sustainable

“How is China able to provide enough food to feed its population of over 1 billion people? Do they import food or are they self-sustainable?”

The explanation shows that China is farming fish at enormous scale. Then it goes on to explain other ecosystems, of which many are sustainable/circular (even before it was cool, but now also incorporate solar panels). Greenhouses are also key to feeding more than a billion people, and IoT devices and smartphones are also used.

https://medium.com/@robertwiblin/what-you-think-about-landfill-and-recycling-is-probably-totally-wrong-3a6cf57049ce

“We aren’t anywhere near running out of space for landfill.” and “Properly run landfill doesn’t hurt the environment in itself.”, “Even really well run landfills are a very cheap way to dispose of our waste.”, “The main downside of sending something to landfill is we miss the chance to benefit from recycling it — but recycling is only sometimes cheaper or better for the environment.”, “The problem of rubbish polluting the sea, rivers and land can be most cheaply addressed by improving rubbish collection and making sure everything gets to landfill.” “Incinerating waste and generating electricity from it is an alternative form of rubbish disposal that is good for the environment and resolves the problem permanently, but is expensive to operate up front.”, “Sending things to landfill isn’t as ‘unsustainable’ as you might think.”, “Reusable straws and bags are often more resource intensive than single-use ones.”, “If we don’t use materials in the first place, we save resources and don’t have to worry about any of the above.”

https://www.outsideonline.com/2399826/wellness-industry-lies-what-really-works

“We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. Most of It Is Nonsense.
Here’s what actually works”

“The problem is that so much of what’s sold in the name of modern-day wellness has little to no evidence of working.”

“Wellness—the kind that actually works—is simple: it’s about committing to basic practices, day in and day out, as individuals and communities.”

The advice that follows is, of course, things that work and probably don’t make much money (ala, that is why it isn’t promoted by Goop and the like).

Move your body, eat healthy (but don’t diet), let your emotions out (and seek help if needed), don’t be lonely, follow your interests and do deep-focused work.

https://stratechery.com/2019/the-iphone-and-apples-services-strategy/

Very interesting take (as always), on the Apple Keynote. Services for the win, locking in customers, making revenue each month instead of selling a phone once.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614195/why-you-shouldnt-fear-the-gray-tsunami/

There is a plateau of people ageing (i.e. we aren’t getting much older), automation can still help, don’t fear the grey tsunami.

https://stratechery.com/2019/day-two-to-one-day/

Amazon moving back to ‘Day One’, focus on growth and customers, over profit.

“It is also the opposite of harvesting: it is investing, and it seems more likely than not that Amazon’s upcoming results will look much more like the “Day One” company it was for years, with rapidly growing revenue and costs to match. “

https://notunhealthy.com/lifespan-why-we-age-and-why-we-dont-have-to/

A summary of: Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair

” What if there was a single cause of aging upstream of all the hallmarks of aging? Sinclair believes that there is – loss of information. ” ” Rather, the loss is in the epigenome, or the expression of genetic code that instructs newly divided cells what they should be. “

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