Weekend Reads : 10th Sep, 2021

Quotes that piqued my interest

Umberto Eco wrote in his encyclopedic novel of human credulity, Foucault’s Pendulum, “The conspiracy theory of society comes from abandoning God … and then asking, ‘Who is in his place?’”

Doubt seems to be a double-edged sword: One blade cuts through orthodoxy allowing for new truths; the other seeks to sever the head of reason from the body of society.

Behind the wheel of a car, aren’t we already cyborgs.

Nobel-laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes allegedly once said of nuclear fusion: “We say that we will put the sun into a box. The idea is pretty. The problem is, we don’t know how to make the box

You can short civilization if you want. But there’s no one to pay you if you win.

Long reads

When in Doubt we Have to Talk About Doubt. How to tell the difference between scientific and conspiratorial skepticism.
Gas Cloud and transmissibility : Perhaps it's time we understood the role of the Gas Cloud and it's role in aiding airborne transmission
Hairdressers and Algorithms : This is a fantastic story that has currency in today’s contemporary debates
What is Sustainable Infrastructure The case of the Kyoto canal, or, building cities that can last a thousand years
One Woman’s Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia: Ksenia Coffman’s fellow editors have called her a vandal and a McCarthyist. She just wants them to stop glorifying fascists—and start citing better sources.


Number Games: Numbers don’t always mean what they seem to mean, It pays to always check what is actually being counted.
Yield & Fragility of Global Supply chains: If you take 99% yield through 700 steps, by the time you're done, you'll get nothing at the end which is workable. So you really need to have 99.99-plus % yield on every step.”
Nuclear Fusion: The race to give nuclear fusion a role in the climate emergency. Power from fusion has proved too hard to generate at scale. Can recent breakthroughs and massive investment change that.

Tech News

Apple vs Epic : Epic Leaves a Big Crack in Apple’s Walled Garden - A judge ordered significant changes to the App Store today, but the fight between Epic Games and Apple isn't over yet.
Censorship and Internet Shutdowns Governments are turning off the internet to silence dissenters at an ‘exponential’ rate—and threatening civil society, says the chief operating officer of Google’s Jigsaw project.
Ex-Googlers raise $40 million to democratize natural-language AI. Their startup, called Cohere, is backed by AI luminaries Geoffrey Hinton and Fei-Fei Li.

Other interesting morsels of wisdom

Meaning is the hottest commodity: The virtuous cycle that creates the purpose economy
Meet the Little-Known Genius Who Helped Make Pixar Possible. Alvy Ray Smith helped invent computer animation as we know it—then got royally shafted by Steve Jobs. Now he’s got a vision for where the pixel will take us next.



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