August 2020 Updates

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Hello and happy September! Here's what happened last month and what I was reading, watching, and thinking about.

Highlights from August

Work-wise I spent most of August getting us ready to release h.Cloud, our cloud environment for running simulations. It's the next step towards HASH's long term goals of running world scale simulations. If you'd like early access sign up here - or shoot me an email.

I also created two simulations of note:

  • A simulation exploring the advantages of RapidTests in combating the Coronavirus over traditional, slower PCR tests. This is the type of simulation we want to build tools to support - quickly being able to compare alternative scenarios and get a qualitative understanding of tradeoffs on important issues.
  • A model of a Distribution Warehouse, which was a fun foray into using automated route planning in a simulated environment.

And on a personal front I moved to San Diego!

  • Southern California is basically a different state from Northern California. It's hot, beautiful, and everyone has a pool. A week and a half in and I recommend it.
  • I'm living in the suburbs for the first time in a ~decade. I like that I have a lawn.
  • I put together an Ikea Hack Desk - a countertop with legs - and I'm really enjoying it. It's extremely sturdy, cheap, and has a beautiful wood finish. I used a Karlby countertop with Oddvald Trestles.


Mindsets are the contexts for thoughts

People are leaky virtual machines

Blog post accompanying the RapidTests Simulation.


Midnight Gospel: A bizarre show but one I really enjoyed. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what works about it; the closest comparison I can make is a blend between a podcast and an animated graphic novel.

Intolerable Cruelty: Delightful.

The Black Keys: I hit shuffle on my music and re-encountered the Black Keys, who I guess I had forgotten about but always really enjoyed.

Corporate: It recently finished its third and final season, which was a masterpiece of nihilistic surrealist comedy. Probably my favorite comedy series of the past two years.

The extended internet universe: Introduced me to the term cozyweb, a moniker for the pseudo-private internet made up of small semi-closed communities that is my favorite part of the current internet landscape.

On Strasserism and the Decline of the Left: I ended up reading a lot of tracts last month about the ideological tension within the left - this was the one I keep coming back to. The description of the "Political Managerial Class" as a distinct actor seeking to advance its own class interests, potentially at the expense of the working class, rang true as a fault line splitting the modern left.

​ Kek Wars (1)(2)(3)(4): On the other end of the horseshoe were you aware that the 2016 election was actually a battle between dueling occult forces, wielding powerful meme magic to reshape America? You weren't? Then you must have missed this epic four-part series describing the intersection of the consequences of globalization, 4Chan, and Chaos Magic. My notes.

Epistemic Viciousness in Martial Arts: Martial Arts as an institution can suffer from bad epistemics, inherent to the "sensei" model and deference to tradition. There's a really important underlying principle that "proximity to reality" is needed to avoid deluding yourself. Related: Dominic Cummings on Effective Action.

Buffett FAQ: An extremely extensive collection of Q&As with Warren Buffett.