October 2020 Updates

Hi Friends,

Happy election day eve! My election predictions:

  • Biden will be elected the next president. 80%

  • There will be minimal election related violence. 90%

  • The winning candidate will be known before the end of November. 90%

So I'm expecting a largely 'uneventful' election. And if I'm wrong, well, the next newsletter will have interesting content.


My presentations: A highlight of the last month was getting to present at the Actions Towards Progress and Change++ conferences on business lifelogging and simulations, respectively.

Twilight Imperium 4: I've been playing this board game religiously for the past month. I dream about it. You can play online with Tabletop Simulator, and if you do you should let me know.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Understated and compelling spy movie. Slow pacing that really draws you in.

Average is Over: This has been on the reading list for a long time; Tyler Cowen's model of the increasingly bimodal nature of the economy. This was a good extended summary/discussion.

Daniel Ek (Spotify CEO) Interview: Great in-depth profile of the Spotify CEO; I love the focus on the gears level workflows and tactics of a (seemingly epistemically humble!) successful CEO.

The Game That Ruins Friendships and Shapes Careers: I'm playing Twilight Imperium with the same group of friends I was playing Diplomacy with fifteen years ago. While none of us have gone to work in the Trump administration the same dynamics this article goes into are very resonant.

The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh: I don't really know how to describe this article. A searing indictment of American justice and institutions? Mainstreaming conspiracy theories? Whatever it was I found it very compelling.

Transcript - CRISPR Babies: Steve Hsu and Corey Washington discussing CRISPR and genetic engineering; many interesting details about gene editing technology and the culture around it. Interesting fact: 5% to 10% of babies born in France, Denmark, Japan were conceived with IVF technology.

Player vs. Character: A Two-Level Model of Ethics: A creative and maybe accurate model of how human behavior and personalities emerge from strategic evolutionary reasons; 'character' and 'personality' is what it feels like to execute a strategy from the inside.


Recently one of my favorite questions to bug people with has been "What is it you do to train that is comparable to a pianist practicing scales?" - Tyler Cowen

Liberals, on the other hand, dream the same dream and envision the same destination, even if they disagree on exactly how to get there. It’s the dream of Thomas Friedman as well as Karl Marx, as old as Babel and as young as the South Korean cloners. It whispered to us in Eden, and it whispers to us now: ye shall be as gods. And no conservative dream, in the 400 years from Francis Bacon until now, has proven strong enough to stand in its way. - Ross Douthat