- Negative Mount Pleasant: A small town in Wisconsin becomes the site of a completely unprecedented experiment. – the transcript of this was riveting and did not go where I expected. Really hoping that Amazon’s whole HQ2 stunt will make people reconsider corporate welfare to entice companies to specific areas. (it is bad)
- The myth of self-control: Psychologists say using willpower to achieve goals is overhyped. Here’s what actually works. – basically, you just want to try to avoid temptation in the first place. Also that picture of a plate of macarons looks delicious and I want to eat them, but I can’t because it’s just a picture. See – it works!
- Dr. Elon & Mr. Musk: Life Inside Tesla’s Production Hell – personally this isn’t shocking, but still…yikes. Also, this:
During another, he noticed that an executive was missing and called him. The man’s wife had recently given birth, and he explained that he was taking time off as she recuperated. Musk was angry. At a minimum, you should be on phone calls, Musk told the man. Having a kid doesn’t prevent you from being on the phone. (A Tesla spokesperson said that while Musk “was once upset that a particular executive did not dial into an important conference call several days after his child was born,” the company would not penalize an employee for taking paternity leave.)
…you kinda have to feel bad for the Tesla spokesperson, no?
“He would get really emotional,” this person told me—and that’s why he sometimes seemed callous, “because what’s one person’s feelings compared to the fate of billions? Elon cares a lot about humanity, but he doesn’t really care about individual people all that much.” (A Tesla spokesperson said Musk “very much cares about individual people.”)
- What made solar panels so cheap? Thank government policy. – this is a good thing to study, but I was struck by the fact that solar panels have dropped in price by 99 percent over the last 40 years! That’s amazing!
- The Reason Many Ultrarich People Aren’t Satisfied With Their Wealth – unsurprisingly, comparing your wealth to other people’s is a great way to never feel rich/content.
- Google Tweaks Email Program That Assumed An Investor Was Male – this is not even the most egregious example of this sort of thing, but there’s a reason people say “machine learning is like money laundering for bias”…
- Changes In Brain Scans Seen After A Single Season Of Football For Young Players – it’s hard to say what exactly the changes mean, but they’re probably not good.
- This ’80s PBS Show Made It Cool To Love Math – yaaaaaaay Square One! (also, loving math always was and remains cool!)
- U.S. Life Expectancy Drops Amid ‘Disturbing’ Rise In Overdoses And Suicides – a reminder that the opioid epidemic is very, very bad in the US. (deaths by drug overdose are up around 4x since 1999!)
- A charity just admitted that its program wasn’t working. That’s a big deal. – yay for evidence-based charities!
- How I changed the law with a GitHub pull request: Washington DC has made GitHub the authoritative digital source for DC laws. – cool!
- Fox News Isn’t A Normal Media Company. We Have To Stop Treating It Like One. – shunning can work!
When I was a kid, what I wanted was lots of money to spend on frivolous things. (that’s a kind of universal thing, right?)
When I got older, we had plenty of money and what I really wanted more of was time. (yeah, you can trade money for time to some extent, but it’s generally messy and it’s not like we were millionaires or anything)
Now that I have kids, time would be nice, but what I really want is more energy. I feel like I can’t fully enjoy the time I have with the kids because I’m too exhausted! Hoping things will get better as the kids get older…
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was fun, as I expected (who doesn’t want to read about Obama and Biden going around solving mysteries??) but the characters were actually kind of deep, which I didn’t expect. Anyway, it’s a fun read, especially if you read Obama’s words to yourself in his voice 🙂
View all my reviews
- Disney Is Spending More on Theme Parks Than It Did on Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm Combined – to my surprise I really enjoy Disney theme parks and am looking forward to this!
- Why Doctors Hate Their Computers – a very long article that is surprisingly nuanced. It seems like the root of the problem is that doctors are used to being in control of the charts, and now control lies with management and the makers of the software, I guess? (that daylight savings time bug is inexcusable, though…)
- This Thermometer Tells Your Temperature, Then Tells Firms Where to Advertise – this is an episode of Black Mirror waiting to happen… (a reminder from the article: turn off any “smart” features on your smart TV, they’re privacy nightmares!)
- The Ivy League Becomes the Future of Football – this is encouraging, I guess, but I’m skeptical that football can ever be anything less than “pretty dangerous” without making fundamental changes to the game.
- There’s a Better Way to Elect House Members – yay ranked-choice voting! If you missed it, it was used in Maine this year and changed the result!
- It’s Easier Than Ever To Get The Recommended Amount Of Exercise – just a reminder that exercise is really good for you and you don’t have to do a lot of it and any amount is better than nothing.
- They Said Seattle’s Higher Base Pay Would Hurt Workers. Why Did They Flip? – seems like good news, generally!
- A Baseball Bat Dies, and Chopsticks Are Born – Neat! (and Christmas is coming…just saying 🙂 )
- ‘They’re Bold and Fresh’: The Millennials Disrupting Boston’s Transit System – Good for them! (and good for Boston transportation officials for being open to suggestions) (thanks David!)
- Are Pop Lyrics Getting More Repetitive? – cool investigation with nice visualizations! (although the whole scroll down and different parts of the chart appear is annoying to me…)
- ‘The SOS in my Halloween decorations’ – wow: amazing story with a surprisngly happy ending!
If you like world-building scifi, you will probably like this book. I usually like world-building scifi, but the book is so long, and I was so sleep-deprived that I didn’t super get into it.
But the characters are interesting, and the plot is kinda bland and straightforward until it wasn’t, so I think it’s a good book!