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Best Links from the Old Year
Most clicks are simply forgotten, but these have stuck with me.
This year I made a point of saving links to the best bits of the internet I came across. Whether they were tweets, podcasts, or blog posts I did my best to record them somewhere that would be easily searchable, often simply in the notes app of my phone. I hope you find something you like.
Around the Web
1. Beating addiction is common
“When I stopped shooting coke and heroin, I was 23. I had no life outside of my addiction. I was facing serious drug charges and I weighed 85 pounds, after months of injecting, often dozens of times a day.
But although I got treatment, I quit at around the age when, according to large epidemiological studies, most people who have diagnosable addiction problems do so—without treatment.” (Link)
2. Male employment is at Great Depression levels
3. What activities are happiest?
He wasn’t wrong about everything
“Freud’s general assertion that sexuality can be shaped by childhood experiences is supported elsewhere in Google and PornHub data, which reveals that men, at least, retain an inordinate number of fantasies related to childhood.” (Link)
Cross-border plasma donation
“The U.S. is one of the few countries that allow payments for plasma. Up to 10% of U.S. plasma collected nationwide comes from Mexican nationals, who get paid roughly $50 to donate.” (Link)
Trustworthy institutions often change their mind
8. Paging Richard Hanania
9. "Rule of Three" for Addressing Miscommunication [Instagram Short]
The Feminization of Muse [the rock band, Youtube Short]
The culture of Twitter in two tweets
Peter Thiel observations to ponder
Cal Newport has a very good book about this
“The great mass of people form their political beliefs with little regard for facts or logic. However, the elites also have a strategy for avoiding truth. Elites form their political beliefs dogmatically, using their cleverness to organize facts to fit preconceived prejudices. The masses’ strategy for avoiding truth is to make a low investment in understanding; the elites’ strategy is to make a large investment in selectively choosing which facts and arguments to emphasize or ignore.”
Most regretted college majors
History of the girl scouts
How to identify an infovore?
Note that these are podcasts I listened to in 2022, not necessarily ones that were released in 2022.
On the Bible, the Holocaust, wokeness and much else. Also includes some genuine instances of accelerationism I found quite interesting.
Cryptocurrency in Argentina.
On SBF, but more generally the criminal justice system and the culture of prison. I was surprised to find I could relate to many of Shkreli’s experiences.
Based on the very good “Paper Belt on Fire”, plus other topics. One great excerpt—“In movies, the only person who has a plan is the bad guy.”
“If you’re going to write, make yourself a writing session. What’s the writing session? I’m going to work on this problem. Well, how long are you going to work on it? Don’t just sit down with an open-ended, “I’m going to work on this problem.” That’s a ridiculous torture to put on a human being’s head.
It’s like you’re going to hire a trainer to get in shape, and he comes over, and you go, “How long is the session?” And he goes, “It’s open-ended.” Forget it. I’m not doing it. It’s over right there. You’ve got to control what your brain can take.”
A rare occasion where I have seen Tyler truly challenged by an interview.
He is becoming a bit underrated I think.
How to find talent in sports.
“Very few people would say Kenny G is making art. I don't know that I would say he's making art, even though I'm trying to be open-minded about what art is. There's something inside me that says, 'Yeah, but this isn't really art.'.. [but] those people who would say all he does is write popular melodies, that, well, clearly they've never tried to write a popular melody because it's incredibly hard.”
“'We think we have a decision-making problem, but we have an action-taking problem.' And, that's the thing. Like, usually we tend to solve the problem from an analytical point of view. We say, like, 'Oh, I know that I need to lose weight. I need to find the best the diet, or I need to find a way in which I do it.'
But, usually the answers that we have on that side are already quite good enough. The problem is that our brain somehow doesn't implement them.
And the reason why it doesn't implement them is if it believes that the expected emotional outcome of implementing them is negative.”
I got a lot out of these, but might just be me…
“Vaughn Smith is fluent in eight languages but with a beginner’s grasp of at least thirty-six (and counting). His talents are so remarkable that the Washington Post did a feature story on him and neuroscientists at MIT requested he do a brain scan for them. But for Vaughn his language skills aren’t about attracting attention or monetary gain.”
Tyler Cowen: 45:36
If you want a Straussian reading, I'll give you one for “Conversations with Tyler.” It's a series of talent interviews designed to test people, and they're really hard. And the grades are not handed out. There's no hire or fire decision at the end. But that's one way to think about the podcast, which is not stated upfront, anytime that I can recall.
David Wright: 45:55
And how does that process change how you think about the person? Does it really?
Tyler Cowen: 46:03
Absolutely. Oh, it really changes how I think about people.
David Wright: 46:06
And how you would read their subsequent work?
Tyler Cowen: 46:08
Yes. Or in some cases, stop reading their subsequent work.
Listening to this made me so excited to try podcasting, I finally got up the nerve to do so.
A poem reading (though I mostly disagree with the analysis).
“Do you worry that your fame traps you… do you fear that you have become a Jordan Peterson impersonator?”
Judging by the transcript alone (audio was still WIP), I thought this was better than other interviews I saw with Garett.
Arnold is one of the most humble people alive and refers to “Under the Radar” as “a mediocre business book”. It is not a mediocre business book.
[Plus the audio sounds great.]
Top 10 posts of the year, in my opinion…(April 13) (June 5)
“Making the Other Side Better” by Tyler Cowen (July 19)
“On Christianity” by Nassim Taleb (August 25)(August 29) (September 1) (September 2)
“The Right Kind of Anti-Intellectualism” by James Broughel (November 7)
“Thoughts on "Who Gains and Loses from the new AI?"“ by Infovores (December 17)(December 29)
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, I would appreciate if you would share this article with a friend or leave a comment. What links did you like the best this year?
You can also check out my other writing at Infovores Newsletter. Over there I write reviews, conduct interviews, and generally try my best to navigate a world of infinite knowledge. You can also follow @ageofinfovores.
Rob Henderson has some good notes on the conversation here, but there is a paywall.
Edit: One podcast I neglected to include—not in my notes but texted to various friends after listening this year—was Russ Roberts and Chuck Klosterman from several years ago on the book “But What If We’re Wrong”. Highly Recommended. The CWT with CK was also quite good, and “The Nineties” was one of my favorite books from 2022.