Clippings


Productize Yourself.

Nivi: You summarized this entire tweetstorm with two words: “Productize yourself.”

Naval: Productize has specific knowledge and leverage. Yourself has uniqueness and accountability. Yourself also has specific knowledge. So you can combine all of these pieces into these two words.

If you’re looking towards the long-term, you should ask yourself, “Is this authentic to me? Is it myself that I’m projecting?” And then, “Am I productizing it? Am I scaling it? Am I scaling with labor or capital or code or media?” It’s a very handy, simple mnemonic.

Naval

Daycares in Finland Built a 'Forest Floor', And It Changed Children's Immune Systems

The notion that an environment rich in living things impacts on our immunity is known as the 'biodiversity hypothesis'. Based on that hypothesis, a loss of biodiversity in urban areas could be at least partially responsible for the recent rise in immune-related illnesses. "The results of this study support the biodiversity hypothesis and the concept that low biodiversity in the modern living environment may lead to an un-educated immune system and consequently increase the prevalence of immune-mediated diseases," the authors write.

https://www.sciencealert.com/daycares-in-finland-built-a-backyard-forest-and-it-changed-children-s-immune-systems

The dream scenario for a social network is to transition from offering social capital to offering a ton of utility as well.

The dream scenario for a social network is to transition from offering social capital to offering a ton of utility as well. Utility is less volatile than status. It's almost impossible to over-serve on utility.

@eugenewei

Falsehoods programmers believe about time zones

Misconception #22: This is a comprehensive list of misconceptions

These are the misconceptions I've uncovered so far, but I'm sure there are many more waiting to be discovered. Heck, I didn't even realize UTC offsets went all the way up to +14 until just 10 hours before I published this list

https://www.zainrizvi.io/blog/falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-time-zones/

De-Escalating Social Media — Nick Punt

One particular effect of this environment is that small misunderstandings, mistakes, or disagreements can unexpectedly explode due to the public nature of discourse and assumptions of bad faith. Meanwhile, very few tools exist to moderate these effects.

This is why it's my belief that as designed today, social media is out of balance. It is far easier to escalate than it is to de-escalate, and this is a major problem that companies like Twitter and Facebook need to address.


We have to acknowledge that the tools offered on social media today are too simplistic to capture the nuance of human social interactions, and a culture has emerged within these mediums that reflects their inherent imbalance.

In the coming decade, social media needs to figure out how to get back in balance, by exploring designs that help build understanding, find resolution to conflict, and offer paths for restorative justice

Nick Punt

How The DMCA Prevents Inovation

That’s where Section 1201 of the DMCA comes in: By banning tampering with an “access control,” the rule gave manufacturers and rights holders standing to sue competitors who released superior products with lawful features that the market demanded (in this case, region-free players).

This is an odious scam against consumers, but as time went by, Section 1201 grew to encompass a rapidly expanding constellation of devices and services as canny manufacturers have realized certain things:

Any device with software in it contains a “copyrighted work” — i.e., the software. A device can be designed so that reconfiguring the software requires bypassing an “access control for copyrighted works,” which is a potential felony under Section 1201. Thus, companies can control their customers’ behavior after they take home their purchases by designing products so that all unpermitted uses require modifications that fall afoul of Section 1201.

https://onezero.medium.com/how-to-destroy-surveillance-capitalism-8135e6744d59

layers of indirection between advertisers and publishers serve as moral buffers

When a publication gets a complaint about an offensive ad that’s appearing in one of its units, it can take some steps to block that ad, but the Nazi might buy a slightly different ad from a different broker serving the same unit. And in any event, internet users increasingly understand that when they see an ad, it’s likely that the advertiser did not choose that publication and that the publication has no idea who its advertisers are.

These layers of indirection between advertisers and publishers serve as moral buffers: Today’s moral consensus is largely that publishers shouldn’t be held responsible for the ads that appear on their pages because they’re not actively choosing to put those ads there. Because of this, Nazis are able to overcome significant barriers to organizing their movement.

Data has a complex relationship with domination. Being able to spy on your customers can alert you to their preferences for your rivals and allow you to head off your rivals at the pass.

More importantly, if you can dominate the information space while also gathering data, then you make other deceptive tactics stronger because it’s harder to break out of the web of deceit you’re spinning. Domination — that is, ultimately becoming a monopoly — and not the data itself is the supercharger that makes every tactic worth pursuing because monopolistic domination deprives your target of an escape route.

If you’re a Nazi who wants to ensure that your prospects primarily see deceptive, confirming information when they search for more, you can improve your odds by seeding the search terms they use through your initial communications. You don’t need to own the top 10 results for “voter suppression” if you can convince your marks to confine their search terms to “voter fraud,” which throws up a very different set of search results.


There’s only one group of people who find pick-up artist lore reliably convincing: other would-be pick-up artists whose anxiety and insecurity make them vulnerable to scammers and delusional men who convince them that if they pay for tutelage and follow instructions, then they will someday succeed. Pick-up artists assume they fail to entice women because they are bad at being pick-up artists, not because pick-up artistry is bullshit. Pick-up artists are bad at selling themselves to women, but they’re much better at selling themselves to men who pay to learn the secrets of pick-up artistry.


Facebook is heralded as the origin of all of our modern plagues, and it’s not hard to see why. Some tech companies want to lock their users in but make their money by monopolizing access to the market for apps for their devices and gouging them on prices rather than by spying on them (like Apple). Some companies don’t care about locking in users because they’ve figured out how to spy on them no matter where they are and what they’re doing and can turn that surveillance into money (Google). Facebook alone among the Western tech giants has built a business based on locking in its users and spying on them all the time.


With nothing but “organic” discussion, Facebook would not generate enough traffic to sell enough ads to make the money it needs to continually expand by buying up its competitors while returning handsome sums to its investors.

So Facebook has to gin up traffic by sidetracking its own forums: Every time Facebook’s algorithm injects controversial materials — inflammatory political articles, conspiracy theories, outrage stories — into a group, it can hijack that group’s nominal purpose with its desultory discussions and supercharge those discussions by turning them into bitter, unproductive arguments that drag on and on. Facebook is optimized for engagement, not happiness, and it turns out that automated systems are pretty good at figuring out things that people will get angry about.


The more time you spend on Facebook, the more ads it gets to show you. The solution to Facebook’s ads only working one in a thousand times is for the company to try to increase how much time you spend on Facebook by a factor of a thousand. Rather than thinking of Facebook as a company that has figured out how to show you exactly the right ad in exactly the right way to get you to do what its advertisers want, think of it as a company that has figured out how to make you slog through an endless torrent of arguments even though they make you miserable, spending so much time on the site that it eventually shows you at least one ad that you respond to.

Cory Doctrow

what would happen if the funniest, most persuasive people in the country stopped acting like it doesn’t matter who we work for or what we say

We spend our lives turning our silence into power with yoga and mindfulness, when maybe the problems we have with the world are because it’s unfair.


I wonder what would happen if the funniest, most persuasive people in the country stopped acting like it doesn’t matter who we work for or what we say. Or that what they do as comedians matters so much. Maybe not as many people would die, maybe some of the kids wouldn’t suffer as much, and maybe some truly important ideas would be argued for convincingly. My point is we shouldn’t have to play along, I was mad, still am, and you should be too.

https://medium.com/@nicolas.j.carter/how-to-know-youre-not-insane-and-how-a-cards-against-humanity-staff-writer-was-fired-40fe07fbbfe4

Product categories @sariazout suggests are poised for continued growth

💆‍♀️ Tools that give us psychological freedom 🫂 Trusted brands and curators 🔭 New UIs that recognize the importance of context

https://twitter.com/hunterwalk/status/1276947369385267201?s=09

computational trinitarianism in nLab

  1. Idea Under the identifications

propositions as types

programs as proofs

relation between type theory and category theory

the following notions are equivalent:

A proof of a proposition. (In logic.)

A program with output some type. (In type theory and computer science.)

A generalized element of an object. (In category theory.)

This is referred to as “computational trinitarianism” in (Harper), where also an exposition is given.

The central dogma of computational trinitarianism holds that Logic, Languages, and Categories are but three manifestations of one divine notion of computation. There is no preferred route to enlightenment: each aspect provides insights that comprise the experience of computation in our lives.

Computational trinitarianism entails that any concept arising in one aspect should have meaning from the perspective of the other two. If you arrive at an insight that has importance for logic, languages, and categories, then you may feel sure that you have elucidated an essential concept of computation–you have made an enduring scientific discovery. (Harper)

computational trinitarianism = propositions as types +programs as proofs +relation type theory/category theory

https://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/computational+trinitarianism

Why declarative programming is at the heart of "newer" tech trends

We use React/Vue/Svelte to organize code into declarative components, help us organize the above and automate the boring parts. It also lets us share code much easier because the markup, state, and styles are scoped to the component, so they don't leak to the rest of the app.

@swyx

The more adaptive the agent is to your interference, the more competence it demonstrates

Now, we agree that attributing purpose to objects profligately is a mistake; Isaac Newton’s laws are great for predicting the path of a ball placed at the top of a hill, but they’re useless for understanding what a mouse at the top of a hill will do. So, the other way to make a mistake is to fail to attribute goal-directedness to a system that has it; this kind of teleophobia significantly holds back the ability to predict and control complex systems because it prevents discovery of their most efficient internal controls or pressure points. We reject a simplistic essentialism where humans have ‘real’ goals, and everything else has only metaphorical ‘as if’ goals. Recent advances in basal cognition and related sciences are showing us how to move past this kind of all-or-nothing thinking about the human animal – naturalising human capacities and swapping a naive binary distinction for a continuum of how much agency any system has.


We know how to specify individual cell fates from stem cells, but we’re still far from being able to make complex organs on demand. The few situations where we can make them are those in which we’ve learned to communicate with the cell swarm – providing a simple trigger, such as the bioelectric pattern that says ‘build an eye here’, and then letting the intelligence of the cell group do the hard work and stop when the organ is done.


Detectors and signals and feedback loops and decision-making processes are uncontroversial physical building blocks in biology today, just as they are in computers. But there is a difference that needs to be appreciated, since failure to recognise it is blocking the imagination of theorists. In a phrase that will need careful unpacking, individual cells are not just building blocks, like the basic parts of a ratchet or pump; they have extra competences that turn them into (unthinking) agents that, thanks to information they have on board, can assist in their own assembly into larger structures, and in other large-scale projects that they needn’t understand.


The parts themselves must embody the knowhow to find their proper places and do their proper jobs

Notice how ‘you’ can be a single cell or a multicellular organism – or an organ or tissue in a multicellular organism – and still be gifted with informational competences composed out of the basic ‘nuts and bolts’ of information-processing structures. Agents, in this carefully limited perspective, need not be conscious, need not understand, need not have minds, but they do need to be structured to exploit physical regularities that enable them to use information (following the laws of computation) to perform tasks, beginning with the fundamental task of self-preservation, which involves not just providing themselves with the energy needed to wield their tools, but the ability to adjust to their local environments in ways that advance their prospects.


When two cells connect their innards, this ensures that nutrients, information signals, poisons, etc are rapidly and equally shared. Crucially, this merging implements a kind of immediate ‘karma’: whatever happens to one side of the compound agent, good or bad, rapidly affects the other side. Under these conditions, one side can’t fool the other or ignore its messages, and it’s absolutely maladaptive for one side to do anything bad to the other because they now share the slings and fortunes of life. Perfect cooperation is ensured by the impossibility of cheating and erasure of boundaries between the agents. The key here is that cooperation doesn’t require any decrease of selfishness. The agents are just as 100 per cent selfish as before; agents always look out for Number One, but the boundaries of Number One, the self that they defend at all costs, have radically expanded – perhaps to an entire tissue or organ scale.


You have to remember that, while the most popular stories about how cells cooperate toward huge goals are about neural cells, there is little fundamental difference between neurons and other cell types. It is now known that synaptic proteins, ion channels and gap junctions, for instance, were already present in our unicellular ancestors, and were being used by electrically active cells to coordinate actions in anatomical morphospace (remodelling and development) long before they were co-opted to manage faster activity in 3D space. If you agree that there is some mechanism by which electrically active cells can represent past memories, future counterfactuals and large-scale goals, there is no reason why non-neural electric networks wouldn’t be doing a simplified version of the same thing to accomplish anatomical homeostasis. Phylogenetics has made it very clear that neurons evolved from far simpler cell types, and that some of the brain’s speed-optimised tricks were discovered around the time of bacterial biofilms (the biggest trick being scaling up into networks that can represent progressively bigger goal states and coordinating the Test-Operate-Test-Exit loop across tissues). Cognition has been a slow climb, not a magical leap, along this path

https://aeon.co/essays/how-to-understand-cells-tissues-and-organisms-as-agents-with-agendas

Don’t confuse what you wish were true with what is really true.

  1. Don’t confuse what you wish were true with what is really true.
  2. Don’t worry about looking good — worry instead about achieving your goals.
  3. Don’t overweight first-order consequences relative to second- and third-order ones.
  4. Don’t let pain stand in the way of progress.
  5. Don’t blame bad outcomes on anyone but yourself.
https://entrepreneurshandbook.co/26-year-old-coder-built-a-1-billion-app-in-2-years-after-following-his-girlfriends-advice-c6f378db1fd1

RFC8890: The Internet is for End Users

https://www.mnot.net/blog/2020/08/28/for_the_users

How the Internet is made The IETF plays a central role in the design and operation of the Internet. Formed in the 1980s by the engineers who created several of the Internet’s core technologies, it is the primary venue for documenting the technical design of the Internet, and has overseen development of protocols like TCP, IP, DNS and HTTP.

Companies, governments and other organisations don’t officially participate in the IETF; people only represent themselves. There isn’t even a concept of membership. Instead, decisions about specifications are made by ‘rough consensus’ — instead of formal voting, the IETF tries to find the best solution for each issue, based upon the ideas, comments and concerns brought to it.


However, implicit values can drift, as new people get involved in the work, and as new challenges are faced. This is especially true when the resulting decisions can have profound effects on both profits and societies. So, over the years, the IETF community has made progress in documenting explicit principles that can guide decision-making.

For example, RFC7258 Pervasive Monitoring Is an Attack established IETF consensus that it’s bad for the Internet to allow widespread, covert monitoring, and that therefore the IETF would design its protocols to mitigate this risk —a technical argument with both political motivation and ramifications.


Technical or political? Both Naturally, most IETF decisions are about technical details; what bytes should go where, how a server reacts to a client, and so on. Because of this, participants often tell themselves that their decisions aren't ever political; that any such concerns are on ‘layer 8’ — referring to the stack of seven abstractions commonly used for network protocols — and therefore nothing to be concerned about.

[T]he running code that results from our process (when things work well) inevitably has an impact beyond technical considerations, because the underlying decisions afford some uses while discouraging others.” — The Internet is for End Users However, the barrier between the bits on the wire and political matters has turned out to be leaky, like most abstractions are. Sometimes the ability to send information (or the prevention of it) has real-world consequences that take power from some people and give it to others. Likewise with the ability to see what other people are saying, and to control the format in which they speak.

So, in a world that is increasingly intertwined with the Internet, it’s becoming more difficult to maintain the position that the design of Internet protocols doesn't have a political dimension. All decisions have the possibility of bias; of advantaging or disadvantaging different parties.

For example, the recent standardisation of DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) pitted advocates for dissidents and protestors against network operators who use DNS for centralised network management, and child safety advocates who promote DNS-based filtering solutions. If the IETF were to only decide upon technical merit, how would it balance these interests?


Did the IETF create a better internet when it approved DoH? There’s a lot of disagreement about that, but what has upset many is that DoH was a surprise — the IETF standardised it without consulting some who it was likely to affect. Here, the IETF could have done better. The Internet is for End Users argues that such consultation is important, to assure that the people writing and reviewing the protocols understand how they will be used, and how they will impact users.

In the case of DoH, better communication between the technical community (not just big tech companies) and policymakers would clarified that relying on DNS to impose filtering was a bad assumption, in light of the principles underlying the design of the Internet.

“From its inception, the Internet has been, and is expected to remain, an evolving system whose participants regularly factor new requirements and technology into its design and implementation. Users of the Internet and providers of the equipment, software, and services that support it should anticipate and embrace this evolution as a major tenet of Internet philosophy.” — The Internet Standards Process However, that consultation does not translate to giving other parties a veto over Internet protocols. The UK Government or any other external authority should not be able to stop the IETF from creating a particular standard, or to hold it directly accountable; that would be a radical break from how the Internet has been developed for over thirty years. Because of the global nature of the Internet, it wouldn’t be possible to pursue a bilateral or regional style of governance; decisions would have to be sanctioned by every government where the Internet operates. That’s difficult to achieve even for vague statements of shared goals; doing it for the details of network protocols is impractical.

Who, then, is the IETF accountable to? Besides the internal rules which assure that the standards process runs in a way that’s accountable to the technical community, ultimately the IETF is accountable to the Internet; if it strays too far from what vendors, networks, users, and governments want to do, it will lose relevance. As with any platform, the Internet is a beneficiary of the network effect, and if the IETF leads it in a direction that’s unacceptable in too many places, the Internet might fragment into several networks — a risk currently on many people’s minds.

Finding what’s best for end users There are also bound to be situations where what is best for end users is not obvious. Some will claim that giving other parties power — to filter, to monitor, to block — is in the interest of end users. How will the IETF make those decisions?

Unsurprisingly, this has already happened; it refused to standardise wiretapping technology, for example. In doing so, it applied technical reasoning informed by principles and the global nature of the Internet; designing Internet standards to suit the laws of one or a few countries isn’t appropriate.


That ability to refuse is meaningful to many people inside and outside the organisation; the IETF standardising something implies that it is good for the Internet, and has been reviewed not only for technical suitability but also adherence to the principles that inform the Internet’s design. In other words, the IETF is a quality filter; if a specification achieves consensus there, it gets deployed more broadly and easily (although it’s not a guarantee of success by any means) because people know it’s had that scrutiny.

Abdicating that role just to avoid thinking about and applying principles would not be good for the Internet. While it might gain a few participants eager to take advantage, it would lose many — including many of those who are still invested in the Internet as a force for good in the world.


If the IETF is making decisions based upon what it thinks is good for users, is it setting itself up as being some sort of governing body, taking power away from governments and other institutions? Isn’t it dangerous to leave such important matters in the hands of the geeks who show up, and who don’t have any democratic legitimacy?

First of all, a reality check. IETF decisions are only about documents; they don’t control the Internet. Other parties like equipment and software vendors, end users, platform and network operators and ultimately governments have a lot more say in what actually happens on the Internet from day to day.

What the IETF has is a proven ability to design protocols that work at scale, the ability to steer a proposal to align with its principles, and a reputation that gives its documents a certain amount of gravitas. These draw those parties to the IETF as a venue for standardisation, and their power flows into the specifications it endorses — especially when a protocol has momentum, like HTTP or IP. It doesn’t work the other way around; if an IETF standard doesn’t catch on with implementers and users, it gets ignored (and many have).

The Internet is for End Users argues that this soft power should be explicitly acknowledged, so that participants are more conscious of the real-world ramifications of their decisions.


So at its heart, The Internet is for End Users is a call for IETF participants to stop pretending that they can ignore the non-technical consequences of their decisions, a call for broader consultation when making them, and one for continued focus on the end user. Ultimately, end user impact is as least as important as the technical considerations of a proposal, and judging that impact requires a more serious effort to understand and incorporate other non-technical views.

The Internet is for End Users is an IAB document; it doesn't have IETF consensus. As such, it doesn’t bind IETF decisions, but it is considered persuasive because the IAB has a mandate to consider issues affecting the Internet architecture.

On its own, then, it has limited effect. I view it as a small contribution to a larger body of principled thought that can help inform decisions about the evolution of the Internet. It’s up to all of us to apply those principles and develop them further.

Mnot

Long-term thinking makes people unhappy @vgr

people do “happy” long-term thinking by building positive potential in the form of very general capabilities, like the internet

downside is general potentialities never solve specific big problems, merely reshape them

sometimes the reshaping makes them harder, sometimes easier

@vgr

What is Life? by Erwin Schrödinger

each of us has the indisputable impression that the sum total of his own experience and memory forms a unit, quite distinct from that of any other person. He refers to it as ‘I’. What is this ‘I’?

If you analyse it closely you will, I think, find that it is just a little bit more than a collection of single data (experiences and memories), namely the canvas upon which they are collected. And you will, on close introspection, find that what you really mean by ‘I’ is that ground-stuff upon which they are collected. You may come to a distant country, lose sight of all your friends, may all but forget them; you acquire new friends, you share life with them as intensely as you ever did with your old ones. Less and less important will become the fact that, while living your new life, you still recollect the old one. ‘The youth that was I’, you may come to speak of him in the third person, indeed the protagonist of the novel you are reading is probably nearer to your heart, certainly more intensely alive and better known to you. Yet there has been no intermediate break, no death. And even if a skilled hypnotist succeeded in blotting out entirely all your earlier reminiscences, you would not find that he had killed you. In no case is there a loss of personal existence to deplore.

Nor will there ever be


t immediate experiences in themselves, however various and disparate they be, are logically incapable of contradicting each other. So let us see whether we cannot draw the correct, non-contradictory conclusion from the following two premises:

  1. My body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature.

  2. Yet I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions, of which I foresee the effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in which case I feel and take full responsibility for them.

The only possible inference from these two facts is, I think, that I — I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt ‘I’ — am the person, if any, who controls the ‘motion of the atoms’ according to the Laws of Nature.

Within a cultural milieu (Kulturkreis) where certain conceptions (which once had or still have a wider meaning amongst other peoples) have been limited and specialized, it is daring to give to this conclusion the simple wording that it requires. In Christian terminology to say: ‘Hence I am God Almighty’ sounds both blasphemous and lunatic. But please disregard these connotations for the moment and consider whether the above inference is not the closest a biologist can get to proving God and immortality at one stroke.

In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records to my knowledge date back some 2,500 years or more. From the early great Upanishads the recognition ATHMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.

https://www.atlasofplaces.com/essays/what-is-life/

Wayne Coyne Talks the Future of Space Bubble Concerts

I hope we all survive and we all stop getting sick. This type of environment where people are very excited, and fucked up, and supposed to be transported from the normal stresses of everyday life — that’s what a rock show is, but that’s where I sort of feel, ‘Well, don’t do that.’ But you can do it as long as you’re in this space bubble. You can do whatever the fuck you want. We’ll clean it up afterward.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/wayne-coyne-flaming-lips-space-bubble-concert-covid-19-1078823/amp/?__twitter_impression=true&s=09

How a Flock of Birds Can Fly and Move Together | Audubon

The British evolutionary biologist William Hamilton, in 1971, coined the term “selfish herd” to describe this phenomenon. Each member of a flock, he wrote, acts out of simple self-interest. When a predator approaches a flock, all the individuals in the group move toward the safest place—namely, the middle of the group—in order to reduce the chances of being captured. Observations of juvenile shorebirds have hinted that it may take them a while to get the hang of this, because they learn to form cohesive congregations only over time. As they do, natural selection dictates that the birds least able to hang with the group are most likely to be caught by predators.

Self-interest by itself may explain many of the observed dynamics of flock motion, such as density. But it can’t explain how the birds get the information they need to move in synchrony and avoid a predator. There’s no way every member of the group can see a fast-flying falcon at the same time. How, then, can they possibly know what direction to move in to avoid it?


The real world, though, doesn’t run like software. One problem with the basic model is that it doesn’t adequately explain how bird flocks can react as quickly as they do. That’s something Wayne Potts realized as a graduate student in the late 1970s. Now a biologist at the University of Utah, Potts ended up studying dunlins on Puget Sound. By making movies of their flocks and analyzing, frame by frame, how each individual bird moved, he was able to show that a turn ripples through a flock just as a cheerleading wave passes through sports fans at a stadium. He explained the finding with the name of his theory: the “chorus line hypothesis.” An individual dancer who waits for her immediate neighbor to move before initiating her kick will be too slow; similarly, a dunlin watches a number of birds around it, not just its nearest neighbors, for cues. This finding put to rest the old telepathy idea


Frank Heppner is confident that researchers will soon be able to explain many such mysteries, even as he continues to question some of the most basic assumptions about flocking behavior. He wonders, for example, why the Roman starlings so spectacularly maneuver above their roosting sites for many minutes before settling down. If they really wanted to avoid falcons, he asks, wouldn’t they disappear into the trees more quickly? “What they do is not predator avoidance,” he says. “It’s inviting predators.”

He speculates that there may be some fundamental math-based behavior going on—the kind of thing that physicists call an “emergent property,” in which the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Starlings may do what they do simply because their individual programming makes complex behaviors, like flocks, inevitable. Birders, of all people, ought to understand that, since they know how simple biological rules like a basic human interest in brightly colored, moving objects can lead to unpredictable and apparently irrational behaviors—such as jetting off to Brownsville to spot a golden-crowned warbler.

“It may be that these types of behaviors are like a mathematical by-product of the rules the birds follow,” Heppner says. “It is entirely possible that you get unpredictable behavior out of predictable rules.” Perhaps Rome’s starlings will yet shed some light on collective decision making by people

https://www.audubon.org/magazine/march-april-2009/how-flock-birds-can-fly-and-move-together

The Burden of Proof – Shedding Light

if you want to speak to people who have reason to believe you are not speaking to them, you have to say “and that includes you”. If you are a church that accepts and loves those of all sexual orientations, you have to say it. If you are a technology company that accepts and values those of all skin colors and sexes, you have to say it. If you are a sports league that accepts and invests in those of all levels of ability, you have to say it.

https://josepha.blog/2018/11/06/the-burden-of-proof/

Be radically kind, for no reason.

Be radically kind, for no reason. Kindness is neither performative nor transactional; it is a choice we make to lighten the load of our fellow people. When you can, and it doesn't harm your own happiness, do kind things. (Thanks to @andmiddleton for putting words to this one)

@mor10

Here are my tips taken from years of releasing new video courses, developer tools or exciting open source software.

A lot of times, I get asked how we at @beyondcode can be so productive.

Here are my tips taken from years of releasing new video courses, developer tools or exciting open source software.

A thread:

@marcelpociot

I Miss Restaurants, So I Opened My Own…for a Chipmunk | Bon Appétit

Then I fashioned a vase out of one of those rubber guards for pencils and filled it with a tiny purple vinca bud. “What do chipmunks eat besides nuts?” I wondered as I made a grocery list. A deep google dive gave me answers. Much as expected: seeds, berries, buds, and small worms. And, more surprising: mushrooms, vegetables, and small frogs. (Spoiler: This porch café does not serve small f

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/a-restaurant-for-a-chipmunk

Lessons from founder if Comedy Cellar

One theme in all of Bill’s advice was to deeply and consciously know and trust what makes you different.

Bill signed off our call with this epic line:

“You have to find your own rainbow to follow. There is no gold at the end of somebody else’s rainbow.”

@stewfortier

Lifequakes

Transitions are essential to life. The single most powerful idea that emerged from years of listening to life stories is that all of us go through tumultuous periods—and not just once or twice, but multiple times in our lives. As long as we have to do all this heartrending and heart-mending, along with the rebalancing of sources of meaning that comes with it, why don’t we spend more time trying to master them?

https://www.nirandfar.com/life-transitions-bruce-feiler/?s=09

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New meta thread of some of my more interesting prompts

  1. Clockless clocks https://t.co/omHBWflUBi
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