Links for Nov 2021
I have a lot of free time
This is a monthly column where I link things I’ve liked over the past month, the Internet seen through my eyes. I copied it from Nintil, Guzey, Tyler Cowen etc. I find it’s better to find interesting things this way, rather than just clicking around on Hacker News. Hope you like it too!
“Where are the Aliens”? This marvellous video explains the recent “Grabby Aliens” theory by Robin Hanson.
Humans seem early in the universe: to make us less exceptional we can hypothesize the existence of future Aliens that expand very fast and grab the whole sector of space leaving fewer grabby civilizations in tiny enclaves. This kind of probabilistic reasoning is fascinating:
“The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning” on N. S. LYONS
This article is *very* good. About Wang Huning, the most influential Chinese intellectual and the role of his Political Philosophy in shaping Xi Jinping’s China. Must read.
If you are not listening to Balaji talking for 3 hours I’m not sure what you’re doing with your life that is more interesting. Balaji has the highest count of interesting-ideas and futuristic—aphorisms per minute. Go for a walk and listen to this:
How I think of Crypto now: a bunch of friends moving around billions of Solana while joking about it on WhatsApp. I recommend the Podcast:
A new 6-part documentary series by Adam Curtis is out. It’s called “Can't Get You Out of My Head”. It’s a disorienting patchwork of stories that narrate the birth of western individualism, paranoia and conspiracy on the edge of the collapse of Imperialism, passing by the Chinese cultural revolution, elegantly hand-sewing small and big historical events.
People in the UK can watch it on BBC iPlayer
For everyone else, the Wikipedia page.
I’m late on this one, it’s from 2013. The movie is called “Short Peace”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Peace
It’s hard to find without using Torrent. An excerpt from 武器よさらば:
“Invasion”, TV Series on Apple TV
I’m liking this one, maybe just because I’d like more Aliens in my life. It’s a movie about aliens that don’t want to be one. We follow a few stories around the world during an extraterrestrial invasion. No laser beams, and almost no space ships. The invasion is more of an excuse to tell human stories. These are not always convincing, and it all goes to shit by episode 5, but it’s all quite captivating for me nonetheless.
I’m also enjoying the “Foundation” Apple TV series. It’s better written than Invasion, but it doesn’t adhere much to the original Asimov novels.
For the “Blast from the past” section: Full 1-hour interview with James Simons (founder of Renaissance Technologies), from 2015. James has seen things.
🤌 Italian-only bonus: One of the miseries of not speaking Italian is that most of you cannot listen to the medievalist historian Alessandro Barbero. Some guy made a Podcast out of his talks, and it’s pure gold.
This is Barbero talking for an hour about the Black Death, with the occasional parallel with the contemporary pandemic.