Bunny chimera illustration by Celia Agnes of Sweet Omens, available as a print on Etsy.
Guess what time it is? That's right, time for a NEWSLETTER! This is me getting myself hyped but hopefully it works on you too. Happy Monday.
Btw, you may not be aware of the point of this newsletter, especially if you signed up in between episodes of grandiose rhapsodizing. Simple goals: Rep what I'm working on, rep my friends / densify the ecosystem, and ideally do both in an interesting way, because otherwise why would you be here. It's a vital venture to me — as a non-technologist, bringing people together is how I can advance positive-sum change at a scale exceeding personal action. Or rather, this is how I [strive to] put a multiplier on my individual capacity.
Anyway. Members, I already emailed you about this, but ICYMI I posted a progress update plus Existential Detritus. Also, if the bunny zine trio has not reached you irl by now, let me know! (If you're international, let me know once a weird amount of time has passed vis-à-vis shipping to your country from the United States.)
Time-sensitive: Why Computers Are Bad and What We Can Do About It, an Interintellect event on Saturday, October 3, led by Anton Troynikov and Nick Arner. I can vouch that Anton is genuinely very upset about computers; presumably Nick's ire is no less potent.
The best thing that I read recently was Antonio García Martínez interviewing ex-spook Martin Gurri, aptly titled "The Prophet of the Revolt." Infinitely quotable, but here's a single teaser: "The great political conflict of our century, I believe, is that between a networked public and the elites who inhabit the great hierarchical institutions that organize modern life."
What else you should read:
- "More Important Than Votes" by Mike Solana, on the human need for faith in beautiful ideals (same theme comes up in the Gurri interview!)
- "A Deep Dive into K-pop" by Dormin, on the systematic production of idols
- "Big Tech at the End of History" by Byrne Hobart, on the political valence of growth (pairs well with his subsequent piece "Surfing the Right S-Curve"!)
- "Life is Made of Unfair Coin Flips" by Alex Danco, on how organisms eat entropy to persist through space-time
Pausing briefly here — IME, by far the least confusing way to understand entropy is via statistical mechanics (AKA probability). Also, Quanta published a swell writeup of the same paper that Danco used as a peg — not knocking him, it's fascinating enough for plenty of posts! — as well as a writeup of the same overall concept. The latter links to several more mind-bending papers, such as Carlo Rovelli's "Meaning = Information + Evolution" [PDF link]. I highly recommend digging into the various manifestations of entropy to better grok the fabric of the universe.
- "Permissionless Identities" by Tom Critchlow, on the fluidity of the modern self and its activities
- "The Non-Voter" by Chris Arnade, on downtrodden people who maximally eschew the System™ when given the choice
- "Dunbar's Number is Quadratic" by John[ny] Nelson, on sociality at scale; "liquid modernity" feels like a relevant concept
- "Intentionally enhancing default thought patterns" by @context_ing, on cognitive form and function
- "Lockdown in NYC made me want to kill myself, so I had to leave" by Pamela Hobart, on escaping certain circumstances to save yourself
- "Productivity Detox" by khan & polo, on slowing down to ponder the why
- "Bring Back the Bison" by Santi Ruiz, on rewilding and "megafauna nationalism"
- "Indignation in response to the 1890 census" by Jason Crawford, on the past bigger-is-better perspective on population
- "Key Performance Indicators" by Zero HP Lovecraft, soyberpunk fiction guaranteed to unsettle (warning, NSFW + thoughtcrime)
- "Why Civilizations Collapse" by Samo Burja, on decay being invisible until it isn't
- "Sex toys and bank examiners" by Jerry Brito, on the quiet continuance of Operation Chokepoint without a catchy name (hopefully the word "sex" doesn't tank my deliverability.........)
In general I've been enjoying Grant Dever's blog about leadership, Neeraj Agrawal's newsletter about censorship around world, Timothy Wilcox's PreCursor Poets, and something else that I'm forgetting right now, so I may as well plug the subreddit.
Three fun videos, the first two from Justin Murphy's realm — he also has a fantastic newsletter! — and the third by @goblinodds:
Aaand THE END! FINITUM! I hope you opened the amount of tabs that will be fun for you to peruse. L8r g8r.
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please subscribe! Also consider:
- Membership ("People pay me to make cultural artifacts")
- Mystery Zine Bundle
- AMA / submissions