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⚗️ fw: are people born smart?

Ro.bert
Ro.bert
here’s your weekly dose of treats 💌
a weekly list of goodies, ideas, pieces of research, principles, models, and other random stuff curated by Robert

fiery stuff I've been ingesting
  1. Jimmy Wales recalls how he assembled “a ragtag band of volunteers,” gave them tools for collaborating and created Wikipedia (video, 2005, the self-organizing, self-correcting, never-finished online encyclopedia. You can also watch this 2022 video, where Reason spoke with Jimmy once again. He was predictably modest about what he got right. A key ingredient to Wikipedia’s success is its high degree of decentralization.
  2. Birds appear to ‘self-medicate’ with our cigarette butts: Incorporation of cigarette butts into nests reduces nest ectoparasite load in urban birds: new ingredients for an old recipe?
  3. Trust the geeks: I don’t know why, but I tend to have more trust in geeks VS “professionals” e.g. I have more trust in this guy VS this guy when trying to learn something tech-related, as the last one feels like he will sell me something at the end.
  4. Language Models Can Teach Themselves to Program Better — This work shows how one can use large-scale language models (LMs) to synthesize programming problems with verified solutions, in the form of programming puzzles, which can then in turn be used to fine-tune those same models, improving their performance. 
  5. How speedrunning changed World of Warcraft
  6. [OC] Lifestyle creep since starting my first part-time job (09.2020-07.2022)
  7. Are people born smart? (video) | Richard Haier
  8. Martin Rees: Black Holes, Alien Life, Dark Matter, and the Big Bang (podcast)
  9. How Biden plans to checkmate China by Caspian Report
  10. European football player welcome event taken to a whole new level in Rome
  11. In late 2008, economist Robin Hanson and AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky conducted an online debate about the future of artificial intelligence, and in particular about whether generally intelligent AIs will be able to improve their own capabilities very quickly (a.k.a. “foom”). James Miller and Carl Shulman also contributed guest posts to the debate. Here’s the eBook of that conversation.
  12. Why Air Quality Matters: Our brand new house was making us sick. That lead me to study indoor air quality, and the findings were stunning. Besides the risk of making you physically sick, your mental capacity can take a serious hit. Here’s what I learned.
  13. This browser extension lets you block your YouTube feed and this one let’s you loop a video.
  14. Curiosity – A Decade on Mars
  15. Paper bag breathing
  16. Instinctive sleeping and resting postures: an anthropological and zoological approach to treatment of low back and joint pain
  17. Behind the Scenes Digital Reality: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
  18. Ekko from Arcane is the perfect side character.
  19. How Basecamp can foster uninterrupted work
  20. Midjourney: an independent research lab exploring new mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species.
YouTube essays
Show Your Work by Austin Kleon (Summary, Key Ideas, & Book Review)
Show Your Work by Austin Kleon (Summary, Key Ideas, & Book Review)
tweets for thought
- places where people live should be car-free
- life shouldn’t be about mostly working
- cities aren’t a healthy, happy or good place to live
- home ownership isn’t the smartest investment for most
- air quality is important
quotes for though
“The type of people who were drawn to writing an encyclopedia for fun tend to be pretty smart people.” — Jimmy Wales
“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads” — Jeff Hammerbacher
Eventually the decentralized world should be able to expand in a decentralized way. we will abolish scarcity; there will be nothing for them to steal they can’t have for free — link
Galadriel: Mithrandir… why the Halfling?
Gandalf: …I don’t know. Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid… and he gives me courage.
So that’s where their head is at. They are making massive blockbuster epics, with all the Hollywood techniques, about the Chinese military winning and the Americans losing. And moreover, what you can get canceled for in China is insufficient nationalism. As somebody once said, in like the West today, for an ambitious young person, they would articulate a desire to quote, “change the world.” But in China it is like, “serve the motherland.” — Balaji Srinivasan
“Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have all the answers.” — Socrates
war materials 🇺🇦
A video has leaked online showing a Russian soldier cutting off the genitals of a Ukrainian prisoner of war with just a clerical knife. They’ve certainly earned their nickname “orcs.” Propaganda works both ways.
One of the acquaintances of “Soviet deserters from the intellectual and security circles” reports that one of the goals of publishing a video with the brutal murder of a prisoner is “to exasperate the military leadership of Ukraine, which is responsible for Russian prisoners.”
Business Retreats and Sanctions Are Crippling the Russian Economy: As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters into its fifth month, a common narrative has emerged that the unity of the world in standing up to Russia has somehow devolved into a “war of economic attrition which is taking its toll on the west”, given the supposed “resilience” and even “prosperity” of the Russian economy. This is simply untrue – and a reflection of widely held but factually incorrect misunderstandings over how the Russian economy is actually holding up amidst the exodus of over 1,000 global companies and international sanctions.
Top WMBA player Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian prison. Griner was convicted of cannabis possession and drug smuggling.
  • Speaking on a call with journalists, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Moscow believes these talks should be “discrete.”
  • “Megaphone diplomacy and public exchange of positions will not lead to results here,” Peskov added.
  • The comments come less than a week after CNN reported that the Biden administration has proposed a prisoner swap with Russia, offering to release a convicted Russian arms trafficker, Viktor Bout, in exchange for Griner and another American detainee, Paul Whelan.
Kommersant reports that the children of participants in the war in Ukraine are receiving preferential treatment for admittance to Russian universities. Children of veterans who were killed/wounded are supposed to be enrolled without taking entrance exams.
Russian UK Embassy on Twitter: Azov militants deserve execution, but death not by firing squad but by hanging, because they’re not real soldiers. They deserve a humiliating death.
+ Olenivka POW massacre: an incomplete staged operation by Russia’s Twitter account - they are also calling it a war now, as POW = prisoners of war. Maybe everything is Matryoshka doll 5 head tactics
Latest footage circulating on Chinese social media WeChat shows armoured vehicles on the move in the southern Chinese city of Xiamen, as US Speaker Pelosi is reportedly heading to Taipei.
A few Russian YouTubers to follow:
Life in Russia Under Sanctions: Food Prices and Empty (?) Malls
“Exaggeration is persuasive; subtlety exists in its shadows.”
Other places
(͡ ͡° ͜ つ ͡͡°) Telegram group for me to save & share random stuff that might be useful —
— Robert
Thank you for reading!
How’re you and yours doing this week? Any major changes to your status quo, or are things fairly locked-in and predictable at the moment? I respond to every email I get—consider sending me a message.
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Ro.bert
Ro.bert @robsblanc

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