Around the Web 06
AI for short stories, a Crypto philosopher, and Kendrick Lamar
1: [AI] I love writing short stories, but because I don’t write them often, I have a hard time writing something relatively quickly, which further discourages me from writing. This new AI model might be the answer to my prayers. An AI model that can "nudge writers to deviate from their routines—to go beyond their comfort zone —to write something that they would not have written otherwise." Meet CoAuthor, an Experiment in Human-AI Collaborative Writing. See the demo here. See the research paper.
2: [Social Media] Some researchers like Jared Diamond have argued that our ancestor's decision to farm (agricultural revolution) led us to give up egalitarianism. Antibiotics completely revolutionized modern medicine, but then came the resistance crisis from overuse. Then there is social media. Progress has a way of getting back at us. I really enjoyed listening to Jonathan Haidt (a famous social psychologist at NYU) on the Lex Fridman podcast. It’s titled The Case Against Social Media, but it’s more of a case against specific kinds of social media business models.
On the subject of social media, here is another blog by Cal Newport: taking a break from social media makes you happier and less anxious, and here is a paper cited in the blog: Taking a One-Week Break from Social Media Improves Well-Being, Depression, and Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
4: [Music] When I was in high school and college, I did lots of soccer and rap. I still go out occasionally to fly my ass off, as a soccer goalie. But I haven’t rapped in years nor kept up to date with the contemporary rap scene. Even with that, I didn’t miss Lamar’s the heart part 5. I haven’t seen anything that incisive in a long time. Speaking directly to the culture.
I watched several interviews of much older Nigerians/ex-politicians/elder statesmen, this past month or so. Their take on Nigeria is pretty much unambiguous. I love the straightforwardness. I wish many Nigerians would not watch these decades to come, wishing they had taken them more seriously. The news is old, but their take isn’t. Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Afe Babalola, Robert Clarke.
Also, see my essay on Working in the Storm: Staying productive in the age of uber-distractions
When I started with Python and coding, virtual environment was one of the concepts I didn’t get to know partly due to getting to computer science through the “back door.” The back door is great, don’t get me wrong; you can save time, but some things would need to be straightened out sooner rather than later. I soon realized how terribly important setting up a virtual environment is. This is a nice little tutorial on virtual environments from freeCodeCamp that could have saved me some stress. If you code in Python, it could save you some stress too.
There are many lousy crypto coin HODLers/traders out there who are largely mimetic without much understanding of what the hell is going on. Probably, that’s to be expected. People do people things. Anyways, I found this short essay on Web 3/Crypto to be quite enlightening. The author argues for patience, citing recent technological strides and the mode/sequence/trend of adoption.
In other words, crypto's use case is the one that it claims: decentralization. It's use case is to cut out middlemen, break up monopolies, and fight aggregators. It's certainly not the case that crypto is entirely useless.
It may still be the case that crypto is "more bad than good", but the claim "after 13 years, there are still no use cases for crypto" is not a rational fact. It's, at best, a statement of opinion or identity.
What I am reading.
Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide by Edward Feser
Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau