- Good snippet from FiveThirtyEight on our individual responsibility of sensemaking in a networked information ecosystem:
Ultimately, the expert advice on masks is to get comfortable with not knowing the right answer. You can (and should) have some trusted advisors. You can (and should) read up on why certain things are or aren’t being recommended. But there are a lot of issues around this virus on which two experts can read the same data and come to different conclusions. For the rest of us, that means accepting that, sometimes, we’ll just have to do the best we can without a clear set of instructions.
- Great Palladium piece: “post-modernism cannot be so all-encompassing as to destroy what systems of shared meaning we have left.”
- How economists and epidemiologists respond differently to COVID. Also see Tyler Cowen’s critique of epidemiologists (response 1 and 2).
- Metamodernism: Hanzi Freinacht critiques Charles Eisenstein’s “sacred economics” as too naive.
- Media consumption way up, ads way down (partially no consumer spending, partially blacklists on COVID-adjacent ads). See a related trend with cams (Only Fans, etc.)
- #Masks4All (a hashtag!) directly influenced the CDC’s mask policy
- One of the biggest pieces of news this week is that many of the bottom-up initiatives are receiving funding. CoronavirusTechHandbook raised $50,000, Schmidt Futures and Toyota Research Institute help turn Open Source Medical Supplies into a non-profit.
- Two biggest COVID projects on GoFundMe: $13M for food led by Leo, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Oprah. $6.5M for PPE led by Paul Graham, Schwarzenegger, Gwyneth Paltrow.
- #Masks4All using @resistbot and text codes to send letters to governors (In Jeremy’s bio.)
- John Robb argues for a daily briefing that highlights open-source projects and how to help them.
- Great post-mortem from Recode’s Peter Kafka on what the ~left-wing MSM got wrong about COVID. tl;dr 1) Only sourcing from credentialed experts/institutions. 2) Inherent difficultly in communicating risk—how scary is too scary?)
- Good look at the “cutting edge” of COVID sensemaking (variolation, ventalator ineffectiveness, CFR %s).
- Kara Swisher’s mom gets misinfo from Fox News
- Noah Smith on whether media has an anti-tech bent.
- Right-wing media response (awful, then quickly updated)
- Left- and right-wing media roughly covered COVID the same amount (from MediaCloud)
- Twitter is the most negative it’s ever been (from a sentiment analysis POV)
- Golden trying to provide a curated meta-layer on COVID info
- Hive.One expands into COVID epidemiologists. (EigenTrust/PageRank for Twitter experts.)
- Reporters should ask Trump about KPIs instead of political questions
- PG on Coronavirus and Credibility
- Balaji on decentralized media, staffed by citizen journalists
- Facebook mutual aid service
- Facebook adds a “quiet mode”
- Facebook’s VP of Product Design on Designing with Care During COVID-19
Networks vs. Centralized Institutions
- Party still decides?
- West Coast Pact vs. East Coast Pact. (When will we see pacts for the Midwest, Mountain West, or the South? For the EU?)
- Gavin Newsom Declares California a ‘Nation-State’
- Bottom-up networked institutions will outcompete traditional centralized institutions. But atwhatcost?
- Nils Gilman on business globalism vs. administrative globalism
Ambitious Frontier People
- Roam officially announces their fundraising (from Chapter One and Village Global). Also, #RoamCult as a signaling tool. Double also, Roam <> Anki API.
- Spatial Software. Especially excited to experiment with Figma. Mozilla Hubs has been nice. Also see this 3D DJ room.
- Expanding Domestic Cozy / Dark Forest internet: Columbia Journalism Review has a tool similar to letter.wiki called Galley. (Here, Nathan Schneider and Abbey Titcomb discuss Radicle.xyz.)
- Pushkin wrote many of his masterpieces during a 1830 cholera outbreak
- First principles questions that attract curious people (from Sarah Constantin). What's up with living and interacting in groups? how can we intervene on any of these systems to get more of what we want and less of what we don't?
- Like /start-here or /now, add /canon to your blog
- Tyler Alterman on the emerging “glue” role in bottom-up networked systems
- First-ever Less Wrong debate: Robin Hanson vs. Zvi Mowshowitz on variolation. (Related: Hanson on Cowen on Hanson.)
- From Toby Ord’s “The Precipice”: 1/6 chance humanity doesn’t survive until 2100. (See SSC book review here.)
- Give Directly’s international COVID response fund
Social Justice Activism
- Concise summary from Cathy O’Neil on COVID’s unequal impact: Once the health emergency is over, we will see the extent to which rich, well-connected and well-resourced communities will have been taken care of, while contingent, poor and stigmatized communities will have been thoroughly destroyed.
- The pandemic preys on existing equalities. (1. For young people. 2. Connecting to TB and stress. 3. Seventy percent of Chicago COVID deaths are black.)
- COVID increases the achievement gap
- The political nature of #MeToo. Why media (NYT++) and legal activists (Time’s Up++) haven’t picked up Tara Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden.
- Why we should fund root node research instead of incremental research
- Tyler Cowen contra Tyler Cowen (in Stubborn Attachments). Debating oneself is a nice format.
- Viewing our COVID response as a Networked Human Organism.
- Zeynep Tufecki on how to read initial data from a complex systems perspective
- Good step-by-step diagram of how COVID could evolve humanity (or not)
- Interesting interview with Susana Martín Belmonte on abundance, prosumers, and self-provisioning.
- Chamath says “who cares?” to billionaire hedge funds that lose money in this crisis.
- Ethereum Foundation recaps 2019 grants
- Chai, Nervos, Summa, Eth2 all move towards a generalized UTXO model
- Reddit expanding karma tokenization?
- Jesse Walden on how crypto allows networks to distribute value to their communities. [I agree, though he only highlights the tech side. There’s also a societal side of this—the idea that networks should compensate their communities.]
Predicting the Future
- Good overview of COVID-fueled trends
- From Blogging Peer Review
- Crowd-sourced doc of 2nd-order effects
- Investing post-COVID
- Stewart Brand collaborates with Deloitte on 4 possible post-COVID scenarios (pg. 11)
- Pieces from Ben Thompson, Benedict Evans, and Tyler Cowen all on #TrendAcceleration as prediction (vs. new behavior as prediction)
- Good overview (from Arnold Kling/Tyler Cowen) how right, left, and libertarians will gain/lose from COVID. Mostly trending towards “centrist authoritarianism”, where “state capacity” and “libertarianism” tend to be resolved in favor of the former.
Contact Tracing (CT)
- Good visual overview from Nicky Case
- US: West Coast PACT vs. East Coast PACT
- US: Google and Apple to create shared CT API, eventually at OS level (Moxie’s take and Ashkans’ take)
- EU: PEPP-PT vs. #DP3T
- Overview of CT projects around the world
- Related: EU working with Palantir to help predict epidemic peaks. Tyler Cowen says: “anti-tech intellectuals have become irrelevant, and for the most part they know it.”
- Follow-up from last week’s piece on grief. Maintaining the right balance between respect for the individuals who died and the collective harm is the challenge at a time like this.
- Putting a face to the numbers. Leading with sadness, not numbers.
- R(t) for countries and for states
- Google’s COVID dataset (Facebook’s)
- Nate Silver against log charts
- Expert predictions are getting better
- Nice NYT graph of the changes in consumer spending
- FirstRound’s resources for startups in a recession (a16z’s)
- Things to keep in mind if expanding your quaranteam
- The argument for 11-day isolation not 14-day isolation
- Moderately helpful gut check survey for the relative risk level of various public COVID-y activities.
- 80,000 Hours overview page on COVID
- COVID could double the number of hungry people from 800M to 1.6B
- The economic recovery is not 2D ✔️ graphs, but rather 3D graphs, with the z-axis representing change/structure. (From this piece.)
- Nice Pandemic Dashboard from Ribbonfarm
- 18 Lessons of Quarantine Urbanism from Ben Bratton. Quick overviews of our epidemiological view of society, comparative governance, the importance of delivery platforms, and “fully automated luxury quarantine vs. solitary confinement”.
- Amazon hires 75,000, continues to increase wages, develops in-house testing, and strategically attacks a strike organizer.
- COVID in developing countries (maybe not just #FlattenTheCurve?)
- Possible reinforcing loop: government becoming stronger, people becoming more sheep-like, government becoming stronger.
- COVID consumer impact tracker
- Example of “returning to normal”. MLB proposes all teams play in fanless stadiums in Arizona for 4.5 months away from their families.
- HCQ for Early-Stage SARS-CoV-2 (NIH study begins)
- Seattle’s Popup Hospital not needed, ready to be moved somewhere else
- COVID-19 Policy Watch: How different countries are responding to the outbreak.
- IGM Economics Experts Panel mostly agrees that abandoning severe lockdowns would be worse for the economy.
- Glenn Greenwald interviews Snowden (which is then covered by CNN)
- Good thread on firing the Navy captain. I honor his sacrifice and hope that the Navy continues to pick people for command who *under extraordinary circumstances* do what is necessary to ensure the safety of their crew. But the norm must be the chain of command.
- Likely no more than ~50% of people who use ventilators survive. (Link, link.)
- Future Plans: Paul Romer’s 22M testing plan. Ezra Klein’s overview of Romer’s plan, the plan from Weyl + Allen, and others.
- Great social distancing ad
- Amazing NYT front-page design
- Samuel Jackson says “stay the fuck at home”
- Shipping gold bars is hard in a pandemic
- Trudeau speaks directly to kids (as Legos)
- Reddit’s interactive April Fool’s joke, r/Imposter
- RIP Clickhole
- Cool idea for online dating
- Great summary from Alex Danco on an SFI paper: how individuals should be defined as information, i.e. a series of unfair coin flips.
- Collaborating on internet haikus
- A reminder that GMO mice are patentable
- Interesting Goodreads reviews for a book on borderline personality disorder. Borderlines hate it, those escaping borderline love it. (Similar to Attached, where anxious folks loved it but avoidant folks didn’t.)
- Hamilton on Zoom