When comfort creates weakness

I started reading The Coddling of the American Mind last night. The book’s subtitle sums up its thesis: Good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure. I’m only a short way in, but the book already resonates. In particular, I’ve thought lately about the relationship between comfort and weakness. This reflects [...]

Is mindfulness the better opt-out from the attention economy?

Today I finished reading How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. I didn’t love the book, yet it’s important. So I find myself willing to recommend it nonetheless. Let me explain why. First, why didn’t I enjoy it? The writing style. Odell is an artist. Reading the book, you can tell. [...]

Decentralized companies now have an operating system

Centrally planned economies failed. Free market economies thrived. In the latter, supply better met demand. In the former, shortages were constant. The free market isn’t perfect. But few people advocate a top-down, centrally planned economy. It’s less responsive, dynamic, and effective at meeting people’s needs. Yet most companies today look like top-down, centrally planned economies. [...]

The bizarro business of food delivery apps

Look, I use food delivery apps. I’m not complaining about them. I enjoy the convenience. I have two kids, and commute an hour each way to work. They meet a need. But the business is insane. And few (if any) of these apps will survive the current madness. In Toronto, where I live, the market [...]

Smartphone distraction is also undermining workmanship and service

I saw something terrifying the other day. I was walking home from work. There was a construction crew near my house. They were ripping up the road with a large machine. The machine lurched as it worked. Right behind it, seemingly oblivious, stood a construction worker staring at his smartphone. And it's not the first [...]

What you think quantum physics means about reality is probably wrong

I just finished the excellent book What Is Real? by Adam Becker. It tackles an important open question in physics. Maybe the most important. It is this: What does quantum physics say about the nature of reality? The question arises because of the measurement problem. Before measurement, quantum systems exist in a superposition of states. [...]

Turns out you can fight climate change by switching credit cards

I use a cash-back credit card. Many of my purchases earn 2%. Given low interest rates, I sometimes earn more spending money than saving. (Note: I always pay off my balance. So it never bites me in the ass.) But I had a thought. What if instead of getting cash back, I could offset my [...]

When are two minds the same?

I've been contemplating the nature of consciousness and identity. It’s been fueled by reading much lately on parallel universes and artificial intelligence. One question has been top of mind: what makes two minds the same? (If you have some good articles or books addressing this, please post them in the comments.) Here's the thought experiment. [...]