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Favorites November 9th 2023
This seems extremely extremely hopeful. Polling in China seems like it would be very difficult, but given that I'm all the more surprised by this result.
I'm happy to see they're redesigning Minnesota's flag, in CGP Grey's amazing state flag grading video he ranked them dead last, 'worst in the union'
I also really enjoyed Matt Levine's article on Neumann the other day, arguing that even if he knew the result was going to be a huge flameout, it was still rational for him to take the series of actions that resulted in WeWork's bankruptcy.
From the article "We are all somehow expected to sacrifice hours of day to do thankless, unpaid work pushing back against illiberal narratives spread relentlessly by people for whom spreading those narratives is a full-time salaried job." If you haven't seen the pictured old film clip before, it's a anti-fascist short from the 1940s, surprisingly resonant even today.
• Will Stancil's very thorough explanation of the problems with TikTok as an information medium, without even touching on the China aspect. Although the China argument is still there (src)
• Cool experiment to figure out how reliably GPT4 Turbo can retrieve a needle in it's context window haystack. TL;DR: at the largest context window size, it's not super reliable at finding a stray sentence in the first half of the document. (src)
• Deep investigation into why CalTrans is making the absolute bonkers claim that the future of their trains is hydrogen power. (src)
Flotsam and Jetsam
– Great article about why the societal cost of bringing a car into manhattan is on the order of $100. (src)
– Rivian's delivery trucks are now available to countries other than Amazon, and they seem pretty good (src)
– Social media networks seem to have negative value to users, but they are unable to quit. (src)
– Secretary Blinken publicly pushing back against private ideas raised by Israeli proposals. (src)
– Post Dobbs, the general public seems to have become a bit more pro-choice, at least regarding specific policies. (src)
– Did you know you can bring an arbitrary html table from a web page into Google sheets. (src)
– The one behavior most associated with pro-social behavior is cycling (src)
– Singapore is very solar punk (src)
– The US refused to help a pro-democracy activist flee Hong Kong in 2020, seems pretty foolish. (src)
– de Young museum opposed closing parts of Golden Gate Park to cars because they were worried about falling visitors, they lost the fight, but now they have more visitors than ever. (src)
– Judges in SF are pretty clearly being too lenient in their pretrial release decisions. Hundreds never showed up for their trials. (src)
– Discouraging: a bunch of small modular nuclear reactors have been canceled (src)
– A straightforward proposal for more housing: simply allow one more floor by right everywhere (src)
– All of google's messaging products in one long list, there have been 22 so far (src)
– Seems like folks who lost their taste from COVID have mostly gotten it back eventually. (src)