Favorite Reads - June 2017


Richard Beard - Lazarus Is Dead

What a strange book. I didn’t think I would like it - Lazarus slowly suffers over 300 pages. But format of the narrative is genius. The author appears to be reconstructing the story of Lazarus as you are reading it by drawing on old traditions and previous fictional work.

Tom Perrotta - The Leftovers

I’m told the television series based off the book is much better. Everyone I know who has read it agrees. The characters lack any sense of motivation beyond the mysterious rapture event, which eventually is neither interesting or a compelling reason for nearly anything they do. I was told it was actually meant to be written as a sort of comedy. The author maintains some interest with chapter cliff hangers and how he scatters details about the raputre event throughout the book. I didn’t finish it. My friends who did don’t leave me with the impression that I missed much by reading the Wikipedia article instead.


My own private basic income

Sorry, Advocates, The Minimum Wage Debate Is Not Over

There was a lot written this month on the release of the Seattle study. In general, I’m worried about the quality of the writing on this subject. It always seems to be break-down into Republican vs Democrat rather any attempt an objective analysis. I will say whoever, that I am worried about how many people can’t articulate the economic logic against minimum wage - which you should be able to do whether you believe in it or not.

Carmageddon is Coming

This is basically a genre now. How will X disrupt the future economy/society. This example is particularly well thought out. It’s surprising how very difficult it is to guess what consequences a driverless future might have.

Amazon Is Trying to Control the Underling Infrastructure of Our Economy

Duh. But actually the article is right that Amazon is a new kind of monopoly that wasn’t anticipated by anti-trust legislation. The monopoly created by network effects. Doing things like preventing vendor lock-in won’t work and in many ways the network affect that makes them a monopoly is what makes them valuable. My only answer to this is the need for real standards for distributed computing/everything.

Data Leads To Social Cooling

Social Cooling deserves to be a buzzword.

Why I Quit Being So Accommodating

My personality is similar to the person who wrote this. This is why a formal work-life balance is necessary.

The Secret Confessions of Taylor Swift’s Instagram Photographer

Instagram is really starting to interest me as a marketing platform. There’s several other articles written by people who run feeds for profit as advertising that are also interesting

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves

A stupidly simple but great way to think about advertising and branding.

Please Make Google AMP Optional

I didn’t know about AMP until I read this article. It seems like every Six months or so, I find something like this that completely reorients how I think the web is governed. Am I wrong to worry that we are moving away from a consensus model where web standards are created? and moving to some oligarchy of relatively benevolent companies?

Why Not Have a Randomly Selected Congress

Unfortunately no one has imagination when it comes to improving our government. We can’t even improve our voting system.

Don’t Settle For Eventual Consistency

More CAP stuff.

A Mother’s Plea to Mayor de Blasio

Private Schools still have to be regulated. They’re not the libertarian dream.

Ten Lessons I Wish I Had Learned Before Teaching Differential Equations

I read this a couple of years ago and revisited it today. Two things stand out. Now that I’m older, I realized that everything that confused me my in my classses should have confused me and that often the instructor wasn’t too overconfident to understand that they should be confused by them. The second thing is this is more evidence that we need a big reform in how math is taught. It’s still insane to me that differential equations can be taken before linear algebra in college.