Category Archives: Week in review

A week in review, 2019-W08

Wrote

None

Read

  1. Ryan Krull, St. Louis' Nanjing Connection: How an International Love Story Is Bringing Two Cities Together, Riverfront Times (2018-10-24).
  2. David Ryan Polgar, Cryptocurrency is a giant multi-level marketing scheme, Quartz (2018-02-2018).
  3. Tyler Rogoway and Joseph Trevithick, The Tragic Tale Of How NASA's X-34 Space Planes Ended Up Rotting In Someone's Backyard, The Drive (2019-02-19).
  4. Chloe Bryan, The curse of the Twitter reply guy, Mashable (2019-02-19).
  5. Jacob Bacharach, America’s Signature Mode of Transportation Is High-Cost Rail, Hmm Daily (2019-02-15).

Listened

  1. Nuclear Issues in the Asia-Pacific: The Hanoi Summit and the INF Treaty, China in the World (2019-02-20).
  2. The Long Fuse, This American Life (2019-02-15).
  3. Antitrust 3: Big Tech, Planet Money (2019-02-22).

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There might be additional links that didn't make the cut at notes.kirkkittell.com

A week in review, 2019-W03

Wrote

  1. Ideas are cheap, execution is dear (2019-01-14)
  2. Old Trails (2019-01-19)

Read

  1. Tanner Howard, Native American routes: the ancient trails hidden in Chicago’s grid system, The Guardian (2019-01-17). "The whole idea of imposing a grid on this land is from one point of view kind of laughable," said Henry Binford, a professor of urban history at Northwestern University. "The indigenous trail network made a lot more sense, at least in the beginning."
  2. Penelope Trunk, Will Jeff Bezos Get Half of MacKenzie Bezos’s Fortune in the Divorce?, blog.peneleopetrunk.com (2019-01-13). MacKenzie has always stood up for her contribution in the marriage. But it’s not so easy for most women. Most women did not work side by side with their spouse to start the most disruptive company in the world. Most women do their half of the team’s work and get very little credit for it. Because when it comes to spousal partnerships, society talks about the stay-at-home spouse like they are a freeloader, waiting to pick up their check in the divorce.
  3. Jeffrey Bigham, A Camera is Watching You in Your AirBnB: And, you consented to it., jeffreybigham.com (2019-01-14). I’ve received a lot of requests for interviews and such, but I’m not sure how much more I have to say. I’ve also heard from many guests and hosts. Many guests have similar stories (absent the viral blog post and nice resolution, apparently…). I’ve also heard from a lot of hosts who have indoor cameras because guests rent their home to have huge parties, trash them, and then have trouble recouping their costs. It’s hard to be a guest and a host, and wifi cameras are fuel on the fire. Finally, all of us need to think carefully about how we will live in an increasingly surveilled world. Just because it’s so easy to record everything now doesn’t mean we should.

Listened

  1. Samuel Beckett, In Our Time (2019-01-17). [42:34] Beckett's incredibly interested in systematic thinking, but it's always systems that are on the point of breaking down. So at one level there's a sense that systems create a kind of hyper-order, but that hyper-order is always tipping over into a kind of absurdity. It's the sort of glitches in the systems, I think, that Beckett's really interested in.
  2. #744 - It's No Joke: Prank Musical Greeting Card Earns $36,000/Month, Side Hustle School (2019-01-14). [09:50] Also, even though it was originally a pretty silly idea, the way he's been able to create longterm business value from it is through the execution of the idea. So it's not easy to build those relationships with vendors and make decisions about how many tens of thousands of cards to order. And then when disaster strikes, like that crazy experience with the battery's being duds, it's not a simple thing at all to figure out how to respond and recover. So that to me is where the value is, that is just as interesting as coming up with the initial idea. So if you hear this story and you think, "Oh, well, that's pretty cool but, you know, the whole trick was in the idea", I think the whole trick is in the execution of the idea.
  3. Episode 207: Herder on Art Appreciation (Part One), The Partially Examined Life (2019-01-14). [33:33] "Taste in one art roused taste in every other art; there was, so to speak, a harmonious atmosphere in which the similarly tuned strings of all the different instruments vibrated and resonated at a single touch." I think in a lot of this stuff he's really trying to combine all these different elements. I really like that section about how one art can affect another art and you have to be open to that sort of thing happening. [33:54] Yeah, you kind of picture New York City in certain periods where it's a hotbed of artistic expression, and it's not just music, and it's not just avant garde Andy Warhol stuff, it's, like, everything is influencing each other and all the barriers between the different arts go down.

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Our automated go-to-sleep reminder

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There might be additional links that didn't make the cut at notes.kirkkittell.com

A week in review, 2019-W02

Wrote

  1. Planning for China trip, February 2019 (2019-01-12)
  2. Horse-race political journalism is not awesome (2019-01-11)

Read

  1. Elisabeth Braw, Trucking Is the Security Crisis You Never Noticed, Foreign Policy (2018-09-19). "Transportation is too cheap," Huster said. "In the past, the fee per container going from Asia to Europe was often 2,000 euros [$2,300]. Today, it's 200 euros [$233]. And with freight shipping that cheap, people expect the truck part to be correspondingly cheap." According to a new survey by PwC, Amazon Prime customers value the unlimited free delivery offered by the service most, with 72 percent of them saying it's the main benefit of the service.
  2. Lowell L. Getz, A Silent Witness To The Growth Of The University of Illinois, Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (2016-08-15). For undetermined reasons (there are several unverified suggestions), this stream was named the Boneyard. As Champaign became larger and university buildings were constructed near its banks, the Boneyard became essentially an open sewer. So foul was the water, in the early days of the University, it was common-place for tug of wars to be conducted over the Boneyard, the losers being dragged into the stinking water.
  3. Penelope Trunk, To do something big, aim to be irrelevant., blog.peneleopetrunk.com (2018-12-23). I don’t believe specialization is bad. But I do believe it’s scary. You could get hurt, you could miss your big chance, you could be disappointed, you could fail publicly. But if you don’t learn to take risks by specializing early then you won’t be able to be great at anything later in life.
  4. Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, The Year in Chinese Science—And Science Fiction, The Daily Beast (2013-12-29).
  5. Kat Rosenfeld, The Millions Will Live on, But the Indie Book Blog Is Dead, Vulture (2019-01-09). But it's also true that the site's sustainability depended on attracting young writers who were willing to work for no or low pay in exchange for the mere possibility of a career boost. Reasonable people can disagree on whether such an arrangement is always detrimental to the literary sphere; certainly, the Millions couldn't have existed in its current form without it, especially in a world where readers still balk at paywalls or subscription models. But what seems undeniable is that unpaid (or unreliably paid) blogging is a young person's game. To a one, the Millions staffers I spoke to described loving their time at the site — but also finding the commitment impractical, and then impossible, as the responsibilities of adulthood, career, and family (particularly children) began to accrue.

Listened

  1. Huawei And The Tech Cold War, The Sinica Podcast (2019-01-10).
  2. 641: The Walls, This American Life (2019-01-04).
  3. 664: The Harsh Reality of Innovative Companies, HBR IdeaCast (2019-01-08). [04:51] You want to celebrate the learning that comes from failure, not celebrating the failure. There's productive failures and there's unproductive failures, and you want to judge failures in terms of how much you learn. So, if you tried something new, and it's risky, and it doesn't work, so it quote-unquote fails, but you've now learned something about the path forward that could be attractive, that's worth celebrating the learning from that. If you just came up with a bad design or did sloppy work and you failed, that's not worth celebrating. The focus has got to be on the learning, not the failure.

Watched

The Upside (2017)

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Snow day in St. Louis

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There might be additional links that didn't make the cut at notes.kirkkittell.com

A week in review, 2019-W01

Wrote

  1. Chinese study 2019, part 2 (2019-01-04)
  2. Chinese study 2019 (2019-01-03)
  3. Get your resolution on (2019-01-02)
  4. 2018 in review (2018-12-31)

Read

  1. Jon Udell, Critical mass and social network fatigue, blog.jonudell.net (2007-02-06). Years ago at BYTE Magazine my friend Ben Smith, who was a Unix greybeard even then (now he's a Unix whitebeard), made a memorable comment that's always stuck with me. We were in the midst of evaluating a batch of LAN email products. "One of these days," Ben said in, I think, 1991, "everyone's going to look up from their little islands of LAN email and see this giant mothership hovering overhead called the Internet.
  2. How Super Mario became a global cultural icon, The Economist (2016-12-24). There is one aspect of his context, though, that matters: fun. Mr Abe turned up in Rio dressed as Mario not just because Mario is instantly recognisable around the world. He embodies the delight of play. Talking to the New York Times in 2008 the reclusive Mr Miyamoto explained that people like Mario and his ilk "not for the characters themselves, but because the games they appear in are fun. And because people enjoy playing those games first, they come to love the characters as well."
  3. Colin Lecher, Why robocalls have taken over your phone, The Verge (2018-11-07).
  4. Frankie Huang, The Rise and Fall of China’s Cycling Empires, Foreign Policy (2018-12-31). Meanwhile, Shanghai is adding more docking stations, perhaps a return to the boring, but infinitely more manageable, version of the bike-share. There's always going to be a small audience for cycling—but it turned out to be a bad dream to build giant firms on.
  5. Seth Godin, You can’t outtrain a bad diet, Seth's Blog (2019-01-03).

Listened

  1. Kickstarter: Perry Chen, How I Built This (2018-12-31). [22:28] In some ways we made every mistake in the book. We did one lap that way. Classic stuff like people with experience telling us, "You know, you shouldn't do something this way", and us being like "Well, we appreciate that, but, like, you know, it'll be different for us". And then of course it's like exactly what they said happened. Well, duh.
  2. 424 - Byron Allen: How To Make History in Your Dream Industry (A Story About Outsmarting The Standards), The James Altucher Show (2019-01-03).
  3. #732 - PE Teacher Resells Concert Tickets, Earns $12,000/Month, Side Hustle School (2019-01-02).

Watched

Sichuan with Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (2016-10-16)

Upcoming

A week in review, 2018-W51

Wrote

  1. Serve the purpose, not the anchor (2018-12-17)
  2. Personal website disagrees with replacing Facebook with personal websites (2018-12-19)
  3. Thirty-eight (2018-12-20)

Read

  1. Caity Weaver, What Is Glitter?, The New York Times (2018-12-21). So: what is glitter? A manipulation of humans’ inherent desire for fresh water. An intangible light effect made physical. Mostly plastic, and often from New Jersey. Disposable by design but, it turns out, not literally disposable. A way to make long winter nights slightly brighter, despite the offshore presence of Germans. An object in which the inside of a potato chip bag meets the aurora borealis.
  2. Michael Schulman, Daniel Radcliffe and the Art of the Fact-Check, The New Yorker (2018-10-15). "One of the flaws—maybe it isn't a flaw—that my character has in the play is that he has no ability to differentiate between the things that matter and the things that don't," Radcliffe said. Canby, who had seen a preview, assured him that his character was spot-on, while allowing, "It's not really a science. It's more of an art."
  3. Siobhan Roberts, The Yoda of Silicon Valley, The New York Times (2018-12-17). Following Dr. Knuth's doctrine helps to ward off moronry. He is known for introducing the notion of "literate programming," emphasizing the importance of writing code that is readable by humans as well as computers — a notion that nowadays seems almost twee. Dr. Knuth has gone so far as to argue that some computer programs are, like Elizabeth Bishop's poems and Philip Roth's "American Pastoral," works of literature worthy of a Pulitzer.
  4. Saba Imtiaz, Eating Black Forest in Lahore, Roads & Kingdoms (2018-09-25). The original black forest cake, made with sour cherries and cherry brandy, was created in Germany around 1915. According to the Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, the cake is most often credited to the pastry chef Josef Keller, who created it while working at the Cafe Agner in Bad Godesberg, a spa town south of Bonn. The halal Pakistani version does away with liquor, features sickly-sweet canned cherries, and is typically studded with chunks of tinned pineapple or peaches. To make it even more Pakistani, you can get your black forest cake topped with mango.
  5. Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann, GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out, Wall Street Journal (2018-12-14). Immelt was so confident in GE's managerial excellence that he projected a sunny vision for the company's future that didn't always match reality. He was aware of the challenges, but he wanted his people to feel like they were playing for a winning team. That often left Immelt, in the words of one GE insider, trying to market himself out of a math problem.

Listened

  1. YANSS 143 – How to Talk to People About Things, You Are Not So Smart (2018-12-17). (notes) [34:26] A really useful thing to understand is that everybody, by nature, going in, just starts just thinking about what they want and their view of the situation. But if you're in an actual negotiation—and a negotiation means something where you and the other party have to come to an agreement together, you're trying to reach an agreement together—that's a terrible strategy for solving the problem. It's not going to work. So, again, that's again my question, you have that starting question of "What are you actually trying to get here?" So some people go into a negotiation, "so here's what I'm going to try to do. I'm going to persuade them to my point of view, and I'm going to do all these other kinds of things." I say, "What are you actually trying to get?" "Well, what I want is an agreement that serves my needs and that they're going to agree to." Which means it has to serve their needs. So you might not think you care about their needs, that's a really important thing in negotiation. Typically, for most of us, especially when the stakes are high, you think, "Well I just care about my needs, I don't care about their needs." But that's a huge mistake because you're only going to come to an agreement if you come to an agreement that suits their needs.
  2. Y Combinator's Michael Seibel: "Stupidity or genius", Danny in the Valley (2018-12-20). [10:03] I feel as though today the companies that are big, not only are they big, but they are cognizant of how they got big, and how they disrupted the last generation, and they're very, very clearly making moves to prevent new people from disrupting them. [...] [10:39] But I think at the same time as though users are getting fed up because they know the products aren't as good anymore.
  3. Graham Allison on Avoiding the Thucydides Trap, China in the World (2018-12-20).

Watched

John F. Kennedy, Commencement Address at American University (1963-06-10)

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