A week in review, 2018-W51


  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)


  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.


  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).


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


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