Three cheers for the dull, factually correct middle
Everything You Thought You Knew, and Why You’re Wrong Smil, who has taught at the University of Manitoba for half a century, rests his expertise on the strength of a polymathic pedigree nearly unmatched in North American academic life. Unlike Noam Chomsky — whose own breadth of expertise Smil ridicules in passing — Smil does not suffer polemics. Nor is he a forecaster, as he stresses repeatedly (with mounting exasperation). If anything he is an anti-forecaster, contemptuous of any prediction made about complex systems. Smil is a compiler of data, an indefatigable quantifier (to the 10th decimal), a summarizer, a pragmatist and a utilitarian. Or, as he puts it, “I am a scientist trying to explain how the world really works.” .......... mathematical calculations yield inexorably to ethical ones. ......... Smil summarizes the history of global energy, food, material production and trade. ....... Canada, blessed with greater forest acreage than any affluent nation, saves money by importing toothpicks from China. No country possesses sufficient rare earth metals to support its economy. The world throws out a third of its food. Human beings today enjoy, on average, the annual benefit of 34 gigajoules of energy. Expressed in units of human labor, that is “as if 60 adults would be working nonstop, day and night,” for each person. Residents of affluent countries have it better: An American family of four has more hired help than the Sun King at Versailles.
........the grim announcement that every fundamental aspect of modern civilization rests overwhelmingly on fossil fuel combustion....... and a supermarket tomato, which Smil describes as no more than “an appealingly shaped container of water” (apologies to Marcella Hazan), is the product of about six tablespoons of diesel. “How many vegans enjoying the salad,” he writes, “are aware of its substantial fossil fuel pedigree?” ....... “For the foreseeable future,” writes Smil, “we cannot feed the world without relying on fossil fuels.” He performs similar calculations for the world’s production of energy, cement, ammonia, steel and plastic, always reaching the same result: “A mass-scale, rapid retreat from the current state is impossible.” ....... We are slaves to fossil fuels. The global transition that we’ve only barely, unevenly, begun is not the work of years but decades, if not centuries. ....... humility — the rarest earth metal of all ....... Living with uncertainty, after all, “remains the essence of the human condition.” Even under the most optimistic scenario, the future will not resemble the past. We will have to navigate seemingly impossible conditions, relying on instinct and imperfect assumptions and our old familiar flaws (chiefly “our never-failing propensity to discount the future”). This may not be a particularly galvanizing conclusion, but it is, yes, how the world works.........
Geraldine Brooks Had an Unpleasant Surprise When She Taught at Harvard “Half my students had never read a Shakespeare play,” says the historical novelist, whose latest book is “Horse.” “That set my hair on fire.” ........ I taught writing at Harvard last year and half my students had never read a Shakespeare play. That set my hair on fire. ........ There was no train to Fitchburg in 1840. There were no camels in Israel before 2000 B.C. And no one used the word “mauve” for a color until at least 1796. ....... “The End of Nature,” by Bill McKibben, with the publication date of 1989 picked out in highlighter. It might remind him we’ve faffed about on this crisis for more than three decades so it’s time to stomp on Joe Manchin and get a climate package passed.
Angel invest in my blockchain startup to topple the Taliban. #putyourmoneywhereyourmouthis Invest 100K now harvest 100M in 10 years.— Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) June 18, 2022
If there was only one thing I could stress to my 25 year old self about running startups,— NickFriend.eth (@theNickFriend) June 18, 2022
in order to grow (by far) the fastest, save years of time, headache, etc.
it would be this:
Learn how to operate on a quarterly goal framework, and absolutely master it.
In a minute I’mma need a sentimental man or woman to pump me up.— Hailey Lennon (@HaileyLennonBTC) June 18, 2022
Because these bitcoin prices are crazy 😂
Ok, bitcoin under 20k feels like an over-rotation. The underlying fundamentals, adoption, and infrastructure have never been stronger. We saw the irrational top. This feels irrational in the other direction.— Cameron Winklevoss (@cameron) June 18, 2022
आफ्नो “आत्मसम्मान” निर्धारण गर्ने अधिकार आफैंसँग मात्र हुन्छ । अरुसँग हुन्न ।— Madhu Raman Acharya (@MadhuRamanACH) June 18, 2022
it’s impossible to spend an entire day in new jersey without feeling violently ill— Calico Fisk (@CalicoFisk) June 18, 2022
Before Facebook, we shared pictures over email and it was cumbersome. I think there is a startup idea in what you are saying. A platform where entrepreneurs and investors meet. Based on vetted, matching criteria.— Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) June 18, 2022
It’s possible to sell a startup for $1B and make less than someone who sells theirs for $100M.— Eric Paley (@epaley) June 17, 2022
Exit value is a vanity metric.
I bought #Bitcoin at $64k and I'm buying at $18,800 and I will keep buying as long as I can with fiat.— Farooq Ahmed⚡️ (@FarooqAhmedX) June 18, 2022
The ETH "merge" is when 20 of us have to move into a 6 bedroom apt in August— Bryan Brinkman (@bryanbrinkman) June 18, 2022
The International Space Station is passing overhead June 18, 2022 at 12:28PM, for 484 seconds.— Mister T2 (@mistert2) June 18, 2022
This is the most disgusting morally bankrupt decision in recent years. The UK Home Secretary just now signed off on extraditing Julian Assange to the US to be tortured for the rest of his life for the crime of journalism.— Lee Camp [Redacted] (@LeeCamp) June 17, 2022
If you have a problem with people earning income without work, then you have a problem with people earning interest on money, and dividends on stocks, and any kind of rent, and any amount of inheritance— Scott Santens (@scottsantens) June 18, 2022
Go look up on Amazon the amount of books about how to earn passive income.
When asked what your job is as a startup founder just say sales.— Andrew Gazdecki (@agazdecki) June 18, 2022
It'll avoid a lot of confusion plus they won't think you're unemployed.
except me 😂— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) June 18, 2022
Why most people think I became a founder:— NickFriend.eth (@theNickFriend) June 18, 2022
- to get rich
- to earn accolades
- to achieve status
- I refuse to let someone boss me around
- mandatory 9-5 always looked like prison
- it's my life, I'm setting my own damn schedule
There is no other way, at least for me.
Former presidential candidate and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, to put it mildly, does not exactly adore the media. But she agreed to have lunch with our US national editor @EdwardGLuce. Here are highlights of their talk 👇https://t.co/Ay2wKUlCMS— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) June 17, 2022
Hillary Clinton: ‘We are standing on the precipice of losing our democracy’ I point out that for all my columns criticising her ill-fated 2016 campaign, I never told her what to wear or when to smile — unsolicited advice in which many male pundits seemed to revel. “That puts you in a small minority,” she says, laughing. .......... I consider it my goal to get Clinton to remove the mask she dons for interactions with people like me. Mutual friends say that in private she is funny and can be bitingly sarcastic. American media colleagues have a very different take on a woman with whom they have been feuding for decades. ........ Clinton has described herself as “the most investigated innocent person in America”. She is also a doyenne of practised legalese, which could smother this lunch before it gets going. .............. I note that one of her most recent meals was fish and chips at a traditional chippy in England’s Tyneside after she had delivered a lecture nearby. “I have to confess I thought chips were kind of fancy potato chips,” she says. “I thought they were with round cuts of potatoes.
You call them chips but they’re fries.”We’re still divided by a common language, I suggest............ Her great-grandfather, Jonathan Rodham, was a coal miner recruited to cross the Atlantic with his family in the 1880s. They settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania. ......... Clinton is puzzled why people are so nostalgic about the mining life. “Whether they were from West Virginia or Tyneside, their lives were so grim and disease-prone and unhygienic — but the nostalgia for those days. I don’t know,” she says, trailing off.......... Some people blame Clinton’s 2016 loss on her remarks about putting coal mines out of business (Trump promised a mining boom). But identifying one culprit for her 2016 defeat is like Murder on the Orient Express — the dagger is covered with fingerprints. In her memoir of that campaign, What Happened, Clinton takes the primary blame and also points to the FBI’s investigation into her home server emails, her gaffe about half of Trump’s base being “deplorables” and his skill at giving the media a “new rabbit every day [knowing] they’d never catch any of them”. ........... I tell Clinton that on learning of her defeat in 2016 my then nine-year-old daughter stopped taking my word as gospel. I had somewhat rashly reassured her that Trump would not win. ......... “If you go down the rabbit hole of far right intellectuals, you see that birth control, gay marriage — all of it is at risk,” she replies. .......... My question triggers a passionate response. Clinton speaks about how some states will make it illegal to abort after rape and incest if Roe vs Wade is overturned. One state — “and this is hard even to speak about”, she says — would require the woman to get the permission of her rapist before aborting. Others plan to criminalise women who have the procedure in states where it is legal. .......... “The level of insidious rulemaking to further oppress women almost knows no end,” Clinton says. “You look at this and how could you not but think that Margaret Atwood was a prophet? She’s not just a brilliant writer, she was a prophet.” Clinton adds that when she was a senator, she voted against the confirmation of Samuel Alito, one of this court’s most conservative judges. “I found Alito was the kind of young man who when he was at Princeton railed against coeducation, railed against letting women into the eating clubs, and that was all in the background that I read,” she recalls. “He honestly struck me as one of those very self-righteous types seeking to remake society.” ............ “Literally within hours of the polls closing in 2016, we had so much evidence pouring in about voters being turned away in Milwaukee and not being able to vote in Detroit,” she replies. .......... “These states were run by Republicans so there was no way to find out the truth about any of them. I also believe in peaceful succession and transition and all of that.” At that point she says she was unaware of Cambridge Analytica and the role of social-media algorithms — “all of the stuff that was convincing people that I was a murderer or a child trafficker”. She reminds me that she won the popular vote by nearly 3mn but lost the electoral college by 78,000 votes. Biden won the popular vote by more than 7mn but barely scraped the electoral college by 43,000 votes. “That tells you everything you need to know about Republican strategy for 2024. Even in his reptilian brain, Trump has to know that he lost this time. He refuses to accept it because it wasn’t supposed to happen.” ......... . . . I don’t know who will challenge him in the Republican primary.” ......... Though Clinton talks about today’s situation in Ukraine, she keeps referring back to Putin’s role in America’s 2016 election, which she believes was in revenge for an “anodyne” statement she had made as secretary of state in 2012 in support of the pro-democracy protests against his return to Russia’s presidency. ......... “Yes, he was very sexist towards me. We had some interesting, even helpful, interactions in private and then the press would be invited in and he would say something insulting about America. He would then manspread for effect.” ........ I say that Democrats seem to be going out of their way to lose elections by elevating activist causes, notably the transgender debate, which are relevant only to a small minority. .......
“We are standing on the precipice of losing our democracy, and everything that everybody else cares about then goes out the window,” she says.“Look, the most important thing is to win the next election. The alternative is so frightening that whatever does not help you win should not be a priority.” .......... . . . Politics should be the art of addition not subtraction.”
This book helped me understand modern politics better