The Gates-Microsoft story is almost archetypal in tech: whizz kid is really good at programming (and pretty much everything), gets into a top college, drops out and founds a company, works insanely hard, and becomes a billionaire. (See also Zuckerberg and the Collisons.) There’s a lot of truth to this story: Gates’ genius, competitive streak,… Continue reading On Bill Gates and early Microsoft: Hard Drive
Peter Thiel seems to think so: …I think Christ is a very complex, very ambiguous figure in many ways, which makes the interpretation quite difficult. I think almost everything that Christ said could be described as an answer to something that’s true, that most people did not agree on. And I think for the most… Continue reading Was Jesus Straussian?
Abroad Bruno Macaes on the game theory of government and covid travel in Tanzania. How true is this in other developing countries? Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region: This region of Tajikistan makes up 45% of the country’s territory, but only 3% of its population. There are many languages and ethnic tensions unfamiliar to the likes of me.… Continue reading Summer links and reading
Prediction markets help give us as accurate a picture of the future as we can get. But if gambling is morally dubious from a Christian perspective, does that mean we shouldn’t use them? What are prediction markets? (If you already know what they are, feel free to skip this bit.) A prediction market is a… Continue reading A Christian perspective on prediction markets
Comparing Northern Ireland to the United States is an often-amusing and sometimes-insightful pastime of mine. The two countries have an awful lot of differences, population size and diversity being the among most obvious. But both are, of course, western, industrialised, rich, and democratic – WEIRD – like many other countries. (Northern Ireland is not a… Continue reading Religion in a WEIRD world
Dominic Cummings recently appeared before MPs at a Commons Joint Select Committee investigating the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Cummings argued throughout his appearance that the government’s original plan for a pandemic — allowing it to spread throughout the population in order to achieve herd immunity — was terrible. It was eventually averted, in… Continue reading What would a truly open state look like?
Refugees in the Central African Republic. Oil prices. The role of polonium in the death of Yasser Arafat. Elections in Guinea. The extent of Arctic sea ice. The regime of Bashar Al-Assad. What do all these issues have in common? Philip Tetlock, of course. No, Tetlock is not some kind of deep state operative. Rather,… Continue reading Can you predict the future? A review of Tetlock’s Superforecasting
You might have forgotten, because Western/WEIRD culture is so saturated in Christianity. Or maybe you’re from another part of the world and have never read the Bible (this could easily be true of the average Westerner these days). But if you think the gospels are anything other than radical and downright strange, then Sarah Ruden’s… Continue reading Do you know how weird the gospels are?
A review of Dietrich Dörner, The Logic Of Failure: Recognizing And Avoiding Error In Complex Situations (UK) [Via the Diff’s reading list.] ‘Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference — the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and… Continue reading How not to run a village in the Sahel
You’ve been baking and enjoying some delicious national greatness for a while (about 75 years, give or take). But something’s gone wrong, and your old recipe just isn’t working the way it used to. It’s at times like this that you need some input from the neoliberal cookbook. One Billion Americans: the recipe You will… Continue reading Recipe and review of One Billion Americans