On Bill Gates and early Microsoft: Hard Drive

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

Was Jesus Straussian?

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?

Summer links and reading

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

Religion in a WEIRD world

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

What would a truly open state look like?

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?

Can you predict the future? A review of Tetlock’s Superforecasting

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