These are some of the links from all over the Web that I enjoyed the most this month:
Noahpinion - Honestly, it’s probably the phones. I know the data are inconclusive, and the various studies show lots of complicating factors… but I can’t help but feel that we overestimate the impact of the big scary salient things (climate change! political polarization! everyone’s talking about it!) and underestimate the small, everyday constant things that shape every interaction and most waking moments for many people today — tiny things like, say, your phone. Especially how much it’s an instantly-available endless and mindless time-sink that keeps us from spending time with actual other people.
Bert Hubert - The EU’s new Cyber Resilience Act is about to tell us how to code. Much more nuanced than the title makes it sound. There really is a fair bit to be worried about, built on top of some very good intentions, reasonable pinciples, and a number of genuinely good ideas.
Stratechery - The End of Silicon Valley (Bank). There’s a bit here about the bank, sure — but you’ve probably heard all about that already. What I think is more interesting is the musing on losing the trusting and collaborative culture that characterized Silicon Valley (and the “hacker” ethos more generally). I also think one can see oases of these kinds of cultures within certain communities, institutions, and companies, and the difference it makes is palpable. Is it possible to spread in broader society? The trend is going in the opposite direction.
Escaping Flatland - Why Sweden punches above its weight in music (Scene creation engines and apprenticeships). Again, not really (or at least not only) about music), but about what kind of a culture (or “scene”) produces exceptional results in a particular field, over and over again. As W. Edwards Deming would say: “Apparent performance is actually attributable mostly to the system that the individual works in, not to the individual himself”.
Rands in Repose - The Worry Police and Armin Ronacher - Lessons from a Pessimist: Make Your Pessimism Productive. Both are about the difference between legitimate, helpful, constructive, accurate, and valid criticism and identification of problems, versus just plain being a miserable downer. Being a doomsayer can make you look worldly and experienced (and occasionally very prescient!), but ultimately it doesn’t make things better. Are lots of things broken? Sure, no doubt. What are you gonna do about it to help?