Archive of posts with tag 'government'

The Two Enlightenments

February 20, 2024 • #

We learn about “The Enlightenment” as a singular entity, a historical age associated with rationality, scientific inquiry, humanism, and liberty. The Enlightenment and scientific revolution were defining moments that spawned an unprecedented period of progress and human flourishing. But in his book The Beginning of Infinity, David Deutsch adds useful texture for better understanding the motivations of the Enlightenment’s contributors.

He divides the movement into two broad forms: the “British” and the “Continental”.

Both branches agree on the core principles of rationality, progress, and freedom. Where they disagree is on how to achieve these goals. They pursue the same ends,...

Against Centralized Power

August 30, 2023 • #

From Tom Sowell’s masterpiece, A Conflict of Visions:

While Hayek regarded some advocates of social justice as cynically aware that they were really engaged in a concentration of power, the greater danger he saw in those sincerely promoting the concept with a zeal which unconsciously prepares the way for others—totalitarians—to step in after the undermining of ideological, political, and legal barriers to government power makes their task easier.

This is one of the key dangers of centralizing power, and why I’m always interested in how people pursue goals versus what specifically...

Weekend Reading: Readwise's Next Chapter, Reviewing Revolt of the Public, and the Helicopter State

September 17, 2021 • #

📚 The Next Chapter of Readwise: Our Own Reading App

Great to see this evolution of Readwise to enter the “read-later” app space. None of the options out there seem to be thriving anymore (Pocket, Instapaper, etc.), but some of us still rely on them as essential parts of our reading experience.

The Readwise team has been moving fast the last couple years with excellent additions to the product, and I can’t believe they were also working on this for most of 2021 along with the other regular updates....

Weekend Reading: The Hour of the State, Location AI, and Mapillary Acquired

June 20, 2020 • #

💬 The Hour of the State or Explosion From Below?

Martin Gurri is one of the best minds we have for the current moment. Make sure to subscribe to his essays on the Mercatus Center’s “The Bridge.”

The American people appear to be caught in the grip of a psychotic episode. Most of us are still sheltering in place, obsessed with the risk of viral infection, primly waiting for someone to give us permission to shake hands with our friends again. Meanwhile, online and on...

Weekend Reading: Ancient Text, StarLink, and Chinese Origins

October 26, 2019 • #

📜 Restoring ancient text using deep learning: a case study on Greek epigraphy

A project from DeepMind designed to fill in missing text from ancient inscriptions:

Pythia takes a sequence of damaged text as input, and is trained to predict character sequences comprising hypothesised restorations of ancient Greek inscriptions (texts written in the Greek alphabet dating between the seventh century BCE and the fifth century CE). The architecture works at both the character- and word-level, thereby effectively handling long-term context information, and dealing efficiently with incomplete word representations (Figure 2). This...

Progress Report: The Federalist Papers

December 4, 2018 • #

I’m making my way through The Federalist, which has been on my reading list forever, and for which I had my interest rekindled last year reading Alexander Hamilton.

For those that don’t know, it’s a collection of essays written by the trio of Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to convince the populace of the need to ratify the then-draft US Constitution.

Up to Federalist No. 25, the focus is on a) the utility and importance of the “union of states” as a concept worth pursuing and cementing and b) the insufficiency of the Articles of...

Francis Fukuyama on The Origins of Political Order

November 29, 2018 • #

Francis Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order was one of the most interesting books I’ve read in the last 5 years. It traces the history of human social hierarchy and government from antiquity to the French Revolution. This talk is a great high-level overview of the ground covered in the book. Think of it as a preview and convincing teaser to the full work.

Weekend Reading: CAC, Alexander Hamilton, and Flow

November 10, 2018 • #

🛒 What is Customer Acquisition Cost?

This is a great overview of the importance of CAC in a SaaS business.

One of the enjoyable things about SaaS is how much you can modify and optimize what you’re doing by measuring various parts of your process, especially in SMB-focused SaaS. Marketing, early-stage sales, late-stage sales, customer success — it’s like a machine with separate stages you can tweak separately to make incremental improvements.

📜 The Legacy of Alexander Hamilton

On the similarities between Hamilton and Edmund Burke:

“There are...