Jacob O'Bryant
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Stuff I read
12 September 2022

I have returned! (As a reminder, you signed up for this—my personal newsletter—either on my website or via The Sample.) I don't remember when was the last time I sent this out (early this year maybe?) but here are a few updates:

Thanks to Yakread I have actually started reading stuff other than tweets regularly, so I've decided to try again to use this newsletter to share stuff I'm reading. It's part of my ongoing experiment to find practical ways of doing "social media" without having it be concentrated in a few huge platforms. I'll probably include any major announcements about my work, and if you want more details you can subscribe to the TFOS newsletter, or (if you're interested in my Clojure work) the Biff newsletter.

Alright, so here it is, a few articles I've read lately:

Talent: a review on Nintil. I like the reminder that talent and ambition come in many different shapes. (I found this piece after reading Misidentifying Talent by Dan Luu.)

I'm trying to figure out why I don't like Effective Altruists by Resident Contrarian. Especially amusing were the comments about the EA criticism contest.

HOWTO: Get tenure by Matt Might. Very touching ending.

Sorbet: Stripe’s type checker for Ruby on the Stripe engineering blog. I was thinking of Clojure while I read this.

Amia Srinivasan on Utopian Feminism (transcript) from Conversations with Tyler. A lot of the more abstract ideas went over my head, but there was still plenty of interesting stuff to think about.

No More Eternal Septembers on Tedium. It reminds me of an engineer in a company I worked at who half-jokingly (but only half, I think) mentioned in a meeting that we should be careful not to try to make things too easy for new hires—butterflies won't develop properly unless you let them break out of the chrysalis on their own. In general I reject that framing and prefer the analogy of an explorer (along the lines of Lewis & Clark): you should build roads after you make it through the jungle. This is a motivation for my work on Biff.

A few months ago I also finished reading Dominion by Tom Holland. It describes how Christianity has influenced western culture to a degree that few realize. It's one of those things where once you learn about it, you see it everywhere.


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