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Construction Physics 6614 HN points 28 Jan 23
Since there’s more interesting things happening in construction than I can cover in a weekly post (especially if I’m spending posts writing about things that happened 800 years ago), I’m experimenting with occasionally sending out a brief roundup of interesting links related to construction news, buildings, and infrastructure. Let me know what you think.
Construction Physics 5812 HN points 01 Feb 23
I've mentioned a few times that I generally prefer looking at construction progress through the lens of cost indexes rather than productivity indexes. Whereas productivity indexes try to track changes in the amount of construction we get for a given amount of labor (for labor productivity) or labor + capital (for TFP), cost indexes try to track changes in how much construction we get per dollar. Cost indexes don’t measure the absolute cost of construction (in, say, dollars per square foot), but relative changes from a particular reference year.
lunduke 2237 HN points 02 Feb 23
“This is a major win for the burgeoning ‘artificially make people seem intelligent’ industry,” stated ChatGPT.
Chartbook 1097 HN points 29 Jan 23
In Ones and Tooze this week Cameron and I took on the question of tanks for Ukraine. It, if I am honest, a topic I’ve been waiting to do a session about. I’ve been preoccupied with tanks since I was a little kid. As a small child, perhaps 6 years old, I remember learning that my birthday, 5 July, was the anniversary of the battle of Kursk, the biggest tank battle in history, fought in July 1943. I was surprised to hear that the battle was not in France or North Africa, but in the Soviet Union and I set out to draw, on a giant folding stack of printer paper, the kind that used to be fed through dot matrix printers, every one of the German and Soviet tanks engaged.
atis 992 HN points 30 Jan 23
1) Some research from about a year ago on the personality traits that predict interest in EA. The finding isn’t very surprising, but the whole thing is worth a read: We found two psychologically distinct moral factors that predict whether someone is a proto-EA. First, such a person is particularly willing to give away personal resources (time or money) to help others in need, even if they are far away. Second, such a person is focused on effectiveness when allocating their altruistic resources. We found that both expansive altruism and effectiveness-focus significantly predicted positive attitudes and interest towards effective altruism in non-EA samples. And we found that both scales predict stronger identification with effective altruism in pre-existing effective altruists. In short, both the E and the A are required to make someone a proto-EA, but only few people score highly on both.
Subconscious 976 HN points 01 Feb 23
It seems that if you compost an internet’s worth of written knowledge, the text starts to speak back. When pushed to its extreme, literature gives birth to a renewed orality. A hyper-orality.
Chartbook 936 HN points 01 Feb 23
Following a panel at Davos on deglobalisation and a flurry of comment about polycrisis, I picked up those themes in my monthly column for the FT. Thanks to my lovely editors, the piece was squeezed into the paper on Tuesday. In this newsletter I want to tease out some of the points buried in the compressed version of the op-ed. The passages in quotes are from my original draft (before editing by the FT team):
The Common Reader 776 HN points 30 Jan 23
From Jeremy: I wanted to ask you what you think are some of the biggest challenges facing adult common readers today. His answer is at the end. Some thoughts. Reviews. A lot of books get published and a lot of reviews. But most reviews are about the same books and are too long—and they give away the plot! I would like to see more composite reviews and more impressionistic ones. Notable that Goodreads is successful at this but most “Books” sections are not, noting that they do a very good job of what they set out to do.
The Beautiful Mess 631 HN points 02 Feb 23
In this post I argue that the concept of an “internal customer” is flawed, and that a better distinction is “partner”. To get there I’ll draw on “customer-facing products” for inspiration. Most B2B SaaS companies are actually B2B2B or B2B2C SaaS. They look like this:
yourlocalepidemiologist 620 HN points 02 Feb 23
On Monday WHO’s Emergency Committee gave official word that they voted to renew the Public Health Emergency of International Concern. They are likely teeing up for “the end” in 2023. The U.S. is far more confident in “the end” of the national emergency. On Monday, the White House announced that they are ending it in mid-May.
Chartbook 602 HN points 03 Feb 23
The upheaval rocking the Adani business empire is one of the dramatic global developments of the last week. I was delighted that The Wire saw fit to pick up and republish Chartbook #190. I’ve long harbored a secret ambition to join the ranks of the Wire-wallahs. Cam and I also featured the Adani story on the Pod this week.
Resident Contrarian 572 HN points 31 Jan 23
Open Discussion It’s hard to do off-topic comments in articles that are specifically about something. If you want to ask me something or talk about something I don’t normally talk about, feel free to do so in the comments below. Plugs I have stated this before, but I will literally plug anyone at any time for almost anything. There’s a few exceptions (I won’t plug things that are actively working against my religion or are aimed at hurting hurting me in some way without a lot of counterbalance) but otherwise I’m pretty wide open for this.