The Great Bifurcation

A great article by Ben Thompson at Stratechery about our increasingly double (and more) lives.

In the end, the most important connection between the Metaverse and the physical world will be you: right now you are in the Metaverse, reading this Article; perhaps you will linger on Twitter or get started with your remote work. And then you’ll stand up from your computer, or take off your headset, eat dinner and tuck in your kids, aware that their bifurcated future will be fundamentally different from your unitary past.

Ben Thompson at Stratechery

How to maintain a healthy brain

Dementia is certainly an upsetting thing to ponder, and I try to skew the articles I post to offer at least some potential positive or enlightening takeaway. Despite the topic, I believe this article does both. Kailas Roberts goes into great, but accessible, detail about what steps we all might consider to optimize our chances for brain health. I recommend reading the whole article, of course, but the author is also kind enough to include a list of “key points” that may prevent tl;dr.

  1. Ageing changes the brain, but it’s not all bad news. It used to be thought that it was all downhill once you reached your 20s, but it’s now recognised that the brain can continue to grow and adapt into old age.
  2. The roots of dementia run deep. Although dementia usually manifests in the elderly, relevant contributing risk factors and biological processes begin to exert an influence much earlier – offering an optimistic opportunity to intervene.
  3. Nourish your brain. A healthy diet can help ensure your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are in good shape, which will allow vital nutrients to reach your brain. It also might help dampen inflammation, another risk factor for poor brain health.
  4. Train your brain. Completing challenging mental activities will build your ‘cognitive reserve’, which could offer you protection from dementia and cognitive decline.
  5. Care for your mental health (and connect with others). Brain health and mental health are deeply intertwined – socialising is one of the most effective ways to protect both.
  6. Train your body. Your brain health is also dependent on your overall physical fitness, so aim to exercise regularly.
  7. Protect your brain. Blows to the head from injury or even from playing sport can harm your brain and increase your risk of developing dementia, so take care of your grey and white matter.

Kailas Roberts at


Notes on Web3 is a great article for those still pondering what this moment in history means. I tend to think blockchain and decentralization are great tools in search of a purpose (in addition to cryptocurrency), but I do think there’s something there. I also think, like this author, that web3 recaptures some of the same excitement, but also unsustainable dreams of web 2.0.

A large fraction of Web3’s magnetism comes from the value of the underlying cryptocurrencies. Therefore, a good diagnostic question to ask might be: would you still be curious about Web3 if those currencies were worthless, in dollar terms? For some people, the answer is “yes, absolutely”, because they find the foundational puzzles so compelling. For others, if they’re honest, the answer is “nnnot reallyyy”.

Robin Sloan

Joyas Voladoras

A beautiful reflection on the heart, from biological fact to imagined emotional instrument. There’s a good narrated version of the essay, too.

Mammals and birds have hearts with four chambers. Reptiles and turtles have hearts with three chambers. Fish have hearts with two chambers. Insects and mollusks have hearts with one chamber. Worms have hearts with one chamber, although they may have as many as eleven single-chambered hearts. Unicellular bacteria have no hearts at all; but even they have fluid eternally in motion, washing from one side of the cell to the other, swirling and whirling. No living being is without interior liquid motion. We all churn inside.

Brian Doyle

Stepping out of the firehose

A great essay by benedict Evans.

The first generation of internet services tried to help with filters and settings, but most normal people ignore the settings and don’t want to write filters, and so we very quickly went to systems that tried to help automatically. Gmail has its priority inbox, and social networks build recommendation engines and algorithmic feeds. Given that the average Facebook user is apparently eligible to see over a thousand items a day, it seems (or seemed) to make sense to try to show the video of your niece before the special offer from a restaurant you ate at five years ago. So your feed becomes a sample – an informed guess of the posts you might like most. This has always been a paradox of Facebook product – half the engineers work on adding stuff to your feed and the other half on taking stuff out.

Benedict Evans

A Concerto Is a Conversation

In Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers’s “A Concerto Is a Conversation,” Bowers traces the process of breaking into new spaces through generations of sacrifice that came before him, focusing on the story of his grandfather Horace Bowers. As a young man, he left his home in the Jim Crow South, eventually ending up in Los Angeles. Encountering discrimination at every turn, he and his wife, Alice, nevertheless made a life as business owners.

Half Dome Night Hike Time Lapse

Beautiful time lapse video of traversing Half Dome at night. I discovered the link at The California Sun. Much of it is only for subscribers, but the writing and content are excellent.

“In celebration of his 50th birthday and 50th ascent of Half Dome, Griff Joyce recruited 50 friends to hike Half Dome, catch sunset, and descend at night….Together, we carried 12 cameras and 19 lenses into the wilderness.” — Sean Goebel

Pixel: a Biography

So why do so many people think that pixels are little squares? The answer is simple: apps and displays have fooled us for decades with a cheap and dirty trick. To ‘zoom in’ by a factor of 20, say, they replace each pixel with a 20-by-20 square array of copies of that pixel, and display the result. It’s a picture of 400 (spread) pixels of the same colour arranged in a square. It looks like a little square – what a surprise. It’s definitely not a picture of the original pixel made 20 times larger.

Alvy Ray Smith

I’ve been using Photoshop and other graphic programs for decades, and I absolutely thought pixels were little squares. This is a fantastic and informative essay. Highly recommended.