Rhys' Newsletter #69

Gen Z thinks humanity is doomed, why WhatsApp's E2E encryption is good, and DAOs as new institutions

This newsletter goes out to more than 1,000 ambitious frontier people. Please share it with a friend who would like it. And welcome to all the folks who joined this in the past week!

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Hello from San Francisco! I had a big bag of dates recently. They were delicious but expensive. Please eat dates. They are good.

This message was paid for by the Date Lobby.

1) Wrote a piece on why More Startups Should Use Credit Unions (and why I used one for Roote). tl;dr: As member-owned cooperatives, Credit Unions help the communities they’re part of. For example, my credit union is helping pass a law that would make sky-high payday loans (like the ones below) illegal.

2) The next Roote Fellowship, RF5, is coming up in early October! Share it with your friends and apply here: roote.co.

3) Interviewing Susan Blackmore, the author of Meme Machines, this week for the podcast. What should I ask her?

LINKS

1) Young People's Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury.

Dark report on young folks’ perspectives on climate change. Yes, the climate crisis is a crisis. But damn, I feel like we’ve done young people a disservice by making them nihilistic. 56% of young people think that “humanity is doomed” due to climate change.

2) Letters to a Young Technologist

Excellent set of essays on how to be intentional and reflective as you build technology. The kids are all right.

From one essay Value Beyond Instrumentalization, by Jasmine Wang:

To make this reflection possible, the technology ecosystem must maintain non-instrumental spaces (as opposed to, say, a space like YCombinator, where the space is meant to help you reach a specific external outcome under time-bounded pressure) where technologists can play with ideas and think freely, similar to parks and urban forests in a bustling city.

Such spaces for paratelic play existed at various points in Silicon Valley’s history: Bell Labs and Xerox Parc and the first generation of hackathons, but have largely been discarded or commercialized. Technologists must have (literal) space for thought.

3) Great thread from Alex Stamos on how ProPublica misreported the privacy vs. safety tradeoff in WhatsApp. The key idea is that messaging apps can be end-to-end encrypted while still allowing users to report their own abuse.

4) DAOs, The New Coordination Frontier.

Excellent DAO research report from Gitcoin and Bankless.

5) Babylon BeeBiden Unveils 'Your Body, My Choice' Vaccination Program

6) The Onion: Optimistic Researchers Say There Still Time To Head Off Climate Change Before It Starts Killing Rich People

7) Rhys: Racist Test Scores, Essays, and Grades Removed As California Colleges Switch To A Simple Income Checks

8) Satire From The Crowd: Leaked Deleted Scene from Fast & Furious 9 is Just Vin Diesel Changing a Tire for 12 Minutes

(Please send me other funny headlines you’ve written!)

9) TikTok of the Week: love it when grandmas jam on TikTok.

JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES

EVENTS

MUSIC

Britain is bumping out great hip-hop recently. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, SAULT has been awesome, including their new album Nine. One of SAULT’s collaborators is Little Simz, who has also been excellent in her career thus far and also just released a delightful new album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (produced by none other than Inflo, the leader of SAULT).

I love it when artists look promising and then continue to lean into their full artistic purpose. So many artists just make one good album. Not Little Simz!

Here’s one of my favorite songs from Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. It uses an excellent sample that Little Simz plays with as a lyricist:

Seeing Little Simz kill it reminds me of 2000s British women rappers. They’re something about the dryness in their voice that feels deeply different than someone like Cardi B, who is full of pomp and energy.

Speech Debelle is a good example of what I might call British Dry Rap:


Hope you have a good week! Warmth, Rhys

If you like this newsletter, check out the online community of systems thinkers that I helped co-found, Roote.

❤️ Thanks to my generous patrons ❤️

Chris Densmore, Maciej Olpinski, Jonathan Washburn, Ben Wilcox, Audra Jacobi, Sam Jonas, Patrick Walker, Shira Frank, David Hanna, Benjamin Bratton, Michael Groeneman, Haseeb Qureshi, Jim Rutt, Zoe Harris, David Ernst, Brian Crain, Matt Lindmark, Colin Wielga, Malcolm Ocean, John Lindmark, Collin Brown, Ref Lindmark, James Waugh, Mark Moore, Matt Daley, Peter Rogers, Darrell Duane, Denise Beighley, Scott Levi, Harry Lindmark, Simon de la Rouviere, and Katie Powell.

Rhys' Newsletter #68

César Hidalgo on Sociotechnical Systems, Long COVID, Selfish Genes, and Big Disinfo

This newsletter goes out to more than 1,000 ambitious frontier people. Please share it with a friend who would like it. (And welcome to all the folks who joined this in the past month!)

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Hello from San Francisco! I drank a lot of Turkish coffee with cardamom in Egypt and have been addicted to it back in the states. Buy some here.

1) New travel TikTok from my Africa trip: How Colonial Powers Invented Tribes To Make Governing More Legible.

2) The next Roote Fellowship, RF5, is coming up! We have some awesome folks confirmed, like a social technologist from Azerbaijan. Share it with your friends and apply here: roote.co.

3) Podcast This Week: #90 César Hidalgo: How To Understand Sociotechnical Systems

Cesar is an amazing multidisciplinary systems thinker. He wrote the excellent Why Information Grows and recently released How Humans Judge Machines, which he paid to make available as an e-book for free (so cool!).

Here’s an excerpt of us talking about the medium and the message:

Rhys: Let’s talk about the medium is the message. How did the printing press change who was famous?

César: Prior to printing, most of the famous people (as judged by Wikipedia) are involved in religion or politics.

After printing, there are two interesting things. The number of people that we remember increases, meaning that our collective memory doubles very quickly. And also the new people that we remember are people in different categories. Printing was the start of society remembering composers, artists, astronomers, and mathematicians. 

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0205771

César: As printing develops and we go from printing books to printing science journals. Then the sciences start to bloom and we divide them into physics, chemistry, biology, and so forth.

Then all of a sudden you have film and radio. That completely shifts the arts from the playwrights and composers to the performers, actors, musicians, and singers. This resonates very strongly with Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message”—as you develop new technologies to communicate things, there are certain messages that are better adapted to those mediums and those are the ones that spreading further.

Actors existed at the time of the Greeks. But famous actors only existed when there was a medium that was able to capture the performance. But when there was a medium that was only able to capture the play, it was the playwright who became famous.

That is really interesting because it tells us that these technologies are truly transformative. They shape our society and really show us these breaks in our history that are the result of changes in communication technology.

Rhys: Yeah, I love that. Let’s double click on that for a second. This is a very macro question, so good luck. From a “medium is the message” perspective, what things are optimized for the Internet?

César: Today we're in this weird Twitterocracy because politicians have direct access to their audiences versus 30 years ago when they spoke through TV interviews. This has developed our politics to be much more aggressive.

In the US, Trump’s removal from Twitter had more impact than the impeachment attempts.

Technology allows people to have direct instant fame. That fame is not mediated through work or through other people. That has generated a very strange dynamic where people become famous by sharing opinions or sharing conspiracies.

César: The technology that we have right now is good at some things like the ability to express yourself. But it’s so bad at other things like trying to aggregate preferences through participation and deliberation. As these movements grow and the only way for them to survive is to find a very simplified language.

At night, I've been reading my daughter Animal Farm from George Orwell. Honestly, it's such a fantastic book. As the revolution begins, Napoleon and Snowball create the principles of Animalism. They soon discover that there's some animals that could learn to read and write while other animals like sheep that were stupid. So they had to start to dumb down those principles and Animalism ends up being “Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Good.”

I think Twitter and Facebook have changed the world, but that trend towards simplicity seems to be still in place.

Information wants to be simple! Be wary of slogans that simplify like MAGA or BLM.

César: At the margin of that, though, there are still people that have stuck to the utopia of the Internet as a medium for democracy.

During this semester at the Center for Collective Learning, I ran a seminar series and interviewed civic tech people. I invited people to participate in the seminar like Audrey Tang, the Five Star Movement in Italy, and City Madrid (a big participatory budgeting initiative).

There are a lot of isolated efforts to create these new institutions. They're growing. It is very much alive among younger generations. They believe that the Internet is not just another medium but an integral part of society that should be part of the way that we make collective decisions, a la democracy. 

Rhys: Yeah! Gen Z kids are part of a Minecraft group where everybody co-builds things together on Discord servers and remixes on TikTok. Then they grow up and turn 18, and they're like, oh, now, I get to vote and I get to give one bit of information every four years. Is that really how this works? They get disappointed by that.

Much more in the podcast itself on the geography of knowledge, the difference in how we judge governments vs. corporations, and more. Thanks César!

LINKS

1) Long COVID: Much More Than You Wanted To Know and Delta and Long COVID.

These are two great pieces that help us understand the risks of Long COVID. After reading these my rough calculation is that, if I get COVID, I have a 1% chance of getting serious (more than 6 month) Long COVID.

Not the best odds (1% is still high!), but good to know.

I’m still staying away from indoor bars and restaurants until prevalence numbers go below 1/1000 again (currently 1/200).

2) Alleviating Supply Constraints in the Housing Market

Good overview from WhiteHouse.gov on how they’re trying to build more housing stock. The stat below is pretty bad:

Across the country, more than 10 million renters (one in four) pay more than half of their income on rent, and nearly half (47%) spend over 30% of their income on rent and utilities.

Graph below shows why:

3) Why The Selfish Genes Metaphor Remains A Powerful Thinking Tool.

Great overview of selfish genes. I especially liked learning about Dawkins’ summary of the key argument in limerick form:

An itinerant selfish gene

Said: ‘Bodies a-plenty I’ve seen.

You think you’re so clever,

But I’ll live for ever.

You’re just a survival machine.’

Selfish Memes are a powerful thinking tool too.

What Does Information Want? 🤔

4) Bad News: Selling the story of disinformation.

Good critical look at “Big Disinfo”, the field that has spun up to tackle the ill-defined “misinformation” (which is a scissor label!).

A reminder that any movement must sustain itself. Big Disinfo funnels Industrial Age profits (from Ford Foundation, etc.) into Information Age mitigation.

5) Babylon BeeDemocrats Start Reverse Underground Railroad To Help Unborn Babies Escape Texas And Be Killed (woof)

6) The Onion: Underwhelming Science Fair Experiment Converts Potato Into Baked Potato

7) Rhys: Vitalik Finds Private Keys Under Couch Cushions, Near Remote

8) Satire From The Crowd: I Had a Headline About the Texas Abortion Ban but I Decided to Pull It Before Publication

(Please send me other funny headlines you’ve written!)

9) TikTok of the Week: @ajabdullah_ with a cool way to share his favorite South Asian indie musicians

JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES

  • Jay Graber has officially announced that she’s leading Twitter’s Bluesky initiative. She’s great! They’re hiring a protocol and web dev. Apply here.

  • Open Philanthropy has a new Technology Policy Fellowship for ~tech folks who are looking to get into policy, especially around AI or bio risk.

  • MSCHF, an awesome experimental digital-first media collective (idk what to call them), is hiring a general counsel.

  • One of my favorite companies, Hive.one, is creating a PageRank for people to make trust abundant. They’re hiring a CTO.

  • The Berkman Klein Center is one of the best academic centers that study technosocietal systems. They’re hiring a new Executive Director.

  • Coinbase is hiring for an interesting position—Head of Crypto Recruiting.

  • Effective Altruism Jobs Board

EVENTS

MUSIC

Rhythms del Mundo is an excellent Cuban cover band featuring members from the Buena Vista Social Club. There are lots of cover bands, but not many in the Cuban style. My favorite cover of theirs is below.

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, by U2:

My other favorite cover album is the Pickin’ On Series, which is a set of bluegrass covers. This “Clocks” cover is ridiculously good. The bass that comes in at 0:15 is deeply guttural. And the drop at 4:50 is just…wow. I’ve never heard string instruments make a noise like that.

What are your favorite covers?


Hope you have a good week! Warmth, Rhys

If you like this newsletter, check out the online community of systems thinkers that I helped co-found, Roote.

❤️ Thanks to my generous patrons ❤️

Chris Densmore, Maciej Olpinski, Jonathan Washburn, Ben Wilcox, Audra Jacobi, Sam Jonas, Patrick Walker, Shira Frank, David Hanna, Benjamin Bratton, Michael Groeneman, Haseeb Qureshi, Jim Rutt, Zoe Harris, David Ernst, Brian Crain, Matt Lindmark, Colin Wielga, Malcolm Ocean, John Lindmark, Collin Brown, Ref Lindmark, James Waugh, Mark Moore, Matt Daley, Peter Rogers, Darrell Duane, Denise Beighley, Scott Levi, Harry Lindmark, Simon de la Rouviere, and Katie Powell.

Rhys' Newsletter #67

Back from Africa!

This newsletter goes out to more than 1,000 ambitious frontier people. Please share it with a friend who would like it. (And welcome to all the folks who joined this in the past month!)

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Hey y’all! Missed ya. ❤️

I just returned from an August vacation in Egypt and Kenya with my brother and dad.

In Egypt, we explored Cairo and Alexandria for 5 days each. Here’s a picture of us eating Bedouin food in the Sahara near the Pyramids.

In Kenya, we did a 10-day, 150-mile charity walk through the Maasai Mara grasslands. There are a bunch of pictures here. Here’s one of me playing the drums with som kids:

I was thinking about the best ways to share and process my journey. When I went to Nepal/India in 2011, I did a Youtube/Blogspot blog. For China in 2014, I did a series on “Photography in the Abstract” on Wordpress.

It’s 2021, so let’s do TikTok!

Here are my tiks and some of my toks:

Or just follow @rhyslindmark on TikTok for more learnings from Africa!

More next week and back to our regularly scheduled programming. Would love to know what you’ve been up to!

LINKS

1) Cool articulation of Now Us over Now Me from a football owner:

2) Timeline of mRNA and lipid nanoparticle discovery.

It’s shoulders and giants all the way down.

3) Great new Adam Neely video on whether pop songs count as plagarism.

From a What Information Wants perspective:

Songs convergently evolve towards popular "attention" niches like Four Chords, in a similar way as animals evolve towards "energy" niches like flight.

Was it plagiarism for bats, birds, and insects to all evolve wings?

4) Reminder that forests are carbon sinks so wildfires are like coal power plants.

As Kim-Mai Cutler said: Our state's wildfire emissions erased some 12-13 years of progress on GHG reductions in California:

5) Babylon BeeTaliban Opens Chain Of U.S. Army Surplus Stores

6) The Onion: CDC Warns Going Unvaccinated Not Worth Risk Of Losing Ability To Taste Wings

7) Rhys: Fox News Announces New Line of Branded Caskets

8) Satire From The Crowd: FDA approves of Pfizer COVID vaccine, timeline unclear for when my dad will approve of my career

(Please send me other funny headlines you’ve written!)

9) TikTok of the Week: @joseffinspiration drops knowledge on how to escape the hamster wheel

JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES

  • Jay Graber has officially announced that she’s leading Twitter’s Bluesky initiative. She’s great! They’re hiring a protocol and web dev. Apply here.

  • Open Philanthropy has a new Technology Policy Fellowship for ~tech folks who are looking to get into policy, especially around AI or bio risk.

  • MSCHF, an awesome experimental digital-first media collective (idk what to call them), is hiring a general counsel.

  • One of my favorite companies, Hive.one, is creating a PageRank for people to make trust abundant. They’re hiring a CTO.

  • The Berkman Klein Center is one of the best academic centers that study technosocietal systems. They’re hiring a new Executive Director.

  • Coinbase is hiring for an interesting position—Head of Crypto Recruiting.

  • Effective Altruism Jobs Board

EVENTS

MUSIC

SAULT is a new pseudonymous hip-hop collective from England (maybe). They just released Nine. It’s only available for streaming and download for 99 days (32 left). Get it here.

My favorite song is Light’s in Your Hands:

Lyrics about growing up in the hood:

When you were younger you were left on your own
Forced to survive, streets became your home
So innocent, and didn't get to be a child
It hurts to see the pain in your eyes

When you think about it, I never really had a childhood
I was constantly on the edge, constantly on edge
Throughout my whole childhood
But, we just, we grew accustomed to it
To the point now we're adults and we got thick skin
You shouldn't have to have skin as sick as ours, you shouldn't
We shouldn't have had to grow up with that


Hope you have a good week! Warmth, Rhys

If you like this newsletter, check out the online community of systems thinkers that I helped co-found, Roote.

❤️ Thanks to my generous patrons ❤️

Chris Densmore, Maciej Olpinski, Jonathan Washburn, Ben Wilcox, Audra Jacobi, Sam Jonas, Patrick Walker, Shira Frank, David Hanna, Benjamin Bratton, Michael Groeneman, Haseeb Qureshi, Jim Rutt, Zoe Harris, David Ernst, Brian Crain, Matt Lindmark, Colin Wielga, Malcolm Ocean, John Lindmark, Collin Brown, Ref Lindmark, James Waugh, Mark Moore, Matt Daley, Peter Rogers, Darrell Duane, Denise Beighley, Scott Levi, Harry Lindmark, Simon de la Rouviere, and Katie Powell.

Rhys' Newsletter #66

Grace Lindsay on computational neuroscience, a network-native social contract, and is the 21st century as the most important century ever?

This newsletter goes out to more than 1,000 ambitious frontier people. Please share it with a friend who would like it. (And welcome to all the folks who joined this week!)

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Hello!

This is my last newsletter before I go on a 150-mile charity walk with my dad and brother this August. See you back here in September.

New Podcast of the Week

#89 Grace Lindsay: Your Brain Is Math

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Grace is a computational neuroscientist who recently published the book, Models of the Mind: How Physics, Engineering and Mathematics Have Shaped Our Understanding of the Brain.

We chatted about mathematical models of the mind and how that informs the kinds of information that can live in there.

Psychology and neuroscience tell us what the brain does. Computational neuroscience tells us how the brain works.

I found the book (and convo) extremely helpful for understanding how physics, computer science, network theory, information theory, and Bayesian probability theory have given us tools to understand the brain.

Highlights from our convo:

Interdisciplinary Multi-Level Explanations

Rhys: Can you explain how models of the mind come from different scientific fields? 

Grace: I'm interested in building models that can synthesize a bunch of experimental data and provide a mechanism to explain them. A lot of the mathematical models that I talk about are in that category.

A neuron works the same way as an electrical circuit. You can take the equations from electrical engineering and use them to describe how a neuron takes an input and produces its output.

Then you have other models that try to explain how populations of neurons interact. Those pull from, for example, physics, which models how particles in a gas or a fluid interact. You can use those equations to model the interactions between neuron populations.

You can get more high level and look at things like the structure of the brain using graph theory or network science to understand the relationship between structure and function in the brain.

There isn't a single model that I'm proposing or advocating for. The brain is made up of so many different parts and can be dissected and studied in so many different ways.

Rhys: Yeah, I love that. There’s a skill that you have, multi-level explanations. Sometimes you’re talking about individual neurons, sometimes groups of neurons, sometimes the structure of neurons, and sometimes the expressed human behavior.

What Information Wants

Rhys: How should we think about the kinds of information that can be stored in the brain? Or, put differently, what kinds of info are “fit” to be stored in the mind? 

Grace: There's a trend in neuroscience to use ethologically relevant tests in animals. Right now you take a mouse or a monkey, put it in front of a screen, show it basic lines and shapes, and have it do some task with that info. It's not what the animal is used to doing in its evolutionary niche, it's just not.

Instead, we are beginning to be more ethologically relevant. Doing tests on things that animals would actually do in the wild.

So I think any answer to that question would have to, you know, specify whose brain, or at least what species’ brain are we talking about.

For humans specifically: if you have people learn a complex graph, they will traverse it as though they’re walking through a house.

That suggests some kind of constraints on our thoughts. 3-dimensional space is how we have to think. Things in that form will be easiest for us to process. There are some video games that try to teach people to navigate a 4-dimensional space. It's really trippy and it takes a lot of practice. 

To determine What Information Wants, we need to understand that its home (the brain) has evolved over millions of years to be fit for certain things (reproduction in a 3D world). Information wants to be “fit” with that reality.

Lots more in the podcast itself! On rate-based coding, small world hypothesis in neurons, how inspecting artificial neurons will help us inspect real neurons, and more.

Thanks Grace!

LINKS

1) How should an influencer sound? YouTube voice is coming for us all.

The medium is the message. Youtube and TikTok mediums have determined what a “Youtuber voice” sounds like. TikTok is similar, just faster.

2) Network Effects Demand A New Social Contract

I don’t agree with everything James writes here. But I do think it’s important to think through a network-native social contract.

As futurist George Dyson says, with more than a little awe, “At some point in every planet’s history, it gets wired up and connected into a whole, just once. We have been alive at that time.”

3) Holden Karnofsky of Open Philanthropy has a new blog, Cold Takes. His first post is All Possible Views About Humanity's Future Are Wild.

In a similar vein as the Dyson quote above:

There's a decent chance that we live at the very beginning of the tiny sliver of time during which the galaxy goes from nearly lifeless to largely populated. That out of a staggering number of persons who will ever exist, we're among the first. And that out of hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, ours will produce the beings that fill it.

So when I look up at the vast expanse of space, I don't think to myself, "Ah, in the end none of this matters." I think: "Well, some of what we do probably doesn't matter. But some of what we do might matter more than anything ever will again. ...It would be really good if we could keep our eye on the ball. ...[gulp]"

Eep! The next century may be super impactful. Or maybe not! See this counterargument: Are we living at the most influential time in history?

4) Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst is a good example of converting long-term impact (early investment translating into decarbonizing through Wright's Law) into short-term signals (dashboard to present the predicted impact).

5) Babylon BeeScientists Warn That Within 6 Months Humanity Will Run Out Of Things To Call Racist

6) The Onion: Company Struggling To Find Diverse Leadership Candidates Among CEO’s Golf Buddies

7) Rhys: Priscilla Chan Divorces Zuck After Three-Way Affair With Siri And Alexa

8) Satire From The Crowd: Leaked Deleted Scene from Fast & Furious 9 is Just Vin Diesel Changing a Tire for 12 Minutes

(Please send me other funny headlines you’ve written!)

9) TikTok of the Week: @raquellily on why Filipino is an ugly language. (BGC Drama Effect provides a great TikTok meme template.)

JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES

EVENTS

MUSIC

I’m a pretty big fan of musicians who win MacArthur fellowships. Rhiannon Giddens is a bluegrass singer and banjo player who won a MacArthur in 2017.

She’s so damn good. Before she began producing bluegrass music, she won various competitions for Gaelic lilting singing. See Mouth Music below (and acapella music from newsletter #56).

She was good before she won a MacArthur. But honestly, she’s been better after it. Her two latest albums have been off-the-charts good.

There Is No Other (2019) was excellent. It has the best rendition of Wayfaring Stranger that I know, plus songs that display her amazing singing and string talent at the same time, like Pizzica di San Vito.

Her newest album, They’re Calling Me Home, came out in April of 2021. My favorite song is Avalon. The music video has delightfully playful dancing too.

In her MacArthur video, Rhiannon talks about how the banjo started in Black slave culture but was appropriated (slash appreciated) by white folks. Makes me think of Ganstagrass, the only hip-hop + bluegrass band I know.


Hope you have a good week! Warmth, Rhys

If you like this newsletter, check out the online community of systems thinkers that I helped co-found, Roote.

❤️ Thanks to my generous patrons ❤️

Maciej Olpinski, Jonathan Washburn, Ben Wilcox, Audra Jacobi, Sam Jonas, Patrick Walker, Shira Frank, David Hanna, Benjamin Bratton, Michael Groeneman, Haseeb Qureshi, Jim Rutt, Zoe Harris, David Ernst, Brian Crain, Matt Lindmark, Colin Wielga, Malcolm Ocean, John Lindmark, Collin Brown, Ref Lindmark, James Waugh, Mark Moore, Matt Daley, Peter Rogers, Darrell Duane, Denise Beighley, Scott Levi, Harry Lindmark, Simon de la Rouviere, and Katie Powell.

Rhys' Newsletter #65

Marsforming Terra. Homeownership is Bad.

This newsletter goes out to more than 1,000 ambitious frontier people. Please share it with a friend who would like it. (And welcome to all the folks who joined this week!)

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Hi hi! Some links this week:

LINKS

1) Excellent thread on how we’re Marsforming Terra:

2) Been watching a bunch of videos on housing policy recently.

This video shows how housing-as-equity (instead of housing-as-commodity) leads to NIMBYism and decreasing supply.

I roughly agree with the slogan “homeownership is bad.”

The video shows that homeownership in Switzerland is only 38%, while it’s 62% in the UK. This leads to homes getting built in Switzerland, but not getting built in the UK. When demand increases but supply doesn’t, you get higher prices.

As the graph below shows, in the last 50 years, the cost of housing has barely risen in Switzerland, but has increased dramatically in the UK.

(Great for existing homeowners, bad for everyone else!)

In the video above, I learned that 91% of folks in Singapore own their homes. That’s a ton. But, they still have reasonable prices! What gives?

I found the video below, and learned that:

  • Singapore sees housing-as-a-home (commodity), not as an investment

  • So you’re only allowed to own 1 home

  • Singapore had a housing crisis after WWII, so Lee Kuan Yew had the government buy lots of land, build tons of housing on it, then offer citizens to buy it (under a 99-year lease).

So…yeah. Implement land-value taxes, get rid of the mortgage interest tax deduction, and free/simplify zoning. (Japan only has 12 zones! Various gradients of residential, commercial, and industrial.)

3) Babylon Bee: Mansplaining Down But Woman Confusion Up
4) The Onion: California Employees Hesitant About Returning To Office Currently On Fire
5) Rhys: Trojan Offers Free Condoms To Customers Who Can Show Their V Card

6) Satire From The Crowd: As Americans Return to Work and Life, Many Forget How to Hold in Farts.

(Please send me other funny headlines you’ve written!)

7) TikTok of the Week: @deestroying: When you can’t afford fireworks on the 4th of July 🤣

JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES

EVENTS

MUSIC

This is a fun thing:

I have a bunch of these [song : scene] associations with Wes Anderson films (because I did a high school film project studying his movies). Specifically:

It also makes me think of this delightful country song, which is all about these kinds of associations (a song triggering a melody).

“Funny how a melody sounds like a memory.”

What songs are linked to a TV/movie scene for you?


Hope you have a good week! Warmth, Rhys

If you like this newsletter, check out the online community of systems thinkers that I helped co-found, Roote.

❤️ Thanks to my generous patrons ❤️

Maciej Olpinski, Jonathan Washburn, Ben Wilcox, Audra Jacobi, Sam Jonas, Patrick Walker, Shira Frank, David Hanna, Benjamin Bratton, Michael Groeneman, Haseeb Qureshi, Jim Rutt, Zoe Harris, David Ernst, Brian Crain, Matt Lindmark, Colin Wielga, Malcolm Ocean, John Lindmark, Collin Brown, Ref Lindmark, James Waugh, Mark Moore, Matt Daley, Peter Rogers, Darrell Duane, Denise Beighley, Scott Levi, Harry Lindmark, Simon de la Rouviere, and Katie Powell.

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