The Lifeboat: Links - 20 Aug' 2021

Links №2: Links and humble recommendations

Dear wanderer,

The previous issue was warmly welcomed. So, here I am again, sharing links with you.

Things I found interesting last week, in random order:

  • Last week I published humble insights from my recent travelling experience. In this essay, I talk about sitting in cafés, how I was almost eaten by a swan, and why you should climb every hill you can. I encourage you to check the essay out in case you missed it.

  • I’ve been pondering on our era and its specifics and found an article that argues why our century is potentially the most influential in human history. The author, William MacAskill, defines ‘influential’ as “a time ti is more influential (from a longtermist perspective) than a time tj iff you would prefer to give an additional unit of resources, that has to be spent doing direct work (rather than investment), to a longtermist altruist living at ti rather than to a longtermist altruist living at tj.”

  • A great follow-up on the previous entry is a series of articles currently being published on the Cold Takes blog. It digs deeper into some of the aspects that make our century the most influential, such as Transformative AI.

  • Another article on Futurism but from a science fiction perspective. The article discusses a link between the present and the future, or how it’s presented in sci-fi. Some futuristic inventions are already with us despite they are not evenly distributed. That’s why when things such as solar panels, wind farming, etc. come into our life they already seem familiar – we’ve seen resembling it in science fiction before.

  • Reality has a surprising amount of detail by John Salvatier. The title is pretty self-explanatory. The essay discusses “a fundamental property of the universe” – having details that are invisible if we don’t pay attention. Often we mistake this property for a personal failing, not understanding that things are more complex than they seem and what we need is to give it time and understand how things work first. “Before you’ve noticed important details they are, of course, basically invisible. It’s hard to put your attention on them because you don’t even know what you’re looking for. But after you see them they quickly become so integrated into your intuitive models of the world that they become essentially transparent.”

  • A captivating short story Tiger by Sue Starling. It was shortlisted for the recent The White Review Short Story Prize, and it’s my favourite on the list so far.

And here’s a sneak-peek of my WIP visual masterpiece which you are free to interpret yourself:

Until next time,

John