Weekly Newsletter

August 30, 2015

Ambition and Achievement

Sources of Power
Argues that college applicants should seek out “sources of power” which improve their chances of acceptance by orders of magnitude. This article fits with my observations about the college process.

Alternative Businesses

The Cheese Board Collective
Profiles a cooperative cheese shop where all employees are owners. I’ve expressed my enthusiasm for business model experimentation and co-ops in particular before so I’ll refrain from doing so again now.

Solar Technology

The Solar Sunflower
Reports on a new solar power technology that innovates on existing solar panels. Basically, the technology for cooling the panels was derived from supercomputers. The thing that struck me about this development was how similar it is to the classic story of Space Age technology transferring into consumer products. I’m now wondering if supercomputers will be the next space shuttles. In 20 years, will people be saying “we just need another supercomputer project to energize the economy?”

Technology and Problem Solving

The Problem with Problems
Highlights areas where problems don’t get solved due to a lack of communication or knowledge that the problem is in fact a problem that can be solved. This article reminds me of the many discussions I’ve had that start with me asking “What about your job do you think you could automate?” While I get puzzled looks when I ask these questions, the author fortunately is more capable of framing this discussion in a manner that’s easy to digest.


Oliver Sacks, The Doctor
I hesitated to include anything about Oliver Sacks because it didn’t seem to fit with the theme of the newsletter. However, I found this piece so impactful that I couldn’t resist including it. In case you’re curious, it was the discussion of Sacks’ embracing of the individual and optimism that put me over the edge.

Other Contributions

Teenagers are the Worst (Matt Ritter)
Builds a narrative around teenage recklessness utilzing both anecdotes and research about the teenage brain. This is science writing at its most engaging.

Discussion, links, and tweets

I'm a software developer currently working at UberEats. I keep a low social media presence, but, if you enjoy what I have to say or want to rant at me, you should email me at stephenmalina@gmail.com. If you're interested in what I'm currently programming, check out my Github. I occasionally rant on Twitter as well.