Weekly Newsletter

December 6, 2015

Links

Physics

What is Spacetime, Really?
Stephen Wolfram talks about the difficulty inherent to coming up with a universal theory about spacetime. In the same way Einstein’s theories brought Wolfram to awe, Wolfram’s ideas consistently bring me to awe. After reading Rudy Rucker’s The Lifebox, The Seashell, and The Soul, I’m increasingly drawn to computationalist theories of the universe, but reading this article has solidified my decision to read A New Kind of Science.

Politics

Let Math Save Our Democracy
Argues for the use of an algorithm in gerrymandering cases. I’m generally wary of scientific approaches to governing (probably due to my reading of Hayek way back in the day). I’m ambivalent about whether this author’s solution will work. I can think of ways to game his algorithm, but none of them produce a worse outcome than that which would result without it. If you are able to come up with an example, let me know.

Books I’m Reading

In addition to Sapiens by Yuval Harari, which I mentioned last week, I’ve been blazing through the audiobook version of Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler. Kotler uses case studies of action sports athletes to uncover the principles that underlie “flow”, the mysterious state described originally by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Kotler and Csikszentmihalyi believe that flow is the optimal state for performance and fulfillment. Although this is an aggressive claim, my experience supports the idea that [flow](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology) affects my overall fulfillment and sense of meaning.

People I’m Following

Stewart Brand
Brand founded the Whole Earth Catalog and then the Long Now foundation. Brand has had a huge influence on Silicon Valley, the tech, and environmentalist movements. Brand’s views on the future closely mirror mine and I admire his optimism and openness.

A Quote I Enjoyed

“We are as gods, we might as well get good at it” - Stewart Brand

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.