What I Have Been Reading – December 2020

Software Ate The World

Software ate the world and hardware has been struggling to keep up recently. Now the largest software companies are slowly becoming hardware companies and pursuing an integrated strategy that only can be achieved at the largest scale possible and with barriers of entry that are quickly expanding in addition to their well-known network or aggregation effects. The walls are slowly rising, the moats slowly widening, and as we are on the cusp of a new hardware renaissance, the decisions the hyperscalers make now are going to have a long-lasting competitive shadow. Stay tuned.



Two Different Recessions

‘Some people are sitting there with piles of cash in the bank and others will be wondering how they are going to buy food’





People have raised more than $100 million for basic living expenses in tens of thousands of fundraisers on GoFundMe so far this year, the company said. That is up 150% from 2019 and more than any previous year. Last month, the company introduced a new category of fundraiser, for rent, food and monthly bills.




Financial Impotence

Money may change everything, as Cyndi Lauper sang. But lack of money definitely ruins everything. Financial impotence casts a pall of misery. It keeps you up at night and makes you not want to get up in the morning. It forces you to recede from the world. It eats at your sense of self-worth, your confidence, your energy, and, worst of all, your hope. It is ruinous to relationships, turning spouses against each other in tirades of calumny and recrimination, and even children against parents.

The Atlantic



Free Shares

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200. All You need to do is sign up via this link –   Freetrade,  top up your account, could be as little as £1 and complete the w8-ben form on the app.



The Recycling Economy

“Many mums are gifted baby clothes, or have seen how quickly their babies outgrow clothes, with some not even worn due to size and seasonality. The mums share the interest to pass on these clothes. Secondhand is no longer second best – it comes with many benefits: economically, sustainability, and also mums supporting one another,” she says.

“The pandemic has forced people to take a look at their day-to-day: what’s important, what isn’t, what’s just fluff. A lot of people are gaining a greater perspective into what it is that brings them joy,” she adds.

“They have been forced to slow down, to sit in a room with themselves, and look at how they live their lives. With this natural reflection has come a shift in importance for how they are behaving and the impact that is having on the planet.”

The Guardian



Progress Curves

A technology often produces its best results just when it’s ready to be replaced – it’s the best it’s ever been, but it’s also the best it could ever be. There’s no room for more optimisation – the technology has run its course and it’s time for something new, and any further attempts at optimisation produce something that doesn’t make much sense.




Work Life Balance

Labor and leisure were delineated by physical space. If you were situated within the four walls of your factory or office, it was time to work. If you found yourself within the four walls of your home, it was time to relax. The mind was able to shift gears based on obvious environmental cues, and this delineation created some form of segmentation in one’s work and leisure life.

To say that things have changed would be the understatement of the year.

We are now living amidst the omnipresence of work. Even if we aren’t sitting down working, we are prone to continue thinking about it since the physical environment no longer reminds us to shift our mind state. In addition, the always-on nature of our tools means that we are perpetually reachable, as our phones contain the inboxes and schedules of both our personal and professional lives. The question “are you available?” is not really an inquiry about one’s availability, but more so about whether or not one feels like taking that call.





Hapiness = Reality – Expectations




Growing Too Fast

In undisturbed ancient forests, youngsters have to spend their first two hundred years waiting patiently in their mothers’ shade. As they struggle to put on a few feet, they develop wood that is incredibly dense. In modern managed forests today, seedlings grow without any parental shade to slow them down. They shoot up and form large growth rings even without a nutrient boost from added nitrogen. Consequently, their woody cells are much larger than normal and contain much more air, which makes them susceptible to fungi—after all, fungi like to breathe, too. A tree that grows quickly rots quickly and therefore never has a chance to grow old.



In June, the economists Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine projected that 300,000 to 500,000 fewer babies might be born in 2021 than there would have been otherwise. “We see no reason to think that our estimate was too large at this point,” Kearney told me five months after the analysis was published. “In fact, given the ongoing stress for current parents associated with school closures, the effect might even be larger than what we predicted.”

The Atlantic



Environmental Protection

The British territory of Tristan da Cunha created the largest protected area in the Atlantic Ocean, and the fourth largest in the world. The 687,000 km² sanctuary is a no-take zone, meaning fishing and other harmful activities are now prohibited, to protect wildlife found on and around the chain of islands, including albatross, penguins, whales, sharks and seals.




The Wim Hof Method

Over the past decade, researchers from major universities have studied Hof and found solid evidence that when practicing his method, he can control his own body temperature, nervous system, and immune response—findings that are head-scratchers for medical science, because humans aren’t supposed to be able to do any of that. It’s now documented in peer-reviewed papers that, among other things, Hof may be able to turn on at will his body’s tap of opiates and cannabinoids—euphoria-inducing chemicals that provide natural pain relief and an overall sense of well-being. What’s more, Hof insists, if he can do this, so can the rest of us. “Everybody has control by their psychology over their physiology,” he says. “It’s an innate capacity. It’s like you’ve got a shortcut to your own house, but you don’t know it.”

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