having agency in the world

self-control and grit

Here’s your weekly dose of treats 💌
A weekly list of goodies curated by Robert.

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🎶 Something to listen to while reading

divisive stuff I’ve been ingesting

  1. Finished listening to Clara Sousa-Silva: Searching for Signs of Life on Venus and Other Planets | Lex Fridman Podcast #195
    She studies the quantum behavior of molecules so that she can detect them in space. She tries to figure out the probability of a molecule being in a particular state. So there's not deterministic nature to the work she does, as every transition is just a likelihood. Currently, she needs more computer power. In September 2020, she co-authored a paper announcing the possible presence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. You can watch this video Discovery of Phosphine and Life on Venus. You can check her website here.

    Coincidentally, here's a dreamy video that just got released How To Terraform Venus (Quickly)

  2. I’ve been reading about kids having interesting/useful childhoods: The Most Precious Resource is Agency

    Quick snip:
    When I read biographies, early lives leap out the most. Leonardo da Vinci was a studio apprentice to Verrocchio at 14. Walt Disney took on a number of jobs, chiefly delivering papers, from 11 years old. Vladimir Nabokov published his first book (a collection of poems) at 16, while still in school. Andrew Carnegie finished schooling at 12 and was 13 when he began his second job as a telegraph office boy, where he convinced his superiors to teach him the telegraph machine itself. By 16 he was the family’s mainstay of income.

    Gaining agency is gaining the capacity to do something differently from, or in addition to, the events that simply happen to you. Most famous people go off-script early, usually in more than one way.

    Do children today have useful childhoods?
    What is today’s equivalent to being a studio apprentice of Verrocchio?
    Where are the studios, anyway?

  3. Why did we wait so long for the threshing machine?
    The question of the threshing machine is a microcosm of the bigger question I’m interested in: Why did we wait so long for the Industrial Revolution?

    Some inventions depended on theoretical concepts that were not discovered before the Scientific Revolution: the electric generator, for instance, or even the steam engine. But others did not: the threshing machine, the cotton gin, the spinning jenny. What is the difference between those inventions, and others of seemingly similar complexity and importance that were adopted centuries earlier: the loom, the spinning wheel, the printing press?

  4. GitHub has released Copilot, a Visual Studio extension that inserts complex snippets into your code as you type. It has been trained using billions of lines of public code from GitHub repositories. Copilot can convert pseudo-code comments into real code, autofill repetitive code, offer alternative syntax, and more.

  5. Self-Control and Grit: Related but Separable Determinants of Success, Angela Duckworth and James J. Gross, University of Pennsylvania and Standford University

    TL;DR

    Other than talent and opportunity, what makes some people more successful than others? Applying the scientific method to this age-old question has yielded important new insights regarding the determinants of both everyday success and extraordinary achievement.

    In this paper the authors propose two important determinants of both everyday success and extraordinary achievement: self-control and grit.

    Self-control refers to our capacity to regulate attention, emotion, and behavior in the presence of temptation whereas Grit refers to our tenacious pursuit of a dominant long-term goal despite setbacks.

    Self-control is associated with everyday success, whereas grit is more tightly coupled with exceptional achievements that often take decades to accomplish.

    If you are reading stuff on Ferman’s Library, don’t forget to install Margins.

  6. Wikidata is a free, collaborative, multilingual, secondary database, collecting structured data to provide support for Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, the other wikis of the Wikimedia movement, and to anyone in the world.

  7. A few notes after the Windows 11 preview, and on Windows in general
    In an exchange with a friend on Twitter, I said: [Panay] could have just written: “For many, the web was discovered through Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook” — not as dramatic a statement, but certainly truer. And I added: It’s a big blob of bullshit that was added to the narrative sauce according to which “Windows has always been an innovative platform”. It hasn’t.

  8. Japan gov't backs 4-day workweek
    The government included the promotion of an optional four-day workweek in its annual economic policy guideline finalized Friday by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Cabinet.

  9. Hyundai acquires controlling stake in U.S. robotics firm Boston Dynamics for $880 million
    The acquisition also seeks to blend into Hyudai’s large-scale industry goal of increasing market competitiveness within mobility solutions.

  10. Amazon is opening its fifth convenience store in London, where it offers customers ‘just walk out’ shopping.

  11. 30-minute presentation from Tesla's Andrej Karpathy on its counter-consensus approach to building autonomous driving.

  12. Haunting Photos Reveal a Massive Abandoned Town of Disneyesque Castles
    What was supposed to be a luxurious urban development for wealthy foreigners has become an eerie half-finished ghost town in Turkey.

  13. Reuters Institute global news consumption report for 2021

  14. iPod.js – An online iPod that connects to Spotify and Apple Music

  15. Nvidia Canvas – sse AI to turn simple brushstrokes into realistic landscape images. Create backgrounds quickly, or speed up your concept exploration so you can spend more time visualizing ideas.

  16. Wikidata – a free, collaborative, multilingual, secondary database, collecting structured data to provide support for Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, the other wikis of the Wikimedia movement, and to anyone in the world.

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Robert