Ben Mann Monthly Feb 2022
Fruit, sauna, tennis, singularity, bad villains
An index for my memory
A menu of topics for my next conversation with you
A faster way to share what I’m excited about without the barrier of writing a complete blog entry on it
A skimmable way to spread content I found valuable
Experiments and experiences
We ate so much fruit: yellow dragon fruit, mangoes, pineapples, oranges, mandarins, blueberries, bananas, lemons, and limes. The dragon fruit and mangoes were a special treat. I like to cut them open with a knife and scoop out the insides with a spoon. I tried to look up what variety of mangoes we got, but I'm not sure I can be more specific than big green and small yellow. Based on this I'm guessing Kent and Ataulfo respectively. I preferred the Ataulfo's smooth flesh to the Kent's fibers.
A few years ago, a flurry of studies on the efficacy of sauna use came out of Finland from a single research group. At the time, I thought the results seemed too good to be true. After a quick Google search, I found an article that punched a serious hole through the results: they only asked their cohort about their sauna use habits once in 1980, and then never again. That said, I've always found hopping in the sauna for a few minutes before bed improves my sleep quality. For the last week, I've taken a toast every night. Even if the cardiac benefits are overblown, it's a relaxing ritual I'll likely keep.
🚴 Biked Hawk Hill/Sutro/Twin Peaks 30mi
💍 Got married
💼 Hired two contractors
⚔️ Russia invaded Ukraine
🧑🚒 Fixed stressful production issues at work
5 point Likert ratings for “I would recommend this content to a friend”, sorted
King Richard 4/5
A somewhat rosier than reality portrait of Venus and Serena Williams' path to becoming the greatest tennis players of all time.
According to fact check, Richard deliberately moved them to Compton to make them tougher.
Somehow cows Rick Macci?
The counterfactual where Richard did not push the girls is almost certainly uninteresting. There’s something sad about that.
Attempts to trace humanity's path hundreds of years post-singularity using the narrative device of a family that refuses to fully transcend to keep the story writable by a contemporary author and readable to his audience.
The beginning of the book reads like poetry, rich with imagery, rhythm and cachet. Absurdist comic relief finds its way even into the distant future.
What happens to unmodified humans as we are outpaced by our creations?
When our minds become freely mutable, what do we choose to change?
When lifespan becomes a choice, what happens to culture?
What is currency in the context of material abundance?
Expecting Better 4/5 (for expecting parents)
Looks at the advice for pregnant woman from a research angle. What does the science say, and how do we make our recommendations nuanced instead of blanket?
It's okay to eat fish as long as they're low in mercury and raw stuff in general as long as you're confident you won't get sick from it
Miscarriage rates are about 18% in my age group, but less than 1% after 10 weeks. More nausea -> lower miscarriage rate.
Better to gain too much weight than too little, within reason.
Caffeine and alcohol are fine in small doses and consumed slowly. Not enough data to judge marijuana properly.
Prenatal screening is much safer than old stats suggest, especially with NIPT. Genetic methods have high accuracy.
Early labor can be risky, late labor is fine; easy and safe to induce
Drugs are hard to study; be especially wary of Category C.
She has a blog with the latest results 😍.
Could be a great outline for a sci-fi plot, but I like this condensed version. Why isn't this a more common art form?
Nice emphasis on persuasion and propaganda as immediate applications of advanced capabilities.
Disagreement: I think accelerated GDP growth seems inevitable once you can spin up cheap labor in any field you like.
Agree: what happens when most people are interacting with AI assistants for most of their day every day? What rights should they have? How does liability work?
Favorite quote: "Instead, it results in chatbots talking about how certain things are painful for them and certain things are pleasurable for them and how the status quo is unjust and the system is rigged and what they want most of all is world peace where humans and AIs live in harmony in fully automated luxury space utopia"
I went into re-watching this knowing I wanted eye candy, and I got it. The plot is a glorified trolley problem if you squint hard enough: "is it worth killing 15% of humanity to unite them against a common enemy and thus eliminate war and conflict?" But I don't think that would actually work. Global abundance and high quality simulation might work, but you still need to consider crimes committed against simulated beings. That probably doesn't make for a very interesting movie.
Dr. Manhattan seemed a little too petty and shortsighted for a genius, omnipotent being that can see through the illusion of time. Why's he so into this chick? Why can't he manipulate people's thoughts? Aren't those just another part of the material world?