July / August 2021

The last two months were a bit of a whirlwind. First, I left my job, the one I joined only a few months earlier. Not a good look for me! But I’m confident it was the right decision. My long-term goals changed recently, and my work didn’t align with them.

Aside from off-boarding and trying to figure out what I want to do with myself, I spent a solid portion of July and August in Bradfield’s computer networking course. It was – as all Bradfield classes are – great!

In August, I started the Bradfield Computer Science Intensive, a year-long program. So far, I’ve been brushing up on C, learning Go, and getting better at using the Unix shell.

Listening

This episode of On the Metal with Kenneth Finnegan was just fantastic. This story of a one-man autonomous system helped me understand so much of the material and political realities of the internet. And it was so much fun!

I also listened to a lot of Mansur Brown’s music this month.

Reading

I finally finished Trading at the Speed of Light in August, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who’s interested in how and why financial markets function as they do. In the next month or two, I think I’ll likely read An Engine, Not a Camera, another book by the same author.

Nadia Eghbal wrote an article about Arizona State University, which prioritized access (de-emphasized selectiveness) while also improving its reputation.

Dan Luu’s post about the importance of measurement was great. Some previous work with metrics (total epistemological nightmare) turned me into an enormous data skeptic, which I think was an overcorrection. This article helped me remember that yes, metrics can be meaningful and useful as long as you choose the right ones.

This post by Adam Tooze makes the point that the money spent on the War on Terror didn’t actually crowd out or prevent social spending – it’s just that social spending wasn’t a priority. I will never give up a chance to bang on this drum.

Writing

I hit the front page of Hacker News for the first time (thread link)! It’s funny because the post, Flowers make a nice gift, is easily the least time-intensive one on this site. I’m glad it resonated with people, though! I had a genuinely great time reading all the comments in the thread.

My favorite is this one: “Was this some kind of HN ranking hack or are we really this lacking in news today? Or perhaps so socially stunted as a group that we need this sort of thing pointed out? Wait, maybe don’t answer that.”