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Articles & Podcasts of Note (Week of 12/07/2020)

Every Friday I highlight the most interesting or entertaining items from my media diet of the past week.


  • Benefits of Walking ( Yadrintsev Klim’s breezy piece on an underrated activity.
  • The Coming War on the Hidden Algorithms that Trap People in Poverty ( Lawyers are developing legal strategies to deal with two algorithmic webs: credit-reporting algorithms that impact access to private goods and services (e.g. auto loans, employment) and government-sponsored algorithms that affect access to public goods and services (e.g. health care, welfare and support services).
  • The Difference between Efficacy, Effectiveness, and Efficiency ( The tl;dr: getting things done, doing the right things, and doing things right.
  • The Erosion of Deep Literacy ( “Technology is changing what, how, and why we read, and in turn what, how, and why we write and even think.”
  • The Games People Play with Cash Flow ( A rambling but enlightening post that examines cable television titan John Malone’s strategy at TCI in the 1970s and 1980s. There’s a whole other meta-topic on first principles thinking bookending the article too.
  • If You Want to Be a [Noun], You Have to Do the [Verb] ( “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” Amen.
  • Major Flaws of Human Thinking ( Mathematician Danylo Yakymenko highlights a handful of cognitive biases.
  • The Morality of Canceling Student Debt ( An ethicist who studies the morality of debt considers the pros and cons of student debt forgiveness.
  • Note-Taking Methods ( Al Khan’s 2019 survey of 11 different note-taking strategies and their pros and cons.
  • Practice = Professional ( Practice is not preparation for the game, practice is the game—“a dedicated daily application of time and effort toward a goal of actualizing one’s higher self.”
  • The Social Lives of Forests (nytimes): Fascinating look at mycorrhizas, underground networks of fungi and tree roots that allow plants of different species to exchange nutrients with each other and even communicate with each other.
  • What My Dad Gave His Shop ( Bittersweet story about a long-standing mom-and-pop store in San Francisco and the challenges of running a small business in the era of Amazon and COVID (side note: I purchased B&W stereo speakers and a Yamaha amplifier from this shop 20 years ago—taking the helpful advice of the man profiled in the story—and they’re still in use in my living room today).
  • Who do we spend time with across our lifetime? ( Using data from the American Time Use Survey and US Census, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina offers insight into two intriguing charts illustrating the changing patterns of our social connections as we age.


  • American Coyote ( New series that follows the exploits of Elden Kidd, a smuggler who led over 1000 migrants from Mexico to the United States between 1987 and 2001.
  • Impact Theory: Seth Godin ( Prolific author Seth Godin discusses the importance of process over outcome.
  • In Machines We Trust: No Face...No Service ( A look at the costs, benefits, and consequences of facial technology being deployed in housing projects, homeless shelters and schools.
  • The Irrational Truths Behind User Behavior with Dan Ariely ( Product design as seen through the lens of behavioral economics.
  • The Ongoing History of New Music: The Story of Stereo ( This 2-part series explores the history of stereophonic sound recording and playback which brought increased fidelity, naturalism and clarity to the listening experience. While we take the stereo experience as a given in 2020, there’s a long history of innovation that lead to where we’ve arrived today.

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