Books and Links: January

January 30, 2019

Books

Having finally finished The 900 Days, I was able to enjoy getting into my queue again. I blew through two or three sci-fi novels on my queue, a couple of them were really interesting. I also got a chance to read “Three Philosophies of Life by Peter Kreeft,” which I learned a lot from.

I read a lot of blogs and posts this month. I’m not sure why. Here’s a few of the ones I liked or made notes on…

Cognitive bias cheat sheet – Better Humans

This article will be one I return to over and over. A great summary.

Information overload sucks, so we aggressively filter. Noise becomes signal. Lack of meaning is confusing, so we fill in the gaps. Signal becomes a story. Need to act fast lest we lose our chance, so we jump to conclusions. Stories become decisions. This isn’t getting easier, so we try to remember the important bits. Decisions inform our mental models of the world.

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It’s time to kill the web – Mike’s blog

I was kind of mad at the clickbait title, but I actually really enjoyed parts of the discussion, like the following:

Virtually all security problems on the web come from just a few core design issues:

Buffers that don’t specify their length Protocols designed for documents not apps The same origin policy

Losing track of the size of your buffers is a classic source of vulnerabilities in C programs and the web has exactly the same problem: XSS and SQL injection exploits are all based on creating confusion about where a code buffer starts and a data buffer ends. The web is utterly dependent on textual protocols and formats, so buffers invariably must be parsed to discover their length. This opens up a universe of escaping, substitution and other issues that didn’t need to exist.

This is intriguing.

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The Rand Corporation: The Think Tank That Controls America

This article was utterly fascinating from front to back, not the least of which because of this insane anecdote:

But perhaps the thing that most solidified RAND’s reputation in the public’s imagination was the release of the Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in 1964. The movie’s title character, a deranged Nazi scientist, was modeled after RAND’s eccentric Herman Kahn. A military strategist, Kahn famously argued that America could easily survive an all-out conflict with the Soviet Union if people took refuge in shelters and rationed food. Although the radiation would cause hundreds of thousands of genetic defects, Kahn insisted the American people would endure. Kahn’s apocalyptic scenarios didn’t end there. He also dreamed up the Doomsday Machine, a device that could destroy all life on Earth, which Kubrick used in Dr. Strangelove. In fact, Kubrick borrowed so many of Kahn’s sayings and ideas that the scientist began demanding royalties. Kahn was so persistent that Kubrick finally had to tell him, “That’s not how things are done, Herman.”

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Mini Stories: Volume 6 - 99% Invisible

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Law and Order or NYPD Blue (or really any criminal procedural TV show or film set in New York City), the odds are good that you’ve seen at least one scene that takes place in a seedy back alley. Regardless of what’s happening in the film or the television show, all of these alley scenes help sell audiences on the same idea: that New York City is a city of 10,000 alleys, each with its own secret history. There’s just one problem: there are almost no alleys in New York City.

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159: Machiavellian Rules for Warfare, and Life.”The Art of War”, Niccolo Machiavelli. — Jocko Podcast — Overcast

I’m slowly listening to more of Jocko, and this one surprised me. I didn’t really think of Machiavelli as other than a showpiece for aspiring executive’s desks, but I may have to reconsider and do some reading on my own.

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The Great Divide | CSS-Tricks

This article succinctly explained something I’ve noticed for a while now, and did a good job of talking about it. There are front-end people, and there are front-end people. An important discussion for product people and anyone hiring for web development roles.

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CSS Utility Classes and “Separation of Concerns”

I’ve been writing BEM for years and abhorring the rise of the utility classes style of writing CSS, but this article may have persuaded me. I am often wrong…

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365 RFCs

I’m thoroughly enjoying this jaunt through the history of the internet, while taking some notes on how to write good technical documents.

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Who is @horse_js?

This is a stellar reminder that our “private” aliases on the internet are not that private.

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Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them

It’s almost as if Facebook doesn’t even care that its actions look evil.

Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity…

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6, 92: Small cat

This article is an odd and well-written reflection. I enjoyed reading it, though I think I’m still grappling with all the results.

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One Bag Travel - A showcase of minimalist, carry on only, packing lists.

This amazing link is a cool source for inspiration for one bag travel.

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Monologue: I Am a Stryker-X Assault Backpack, and This Airport Lounge Is an Insult

This delightful tongue-in-cheek article is a slap right in my millenial EDC face, and I love it.

Where did I go wrong? When I was a young backpack fresh off the production line, I was a fearsome sight. Matte black Cordura fabric, reinforced zippers, MOLLE…

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A Weekly Review for Your Goals

As always, awesome content from the Focus Course folks.

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J.R.R. Tolkien Reads from The Lord of the Rings and Sings “Sam’s Rhyme of the Troll” in a Rare Recording

In the summer of 1952, sixty-year-old J.R.R. Tolkien (January 3, 1892–September 2, 1973) encountered a tape recorder for the first time…

If you know me, you know why I immediately followed this link.

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