What I’m reading, watching and enjoying this week.
- Last day of trading at the NYSE commodity pits
- Starting in the late 19th century, commodities traders and brokers crammed each day into New York City’s trading pits, shouting, and signaling their way to a deal. They bought and sold contracts for raw materials and agricultural products like butter, sugar, cotton, cocoa beans, copper, and oil.
- Why you should stop caring what other people think
- Your Great2,000 Grandfather’s Social Survival Mammoth was central to his ability to endure and thrive. It was simple—keep the mammoth well fed with social approval and pay close attention to its overwhelming fears of nonacceptance, and you’ll be fine.And that was all well and fine in 50,000BC. And 30,000BC. And 10,000BC. But something funny has happened for humans in the last 10,000 years—their civilization has dramatically changed.
- Japanese white-collar workers already being replaced by artificial intelligence
- Most of the attention around automation focuses on how factory robots and self-driving cars may fundamentally change our workforce, potentially eliminating millions of jobs. But AI that can handle knowledge-based, white-collar work are also becoming increasingly competent.
- A Nihilist’s Guide to Meaning
- I’ve never been plagued by the big existential questions. You know, like What’s my purpose? or What does it all mean? Growing up I was a very science-minded kid — still am — and from an early age I learned to accept the basic meaninglessness of the universe. Science taught me that it’s all just atoms and the void, so there can’t be any deeper point or purpose to the whole thing; the kind of meaning most people yearn for — Ultimate Meaning — simply doesn’t exist.
- An Incubator for (Former) Drug Dealers
- Over the past decade, a number of government, academic, and nonprofit programs have attempted to address the structural problems that face convicts when they’re released from prison—a campaign known as the “re-entry movement.” One of the biggest contributors to misery and recidivism is an inability to find steady work. Former inmates encounter stigma, bias, and even formal obstacles to getting hired.
Other things I found interesting:
- War on Sugar is heating up again. From The Atlantic, The Sugar Wars and Aeon’s look at the toxicity of sugar.
- In Latin America, gold mining has taken over drug trafficking as the criminal endeavor of choice.
- Da Vinci’s to do lists (circa 1940)
- More coverage on West Virginia’s drug problem.
- Why many young Russian’s see Putin as a hero.
- No more free speech at the University of Oregon.
- The BBC on why executives don’t deserve ‘bumper packets’.
- From WaPo: A small Ohio city fights an epidemic of self destruction.