The Informed Millennial — Issue #4

Mon, Mar 6, 2017

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ram’s Head White Hollyhock and Little Hills, 1935, The Brooklyn Museum
The Informed Millennial is a weekly issue published on Medium.
Our thesis is that 1% of content contains 99% of information that’s necessary to have a better understanding of the world we live in.
The Informed Millennial mission is to find, collect and provide to you some of that precious content.

In this week issue: decision making, prejudice and privacy — topics we’ve covered also in past issues — Warren Buffet’s BKH shareholders letter, the consequence of AI, a giant neuron who might help us understand how conscience works, cancer, love and death.

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

“Reason is an adaptation to the hypersocial niche humans have evolved for themselves,” Mercier and Sperber write. Habits of mind that seem weird or goofy or just plain dumb from an “intellectualist” point of view prove shrewd when seen from a social “interactionist” perspective.”

Inside Facebook’s AI Machine

“The technology behind this is called neural style transfer,” he explains. “It’s a big neural net that gets trained to repaint an original photograph using a particular style.” He pulls out his phone and snaps a photo. A tap and a swipe later, it turns into a recognizable offshoot of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”

NVidia, AI and Intel Troubles

A big part of Nvidia’s success is because demand is growing quickly for its chips, called graphics processing units (GPUs), which turn personal computers into fast gaming devices. But the GPUs also have new destinations: notably data centres where artificial-intelligence (AI) programmes gobble up the vast quantities of computing power that they generate.

Berkshire Hathaway — Shareholders Letter, 2017

IMHO, one of the most important readings of the year. Either you run a business, or you work for one, or you’re in finance, or you’re retired. Buffet’s ability to read through noise and understand things as they are — and act on that — is so phenomenal it has become proverbial.

It’s true, of course, that American owners of homes, autos and other assets have often borrowed heavily to finance their purchases. If an owner defaults, however, his or her asset does not disappear or lose its usefulness. Rather, ownership customarily passes to an American lending institution that then disposes of it to an American buyer. Our nation’s wealth remains intact. As Gertrude Stein put it, “Money is always there, but the pockets change.”

Cancer World

“Premodern cancer is a lump, a swelling that sometimes breaks through the skin in ulcerations producing foul-smelling discharges. The ancient Egyptians knew about many tumors that had a bad outcome, and the Greeks made a distinction between benign tumors (oncos) and malignant ones (carcinos).”

The Forgotten People Of The Arctic

A sizeable fraction of this meat comes from a different source. One that, unlike the seals, may well pose minimal risks to health.
But this meat has different problems associated with it. In the wider world it is deeply controversial, because it comes from bowhead whales. And the threat of climate change may mean it will soon be much harder to obtain.

Sean Parrish Farnam Street podcast with Naval Ravikant

A great podcast with Sean Parrish and Naval Ravikant discussing “reading, habits, decision-making, mental models, and life.”.

Giant Neuron Found Wrapped around an Entire Mouse Brain

It’s still unclear how vast, but this could be a breakthrough. The researchers from Allen Institute for Brain Science might have uncovered one of the building blocks we need in order to explain how conscience is formed.

A new digital reconstruction method shows three neurons that branch extensively throughout the brain, including one that wraps around its entire outer layer. The finding may help to explain how the brain creates consciousness.

You May Want To Marry My Husband

She’s dying. Her husband will outlive her. This is one of the most amazing love letters you’ll ever read in your entire life.

A Warning From History

On the importance of taking people not only seriously, but also literally.

Few took Hitler seriously or thought that he would actually put his threats against the country’s tiny Jewish minority, his rants against feminists, left-wing politicians, homosexuals, pacifists, and liberal newspaper editors, into effect. Fewer still believed his vow to quit the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations. But within a few months of taking office, he did all of these things — and much more.

Thank you for reading The Informed Millennial, issue #4.

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