A few links and recommendations
I am taking a short break from newsletter writing. Regularly scheduled programming will resume sometime in January 2022.
In the meantime, I am sharing a few links — some of these are old items worth re-visiting, some are recent publications. And some music and art links. I hope you all get to rest and spend some quality time with your loved ones. I’ll see you back here soon. Happy reading!
Why Silicon Valley's most astute critics are all women: Apr 2021, The Guardian
…the industry that is reshaping our societies and undermining our democracies is overwhelmingly dominated by males. Yet – with a few honourable exceptions – male critics seem relatively untroubled by, or phlegmatic about, this particular aspect of the industry; they seem to see it as inevitable and pass on to more ostensibly urgent concerns.
When Tahmima Anam set out to write her popular new novel The Startup Wife, she created a world for its characters to live in, including a secretive incubator called Utopia and the fictional startups it helped launch, complete with website. One of those fake companies has captured the imagination of VCs and other investors who don't know it's a fake -- and are interested in funding it.
Have you ever wondered whether expensive clothes are worth their price? Or had that subtle feeling of guilt when buying something pricey, and then justifying it because you will wear it so many times, even if you have no clue if it’s actually true? If you thought yes, then this is for you.
…a young computer scientist named Brewster Kahle dreamed of building a “Library of Everything” for the digital age. A library containing all the published works of humankind, free to the public, built to last the ages. He named this digital library the Internet Archive. Its mission: to provide everyone with “Universal Access to All Knowledge.
The internet runs on free open-source software. Who pays to fix it? It’s great to see that Log4J (CNN link) related security vulnerability got some prime time news attention. It’s time to treat “software” as an integral part of our social and infrastructural fabric — not just something that is part of “IT”.
An AI company (founded by University of Illinois alumnus Thomas Siebel) recently hired a former National Security Advisor. What gives? I didn’t see much news coverage on this except a few tweets here and there.
Why it’s too early to get excited about Web3: A timely and astute analysis by Tim O'reilly on Web3 (blockchains, decentralized networks, NFTs etc). I liked his historical take on the issue. While talking about all the hysteria around cryptocurrencies, he talked about the Dutch tulip mania:
The Dutch tulip mania from 1634 to 1637 is the classic example of a wild difference between the nominal financial value of an asset class and its intrinsic value. When the bubble popped, tulips went back to being flowers, beautiful but no longer worth a fortune, with no lasting impact on the prosperous Dutch economy. There have been many speculative bubbles since, and most of them have faded into the background noise of history.
I am planning to write more on this topic — in particular the tension between decentralized technology and centralized governance. Stay tuned.
For the last item, I am ending with a more positive. Some recently discovered art and music links for much needed solace.
Check out the music of Özgür Baba: a Turkish folk singer and musician who plays the cura baglama.
Arooj Aftab: a Brooklyn based Pakistani musician (Sufi idioms and jazz).
Monsieur Doumani: An avant folk music trio from Cyprus.
And the art of Eten Adnan:
Until next time.
I’ve read McMaster’s book, Battlegrounds, and it’s well-researched and compelling. But this revolving door between government and military personnel and business is a clear conflict of interest. Citizenship and big dollars don’t mix well.