Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #661

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, Interesting Bits, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, FWD50, and Scaletechconf; author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (Rebus Foundation, PressBooks, LibriVox) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see.”

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Conspiracy Theorists Think Walkable Cities Are Really Open-Air Prison Dystopias Now – Motherboard – Vice“File under ‘why we can’t have nice things.’ The latest conspiracy to take to Canadian streets—or rather, threaten to remove them—is that so-called ’15 minute cities’ that emphasize walkability over vehicles are actually secret prisons. Our lives have changed dramatically in recent years: Gig workers and solopreneurs; food and product delivery; remote work. A reconsideration of how we live is in order. And now the usual Outrage Pundits have taken up a new cause: How dare we make our lives more comfortable and local?” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Unpriced climate risk and the potential consequences of overvaluation in US housing markets – Nature. “Speaking of poorly-placed houses: This study in Nature looks at the value of US housing once climate change is factored in. It’s grim. Residential properties are overvalued by around US$200B when you build in uninsured flood risk. Florida and Appalachia are particularly bad, with low-income houses the most at risk. Worst of all, if you’re a municipality that depends on property tax and has overpriced properties, your government itself may be vulnerable. Again, coastal Florida, but also the Northeast and Northwest.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • A new study reveals how psychedelics can physically reshape our brains to help fight depression – Insider. “I haven’t taken any psychedelics in 25 years, when I had a few (positive) run-ins with magic mushrooms/psilocybin. But I’ve been following from afar the recent promising research around the use of these substances for treating a range of mental health issues, including depression and PTSD. They say that psychedelics ‘expand the mind’ and lead to a sense of connection with the universe. My experience of mushrooms was something similar (though a caution to all the young folk: I also have a friend who went to a dark place and then quit university right after a mushroom trip, so it’s not all good). In any case, recent studies suggest that psychedelics literally expand the mind, by re-growing new dendrites, the little branchy bits at the end of brain cells, that may have atrophied over time.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The price of freedom – Engelsberg Ideas. “It’s been a nutty few years, with US election chaos and pandemics and George Floyds and Chinas and freedom convoys and Ukraines, among other things. As a neighbour of the USA, we Canadians have watched – mostly in a mix of terror and awe – at the upheavals down South, knowing at the end of the day Canada has no choice but to adapt to whatever happens in the USA. What’s interesting from all this, is the massive engagement from US population in politics. Canadians can barely get themselves to spell Poilivevre properly, let alone get excited or even excised about the selection of the new leader of the conservative opposition. For all the craziness of the US body-politic, they sure care. And in the long run, for all of the flaws and fears, caring — in so many different polarized directions — makes for a dynamism in the US that we just don’t have here in Canada. Let’s hope the US stays dynamic and together.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work? – Stephen Wolfram. “Am I done thinking and writing about creative ways to use artificial intelligent chatbots like ChatGPT? I am not. This article is a long and impressive read from a pure technologist. If you don’t know Stephen Wolfram, just click on his name and be amazed. This is a long read, but a very valuable one. If you can get beyond the technical chatter, it can really help you think about what prompts and uses this kind of tech can be used for. I recently tweeted that, ‘Using an AI chatbot to check facts is like using a search engine to write your next tweet.’ These lines may blur in the (near) future. But for now, it is my belief that when people think about this tech, they’re thinking about it as a competitor to search and not as a compliment to it. Which is what this is.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • The End of Grading – Wired. “Before my very eyes, I am watching the school system collapse inside and on itself. We make kids sit in rows, with people of their own age, and score their abilities based, primarily, on memorization and their ability to communicate that information. As we see the tidal waves of technology hit our shores (from the Internet to mobile to social to commerce to AI…), it seems like nothing could be more antiquated than the current pedagogy. And, of course, some schools have broken the mold, but how helpful is that if, ultimately, the kids are forced back into this very traditional and hierarchical structure as they get older? Slotting students into numbers… it seems absurd these days, imagine how future generations will look back on this system.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on TwitterFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.