Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #681

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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: 

  • Malignant Intelligence: Prompt engineering and software archeology – Alasdair Allan – NDC Conferences – YouTube. Alasdair Allan is a hacker’s hacker. I’ve had him onstage at Pandemonio, Strata, and FWD50, and he’s always got fresh takes on the perverse outcomes of technology. In his day job, he heads up documentation for the Raspberry Pi folks, but his curious brain can’t stop making things. Here’s a great keynote from NDC Oslo that talks about some of the consequences of generative AI.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Foo Fighters 2011 Tour Rider A Smash Hit – The Smoking Gun. “Everyone’s heard the legendary Van Halen tour rider that required the venue to remove all brown M&Ms from the band’s snack bowls. While David Lee Roth later defended the tactic as a way to ensure people had read the contract (a claim that’s been largely debunked) band riders are an art form. Leave it to the Foo Fighters to pen a rider — complete with schematics for ice cube preparation — that ‘reaches new heights of absurdist brilliance’.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Can a City Feed Itself? – CityLab – Bloomberg. “I don’t have a backyard, but I have a rooftop terrace, and for the past few years I’ve been experimenting with container gardening on my roof, trying to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more. Growing things successfully is hard, especially in the harsh (hot, sunny and windy) environment of a rooftop, where all nutrients must be somehow added to the closed ecosystem. Still, we eat chard and lettuce from the garden just about every day starting in late June, cucumbers are incredibly prolific early. And there’s a flurry of tomatoes in August. But if I had to feed my family from the roof, well, we’d get pretty skinny, pretty fast. Still, over the years I’ve started to figure things out, with the biggest advance this year, when I added bokashi compost (a Japanese method of fermenting/pickling your kitchen waste), which has been a game changer for health and production of my plants. It’s also been gratifying to transform most of our kitchen waste into food-generating inputs. This year is the first time I can just about imagine some future where our little rooftop could provide a decent amount of food — were I to add potatoes, beets, turnips and more, but still it’s far off. Could cities, with real creativity and focus, become anywhere close to self-sufficient in food production? It’s never seemed likely to me, but for the first time this year, I can conjure up a future where this is the case.”  (Hugh for Alistair). 
  • The Biologist Blowing Our Minds – Nautilus. “With AI overlords around the corner, or at least better at writing emails than most of us, and with new discoveries about music-loving mold and cells that just want to be free to do what they want, the particular specialness of humans keeps getting harder to define. That’s probably a good thing.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • AI and the automation of work – Benedict Evans. “My one (major) lesson in life is this: Never stop reading. This is, increasingly, important when it’s an important topic (like artificial intelligence and generative ai tools). This goes well beyond the hype cycle. It’s hard not to think about the implications of a world where we *might* bring forth a more intelligent being than humans. Scary? Yes. Important? Yes. Knowing that I don’t have all of the answers, and watching so many people (mostly much smarter than I am) thinking out loud with these types of articles is a blessing. With that, Benedict Evans is a thoughtful thought leader, and this is his take on what makes AI different (and similar) to other forms of disruptive automation innovations that we’ve seen over the last 200 years. This is an important read, but it’s not the only read. So, keep reading…” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • A Necessary Imagination – Morgan Harper Nichols. “I have been on a reading journey this past year. Expanding beyond the comfort of business and non-fiction books into the realm of fiction, fantasy, science fiction and beyond. I have been thoroughly enjoying the recommendations of friends (and have, admittedly, enjoyed the many recommendations from the #BookTok crowd on TikTok). I think this article came to me via Patrick Tanguay’s amazing Sentiers newsletter (which I highly recommend), and it just landed at the perfect time. I believe that writing fiction is an amazing and difficult art form… and the act of world-building just boggles my mind. It’s just such a creative and expansive way to create. Take a read… and imagine a world of your own design. Oh, and if you are curious, I am currently reading The Ferryman by Justin Cronin via recommendation from Tom Webster.” (Mitch for Hugh).

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

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