China, That Little Country with 423% of The Population of the US

I’ve never been to China, but would love to go, especially after reading Liu Cixin. It’s been fascinating exploring the Eastern way of thinking–very old, very mature, yet so different from Western thought. 

  • I loved the book Three Body Problem by Chinese author Liu Cixin, but The Dark Forest is twice as long and, I think, twice as good. This trilogy is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Cixin might not be as inventive as Neal Stephenson and he may not have the character breadth of fantasy authorBrandon Sanderson, but in terms of pure science fiction, he’s up there withIsaac Asimov.
  • The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why by Richard Nisbett dives into why China never developed science in the Western sense, but how their very different way of thinking led to many pragmatic inventions and a worldview Westerners could learn a lot from. I’m only a couple chapters in, but have already have learned a ton.
  • Speaking of different ways of thinking… I’ve seen The I Ching, or, Book of Changes referenced many times, but I’ve never read it. I’m still a complete noob but this version has a great forward by Carl Jung (read it online here). He explains how what could seem comparable to astrology or a magic book of spells can be useful to even the Western mind.
  • ? is “wood” or “tree” in Chinese. ? is “forest.” Cool.
  • That 423% number came from WolframAlpha, one of the most impressive search sites on the Internet.

Short Stories about Deity

My friend Seth and I have been trading short stories that explore the idea of God for the last few years. This is a list of some of the best. Sit back and enjoy them for what they are, fun stories and thought experiments. They’re all available freely online.

  • The Last Question by Isaac Asimov. His “favorite story,” one that encompasses all of human history in just a few pages.
  • Answer by Fredric Brown. Just read it :), the whole thing is almost short enough to Tweet.
  • Talking to God from The Ragged Trousered Philosopher. God answers some questions in a chance encounter with an atheist on the bus.
  • Hell Is the Absence of God by Ted Chiang. Angels visit Earth in a dramatic way. This one is a pretty dark. I included mostly just for the sake of completion… skip it maybe.
  • The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke. What do a bunch of Tibetan monks need with a supercomputer?
  • The Egg by Andy Weir, author of The Martian. If everyone thought this way, Earth would be awesome.
  • I don’t know, Timmy, being God is a big responsibility by qntm. What happens when a group of engineers creates a quantum computer capable of simulating the universe?

Why Superintelligence Matters

Start with this article on Wait But Why. Its fascinating and shouldn’t be missed even if you have almost no interest in computers.

The article is largely based on Nick Bostrom’s work. If you like it, you should check out his book book Superintelligence. It also discusses many of Ray Kurzweil’s ideas. Some of which are a bit far fetched, but hey, this is AI we’re talking about, it’s all far fetched.

More AI Stuff

Escape Depression! Climb Mount Everest in Shorts! Run a Marathon in the Desert Without Water! Heal From Anything Faster!

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Wim Hof has done all of it and wants to teach you how. His claims seem sensationalistic to put it mildly, but science is confirming them all. I think he’s on to something big. If you haven’t listened to him, it’s worth it. I’ve tried his breathing technique. It’s easy and it works.

Coding Bootcamps

I recently did a survey of Coding Bootcamps. These are schools that train you to become a programmer over a few month’s time. There are many of them and some look pretty good. Here’s the list if you’re looking to change careers: App AcademyBlocCode FellowsCoding DojoDev BootcampFullstack AcademyGeneral AssemblyHack ReactorStartup Institute.