Price Wars

una sorpresa un bellissimo libro che vi invito a leggere ed eccovi una recensione di Price Wars di Rupert Russell in 1,2,3

1 come dice il sottotitolo è un libro sul contributo dei prezzi delle commodity al caos politico ed economico dei nostri tempi. Russell visita tutti i luoghi delle crisi degni anni 10,, Mosul, il Donbass,, Caracas, Mogadishu, il Guatamela. Bellissimi i reportage su Donbass e Caracas. Nella narrazione i reportage sono intervallati da interviste a studiosi portatori di piccoli pezzi di teoria che formano l’argomentazione, anche del calibro di Jeffrey Sachs per dire. Alla fine da una narrazione viva, emozionale della sociale e politica, emerge una rigorosa trattazione dei risvolti finanziari ed economici in un continuo zoom-dezoom dal macro al micro, dai luoghi dei reportage ai mercati globali, caos e frattali usati bene insieme nell’argomentazione. E dal caos degli anni 10 emerge chiaramente come i prezzi del petrolio causano guerre, i prezze dei cereali fame e rivolte per il pane, i prezzi della case, sappiamo delle grandi crisi finanziarie ma c’è dell’altro. La cosa che si apprezza di più di questo libro è la capacità di svelare un filo conduttore nelle crisi del decennio passato e, nel capitolo finale dedicato al Covid, riconoscere la discontinuità e proporre una tesi per il decennio in corso

2 è un libro che mi ha sorpreso per la forza della narrazione e degli argomenti. Molto incuriosito, ho cercato info sull’autore, è phd di sociologia ad Harvard ma complimenti, capisce davvero economa e finanza . In realtà il suo titolo è Sceneggiatore e Regista e quindi mi sono accorto, ma lo sapevo perchè lo dice nel libro, che esiste un documentario Price Wars, quindi progetto multimediale, ed è già stato trasmesso da Artè in Francia e Germania nel 2021, adesso lo sto cercando

3 ciliegina sulla torta, ho scoperto che figlio di Ken Russel, il regista inglese di Tommy e Quadrophenia e in qualche modo tutto è tornato a posto, figlio d’arte e non di un regista qualunque 🙂


Covid, Lab Leak and Schismogenesis

I decry Trump for denying the gravity of Covid, Trump also used to bash China on trade, and once Covid started, on a lab leak originating the pandemic.

Trump position on the Pandemic is dead wrong, so let’s create a distance from him, let’s distinguish our position, let’s oppose him on social isolation, masking, quack medicine, vaccination etc. Why should I ever consider the lab leak which is a pure hypothetical issue now that we should concentrate on saving lives against Trump’s lies?

Schismogenesis, anthropologist Gregory Bateson described this behavioural mechanism that deters you from even considering the lab leak hypothesis, lest you blur your distinction with Trump. And this is what makes this book an odd and uncomfortable read, an otherwise seemingly good science book, very attentive to details, well substanciated and referenced, mostly not drawing conclusions, but making me feel like blurring that disctinction from Trump’s quackery.

It does not help that the book co-author is that Matt Ridley has some ideas on climate change that would put him more in Trump’s field, The book is really the investigation conducted by Alina Chan and a group of internet “sleuths” which ened up collecting strong evidences of risk associated to virus sampling in bat caves, lab studies with human cell coltures, and “gain of function” research and gene editing, so that I feel it deserved much wider circulation. Put on hold your schmismogenic instinct and read it with a clean mind.

Viral by Alina Chan

But of course do not trust me, I am a lazy writer and I haven’t explained much to you, go straight to Scott AAronson who wrote a long and detailed review of the book, equally startled by how this book is rightfully throwing him off balance in his convictions on Covid

Sunday reading 21 11 2021

Antropology, Anarchism by Graeber, mailing list on the Dawn of Everything, and I am on “beyond the Monastic Self” where Graeber talks about the 7-second conscience span and send the reader to Maurice Bloch for more neurological basis to this. SO it’s the paragrpah “A theory of Mind” on chapter 7 of Bloch’s book “In and Out of Each Other’s Bodies: Theory of Mind, Evolution, Truth, and the Nature of the Social” – Fake belef task experiment

7 seconds consciousness, Graeber quotes geographer Nigel Thrift, who quotes philosopher Mervin Donald

Looking for sources in Google I found this “Decades of timing research supports a “minimally sufficient” duration for time consciousness somewhere in the seconds’ range (Fraisse 1984; Pöppel 1989, 1997; Varela 1999; Wittmann 2011; Kent 2019), but most theories and methodologies in consciousness science only focus on the hundreds-of-milliseconds’ range (Northoff and Lamme 2020)” but I do not know this is the same thing Graebr mentions

UPDATE June 2022: reading one book review on Astral Codex Ten, precisely a book on consciousness, there is something at the end of the review which points to something similiar to Graeber’s 7 seconds of consciousness

Your Book Review: Consciousness And The Brain

“I think this is precisely where our concept of “my mind” comes from. Remember that our episodic memory might be exclusively formed from conscious moments, and also implicit learning gets a strong boost from consciousness. So when “we” (our brain, or the actors in the Cartesian theater) learn a “mind schema”, then this is based on the conscious moments, not on the activities in between. On this basis, it makes sense to merge all our neural activity into a single unit, which we call “I” or “my mind”. Just as we form the concept of “my body”, but even stronger, since we never “observe” different parts of our mind to be incoherent or even independent.”

Africa latent assets

– African societies are based on achieved status – is closely related to Chinese meritocracy (..) shows Africa to be the most socially mobile part of the world. Africans are also the most optimistic about future mobility.

-‘scepticism of authority’. Unlike many societies in East Asia, Africa is much more like Western liberal democracies in its anticipation that political power will be abused

-‘cosmopolitanism’. Because of the heterogeneous and small-scale nature of historical African society, Africans endlessly had to deal with differences – different languages, different cultures, different histories. This is reflected in African languages where the word for “stranger” is typically the same word as for “guest

from here

Got to note this here while I a reading “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe, where it shows


un libro inaspettato, eclettico e pieno di storie che non conoscevo, fondamentalmente autobiografia dell’autore, figlio di Freeman Dyson, cresciuto a Princeton ai tempi d’oro di von Neumann, nascita dei computer, della bomba H e del progetto di suo padre dell’astronave a propulsione nucleare

ma è anche un libro sui kayak, sulle popolazioni artiche e sulle propaggini più a sud, gli ulimi indiani di america, Geronimo e la Ghost Dance, i profeti del riscatto e della venuta dei fantasmi. Esplorazionio, epidemia e stragi.

Il tema che scorre lungo l’autobiografia è quello della dicotomia digitale-analogico e della teoria del continuo, ma è bella anche la storia delle valvole e come si costruiscono i kayak con le pelli, la “wave piercing hill” utilizzata nei design tradizionali alle alueutine e perso nella stabilizzazione del design ai tempi dei russi

e bello avere una casa sull’albero abusiva con vista su Vancouver, costruita con un albero vecchio di 600 anni, si può ancora fare ?

parallel reading

Arctic by Lopez read in parallel with Dispossed by Le Guin, both give me great pleasure, escapade from reality and utopia

I started How Fascism Works by Stanley first, then I started The Curse of Bigness by Wu which goes down faster, Two facets of the same problem, I like both

On Audible I am listening to the Odissey, irregular listening not doin much driving lately.As i progress I read some of La Mente Colorata by Citati, a pleasure to read, such rich language

Also, I stalled a bit in reading PhiKal by Shulgin and I also started and currently moving slowly on Pollan Come cambiare la tua Mente, in Italian, both book on psycheledics

What else? I am sure I have some other book in progress but I can’t recall right now which one, I should search in the app

Oh well yes,I started a book on venture capitalist, Sand Hill Road by Kupor and Algorithms to live by Christian, behaviourism, improve yourself, of suggestion by my son. Bit out of luck lately, these books

Randomized trials and twitter

this is a lot #meta and also a but #GAC (italian, unnervingly obvious)

112 papers were randomly chosen to be shared on twitter by a group with ~58k followers or to not be shared. Papers that were tweeted accumulated 4x more citations compared to non-tweeted papers over 1yr.

Meta you know, a randomised trial of paper surely describing randomised experiments

GAC because it’s the network baby, read Barabasi’s link e you know that if you look for a job and tell family and frineds you get nothing, but if tell people outside your usual creche you will find. So tell a 58,000-strong Twitter group.

Barabasi went on writing precisely a book to explain the infallible formula of success, the book is titled

The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success

C’ un tenente drogo in viaggio verso le retrovie ora

gli indiani hanno costruito la strada

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verso una valle inospitale, un deserto dei tartari

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dove scorre il Galwan, incerto confine tra India e Cina

negli ultimi tempi, ammasso di trupper al confine, schermaglie a pietrate perch un trattato vieta di sparare

fino a oggi, 20 indiani morti, a pietrate e mani nude ?

Il Deserto dei Tartari un capolavoro che vive al di fuori del tempo

UPDATE e questo deve essere l’inizio della terza guerra mondiale combattuta come prevedeva Einstein

Screenshot 2020-06-18 at 14.51.45

Banquets and purges in USSR

Branko Milanovic reads a russian book on banquets hosted by Stalin over the years and the disappearance over time of the politburo guests, metaphoric political cannibalism

It also quotes a book on Nazi banquets High Society in the Third Reich by Fabrice d’Almeida

and Molotov’s memories Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics

(unrelated but alliterated, Thiel has weird banquets with smart people and only entertains one fool, Trump  )

1984, and then the Handmaid

1984 was so common sense in 1984 that Apple made a spot on it

I tried and read Orwell’s “1984”like 3 times without success. O loved 1985 “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, which I only recently read.

Maybe 1984 was also the expiry date of Orwell’s book and Atwood appriopriately rewrote a dystopic totalitarian future which is still actual today

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