Kaila's Internet Reading List
Published in Online Spin, May 27, 2016.
They used to read!
They’d read and read,
And read and read, and then proceed
To read some more!
Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books! -Roald Dahl, Television
Isn’t reading glorious?
I love it, everything from trashy murder mysteries to “smart” books like Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens.” On the Internet, I’m as likely to be reading BoredPanda as I am The Atlantic.
But we are officially inundated with content. Content is coming out of our ears and crawling from the drainpipe and dripping from the ceiling. We don’t need more content. We need to know what to read. And although the algorithms may be getting better and better, for now, I still prefer a good old-fashioned recommendation from someone else. Here are a few Web ones from me.
Wait But Why. Free.
Are you curious about the world? Are you the kind of person who would wonder why, for example, anyone would want to freeze themselves when cryonics is so obviously ridiculous, or what the story is with that Fermi paradox? Tim Urban’s your man. Not everything he writes about is particularly profound (he also covers topics like being late, or why teenagers are awful), but he’s made some pretty complex -- and important -- concepts way easier for me to understand. Start with his two-part series on artificial superintelligence or his four-part series on Elon Musk.
Stratechery. Free weekly post, daily subscription.
As should be evident from the name of the blog, Stratechery’s Ben Thompson is very much focused on the tech sector. But he pulls off an astonishing feat: every day, he writes one long-form analysis on a timely topic, generally coming from an angle I don’t see covered anywhere else. It’s no wonder I turn to his blog to inform my own opinions, to give me a challenging and fresh perspective and help me question my own unexamined assumptions. Superb. A good recent post: The Real Problem with Facebook and the News.”
Don’t have time for long-form analysis? Just want your mind continually blown? Head to Futurism: headline after headline confirming the fact that the future is already here, if unevenly distributed. Alex Klokus and team scour outlets worldwide to find the raddest developments in science, technology, space and more and sum them up into bite-sized chunks. In today’s updates: a system that uses photons as passwords and a discovery that, thanks to time dilation, earth’s core is 2.5 years younger than its surface.
Pando is largely focused on the Valley and the many ways in which it is dysfunctional. Its reporting is old-school, independent, truth-to-power, hold-them-accountable kind of stuff -- the kind of reporting we so desperately need in all dimensions of the news. Spoiler alert: Uber is one of their regular targets; reading Pando may ruin the ride-sharing service for you. You need to pay to read full articles, but here’s a piece on why Uber’s business model is unsustainable that’ll work for the next day or so.
Azeem Azhar: The Exponential View. Free.
This is actually more of a meta-recommendation. Azeem Azhar’s weekly newsletter contains more than 30 links with tags like THOUGHT PROVOKING or READ THIS. Every time I get it, down the rabbit hole I go, diving into stories like "The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism” or "How Growth Became The Enemy Of Prosperity.” He’s such a good curator that I regularly spend hours exploring what he’s pulled together. EXCELLENT.
And, of course, Online Spin! I never miss a post.
That’s what’s on my Internet reading list. What’s on yours?