Information digest: Relationships, ethics, anxiety (of generation Y)

Here’s a small summary of things I consumed recently that were pretty interesting. I listed the cool stuff cause, well, it’s cool, obviously.

I've been an avid supporter of reflecting deeply on things I learn, think, and feel for a long time now. The tools I use are notes, walks, meditations, and some (not always private) mumbling to cultivate new ideas in my thinking.

For a while now, I've been playing around with the idea to reflect on the things I read every week, since I've been switching around some of my habits regarding information consumption over the last months. So here is the first attempt! I use the Timing App to track what I read (and how distracted I am) in a week, and I use Bear Notes like a complete addict to take notes about basically everything. Then Trello to organize my tasks.

Getting introduced to a way to organize my digital life using PARA has definitely played a role in preserving the mental bandwidth to commit to this. Thanks, Kent and Ben!

So here’s a small summary of things I read that were pretty interesting. I listed the cool stuff cause, well, it’s cool, obviously.

Cool women in tech

When talking to a close friend that cares about equality (gender, but not limited to) and the obvious issues around this challenge in society, I often stated that signs I got from the tech/Python community show potential. I thought I'd list some cool tech ladies that I follow and find inspiring (a nice reminder of what is possible in the tech community).


This shows the pragmatic perspective of someone that experienced a reason for refining her way of viewing trust and reflects this on leadership. Also tells a little about why trust needs to be transparent (I believe on a personal level, but I also saw this so strongly in my position as a CTO at Blockport). It’s amazing how big the impact is on trust, safety, and a feeling of connectedness, if you entrust others with information.

It’s a great example of how taking action on a value like trust, by entrusting others, allows this value to manifest itself in others (since they feel how good it is to have shared responsibility for handling information).

Well, it’s mine, so not too much to say here. I re-read it and updated it to refine the thoughts there, as they were quite vague at points (and possibly still are). But I feel this reflects some of the thoughts I have on suffering. Also, I think I have a lot to learn about writing, so I’d love feedback :)

This one is just breathtakingly insightful I think. Things I found very very striking and thought-provoking were how she used ‘dancing’ as a metaphor for how you communicate in a way that maintains a healthy emotional balance between each other. I see this in founder relations too.

Also, her notions of emotional attachment were very valuable, especially the role of this in a healthy relationship. Who to choose as a life partner, when a relationship is not in a good place but can still be fixed (and when it shouldn’t), and how monogamy is totally possible but just complicated.

Related read for context (just skim over it)

Relevant for anyone, basically. But I think especially if you deal with social anxiety (which can come over me too). I would implore anyone to honestly reflect on the impact the Social Survival Mammoth has on their life, and in what areas they can start to make little improvements.

Just some small improvements, as he mentions, will show you a way to balance the mammoth and start allowing it to work in your favor. At times the article might attribute a little too much influence over our lives to the metaphor, but at the very least it’s a great way to indicate that we’re just very very wrong in many assumptions and decisions we make.

Interesting to me since I believe in the economy, but also that it needs to change. The economy is such a fundamental part of our well-being and productiveness, and I believe it's a machine we should learn to manage better together (where technology can help tremendously).

Quite interesting to indicate both the faultiness of the way we often portray the effect of the economy on the overall well-being of a society and how skewed the public notions of our economy’s strength often are due to awfully ill-applied metrics. I don’t always enjoy the rhetoric of these videos as much as I value the facts.
But then again, it’s a way to create a stronger identity around their perspectives in a benign way. It’s hard to make videos that pose contradictions to peoples’ beliefs and state facts a fun experience, and they take the edge off by making some jokes.

The PARA Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information

I implemented this system in my notes and drive immediately upon reading it. I had been looking for a generic system for so long! Being a big supporter of systemized organization combined with self-organization (something I like to see in DevOps and agile cultures), I love how the quality of a system is well expressed in how it synergizes in a chaotic environment (I'm the chaos, PARA is the system). So far, it's been working well!

Why generation Y yuppies are unhappy

This a thought-provoking piece on how the ready-made notion of success is not what we often think it is. Also quite fascinating in terms of individual values that end up being completely skewed, simply by the life that our ancestry has led. A good indication that we should reflect often on where we are in life and where we actually want to go as individuals, and look critically at the values we find central to the cultivation of meaning in our lives (must read is Mans's search for meaning).

A Simplified Account of Kant's Ethics

Interesting to remember the structure of Kant's Categorical Imperative, and to reflect on it in the context of discussions I had about ethics with very smart people.

I advise anyone interested in ethics to read this through, as it's a great way to show the complexity of ethics. I often find that going through the perspectives of philosophers on ethics shows how incredibly complex it is, and has led me to believe that ethics is subjected to evolution and is a construct that has its power structure. This does imply there is no universal good or bad, but it's just contextual.

'Good' is a choice, not a given fact.

State machine replication

For the more techy people with an interest in distributed systems (obviously relevant in the blockchain). This a nice recap on some of the underlying principles that can be easy to miss if you're used to working on a higher (more abstract) level.

Ciphertext-Policy Attribute-Based Encryption (did not finish yet)

I've been slowly thinking about the implementation of ABE in a project I want to start working on seriously. Attribute-Based Encryption is a method of encryption that can allow us to not use private information solely for securely storing and transmitting data but allows us to use a 'set' of attributes that need to be present to decrypt information.

A good implementation of this, I believe, can lead to more user-friendly and more secure systems. Of course, it warrants much more research before working with this. And probably more experts in general. Nonetheless a fascinating topic!

Info consumption goals for next week:

And probably some more :)