Was Dune any good, 2 months of living in America, how to try new cultures

Good morning!

I was in Vegas for Money2020 last week, my first time.

Met a bunch of amazing people.

Fun fact - multiple people recognized me either from Twitter or this newsletter. FWIW I think a big part of it is the yellow background on my profile picture, I use it everywhere.

It’s becoming a thing where being known for being known is valuable by itself even in the context of, say, generic business-y career stuff (vs where I’d say this is more historically relevant e.g. pop culture).

Capturing the attention of the right people is extremely valuable. Even if it’s the only thing you can do.

I agree with Tyler Cowen on Dune (article)

Hidden at the bottom of Tyler’s list of his favorite 10 science fiction sentences is the following sentence: “I would have said Dune, except that last year I tried to reread it.”

I don’t want to take away from all the folks who love Dune (the book) but I do want to warn people with 2021 attention spans that, well, when I read it in 2015 or so I ended up deeply regretting all my time spent. It is a slog.

Very little happens for hundreds of pages, and then suddenly the author will slip in a huge, pivotal moment in the 2nd half of a single sentence in the middle of a huge paragraph. If you aren’t paying super close attention you’ll miss a lot.

I kept waiting for a payoff at the end but it never came.

I also saw the movie this weekend, hoping for better results. Some of the visuals were interesting but somehow the script had both too much and too little exposition.

An Indian grad student’s impressions 2 months into living in America (article)

“When I first I landed at the Newark airport, I was shocked to hear every announcement made in English, and then repeated in Spanish.

I always knew that there’s a huge Hispanic population in the States; I just had no idea of the hugeness. Spanish seems to be almost sort of like a second official language here.

And

“I don’t know how many people will agree, but striking up a conversation with an American stranger is much easier than it is with an Indian stranger. Americans just seem to have that natural conversational flow - I would say that talking is the one thing they're definitively better at than Indians”

Interesting throughout!

How to Overcome Immunity to Change (article)

“Kegan and Lahey see our resistance to change as an immune system of sorts, and they note that our “immunity to change” has a positive purpose — namely, to protect us from the psychological trauma and danger that sudden changes can bring.”

How do you break the system that’s been built to protect you so you can actually make the changes you desire?

How to break into a new culture (article)

Every year the author tries to get into a new major culture. Previous years have included Hacker lore, modern classical music, Chinese poetry, singing in public, stage magic, and comic books.

We need more articles like this! How to try new things, or in this case, how to get into a new topic/area you don’t know much about.

As my personal exposure to new things feels like it’s recently been on the decline, this was a nice sort of path that one could use to get back on track.

Meta note: it’s also a good reminder that doing almost anything becomes 10x easier one you give it a name and brand it. Optimism 2020 definitely worked here, but you can do it with anything.

Vitalik on Crypto Cities (article)

Lots of ideas in here, including mentions of multiple new city/neighborhood projects that I hadn’t heard of before.

The free parking spaces for residents token was interesting because 1) it’s obvious how such a thing could be beneficial and 2) it’s relatively simple, i.e. much more complex ideas and solutions must exist that we haven’t thought of yet.

And Finally…

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See you next week!

Trevor



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