380: Baidu's ChatGPT, Intel's Troubles, Progressive Corp, Saunas, GitHub Copilot, Google’s MusicLM, and Radiohead
"nobody knows you're a dog"
Fastidiousness about truth means more than just not believing things that are false. It means being careful about degree of belief.
For most people, degree of belief rushes unexamined toward the extremes: the unlikely becomes impossible, and the probable becomes certain.
—Paul Graham, How to Think for Yourself
👴🏻🧒🏻 Nicoper recently wrote something that reminded me of an idea that I find to be quite important, yet it’s generally overlooked by most people.
This attitude [of long-term optimism, keeping worries in perspective] is best obtained by talking to older people. **I never shied from befriending people sometimes half a century older than me.** Their insight in times past, and their recollections of similar encounters when they were young, expands your grasp of time over a century.
I’ve often said that our society is highly stratified by age.
It’s rare to see non-family, non-commercial interactions of more than a few minutes between people from different generations. Yet it’s very valuable.
Back in 2021, in edition #215, I wrote:
Our society, at least in the Western countries that I'm familiar with, is very very segregated by age. Most age groups almost never interact in non-transactional ways with people outside their age brackets that aren't family.
How can that possibly be good? Why would everybody you could possibly learn from or be interested in being friends with or do activities with or whatever just so happen to have been born around when you were born?
This is one of the big benefits of the internet — nobody knows you're a dog, and nobody knows you don't belong to the age bracket of the group you’re hanging with.
Ageism is clearly one of the most accepted and invisible-to-most forms of discrimination. I suspect it's one of the things we'll look back on at some point of the future and go "how could they not see it?"
If we do manage to cure the diseases of aging and everybody looks like they’re 30 and don’t get visibly older over time (until they get hit by a bus), I suspect we’ll see a lot of that societal stratification change offline too.
🎧🗣️🎙️ I was looking at the download stats for the podcast that I just published with David Kim, and it made me wonder how it compared to other podcasts more generally.
I’m not very competitive in that way, but I am curious about how the power law of the podcasting ecosystem works (hey Matt R., you reading this? I bet you have good stats!).
I know that out of millions of podcasts, very few make it past 25 episodes, and most of them probably get very few downloads, but how about some hard data?
Buzzsprout, one of the big podcast hosting platforms, publishes analytics on the most popular players (Apple and Spotify are neck-and-neck while my beloved Overcast only has 1% generally, but probably more like 20-30% for tech podcasts..).
They also report this:
I have no idea how representative this is of the wider podcasting world, but based on this, these days I’m somewhere between 1% and 5% (maybe around 3%?).
Not bad I suppose, but it’s just the start! Where will the pod be in 3 or 5 years? Just gotta keep building and iterating and learning and sharing and…
(note that if you can get 31 downloads in a week, that makes you more popular than half of the podcasts out there!)
🌡️🥵🥊🔥 I’ve continued to learn about saunas, the pros and cons of barrels vs cubes/cabins, watching DIY projects on Youtube, reading old blogs from opinionated Finns, etc.
There’s a nice sub-Reddit community (there’s one for everything!) discussing everything sauna-related and sharing photos of their setups.
There’s also a blog with a whole series called “Trumpkin’s Saunas Notes” (you can access them from the dropdown in the menu at the top) that explains the Finnish art from A-to-Z, including a lot of what you need to know for DIY projects, why infrared booths are not saunas, why your feet should be above stove level, and whether cedar is the best wood, etc.
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