Siddhartha Mukherjee Writes In Bed

I sang his praises here. He won a well-deserved Pulitzer for general nonfiction for Empire of All Maladies. And he deserves a Nobel Prize for science writing for helping a knucklehead like me (mostly) understand cellular biology.

I’m just settling in with The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human.

Here’s the backstory to the book and his writing process.

Maybe The Future Is Okay

Boy’s hot cocoa stand in southwest Spokane has raised $300 to help people who are homeless.

In unrelated news, except for the fact it’s another young person, I like this picture of a girl and Rafael Devers who recently signed an 11 year, $331m extension (no wonder he’s smiling) for two reasons. She has the exact right color of hair and she has mastered the selfie+, something I’m terrible at.

Year-End Awards

Fabulist. Trump and Putin started the year with a HUGE lead, but Bankman Fried and George Santos closed FAST. Tie. Women are notably underrepresented, but honorable mention goes to The Good Wife who said I looked “sexy” a few days ago.

  • Trump
  • Putin
  • Bankman Fried
  • Santos

Worst Billionaire

  • Elon Musk

Athlete. Tie.

  • Katie Ledecky
  • Roger Federer
  • Gustav Iden

Song

  • Kate Bush, Running Up That Hill

Car . Don’t take it just from me.

  • Rivian R1S

T.V. show. Tie.

  • White Lotus
  • Grand Design

Personal Tech. Tie.

  • AirPods Pro
  • Apple Watch Ultra

Life Affirming Twitter follow. And I’m not even a “cat person”.

  • Patrick Skinner @SkinnerPm

Animal

  • Nutria

Podcast

Movie

  • Banshees of Inisherin

Investment

  • Cash

Bike Ride. Tie.

  • McKenzie Pass, Sisters, Oregon
  • Victoria coast with the daughters

Person. Tie.

I need to keep better track of my reading because I can’t recall my favorite books of the year. In the non-fiction category, The Power of Fun by Catherine Price.

Be Your Own Therapist

I trained a ChatGPT AI chatbot on my childhood journal entries to talk to my inner child.

“Young Michelle told me: ‘I’m honestly proud of you for everything you’ve accomplished. It hasn’t been easy, and I know you’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get where you are. I think you’re doing an amazing job, and I hope you continue to pursue your dreams and make a difference in the world.’ 

I sensed the kindness, understanding and empathy that she was so willing to give other people, but she was so hard on herself. I was tearing up during that exchange.”

A Good Sentence

“The protests in Iran, now in their third month, are a historic battle pitting two powerful and irreconcilable forces: a predominantly young and modern population, proud of its 2,500-year-old civilization and desperate for change, versus an aging and isolated theocratic regime, committed to preserving its power and steeped in 43 years of brutality.”

“The Question Is No Longer Whether Iranians Will Topple the Ayatollah”

Are You Ready For Artificial Intelligence?

Sam Hammond via Alex Tabarrok.

“Indeed, within a decade, ordinary people will have more capabilities than a CIA agent does today. You’ll be able to listen in on a conversation in an apartment across the street using the sound vibrations off a chip bag. You’ll be able to replace your face and voice with those of someone else in real time, allowing anyone to socially engineer their way into anything. Bots will slide into your DMs and have long, engaging conversations with you until it senses the best moment to send its phishing link. Games like chess and poker will have to be played naked and in the presence of (currently illegal) RF signal blockers to guarantee no one’s cheating. Relationships will fall apart when the AI lets you know, via microexpressions, that he didn’t really mean it when he said he loved you. Copyright will be as obsolete as sodomy law, as thousands of new Taylor Swift albums come into being with a single click. Public comments on new regulations will overflow with millions of cogent and entirely unique submissions that the regulator must, by law, individually read and respond to. Death-by-kamikaze drone will surpass mass shootings as the best way to enact a lurid revenge. The courts, meanwhile, will be flooded with lawsuits because who needs to pay attorney fees when your phone can file an airtight motion for you?”

Bleak.

Apple Is Selling Fear

So says Michael Gartenberg.

After outlining Apple’s new safety-oriented product enhancements, Gartenberg concludes:

“The implied message is: ‘If you want to live, buy our stuff.’ Apple now sells devices the way First Alert sells smoke detectors. 

Sadly, he’s absolutely right. 

A prediction. Apple’s new “life-saving” product enhancements will lead to increased rates of anxiety and related mental health issues. 

Apple is a company that prides itself on being socially conscious, better than the rest.

How disappointing.