Venkatesh Rao Profile picture
16 Oct, 6 tweets, 2 min read
“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” — William Faulkner

Inspired ot not, I’ve been averaging a few thousand words a week across 2-3 channels (ribbonfarm being the constant one) pretty much nonstop for 13 years. 🤔
2007-09: ribbonfarm only
2009-12 (I think): ribbonfarm, Be Slightly Evil, Quora, Tempo on the side
2012-14: ribbonfarm, Forbes
2015-19: ribbonfarm, breaking smart
2019-20: ribbonfarm, breaking smart, art of gig
The word budget ranged from ~300 phoned-in words on 1 channel on low weeks to a peak of probably 15k words in a single week.

The distribution was very variable. Having multiple channels in multiple styles kinda suits my temperament.
Taking a partial break from writing in ~13 years. Just hit pause on @breaking_smart for a few weeks, and might do so on @artofgig too. Possibly ribbonfarm too, though that’s so low pressure by design it’s close to shitposting. Proximal cause is Important Matters on Other Fronts.
Interestingly it already feels like the first real vacation in years. The idea of taking a vacation really only makes sense if you’re being paid regularly. So pausing a subscription newsletter makes it a real (but unpaid) vacation.
Hilariously, while on my year-long fellowship at Berggruen earlier , I didn’t realize I was accruing vacation time. I’d forgotten the concept in the previous 9 years of free agency. So I was mildly surprised when they paid me for it on the last paycheck.

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More from @vgr

18 Oct
Trying to get some stuff straight.

- There are 200 types of common cold viruses.

- 10-40% colds are caused by rhinoviruses, 160 human types = mostly spring/summer colds

- 20% caused by 4 human types of coronaviruses, more winter colds

- 20% RSV (1 virus, hits kids more)
- There are 3 non-common-cold coronaviruses that cause more serious illness, making a total of 7. They are: SARS-CoV-1, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2

- The 4 regular coronaviruses are 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
- We don’t have a common cold vaccine because there’s too many

- We don’t even know the cause of ~20% but they are presumed viral

- Flu is more severe and has a vaccine because it’s only 3 virus families: A, B C.

- All flu pandemics are from the type A, with the HxNy typology
Read 18 tweets
18 Oct
critical thinking is so over-rated
via shitpost thinking, much more satisfying route to anything
the first step is to believe everything

the second step is to stop believing things the moment it feels like work

it’s okay to hold 2 contradictory beliefs so long as they wear masks and stay 6 feet apart
Read 14 tweets
17 Oct
I like the idea of a barbell for information consumption, but I've never liked the specific barbell that talebians seem to like -- ancient classics + contemporary fun/pulp trash. 🤔
I think my barbell is raw history plus present sensory data.

So book about 14th century: yes

Photo of a new kind of Starbucks coffee cup

Hubble image of a new deep sky object: yes

"Classics" or "must reads" from any era: probably not

E-channel celeb gossip or sports: No.
The sort of thing I have almost no patience for... concept-heavy philosophical or political writing, even if second-order evidence suggests I'd be simpatico.
Read 6 tweets
17 Oct
Basketball fans: why has 3-point shooting taken over? I’m guessing it’s not that the skill levels went up but that something made it a more valuable skill to cultivate? What?
This is so going into my files as “getting inside the opponents OODA loop” examples file
It’s kinda lovely. Clean examples of shift in real-life dominant strategies are rare.
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct
Your title ≠ Your job ≠ Your work ≠ What you do ≠ Who you are 😖

Kegan’s slippery career slope

1. I am my title
2. I am my job, I have a title
3. I am my work, I have a job with a title
4. I am what I do, I have work to do in a job with a title
5. I am, I have doings
Boyd’s “be somebody or do something” is a 4-5 leap. You can’t do something effectively until you stop being your doings. It’s a form of outcome attachment. Especially when the outcome is your own survival (do or die). To really have a doing you have to let go outcome attachment.
In general I find the Kegan model to be of limited use due to the linearity of progression (I like the greater expressivity of branching divergence) but it’s a good model for careers because they’re also a linear-progress context. Ladders work on pyramids.
Read 5 tweets
16 Oct
I’m slowly sidling into the albedo alteration camp
Artificial clouds like control burns. Before we turn into Venus and all that’s left of us is some phosphine farts.
Funny how we’re inching closer to simply rolling the dice on the natural stability band of earth. I don’t think we’ll end up in runaway global warming a la Venus, but I suspect it will only take a far smaller thermal hiccup to wipe most life out.
Read 4 tweets

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