Venkatesh Rao Profile picture
17 Oct, 6 tweets, 1 min read
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.
So I haven't read, and am unlikely to read, something like Deleuze and Guattari, though I enjoy stuff like Manaugh's application of it in Nakatomi spaces/burglar's guide to the city type writing. I might use a concept like rhizome or smooth/striated but not study it in context.
I think the Talebian barbell is a Straussian barbell. One end is hanging with the Great Minds, the other end is slumming it with the low minds to "keep it real" or something.

My barbell is raw information. Stuff you cannot know simply via inference by being smarter.
I basically have no taste for, or interest in, esoteric concepts or their exoteric budget versions. I'll use them if they cross my path and they seem useful for a particular conversation with people who use them, OR if they genuinely capture something that has no everyday notion

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Venkatesh Rao

Venkatesh Rao Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @vgr

19 Oct
Philosophical interestingness ranking of sci-fi universes (in terms of meaningfulness, complexity, intelligibility...):

12. Star Wars
11. MCU
10. Doctor Who
9. Dune
8. Star Trek
7. Foundation
6. Deepness in the Sky
5. Hainish
4. Schismatrix
3. Rick & Morty
2. HHG
1. Culture
I’ve only read 1 culture novel but it’s obviously the most philosophically interesting by a mile
Pity so many famous writers didn’t bother to build proper universes. As in literally spanning space. PKD, Heinlein etc are a bunch of killer apps with no platform underneath. Le Guin squeaks through with a vagueworld universe.
Read 11 tweets
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
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
“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.
Read 6 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

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!