Sixth Day Six | 10.1.2022
What is a "third place" and why does it matter?
We have a lot of weird things happening in terms of civility, which is addressed in a few articles below. Could something as simple as the shrinking number of “third places” have something to do with it? Also articles on attention, following your gifts > passions and a really cool idea of using transparent solar panels for windows in the future.
Also, Jason Pargin’s article below on civil war may be one of the most insightful pieces on the state of our politics that I’ve ever read. I’m being serious.
A smorgasbord or content this week but all interesting!
What is a “third place”? It’s that one spot that isn’t work or home that people can gather. Those are places that are disappearing and have a sneaky effect on civil society. This two-ish minute video from him explaining all that and the need for more walkable communities is absolutely worth the watch.
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Solar power is cool. If it wasn’t such a huge upfront investment, I’d love to get solar panels and charging stations for the house and have more autonomy over my own energy. But along with being expensive, solar panels can be a bit of an eyesore and not super practical. But what if your windows could serve as solar panels? Imagine how much more sustainable large glass buildings in cities could be? It’s an idea being implemented successfully in some buildings but still has a long way to go before being practical.
Before the technology can be scaled up, scientists need to up its efficiency, as there is an efficiency/transparency tradeoff. The more transparent the panel is, the less efficient it is, which is why see-through panels are not expected to exceed or replace the standard solar panels we've grown accustomed to. Either way, the technology could potentially help humanity get to a truly sustainable and greener future faster.
To be honest, and this may sound strange, this article may be one of the best political articles I’ve ever read. Jason Pargin nails it when it comes to identifying what drives all the Civil War rhetoric and how totally unrealistic it is given how interconnected our economy is with “the other side” (however you define a side).
Once you buy this idea that evil is a type of person instead of a type of action, what happens is you become blind to whatever ugliness lurks inside you. When you’re constantly scouring the horizon for monsters, it can be years before you realize others saw you as one.
I’m not a big rah rah, go for it kind of person. But I think this pep talk from Steve Harvey was worth listening to. I don’t think you should only chase money. That said, being mindful of your natural gifts and talents and knowing how to monetize that is important. I actually wrote about this myself not long ago.
We’ve shifted from a world where oil was a top commodity to one where “attention” now reigns supreme. This article from Scott Galloway shows how this has broken down by platform, why he thinks YouTube has a better long-term outlook than TikTok and expands on his opinion on bad actors using these platforms.
We used to refer to an information economy. But economies are defined by scarcity, not abundance (scarcity = value), and in an age of information abundance, what’s scarce? A: Attention. The scale of the world’s largest companies, the wealth of its richest people, and the power of governments are all rooted in the extraction, monetization, and custody of attention.
You’ve likely heard the phrase “America First” as a policy position quite a bit over the past six or seven years. Something I learned from this article is that it’s not new. It’s an ideology that’s been around for the better part of the past century and championed by the likes of William Randolph Hearst and Charles Lindbergh. If you are familiar with the two of them…it’s not a glowing endorsement. This article provides a look at how an idea from pre WWII days has translated into meme wars today.
Their grievances are contagions, and no one character profile can describe the audience members who consume their broadcast for education, entertainment, or some combination of both. No technical fixes companies reactively apply to their social media can stop these old ideas, and America First’s journey from isolationist slogan to culture war shows how memes work through people like viruses with little concern for the health of the host.
What book am I reading?
No Point B by Caleb Gardner. Caleb has quite the resume but it’s easier (and admittedly more simplistic) to describe him as “the guy who ran Obama’s Twitter account while he was in office.” He does a great job laying out the reality of change in the world today but with optimism on how we can make it all work for us.
As always, if you are reading something interesting, feel free to share it! You can reach out by responding to this email or clicking here. Would love to hear from you!