Notes on the Ken Burns Jazz Series

I recently watched Ken Burns’ 12-part documentary series about the history of jazz. Burns is known for producing epic documentary series like this, including one on the Vietnam War. Here are the notes I took from it, for those of you interested: This series talks a lot about how jazz could only have happened inContinue reading “Notes on the Ken Burns Jazz Series”

Book Review: Lost Connections

The actual content of Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope by Johann Hari is significantly less self-help-y than the title would suggest. If I were to summarise my main takeaway from this book, it would be this: people are mostly depressed because their lives are bad. Lost Connections is about howContinue reading “Book Review: Lost Connections”

A Beginner’s Guide to Miles Davis

Inspired by: A beginner’s guide to modern art jazz Miles Davis (1926-1991) was a jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He was one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz, and he had a prolific output (just on Spotify, he has over 1,000 songs). Many of these are different recordings of the sameContinue reading “A Beginner’s Guide to Miles Davis”

Book Review: 12 Rules for Life

Disclaimer: I recognise that a lot of people have strong views about Jordan Peterson. I don’t have a strong opinion about him as a person, and I’m not interested in his personal controversies. But his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is light on politics. This is my response and review. HisContinue reading “Book Review: 12 Rules for Life”

Book Review: The Signal and the Noise

The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction was written by Nate Silver, a consultant-briefly-turned-poker-player-turned-political-analyst who is most famous for the election forecasting website fivethirtyeight.com. The Signal and the Noise is one of the small number of books – along with Philip Tetlock’s Superforecasting – that aim to seriously assess the questionContinue reading “Book Review: The Signal and the Noise”

Do All Languages Communicate at the Same Rate?

The speakers of some languages have a reputation for talking quickly while others have a reputation for talking slowly. Is this because some cultures actually communicate quicker than others, or are they just using more words to communicate the same information? That is what Coupé et al. aims to answer empirically, using a dataset ofContinue reading “Do All Languages Communicate at the Same Rate?”

Follow-up on the Open Borders Review

Appendix A: What I Left Out There’s a lot more to talk about with this book, but my main review has all the points I have a strong view about. Caplan discusses the objection that immigrants would lower average IQ, and talks about Garrett Jones’ book Hive Mind, which argues that national IQ is veryContinue reading “Follow-up on the Open Borders Review”

Book Review: Open Borders

Bryan Caplan is an economist at George Mason University and all-around interesting guy who is known for his out-there views about various social and political issues (especially education). Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration is his latest book, which argues for an end to all restrictions on migration and is in the formatContinue reading “Book Review: Open Borders”