July 2020 Favorites

20 min read

Things I enjoyed in July 2020

The word racism is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a racist.

Thomas Sowell

Videos

TV Shows

  • Dark 3 N – The last season of this brilliant TV show was mind-bending and came to a logical and beautiful ending.
  • The Blacklist 7 N – An exciting season, unfortunately, cut short due to Corona. The last episode was partly animated to fill in the missing scenes.
  • Tales from the Loop 1 P – A fantastic Sci-Fi TV show, inspired by the pictures of the artist Simon Stålenhag. It plays between the 1950s and 1980s in a small town that sits on top of a secret science base exploring the secrets of the universe. Not a lot of action, no gunfights or lasers, but a lot of poetic stories.
  • Hanna 2 P
  • Space Force 1 N – This TV show was much funnier than the reviews would suggest.

Movies

Music & Podcasts

Books

Articles

Inspiration

Stuff & Things

  • Ghost of Tsushima – The new PlayStation exclusive game is Sony’s fasted-selling game of all times. And rightly so. It is incredibly good! The story is exciting and feels like being in a movie or more accurately in all Samurai movies ever produced at once. It has epic battles, deadly duels, and quiet moments while reflecting with Haiku, praying at a Shinto or Buddhist temple or shrine or while taking a bath in one of the many Onsen. Stunningly beautiful landscapes with falling cherry-blossom or maple tree leaves, endless grasslands, long sandy coastlines, dusty swamplands, or green bamboo forests. Directly next to battlefields with burned corpses, or landscapes and villages burned by the Mongol hordes. You can play with Japanese audio track for the right feeling and even enable Kurosawa mode (black and white with 60s audio) or play with the funny (but useless) photo mode to create videos or photos. The soundtrack was written by Shigeru Umebayashi.
  • Code Time is an open-source plugin for automatic programming metrics and time-tracking in your editor.
  • Music Time for Spotify is a code editor plugin that discovers your most productive music to listen to while you code.
  • mmhmm looks like a funny idea to enhance video conferences. The CEO of mmhmm gives a short beta preview 5:13.
  • Testing Playground is a tool to test React Testing Library queries.
  • iA Writer Style Check – My favorite text editor has now style check, a personal assistant that marks redundant words, clichés, and filler words as you type.
  • Tabler Icons – Over 500 free, customizable SVG icons.
  • Element – The decentralized, open-source chat tool Riot was renamed and landed a huge deal of 350,000 seats for the German education system. It runs on Matrix.
  • Foam is a fantastic tool for personal knowledge management inspired by Roam Research, build on Visual Studio Code. It shows Wikilink backlinks and can show (with other extensions) the connection between notes.

Quotes

This month was very political. We can see the Progressive Left and political correctness reaching the tolerable limit. There was the open letter, signed by 150 political-left people of influence, for example, Steven Pinker, Malcolm Gladwell, Jonathan Haidt, Bari Weiss, or Salman Rushdie, speaking out against cancel culture and the resignation of Bari Weiss from The New York Times, because of workplace harassment for her centrist opinion column. The politicization of the murder of George Floyd, the riots and autonomous zones that killed more Blacks in a weekend than the whole police killed unarmed Blacks in a year, made me listen to Thomas Sowell, an American economist and social theorist.

Sowell on culture as main driver for social problems as the result of a study that showed that black kids of in Germany stationed soldiers had no disadvantages to other kids:


Professor Flynn concluded that the reason … was that the offspring of black soldiers in Germany grew up in a nation with no black subculture.

Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Race

If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on ‘the legacy of slavery’ with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.

Thomas Sowell, A Legacy of Liberalism

Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the Civil Rights laws and ‘War on Poverty’ programs of the 1960s … the fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960 … Over the next 20 years, the poverty rate among blacks fell another 18 percentage points … This was the continuation of a previous economic trend, but at a slower rate of progress, it was not some economic grand deliverance.

Thomas Sowell, A Legacy of Liberalism

[M]ost black children were being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state … the great majority of black children [were] being raised by – single parent[s].

Thomas Sowell, A Legacy of Liberalism

[T]he poverty rate among black married couples has been less than 10 percent every year since 1994 … As far back as 1969, young black males whose homes included newspapers, magazines, and library cards … had similar incomes to … [those of] their white counterparts … [A]cademic outcomes show a pattern of disparities similar to the pattern of disparities in the amount of time devoted to schoolwork … Apparently … lifestyle choices have major consequences.

Thomas Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities

This is the age of complaining classes, whether they are lawyers, community activists, radical feminists, race hustlers, or other squeaking wheels looking for oil … No society ever thrived because it had a large and growing class of parasites living off those who produce.

Thomas Sowell, The Thomas Sowell Reader, P. 210

Thomas Sowell is a huge opponent of Affirmative Action as his numbers prove that it harms the Black community since more than 50 years. Interesting is what two persons of the Supreme Court had to say to the topic:

I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators … The Court … holds that racial discrimination in admissions should be given another 25 years … While I agree that in 25 years … [these] practices will be illegal, they are … illegal now.

Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

I think it unnecessary to describe the Restorative Justice Handicapping System any further. I trust you find it thoroughly offensive, as I do. It, and the racist concept of restorative justice of which it is merely the concrete expression, is fundamentally contrary to the principles that govern, and should govern, our society. I owe no man anything, nor he me, because of the blood that flows in our veins.

Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice

One great tweet I saw was, ‘The left won the culture wars. Now they’re just driving around shooting survivors.


Naval Ravikant brought up interesting arguments against Socialism and the problem the universities have in the USA with the fields of The Humanities:

I think, really, Socialism comes from the heart, right? We all wanna be Socialists. Capitalism comes from the head because there are always cheaters in any system, and there is an incentive in any system. So, when you’re young, if you’re not Socialist, you have no heart, when you’re older and you’re not a capitalist you have no head, right? You haven’t thought it through. So, I understand where it comes from. I always like Nassim Taleb’s take on this: With my family, I’m a communist. With my close friends, I’m a socialist. At the state level of politics, I’m a Democrat. At higher levels, I’m a Republican, and at the federal levels, I’m a Libertarian. So, basically, the larger the group of people you have massed together, who have different interests, the less trust there is, the more cheating there is, the better the incentives have to be aligned, the better the system has to work, the more you are towards capitalism. The smaller the group you’re in, you’re in a Kibbutz, you are in a commune, you’re in your house, you’re in your tribe, by all means, be a Socialist. With my aunts, with my brother, with my cousins, with my uncles, my mom, my family … I’m a Socialist. That’s the right way to live a loving, happy, integrated life. But when you’re dealing with strangers, you wanna be a real Socialist? Great, open all your doors and windows tomorrow. Please, everybody, come and take what you want. See how that works out.


The universities got their credibility from the hard sciences. So, they got this from physics and math, computer science, and chemistry. Because these deliver real things: Manhattan Project, microprocessor, the space vehicle, and so on, the electric car. So, they gained this mental authority and legitimacy from the hard sciences. So, then come the social sciences kinda sneak in. You get economics, and micro-economics is a real discipline, real science, real math behind it. Logic, reason. And you got macro-economics which gets politicized a little bit more voodoo, and then you get social studies, and then you get gender studies … So, what happened is, because we took scientists to be the high priests of our new world, science itself got corrupted. And the social sciences, and you can tell they are fake sciences because they have the word science tacked on the end, have come in and highjacked the universities and become the new think tanks. Essentially, what you see going on today at the universities is a war between social sciences and physical sciences. And the crossover is biology. We can see the whole gender is a construct movement is attacking biology, evolution biology. Just like in the social sphere with the comedians. You can see the struggle going on at the universities. I would say physical sciences are essentially losing that war. … Physical sciences have the reality on their side … At the end of the day, your aircraft has to fly, your microprocessor has to compute. So there is only so far they can take it. But I see for example in biology this difficult thing where they have to say things that they know are not true, to keep their job. … Biology will suffer the most. Synthetic biology, for example, a lot of this will end up in China, because you won’t be able to map facts and reality and actions together.


I think wokeness has robbed many a people of compassion and replaced it with moral superiority. Compassing and empathy are paramount to any social movement and to any form of progress.

Ayishat Akanbi

The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away.


To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.

Frederick Douglass

There is no financial cost to the individual in intersectionality as commonly practiced. One can feel good by tweeting about historical slavery on a smartphone whose battery contains Cadmium mined by some of the world’s forty million current slaves, but it is not required either that one sacrifice one’s technology in solidarity with them, or seek to change their status, as previous generations of Christians did. Ironically, given the Marxist background of many of its adherents, intersectionality is that most capitalist of phenomena: a low-cost provider of moral self-worth.


A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Herbert Simon

It’s dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

Voltaire

We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.

Confucius

The best thing for being sad, replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blog, is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.

T. H. White, The Once and Future King

A sense of history is an antidote to self-pity and self-importance, of which there is much too much in our time. To a large degree, history is a lesson in proportions.

David McCullough

  • Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Photography by Jannes Glas