April 2021 BenGoldhaber(.com) Newsletter
April always feels like a liminal month to me; we're on the cusp of, but haven't quite made it to, the promised land of summer.
A friend who is relatively familiar with the marketing world tells me that they are abuzz with the potential of Summer 2021. Corporations are investing heavily in pushing a 'Summer of Love' narrative - that, after a year of being locked inside, now's the time to cut loose and spend in a hedonistic flurry of trips and partying.
Yet more proof that corporations are on our side. Thank you, corporations. I'll do my part.
We had a big push over the last month to add low-code/no-code options to HASH and I'm excited to say we've introduced a new feature - the process chart - that lets you diagram a process model and create simulations from it, no programming experience needed.
I wrote a blog post introducing it and providing background on the motivation, and - with my colleague Nur - wrote a theory piece on using simulations and applying it to the theory of constraints, a popular industrial engineering management philosophy. You might also enjoy seeing a video of me walking through a tutorial on using it to build a ticketing queue. My dream of becoming a professional streamer is becoming a reality (don't forget to smash that subscribe button).
And thanks to everyone who responded to my bounty experiment last month - a special thank you to Siddharth and Vlad for their solutions to the voice memo bounty.
I've extended the bounty program to include
improvements to already claimed bounties - unless otherwise specified they're default eligible for up to 100% of the original bounty, where the percentage will be determined by how much you've given me a better solution (determined solely at my discretion)
you're welcome to request a non monetary payment equivalent to the monetary payment; for example if a hug from me is worth $5 to you (probably dramatically undervaluing it) and the bounty is worth $10 to me, you may request two hugs. Funny or extremely practical non-monetary payments only.
For the moment though, no new bounties. Gotta save my money for Summer 2021 (also, creative suggestions welcome).
Deep Daze is an open source text to image generation program. Describe an image and the program will generate it. Here's Deep Daze's interpretation of "life during a plague
Programs like this prompt me to wonder what advanced AIs are secretly acting in the world, and also serve as a reminder about the nature of our reality.
Provocative: did the lead epidemic lead to the war on terror? Related: My mom wrote a great piece on the benefits of removing lead from pipes.
Conversations with Tyler: John Cochrane. It's hard to overstate just how much of the pain and death from COVID-19 has been self-inflicted, or, rather, inflicted by bureaucrats. GK Chesterton: "The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies."
Everyone's a scammer: Oldie but a goodie from the crypto world, useful to remember as we were introduced to NFTs, the future of artwork, last month. Speaking of scams, academia has a tendency to colonize intellectual fields made by laypeople and claim it as post hoc proof of their contributions.
Interview with the lead designer and writer of Disco Elysium: I'm not sure if you'll appreciate it if you haven't played the game (Final Cut edition just released!) but I think you might - he has impressive mastery and insight into writing for novel interfaces.
Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder: An anxious New York intellectual-type drops out of polite society and joins the bodybuilding subculture, gains 40 (60? 100?) pounds of muscle, moves to Southern California, and confronts the void and the existential joy and angst of the bodybuilder. The details change, but the story is, like, timeless.
Bad Trip: I have trouble with cringe movies, and I had to watch this movie with one eye covered, but it was worth it. Eric Andre's prank show/road trip movie is hilarious.
Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend's Boyfriend: Mike Birbiglia's comedy style is pretty unique, telling an elaborate, funny, and surprisingly moving narrative.
I hope you have a great April.
p.s. I use TinyLetter for this newsletter but the editor is pretty terrible, and I'm looking for alternatives. I might switch to substack, but then I look like a trend follower. Plus it lacks the homey, artisanal feel that is bengoldhaber(.com). If I decide on a new one I'll let you know in the next edition.