Letter #2


3 minute read

Overton Window

As we start looking for some context to understand the world better, we would need to get a better understanding of how the world works. The understanding of how ideas flow and how they become more mainstream.

Explainer: Overton window describes the stages and flow of ideas. The acceptance of a new idea in the mass public depends on that window. How quickly and if at all will there be acceptance for it.

If you are looking for a quick understanding of it VOX explains it well in this youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v-hzc6blGI

You can read a brief introduction about it on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

If you are looking to get a deeper understanding of it and how it affects the society at large you can read about it in a waitbutwhy post. https://waitbutwhy.com/2019/09/mute-button.html

Bottoms up Programming

While the essay is focused on bottoms-up software development, the same principles can be used for other problem solving as well. http://paulgraham.com/progbot.html

2008 financial crash

The global financial crisis of 2008 was a major financial disaster. Millions across the world lost their homes and their savings. The main driver behind the crisis bad incentives and too much credit risk. tldr;

  • Banks gave out housing loans as credit became available.
  • Housing loans are asset-backed loans in general because you can recover the money by selling the asset.
  • Incentives of employees were linked to loans given and not to recovery.
  • Bank executives pushed giving loans to people who could not have paid it backed.
  • The housing market saw an increase in asset value with cheap credit and everyone having access to it.
  • Credit rating agencies were involved as marking all these loans as A++ (extremely low risk)
  • These loans were then bundled together in the form of risk and then sold to larger banks and hedge funds.
  • When the recovery of loans started, people could not pay back the loans which started defaults
  • The recovery process moved to sell assets but now with less credit available, the assets could not fetch the actual buying value. The housing market was inflated.
  • Suddenly the overall world had lost value as the assets were now worthless.

A really detailed and lengthy documentary on Youtube

A good film about is The Big Short on Netflix.

The trouble with Facebook

Sam Harris tries to explain the problem with facebook, its business model and the kind of content that will go viral.

https://samharris.org/podcasts/152-trouble-facebook/

Jason in this twitter thread explains how facebook changed its policies to allow Advertisements that can lie, or have false claims. The same point was also made by AOC in the Zuckerberg hearing.

GDP Developing economies

World Bank data section is an extremely rich section to get context on how the world is performing on issues from population to economy.

Symphony of the Seas

Symphony of the Seas – which, on its maiden voyage from Barcelona in March 2018 became the largest passenger ship ever built – is about five times the size of the Titanic. This is the inside story of how cruise ships went from pensioners’ pastime to floating cities engaged in an all-out entertainment arms race

Full Story

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