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Prime Cuts #2
Idiosyncrasy masquerading as a newsletter.
Welcome to Prime Cuts, a curated weekly collection of the most interesting content for your Reading, Watching, or Listening playlists.
Rather than the fairly nihilistic doom-mongering of many AI takes, I prefer this more moderated perspective - that different ML tools are just that, tools, that will help step-change HUMAN performance in whatever domain is best suited for that tool. We've seen it already in Chess and Go, but there's no reason to think that such advancement acceleration can't/won't happen across most other intellectual disciplines.
We’ll double-dip in the chess world this week, here with an exploration of Magnus Carlsen - GOAT and reigning world champion choosing not to defend his title after 5 straight defenses because he...doesn't want to? It's a fascinating look at greatness, especially from someone who's both so young still AND who is so much better than everyone else that he chooses whatever he wants. This isn't MJ playing baseball, it's something else entirely, something we've never really seen.
It's comforting to see some (but not nearly enough) movement in US prison reform, away from the draconian punishment-at-all-costs methods toward a greater emphasis on rehabilitation/re-entry into society. If you’re interested in diving deeper into a challenging subject, I’d also recommend the documentary Bastoy, which chronicles Norway’s attempt to build a prison that reforms even the most hardened criminals.
This Week in Uncorrelated Interests…
In this launch week for the newsletter, I wrote several pieces for your perusal:
Pay to Win: Hoarding Talent for Trophies - As this English Premier League comes to an end, we explore the sobering reality that positions in the final standings are pre-ordained.
The Obligations of Innovation (Part 2) - The final piece in my exploration of the derision angled toward Silicon Valley in 2023.
I am not generally a fan of Black Mirror if I’m being honest - a bit too cynical, and perhaps too...uncomfortable for my taste. But this episode - my goodness. Cynical this is not - instead, a beautiful yet haunting representation of love and loneliness and, yes, technology. Absolute must watch.
I love soccer/football, and Tifo is perhaps the best YouTube channel exploring everything from business to strategies on the pitch, presented in short-form animation. Expect many more of their videos in future editions of Prime Cuts, as well as a new series (from me) on the monetization efforts of the English Premier League.
Jerry Neumann is technically a venture capitalist and university lecturer, but for me he's one of the best thinkers about venture investing, captured on his blog Reaction Wheel. I'll be writing about his ideas often in this newsletter (occassionally in disagreement), but I love listening to him because his feedback is both specific and intellectually humble.
Ethereal Feel (Ichika Nito)
No one in the world plays guitar like Ichika Nito. i won't even attempt to describe it. But his work is musical poetry, short magical snippets. I’ll cheat a bit here and also include a video in this audio section:
Radically Against the Grain
If you missed the first edition of Prime Cuts, this is an experimental section in which I avail myself to public flogging by stating a contrarian view that I unequivocally believe to be true. Is it a hot take if I actually believe it!? I dunno.
But I’m curious to see just how out there some of my “core” beliefs actually are. Hit me up at @ericdickinger if you so desire.
Detroit style pizza is far superior to New York style.
Let me immediately equivocate by saying that pizza is the most uniformly good of all food types. Pizza is default delicious.
That said, this should not be controversial! New York “style” is a flaccid, poorly textured creation. It does literally nothing exceptionally well. If I need sponge to degrease a slice just to make it edible, I dare say you haven't done your job.
Detroit style? Wonderfully solid structure (moderating the over-the-top Chicago deep dish), great balance between crust and toppings, and that final pass crispy texture?! Just incredible.