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Things I read while a puppy nipped at my toes

My family adopted a puppy and are thrust back into what feels effectively like edge-of-the-seat newborn parenting. When I’m not taking her outside to pee, she’s trying to chew on my feet. It’s frustrating, but also a long-term bet that I am highly confident will pay off in years of love and the impetus to walk, live in the movement, and be joyful.


Other projects are somewhat on hold at the moment, but at least I’m getting a lot of reading done. Recently finished:

  • Infomocracy, by Malka Older (Amazon). Re-read. I would have expected a cyberpunk-inflected election security thriller to be fairly triggering in 2021, but in actual it was weirdly cathartic. Kind of like reading a novel about the survivors of a global pandemic last summer.
  • The Market System, by Charles Lindblom (Amazon). Recommended by Henry Farrell’s great Five Books interview on the politics of information. A great breakdown of how capitalism is different from markets, with fair comparative analysis of socialist alternatives and real critique of where markets go wrong. Although one might read it as another example of “There is no alternative” capitalist realism, I found it do a good job of side-stepping ideological holy wars in favor of problem-solving in the direction of a better society — as I would expect from the scientist of muddling through.
  • How Buildings Learn, by Stewart Brand (Amazon). Buildings are remodeled and adapted over their lifespan. What makes that work well and what makes for frustration and entropy? Routine, adaptive longevity is an unsolved problem in both architecture and software engineering. The more cross-discipline investigation into how to do it, the better.