Killer Mushrooms from Inner Space—Weekly Wisdom 6th, July 2021

Also, Hollywood’s greatest achievement and money vs wealth.

Hello Everyone

Welcome to Weekly Wisdom, your weekly dose of highlights, quotes and notes from my notebook. If you would like to receive this in your inbox, subscribe now.

This week, I’d like to share:

  • What Narratives define Modern China: The Chinese Communist Party just finished its 100th Anniversary. In this brief essay, I list some of the most important of China’s national narratives that derive their policy, and culture.
  • Neeva is not going to save us from the Google Monster: Neeva is subscription-only Search engine that launched its services last week. Last year, on the eve of Neeva’s first funding announcements, I pointed how the problem with Google is not the ad-supported business model and Neeva has no hope of beating them. For more on my ideas on, check out Search is Dead.

This weeks quotes and notes:

Not so Fun Guy

In 2014, The Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan encountered a mysterious illness. it turns out to be a fungal blood infection of candia auris, previously benign fungus that couldn’t even survive at . The US CDC was brought in to the investigation. The findings showed yet another horrifying consequence of anthropogenic climate change.

Eventually, the researchers were able to piece together the grim conclusion that it wasn’t the farmers, it wasn’t transmission, it was the temperature. The world over, heat waves had struck, raising temperatures to the triple digits for days in a row. Every day that it’s harder for a normal fungi to survive, is another layer of concentrated antibiotic training it. The weather was training a killer.

— Connor Tabbarok, Mushrooms, Global Warming, and the next Pandemic

Theme Park Dystopia

During the height of The Pandemic, Julian Lehr wrote about the divergent realities that the digital world has created for us. While the whole essay is a great read, this excerpt shows the reality warp created by popular-culture imagery. We start treating reality in terms of imagery.

“Americans see the world as an action movie” Maçães writes. I think this became especially apparent during the current covid-19 crisis and the most recent wildfires in California. People in my social media timelines seemed only superficially worried. Instead, their posts contained an underlying sense of excitement about real life finally catching up with the science fiction aesthetics of Blade Runner and Akira.

Perhaps this is Hollywood’s greatest achievement: It gets us excited about our dystopian future.

—Julian Lehr, Is this Real Life?

Money vs Wealth

In this now famous essay on wealth, Investor Paul Graham explains in simple terms; what is wealth, and why it isn’t just money.

If you want to create wealth, it will help to understand what it is. Wealth is not the same thing as money.

Wealth is as old as human history. Far older, in fact; ants have wealth. Money is a comparatively recent invention. Wealth is the fundamental thing. Wealth is stuff we want: food, clothes, houses, cars, gadgets, travel to interesting places, and so on. You can have wealth without having money. If you had a magic machine that could on command make you a car or cook you dinner or do your laundry, or do anything else you wanted, you wouldn’t need money. Whereas if you were in the middle of Antarctica, where there is nothing to buy, it wouldn’t matter how much money you had.

—Paul Graham, How to Make Wealth

Thank you for joining me this week. If you know some who might enjoy this, please forward this email to them. If you have something to say, reply. See you next week.

Mudassir Chapra

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