The Last Sane Man on Wall Street - Astukari Newsletter #86
🔨What I’ve Been Making
New writing: Two new articles: Is Relative Morality Helpful? and Achievement-Based Thinking. And, yes, that new book is still coming out. I’m finishing the first draft probably like, this weekend. For real this time. Promise.
New video/audio: Newest podcast: Aggregation and Decoupling. No new updates from the video front, but still planning new stuff!
Other projects: There’s been a lot of changes to Apalla Docs recently. Firstly, a streamlining of it from many different docs for $8 each into a single package for ~$8 a month. Another change was made to just incorporate a direct link to my Notion knowledge base, which is where all the info on the docs comes from anyway. And, the third change… you may have noticed I didn’t link to Apalla Docs. Well, that’s because Docs are being converted into an Astukari product! Technically you can hop over to Apalla, buy a subscription, and your sub will carry over through the name change. But I’ll stage a formal update once its all done.
📚What I’ve Been Reading
The Inside Story of Facebook Marketplace - Out of all product origin stories, Marketplace in particular is a fascinating outlier. The legendary (and infamous) e-commerce platform on Facebook was designed primarily as a way to cover up many of the loopholes on the site. As Facebook got popular, more and more people began to sell via informal channels — groups, DMs, personal walls, etc. And that created a problem — so Facebook centralized it all in one place. But now there’s a new problem, the problem that currently faces Marketplace, which is that 99% of it is either junk or a scam! And so, there’s another loophole to fill, based on individual psychology.
The Dangers of Dimethylmercury - I’ve heard the name dimethylmercury around, but I never knew that it was the world’s most deadly chemical. As the article describes, even being in the same room as the mercury can kill you. Say you take all the best precautions… can still kill you. Really, there’s no way to beat dimethylmercury, which has scientists wondering — are the potential scientific discoveries out of it even worth it?
Meditations on Moloch - Descriptions of situations that are endless and terrible for everyone involved, but any unorganized attempt to stop it will make it worse for those who rebel. Spoiler: There are a lot of these, unfortunately.
Wordle Founder on What Comes Next - Ok, yes, Wordle is now irrelevant. First of all, I collect these articles 3 months in advance — I can’t promise everything! — but second, more importantly, this article I think is pretty timeless. Because it’s not about Wordle per se, but rather the story of the indie app — something like Wordle, or Flappy Bird, where it’s a one-off experiment for fun and ends up catching on to utterly insane degrees. What are the benefits for its creator, and equally, what are the consequences?
The Last Sane Man on Wall Street - In my notes, under this article, I just wrote “Investigative journalists who are after the money”. And I don’t think there’s really a better way of describing what this piece is about. Some people are focused on making a better world, on calling out companies for their misdeeds, but others recognize all the above and then also realize there’s some potential money in it for them if they’re successful. Nathan Anderson is one of the latter.