Book review: Scary sobering

“Spillover: Animal infections and the next human pandemic” by David Quammen

If this book doesn’t make you a germophobe, I don’t know what will. An absolutely timely book to read in the time of Coronavirus pandemic 2020, which shows how complex and challenging the science are behind all the media headlines. I have so much more respect for the scientists, the doctors and nurses, and all the people in the frontline, after reading this essential book.

Book review: My head hurts

“Superintelligence: Paths, dangers, strategies” by Nick Bostrom

This is a very important book for the future of humankind, albeit a difficult one to read.

The book makes a terrifyingly compelling argument on why the Artificial Intelligence (AI), if managed wrongly, would potentially be bad for humanity. It covers the fascinating history of artificial intelligence development, from its simple beginning to the complicated web we’re in right now.

It’s very clever and highly technical (heck, I only grasp like 40% of the concepts), which I’m pretty sure can guide us to build our own AI from scratch to superintelligence level. Maybe. I dunno. In fact the book is so advanced-level, that after reading 30% of the book I thought, you know what? I believe him.

I expect nothing less from Elon Musk’s no. 1 favourite book. My head hurts.

Book Review: Wisdom from one of the darkest places in history

“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl

This is one of the most depressing books that I’ve ever read, but at the same time one that provides a tremendous amount of life lessons. It is written in 1946 by a brilliant neurologist and psychiatrist who lost his entire life’s work when he was sent to Nazi concentration camps, a brutal experience that he wrote in detail in the 1st half of the book.

With his life’s work destroyed, Viktor Frankl was forced to memorize them all by heart, got to implement them directly in the camps that contributed to his survivorship, and later on able to re-write everything down with the addition of his own experience that form the basis of his Logotherapy, which becomes the 2nd half of the book.

True to his experience and knowledge, Logotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that believes that mental health issues is caused by the lack of meaning in one’s life (hence, the title of the book). And what Frankl does in this book is to attempt to help people find their meaning in life through pretty much every situation imaginable, including in one of the darkest places in history.

The book is so depressing but also very touching, it’s unbelievably dark but truly enlightening at the same time, it’s a relatively thin book but with an immense amount of wisdom that justifies the classic stature that it has since earned.

No wonder that this book is seemingly recommended by almost everyone that I look up to. It also effortlessly becomes one of my top 10 favourite books.

Interleukin-6

The key to cure Covid-19 could potentially be the inhibiting of our interleukin-6. That is what Roche is currently testing [Livescience]

What is interleukin-6? [Selfhacked]

The Wim Hof method can lower our interleukin-6, and reduces inflammation. Just from our breathing. This is a vital technique to learn in the fight against Covid-19, and might safe your life one day [Wim Hof / IGTV]

More bio-hacks on interleukin-6 [Dave Asprey / Bulletproof Radio]

This is why Jakarta is in semi-lockdown

First, the twitter thread on what happened with the spread of Covid-19 in Italy:

When some experts say Indonesia is about 2 weeks behind Italy, they’re not joking around. Italy’s D11 is Indonesia’s D1 (first 2 confirmed cases announced on 2 March). So the next 14 days COULD be very crucial for Indonesia.

Of course no two cases are ever the same,
(for example Italy had 2040 cases on its D11 while we “only” had 69 cases, thankfully) but it’s the risk-probability that the government simply cannot afford to take. So when the government urges us to do anything, including staying at home, if possible please comply.‬

Because did you know why two days after Italy’s lockdown of the northern region on 8 March, they decided to lockdown the entire country? Because many northerners then proceeded to travel to the south, and further spread the coronavirus to the entire country. Hence the escalated figures from 10,150 cases on 10 March to 21,157 today (and it’s not even 2 weeks yet from 8 March).

Why Wall Street soared when Biden won big on Super Tuesday?

Last night Wall Street soared, with Dow Jones up by +4.53%, S&P 500 by +4.22%, and Nasdaq by +3.85%. Joe Biden’s big win on Super Tuesday was the underlying reason of the positivity, where he won 10 out of 14 states, as a potential Biden presidency offers a relatively unchanged status quo, similar like what Michael Bloomberg is offering.

By contrast, the other front runner Bernie Sanders would bring big changes in the American establishment by introducing Social Democracy (that is, Scandinavian style socialism and not Soviet style communism) that would bridge the gap in American economic inequality by taxing corporations (that have been dodging taxes via safe havens) and billionaires (which Warren Buffett once famously said he paid less tax than his secretary) to provide free services such as health care for the rest of the population, just like in Scandinavian countries.

Another democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren would also bring changes in the establishment, with Senator Warren, a former law School professor specializing in bankruptcy law, proposes detailed plans to break up banks and technology companies and raise taxes, akin to what Teddy Roosevelt started in the early 1900s with the “Trust busting” in his days, to break up monopoly and to avoid just a number of people controlling the economy, which was followed by presidents William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson, with the breaking up of Standard Oil and Northern Securities Company as some of the big busts.

Hence, theoretically, if Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren win the democratic nomination, Wall Street would slump. And conversely if Joe Biden or Michael Bloomberg win, Wall Street would soar. But as of yesterday, Michael Bloomberg dropped out from the race (and naturally gave his endorsement to Biden), Elizabeth Warren suffered a big blow on Super Tuesday, while the one other candidate Tulsi Gabbard only polling about 1% nationally, practically leaving the democratic race to 2 candidates: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

As things stand Biden had racked up 566 delegates, Sanders 501 and Warren 61 from the Super Tuesday with the numbers are expected to shift as new states report their numbers (with California, which has 415 delegates on offer, famously takes quite a while to count the votes). More primaries coming up for the Democratic candidates, until July convention.