A list of podcasts I listened to. 1142
2024 37
Date Name # Episode
Absolutely Mental 30 Trump, Vaccines, and the Baby Jesus
"Ricky and Sam discuss Twitter fights, God, war, doing what you love, and mega churches."
Absolutely Mental 29 Why do we sleep?
"Ricky and Sam explore why we haven't developed a pill to substitute sleep, but can't seem to wrap their heads around why flies don't burn their feet on lightbulbs."
FoundMyFitness 91 Andrew Huberman, PhD: How to Improve Motivation & Focus By Leveraging Dopamine
Nothing really new. Dopamine, focus, motivation: be patient, it takes time (e.g. while reading a book, expect the first 10-15 minutes to be hard). Do not stack things that raise dopamine. Cold showers: even one minute is good. Use stimulants as little as possible. NSDR: I should really try it; 10 minutes is enough. HIIT is excellent (for dopamine). 5 minutes of sun light in the morning is really good (even if you have a bright artificial light available). Alcohol: maximum 3 drinks (i.e. 42 g of alcohol) per week; more is already problematic.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 371 What the Hell Is Happening? - A Conversation with Bill Maher
I still don't know what the hell is happening. And I'm still not a fan of Bill Maher.
Huberman Lab - Dr. Jonathan Haidt: How Smartphones & Social Media Impact Mental Health & the Realistic Solutions
The four rules: 1) no own smartphone before high school (i.e. 14); 2) no social media before 16; 3) phone-free schools; 4) far more independence, free play, responsibilities in the real world. Avoid screens when eating with other people (my own advice: note what you want to check on your smartphone or laptop on a piece of paper). Talk with other parents. Children should have at least one day each week with no obligation. Give your children ideas for what they can do.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 369 Escaping Death - A Conversation with Sebastian Junger
So it seems that Junger, who is an atheist and seems quite rational, has become a bit more open to the idea of "something else" (e.g. maybe an afterlife or another "dimension"). I understand that a Near Death Experience can do that to you, but there's no need to conclude that there is anything "outside of our (hallucinating) brain". In that sense, Sam's article, "Science on the Brink of Death", is still valid today.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 289 Time Management for Mortals - A Conversation with Oliver Burkeman
The second time I listen to this episode. I'll probably listen to it again in the future.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - La période 2011 - 2014 : Du Dakota à Montreux
Une période difficile à suivre, durant laquelle Prince n'a sorti aucun album. L'éclairage de Violet est ici d'autant plus important. On sent bien que c'est une période où Prince se cherche. Ils continue de publier des choses, mais de manière un peu aléatoire, sur des plateformes très différentes (livestreams, etc.). Au final, cela confirme que j'ai besoin d'albums cohérents pour comprendre un artiste.
L'Heure du Monde - Crise climatique : faut-il retirer du CO2 de l'atmosphère ?

Je débats régulièrement avec des amis concernant ces "aspirateurs géants à CO2". Ils pensent que c'est une fausse bonne idée. Je pense que c'est une voie à explorer absolument, que ces appareils seront beaucoup plus efficaces dans 10, 20 ou 50 ans. Quelques notes : "Joli résumé de la problématique. Pas technophobe, ça correspond bien à ma sensibilité. La synthèse (arguments pour/contre) après 15 minutes correspond assez bien à mes idées. Je pourrais presque signer sous tout ce qui a été dit.

Si je devais confronter mon point de vue, qui tend sérieusement et sans ironie à être du côté "la technologie nous sauvera", aux arguments contre exposés dans le podcast, je dirais que je comprends bien la problématique. Investir de l'argent dans des "aspirateurs géants à CO2", ça divertit des ressources qui pourraient aller ailleurs. Ca donne aussi des (mauvais) arguments à ceux qui veulent continuer à émettre du CO2 comme si de rien n'était. Pour moi, il faut néanmoins investiguer toutes les pistes. Il faut évidemment et surtout arrêter d'émettre du CO2. Mais ça me semble être une évidence. Mettre des panneaux solaires partout. Arrêter de bouffer de la viande. Changer les mentalités autour de la croissance infinie et l'hyper-consumérisme. Etc, etc.

Le fait de dire que les "aspirateurs à CO2" c'est une mauvaise solution parce que ça extrait peu de CO2 en ayant besoin de beaucoup d'énergie me laisse assez froid. Les ordinateurs, dans les années 50, remplissaient des pièces entières et étaient moins puissants qu'une calculette. Je pense aussi au machine learning et à la façon dont les gens réagissaient à mes "radotages" sur la singularité technologique il y a 20 ans. On ne saura pas si des technologies 100 fois, 1000 fois ou 1 million de fois plus efficaces sont possibles sans financer la recherche dans ce domaine.

A nouveau, je comprends que ça entre en conflit avec toutes les autres solutions réelles ou potentielles, mais on est finalement presque tous et tout le temps en train de travailler sur des problèmes qui ne sont pas urgents ou prioritaires. L'argent que j'ai donné ce matin à ma coiffeuse n'est pas allé à une cause plus urgente. Donc je ne comprends pas non plus complètement cet argument.

Le problème principal reste que le fait de savoir que de la recherche est faite dans ce domaine peut entraîner une absence de motivation à faire autre chose. Je ne sais pas comment résoudre ce problème."

The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 243 The fentanyl crisis and why everyone should be paying attention | Anthony Hipolito
Fentanyl killed one of the most important persons in my life, Prince, so I should know more about it. "Six out of every ten illicit counterfeit pills have enough fentanyl to kill somebody." I didn't know the situation was that bad (in the US at least). Children and young adults are particularly vulnerable, because of the stress they have to endure. It's important to talk about this problem with them. Counterfeit pills can contain fentanyl (e.g. Adderall, Xanax pills), but other illegal substances as well, even substances that have nothing to do with opioids, such as cannabis. Some illegal drugs containing fentanyl are targetting children/teenagers in particular (those drugs can even circulate via social media, etc.). Fentanyl detection kits are important. Naloxone (Narcan), given intravenously, can save someone who has taken a high dose of fentanyl. All in all, the situation is crazy.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 226 The science of happiness | Arthur Brooks, Ph.D.
Brooks sounds like a motivational speaker, at times. As usual, relationships are very important. Your spouse should be your best friend. You should share values with her/him (i.e. share a philosophy of life). It's important to have close friends with whom you can share everything. It's more difficult for men to have real/close friends in their lives. Some interesting concepts: exposure therapy, reverse bucket lists (i.e. being grateful for the things you've already done). "Love is a cat, not a toaster" (complicated vs complex).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 365 Reality Check - A Conversation with David Wallace-Wells
Sam talked about Daniel Dennett. Very nice. Sam and David seem to both have a hard time realizing that capitalism/libertarianism can lead to large inequalities, which, ultimately, is a bad thing. Ironically, they both sounded out of touch with reality, at times.
The Joe Cohen Show - Is Niacin Killing You?: Breaking Down The New Niacin Study
Niacin has some negative consequences, like almost all substances, but, overall, it doesn't affect lifespan. The hope is that it has an effet on healthspan.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 364 Facts & Values - Clarifying the Moral Landscape
This was a good refresher on Sam's position. This was a monologue, so nobody could contradict Sam. On the other hand, I've always mostly agreed with him on the topic, so I still don't know why his position is so controversial.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 363 Knowledge Work - A Conversation with Cal Newport
A shorter discussion with Cal. I was surprised to hear him dismiss this idea that AI/machine learning will mean everything will be done by machine at some point (i.e. he doesn't believe in the idea of technological singularity, I guess).
Huberman Lab - Dr. Cal Newport: How to Enhance Focus and Improve Productivity
Flow is nice, but we shouldn't always aim towards flow. Training/practicing is not the same as flow and can be "painful". But it's necessary. Internet/smartphone for children: wait as much as possible (ideally 16 for smartphones). I should put my smartphone in another room as often as possible when working. I used to use browser extensions to prevent me from going to certain sites (social media, etc.). Maybe I should use them again. Andrew and Cal don't like to have discussions via text messages. I guess they prefer "deep" discussions, which means actually talking to people. I'm the same. Episode notes.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 360 We Really Don't Have Free Will? - A Conversation with Robert M. Sapolsky
I probably haven't heard a single thing that I found controversial or unintuitive, so I'm not sure it was a very "useful" episode to listen to and, at the same time, it's quite mysterious to me why some people still insist on saying some version of free will exists and/or is useful. I kind of understand why, but I still think it's a desperately corrupted/obsolete concept, like "god" or "soul".
Making Sense with Sam Harris 359 Getting Used to It - A Conversation with Cass R. Sunstein
I liked the part about midlife crisis as an habituation problem. You have everything you wanted to have, but it's feeling all normal now. You want more. Hence the crisis.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Bonus #8 : Alfred Bernardin - du Grand Palais au New Morning
L'expérience complètement folle d'Alfred Bernardin en tant que tourneur/manager de Prince entre 2009 et 2010. La perspective d'une personne qui n'était pas un fan et qui considérait sa relation avec Prince purement à travers le prisme professionnel, mais qui a tout de même découvert la facette complètement folle/géniale de Prince et en même temps son côté très humain. Un témoignage fascinant.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 321 Reckoning with Parfit - A Conversation with David Edmonds
I bought Reasons and Persons many years ago (I think), but never took the time to read it. It's an intimidating book. Some thought experiments mentioned in the episode seem very useful, especially about population ethics. For example, the idea that you can judge the happiness of a group of people by just computing the average happiness doesn't work, and you can convince yourself that this is the case by considering some edge cases. I should read Reasons and Persons someday.
Very Bad Wizards 259 Losing Time ("Tár"" with Paul Bloom)
Another very "useful" discussion that gave me a new perspective on a movie I had just watched. I missed many things, like the scene with the students, which is actually a continuous sequence. The parallel with Stalker during the underground scene with the dog, also, is an intriguing idea.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 358 The War in Ukraine - A Conversation with Yaroslav Trofimov
A good summary of the war in Ukraine for someone like me who didn't follow it closely.
Absolutely Mental 28 Why do we lie?
"Ricky and Sam discuss the morality of lying, including white lies, Santa Claus, and the best excuse to get out of a party."
Very Bad Wizards 264 The Rule You Follow (The Coen Brothers' "No Country for Old Men")
Another movie I rewatched recently. This time I watched the movie first and then listened to the podcast. I missed many details, apparently. The discussion was enlightening. Is Chigurh "real"?
Very Bad Wizards 253 Tarkovsky's Starchild
I watched Stalker for the first time in my life in 2021 and I loved it. Hearing Tamler and Dave discuss it made me watch it again. A masterpiece, for sure.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 355 A Falling World - A Conversation with Peter Zeihan
A depressing episode (except for Zeihan's prediction that Trump won't won the election), but it's hard to take Zeihan's predictions seriously. His take on technology and AI, in particular, doesn't sound particularly serious to me.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - 20TEN : Un Courrier International
Un album que j'ai écouté en boucle à l'époque. Je suis agréablement surpris que Nicolas l'apprécie autant.
Absolutely Mental 27 What is deja vu?
"Ricky asks Sam to explain his understanding of deja vu. They also discuss AI beating humans in various fields, including comedy, where they agree it will be immediately canceled."
Absolutely Mental 26 What are memories?
"Ricky and Sam explore the nature of human memory. They also discuss death, practical jokes, and self-tickling."
Absolutely Mental 25 How do genetic mutations work?
"Ricky and Sam delve into evolution, genetic mutations, and their implications in modern society. They cite a lack of deodorant as a deterrent for time traveling to the past."
Absolutely Mental 24 Why is our species so successful?
"Ricky and Sam discuss human communication, wealth taxes, and effective charitable giving. Ricky pledges to leave all of his money to chimps."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 297 Preparing for the End - A Conversation with BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger
This is an episode I've been wanting to listen to for a long time. It's an important topic, that we usually don't want to think too much about. I do have a document that I've shared with my wife with important information about what to do or know if I die before her, but I realize it's far from complete. In particular, I should really think about my wishes regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation, assisted suicide, etc. What should happen if I get Alzheimer's disease (a very tricky question)?
Making Sense with Sam Harris 347 Finding Sanity in 2024
The world is insane. Solution: meditate.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 342 Animal Minds & Moral Truths - A Conversation with Peter Singer
I really like Peter Singer. His take on animal experimentation sounds reasonable. I'm convinced that some animal experimentation is necessary. It has to be done in the most humane way possible.
Very Bad Wizards 273 Ah. Ah. (Miyazaki's "Spirited Away")
I've seen Spirited Away three times (twice in 2002!) and I think I'm ready to watch it a fourth time. And then I can watch it again when my son is old enough...
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Lotusflow3r : Part 2, MPLSound et Elixer
L'interview d'Alfred Bernardin, qui a travaillé avec Prince durant environ une année et que je ne connaissais pas, est absolument fascinante. Elixer est un projet assez frustrant : la musique est très bonne, mais la voix de Bria est complètement lisse. J'espère que nous entendrons un jour les versions chantées par Prince.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 281 Longevity drugs, aging biomarkers, and updated findings from the Interventions Testing Program (ITP) | Rich Miller, M.D., Ph.D.
I never tire of hearing about the ITP. This is fascinating. This episode contains details I had never heard about the design of the ITP, the (unexplained) differences they observe between the three different sites, etc. Some conclusions: resveratrol, metformin, nicotinamide riboside (NR), and fisetin are most probably useless (at least in mice); rapamycin, 17⍺-estradiol, acarbose, and canagliflozin are exciting. Astaxanthin and meclizine seem to work as well.
2023 81
Date Name # Episode
Obsessed by Music - 10 Reasons Why I Still Play Music On CDs (and why I can't get rid of them)
I undertand Rob's reasons, but they all boil down to a single motivation: focus entirely on the experience of listing to the music. In that sense, smartphones, streaming platforms, etc. are not ideal. But it can be done.
Huberman Lab - Using Your Nervous System to Enhance Your Immune System
Podcast notes. My main takeaway: Wim Hof breathing, i.e. (1) 20-30 deep inhales and exhales through nose; (2) exhale of all air to empty lungs; (3) hold breath for up to 60 seconds; (4) repeat 2-4 rounds.
Obsessed by Music - Exploring Snobbism And The Evolution Of Music - With Arthur Turnbull
You can be a "snob" and share your passion with others.
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris - Matthieu Ricard, French Monk and 'World's Happiest Man'
It's very difficult to disagree with Matthieu. His point of views are really reasonable, especially when it comes to animal rights.
Absolutely Mental 23 Accepting Determinism
"Ricky asks Sam why subjective experience doesn't always match up with his understanding of determinism. They discuss determinism's role in the justice system, the importance of luck, and getting crushed to death by an avalanche while shagging a chicken."
Small Talk - Konbini - Marina Rollman et les croque-monsieur suisses austères
Une discussion légère entre deux humoristes que j'apprécie tout particulièrement, Marina Rollman et David Castello-Lopes. Quelques passages intéressants sur la relation entre la culture suisse et la culture française.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 341 Gaza & Global Order - A Conversation with Yuval Noah Harari
"Sam Harris speaks with Yuval Noah Harari about the events of October 7th and the resulting war in Gaza."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 327 Transformative Experiences - A Conversation with L.A. Paul
I liked the discussion about children and how they affect (i.e. transform) parents. I guess it shows how difficult it is to come up with realistic counterfactuals. I'm still convinced that people have children way too "easily" (i.e. without thinking too much about it).
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Bonus #7 : Fabrice et Joseph Chantôme évoquent Lotusflow3r
"Fabrice Chantôme est ingénieur du son. Joseph, son fils, est musicien, et tout aussi passionné de son que son père. Lors de l'épisode de Violet consacré a Lotusflow3r, Nicolas Gabet a diffusé des extraits de son entretien avec la "Chantôme Family". Nous avons souhaité partager avec vous l'intégralité de ces échanges."
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 276 Special episode: Peter answers questions on longevity, supplements, protein, fasting, apoB, statins, and more
"One of the most important things to understand when you are using some sort of intervention is, do you have a biomarker to know if you're doing it correctly?" I'm halfway through Peter's book. It's becoming clear that Peter is not spending too much time thinking about future tools to extend our healthspan. The focus should mainly be on exercising. A lot. And not much on nutrition and supplements. Also: I should find ways to eat enough protein. Peter is eating a lot of venison jerky sticks. I should probably look for vegetarian/vegan alternatives.
Prince | Official Podcast - The Story of Diamonds And Pearls, Episode 4: U Got the Horn, So Why Don't U Blow It?
It was nice hearing from Michael B. Nelson. I love that guy.
Prince | Official Podcast - The Story of Diamonds And Pearls, Episode 3: Rosie Is Like a Tornado
I'm happy to learn that Rosie is better now.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Diamonds & Pearls Super Deluxe : Coffret à bijoux
Un coffret attendu depuis très longtemps, mais consacré à une période et un album qui ne sont pas particulièrement appréciés par les fans. La remise en perspective des inédits du coffret est donc bienvenue et pertinente.
Prince | Official Podcast - The Story of Diamonds And Pearls, Episode 2: If It Ain't From Minneapolis, It Ain't S#!^
I had never realized that a lot of Prince's musicians from that era are from Minnapolis.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 331 A Golden Age for Assholes
This must have felt good. Only Sam can do this kind of monologues without losing his cool.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 317 What Do We Know About Our Minds? - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
A reminder that I should read Paul's previous book (that I purchased but never read).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 265 Time, productivity, and purpose: insights from Four Thousand Weeks | Oliver Burkeman
"Part of living a meaningful life is to be conscious of that fact that we don't get all the time we would wish to have." This is a book I need to read again. I agree with Peter that this is a really important book.
Prince | Official Podcast - The Story of Diamonds And Pearls, Episode 1: Welcome 2 The New Power Generation
Not my favorite Prince album, but, still, 1991 is when I started discovering Prince, so I'm actually quite excited about the Super Deluxe Edition.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 337 The Future of Psychedelic Medicine - A Conversation with Jeannie Fontana and Robin Carhart-Harris
This was more about politics and how psychedelic medicine can become a thing (i.e. an official thing). This was not a very dynamic and illuminating discussion.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 272 Rapamycin: potential longevity benefits, surge in popularity, unanswered questions, and more
"[Rapamycin] is the most robust and reproducible drug that we know about today for impacting not only longevity, but to the extent that we can measure various metrics of healthspan in complex animals, rapamycin also seems to positively impact pretty much every aspect of health span that we measure." Peter and Matt take rapamycin intermittently (people usually take 5-7 mg every week). David is waiting for the results of the study on dogs (2026).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 335 A Postmortem on My Response to Covid
A fantastic episode about how to think about a very complex problem. Also: Sam can be very funny.
Absolutely Mental 22 The Human Brain (but mostly other stuff)
"Ricky and Sam kick off season 3 by discussing art and imperfection, human cognition, and Ricky's bicep gains."
Huberman Lab - Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction
Randomly avoid external sources of dopamine when doing an activity you want to do on the long term (e.g. avoid coffee before the gym, avoid music/podcast/etc. while at the gym, etc.). This is like intermittent fasting. Avoid frequent dopamine peaks, as dopamine goes down below baseline after a peak. Sources of dopamine I should keep in mind: YouTube, music, podcasts, Feedly, Hacker News, forums about topics I like, etc. An exception would be coffee: it makes dopamine more available. Yerba mate is good as well, as it's neuroprotective. Armodafinil: take breaks from time to time. Cold exposure: it's really effective; it must be uncomfortable to work; there's no dopamine crash afterwards. Avoid rewards, aim for growth mindset instead. It's important to be able to get pleasure just from effort. Make sure there's no dopamine peak before or after an effort. An effort leading to good results can improve dopamine levels (remember: not too many rewards). Regularly depriving yourself of something you love such as food, music, video games, smartphones, etc. allows you to increase your baseline dopamine (I like this, as this is basically something from stoicism as well). Huberman takes 300 mg of PEA from time to time. Avoid lights at night. Avoid melatonin. Disrupting your circadian rhythm is not good for your dopamine. L-tyrosine is better than L-dopa / mucuna pruriens. Social relationships are good. They can help with dopamine via oxytocin. Podcast notes.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 333 Sanity Check on Climate Change - A Conversation with Chris Field
Nuclear energy is interesting but expensive (compared to renewable sources of energy). We've made a lot of progress in the last 10 years. "We can do it."
Huberman Lab - Dr. Rena Malik: Improving Sexual & Urological Health in Males and Females
Testosterone is important for desire (not arousal). Caffeine and alcool can irritate the bladder. Supplements to investigate: L-citrulline and tongkat ali.
Huberman Lab 347 ADHD & How Anyone Can Improve Their Focus
Avoid sugar. Some drugs (Ritalin, Adderall, but also modafinil/armodafinil) are quite effective. Some supplements can help: omega 3 and phosphatidylserine (maybe). Alpha-GPC helps with focus. L-tyrosine and PEA (hard to get) can increase dopamine. Racetams, like alpha-GPC, increase cholinergic/acetylcholine transmission, so help with focus. Meditation (17+ minutes) can help. Smartphones (and I guess online distractions in general) are a problem/challenge. Teenager shouldn't use them more than 60 minutes per day. Adults should avoid using them for more than 2 hours per day. Deep work is important.
Absolutely Mental 21 Why do we laugh?
"Ricky calls Sam to ask why humans laugh. They break down the mechanics of stand up comedy, the science behind tickling, and the mistakes of a very sad middle school teacher..." We laugh when our internal model of the world is "contradicted" by what happens.
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris 362 The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
I'm a minimalist at heart, but I often fail to be one in practice. I feel my life is often way more complex than it needs to be, especially when it comes to material/financial matters. I'm going to move soon, so this will be the opportunity to get rid of some of the stuff we've accumulated over the years, even though we give/sell stuff regularly.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 328 Health & Longevity - A Conversation with Peter Attia
"Work hard for muscles". Proteins are really important, for vegans it particular. NMN/NR are useless until proven otherwise. Metformin is probably not very useful for most people. Rapamycin is way more promising. We should have more information about its usefulness or lack thereof in about 3 years, when the TRIAD (Test of Rapamycin in Aging Dogs) study is over. Re. the brain (mental health, degenerative diseases): use it or lose it (this is true for the body as well).
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Lotusflow3r : Part 1, Prince méduse Montreux
L'un des mes albums préférés des "dernières années". Et les deux concerts de Montreux 2009 font partie des meilleurs concerts de la carrière de Prince. Une période fascinante.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 237 Optimizing life for maximum fulfillment | Bill Perkins
I bought Bill's book, Die With Zero. I'm still not totally convinced, although I understand the sentiment.
Obsessed by Music - A Spotlight On Sound Quality In Music
"The notion of 'sound quality' is of paramount importance to serious music listeners."
Huberman Lab 34 Understanding & Conquering Depression
Norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are all involved in depression. You should not overwhelm the pleasure system. You can reset it by stopping some activities for some time (e.g. 30 days). Things that are good: exercise (120-180 minutes per week), cold showers, EPA (1-2 g daily), creatine (1-5 g daily), fermented foods, tryptophan-rich foods (not too much). Experimental treatments: ketamine, PCP, psilocybin.
Huberman Lab 12 How To Increase Motivation & Drive
Don't celebrate too often (although I think I'm at a point where I don't celebrate often enough). Mucuna pruriens might be an interesting supplement for dopamine. Andrew seems to say that PEA (beta-phenylethylamine) might be interesting, but it doesn't seem to be easily available. Chocolate is rich in PEA. There might be a link between prolactine (where higher levels might be caused by hypothyroidism) and gynaecomastia. More dopamine also helps lowering prolactine.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 325 A Few Thoughts About RFK Jr.
I didn't even know Robert F. Kennedy Jr. existed. He doesn't seem to have intelligent ideas about vaccines. "Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reasons like a lawyer, not a scientist."
Absolutely Mental 20 The Monkey Mind
"Ricky asks Sam to explain the “monkey mind.” They also explore the illusion of free will, the nature of thought and distraction, and more of Sam's mumbo jumbo."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 320 Constructing Self and World - A Conversation with Shamil Chandaria
Our brains are prediction machines. We are conscious of the reconstruction of the "world" generated from our internal model. Sam confirmed that he took MDMA recently. He did it to meditate, which is intriguing (most people do it just to have fun or to work on their traumas).
Very Bad Wizards 247 Open the Pod, Dave (with Sam Harris)
2001: A Space Odyssey is one of my favorite movies. Hearing Tamler, Dave, and Sam discuss it was entertaining and illuminating at the same time. I was surprised to learn that they haven't read the book, though.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 315 The Great Derangement - A Conversation with Tim Urban
I really liked some of the posts on Wait but Why, but I didn't find this episode/discussion very interesting.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Planet Earth : Ici Londres !
Pas un de mes albums favoris, comme pour beaucoup de fans, mais un album somme toute agréable et une année pleine de concerts pour moi (Montreux et Londres), donc associée à de bons souvenirs.
Huberman Lab - The Science of MDMA & Its Therapeutic Uses: Benefits & Risks
The study involving members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is interesting. MDMA seems to be less neurotoxic that previously thought. Heat is still dangerous, though. MDMA can have short- but also long-term effects. Talk therapy is important. Illegal MDMA can be laced with fentanyl, like many other drugs.
Very Bad Wizards 234 Like A Dog (Kafka's "The Trial" Pt. 2)
See first part.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 224 Dietary protein: amount needed, ideal timing, quality, and more | Don Layman, Ph.D.
Not a very vegan-friendly episode. Basically, leucine, lysine, and methionine are very important and are found in smaller quantities in vegan sources of proteins. According to Don, animal proteins are clearly better than plant proteins. As a vegan, if you consume about 50 g of proteins each day, then the quality of proteins is important. If you consume about 120 g each day, then the quality becomes much less relevant. It's important to have proteins during the first meal of the day, at least 40-45 g (mTOR activation). If you exercise in the morning, it's probably better to consume the proteins after exercising.
Huberman Lab - Adderall, Stimulants & Modafinil for ADHD: Short- & Long-Term Effects
I listened to this episode specifically because modafinil/armodafinil were mentioned. I found this idea particularly interesting: "Increased dopamine and norepinephrine levels promote neuroplasticity, which helps strengthen and "train" the brain circuits involved in attention, focus and impulse control. This can provide lasting benefits even after medication use ends."
Absolutely Mental 19 Why can't we cure pain?
"Ricky calls Sam to ask why there isn't a cure for all physical pain. They discuss phantom pain in amputees, the origins of language, and the dangers of tying your shoes."
Huberman Lab - Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris: The Science of Psychedelics for Mental Health
Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy using psilocybin and MDMA will probably get approved in the near future in the US. Microdosing, as usually defined (i.e. using subperceptual doses), doesn't seem to work better than a placebo. I'm wondering if using slightly higher doses, i.e. right above the threshold of perception or "sub-hallucinogenic" doses (as James Fadiman is now advocating), would lead to more interesting results.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - 3121 : Viva Las Vegas !
Une belle analyse de l'un de mes albums "récents" (2006) préférés de Prince.
Huberman Lab - How Psilocybin Can Rewire Our Brain, Its Therapeutic Benefits & Its Risks
A good overall introduction to the topic.
Absolutely Mental 18 Lions, Twitter, and Billionaires...
"Ricky asks Sam what single concept he'd like everyone in the world to understand. They also discuss space tourism, the morality underlying animal behavior, and Ricky's award-winning tweets."
Lex Fridman Podcast 368 Eliezer Yudkowsky: Dangers of AI and the End of Human Civilization
That episode was hard to follow (for me, at least) and ultimately quite depressing. Let's just say I really hope Eliezer Yudkowsky is wrong.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 312 The Trouble with AI - A Conversation with Stuart Russell and Gary Marcus
It could have been an interesting discussion and it was at times, but there were too many interruptions and digressions.
Absolutely Mental 17 3 Questions for the Aliens
"Ricky poses a thought experiment where Sam would act as a human representative to speak with super-intelligent aliens. Sam would ask the aliens to cure aging. Ricky would rather know which version of the Office they liked more."
Absolutely Mental 16 Q&A
"Ricky poses Sam a question from a listener. They discuss mental illness, the relationship between mind and body, and why, when Christ returns to earth, it definitely won't be on a spaceship."
Huberman Lab 11 How Foods and Nutrients Control Our Moods
L-tyrosine can be taken from time to time for dopamine/motivation. Sugar/l-tyrosine cravings are caused by a subconscious mechanism (at the level of the gut?). Mucuna pruriens is apparently quite powerful as well (i.e. must be taken only from time to time). EPA (1 g) is useful for depression and for heart rate variability (HRV). ALCAR can also have a positive effect on mood. Fermented food and/or probiotics can help as well.
Conversations with Tyler - William MacAskill on Effective Altruism, Moral Progress, and Cultural Innovation
My first Conversations with Tyler episode. I've heard MacAskill multiple times in the past (Sam Harris, Very Bad Wizards, and Tim Ferriss). This episode was more technical. It felt like Tyler really wanted to go to the limits of MacAskill's ideas.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Bonus #6 : Musicologie appliquée
Une belle analyse de "Sometimes It Snows In April" par Nicolas Gabet.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Musicology : Retour à l'école
Musicology n'a jamais été un de mes albums préférés. Je l'écoute rarement. Trop mainstream, mais pas mauvais. L'éclairage de Nicolas permet de voir qu'il y a toujours du très bon perdu au milieu de ce que l'on trouve moyen, avec Prince.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 222 How nutrition impacts longevity | Matt Kaeberlein, Ph.D
Rapamycin has a positive impact on healthspan/lifespan even if you take it late in life (at least if you're a mouse). This is good news. Some forms of rapamycin are apparently better than others. You should take the "triangle" one (e.g. Rapamune). The discussion about protein was interesting, as Matt and Peter recognize that some knowledgeable people think you should have a low protein diet, while others think you should have a high protein diet. The reality is that there's a trade-off and that trade-off varies with age. If you're 50 years old or older, it's probably a good idea to consume a lot of protein, as long as it doesn't come with too many high-calorie foods.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 308 The Long Game - A Conversation with Robert Waldinger
Sam, as often, mentions the study where well-being plateaus as income rises, but life satisfaction keeps going up. Robert doesn't agree with the interpretation that life satisfaction keeps going up, but I'm not sure why. Overall, a nice discussion, but with not too many insights if you've heard Robert's TEDx talk.
Very Bad Wizards 233 Keeping It Surreal (Kafka's "The Trial" Pt. 1)
I read The Trial in French in 2004. I don't remember the story very well, but hearing Tamler and Dave talk about it, it's obvious that I've read it. I still remember the feelings I had while reading it, that weird feeling of reading someone's absurd dream, of confusion, etc. Obviously, this is a book I should read again someday.
Absolutely Mental 15 The certainty (and uncertainty) of death
"Ricky and Sam debate whether or not it would be better to know the date of your death. They also discuss the flaws in human memory, what uploading our consciousnesses might look like, and why snails would make terrible comedians." If you could know the exact date of your death, would you choose to know it or not? My initial reaction was: yes, sure; you can then plan your life accordingly. But the more I think about it, the less it makes sense. If you know when you're going to die, does it mean you can behave in a very risky manner until you die? Have you just acquired magical powers? Thought experiments like this are less useful than they appear.
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 269 Magic Medicinal Mushrooms
Shiitake is apparently good for immunity.
Obsessed by Music - Is It Possible To Have Too Much Music?
The answer is "yes". We have access to way more music than we "need". This is a good problem to have. We should focus more on quality and less on quantity, i.e. listen to our favorite albums more often and with more "intention" (not in the background).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 210 Lp(a) and its impact on heart disease | Benoît Arsenault, Ph.D.
A very technical episode. I've already measured my Lp(a) level. Once is enough. ApoB can be measured regularly. Increasing your HDL levels is useless (again).
Hidden Brain 39 Vacations
Nobody cares about your vacations, so take vacations for yourself, not for others. Benefits of vacations quickly vanish (after 4 weeks in a study with German teachers), so maybe shorter, but more frequent vacations are a good idea? Vacations are a way to develop our sense of awe.
The Tim Ferriss Show 384 David Allen - The Art of Getting Things Done (GTD)
I've been implementing GTD for more than 15 years now and I'm always fine-tuning things. I should probably read the book again or, better, listen to the audio book.
FoundMyFitness 75 Intestinal Permeability: the Bacterial link to Aging, Brain Barrier Dysfunction & Metabolic Disorder
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) can enter the bloodstream via the gut and cause all kinds of problems (atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration, etc.). Avoid alcohol. Avoid eating too much. Avoid too much saturated fats and carbohydrates. Exercise. Omega-3 fatty acids are good.
Huberman Lab 8 Optimize Your Brain with Science-based Tools
Expose yourself to bright light during the first 30 minutes after waking up. Drink water (after waking up, but also during the day). Coffee/caffeine 2 hours after waking up (to not interfere with cortisol). Being in a place with lots of things/people (i.e. not "quiet") can make you more alert. Salt/sodium is not bad; it's important, especially if you drink coffee (Huberman drinks salted water in the morning). Fasting leads to alertness; eating makes you sleepy. Modulate the amount of food you eat around noon depending on your level of alertness at the end of the morning. Huberman skips breakfast and exercises during his first hour after waking up (this is not for me, as I tend to be slightly underweight and I have a child to take care of). Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) in the afternoon. Deep (focused) work in the morning, shallow (more fragmented) work in the afternoon, creative work at the end of the day. Altertness before sleeping is normal.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 302 Science & Civilization - A conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson
A really nice discussion. I especially liked the part about how science progresses, how real paradigm shifts are really rare, the myth of the lonely genius, etc.
Huberman Lab 6 How to Focus to Change Your Brain
Before 25 years old: the brain is very plastic; you learn easily. After 25 years old: you really have to be alert. Intention matters. You have to consciously decide that you want to change something. Nicotine works well for focusing. Alpha-GPC as well. You have to use those substances only intermitently. Adderall is often used, but also very often abused. Not recommended. Caffeine is useful for alertness (epinephrine). Water is important. Useful exercise to train/trigger focus: focus visually on a small area of your monitor (for example) for a couple of minuites. Sleep is very important before (for alertness), but also after (for the learning process to really take place). A nap after a bout of learning is also possible. Or Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR).
Very Bad Wizards - Cuckception
"Another Lynch deep dive and Tamler is once again joined by Jesse Graham and Natalia Washington to drive down Lynch's 1997 mind-splitting Lost Highway. A simple story really about a man who suspects his wife is cheating on him, kills her, gets sentenced to death, then turns into a different much younger man who is released from prison, meets a different femme fatale version of the previous guy's wife, who involves him a robbery but then the mystery man returns and... never mind. Watch the movie, listen to the episode." I should probably have watched the movie again. I didn't remember much from it, after watching it in 2004 and 2018. For the Inland Empire episode, I'll definitely watch the movie again!
Making Sense with Sam Harris 306 Psychedelics & Mortality - A Conversation with Roland Griffiths
I'm sad to hear about Roland Griffiths' cancer. And, at the same time, I don't think I've ever heard someone being so at peace with their own death. That's inspiring.
Absolutely Mental 14 What is anxiety?
"Ricky and Sam explore the origins of anxiety. They also discuss aging, stand up comedy, and having a heart attack on stage." This was a good discussion, especially the part about death.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - The Chocolate Invasion / The Slaughterhouse : The Internet Experience
Deux albums jamais publiés physiquement et rarement considérés parmi les meilleurs de Prince, mais qui, avec le recul, contiennent de nombreuses pépites.
Absolutely Mental 13 How does hypnosis work?
"Ricky and Sam discuss the mechanics of hypnosis and the possibility of a "truth serum."" They also condemn swallowing live frogs at parties."
The Joe Cohen Show 7 Tim Gray: Sleep, Psychedelics & Methylene Blue
Tim currently takes progesterone. This is quite surprizing, for a man. Tim seems to like piracetam. Gwern likes it as well. He also likes mescaline and thinks it's less anxiety-inducing than LSD/psylocybine.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 221 Understanding sleep and how to improve it
A nice compilation of Peter's discussions with Matthew Walker. At this point, I'm pretty good at sleeping well. The only thing I can't control is the heat during multiple months during the year. The idea of cooling the bed directly (using water, e.g. with the Eight Sleep products) is intriguing, but it's quite expensive, meant for a whole double bed (i.e. for two persons), and I'm not convinced it's quiet enough for me.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 307 Twitter, Elon, & Free Speech
Elon Musk has done many positive things for the world, but is behaving in a completely irresponsible way with Twitter.
Absolutely Mental 12 Why do we care about the future of humanity?
"We care about what happens after we die… but why? Ricky and Sam kick off season two by discussing our desire to leave the earth better than we found it. Ricky officially denounces Satan."
Lex Fridman Podcast 321 Ray Kurzweil: Singularity, Superintelligence, and Immortality
Nothing really new if you're familiar with Ray Kurzweil. He was 74 years old at the time of this interview and doesn't look/sound particularly more healthy than my parents, for example, who are 75 years old. This is somewhat disappointing, with all the supplements he has taken daily for the last 20 years at least.
Huberman Lab 90 Nicotine's Effects on the Brain & Body & How to Quit Smoking or Vaping
"Acetylcholine, epinephrine and dopamine are the three key chemicals that govern focus and direction, energy and motivation respectively. [..] A 300 milligram dose of alpha GPC taken 10-30 minutes before any cognitive or physical task can increase focus by increasing acetylcholine and epinephrine. [...] Nicotine is effective at increasing focus, motivation and cognitive capacity due to its influence on these three key chemicals. [...] Nicotine has two major effects on the brain. Firstly, it increases dopamine levels which activates the limbic pathway, making us feel motivated and good. Secondly, it increases acetylcholine which acts as a neurochemical attentional spotlight, enhancing our ability to focus on particular tasks. [...] Nicotine has the interesting effect of increasing alertness and attention, while also relaxing skeletal muscles. [...] When nicotine is ingested, the reward pathways in the body are stimulated, alertness and attention increase, and one's mood is elevated. Additionally, the heart rate and blood pressure are increased. This creates an optimal state for cognitive work, such as typing or writing. However, it is not ideal for physical performance, as it decreases reaction time and muscle activation. [...] In adults, over 25 years old, nicotine ingestion to enhance cognitive function, may be beneficial at reasonable dosages and frequency, but not by smoking, vaping, or direct contact of tobacco to the mouth or nose."
2022 122
Date Name # Episode
Superchuckamania 210 Episode 210
Two years later, I wanted to check this podcast again (they're half of the Peack & Black podcast, after all). Too much rambling. One Prince mention. I'll pass. Again.
Hidden Brain - You 2.0: Deep Work
After listening to this episode, I've decided to block more time in the morning for deep work, by moving my recurrent/shallow tasks in the afternoon. Also, I will stop checking my emails in the morning. I will do it only in the afternoon.
The Tim Ferriss Show 458 The Psychedelic News Hour: New Breakthroughs, Compound Comparisons and Warnings (Psilocybin/LSD/Ayahuasca/N,N-DMT/5-MeO-DMT), Treatment of Trauma, Scalable vs. Unscalable Approaches, Making Sense of “Bad” Trips, and Much More
We need more serious studies on psychedelic treatments, which means money, so it's good to hear that $30 million were raised in 2020.Episode transcript.
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 255 Doing the Moringa
Eat brocolis instead.
Le point J - Pourrait-on se passer de cadeaux de Noël ?
Tripodscast - Episode 10: The Worlds of Sam Youd
An episode about John Christopher / Sam Youd's other works, with interviews with his children.
Tripodscast - Episode 9: Legacy
It was nice to hear from Tripods fans, including from Switzerland, and to hear Grimentz being mentioned (it was one of the filming locations).
Tripodscast - Episode 8: Merchandising
A book is being written about The Tripods. Excellent news.
Tripodscast - Episode Seven Part Two: The Cancellation
I think I like unfinished works of art, such as Kafka's The Castle. It gives them a certain charm.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 303 The Fall of Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Harris' point of view is reasonable. Sam Bankman-Fried did something criminal, apparently, but it doesn't diminish any of the ideas behind effective altruism. Just like it doesn't invalidate veganism, by the way.
Tripodscast - Episode Seven Part One: The Cancellation
The cancellation of the third series is frustrating, of course, but it doesn't diminish what was done in the first two series. And you can always read the book to know the rest of the story. It was a nice surprise to finally hear Jim Baker. I was wondering why he wasn't interviewed like the rest of the main cast.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - N.E.W.S. / Xpectation / C-NOTE : Instrus Mentaux
3 albums instrumentaux sortis sur une période d'un peu plus d'une année et traités ici durant le même épisode. J'ai réécouté régulièrement ces albums depuis 19 ans (en particulier East et Xpedition, mais c'est vraiment une bonne chose que plusieurs heures aient été consacrés à ces albums finalement souvent ignorés de la discographie de Prince.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 304 Why I Left Twitter - A conversation with Cal Newport
I'm glad Sam has finally left Twitter. This was a waste of his time. The discussion with Cal Newport was interesting. I bought Deep Work after listening to this episode. Time blocking sounds like something I sometimes do, but that I should do intentionally, not by accident...
Making Sense with Sam Harris 299 Steps in the Right Direction - A Conversation with Russ Roberts
I was frustrated that they didn't discuss the topic of parenthood and happiness more. I don't like this idea that being a parent should be an irrational decision. We need more studies. We need more discussion. I still feel there's a taboo here. And it's not healthy. The problem with studies about happiness, though, is that, at the end of the day, you still have to ask people if they're happy or not (either directly or indirectly) and people are pretty bad at knowking what they feel. They're bad at introspection. So it's hard to trust any study about happiness. How satisfied are you with your life right know, from 1 to 10. I... don't know?
Tripodscast - Episode Six Part One: BBC TV Adaptation - Second Series
See previous episode.
Tripodscast - Episode Six Part One: BBC TV Adaptation - Second Series
The interviews with Robin Hayter and Richard Bates were nice, although Richard Bates can already be heard quite extensively in the Cult of The Tripods documentary (in 2006).
Huberman Lab 86 What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health
Alcohol is empty calories (worse than sugar). Low-to-moderate consumption of alcohol is still bad (not better than no alcohol). Drinking alcohol regularly leads to more anxiety, more stress, worse mood (although it can reduce stress/anxiety in the very short term). Alcohol has a negative impact on the gut microbiome and on sleep. There's no magic cure/pill for hangovers. It's probably a good idea to take probiotics (or eat fermented food) before and after drinking alcohol. Alcohol has a negative impact on dopamine/serotonine systems. Waiting a long time between "drinking sessions" is a good idea (it allows the brain to recover). Taking vitamins B9/B12 might counteract a little bit the negative impact on cancers. All in all, alcohol is pretty bad. I'm actually surprised to hear Huberman being that negative about alcohol (and way more negative about alcohol than about cannabis). The conclusion is (obviously): drink as little alcohol as possible.
Tripodscast - Episode Five Part Two: BBC TV Adaptation - First Series
I enjoyed the interviews. John Shackley was not as negative as I expected him to be. On the contrary.
Tripodscast - The Holiday Special: Dani Reacts
I'm usually not a fan of reaction videos, but this was a fun episode.
Tripodscast - Episode Five Part One: BBC TV Adaptation - First Series
I finished watching the first series 9 days ago, so it's still fresh in my mind. The interviews with Ceri Seele and John Shackley were a really nice suprise. I especially liked the one with Ceri Seele.
Tripodscast - Episode Four: When the Tripods Came
Everybody seems to agree that the prequel was less interesting than the first three books. I personally liked that some of the action happened in Switzerland (the Lausanne railway station was mentioned, if I recall correctly?).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 295 Philosophy and the Good Life - A Conversation with Kieran Setiya
As we're in 2022, I'm not bothered anymore by Sam talking for 5 minutes straight about meditation or free will, or asking his guest if he's ever taken psychedelics. Sam's podcasts are discussions. They're not standard interviews. Still, I'm not sure I retained much from this episode. Maybe because I was not focused enough. The thought experiment about past/future pain was not really illuminating to me. We're hardwired to avoid pain/suffering. The only pain/suffering we can avoid is in the future, by definition. Am I missing something? About grieving: we're attached to this idea that we should grieve for people we love; if we don't (e.g. if we take that imaginary pill that suppresses grieving), we tend to see that as a form of betrayal. Maybe an episode I should listen to again.
Absolutely Mental 11 How will civilization end?
"Ricky calls Sam to discuss the prospect of human extinction. They also explore animal testing, flat earthers, and UFO's. Ricky confirms that cows have been anally probed." I'm not convinced that all animal testing should be banned. Most of it is probably useless, but not all of it. The Interventions Testing Program (ITP), for example, looks like a good program. They're trying to extend mice lifespan. I don't see how that's unethical.
Tripodscast - Episode Three: The Pool of Fire
An episode about the third book in the trilogy, which was never adapted by the BBC, unfortunately.
Tripodscast - Episode Two: The City of Gold and Lead
An episode about the second book in the trilogy.
Tripodscast - Episode One: The White Mountains
I've started watching the BBC TV series (yet again) a few days ago and just discovered this podcast about the book and the series. This first episode is about the first book in the trilogy.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - One Nite Alone : Jusqu'au bout de la Nuit
Une année très spéciale : 2002. Appartenant au NPG Music Club, nous avions pu assister aux soundchecks avant les concerts (pour ma part à Zürich). Après le concert, j'avais pu rencontrer Prince et lui serrer la main au Kaufleuten. Ce sont de bons souvenirs et l'enregistrement live principal (One Nite Alone... Live!) est un bon témoignagne de cette période excellente et particulièrement musicale de Prince.
The Happiness Lab - How to be Angry Better
"Anger is a powerful signal that you or someone you value is in danger. But in our normal lives the sensations of rage we experience are false alarms – we aren't in real peril and we don't need to resort to extreme survival behaviors, such as violence."
Absolutely Mental 10 What's so great about life?
Sharing our good experiences with other people. Living for others and/or something bigger than us (e.g. a cause). "Ricky calls Sam to ask what makes life worth living. They discuss the implications of fame, mortality, and the importance of dying in the right outfit."
BBC Radio 3 - Free Thinking - Miles Davis and On The Corner
Nothing really new, but it was kind of fun hearing fresh views on a 50-year-old album. Bill Laswell sounded a bit blasé. I'm glad Paul Tingen took Teo Macero's defense. I think Bill's a bit too harsh, here. Teo was more than just a salaried employee.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 291 Where is Happiness? - A Conversation with Arthur C. Brooks
Nothing really new, here. To be happy, we have to do things that benefit others. A nice discussion, overall.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 289 Time Management for Mortals - A Conversation with Oliver Burkeman
A really important episode (for me). I've read Burkeman's book, but I think I'll need to listen to this episode multiple times. And the rest of the "courses" on Waking Up as well.
Huberman Lab 92 The Effects of Cannabis (Marijuana) on the Brain & Body
I was not aware that there were endogenous cannabinoids. There are different strains of cannabis: sativa (stimulant) vs indica (relaxing). Both can be of type 1, 2, or 3 (different THC content). Anxiety: the same strain/dosage can lead to more anxiety or less anxiety ("it depends"). Chronic use (twice or more per week) can eventually lead to more anxiety than at the beginning after a while (12 months or so). Cannabis also tends to increase depression, even in non-depressed people. Creativity: there is divergent thinking ("brainstorming") and convergent thinking. The divergent thinking state tends to be correlated with higher dopamine. There's an inversed U-shaped relationship between the two, though. Convergent thinking tends to be correlated with low dopamine. There are conflicting results about cannabis and creativity. The relationship could even be reversed, i.e. more creative/"open" people are more attracted to cannabis. Or cannabis could actually increase creativity by reducing anxiety (for some people) and increasing dopamine. Less anxiety might lead to creativity by stimulating the divergent thinking state, i.e. people become less "afraid" to have more diverse ideas. Changes in speeh patterns: rather negative influence. Influence on libodo: not clear, can be positive or negative ("it depends"). Smoking (anything, tobacco or cannabis) is bad in itself. Vaping is also bad (more than expected). Chronic use of cannabis: has negative consequences on the brain (grey matter thinning?). Cannabis use is really problematic before 20-25 years old. Basically: it can be useful for pain management in some situations. For the rest: more research is needed.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 206 Exercising for longevity: strength, stability, zone 2, zone 5, and more
Another reminder that I should do more strength training. Zone 2 is a good exercise zone. There's virtually no limit to how much zone 2 exercice you should do. The more, the better. It's also a zone where you can do something else while exercising (e.g. focusing on a podcast or a video), so it's a good way to associate fun things with exercise. Cardio should be done before strength training (good: it's already what I'm doing). Peter's way of thinking (focusing on what you want to do when you're 100) is a good way to look at things.
FoundMyFitness 76 Stuart Phillips, PhD, on Building Muscle with Resistance Exercise and Reassessing Protein Intake
It's becoming clearer and clearer that, while I'm exercising regularly (3 times a week), I should focus more on strength training, muscle building, proteins, etc. Focusing on consuming enough proteins (1.2-1.6 g per kg of body weight, so about 80-100 g for me) is really important. The kind of protein (animal vs plant) and the way it's split (or not) during the day are less important. Vitamin D3 and omega 3 are important. Creatine (4-5 g) is useful as well (muscles and brain). Sauna is important (I should use the one at my gym way more often).
Absolutely Mental 9 How can stories make us cry?
"Ricky calls Sam to ask why we cry in response to certain works of fiction. They discuss their favorite tear-jerkers and explore how media influences human emotions."
Hidden Brain - Work 2.0: The One-Room Commute
An end-of-2021 perspective on remote/home working. I guess the conclusion is that home/remote working is not for everyone. Not everyone can do it (logistically). Not everyone wants to do it. Not everyone likes it. It depends a lot on personal factors. Do you have a suitable place at home to work? Are you comfortable being socially more isolated? Do you have the discipline necessary to be productive at home? By the way, are you even that productive at the office, surrounded by colleagues? It seems that, for some people, it's even positive to see colleagues that they don't particularly appreciate from time to time, rather than to not see them at all. We're social animals, after all. It's a very complex topic and I'm pretty sure a lot of those questions are not settled yet.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - The Rainbow Children : L'épisode en public
L'un des derniers grands albums de Prince. Un épisode (en public) à la hauteur de l'oeuvre.
Mushroom Revival Podcast - Microdosing Psilocybin with Dr. James Fadiman
I know it's hard or impossible to design good studies about psychedelics, because once you go over a given dosage, well, it becomes impossible to have a good placebo (i.e. it becomes impossible *not* to be able to say that you were not given a placebo). That being said, Fadiman is slightly too critical of science and pharma to my taste. It really sounds like he starts from the conclusion (i.e. psilocybin "works", whatever that means) and then look a the evidence, the studies, etc. very critically. Both Fadiman and the host are looking at the placebo effect from the wrong angle, in my opinion. I really don't like that idea that if something "works", you don't care whether it's because of the placebo effect or not. If something's just a placebo effect, then it probably means that it might be a good idea to look for better alternatives, because the placebo effect, as far as I'm aware, is often more modest than what most people think. Regression to the means is often a more likely explanation. Also, the placebo effect is often about the symptoms and you probably want to focus more on the root of your problems. I was not a fan of The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide and this is a confirmation that the field definitely needs more serious/curious people. Maybe one thing to retain from that discussion: Fadiman seems to say that microdosing is not about subperceptual doses, but slightly higher doses.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 288 The End of Global Order - A Conversation with Peter Zeihan and Ian Bremmer
Not exactly the kind of episodes I should be listening right now, as the news this year tends to make me anxious (Ukraine/Russia, Taiwan/China, enegergy crisis, climate crisis, etc.). Still I stay optimistic about the long term future of the world...
Very Bad Wizards - Ask Us Anything #9
I was disappointed when Dave said that "acupuncture works, because it works on horses and there's no placebo effect with horses". The placebo effect is not the only variable you have to take into account. Human biases and expectations, in the case of horses, are another one. Also, doing good studies on acupuncture is notoriously very hard, because it's almost impossible to have a good control group (e.g. using sham needles). Another interesting part: it's important to feel good while doing good things. This is a topic already mentioned multiple times by Sam Harris and this is highly problematic when you're trying to implement effective altruism. For example, giving money to effective charities doesn't feel good at all to me. It's too abstract. I don't see the consequences. But it's one of the best thing I can do.
Absolutely Mental 8 Why do we fear death?
"Ricky calls Sam to discuss our fear of death, the future of humanity, and getting raped by Satan in front of a fundamentalist Christian." I've always found people who do not fear death (at least to some degree) puzzling. Is this SMBC comic relevant?
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Bonus #5 : Visite de Paisley Park et de The immersive Experience à Chicago
J'irai visiter Paisley Park à Minneapolis un jour. Je ne sais pas encore quand. J'espère juste que l'endroit ne ferme pas d'ici là.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 287 Why Wealth Matters - A Conversation with Morgan Housel
The comments on Reddit are pretty harsh. Social comparison is bad for your mental health.
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 155 How to Prevent Alzheimer's with Diet
There's a causal link between meat / saturated fat and Alzheimer's. Saffron might help.
Absolutely Mental 7 What makes us who we are?
"Ricky calls Sam to discuss the nature vs. nurture debate, but what he really wants is a jetpack... then he could die happy."
Huberman Lab 78 The Science & Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
I was wondering whether I might suffer (at least a little bit) from OCD. This is probably not the case. CBT and SSRIs are helpful. Cannabis is probably useless. Psilocybin might help (in a psychotherapeutic context, as usual).
Absolutely Mental 6 Where does morality come from?
"Ricky calls Sam to ask if human morality is an evolved trait. They debate the order of vaccine distribution. They agree that time travel would be very difficult."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 286 The Paradox of Psychedelics
Some bits and pieces from the Waking Up app.
Absolutely Mental 5 What's the point?
"Ricky calls Sam to discuss Robert Nozick's "experience machine" and the value of remaining in touch with the real world. Sam promotes mosquito genocide. Ricky worries about flying spiders."
Absolutely Mental 4 Would you rather?
"Ricky calls Sam to discuss morality, their backgrounds in philosophy, and the trolley problem. Sam is hesitant to murder charitable old ladies." This one was a bit silly...
Making Sense with Sam Harris 285 American Division - A Conversation with David French
A good discussion between two people who disagree on many things. That was a breath of fresh air.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic : Le Bug de l'An 2000
Il est assez fascinant d'apprendre que quelqu'un ait pu devenir fan de Prince à l'âge de 4 ans en découvrant le concert Rave Un2 the Year 2000. Quant à l'album, oui, il est objectivement moins bon que beaucoup d'autres, mais je l'écoute régulièrement avec plaisir.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 283 Gun Violence in America - A Conversation with Graeme Wood
If someone is threatening you with a weapon, run. Other than that, I don't know what to do of this episode. The US have a problem with guns that many other countries don't have. It's very hard to see how they can solve it.
Absolutely Mental 3 Will we be replaced by robots?
"Ricky calls Sam to ask if AI will replace comedians. They also discuss the implications of not having free will and if a chimp has ever asked, "what does it all mean?"" They agree that bears are dangerous."
Absolutely Mental 2 What makes something funny?
"Ricky calls Sam to discuss Sam's monster joke from their last conversation. They consider where to draw the line in comedy. Ricky thinks everything is on the table. Except the word “vagina.”" Already listened to this episode on Sam's podcast.
Absolutely Mental 1 Why do we dream?
"Ricky calls Sam to ask why we dream. They discuss why puns are terrible and explore some of the mechanics of comedy." Already listened to this episode on Sam's podcast.
Live Longer World 18 Longevity Supplements - Interventions Testing Program Results | Dr. Richard Miller
Results for spermidine are a bit disappointing. Astaxanthin, on the other hand, looks promising (I'm already taking it). Rapamycin + acarbose sound very promising, as well.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 284 The Funny Business - A Conversation with Judd Apatow
Most comedy doesn't age well. About children: just assume they can see everything that's available on the internet; educate them to react in a good way (discussing it, etc.).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 282 Do You Really Have a Self? - A Conversation with Jay Garfield
A familiar topic for people meditating with Sam's app. "When we understand our interdependence with those around us, rather than the idea that we are independent entities that just happen to encounter one another, then we understand the role that others have in constituting and making possible who we are, and that can allow an attitude of competition to be replaced by an attitude of gratitude, and gratitude itself can be extraordinarily liberating."
Prince | Official Podcast 20 The Story of Prince and The Revolution: Live, Episode 2: Hello Syracuse, and the World
See previous episode.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 199 Running, overcoming challenges, and finding success | Ryan Hall
For about 20,000 USD, you can run a marathon in Antartica. And for about 40'000 USD, you can (try and) run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. Anyway, some people just sound superhuman to me.
Prince | Official Podcast 19 The Story of Prince and The Revolution: Live, Episode 1: Welcome to Superstardom
I'm ready for the next Super Deluxe Edition of Diamonds And Pearls.
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 249 Fighting Depression
Boosting BDNF might be good.
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 180 Vitamin Supplements – Do We Need Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are useless according to multiple studies and meta-analysis. A question that comes to mind is: is it the case for all brands, formulations, doses, etc.? Is it still the case if you eat, exercice, and sleep "correcly"?
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 149 Raising Healthy Children
Sulforaphane/broccoli is good. Broccoli sprouts as well. Nutritional yeast is apparently good for colds (prevention).
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 136 A Longer Life
Rapamycin is definitely a drug to follow. Exercise is very important, as always. Lutein is also mentioned.
Very Bad Wizards - Ask Us Anything #7
It's hard to find a suitable psychotherapist, but I find it hard as well to find a good M.D.
Very Bad Wizards - Ask Us Anything #8
"Art is money laundering with the useful side-effect that people make art." -David
Very Bad Wizards 236 Your Outie Is Skilled at Lovemaking (With Paul Bloom)
One of the best TV shows I've ever seen. Even without being "severed", it's easy to consider your past or future self as a different person. In all cases, we should act with more compassion with ourselves.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 281 Western Culture and Its Discontents - A Conversation with Douglas Murray
I should probably have skipped this one.
Very Bad Wizards - Millennium Actress
An episode I listened to after having watched Millennium Actress. It gave me a different perspective on the movie, once again. The repetitive/"fractal" form of the movie, in particular, was something I hadn't completely caught.
Huberman Lab 10 Master Stress: Tools for Managing Stress & Anxiety
"The physiological sigh is the best real-time tool to calm down: two inhales through the nose followed by an extended exhale through the mouth." Supplements that might help: l-theanine (before sleep or in late afternoon), melatonin (but doesn't really advise taking it - too many drawbacks), and ashwagandha. "Managing medium-term stress (stress lasting days to weeks) is best done by increasing your stress threshold through short, difficult bursts to become more comfortable at higher levels of activation – try sprints, cold shower, bike intervals, etc." Also, changing our vision can help: "If you keep your head still, you can dilate your gaze so you can see far into the periphery—above, below and to the sides of you." To help with long-term stress: "Social connections (e.g., significant other, platonic, pet, joy of participating in or watching event) mitigates long-term stress by releasing serotonin and suppressing tachykinin."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 280 The Future of Artificial Intelligence - A Conversation with Eric Schmidt
Nothing really new/interesting.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - The Vault : Un disque qui a du coffre
Je partage l'avis du podcast : The Vault... Old Friends 4 Sale est un album tout à fait agréable, qui contient l'un de mes morceaux préférés, "When The Lights Go Down".
Making Sense with Sam Harris 279 The Rules of the Stage - A Conversation with Ricky Gervais
An entertaining episode about the Oscar slap incident. Nothing too serious. That was welcome.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 202 Peter on nutrition, disease prevention, sleep, and more — looking back on the last 100 episodes
Colonoscopy: they should be done every 1-3 years instead of 5-10 years. ApoB: we should be more agressive, earlier. I'm at 69 mg/dl, which is pretty good, but I should aim at values under 60 and below 40 would be even better. DEXA is an accurate way to measure body composition. I don't see any cheap way to do it in Switzerland. Intermittent fasting: it's beneficial only because of indirect caloric restriction according to Peter. Protein: we should consume 2 g/kg/day (so at least 130 g/day for me). NMN/NR: Peter is pretty pessimistic about them. He's waiting for impressive studies, but hasn't seen one so far. Psychedelics/MDMA: there's a lot of hype around them (and this article agrees with this sentiment), but Peter's enthusiastic about future psychotherapies using those drugs (i.e. they must be accompanied by "hard work"). Melatonin: avoid taking it more than occasionally.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - New Power Soul : NPG Acte III
Un album sous-estimé, festif en apparence, mais en réalité assez sombre du point de vue de certaines paroles, mais également de certains aspects musicaux.
Very Bad Wizards 232 Mind over Matter
About the opening segment: PhDs are usually more useful to the persons who do them than to the people who potentially read them. That's true for blog posts as well. About panpsychism: Tamler/Dave don't find the concept particularly useful, i.e. it just moves the problem to another level.
Huberman Lab 3 Using Science to Optimize Sleep, Learning & Metabolism
We tend to focus too much on blue light. All light late during the day is problematic when it comes to sleep. Less food / fasting leads to more wakefulness. If you skip a meal, it's probably better to skip breakfast. If we oversimplify things: tyrosine is better in the morning (more wakefulness) and tryptophan is better in the evening (more relaxation). It could be interesting to experiment with tyrosine supplements in the morning and tryptophan supplements in the evening. High-carb meals tend to lead to higher tryptophan levels, so should be taken in the evening if possible. I should probably investigate NSDR (Non-Sleep Deep Rest). Another oversimplification: prefer cold showers in the morning and hot showers in the evening.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 277 How Does the War in Ukraine End? - A Conversation with Ian Bremmer
Sam's third episode about the war in Ukraine and probably the best (I haven't listened to the one with Garry Kasparov, which didn't sound too interesting). Bremmer has a seemingly informed opinion about what's happening. Putin was surprised by the weaknesses of his own army, by the combativeness of Ukrainians, and by the way Western countries reacted in a synchronous manner. This was a big mistake and there's no easy way out of this for him. Still according to Bremmer, Europe will probably be able to stop buying gas/petrol from Russia in about three years (which sounds optimistic to me). Russia will never be as isolated as North Korea, though. A huge part of the world will still trade with Russia. Among them, China and India are rather Russian-friendly. At the same time, they don't want to upset Western countries, so they'll go on walking that fine line. For example, some Chinese enterprises reacted more negatively against Russia, but only for legal and economic reasons (i.e. not to be the target of sanctions as well).
Very Bad Wizards 229 Skin Deep?
As often, Ted Chiang story "Liking What You See: A Documentary" was excellent and thought-provoking. Free will was (briefly) mentioned. I don't know if it's actually relevant. The way we look is used to discriminate against people, among many other things (nationality, age, religion, etc.). It introduces biases, even if we're not aware of them. So we should try to be influenced by this factor as little as possible. Ted Chiang's story shows that it's far from being simple, though.
Very Bad Wizards - Ask Us Anything #6
Podcasts are probably a good format for academics. It's a good way to reach more people. And to be more useful as well.
The Happiness Lab - Stepping Off the Path of Anxiety
Some tools: 1) ask yourself "What if I didn't have that (negative/anxiety-driven) thought? What would my life be like?"; 2) reply to your negative thoughts (with curiosity, even with humor).
FoundMyFitness 71 Peter Diamandis, MD, and Tony Robbins on strategies that promote longevity now - and in the very near future
I've been trying to be less excited about the technological singularity, longevity escape velocity, etc. for a while now, but it's difficult not to get a bit more excited about it when hearing Diamandis/Robbins. Example: "I think we're going to see, in the next decade, 15 years at most, CRISPR being used to…treat and get rid of…almost every genetic disease. We're going to put genetic disease behind us."
Very Bad Wizards - Ask Us Anything #5
It's always a bit weird/funny to hear two university professors talk about their drug use, but I guess this needs to be less taboo. Road trips: I agree about flat places being boring. I usually don't mind having to drive. It's kind of a meditative activity. And you can always listen to podcasts or to some music if you're really bored.
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 121 Happier and Healthier
Fish is "pro-inflammatory", so it doesn't help with depression, but omega 3 seems to be helpful for health/longevity in general and Greger even recommends supplementing it from a vegan source (which I do). I'm not sure what's the takeaway from this.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 276 Defending the Global Order - A Conversation with Yuval Noah Harari
As often, I appreciate Harari's high-level understanding of the situation. What shocked people with the war in Ukraine is that Putin showed us that it's still possible for a country to invade another country for no good reason in 2022. We're "back to the jungle", as he puts it. This is definitely a step backwards and a frightening one. The silver lining is that "Western countries" have become stronger (i.e. more united) than before.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - The Truth / Kamasutra : les trésors cachés
Superbe analyse de Kamasutra par Nicolas. La chose n'était pas aisée. Je le considère comme le moins bon des albums de Prince. On ne peut qu'imaginer ce que le projet aurait pu devenir avec un peu moins de sons kitsch et un retravail plus en profondeur par Clare Fisher, par exemple.
Making Sense with Sam Harris - Special Episode: Recipes for Future Plagues - A Conversation with Rob Reid and Kevin Esvelt
A special episode without Sam. Open data/science seems to be a bad idea when it comes to dangerous viruses.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Crystal Ball 1998 : Bootleg officiel
Premier épisode de la nouvelle saison de Violet. Intéressante comparaison détaillée entre "Caravan" et "Days of Wild". Crystal Ball est une compilation que j'écoute régulièrement depuis 1998, souvent par petits bouts.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 198 Eye health—everything you need to know | Steven Dell, M.D.
It's fascinating to think that maybe, someday, we'll have medications (drops?) to correct our vision. Astaxanthin and lutein might be interesting for eye health. For children, it's really important to have a lot of light if they play inside. It's also important to make them play with objects that are not too close. Myopia is often caused or worsened by low light conditions and long periods of time focusing on close objects (books, screens, etc.).
The Happiness Lab - Emotions Are Data... So Listen to Them
Difficult emotions are the price to pay for a meaningful life. Negative emotions (but positive emotions as well) are signals that tell us what's important in our lives. It's important to be as accurate as possible when describing/interpreting negative emotions, i.e. we should try not to use very general terms such as anxiety or stress.
The Happiness Lab - How to Identify Your Negative Emotions
Brené Brown lists 87 emotions in one of her books. That's way more than what we usually think of when we think about all the emotions we can have. We should fully accept negative emotions (with curiosity) instead of rejecting them. Reframing them can help. We should be happy to have such a diverse landscape of emotions.
Tribu - Vivre sans portable
Une émission de 2016. Je me demande si la situation a beaucoup évolué en 6 ans. De mon côté, je fais de plus en plus l'effort de laisser mon portable à distance, voire à la maison pour certains déplacements.
Very Bad Wizards - Ask Us Anything #4
I'm in favor of the advice line idea.
The Happiness Lab - How to be Happier at Work (with Dan Harris)
Sympathetic joy / mudita meditation can help in some cases (jealousy).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 194 How fructose drives metabolic disease | Rick Johnson, M.D.
"Fructose turns out to have been meant to be this wonderful system for survival, but in our culture with the amount of sugar in foods that we are eating (that either provide sugar or can be turned into fructose), this pathway has become hazardous." -Rick Johnson
The Happiness Lab - Laurie Gets a Fun-tervention (Part Two: Beach Party)
We all need more fun.
The Happiness Lab - Laurie Gets a Fun-tervention (Part One)
"Research suggests that goofing off and enjoying yourself is vitally important to your health, productivity and wellbeing."
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 117 Boosting Immune Function
Probiotics (or prebiotics) might help.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 273 Joe Rogan and the Ethics of Apology
Yes, we need to become more forgiving as a society.
The Happiness Lab - You Can't Always Want What You Like
Associating pleasurable activities (e.g. watching a show/movie) with exercising is a trick I've been using for years. It just works.
Very Bad Wizards 230 Be Happy (Lars von Trier's "Melancholia")
I saw Melancholia back when it was released. I will probably watch it again soon.
FoundMyFitness 70 Dr. Eran Elinav on Microbiome Insights into Personalized Response to Diet, Obesity, and Leaky Gut
Personalized medicine is an exciting topic. "[T]he evidence to support the use of probiotics is wobbly, at best, says Dr. Elinav, because the indigenous microbiome is openly hostile to newcomers, preventing their colonization, even temporarily, in the gut."
The Happiness Lab - Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: The Day of Rest
This episode made me realize that I schedule too many things, every day of the week. There should be a real "day of rest" even for personal projects/tasks. I've already changed some tasks in Omnifocus to reflect that.
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 48 Fighting Fatigue
I'll quote Wikipedia: "Candida hypersensitivity is a pseudoscientific syndrome".
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 11 Beating Colds and Flu
Prebiotics/probiotics might be good. Gargling seems promising.
The Happiness Lab - Happier Holidays: How to Give and Receive the Perfect Gift
I was disappointed that they didn't really address the more interesting question: should we give gifts? To children, I would say yes, but to adults? I'm not so sure...
Making Sense with Sam Harris - Vaccine Mandates, transgender athletes, billionaires... (AMA #19)
If it makes no difference for a billionaire to live in a small studio or a big mansion, because it's a "rounding error", according to Sam, then, in the grand scheme of things, it shouldn't matter if people who are not rich (let's say, people like me) give to charities or not. I'm not sure Sam's position's very coherent. The listener who asked Sam about billionaires being enabled by low wages, inequalities, etc. is right, in my opinion. Sam didn't really answer the question and chose to pivot and talk about what technology will allow society to become. That was a bit weak. Like accepting that not eating meat is the right ethical choice, but still eating meat and talking instead about future laboratory meat being great (which it is), etc.
The Changelog 201 Why SQLite succeeded as a database
About multiple threads: "I'm not a database person. I didn't know I was supposed to. Nobody told me."
FoundMyFitness 68 Dr. Bill Harris on the Omega-3 Index, Increasing Omega-3 to Improve Longevity & Heart Disease Risk
The omega-3 index is representative of the omega-3 content in most tissues in the body, but not the brain. Omega-3 index recommandation: 8-12 (Bill is at 10, I was at 14 a few years ago). Omega-3 dosage recommandation: at least 500 mg / day (Bill is at 2-3 g / day). The omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is uselss. DHA alone vs EPA alone vs combination of the two: we have no idea if it makes a difference (no study). ApoE4: a high omega-3 index seems to have a protective effect. Atrial fibrillation: we don't know what the deal is at the moment (i.e. is there a reason to worry or not?).
Nutrition Facts with Dr. Greger 4 Alzheimer's Prevention
Blood cholesterol seems to be a predictor for Alzheimer's. Avoid meat. Turmeric might be useful (but not curcumin?).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 271 Earning to Give - A Conversation with Sam Bankman-Fried
Everybody should give to charities. The richest among us (billionaires, obviously, but millionaires as well) should give a lot. This is morally obvious nowadays. My only problem when listening to Sam Harris talk about money, happiness, effective altruism, etc. is that he doesn't seem to understand what it means not to be rich (as he probably has a lot of money himself and a lot of rich friends). This is a bit off-putting. Also, I'm not convinced that Sam Bankman-Fried created something useful for society. More speculation? More rich people getting richer? Where's the real value is that? This is not the way to go.
For Keeps 76 Archiving Prince, with Sound Engineer Susan Rogers
I could listen to Susan tell the same stories over and over. She's fantastic.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 190 Paul Conti, M.D.: How to heal from trauma and break the cycle of shame
Shame is "the biggest impediment to healing". This is a useful way to look at things.
FoundMyFitness 67 Dr. Ashley Mason on Drug-free Approaches for Treating Depression, Insomnia, and Overeating
Sauna could be a good way to get physical and mental health benefits of exercise without actually exercising." Is it useful if you exercise regularly, though (i.e. is there a synergistic effect)?
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Emancipation : Part 3, le futur
Le futur, c'était vendre des bouts d'enregistrements live sur des cassettes audio, en 1997. Je m'en souviens comme si c'était hier. Prince était plein de contradictons. Il me manque beaucoup.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 272 On Disappointing My Audience
I'm very surprised that Sam takes NFTs seriously, but, again, he's smarter than me, so I don't know what to think anymore. Or maybe Sam is just subject to FOMO like everybody else.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Emancipation : Part 2, le présent
Deuxième partie sur le premier (mais pas le dernier) triple album de Prince.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 270 What Have We Learned from the Pandemic? - A Conversation with Nicholas Christakis
I don't think I've learnt much from this discussion, but I was probably not the target audience of this episode.
Very Bad Wizards 227 A Terrible Master (David Foster Wallace's "This Is Water")
Following this episode, I've listened to "This Is Water" again. This is an excellent speech. We should all try to be a bit more compassionate and to give others the benefit of the doubt.
2021 142
Date Name # Episode
Superchuckamania 61 Episode 61
A whole episode by Captain/Playa about Prince. This was kind of okay, but I'm not a fan of the overall cynical tone.
Obsessed by Music - Making Time To Listen To Music
That's it: I'll try and block one hour one of those days to listen to one of my favorite albums and not do anything else.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Emancipation : Part 1, le passé
Première partie sur trois. Emancipation a beaucoup partagé les fans, à l'époque. C'était le premier triple album de Prince. Un quart de siècle plus tard, je l'aime toujours. Il m'arrive d'écouter une des trois parties du début à la fin, mais j'y puise aussi un peu comme dans une boîte de chocolats. Je suis désormais à jour avec ce podcast (Violet) et découvrirai donc les prochains épisodes au fur et à mesure qu'ils sont diffusés.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 269 Deep Time - A Conversation with Oliver Burkeman Walker
I've just bought the book. I hope it won't be a waste of time... An example of an idea that seems important: more efficiency leads to more work done, but also more work to do, because there will always be more work to do. This can be problematic.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Chaos And Disorder : L'album clivant
Un album clivant, peut-être, mais qui me plaît. J'ai bien aimé l'analyse de "Had U", un morceau court, mais fascinant.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 267 The Kingdom of Sleep - A Conversation with Matthew Walker
I've heard Matthew Walker on Peter Attia's podcast and I've also read his book. Still, this was a good refresher. We should always go to sleep at the same time (this is something I've been doing for years) in a rather cold (~18 °C) room (possible for us during most of the year, but not during the hottest days/weeks of the year, as we don't have A/C). We should sleep in complete obscurity (this is the case at home and I use a sleeping mask when I'm traveling). Melatonin: a positive effect exists, but it is rather small according to studies (I'm taking melatonin regularly, but I should probably cycle it). f.lux, Night Shift, etc. are perhaps useful, but it's not definitely proved at this point. Drinking a hot beverage in the morning is useful to raise the body's core temperature. Cafeine should be stopped 8-10 hours before sleep (so at 2 PM max for me). Sleep trackers: they can lead to anxiety. They're useful only if they lead to concrete actions to have a better sleep. At this point, I'm only using the rather rudimentary sleep tracking function of my Apple Watch. A future version of the Oura Ring might be able to tempt me, but I don't think it's useful enough at this time.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - The Gold Experience : Welcome 2 The Dawn
Probablement mon album préféré des années 1990. Une période vraiment associée au côté lumineux des arrangements et des sonorités de cet album.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 268 The Limits of Self-Knowledge - A Conversation with Stephen Fleming
Being aware of what you know and don't know is crucial. Yes, in the extreme, it can lead to anxiety and/or a lack of self-confidence, but I wouldn't want to live my live without knowking my limits. That's what happens when you lose your mind (e.g. Alzheimer's, etc.), after all.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Bonus #4 - Exodus
Pas mal de gens ont été touchés par cet album, pourtant sorti sous un pseudonyme (le nom de son groupe). Une période vraiment fascinante, tant elle était difficile à suivre à l'époque.
Very Bad Wizards 220 On Your Marx
Marx's views seem to be (still) very modern. There's an unsettling sense of inevitability about the excesses of capitalism.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Exodus : Derrière le masque
On continue les années un peu difficiles à comprendre, avec 1995. Exodus est un album à part entière. Il est normal qu'un épisode lui soit dédié.
FoundMyFitness 66 Dr. Mark Mattson on the Benefits of Stress, Metabolic Switching, Fasting, and Hormesis
A lot of information. If I understood correctly, Mattson is the kind of person, like me, who tends to have a low BMI (around 18.5). His advice would be to do less cardio and more resistance training. Exercise, intermittent fasting, sulforaphane, etc. are all good, but exercise is probably the most important thing for health. Resting between exercise sessions is also important. Intermittent fasting might be good for heart rate variability (HRV), i.e. it might increase it.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Come : Le testament de Prince
Un éclairage utile sur une année, 1994, à nouveau compliquée, comme 1993.
Very Bad Wizards 224 Hurts So Good (With Paul Bloom)
Another episode about Paul Bloom's latest book, this time with Tamler/Dave from Very Bad Wizards. Quite a different discussion than the one with Sam Harris, which retained my attention more (maybe just because it was the first one I heard).
Very Bad Wizards 223 The Hopeless Dream of Being (Bergman's "Persona")
A movie I saw in August 2020. My comment was just: "What did I just see?" After this episode, I have a slightly better idea of what I saw, but I should probably watch the movie again.
Very Bad Wizards - Bonus Episode: GHOSTS
A more rational discussion than the last one. Tamler says that we should stay open to the possibility of supernatural events (he actualy used the word "open" many times during the episode). The question of why he tends to be more open to that possibility than Dave is still... an open question... Maybe it comes from the fact that he tends to be more contrarian than Dave. Anyway, I don't think I learnt much from this discussion.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Bonus #3 - L'année 1993
Pas mal de comptes-rendus de concerts. Je suis "rassuré" d'apprendre que je n'étais pas le seul à trouver certains moments angoissants (l'ouverture des portes, la course pour essayer d'être le plus proche possible de la scène, etc.).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 266 The Limits of Pleasure - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
A fantastic discussion about a problem I'm regularly thinking about. I enjoyed this episode a lot. I've just bought Paul Bloom's book as a result. I liked how Paul reacted to Sam's usual reaction about the happiness/life satisfaction vs money study. Sam always insists on the fact that life satisfaction never stops to increase as money increases. Paul is right, in my opinion, to insist on the fact that this is all about status and the stories we tell ourselves. The fact that our moment-to-moment happiness doesn't increase much (or at all) as money increases is the most important part of the study, I think. We just can't help attributing a lot of importance to money when we're asked about it.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 182 David Nutt: Psychedelics & Recreational Drugs
"It turns out that the drugs that have been most vilified and which we've been taught are the most dangerous, turned out to be the least dangerous." —David Nutt. The part about microdosing was interesting: there's a plausible explanation as to why it could work, but no serious study has ever been done. An intriguing possibility is that microdosing could help as a complement to other approaches (e.g. macrodoses, etc.).
Very Bad Wizards 218 ...But You Can't Hide (Michael Haneke's "Caché")
A fantastic episode about a movie I rewatched on October 28, 2021. I somehow missed the most important element of the final scene. The whole discussion was very insightful and the reason why I still listen to this podcast.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - L'année 1993 : Le sacrifice de Prince
1993 : une année difficile à comprendre, sans album officiel, mais quand même pleine de projets. Un décodage par conséquent bienvenu.
FoundMyFitness 62 Dr. Steve Horvath on epigenetic aging to predict healthspan: the DNA PhenoAge and GrimAge clocks
"Not everyone ages at the same rate." And we're starting to have tools to measure that rate. Also, there are probably ways to slow or even reverse that rate.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Bonus #2 - LoveSymbol
Des témoignages et des parenthèses, en particulier sur le lien entre Prince et Zappa, artiste que je ne suis pas encore parvenu à apprécier.
FoundMyFitness 61 Q&A with Dr. Jed Fahey on Sulforaphane, Moringa and Chemoprotection
I'll probably integrate sulforaphane into my "base stack". The remaining questions I have: 1) what dosage 2) what frequency (e.g. Brad Stanfield takes sulforaphane only on non-workout days; is that a good idea?).
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Love Symbol : L'album de la transmutation
L'un de mes albums préférés. Un album concept, musicalement très riche.
FoundMyFitness 60 Dr. Giselle Petzinger on Exercise for Parkinson's Disease
Exercise, again, is good for you. As is DHA (omega-3). It's probably important to change the kind of exercise you do from time to time and skill-based exercise (yoga, etc.) might be especially important for Parkinson's.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 263 The Paradox of Death
Reddit thread. Hitchens: "It will happen to all of us, that at some point we will get tapped on the shoulder and told not just that the party's over, but slightly worse, the party's going on but you have to leave, and it's going on without you. That's the reflection that I think upsets most people about their demise." I'm probably in the same boat as Sam: I usually think about death several times a day. I've been thinking about all those concepts (death, consciousness, personal identity, etc.) for a long time. As Sam explains, I'm more and more convinced that we experience something like death, at the level of consciousness, all the time. Not only when we sleep, but when we stop paying attention, when our brain convinces us that we don't move our eyes all the time, etc. We're attached to living, to being us, because we remember being more or less the same person as we were one minute, one day, one year ago, but this is not completely true. This is a model our brain builds and presents to our consciousness. On the other hand, I don't know what to do with that idea of "universal/eternal consciousness". It sounds a bit too mystical to me.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Bonus #1 - Diamonds and pearls
Je me disais depuis plusieurs épisodes que ce podcast (Violet) touche beaucoup de fans et que ceux-ci ressentent par conséquent le besoin de s'exprimer. Cet épisode est le premier qui leur donne la parole exclusivement (ou presque). Moins intéressant que les autres épisodes, donc, mais nécessaire pour la communauté francophone, en quelque sorte.
FoundMyFitness 54 Vitamin C: Oral vs. Intravenous, Immune Effects, Cancer, Exercise Adaptation & More
Everything you need to know about vitamin C. The liposomal form is probably better.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Diamonds And Pearls : Un travail d'orfèvre
Un album que j'ai beaucoup entendu et écouté à sa sortie. Définitivement pas un des meilleurs albums de Prince, mais pas mauvais et, à nouveau, cher à mon cœur.
FoundMyFitness 52 New Omega-3, sulforaphane research, and more! [Kevin Rose Show]
The phospholipid form of DHA is interesting (better absorption), but it's not vegetarian (made from krill), unfortunately. Metformin doesn't mix well with exercise, even if taken on "off days". If you don't exercise (not my case), it's still better than nothing, though. Sulphurophane might be useful even if taken every two days. And, as always, sauna and cold showers are good for you.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Graffiti Bridge : L'album maudit
Un album qui avait eu de mauvaises critiques, associé à un mauvais film, mais plein de pépites. Il y a donc beaucoup à en dire.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 175 Matt Kaeberlein, Ph.D.: The biology of aging, rapamycin, and other interventions that target the aging process
"I don't think I will ever understand aging fully. And I don't think the field will. … But I also believe that we don't have to understand it fully to be able to have an impact on the biology of aging through interventions." —Matt Kaeberlein. Rapamycin/rapalogs are something I would be way more interested in if they weren't prescription drugs. I'll keep an eye on them, though.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Batman : Comics Trip
Mon premier album, en quelque sorte, comme j'ai découvert Prince avec "Batdance", à la radio. Batman est un album étrange, unique, mais qui aura toujours une place spéciale pour moi.
Very Bad Wizards - Top 5 Comfort Movies
Reddit thread. I've only seen The Shawshank Redemption (from Dave's list). I've downloaded several movies from their lists.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Lovesexy : Et la lumière fut !
Mon album préféré. Et celui de beaucoup de fans, apparemment.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 172 Esther Perel: The effects of trauma, the role of narratives in shaping our worldview, and why we need to accept uncomfortable emotions
"I don't fundamentally believe that one can know oneself without knowing oneself in relationship to others." —Esther Perel
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Black Album : Fondu au noir
Un album mythique, symboliquement très fort.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 261 Belief & Identity - A Conversation with Jonas Kaplan
The backfire effect is probably a myth (mostly). Will I remember that?
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Sign O' The Times : l'album total
Probablement le meilleur album de Prince, objectivement, mais pas celui auquel je suis le plus attaché. Un chef-d'œuvre dans tous les cas.
FoundMyFitness - NAD+, Nicotinamide Riboside, and Nicotinamide Mononucleotide with Rhonda Patrick
I'm really curious to know if those substances (NR/NMN) will held up to the hype. I guess we'll have to wait several years for good-quality studies to be done and published.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Dream Factory / Camille / Crystal Ball : la genèse de Sign O' The Times
Le premier épisode qui sort un peu des sentiers battus, avec les outtakes, les projets abandonnés, etc., qui sont essentiels pour comprendre Prince.
Making Sense with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #18
An important answer about why Sam doesn't want to interact more with "conspirationists" and others. In summary, it's way more difficult to debunk bullshit than to create it.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Parade : un Américain à Paris
Rien de bien neuf ici après la lecture du livre de Duane Tudhal, mais ça reste une période cruciale.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 171 Steve Austad, Ph.D.: The landscape of longevity science: making sense of caloric restriction, biomarkers of aging, and possible geroprotective molecules
The part about mice/rats/rodents, the lack of genetic diversity in the context of experiments/studies, etc. was really important. This should be discussed more often. "I never thought [extending the human lifespan] was going to happen because we got better at treating cancer or we got better at preventing heart disease. I always thought it was going to happen because we would develop something ... that would fundamentally change the rate of aging. And we haven't developed that yet. We've got a lot of clues and I think we're getting closer and closer and closer." —Steve Austad
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Around The World In A Day : mystique polychrome
C'est un peu avec cet album que commence le Prince le plus intéressant pour moi, c'est-à-dire celui qui cherche à s'opposer (parfois) à son succès commercial.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 163 Layne Norton, Ph.D.: Building muscle, losing fat, and the importance of resistance training
Not much pratical advice for someone like me (who needs to build a lot of muscle and almost starts from zero). "I always tell people, I don't think I would've had the success I did in business or social media or academia if I hadn't done weightlifting because that taught me so much about other things in life." —Layne Norton
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Purple Rain : la consécration
Un album que j'écoute finalement peu (je l'ai tellement entendu !). L'analyse de Nicolas Gabet est comme souvent la plus révélatrice pour moi. Ici par exemple pour "Take Me With You", une chanson que je n'écoute pourtant quasiment plus, tellement elle me semble légère, commerciale et tant je l'ai écoutée à travers les années.
Very Bad Wizards 217 Dropping Paradigms (Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions")
I studied that book a long time ago. It probably went above my head then and it still does, to an extent. Isn't science working in a way more gradual manner now than a few centuries ago (and even a few decades ago)? The discussion about the role of science (pragmatism vs realism) was interesting.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - 1999 : le début de la révolution
Le plus long des épisodes jusqu'à présent (plus de 3 heures). J'apprécie vraiment le format, même si je regrette l'absence d'analyse morceau par morceau que j'aimais vraiment chez Peack & Black.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Controversy : la transition électro de Prince
Comme l'un des intervenants, je suis moins fan de "Controversy", qui a moins d'unité que l'album précédent. L'explication sur les boîtes à rythme et leur utilisation par Prince était très intéressante.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Dirty Mind : simple provocation ou véritable brûlot Punk ?
Les explications musicologiques, ici à propos du morceau "Dirty Mind", sont très éclairantes.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - La naissance d'un génie : For You et Prince, les 2 premiers albums
Deux albums que je n'écoute pas souvent, mais importants pour comprendre la carrière de Prince.
Violet - Le Podcast sur Prince et le Minneapolis Sound - Welcome 2 America - Le Monde selon Prince
Le premier épisode de ce podcast que j'écoute. Je "pleure" toujours la disparition de Peach & Black, mais Violet semble un bon "substitut", en plus sérieux (i.e. moins divertissant). Je vais du coup écouter les anciens épisodes, dans l'ordre.
Prince | Official Podcast 18 The Story of Welcome 2 America, Episode 4: We Got 2 Let the Funk Unwind
An episode about the "bonus" Blu-ray on the deluxe edition of the album (which, unfortunately, is not available separately). No information was given about why this particular show was chosen, for example, which is odd.
Very Bad Wizards 216 Oral Judgments
People in general are pretty bad at giving apologies. This should be taught in school. Interestingly, apologies exist on a spectrum, as demonstrated by Dave's example at the end of the episode (one of his students was offended by his use of curse words). Apologies are a somewhat formal way to understand what others really think, to acknowledge their feelings/emotions, and to promise that we'll make some efforts to behave better in the future. It's a powerful tool.
FoundMyFitness 65 Dr. Satchin Panda on Circadian Insights into Exercise Timing, Melatonin Biology, and Peak Cognition
The benefits of melatonin as a supplement are still not clear to me. Low doses are probably better (I use 300 mg at the moment). Not eating for 1-2 hours after waking up might be a good idea. Not consuming any carbohydrates or glucose 2 hours before sleep as well. My cut-off time for caffeine is currently 3 PM, but it might be even better to stop around 1-2 PM.
Egosystème - La chance des hypersensibles
Un peu trop "développement personnel" à mon goût, mais le fait est que je suis hypersensible et que c'est un angle que je n'ai pas encore assez exploré.
Making Sense with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #17
A very clear position about Bret Weinstein and COVID-19 vaccines.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 256 A Contagion of Bad Ideas - A Conversation with Eric Topol
An important episode about an important (and worrying) topic: how to convince people to get vaccinated.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 253 Corporate Courage - A Conversation with Jason Fried
It's always interesting to have Jason Fried's view on things. His book It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work was not too bad. I guess I agree that work shouldn't be a place to express your most personal views on politics and others. On the other hand, it really depends on the company, its size, and other factors.
Prince | Official Podcast 17 The Story of Welcome 2 America, Episode 3: The Internet is Completely Over
This was a charitable interpretation of Prince's views on technology and the Internet, I guess. This would have been cool to hear more from Jason Agel (the engineer), but Shelby J. was interrupting him way too often.
Prince | Official Podcast 16 The Story of Welcome 2 America, Episode 2: What It Means 2 B American
I was not too impressed by Dr. Cornel West, which I was not familiar with.
Prince | Official Podcast 15 The Story of Welcome 2 America, Episode 1: Thank U For Helping Me Get This Out
Tal Wilkenfeld and Chris Coleman's story about how it all began is fascinating. They played/jammed and kind of never heard about those sessions again for 11 years.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 254 The Mating Strategies of Earthlings - A Conversation with David Buss
"They discuss the controversy that surrounds evolutionary psychology, the denial of sex differences, cross-cultural findings in social science, the replication crisis in psychology, the biological definition of sex, why men and women have affairs, ovulatory shifts in mate preference, sex differences in jealousy and infidelity, the sources of unhappiness in marriage, mate-value discrepancies, what we can learn from dating apps, polyamory and polygamy, the plight of stepchildren, the "Dark Triad" personality type, the MeToo movement, and other topics."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 255 The Future of Intelligence - A Conversation with Jeff Hawkins
Hawkins is very optimistic about the alignment problem (i.e. for him it's not really worth worrying about it).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 166 Patricia Corby, D.D.S.: Importance of oral health, best hygiene practices, and the relationship between poor oral health and systemic disease
"You can maintain optimal oral health just by brushing teeth, by flossing really well, and having good nutrition." -Pat Corby
Very Bad Wizards 213 What Is It Like To Be A Robot Fish Man? (with Ted Chiang)
Personal identity is a hard concept/problem. A video game can help us get some intuitions about hard concepts. The only problem: I don't have any patience left for video games.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 252 Are We Alone in the Universe? - A Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson
Nothing really new here. It's highly likely that we're not alone in the universe and highly unlikely that we're regularly visited by aliens.
Waking Up Conversations - William B. Irvine - The Art of Living
I'm a fan of William B. Irvine. I've read his book about Stoicism and listened to all his "meditations"/courses on the Waking Up app.
FoundMyFitness 64 Dr. Michael Snyder on Continuous Glucose Monitoring and Deep Profiling for Personalized Medicine
I've been convinced for a long time that gathering as much data about our body/health as possible is a good idea (blood tests, genome, etc.), but there aren't many concrete applications right now and they probably won't come for a few years. Another problem: I can now know my heart rate variability (HRV) and resting heart rate (RHR) at any time and see how they evolve, for example, but what should I do with those values? How can I "optimize" them?
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 164 Amanda Smith, M.D.: Diagnosing, preventing, and treating Alzheimer's disease, and what we can all learn from patients with dementia
"At the end of the day, it really has to do with how people see themselves, how people interact with the world, what kind of relationships they have, how able they are to let go of things that they've lost and how able they are to focus on the positive." —Amanda Smith. Focus on relationships and on the present moment.
Waking Up Conversations - Rupert Spira - The Nature of Awareness
The discussion about matter vs consciousness, materialism as a religious belief, etc. was a bit weird. Rupert Spira doesn't sound like someone I share a lot of views with.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 251 Corporate Cowardice - A Conversation with Antonio García-Martínez
Is what García-Martínez wrote edgy or in bad taste? I don't know. He didn't came off as a particularly nice guy in that interview.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 250 Broken Conversations - A Conversation with Jesse Singal
Reddit thread.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 160 Paul Offit, M.D.: The latest on COVID-19 vaccines and their safety, herd immunity, and viral variants
"If you ask me the question, 'What do I fear most about this whole pandemic?' it's actually not the variants. ... It's that there would be a significant percentage of the population that is going to choose not to vaccinate so much so that we can't get to that 80+% of population immunity we need to slow this virus." —Paul Offit
Waking Up Conversations - Stephen Batchelor - Skeptical Buddhism
"Stephen is best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He is the author of The Faith to Doubt, Buddhism Without Beliefs, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, among other books." Buddhism, in practice, is full of dogmas, but you can actually practice Buddhism without any of those dogmas. That's what makes it more interesting compared to other religions. I realise I don't know much about Buddhism, in particular about the Four Noble Truths and the concept of dukkha . There were many things that went over my head, but it struck me that some of those things can be understood through the point of view of modern psychology and science.
Waking Up Conversations - Andrew Cohen - A Cautionary Tale
That was courageous of Cohen to accept Sam's invitation to talk about that difficult topic (Cohen was accused of being a cult leader).
Waking Up Conversations - Jack Kornfield - Reflections on the Path
Kornfield is what I would call a meditation/mindfulness expert. I guess it's a bit reassuring to hear that he still sounds like a human being. That discussion was easier to follow than the discussions with Joseph Goldstein.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 159 Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.: Evolution of the anti-vaccine movement, the causes of autism, and COVID-19 vaccine state of affairs
"What started out as an anti-vaccine movement is now a movement against any kind of public health intervention and demonizing scientists and basically calling us the boogeyman." —Peter Hotez. I must say I'm a bit depressed when I think about all those anti-vaccine and anti-science movements, because there's no obvious solution to that problem (except more education on those topics).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 158 Brian Deer: A tale of scientific fraud—exposing Andrew Wakefield and the origin of the belief that vaccines cause autism
"In science, courage isn't about proving yourself right, it's in your efforts to prove yourself wrong... to try and refute your own hypothesis." —Brian Deer. I knew who Andrew Wakefield is, but this is a fascinating topic and the story is way more complex than expected.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 249 Distance & Arrival - A Conversation with David Whyte
As said previously, I enjoy David Whyte very much. His essays are meant to be read / listen to multiple times and that's what I intend to do (I've finished his Consolations collection recently).
FoundMyFitness 49 Dr. David Sinclair on Informational Theory of Aging, Nicotinamide Mononucleotide, Resveratrol & More
Podcast notes.
FoundMyFitness 48 Sauna Use as an Exercise Mimetic for Heart and Healthspan
20-30 minutes of sauna, several times a week, have a lot of benefits for heart health and health in general. I unfortunately don't have regular access to a sauna...
Very Bad Wizards 206 Angel Chasing (Ted Chiang's "Hell is the Absence of God")
An episode about this excellent story by Ted Chiang. I agree: it's not clearly against religion (in the "New Atheism" way of being against religion, at least), but it's certainly not a good defense of religion either. I don't really agreee with Dave and Tamler about the fact that the characters live in a world where religious questions are answered. It's still very mysterious why all those angels are coming to earth. So it's almost comically obvious that God, angels, heaven, and hell exist, but everything still doesn't make a lot of sense compared to our actual world (where the existence of those things is not obvious at all).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 247 Constructing Minds - A Conversation with Lisa Feldman Barrett
My simplistic summary: our models are often way too simplistic. They also talked about cognitive reframing.
FoundMyFitness 47 Exercise as a Treatment for Depression
Yet another reason to exercise more.
Making Sense with Sam Harris - Special Episode: Engineering the Apocalypse - By Rob Reid and Sam Harris
Frightening, but logical: artificial viruses might cause the destruction of humanity (at least as we know it). But there are good reasons to stay optimistic. Technology can also prevent that from happening.
Very Bad Wizards 211 To Live and Die in Kurosawa's "Ikiru"
A good episode about a good movie, which I saw in 2019.
FoundMyFitness 44 Fasting Q&A with Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Mike Maser
A lot of good questions and answers. It's still not clear what an almost-underweight person such as me (BMI of 18.0) should do.
FoundMyFitness 41 Dr. Charles Raison on Depression, the Immune-Brain Interface & Whole-Body Hyperthermia
An in-depth discussion about the topic, that went a bit over my head. Psychedelics and meditation are mentioned as well.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 245 Can We Talk About Scary Ideas? - A Conversation with Peter Singer, Francesca Minerva, Jeff McMahan
Interesting guests. The discussion was a bit boring, though.
Very Bad Wizards 210 The Priming of the American Mind (with Jesse Singal)
Tamler goes in full "God of the gaps" mode. That was very weird. Reddit thread.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 244 Food, Climate, and Pandemic Risk - A Conversation with Bruce Friedrich and Liz Specht
I've started giving monthly donations to the Good Food Institute in February 2021. It was nice to be able to understand what they do a bit more in depth. It's hard to admit for the vegetarian/semi-vegan that I am, but not eating some foods is not enough. It's just a form of boycott, after all. We have to encourage new forms of plant-based meat alternatives and cultivated meat. Giving money to the GFI is a good way to do precisely that, I think (I hope).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 154 Steve Levitt, Ph.D.: A rogue economist's view on climate change, mental health, the ethics of experiments, and more
Levitt sounds like a fun guy, but we don't seem to share a lot of values/interests, from what I could gather. There's a moment during the episode where he mentions Sam Harris' Waking Up book, but he seems to completely misunderstand what meditation is. That was weird.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 151 Alex Hutchinson, Ph.D.: Translating the science of endurance and extreme human performance
"Any meaningful form of exercise that's going to do substantial amounts of good is going to involve dealing with discomfort in one form or another." VO2 max: it's pretty useless to predict anything; it might have some value when you compare values associated with a single person (i.e. does it get better or worse?). If you start running: start really slow. A good way to look at exercise: it's something you do so that you'll be healthy when you're old (i.e. able to get up, move, etc.).
Obsessed by Music - An Eye Mask For Music?
Another intriguing idea: listening to music with a blindfold/night mask.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 243 A Few Points of Confusion
Meditation and race/identity politics. Nothing new.
Waking Up Conversations - The Bridge to Compassion - A Conversation with Tara Brach
I think I like this idea of self-compassion meditation (aka RAIN). Maybe I'll try reading Tara's book at some point.
FoundMyFitness - Aliquot #22: Q&A mashup - Rhonda's personal supplement routine (preview)
I should probably add some moringa to my smoothies. Rhonda is not convinced at all by NAD boosters (I'm currently taking NMN, but it's quite expensive).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 242 Psychedelics and the Self - A Conversation with James Fadiman
I read James Fadiman's book in 2018. I was not particularly impressed, but this discussion with Sam was very enjoyable. A lot of James' research seems to be based on anedcdotes from microdosers, though (what he calls citizen science). It's not completely useless, but I don't think that's how we're going to understand what microdosing actually does.
FoundMyFitness 63 Dr. Roger Seheult from MedCram on COVID-19 Vaccines, Vitamin D, and Heat Hydrotherapy
"Fever is the body's attempt to make itself inhospitable to invaders. [...] Raising core body temperature may be analogous to having a fever. [...] Sleep bolsters the immune response to vaccinations." Heat hydrotherapy is an intriguing idea. I like saunas, but I don't have one at home. I've been trying cold showers on and off for years. Roger's top advice to stay healthy: 1) sleep 2) contrast showers (e.g. 3 minutes hot, 1 minute cold, 3 minutes hot, 1 minute cold - how hot/cold as you can tolerate) 3) vitamin D 4) antioxydant fruits (mainly berries) 4) NAC 5) zinc (never more than 40 mg a day). Except for contrast showers, I'm covered.
Le point J - Pourquoi le temps passe-t-il si bizarrement depuis un an ?
Parce que l'écoulement subjectif du temps dépend des changements perceptibles dans notre environnement.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 241 Final Thoughts on Free Will
Nothing really new to me. I guess this is a good summary of Sam's point or view. I'm still not sure I completely agree with him, but his perspective is certainly one of the more useful among the ones we hear about.
FoundMyFitness 42 Dr. Valter Longo on Resetting Autoimmunity and Rejuvenating Systems with Prolonged Fasting & the FMD
This idea of resetting some things in our bodies by regularly doing something a bit uncomfortable like fasting or eating a Fasting Mimicking Diet is really intriguing. Some biomarkers for longevity: IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1), insulin, glucose, CRP, triglycerides.
Superchuckamania 17 Episode 17
I listened to this episode because the word "Prince" was mentioned in the episode summary. I've now unsubscribed. Bitterness is an ugly thing to contemplate.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 240 The Boundaries of Self - A Conversation with David Whyte
I'm slowly becoming a David Whyte fan. I read his Essentials collection last year and listened to the Contemplative Action series on the Waking Up App. I'm now listening to the Consolations series.
Very Bad Wizards 207 Sometimes a Paper Tray is Just a Paper Tray
I like hearing people's theories about what a movie/show means. I happen to have watched all the videos by Twin Perfect about Twin Peaks (more than 6 hours!) and I think he's onto something (even if some people don't like it). This is a reminder that I should watch The Shining again (I've apparently watched it only twice, in 1996 and 2008...).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 239 Yet Another Call from Ricky Gervais
Another fun episode. I don't think Sam's perspective is incompatible with Tamler's (from the Very Bad Wizard podcast), but I think it's important to recognize the importance of taking into account the "need for retribution" psychological element in a judicial system.
FoundMyFitness 39 Dr. Satchin Panda on Practical Implementation of Time-Restricted Eating & Shift Work Strategies
"10-14 hours of fasting when we get up in the morning means that we have given our gut rest." I'm currently at 11-12 hours, so I guess this is better than nothing. I've currently stopped doing 16/8-18/6 time-restricted eating once a week as I'm trying to gain some weight.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 238 How to Build a Universe - A Conversation with Frank Wilczek
A nice overview of physics from a "conservative" physicist (i.e. who is not particularly interested in simulated universes, multiverses, etc.).
Modern Wisdom 2 Life Hacks 101
I might want to try Evernote someday.
Modern Wisdom 284 Hamilton Morris - Creating The Future Of Psychedelic‪s‬
Hamilton is really a smart guy. I'm now supporting him via Patreon.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 235 Another Call from Ricky
Another fun episode about free speech, humor, etc.
FoundMyFitness 43 Dr. Dale Bredesen on Preventing and Reversing Alzheimer's Disease
A lot of tests can be done. My homocysteine is considered normal, but it could be apparently lower according to Bredesen. My amalgames are probably okay, but I will ask my dentist about them. I should probably get my fasting insulin tested someday (among others). I currently have a low BMI, so I was intrigued by Bredesen's comment about how people with low BMI should get "quite a lot of carbs" once a week (e.g. sweet potatoes). Bredesen seems to recomment a mostly-plant-based diet and he also seems to like MCT oils (e.g. coconut oil) - whereas Michael Greger seems to think it is quite bad. There is EPA/DHA in fish, but also other interesting substances (did I hear "citicoline"?). Sauna is good (including to eliminate cadmium, mercury, etc.).
FoundMyFitness 36 Judith Campisi, Ph.D. on Cellular Senescence, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Cancer & Aging
Periodic fasting (3-4 days?) can help the body get rid of senescent cells. Exercising is good.
FoundMyFitness 34 Refined Sugar and Its Effects on Mortality, the Brain, Cancer, Hormones, & More
"Refined sugar also affects the brain. It impairs the brain's ability to heal after trauma, inhibits memory formation and retention, and induces structural changes in the brain similar to those caused by amphetamine, cocaine, and nicotine – powerful stimulant drugs. Perhaps one of the most disturbing – and long-term – effects of refined sugar on the body is observed at the DNA level. Sugar causes the shortening of the telomeres, accelerating the aging process."
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 148 Richard Miller, M.D., Ph.D.: The gold standard for testing longevity drugs: the Interventions Testing Program
Peter and Richard joked about adding a drug to pizza (or junk food in general) to make it healthier. This is currently a joke, but I'm pretty sure we'll see a day when this is standard practice. I didn't know about the Interventions Testing Program (ITP). This looks like something very cool. Something encouraging: some longevity drugs can work well even if you start taking them at middle age (at least in mice). Something surprising: according to Richard's research (to be published), NR doesn't work. I'd like to read more about this in particular. If true, this is huge.
Very Bad Wizards 205 Making Your Nervous System Your Ally (William James on "Habit"‪)‬
I like this idea that by getting good at developing one habit, maybe you're automatically getting better at developing other habits (i.e. there's a kind of "general muscle" for habits or something).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 235 A Call from Ricky
This was a fun episode/conversation about dreams and humor/comedy, although Ricky is not a good listener, apparently.
Obsessed by Music - Tips For Enjoying Music With A Listening Buddy
I sometimes listen to music with family members, but I've never really done it "seriously", i.e. by taking the time to really sit and listen to pieces of music chosen by someone else and myself. This is an intriguing idea.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 234 The Divided Mind - A Conversation with Iain McGilchrist
A very nice conversation, that I should maybe listen to again in the future. Sam and McGilchrist discuss the "brain as a radio receiver" hypothesis near the end. I guess this is really something science cannot completely rule out at this point, since we still don't have a theory of consciousness.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 147 Hussein Yassine, M.D.: Deep dive into the "Alzheimer's gene" (APOE), brain health, and omega-3s
A very technical episode. "We don't have the evidence to support omega-3 supplementation but there is enough evidence to suggest one serving of fatty fish per week": since I'm vegetarian, I'll keep taking my supplements, as I have since 2007.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 146 Guy Winch, Ph.D.: Emotional first aid and how to treat psychological injuries
"We have a choice in the stories we tell ourselves. We don't have choice about the facts, we have choice about our organization, our perspective, and the narrative we create around them." Playing with small children (on the floor!) is a great way to be present in the moment. When you ruminate, you're not really thinking, you're just telling a story over and over. Treat ruminations as actual problems to solve.
Waking Up Conversations - The Psychedelic Experience - A Conversation with Françoise Bourzat
A fascinating discussion with someone who has a lot of experience with different psychedelics/substances (LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline, etc.).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 144 Phil Maffetone: Optimizing health and performance through maximal aerobic function
"VO2 max doesn't predict performance". It's not clear if it's totally useful for fitness/health either (at least to me). It's even less clear if the VO2 value estimation from an Apple Watch is meaningful or not. What's clear is that being fit/healthy is not the same as being performant.
Peach & Black Podcast - "Sign O' The Times" audio commentary
I list this as a podcast episode, but this is actually the audio commentary track on the latest (and probably best) re-release of the "Sign O' The Times" movie from 2019 (by Turbine in Germany). A fun commentary, as usual.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 232 Inequality and Revolution - A Conversation with Jack Goldstone
The part of the episode about universal basic income (UBI) was a bit weird, as what Goldstone would propose isn't UBI at all (although it's definitely not a bad idea either - a one time payment by the state for a one year military or civil service).
Very Bad Wizards 203 Gorgias, Tell Me Something I Don't Know (with Agnes Callard)
"Why did Plato write dialogues – are they the best way of presenting arguments?" Dialogues and podcasts have a lot in common.
Very Bad Wizards 202 Not as It Ought to Be (H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space")
I read quite a few H.P. Lovecraft short stories collections a long time ago (in the 90s). I wonder if I would still enjoy that kind of litterature a quarter century later.
Very Bad Wizards 201 Very Bad Lizard People
"David and Tamler dive deep into the psychology and epistemology of conspiracy theories." I think I first met a person who really was into conspiracy theories in 2006. At the time, he was into 9/11 conspiracy theories. I don't know if he was really serious about it and that's a common problem with those persons: you never know if they're trolls (i.e. if they don't really believe what they claim to believe) or if they're serious. In both cases, it's very hard to have an actual discussion with them. They seem to base their epistemology on totally different foundations than rational people and, in the case of trolls, they don't have the same values when it comes to discussion (i.e. they're having fun at the expense of other people instead of exchanging ideas and being curious/open).
Very Bad Wizards 200 Our 200th Episode Spectactacular
I recently bought a pink snow bob for my son. Does it count?
FoundMyFitness - On Depression and Its Underlying Causes
Inflammation could be a cause of depression.
FoundMyFitness 29 Jed Fahey, ScD, on Isothiocyanates, the Nrf2 Pathway, Moringa, & Sulforaphane Supplementation
Another episode about why sulforaphane is important. And moringa, possibly.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 143 John Ioannidis, M.D., D.Sc.: Why most biomedical research is flawed, and how to improve it
"We need to defend our method. We need to defend our principles. We need to defend the honesty of science in trying to communicate it rather than building exaggerated promises or narratives that are not realistic." Good science is hard. There's no need for brand new methods. Scientists need to be better educated, better equipped to use the current scientific tools (e.g. statistics).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 230 An Insurrection of Lies
"What we saw in DC was a YouTube comment thread come to life."
Very Bad Wizards 197 The Long Slow Death That Is Life
I haven't watched the movie. And probably won't watch it, after all...
Tribu - Dissocier l'œuvre de l'auteur?
Un débat classique. Au final, il est facile de "boycotter" les auteurs/artistes que l'on apprécie peu et difficile de boycotter ceux que l'on apprécie. J'aime les films de Roman Polanski. Quoi qu'il ait fait, je n'ai pas particulièrement envie de m'empêcher de regarder son oeuvre. Ça n'est pas comme si le fait de regarder ses films augmentait la souffrance de sa (ou ses ?) victimes.
Very Bad Wizards 196 The Loneliest Paper in Philosophy
Paul Bloom's "Informal Teaching Advice".
Making Sense with Sam Harris 229 A Few Thoughts for a New Year
Sam's position on money/wealth: being ultra-rich is okay, we should pay a lot of taxes (?), we should fix the governments if they're dysfunctional (not eliminate taxes), and we should give as much as possible to charities (effective altruism).
Very Bad Wizards 194 God Has No Mother (with Chris Matheson)
Criticizing religion is easy. To do it with empathy/humor is what's hard.
Obsessed by Music - George Michael - The Artist You May Not Fully Know
I don't know anything about him. Currently downloading Faith.
2020 176
Date Name # Episode
Obsessed by Music - Thoughts On Audio Equipment For Music Listening (Part 3)
I realize the following: 1) I'm not naturally interested in audio equipment anymore (I used to own rather expensive Sennheiser headphones, but I've since sold them) 2) I'm perfectly fine with using average headphones/equipment as long as the music I'm listening to is good (music quality > equipment quality) 3) the idea of a private listening room is intriguing (I plan to actually listen to some of my favorite albums without doing anything else in the future) 4) we should probably upgrade our 10-year-old low-cost speakers (in our "shared listening space").
Obsessed by Music - Thoughts On Audio Equipment For Music Listening (Part 2)
See part 3.
Obsessed by Music - Thoughts On Audio Equipment For Music Listening (Part 1)
See part 3.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 139 Kristin Neff, Ph.D.: The power of self-compassion
Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend. Stop criticizing yourself. It can help a lot. Neff mentioned IFS (Internal Family Systems). That's something I studied a few years ago.
Superchuckamania 7 Xmas Camping Special
An episode about camping and "having nothing to do".
Making Sense with Sam Harris 228 Doing Good - A Conversation with William MacAskill
I've been giving 2% of my net salary to GiveWell charities for a few years now. That's better than nothing, but still far from 10%. In 2021, I will give 3%. It's a modest step, but a step up nevertheless. Being a vegetarian in itself is ethical (William MacAskill has been vegetarian for 15 years), but it's not that impactful. Just like not taking planes for vacations is maybe a good thing, but not that impactful either. What's impactful is to give money to charities that are doing good work in those fields (animal welfare and climate). In 2021, I will start giving money to animal welfare and climate charities as well.
Superchuckamania 6 Stephen King special
An episode about Stephen King.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 135 BJ Miller, M.D.: How understanding death leads to a better life
I often think about death in a philosophical context, but I tend to forget that it is a very practical matter. "People die much more miserable than they need to because they haven't dared to look at this thing called death before it's too late." —BJ Miller
Obsessed by Music - The Greatest Musical Artist of Each Era
60s: Miles Davis. 70s: David Bowie. 80s: Prince. 90s: Beck. 00s: John Mayer, Alicia Keys, Muse. 10s: ???.
Obsessed by Music - The Music of 1996 Still Sticks
I guess I'm not musically well-educated enough to have a good idea of what "the music of 1996" is. :) And I would tend to say that it doesn't really matter.
Superchuckamania 5 Episode 5
See episodes 4.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 227 Knowing the Mind - A Conversation with Steven Laureys
A lot of things I've already heard Sam talk about. It's maybe the first time I hear him mention his (first?) MDMA experience, though.
Obsessed by Music - Remember Instrumental Music?
In other words: is it easier or harder to remember a piece of music without lyrics? Probably a bit harder, but not by much. If a song includes someone singing, it doesn't mean I don't need a strong melody, a good arrangement, etc. I don't think there's a huge difference between instrumental and vocal music in that sense.
Obsessed by Music - Feeling The Music!
This is true for music, as well as everything else: spend as little time as possible on things you don't like. In that case: on music that doesn't move you in any way.
Obsessed by Music - Missing A Concert And Regretting It
A good reminder that we should see the artists we like live while we still can (they're not immortal; and we're not, either).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 138 Lauren Miller Rogen and Richard Isaacson, M.D.: Alzheimer's disease prevention—patient and doctor perspectives
I will test my homocysteine levels in a few weeks. It should be low. High homocysteine seems to be bad for a lot of things. B vitamins and TMG can help if needed. For persons with a high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, 2 g a days of omega-3 is recommended. I'm at 850 mg a day (without counting food). An omega-3 index of 12-14 is desirable. Last time I checked, I was at 14.4. Good. Curcumin is a good idea (Richard mentions an optimised supplement with nanoparticles - it doesn't seem widely available). This is something I've been taking for years as well. Richard and Peter seem to somewhat disagree about ApoB vs LDL-P. I will check my ApoB level in a few weeks as well. Richard also mentions a blood test for transfats. Peter likes magnesium l-threonate. I've used it for some time, but it's quite expensive. I'm currently taking magnesium malate and glycinate.
Superchuckamania 4 Episode 4
See episodes 1-3. They seem to be a little less bitter about Peach & Black, this time.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 134 James O'Keefe, M.D.: Preventing cardiovascular disease and the risk of too much exercise
For longevity, running 5 miles a week (i.e. 8 km) is enough. I should know my resting heart rate. It should be low rather than high. I should also focus more on day-to-day exercise, like walking (between 10'0000 and 20'000 steps a day would be good). I definitely don't walk enough. Also, playing and socializing are important. After all and contrary to what some studies/meta-analyses have been saying recently, omega-3 is important for heart health (in somewhat higher doses), not only brain health. Curcumin is also important for brain health (Alzheimer's prevention, etc.). Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring is an important test to do, but it's expensive ($400-$800 in the US).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 226 The Price of Distraction - A Conversation with Adam Gazzaley
I should single-task more.
Superchuckamania 3 Episode 3
See episodes 1 and 2.
Very Bad Wizards 193 Free Wanting (Frankfurt's "Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person")
Frankfurt's hierarchical ordering of desires is a useful concept. Whether your main desire and higher-order desires are aligned or not leads to very different psychological situations. The part about free will was confusing. Or maybe I'm just tired of hearing about that topic. This is probably a confirmation bias, but for me it just proves that the concept of free will is useless and should be avoided. It seems to me that it never adds any clarity to any discussion.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 133 Vinay Prasad, M.D., M.P.H: Hallmarks of successful cancer policy
A slightly less pessimistic view (I guess) of the situation than Azra Raza. Still, the situation is pretty bad. We need to allocate our financial ressources more rationally (among many other things).
Obsessed by Music - Listening To Music Like Nothing Else Matters
I don't remember the last time I listened to an album (or a recording) from start to finish, without doing anything else (e.g. driving, working, etc.). I should find a way to do it again. Maybe even regularly.
Le point J - Pourquoi autant de boîtes résistent au télétravail ?
Il y a une inertie systémique, mais les choses finiront par changer. Les nouvelles générations ne veulent pas travailler comme les générations précédentes. Elles préfèrent une hiérarchie plus "plate". Elles ne considèrent pas le travail comme quelque chose d'aussi important que les générations précédentes.
Superchuckamania 2 Episode 2
See episode 1.
Superchuckamania 1 Episode 1
Just checking if they talk about the end of Peach & Black (answer: not really, at least not directly).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 130 Carol Tavris, Ph.D. & Elliot Aronson, Ph.D.: Recognizing and overcoming cognitive dissonance
"The human brain is wired for self-justification". Learning how to live with cognitive dissonance is crucial. Is there a link with musical dissonance? I mean (and I'm only half-joking here): do people who listen to free jazz (for example) accept cognitive dissonance more easily? I liked the attempt at explaining how we tend to avoid cognitive dissonance from an evolutionary perspective: not avoiding cognitive dissonance leads to worrying, not sleeping well, being tired and, hence, not surviving well (that's my simplistic way of summing it up).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 137 Paul Offit, M.D.: An expert perspective on COVID-19 vaccines
It's basically impressive to have vaccines in less than one year. COVID-19 can lead to cardiomyopathy. This is worrying. Should I worry?
Making Sense with Sam Harris 225 Republic of Lies
I share Sam's concerns. What Trump did to institutions and democracy in general is worrying. I'm still worried about the next two months.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 131 Beth Lewis: The Art of Stability: Learning about pain, mitigating injury, and moving better through life
I listened to this because I recently injured my knee. I guess my personal takeaway (I'm not someone who spends hours at the gym every week) is that I should keep moving, do movements that "I'm not supposed to do", exercise barefoot (I use an elliptical trainer regularly), and be able to touch my toes.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 129 Tom Dayspring, M.D.: The latest insights into cardiovascular disease and lipidology
HDL levels are really useless. That's a relief, for me, because my total cholesterol is really low and my HDL is really low as well. For years, I've tried to make it higher, without any success. I guess I will stop trying, now, and focus on more useful metrics. Lipoprotein(a) / Lp(a) is definitely something I should measure soon. If Lp(a) is high, oxidized phospholipids should be measured (did I get that right?). Peter's favorite measurements are homocysteine and uric acid (to assess cardiovascular risks).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 222 A Pandemic of Incompetence - A Conversation with Nicholas Christakis
The "scoop": Christakis doesn't see the situation going back to normal before 2024, even with a vaccine in 2021. I guess that's what we should prepare for, psychologically.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 224 The Key to Trump's Appeal
People like Trump, because the Left makes them feel guily. Something like that.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 221 Success, Failure, & the Common Good - A Conversation with Michael Sandel
Nothing earth-shattering here if you're familiar with Sam's view on free will. We need to change our environments via policies, etc., so that everybody has "equal opportunities" in as many fields as possible. But, then, what? Should we change our genes as well? We should at least recognize that not everybody has the same abilities (the opposite view is very dangerous) and make sure we have policies in place to make sure everybody can live with dignity (financially, etc.).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 220 The Information Apocalypse - A Conversation with Nina Schick
"In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nina Schick about the growing epidemic of misinformation and disinformation. They discuss the coming problem of "deep fakes,"" the history of Russian "active measures" against the West, the weaponization of the EU migration crisis, Russian targeting of the African-American community, the future of Europe, Trump and rise of political cynicism, QAnon, the prospect of violence surrounding the 2020 Presidential election, and other topics." This was a bit depressing. Now I'd really like to hear a discussion about potential solutions.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 54 Kevin Sayer, CEO of Dexcom: Continuous glucose monitors – impact of food, sleep, and stress on glucose, the unmatched power of CGM to drive behavioral change, and the exciting future of CGM
I was interested in this topic, as I'm currently wearing a CGM (FreeStyle Libre) for a research study. There's probably a bias, here, but Dexcom products seem to be a bit more accurate than the competition. I'm excited about the idea that we could maybe one day have sensors for other values and have a AI system giving us real-time feedback.
Very Bad Wizards 199 When Philosophy Goes Sideways
An episode about bad philosophy. I guess. Neither particularly interesting nor funny.
Very Bad Wizards 198 Is Mental Illness a Myth? (Thomas Szasz's "The Myth of Mental Illness")
I'm left with more questions than answers. Is it useful to call "illness" something that is not a "purely physical" illness? Or at least something that cannot be assessed objectively (with biomarkers, etc.)? What if interventions (drugs or others) that make the symptoms better for the patient/person exist?
FoundMyFitness 28 Sulforaphane and Its Effects on Cancer, Mortality, Aging, Brain and Behavior, Heart Disease, & More
Conclusion: sulforaphane seems to be fantastic. That means broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc. (i.e. cruciferous vegetables). Sulforaphane alone as a supplement seems useless, apparently, because it's missing an essential enzyme called myrosinase. Supplements with myrosinase do exist, but they're pretty expensive. 40-60 mg of sulforaphane could be a daily target for optimal results.
FoundMyFitness 26 Ruth Patterson, PhD, on Time-Restricted Eating in Humans & Breast Cancer Prevention
I'm not sure what's the takeaway for me, here, as the definition used for time-restricted eating is not that restrictive: "Time-restricted eating is a form of fasting that limits the daytime hours during which a person can eat to an 8- to 12-hour window". Taking the more generous 12-hour window into account, it seems that I've often been eating in a time-restricted manner without realizing it... Now, what I do from that to time is to "fast" for 16 hours, which is pretty easy. I'm just skipping breakfast, which is what many people do (e.g. David Sinclair). Here, Ruth Patterson is talking about not skipping breakfast instead, which is a bit weird and/or more complicated. If I have my breakfast at around 8 AM, that would mean I'd have to stop eating at 4 PM, which is very late for lunch or very early for dinner...
Two Psychologists Four Beers 26 Terrible Advice (with Paul Bloom)
So it seems that there still aren't any definitive studies on happiness and parenthood. My intuition is that the question is made difficult by the fact that: 1) it is still really taboo to say that your children don't make you happy (so people try to convince themselves their children make them happy or, at least, give their life meaning, etc.) 2) even nowadays there is probably still an imbalance between men and women 3) it depends on quite a lot of variables (mainly age and income? but probably many others) 4) it also depends on the number of children and their age (so you would have to make really long studies to get interesting results).
Two Psychologists Four Beers 41 With and Without Children (with Elizabeth Page-Gould)
Interesting questions. Uninteresting answers (unless I missed something).
Prince | Official Podcast 14 Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 8: Can I Play With U?
It was fun hearing about the Prince and Miles story, once again, even if we have heard it many times before. So, Eric Leeds says that there's a 98-99% chance that Miles and Prince never recorded together in the studio. So that means there's still a 1-2% chance that they did, right? :)
Prince | Official Podcast 13 Prince: The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 7: Peach and Black
LeRoy Bennett did a whole interview on another podcast. The interviews with the fans were not that interesting.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince's Non-Album Tracks Vol. 5
Four random non-album tracks: "Little Red Corvette (Dance Remix)", "Don't Talk 2 Strangers", "Glasscutter", and "Ain't Gonna Miss U When U're Gone". I certainly don't listen to them a lot. They're not bad.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 219 The Power of Compassion - A Conversation with James R. Doty
The power of compassion and, I would add, self-compassion. The part on negative self-talk, in particular, was important: we need to learn to stop that voice in our head that's so critical of ourselves.
FoundMyFitness 27 Valter Longo, Ph.D. on the Fasting-Mimicking Diet & Fasting for Longevity, Cancer & Multiple Sclerosis
I'm not sure I understood correctly, but it might be possible that vegans don't benefit as much than non-vegans from time-restricted eating (to be confirmed). Prolonged fasting (several days at least) resets the immune system. An idea that I can confirm: it's way more easier to lose fat than to gain muscle.
FoundMyFitness 25 Satchin Panda, Ph.D. on Time-Restricted Feeding and Its Effects on Obesity, Muscle Mass & Heart Health
I've been thinking about buying a light therapy lamp for years now. This episode convinced me to actually do it (I bought a cheap one). Time-restricted feeding could help with: heart health, healthier gut microbiome diversity, preventing absorption of simple sugars in the lower intestine, serum cholesterol, and probably many other things.
FoundMyFitness 21 How Cryotherapy Affects the Brain, the Immune System, Metabolism, and Athletic Performance
This is fascinating. Cold exposure activates some genes/processes that promote immunity, longevity, etc.
Prince | Official Podcast 12 The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 6: Pop Goes the Music
Eric Leeds about Paisley Park: "There was absolutely no economic reason in the world why he should've ever built that place." It made no economic sense, but it became a mythical place for fans.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 218 Welcome to the Cult Factory - A Conversation with Tristan Harris
Since the last episode with Tristan Harris (2017), I've basically stopped using Twitter and almost stopped using Facebook. Some trends are worrying. The solutions are not clear.
FoundMyFitness 19 Dr. Darya and Kevin Rose Talk Meditation Retreats, Diet, Seasonal Eating, and More
"Meditation is good, part 2". What's also good: eating slowly, eating seasonally, turmeric. I have the same reaction to smartwatches: they're bringing notifications even closer to us and that's a bad thing.
FoundMyFitness 15 Buffering the Negative Effects of Chronic Stress with Meditation
Meditation (or other activities such as yoga) is apparently beneficial for longevity, memory, etc. according to some studies. As Sam Harris says, even if those studies are wrong, it's probably still an important activity, as it can make you react differently to some situations (in particular anger-inducing situations).
FoundMyFitness 13 The Sonnenburgs On How The Gut Microbiota Interacts With Our Bodies
Fibers are important. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables is a good rule of thumb to eat varied fruits/vegetables. I still don't know at this point if probiotics (in particular), prebiotics, and enzymes are useful as supplements.
FoundMyFitness 10 Dr. Aubrey de Grey and Dr. Rhonda Patrick Talk Aging
I was already a bit familiar with Aubrey de Grey, but I got the impression from this discussion that he is way more pessimistic than I remember him being. Or maybe I wasn't paying enough attention (the sound quality was not very good, the discussion was quite technical, etc.).
Prince | Official Podcast 11 The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 5: It Be's Like That Sometimes
The box set is now released. It was intriguing to hear the story of how "Crystal Ball" became "Sign 'O' The Times" from people working at Warner Bros. and from Susan Rogers herself.
FoundMyFitness 4 Bruce Ames on Triage Theory, Longevity Vitamins & Micronutrients
I realized after hearing this 2015 episode that Bruce N. Ames is the person responsible for the paper on "longevity vitamins" from 2018. A summary is available here. As a side note, I wish I can be as sharp and active at 86 as Bruce.
FoundMyFitness 51 Is Resveratrol a Longevity Compound?
Yes, probably, but we need more research to determine the optimal dosage and whether resveratrol is problematic for exercise.
Prince | Official Podcast 10 The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 4: Strict and Wild and Pretty
Another great episode with previously unreleased studio outtakes.
FoundMyFitness - Aliquot #1: Q&A Mashup - Pregnancy and child development
Some very important nutrients mentioned: omega-3 (DHA/EPA) - this is the most important one -, iron, vitamin D3, vitamin E, magnesium, choline.
FoundMyFitness - Aliquot #2: Q&A Mashup - Sauna
Sauna (or long, hot baths!) might help with common cold. Among other, more interesting health benefits. Something to try?
FoundMyFitness - Aliquot #3: Q&A Mashup - Fasting
I've already practiced time-restricted feeding. I really want to try again, but my fear is that I might lose too much weight (and I need to gain some). I'm more and more convinced that it might be healthy (autophagy, etc.). Spermidine (via nattō) might be an interesting option. I stopped taking resveratrol a few years ago. I might start taking it again soon.
FoundMyFitness 9 Rhonda Answers the Most Popular Questions About Vitamin D
Sweet spot: 40-60 ng/mL (I'm at 51.08 ng/mL - yay!). No significant difference between vitamin D coming from supplements or from an exposure to the sun (except too much sun can damage your DNA, of course).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 126 Matthew Walker, Ph.D.: Sleep and immune function, chronotypes, hygiene tips, and addressing questions about his book
"It's not time that heals all wounds. It's actually time during REM sleep and dreaming that provides this emotional convalescence." — Matthew Walker, Ph.D. Sleep might also be very important for vaccines, i.e. if you get a vaccine while sleep-deprived, it will not be as effective. Napping: you should only take a nap if you sleep well at night. Sleep chronotypes: it's important to know your chronotype; according to 23andMe, I'm ~90% a "night person" (as opposed to a "morning person"). As a father of a 2-year-old child, I'm not sure I can do anything about it right now (I have to wake up early anyway), but, later, it might be useful to wake up a bit later than I do.
Prince | Official Podcast 9 The Story of Sign O' The Times, Episode 3: The Quake
Prince's influences for "Sign O' The Times", the song (the news, the earthquake in Los Angeles, etc.) and more.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 122 Lori Gottlieb: Understanding pain, therapeutic breakthroughs, and keys to enduring emotional health
"Change happens gradually, then suddenly." — Lori Gottlieb
Mille et une archives - L'affaire des vignes maudites
Un épisode de l'histoire valaisanne que je ne connaissais pas, avec beaucoup d'action (intervention musclée de la police, lignes téléphoniques coupées, hélicoptères, coups de feu, etc.).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 121 Azra Raza, M.D.: Why we're losing the war on cancer
Azra Raza is very passionate about this topic. I didn't know the situation was that bad. We need more research on prevention.
Prince | Official Podcast 8 The Story of Sign O' The Times - Episode 2: The Dream Factory
Excerpts from previously unreleased studio recordings were played (first version of "Big Tall Wall", horn version of "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker", "Blanche", etc.). Susan Rogers is fascinating, as usual.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 118 Lloyd Klickstein, M.D., Ph.D.: Rapamycin, mTOR inhibition, and the biology of aging
Another very complex/technical discussion (at least for me). I'll just copy-paste the quote from the episode page: "Our approach is to address serious aging-associated diseases, and if we're successful, the side effect will be longevity." - Lloyd Klickstein.
Prince | Official Podcast 7 The Story of Sign O' The Times - Episode 1: It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night
Now I'm really excited with the release of the super deluxe edition of Sign 'O' The Times! This episode contains excerpts from previously unreleased recordings, including Prince's instructions before "Power Fantastic".
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 123 Joan Mannick, M.D. & Nir Barzilai, M.D.: Rapamycin and metformin—longevity, immune enhancement, and COVID-19
This was a complex discussion. I'm curious to see what current/future studies will show about rapamycin and metformin. I'm also getting more and more interested about immunity in general.
Peach & Black Podcast - The Family 35th Anniversary - St. Paul Peterson Interview
I know St. Paul Peterson mainly because he was part of The Family (singing on the first-ever released version of "Nothing Compares 2 U", way before Sinéad O'Connor, for example). I'm a bit more familiar with his brother Ricky Peterson, who played on many Prince albums and productions, as well as with David Sanborn. Anyway, he sounds a like a nice person.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 214 August 13, 2020 - A Conversation with Siddhartha Mukherjee
A summary of the Covid-19 pandemic mainly from a US perspective. What tends to worry me at the moment: the long-term consequences of the disease in people who only had mild symptoms (i.e. it could be that the disease is way more serious for those people than previously thought).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 213 The Worst Epidemic - A Conversation with Gabriel J.X. Dance
Having a 2-year-old son, I forced myself to listen to this episode. We can't do much, except educating our children on what can or cannot be done online. And maybe trying to have a clearing view on the privacy problem. It's becoming clearer to me that "privacy absolutists" are probably wrong, but we still need to have a discussion about this topic. It's very complex.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 212 July 29, 2020 - A Conversation with Kathryn Paige Harden
I guess this is how all disagreements should be settled. We didn't witness Sam or Kathryn really changing their point of view, but it was a civil conversation. One of the hard questions discussed was: what should the default hypothesis be (in the context of race/ethnicity and IQ)? And: should we even discuss this?
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 119 Terry Real: Breaking the cycle of shame, anger, and depression
"Depression typically manifests in hurting others around you ("hurt people hurt people" as the saying goes)."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 211 The Nature of Human Nature - A Conversation with Robert Plomin
Apart from rare genetic diseases, which can be deterministically determined by single gene mutations, most things we are interested in (intelligence, mental illnesses, etc.) depend on many genes. Mental illnesses, for example, are hence continuous. You are not either ill or healthy. It's exactly like height. My take: we'll need machine learning to really be able to interpret our genome. The naive view "this gene does this, that gene does that" won't allow us to understand how it all works.
The Happiness Lab - How to Be a Better Ally
"You might detest bigotry and injustice, but have you done anything to address these problems?" Interesting, I guess, but it doesn't address the problem of which problems we should devote our time/energy to (i.e. effective altruism).
The Happiness Lab - The War For Kindness
"[W]e can fight hatred with empathy, kindness and difficult conversations."
The Happiness Lab - Demonic Possessions
"Dr Laurie Santos examines why investing in experiences like concerts, vacations and dining out can give us a long-term happiness boost that buying things just can't match."
The Happiness Lab - Dial D for Distracted
"Smartphones are technological marvels, but the hold they have over our limited attention is causing us to miss out on more than we realize. [...] Dr Laurie Santos finds that even having a phone nearby can reduce how happy you feel."
The Happiness Lab - For Whom the Alarm Clock Tolls
"'Time famine' is when you just don't feel you have a spare moment... and it can make you miserable. [...] Tom lives life to the full, but he ensures he carves out time to wander around, think, chat with friends and even take naps. He argues that 'idling' is vital to leading a happy, creative and productive existence."
The Happiness Lab - Working Your Way to Happiness
"Job crafting captures what employees do to redesign their own jobs in ways that can foster job satisfaction, as well as engagement, resilience, and thriving at work."
The Happiness Lab - The Power of a Made-up Ritual
Rituals can make us feel we have some control over things, which is positive.
Peach & Black Podcast - The Time - Pandemonium Review Part 2
I was really glad to hear that Rob and Toejam have more or less the same opinion of this album as me.
Peach & Black Podcast - The Time - Pandemonium Review Part 1
This is probably a bit harsh, but I've ranked Pandemonium 74th out of 76 Prince releases. Still, this is always interesting to listen to a Peach & Black review, even for what I consider an average album. The part about "Donald Trump (Black Version)" is particularly funny.
Two Psychologists Four Beers 27 Against Mindfulness
I didn't expect this episode to be that "convincing". Yes, we still don't know if meditation is that useful and for what it is useful (stress? anxiety? anger management? attention? memory? kindness? addiction? sleep? happiness? creativity? something else?). If it is useful, what "dosage" should be used? Is 5 minutes a day enough? Should we meditate 20 minutes à day? Every day? In other words, what is the minimum dose? We need more serious studies, but it's very difficult to design good studies. With meditation, we can't really have a placebo group. There's also the problem of self-reported variables, so we need more objective variables to measure. My anecdotal opinion? Meditation is useful, but 1) it should be seen as one tool among others 2) it should be integrated into daily life as much as possible (i.e. don't see meditation as that thing you do for 10-20 minutes a day) and 3) results will be very gradual and subtle.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 209 A Good Life - A Conversation with Scott Barry Kaufman
I had a hard time concentrating on this episode, but I felt that the topics discussed were interesting, so I don't know what happened. One intriguing thought was the following: "No Buddhas are sending people to the moon". If you medidate 10 hours a day for all your life, you won't be able to participate in society. So there's an equilibrium to reach. You can't spend all your time trying to be right on Twitter either. Pathological altruism was also an interesting concept to me. Is Bill Gates happy doing what he is doing? How can we make ethical acts more rewarding?
Very Bad Wizards 191 All the Rage
As someone who don't show his emotions easily, this was thought-provoking. I've never been the kind of persons to shout, jump, and dance at pop/rock concerts, but it doesn't mean I don't enjoy being there. I guess I should be able to show my emotions a bit more and, at the same time, I think most people should be able to be a bit less overcome by / identified with their emotions. Anger, in particular. It's a useful signal, but if it lasts too long, it's not a good thing.
Very Bad Wizards 189 The Anality of Evil (Freud's "Civilization and its Discontents")
See my comments for the Nietzsche episode.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 208 Existential Risk - A Conversation with Toby Ord
Effective altruism, population ethics, etc. Philosophy is important. We need it to ask hard and important questions.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince's Lighting & Production Designer - LeRoy Bennett
Roy worked with Prince for 14 years. That's a long time.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 93 AMA with Jason Fried: Work-life balance, avoiding burnout, defining success, company culture, and more
I realized that Jason Fried is one of the authors who wrote It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, which I read last year. Again: a lot of things Jason says/writes make sense to me.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 90 Ryan Holiday: Stillness, stoicism, and suffering less
Learning how to detect when you have enough of something is very important. Having an ego has a cost. I like the idea of death as a gradual thing that starts at birth (i.e. you're constantly dying, until you're completely dead, which can happens in a few minutes or in a few decades). Children can be a good way to practice mindfulness. Taking walks without a phone could be a good idea.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #129 - Evolutionary reasons to sleep
There's a good reason why "evolution decided" to make us sleep a third of our lives. Don't mess with sleep.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #116 - Dealing with anger in spots where you know it's coming
Sam Harris talking: the goal is not to stop being angry. It's to detect when we become angry quicker, which naturally leads to less time spent being angry.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #106 - Does LDL cause heart disease?
I'm not sure I got this correctly. There's not always a cause-and-effect relationship, but high LDL and more risk of heart disease are highly correlated. So lowering LDL is still a good idea.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #94 - Comparing the two broad types of meditation, and Peter's favorite meditation apps
Sam Harris talking, so nothing new here (for me).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #89 - Cortisol and healthy aging
Stress management is very important. It's also somewhat harder to do, less tangible than exercising more, eating better, taking supplements, etc.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 207 Can We Pull Back From The Brink?
This was an episode full of nuances. I generally agree with him here.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - AMA #2 with sleep expert, Matthew Walker, Ph.D.: short sleep mutants, optimal sleep environment, sleep apnea, & rapid fire questions
Only the first question was answered in this non-subscriber version of the AMA: there's a mutation that allow some people (not a lot of them, it's very rare) to only sleep 6 hours a night. Not 4, not 5, but 6 hours. The remaining questions might be interesting enough to convince me to become a subscriber.
Tribu - La notion de race
Une notion qui n'a plus de sens scientifiquement (plus beaucoup, du moins, et qui a été remplacée par d'autres concepts, moins connotés), mais qui en a encore forcément lorsque l'on parle d'histoire et de société. Un rappel que les mots ont forcément un poids et qu'il faut les utiliser de manière intelligente, selon le contexte, selon le public auquel on s'adresse.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #69 - Advice to parents and kids for creating a sustainable environment that's going to prevent them from running into metabolic problems
Avoid processed food.
Prince | Official Podcast 6 Up All Nite with Prince - Episode Two: It Ain't Over!
2002 was a great year for Prince aftershows. I hope we will see more of them being officially released someday. Well, that's true for all aftershows, actually!
Very Bad Wizards 188 Conceptual Mummies (Nietzsche's "Twilight of the Idols")
Let's just say this won't convince me to read Nietzsche.
Prince | Official Podcast 5 Up All Nite with Prince - Episode One: The Atrium
A somewhat confusing period for Prince, but with some excellent music (now re-released on CD/vinyl by Sony).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #57 - A primer on NAD+/NADH, its effect on lifespan/healthspan, and a review of the supplements
Hypothesis: we have less NAD+ as we age, because we need/consume it more (inflammation, immune system more active, etc.). Again, something I should try (NMN).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #38 - Finding meaning in struggle and why we are less happy than ever (David Foster Wallace)
A reminder to listen to David Foster Wallace a bit more often, I guess.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #29 - Fasting as a powerful drug in the toolbox of medicine (sneak peek of Paul Grewal's upcoming episode)
I really should try intermittent fasting again (or, rather, time-restricted feeding).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 83 Bill Harris, Ph.D.: Omega-3 fatty acids
"I don't think [omega-6] is the evil that people think it is. The problem is that we need to get more EPA and DHA in our diet, not necessarily get all hung up on omega-6." We still need a lot of research in that field, it seems. EPA and DHA are both important, including for heart health, apparently (I thought it was not the case anymore, according to recent studies). The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is not that important, according to Harris.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #24 – What are the "ABCs" of Alzheimer's prevention?
See comments for full episode (#18 - Richard Isaacson, M.D.: Alzheimer's prevention).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 76 Kyle Kingsbury: Finding meaning, depression, and psychedelics
"[Ayahuasca] shifted more things in me and how I perceived the world than anything else." One of the things I'm always wondering when I hear about people getting spectacular results from psychedelics is whether they believe in God / in an afterlife or not. It seems that those substances give people intense spritual experiences. Can you have them as an atheist? Can you get the same benefits?
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 70 David Sinclair, Ph.D.: How cellular reprogramming could slow our aging clock (and the latest research on NAD)
I should really give intermittent fasting another go. Should I test my epigenetic age? It's currently quite expensive. Resveratrol: maybe I should give it another go as well. NMN/NR (NAD precursors): I'm still not clear if it makes sense to take them, as they're quite expensive. If they were cheap, I would take them "just in case".
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast - Qualy #6 – What are the best lab tests to request specifically for longevity?
Lp(a) is important. Again, I should check my values someday.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 58 AMA with sleep expert, Matthew Walker, Ph.D.: Strategies for sleeping more, sleeping better, and avoiding things that are disrupting sleep
I listened to the short / non-subscriber version of the AMA. This is an AMA I might want to listen to completely when/if I ever become a subscriber. I was mainly interested in the negative effect of exercice on sleep, as I've recently started exercising during the evenings, since our 2-year old child is now waking up quite early (around 6:45 instead of 8:00). Walker recommends a 2-hour "no exercice" window before going to bed, but it doesn't seem to be really important. I think I'll keep on exercising at around 9 PM for the time being. It seems to work for me.
Peach & Black Podcast - The Top 20 Prince Songs Of The 2000's
A surprising list. I don't know what mine would be.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 206 May 26, 2020 - A Conversation with David Frum
Reddit discussion. I hope Frum is right and that it's likely now that Trump will not be re-elected.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 205 The Failure of Meritocracy - A Conversation with Daniel Markovits
Reddit discussion. I seem to agree quite a lot with Markovits. I'm not sure about his one-time wealth tax, though. His idea that some (most?) of the elite is completely useless to society as a whole resonates with me (finance, in particular). His example of heart surgery/transplant (highly technical, hard to do, low impact) vs heart health (exercising, eating well, everybody can do it, high impact) is thought-provoking.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 204 May 18, 2020 - A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt
Reddit discussion. Registering people before they can use social media: I'm not sure this is a viable idea. We need to experience awe more often, I agree. Haidt mentions psychedelics and MDMA at the end, and share some of his experiences with those substances.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 202 May 11, 2020 - A Conversation with Andrew Yang
Reddit discussion. I was not familiar with with Andrew Yang. He sounds like a nice guy. Maybe too much to be a successful politician...
Le point J - COVID19: va-t-on enfin dire adieu à l'open space?
Réponse : probablement pas ; les bureau individuels coûtent trop cher.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 46 Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D.: Navigating the many pathways to health and disease – NAD and sirtuins, methylation, MTHFR and COMT, choline deficiency and NAFLD, TMAO, creatine and more
Another discussion that indicates that "MTHFR bad mutations" are not complete pseudoscience. They're certainly less important than implied by some supplement manufacturers, though. Masterjohn seems to like choline a lot. As I'm vegetarian / almost vegan, I'm already experimenting with Alpha-GPC. Other supplements to follow closely: B2/riboflavin (for energy production), creatine (already taking), and glycine (for sleep, sugar levels, etc.). I had already investigated collagen, but there's currently no vegetarian/vegan source (altough it would be theoretically possible). Some notes for another podcast.
La Maison des Maternelles 9 Parents épuisés, comment s'en sortir ?
Les cas présentés semblent extrêmes. Cela permet déjà de relativiser un peu...
Making Sense with Sam Harris 201 May 1, 2020 - A Conversation with Yuval Noah Harari
I had already heard a lot of what Yuval Noah Harari had to say during this episode in a conference in 2019. One idea worth thinking about: with mass surveillance and machine learning, "your whole life becomes a job interview".
Making Sense with Sam Harris 200 Creatures of Habit - A Conversation with James Clear
A lot of self-help stuff here, not always in the bad sense of the word. A summary of his ideas: Atomic Habits by James Clear. Another one here: Atomic Habits by James Clear.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 38 Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, Ph.D.: Advancing Alzheimer's disease treatment and prevention – is AD actually a vascular and metabolic disease?
"In this episode, Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, a Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology & Toxicology, explains the vascular hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease which says the central problem is a progressive neuronal energy crisis of impaired blood flow to the brain and impaired mitochondrial respiration. He walks us through the ways we can intervene in this process and also shares details of the exciting future of Alzheimer's treatment and prevention." I should probably look more into the ketogenic diet. A vegan ketogenic diet looks really hard, though. Intermittent fasting is important (for prevention).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 27 David Sinclair, Ph.D.: Slowing aging – sirtuins, NAD, and the epigenetics of aging
I haven't heard the latest episode with David Sinclair yet, but at that point in time it wasn't clear at all that NAD, its precursors, and resveratrol were really that useful.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince's Non-Album Tracks Vol. 4
I will say this: Jukebox With A Heartbeat is probably one of Prince's blandest songs. As for Funky Design, I was surprised to hear that Captain is the only one from the Peach & Black panel to really like it. This is probably because I love the live version from 9 Sept. 1995 (a.m.), which was included on a bootleg called The Park, Volume 2. It's also the last live version of the song, apparently. I hope it will get officially released one day.
The Happiness Lab - Keep Your Relationship Healthy
Have charitable interpretations of what other people say and do.
Very Bad Wizards 187 More Zither
I watched The Third Man for the first time in my life three months ago. It's a stunning movie. I can recommend it without any reservation.
Very Bad Wizards - Bonus Episode: Blue Velvet (With Jesse Graham and Natalia Washington)
I saw this excellent movie in 2004 and 2018. Like all David Lynch movies, it's a bit weird, but not completely, which makes it weird for other reasons...
Making Sense with Sam Harris 198 April 16, 2020 - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
"Sam Harris and Paul Bloom discuss the false tradeoff between the economy and public health, putting a price on human life, framing effects for moral questions, how Covid-19 may change human behavior, "turn-key totalitarianism," the future of education, the long term psychological effects of the pandemic, the 2020 election, the prospect that Sanders supporters won't vote for Biden, and what Sam means when he says "the self is an illusion," and other topics." Yes, we put prices on human lives all the time.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 197 April 12, 2020 - A Conversation with Caitlin Flanagan
"They discuss the different sorts of experiences people are having during the Covid-19 pandemic, what it has exposed about our education system, the 2020 election and the many problems with Joe Biden, why the press has been slow to cover Biden's #MeToo allegation, the perceived double standards in the press and within feminism, and other topics." Kind of fun. Not great.
Peach & Black Podcast - Plus Episode: Prince 1999 Super Deluxe Review - Part 6
I thought the review was over. This (last) part is about the bonus DVD (only available on the physical release of the box set - yep, that's still a thing in 2019). I've only watched part of the concert (the quality is not so good - an average video recording from 1982). The review is quite fun, although I'm not (yet) a fan of that concert.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 196 The Science of Happiness - A Conversation with Laurie Santos
I've already heard a lot from Laurie Santos (I followed her course and podcast). The discussion was still interesting, although it could have been a bit more critical/deep about some points (remembering vs experiencing self, measuring happiness, etc.). As Laurie admitted, measuring happiness by asking people about it can change how happy they are. Doesn't that make all happiness research a bit "shaky"?
Very Bad Wizards 186 The One with Peter Singer
About the first part: I didn't know some people used two spaces after periods; it sounds very weird to me. The more I read/listen to Peter Singer, the more he sounds reasonable to me. His answer about the "happy cow" thought experiment (which Sam Harris seems to like a lot) was quite nuanced (which Sam could be a little more, sometimes...).
Very Bad Wizards 185 The Devil's Playground
This time, I only listened to the second part, about In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell: "In the eponymous essay, Russell argues that if labour was equitably shared out amongst everyone, resulting in shorter work days, unemployment would decrease and human happiness would increase due to the increase in leisure time, further resulting in increased involvement in the arts and sciences." Dave and Tamler mainly talked about workaholism, which has been a thing in finance, law, and medicine for a long time, and also in academia for quite some time now. I strongly agree with this Reddit comment: "When listening to the workaholism segment, I felt like I was listening to people from another planet. Perhaps it's indicative of my middle-class upbringing or a hallmark of modest life expectations but I had no idea that people wanted to work so hard or cared so much about how much work they were doing was perceived by their peers. I work a comfortable middle-class job, care deeply about doing a good job but don't think twice about taking time off or demanding work-life balance. [...] Could this be just an American perspective?"
Very Bad Wizards 184 Tainted Glove
I've only listened to the first part (about Richard Dawkins eugenics tweet). So, yes, we should be able to discuss sensitive topics, but, as always, Twitter is not the place to have a nuanced and constructive discussion.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 194 The New Future of Work - A Conversation with Matt Mullenweg
I liked Matt Mullenweg's enthusiasm about the idea of remote work and I found his 5 levels of remote work useful. I've been very pessimistic lately about the positive effect of COVID-19 on remote work. I really think we will mostly go back to where we were before. We still have a very long way to go before we can cooperate in an efficient way online. Most people are really resistant to change. I hope I'm wrong, though.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 192 March 17, 2020 - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
"In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom speak about the psychology of adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, the disastrous analogy between coronavirus and flu, the political siloing of information, true and false concerns over "panic," pressuring China to close down their live animal markets, the economic implications and possible silver linings of the pandemic, what our response suggests about our ability to deal with climate change, Biden vs Sanders, the ethics of praising one's enemies, and other topics." As a vegetarian, I'm particularly saddened by the idea of a live animal market. This is dangerous, as discussed, but also just plain cruel. I hope they all go away.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 193 Meditation in an Emergency
This is a good reminder that we should meditate especially when we don't want to, especially when we feel we don't have the time to do it.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 189 Wealth & Happiness - A Conversation with Scott Galloway
The following parts were especially interesting: the part about the best way to redistribute wealth and taxes (e.g. the fact that a wealth tax is usually a bad idea); the part about the "religion of privacy" (I tend to agree with Sam and Scott, here). I was a bit surprised (and disappointed) by this bit (from Scott): "If it's a choice between moral clarity and my Range Rover, I'm picking my Range Rover." Sam mentioned for the n-th time the study about happiness which is often mentioned, which says that moment-to-moment happiness gets to a plateau with more money, but life satisfaction goes up apparently indefinitely. I'd like to hear more about this concept of life satisfaction, how you can measure it, how much it is important compared to moment-to-moment well-being, etc.
The Happiness Lab - Coach Yourself Through a Crisis
"We all need to keep a clear head at times of crisis - but that's not always easy. So when strong emotions of fear and anxiety start to cloud your judgement, turn to an effective and reassuring voice of reason... you." So: silently talking about/to yourself as if you were another person or a group of persons (linguistic distancing) or thinking about a similar situation in the past or aboout the current situation as seen from the future (temporal distancing).
The Happiness Lab - Beat Your Isolation Loneliness
"Being physically isolated from the world doesn't mean you have to suffer loneliness too." Why don't we have remote coffees/beers more often, even in normal times? Skype, Zoom, etc. are not for work only.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince 1999 Super Deluxe Review - Part 5
This was a massive review. Almost 10 hours. For a fantastic release.
The Happiness Lab - Sleep Right
To sum it up: sleep more. It's very important. I might need up to 9 hours of sleep instead of 8.
Very Bad Wizards 183 Accept the Mystery (with Paul Bloom)
I saw A Serious Man when it came out in 2010, but didn't remember a single thing about the movie...
Tribu - Lʹimpact du coronavirus sur le lien social
La pandémie met en évidence les liens sociaux et économiques entre les gens/pays. L'occasion, peut-être, de les remettre en question ? Par exemple, notre dépendance à la Chine pour les médicaments. Un autre point discuté : la dualité rejet/solidarité dans nos réactions à l'autre, perçu comme une menace ou comme une personne dans la nécessité.
Very Bad Wizards 182 The Paper That Launched a Thousand Twitter Wars (With Yoel Inbar)
The discussion about what a (falsifiable) theory is supposed to be is interesting. David has a looser definition of what it can be (e.g. just a folk theory). I tend to agree with him. I also agree with Tamler that the field of psychology should probably be a bit more ambitious than that (i.e. falsifying loose claims than nobody seriously holds).
Very Bad Wizards 180 Chekhov's Schrödinger's Dagger (Kurosawa's "Rashomon")
I watched Rashomon a few weeks before listening to this episode, not because the episode was released (in January), but simply because I'm currently watching movies from the Phi-Phenomenon list. After watching Rashomon, I was pretty sure I had missed a few things and listening to Dave and Tamler made me realize that even more. "Who killed the samurai and with what? What role did his wife play in his death? Kurosawa gives us four perspectives, told in flashbacks within flashbacks. Who's telling the truth? Is anyone? Can we ever know what really happened? A simple story on the surface becomes a meditation on epistemological despair."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 188 February 28, 2020 - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
"Sam Harris and Paul Bloom speak about the virtues of President Trump, the campaign prospects of Bloomberg and Sanders, the asymmetrical norms of the Democratic and Republican parties, the marginal role that parents play in the development of their children, wealth inequality and the breakdown of the nuclear family, whether Paul should take LSD, the deplatforming of Peter Singer, and other topics." About parenting: I like this idea that, as long as we love our children and don't do anything particularly stupid/abusive, they will turn out fine; and that if they don't, it probably won't be "our fault".
Making Sense with Sam Harris 187 February 20, 2020 - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
"Sam Harris and Paul Bloom speak about the epidemic of child sexual abuse, the ethics of loyalty, eugenics, existential risk, the Bloomberg and Sanders campaigns, and other topics."
Very Bad Wizards 179 Talking Shit
The Mr. Robot discussion was fun. The question of whether specific results can be applied in the real world in a more general way was interesting. Psychology is a field where it's harder to reveal underlying principles (compared to hard sciences such as physics, for example). Studies are often oversimplifying social situations, for practical reasons.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince 1999 Super Deluxe Review - Part 4
All the studio outtakes (24 of them!) have finally been reviewed. That was really fun. The next episode will be about the previously unreleased live show.
Tribu - A quoi sert lʹHistoire
La pratique de l'histoire se démocratise (ex. généalogie, histoire locale, etc.). Dans un contexte scolaire, le cliché de l'histoire qui sert à ne pas répéter les mêmes erreurs parle peu aux élèves. C'est un point de vue trop moralisateur. L'histoire permet de montrer que tout est toujours possible et c'est plutôt encourageant.
Tribu - Ennuyer les autres en racontant ses voyages
Nous avons tous été coupables un jour ou l'autre d'ennuyer les autres avec nos récits de vacances et, inversement, nous avons tous été ennuyés profondément par le récit un peu trop détaillé du dernier voyage d'un collègue. Facebook et Instagram n'ont pas amélioré la situation. Je crois qu'il faut parvenir à rire un peu de la situation. Et apprendre, finalement, à vivre un voyage pour soi-même, pas pour les autres, pas pour se mettre en avant. En même temps, je reste convaincu qu'il est possible de raconter un voyage sans être barbant. C'est très difficile, mais pas impossible.
Tribu - Ne pas répondre aux messages
Le rasoir d'Halon s'applique : ne jamais attribuer à la malveillance ce que la bêtise (ou l'incompétence) suffit à expliquer. L'incompétence, en l'occurrence, ça peut aussi être un oubli, parce que nous vivons des vies un peu trop remplies. Il faut aussi se remettre en question, y compris lorsque c'est nous y attendons une réponse de l'autre. Notre message était-il suffisamment court ? Facile à lire/répondre ? L'a-t-on envoyé à un moment idéal ou importun ? Etc.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 26 AMA #3: supplements, women's health, patient care, and more
I like the idea of having a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) on me. It's currently too expensive, unfortunately. Peter took 600 mg of lithium a day for months at some point (warning: very dangerous). It was somewhat beneficial. He's currently at 10 mg a day. There are no obvious benefits. Sleep is the most important thing after physical activity (although nutrition and stress management are important, too). Intermittent fasting is important as well. Peter is (was?) not convinced NR/NMN (NAD+ precursors) are useful at all. Jarrow Formulas and Pure Encapsulations are good supplement brands. A lot of listeners are frustrated by their doctor. They'd like to find a "Peter Attia clone". I'm in that situation as well.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 185 February 7, 2020 - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
A slightly less interesting episode than the last one with Paul Bloom, but still very enjoyable. As Sam recognizes, criticizing Trump is boring. But it's somewhat entertaining to hear him do it anyway. The part about wealth inequality was pretty good.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 184 The Conversational Nature of Reality - A Conversation with David Whyte
I didn't expect to like this episode as much. David Whyte is a poet and one with a very interesting take on life, work, etc. I like his way of talking. I might read one of his poetry collections.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 18 Richard Isaacson, M.D.: Alzheimer's prevention
Richard's general advice (he doesn't like general advice): 1) Inform yourself (e.g. alzu.org) / know yourself (i.e. your values, etc.) 2) Exercise (did I hear 150 minutes per week?) 3) Eat well (blueberries, omega-3 / DHA, curcumin are important) 4) Sleep well 5) Manage your stress (e.g. meditation). Theracurmin was mentioned as a good form of curcumin (highly bioavailable). MTHFR mutations: Richard and Peter seem to think it's useful to take "methylated versions" of the B vitamins to prevent high levels of homocysteine (I thought it was mainly a marketing thing...). Notes for another podcast.
Very Bad Wizards 181 The Fraudulence Paradox (David Foster Wallace's "Good Old Neon")
This episode didn't really make we want to read David Foster Wallace's books (I'm only familiar with his This Is Water speech). I know he's a well-respected author, but it looks like he put a lot of himself even in his works of fiction. Since it's a person who wasn't able to overcome his depression, I'm not sure I need/want to know his point of view...
Very Bad Wizards 178 Borges' Obsession-Obsession ("The Zahir")
I haven't read "The Zahir", but I'll probably read it someday, as it is included in Collected Fictions, which I will read at some point.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince 1999 Super Deluxe Review - Part 3
Another very enjoyable / fun review. Probably the best in recent times.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 182 January 28, 2020 - In Conversation with Paul Bloom
A good episode with an excellent guest. The topics were not particularly original (free will, redemption, morality of groups, online harassment, etc.), but I'd like to hear more episodes like this. After years and years (litteraly more than twenty years, actually) thinking about free will, I still don't know where I stand. I agree with Sam that Dennett's political position about free will is weird (i.e. people have to be able to believe in free will, in one form or another, or they will become immoral). It's an absurd position. Sam's position doesn't seem "complete", though. People like Daniel Miessler have been more successful, in my opinion, but the more I read from him on the topic, the more I find his position a bit inconsistent.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 181 The Illusory Self - A Conversation with Richard Lang
If this is Sam's attempt at convincing people who are not yet interested in meditation that they should get more interested in meditation, then I don't think it will work. This is esoteric as it gets. I've been working on my "headlessness" with Sam's Waking Up app for more than a year now, and I'm still not sure I completely "get" it. I'm more or less convinced that there is something to get, though.
Cautionary Tales 7 Bowie, jazz, and the unplayable piano
I knew the Vera Brandes story, but this was very well done: the parallel with David Bowie, with computer algorithms, the reference to Prince, etc. Sometimes we need some randomness to get out of local optimums. Or unexpected constraints, in the case of Keith Jarrett.
The Happiness Lab - Think Yourself Happy (LIVE from Yale)
To sum it up: meditate or (in my case) meditate more.
The Happiness Lab - Grateful Expectations
"Grit and determination to change your habits can only get you so far... if you want to be happier you have to stop and think about how nice people have been to you and how nice you can be to them in return. This circle of gratitude - the science suggests - will also make you a better friend to one of the most important people in your life... your future self."
The Happiness Lab - A New Hope
Psychologically, we tend to see time as discontinuous (like chapters in a book), although it is continuous, so there are times in our lives that feel more suitable for changes (beginning of a year, week, or season, birthdays, etc.). Happiness hack: bundle things that you have a hard time doing (e.g. exercising) with things you like / that tempt you (e.g. watching a TV show).
Very Bad Wizards 177 Pure Linguistic Chauvinism
The discussion about the paper ("The lexical fallacy in emotion research: Mistaking vernacular words for psychological entities.") was interesting. What's the relationship between language and reality, especially in the case of higher level concepts such as emotions? Sometimes, words regroup different concepts into one. Some languages are more precise than others. We have complex concepts (that we could describe in mathematics with high dimensional vectors), but, in everyday life, we need simple labels. So we unconsciously do dimensionality reduction, cluster concepts together, and reference them with a single word. But we must always keep in mind that there's not a one-to-one relationship between words and reality. I agree with Tamler: the big reveal in 407 Proxy Authentication Required (Mr. Robot) was not bad/shocking. It felt perfectly natural (and surprising at the same time).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 179 The Unquiet Mind - A Conversation with Judson Brewer
I had never really thought about the link between addiction (in the widest sense of the word - Brewer defines it as "repeated use despite adverse consequences") and meditation, but I think I'm starting to see it. We are wired for rewards. We should be more aware of it. I'm not sure there was much actionable information in the episode, apart from "meditate more", but, still, this is very encouraging. Brewer sounds very nice and knowledgeable. I probably won't buy his book, though, as it doesn't appear to contain really actionable advice either. Future specialized meditation apps might be interesting. Until then, it remains a bit too theoretical.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince 1999 Super Deluxe Review - Part 2
A discussion of the first CD of previously unreleased outtakes. A fun and informative episode, as usual.
Very Bad Wizards - Bonus Episode: Hi-Phi Nation's Barry Lam Joins David to Talk "Star Trek"
Can consciousness be simulated? And if it can, is simulated consciousness any less real than non-simulated consciousness? I still don't know.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 178 The Reality Illusion - A Conversation with Donald Hoffman and Annaka Harris
Is this philosophy porn? I don't know. Consciousness is one of my favorite topics, but after almost 3 hours of discussion, I'm not sure I've gained anything from it.
2019 113
Date Name # Episode
The Happiness Lab 11 Bonus: A Happier Christmas
Nothing earth-shattering: giving is better than receiving when it comes to happiness; giving time is better than giving money/gifts.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince 1999 Super Deluxe Review - Part 1
A general discussion about the super deluxe edition of "1999". This is a special review, for a special release - this is probably the best Prince release so far in terms of quantity of previously unreleased material and of quality of the physical box set (booklet, etc.). Some parts of the discussion were particularly interesting: what it means to release a 5-CD / 10-LP box set in 2019 (vs streaming services), censoring / not releasing tracks with problematic lyrics, etc.
Prince | Official Podcast 4 Prince: The Story of 1999 - Let's Work
The "1999" tour and Prince as seen by other musicians.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 15 Paul Conti, M.D.: trauma, suicide, community, and self-compassion
A rich discussion. Unprocessed trauma is a huge problem. Self-awareness and self-compassion are crucial. It's important to realize when we have negative thoughts about ourselves, especially if we repeat them over and over, and to work on the underlying issues. Social isolation is also a huge problem.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 177 Psychedelic Science - A Conversation with Roland Griffiths
One of the best episodes in a long time. The trip report at the end was very interesting.
Prince | Official Podcast 3 Prince: The Story of 1999 - The Idolmaker
A bit less interesting (The Time, Vanity 6), but still very well done.
Waking Up Conversations - Live at the Wiltern - A Conversation with Mingyur Rinpoche
An entertaining discussion about meditation.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 176 Knowledge & Redemption - A Conversation with Lynn Novick and Jule Hall
"Sam Harris speaks with Lynn Novick about her four-part documentary College Behind Bars. The film follows the progress of students in the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) as they pursue their undergraduate degrees. Sam and Lynn are joined by Jule Hall, a BPI graduate who served a 22-year sentence and is now working for the Ford Foundation." This kind of program/initiative shows the value of education. It's a bit sad that we have to wait until people are incarcerated to be given the chance to be educated, but it's a start.
Prince | Official Podcast 2 Prince: The Story of 1999 - Rearrange
An interesting perspective on Prince's relationship with the Kiowa Trail home ("a boring place" which Prince needed to be creative), engineer Peggy McCreary, etc.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 13 Brett Kotlus, M.D.: How to look younger while we live longer
Three things I should absolutely do: 1) use sunscreen (I already do it) 2) use vitamin C cream/serum in the morning 3) use retinol cream in the evening.
Waking Up Conversations - Meditation and Trauma - A Conversation with David Treleaven
This is a reminder that meditation is just a tool and that it's not always the best tool at any moment.
Prince | Official Podcast 1 Prince: The Story of 1999 - My Mind Says Prepare to Fight
A short, but well produced podcast about the super deluxe version of 1999. Members of The Revolution are interviewed. Some snippets from previously unreleased tracks can be heard.
The Happiness Lab 10 Making the Grade
"From school grades to fitness trackers, we're all being ranked and rated on a daily basis. This is having a huge impact on our happiness and preventing us from living our lives to the fullest. Can giving up on grades radically improve our well-being?" Yes.
Peach & Black Podcast - November 2019 Prince News Episode
A lot of things are happening in the Prince world. I'm currently reading Prince's memoir, The Beautiful Ones. The super deluxe edition of 1999 will be released next weeek and is full of previously unreleased outtakes, including stuff that has never circulated on bootlegs. It's exciting.
Very Bad Wizards 176 Split-Brains and the (Dis)Unity of Consciousness
An episode about universe simulations (do we live in one?) and split-brains. Two fascinating topics. Do we all have two consciousnesses inside us? One silent and one that can talk? About simulations: I think the most important and interesting question is still "Can we actually simulate consciousness? Does it even make sense?" The Black Mirror episodes about this topic were really good, if I recall correctly.
The Happiness Lab 9 Make 'Em Laugh
"The emotions of those around us can make us feel happier or more sad. If happiness is so contagious... can we use them to bring joy to ourselves and our loved ones?" Yes.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 12 Corey McCarthy: Overcoming trauma, dealing with shame, finding meaning, changing the self-narrative, redemption, and the importance of gratitude
"Understanding how your experiences can define you, what forgiveness means of both yourself and others, and how good people can do bad things, are just a few of the takeaways."
Making Sense with Sam Harris 174 Life & Mind - A Conversation with Richard Dawkins
Hearing Sam doing a guided meditation with Dawkins was funny and awkward at the same time. I liked the parts where Dawkins talked about biology.
The Happiness Lab 8 Choice Overload
An episode about decision fatigue. To be happy, we should simplify our lives and minimize the number of situations where we have a lot of options.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 11 AMA #2: the Nothingburger — results from Peter's week-long fast between two weeks of nutritional ketosis — and answering questions on all things fasting
To sum it up: we don't know how often and how we should fast for optimal health. I, as a person with a low BMI, don't even know if it's a good idea to fast at all. Something that particularly intrigued me: the idea that deep sleep could be better/longer when fasting.
Peach & Black Podcast - The NPG Review And Interview at Caloundra Music Festival
I saw the NPG in 2017 in Montreux. It was a fun concert. I guess I'd like to see them again someday. As Toejam says, it's the closest thing to a Prince concert.
Very Bad Wizards 175 At Least We Didn't Talk About Zombies (Nagel's "What is it Like to be a Bat?")
One of my favorite topics (consciousness). I agree with Dave and Tamler that the more you talk about it, the less it becomes clear. It's weird. I actually think p-zombies, as I understand them, can be an illuminating thought experiment (how does consciousness "interact" with the world? does it cause anything? is it necessary?).
The Happiness Lab 7 Don't Accentuate the Positive
An episode about the WOOP technique (Wish, Outcome, Obstacles, Plan) and the usefulness of negative visualisation (I don't think stoicism was mentioned, but it's the same idea).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 8 Tom Bilyeu: nutrition, fasting, meditation, mindset, immortality, and the secret formula of fulfillment
Tom Bilyeu is impressively full of energy ("hyper", according to Peter Attia). I'd like to be more like him. An interesting discussion, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that successful people owe their success in large part to luck (e.g. meeting the right persons at the right moment, etc.) and good genes (i.e. how can you not achieve a lot when you're so full of energy?).
The Happiness Lab 6 Don't Think of a White Bear
"Trying to suppress feelings of hurt, pain and anger does more harm than good." This is a good reminder that we should confront all those negative thoughts, emotions, and events from the past, and learn to live with them.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 7 Deep Dive: Lp(a) — what every doctor, and the 10-20% of the population at risk, needs to know
That was a really deep dive. I can't say I understood much from this discussion.
Very Bad Wizards 174 More Chiang for Your Buck ("Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom" Pt. 2)
I agree that "What's expected of us" by Ted Chiang doesn't tell much about free will. It's not even a good thought experiment. It involves time travel, so it's doomed right from the beginning... In that sense, "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom" is far better, even if it's not coherent with what we understand of quantum mechanics. After the last three episodes, I still don't know how Tamler defines free will and why he thinks it exists.
Peach & Black Podcast - James 'Fluff' Harley Talks Prince's 20Ten Album
Harley only worked on the 20Ten album and other tracks that were never released, as a sound engineer (he was there during the recording process, not the mixing process). He admits that he's not used to interviews, but he's fun to listen to. I like those interviews of "obscure" persons who worked for Prince, but that are not well known to fans.
The Happiness Lab 5 Caring What You're Sharing
Taking photos makes us more attentive to details (e.g. we remember more about a painting we photographed), but it comes with a cost: we remember everything else less (e.g. we will remember less information from an audio guide if we photograph the paintings in a museum). Sharing an experience with another person amplifies it (i.e. it makes it more enjoyable if it's enjoyable and more unpleasant if it's unpleasant). Sharing a photo with other people on social media, on the other hand, is negative: "the benefits that you get from capturing photos are actually diminished or undermined when you take photos to share."
The Happiness Lab 4 Mistakenly Seeking Solitude
We tend to have wrong intuitions about the effect of random/small social interactions with strangers. That effect is usually positive. Automation gives us more time, which should be positive, but at the same time, it removes some of those small social interactions, which is negative. It's the case for extroverts, as well as introverts. The conclusion is that we should all try and interact more with people around us, including complete strangers.
The Happiness Lab 3 A Silver Lining
On average, silver medalists are less happy than bronze medalists. This is because silver medalists tend to focus on the fact that they could have gotten a gold medal (i.e. they're unlucky), wheras bronze medalists tend to focus on the fact that they could have not gotten any medal (i.e. they're lucky). More generally, we tend to compare ourselves to the wrong persons/situations. We should practice negative visualisation more often (i.e. stoicism).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 170 The Great Uncoupling - A Conversation with Andrew McAfee
We absolutely need carbon taxes. There are no reason not to have them, at least for products/services that have a clear impact on the environment. Ideally, we would also have taxes on products/services that have a negative impact on people/animals, but this would be way harder to implement. I also find interesting this idea that nuclear energy is not necessarily bad, at least with more advanced technologies. I think I agree. But the current climate is so anti-nuclear that it's a difficult idea to defend.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 168 Mind, space, & motion - A Conversation with Barbara Tversky
A conversation about the relationship between space and cognition/language. The importance of imitation and gesture is especially striking when you have a young child. It's fascinating to think how a complex organ such as the brain can model our world. It's an impossible task and that's why there are so many cognitive biases. We usually see them as a negative thing, but they're just heuristics to simplify that task (i.e. understanding the world and navigating it).
The Happiness Lab 2 The Unhappy Millionaire
This is a summary of Dan Gilbert's work (among others): we overestimate both how positive events will make us happy and how negative events will make us unhappy (hedonic adaptation).
Grand bien vous fasse ! - Pourquoi il ne faut plus avoir peur de vieillir avec Carl Honoré
Un message positif à propos du vieillissement dans un monde définitivement âgiste. Ça fait du bien, mais le chemin reste encore long pour changer les mentalités, en particulier dans le monde du travail. Emission recommandée par une ancienne collègue.
Very Bad Wizards 173 Talking to Your (Alternate) Self [Ted Chiang's "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom"]
I haven't read the novel before listening to the episode, but I will read it ASAP (I had already bought a collection including that novel). It sounds like a very interesting novel to discuss the existence/absence of free will. I'm not sure the discussion between Tamler and Dave did the topic any justice. For example, Tamler seems to be confused about the relationship between quantum mechanics and determinism: some interpretations of quantum mechanics say that determinism is true; others say it is false or are agnostic about it. Interestingly, the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics say determinism is true. I don't understand much about quantum mechanics, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't give us any freedom that could relate to the "free" in "free will". On the contrary, this episode made me even more convinced that the concept of free will doesn't make much sense. To go back to the story: if you can't find any parallel world where you acted differently for a given choice, it means that your choice really reflects who you are; but where's the freedom in that? If, for a given choice, you're on the edge, it's possible that your choice will eventually depends on completely contingent factors; where's the freedom in that?
Very Bad Wizards 172 Are You Free (to like the Chappelle special)?
"[T]hey address the latest development in the literature around Benjamin Libet's famous study that, according to some people, proved that free will doesn't exist." To sum it up, we can show that for simple choices (pushing button A or B), when we don't have any conscious reasons to choose an option or another, it's possible that we take "neural noise" into account for our choices. It's a different interpretation of what Libet measured and it makes sense. I agree that it doesn't have much to say about free will. It doesn't add much to the debate. I still think Sam Harris has a point. I still think Daniel Dennett is missing something.
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 4 AMA #1: alcohol, best lab tests, wearables, finding the right doc, racing, and more
Some notes about the tests to ask for longetivity. I already know my ApoE genotype. Lp(a) is something I might want to test someday. The question "How does one select the right physician as a patient?" was not really answered. As a patient, I still don't know how to choose my doctor (and I don't want to test a dozen doctors before selecting one).
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast 65 Rick Doblin, Ph.D.: MDMA — the creation, scheduling, toxicity, therapeutic use, and changing public opinion of what is possibly the single most important synthetic molecule ever created by our species
Rick Doblin is an impressive person, willing to play the long game to make MDMA and psychedelics legal, by funding/encouraging serious scientific research. It's always striking to learn that there are so many bad scientific studies (e.g. early studies showing the benefits of psychedelics, such as the Concord Prison Experiment, but also studies showing the neurotoxicity of MDMA). It's important to realize that both the benefits and the risks of MDMA/psychedelics have been largely exaggerated.
The Happiness Lab 1 You Can Change
I took Laurie Santos' course on Coursera, "The Science of Well-Being", last year. It was full of actionable advice, (supposedly) backed up by science. I enjoyed it, although it's mainly aimed at students. This podcast sounds like it's well done as well.
Obsessed by Music - New Father, Old Music!
My listening habits haven't changed much since my son was born. I don't "censor" myself. That means my son is exposed to pop, rock, funk, jazz, classical music, etc.
Peach & Black Podcast - Ashley Tamar Davis And Lake Minnetonka Interviews
Not much to say about this episode. I'd rather hear former Prince engineers than former Prince musicians, I guess.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince - The Versace Experience (Prelude 2 Gold) Review
The Versace Experience is just a weird release (made from a cassette tape, but released on CD, vinyl, and cassette...). Sony probably released this because they can't release The Gold Experience yet. I won't support this kind of releases with my money, though. Anyway, the episode itself is fun, as always, even though the reviews of each track are short (there's not much to say, almost everything being already released in non-edited form on other albums/singles).
The Tim Ferriss Show 352 Dr. Peter Attia vs. Tim Ferriss
A good discussion between Attia and Ferriss, which convinced me to download a lot of episodes from Attia's own podcast.
The Tim Ferriss Show 342 Sam Harris, Ph.D. — How to Master Your Mind
An "advertisement" episode for Sam Harris' Waking Up app. I skipped the guided meditation parts. The rest of the episode was pretty good, although I was already very familiar with the topic. It was interesting to hear how Sam is "selling" his concept to Tim Ferriss' audience.
The Tim Ferriss Show 347 Stan Grof, Lessons from ~4,500 LSD Sessions and Beyond
What struck me the most is how sharp Stan Grof is at 87. An interesting discussion (at times feeling like a monologue - Grof likes to talk!). I'm not a fan of Grof's often mystical take on psychedelics.
Very Bad Wizards 171 How Do You Solve a Problem Like Theodicy? (The Book of Job)
I'm not sure what to think about the article discussed in the first part of the episode. It looks superficially a bit ridiculous, but I think I understand what the author means. I just bought The Book of Job for Kindle.
The Tim Ferriss Show 377 Psychedelics — Microdosing, Mind-Enhancing Methods, and More
I was expecting more information about microdosing (the benefits of which are still anecdotal and not backed up by serious research).
The Tim Ferriss Show 365 Michael Pollan — Exploring the Frontiers of Psychedelics
The last part of the talk, about the current state of research and what to expect in the upcoming years, was interesting. In short, there is still a lot of research left to do. Researchers need money. They don't need a lot of money to start studies.
The Tim Ferriss Show 337 Hamilton Morris on Better Living Through Chemistry: Psychedelics, Smart Drugs, and More
This episode led me to watch Hamilton's Pharmacopeia (I just watched the first episode so far). Tim's show notes are excellent, so I don't have much to say. Hamilton uses the following "nootropics": nicotine, caffeine, and methylphenidate (Ritalin). He's apparently trying to use nicotine less, though, as all stimulant are addictive.
The Tim Ferriss Show 313 Michael Pollan — Exploring The New Science of Psychedelics
I first heard Michael Pollan on Sam Harris' podcast and read his book a few months later. Nothing really new here, but this is a fascinating topic, so it's always interesting to hear about it.
Peach & Black Podcast - Scottie Baldwin Interview
It took me a while to realize that I had already heard an interview with Scottie Baldwin (on the The Dr Funk Podcast in 2016). Scottie is a nice and knowledgeable person. He worked for Prince (on and off) between 1990 and 2016. It's a real pleasure to listen to him.
Very Bad Wizards 170 Social Psychology Gets an Asch-Kicking
I liked the soccer/tennis analogy. Using an EEG to understand how soccer works is the wrong tool. In that case: just ask people (i.e. descriptive approach). The pessimistic conclusion is that the current academic context doesn't allow for those more descriptive or unorthodox approaches (used, for example, by people like Darwin, who were affluent enough to conduct their research as they saw fit).
Making Sense with Sam Harris 164 Cause & Effect - A Conversation with Judea Pearl
An interesting topic, but I felt Sam and Pearl regularly talked past each other. Especially about consciousness. I wish more episodes were as "nerdy" as this one.
Very Bad Wizards - Bonus Episode: Rick and Morty (with Yoel Inbar)
I love Rick and Morty. As discussed in the episode, the show is full of ideas. Even subplots could be full-length episodes.
Peach & Black Podcast - Niko Bolas - Prince Originals Interview
Niko Bolas sounds like a nice guy. He said himself that he's a pretty "unsophisticated" mixing engineer. I don't know if I would have used that exact word, but I kind of agree. For example, he was asked why he used so much reverb on Prince's vocals (something that was highly critized by fans) and, to paraphrase him, he did it because it sounded good to him. That's disappointing. Mixes shouldn't be done because they feel good. In that case (Prince's vault/archive), mixing engineers should use reference mixdowns and try to strictly recreate them. All those new mixes (2018 and later) should have been done by the original engineers (Peggy McCreary, David Leonard, Susan Rogers, etc.), but I guess they would be too expensive. Or don't work as mixing engineers anymore.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince - Originals Review Part 2
I usually say that Peach & Black is fun. It is. This review was also important in the sense that many topics were addressed: Prince's legacy, what to release or not to release, how to approach new mixes, how to choose which version of a track to release from Prince's archive, etc.
Very Bad Wizards 169 A Bug's Life (Kafka's "The Metamorphosis")
I read The Metamorphosis (or at least parts of it) in German many years ago. I should read it again.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 163 Ricky Gervais
Sam and Rick discussed mainly freedom of speech and the special case of humor/comedians. And Twitter. Lots of things I agree with.
Very Bad Wizards 168 The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 2)
See part 1.
Very Bad Wizards 167 The Big Lebowski vs Pulp Fiction (Pt. 1)
For once, I'm on Tamler's side: I like The Big Lebowski more than Pulp Fiction . Just listening to this episode, I felt the need to watch The Big Lebowski again.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 162 Medical Intelligence - A Conversation with Eric Topol
I've been waiting for useful applications of deep learning in the medical world for years, especially in genomics. We're starting to get some meaningful information from our (cheaply decoded) genomes, but what we really need is actionable advice. We're definitely not there yet. The current information we're getting is rather confusing. Sometimes contradictory. It's difficult to know what to do with it.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 161 Rise & Fall - A Conversation with Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond sounds like an interesting person. I really need to read one of his books someday. The discussion was not that successful/interesting, though.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince - Originals Review Part 1
A review of the first eight tracks of the album. Very fun, as usual.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 158 Understanding Humans in the Wild - A Conversation with Adam Grant
I liked the part where Adam explained his skepticism about meditation, because he kind of has a good point. People give meditation too much credits. It's a tool. It's useful. It can also be beneficial if you use it right. But not necessarily. I still would like to know if Adam Grant really doesn't have a "monkey mind" or if he doesn't realize he has one. Are there people that really don't need meditation? It's an open question. I also liked the part about framing, i.e. how you can see a situation or even a feeling from different points of view. For example, anxiety and excitement share almost the same physiological characteristics. The difference is how we interpret those signs. We can't really control our physiological responses, but we can control our interpretations.
Very Bad Wizards 85 A Zoo with Only One Animal (with Paul Bloom)
I listened to that particular episode because I recently saw Groundhog Day for the first time in my life. There are several movies discussed in the episode that I haven't seen yet, but that I really need to see: Brazil, Barton Fink, Being There, Sullivan's Travels, and probably The Purple Rose of Cairo.
Very Bad Wizards 166 Total Recall
An episode about "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling", a short story which is apparently very similar to the "Entire History of You" episode of Black Mirror. Imperfect recall can help us integrating bad events in our lives. Imperfect recall also means that we forget the good moments in our lives. I've been journaling for more than a quarter century and I'm regularly reading my past entries (10 and 20 years ago). I encounter both cases: good moments that I had forgotten about and bad moments that I don't really enjoy reading about. Is this masochism? I don't think so. I don't think forgetting about an unpleasant past event is the best way to deal with it. Obviously, thinking everyday about something that happened ten years ago is not a good approach either, but if you're not able to think about a bad moment of your life while thinking that everything's okay, then it probably means that you've not completely processed that moment yet.
Very Bad Wizards 164 Choosing to Believe
Once you've realized that you don't either believe (completely) or don't believe (at all), but that all beliefs are nuanced/continuous/non-binary, one of the tricky parts is to set the "threshold" where you decide that you have enough evidence to act on a belief. Beliefs don't exist in a vacuum, so it's hard. You have to guess the consequences of your actions. A Bayesian approach seems to be reasonable.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 159 Conscious - A Conversation with Annaka Harris
A fun (and cute) discussion between Sam and his wife Annaka. I've been interested in consciousness for about 20 years now. I still don't know how I feel about panpsychism. I've bought her book, so we'll see if it helps me make up my mind or not.
Very Bad Wizards 165 Life With No Head (With Sam Harris)
I was worried yet another discussion about meditation would bore me, but it didn't.
Peach & Black Podcast - Jill Jones - Album Review
One of my favorite protégé albums. A fun episode!
Very Bad Wizards 163 Should I Stay or Should I Go? (Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas")
The story can be seen as an allegory of capitalism or simply as a way to test our ethical intuitions. I should read it.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 156 The Evolution of Culture - A Conversation with Nicholas Christakis
Not much to say about this episode. I guess it's important to realize that some non-human animals share some of the behaviors we associate with culture.
Peach & Black Podcast - May 2019 Prince News Episode
The main news is the forthcoming album "Originals", which is quite exciting. The other recent releases, like the re-release of an obscure promo cassette ("The Versace Experience - Prelude 2 Gold") and another promo vinyl ("His Majesty's Pop Life / The Purple Mix Club") for Record Store Day left me unimpressed. I'm definitely not a collector anymore. I'm only interested in new music, with the best possible sound quality.
Very Bad Wizards - Bonus Episode: Twin Peaks Part II
This was a more interesting (and focused?) discussion than the first one. I liked the parts about the relationship between Lynch and Frost, and between Twin Peaks and the rest of Lynch's body of work. I'm glad to learn that I'm not the only one having difficulties with Inland Empire. I know I want to watch it again, someday, but I never find the energy/motivation to do it. I know it will be a demanding experience.
Very Bad Wizards 154 Metaphysical Vertigo (Borges's "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius")
The third episode about Borges I've listened to. I'll give him a second chance. Someday. Maybe.
Very Bad Wizards 153 Progress in Psychology: A Reply to BootyBootyFartFart
I guess the pressure to publish is a factor in the bad quality of many papers. Replication crises should be seen as a good thing, which will eventually lead to higer quality research in problematic but very important fields (psychology, health/medicine, etc.). I understand Tamler's reaction to the bad joke in the elevator, but I don't think he's right. Links: standpoint theory; feminist epistemology.
Very Bad Wizards 158 False Dichotomies and Oral Reciprocity
This is my view on the topic: separating things into two categories is something very basic/fundamental we do, because it's simple, but it probably also has a deeper, biological root. Neurons are excellent at discriminating patterns/inputs; they basically split the hyperspace of possible inputs into two parts. Dichotomies are just a particular/specific case of dimensionality reduction, like principal component analysis (PCA). Dichotomies are also motivated by action: at some point, you need to act, so you need to simplify your data. In real life, actions often come down to "I do something" vs "I don't do something". You can easily bring nuance to an X-vs-Y situation (e.g. introvert vs extrovert) by specifying "81% X and 19% Y", for example. Dichotomies don't have to be overly simplistic. Once the basics are understood, you can progressively complexify the discussion by adding back some of the dimensions that were removed. Ultimately, it seems obvious to me (and apparently also to Dave?) that only machines (using machine learning algorithms) will be able to accurately model complex sets of data (including human psychology).
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince - Rave Un2 In2 Extended Review
This is an "extended" version of the older episode, initially published in 2011, which I listened to in 2015. It includes 40 minutes of discussion that were not included in the original episode. The highlight of the episode is the moment when Toejam explains that "Strange But True" is his favorite song of all time (by Prince, but maybe also by any artist). This is an odd choice, but I can understand why. It's a fantastic song, even though it's a bit obscure.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 153 Possible Minds - Conversations with George Dyson, Alison Gopnik, and Stuart Russell
Three very different interviews. I particularly enjoyed the one with Alison Gopnik.
Very Bad Wizards 162 Parents Just Don't Understand (with Paul Bloom)
Judith Rich Harris "was an American psychology researcher and the author of The Nurture Assumption, a book criticizing the belief that parents are the most important factor in child development, and presenting evidence which contradicts that belief." I was not familiar with her. I guess this was a good introduction to the topic (i.e. the effect of parenting on child development) and the debate around it. As often, it's largely a question of distinguishing correlations from cause and effect relationships. Most studies about the topic are simplistic/lazy (but this is not an isolated problem). Studies about adopted children can make this distinction clearer. My conclusion is that parenting doesn't seem to be as important as we could think. The discussion about art and "problematic" artists was interesting, as usual.
Very Bad Wizards 160 Everything is Meaningless: The Book of Ecclesiastes
I haven't (seriously) read the Bible in more than 25 years. Ecclesiastes is now on my to-read list (it might even be the next book I will read, we'll see...).
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - Is Anti-Matter a Real thing?
Yes. We can produce small amounts of it at CERN, for example. We know what it is and some of its characteristics, but we don't know how much anti-matter (if any) there is in our universe. We can't know if a galaxy (for example) we see (photons) is made of matter or anti-matter. We guess there's not much anti-matter in our universe, but it's just a guess.
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - How will the Universe die?
The models I had in mind (big crunch, infinite expansion, etc.) are all plausible, apparently. We don't know what will happen, because the universe is "only" 15-billion years old, so it's hard to extrapolate. A question I still have is: how plausible is a stable universe (i.e. a universe that doesn't lead to a big crunch or to heat death)? Philosophically, I find this idea (that the universe and everything it contains will cease to exist) very important, because it really changes how you see the future/goal of humanity as a whole.
Very Bad Wizards 161 Reach-Around Knowledge and Bottom Performers (The Dunning-Kruger Effect)
When I think of the Dunning-Kruger effect, I can immediately picture someone I know who suffers from this bias, but, let's be honest, we all have it, from time to time. The discussion about the "post-Dunning-Kruger effect", i.e. the realization that we (almost) don't know anything about anything (Socrates), was interesting. Bringing too many nuances to a discussion can be problematic. It can lead to inaction and look like a lack of enthusiasm, for example. Ironically, it's hard to know what to make of our lack of knowledge. At some point, you have to decide you know enough and act.
Peach & Black Podcast - Shelby J. Interview
Not my favorite band member, but Shelby's a really nice person. She worked with Prince during a 9-year period (2006-2014), which is quite impressive.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 152 The Trouble with Facebook - A Conversation with Roger McNamee
I'd gladly pay to have services such has Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, etc. if I could be certain that my data is not used in unexpected ways. At this point, though, there are no realistic alternatives to Google Maps, for example, or even Google Drive. So it's not easy to know what to do.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince's LotusFlower Anniversary Reflection with Richard Furch
Lotusflow3r is one of my favorite albums from the "later years" and Richard Furch, which I didn't know before, was a very good guest. He worked for Prince for about one year, apparently.
Very Bad Wizards 152 Ruthlessness, Public and Private
"Are the rules we use to judge the moral atrocities of public officials different from the ones we use to judge private atrocities?" Apparently, yes. For complex reasons. Sometimes, politicians can get away with immoral behaviour (e.g. wars, etc.), because they're part of a complex system, they inherit problems from their predecessors, etc.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 151 Will We Destroy the Future? - A Conversation with Nick Bostrom
"They discuss public goods, moral illusions, the asymmetry between happiness and suffering, utilitarianism, "the vulnerable world hypothesis," the history of nuclear deterrence, the possible need for "turnkey totalitarianism," whether we're living in a computer simulation, the Doomsday Argument, the implications of extraterrestrial life, and other topics." I'm still not convinced by the simulation argument. It's clever, but I'm not convinced. I had already heard of the Great Filter (in the context of the Fermi paradox), but I think there are many other possible explanations. It basically comes down to predicting what an advanced civilization would do. And, just like for the technological singularity, there's simply no way to know, by definition. Of course, we can try, but our imagination will be quite limited, I think.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 150 The Map of Misunderstanding - A Conversation with Daniel Kahneman
Thinking, Fast and Slow has been on my to-read list for a while now. Listening to this episode made me finally buy it. The two systems view of thinking is a useful one. Here's a link to some of the points discussed. The most fascinating part to me was the one about the experiencing self vs the remembering self and well-being. Money does increase your life satisfaction / "remembered happiness", but not your moment-to-moment happiness. Kahneman used to think moment-to-moment happiness was more important, but he changed his position. I'd like to hear more about this. It feels like something is missing. Are people with more money really happier (or more satisfied with their life) or do they think they're happier?
Very Bad Wizards 146 Sore Losers (Does Sports Make Us Unhappy?)
I'm not a sports fan myself, but even I can see that the discussed paper is way too specific in what it measures (instant well-being after a match, etc.) to draw overall conclusions. It seems obvious to me that sports has a tribal/community aspect that's very important. Are all happiness papers too simplistic? I'm starting to think they might be.
Very Bad Wizards 159 You Have the Right to Go to Prison
Like Dave and unlike Tamler, I'm quite sympathetic to the idea of antinatalism, without finding it completely satisfying. At least, people should think more before having children. Since Gideon v. Wainwright, people in the US have the right to be defended by an attorney provided by the state. This sounds like a good idea, but it hasn't worked as well as expected. There are many reasons why (cheap/bad attorneys, the fact that people are judged more harshly because they're defended, etc.). It's difficult to say that it wouldn't have been worse without the introduction of that right, though.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 149 The Problem of Addiction - A Conversation with Sally Satel
I've never really had a problem with addiction (except maybe with xylometazoline, video games, and coffee). I liked the parallel with Johann Hari's view in Lost Connections (i.e. that addiction has probably been overmedicalized). The discussion about selling organs a the end was a bit frustrating. There are so many potential problems with allowing people to sell their organs that it's difficult to take the idea seriously.
Very Bad Wizards 150 Paul Bloom Insisted That We Talk About Sex Robots
About the Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct hoax: let's just say that I'll never take James Lindsay seriously again. The sex robot discussion was really interesting. Paul Bloom and Sam Harris' position (which sounded very reasonable, IIRC) was detailed in "It's Westworld. What's Wrong With Cruelty to Robots?" That was a fun episode.
Very Bad Wizards 148 Am I Wrong?
The part about Louis CK's surprise set was interesting. First, I didn't know about it. Secondly, this poses the important question of the right form/amount of "punishment" when someone has done something morally wrong. I'm also wondering what Louis CK should do now. Should he continue stand-up comedy? Should he continue acting? Should he write for others? This will be interesting to witness (hopefully). I think I completely missed what George Sher's paper was about, which is not too suprising, as I disagree with the premise: "What happens once we realize that our moral convictions are often not better justified than the convictions of people who disagree with us?" When it comes to the is–ought problem, I'm way more sympathetic to Sam Harris' view than Tamler/Dave's view (which is the dominant position of philosophers in general).
Very Bad Wizards 149 Death, Immortality, and Porn (Intuition) Pumps
I liked the final discussion between Tamler and his daughter about season 3 of Twin Peaks. It was way more accessible than the previous episode about Twin Peaks. Also, Eliza's take sounds pretty cool. I like this idea of (almost Buddhist) cycles and unresolved issues. I also liked the part about death and immortality. Would I want to be immortal? Well, yes, why not? The popular consensus seems to be that it would be boring and that you would run out of things to do. It makes sense. But ask yourself: if you're happy (and that's a big "if"), at which point would you decide that you don't want to live anymore? Exactly: never. And I think that you can be happy doing the same things over and over again. Isn't that what we're all doing anyway? More or less? Now, if you're the only immortal person among mortal persons, that means that you will see everyone around you die, which could be a traumatic experience. But, as discussed in the episode, we already experience that with our pets. In the end, it all depends on the kind of immortality we're talking about. I'm not sure our human psychology has to be seen as something that couldn't be changed (artificially), for example.
Making Sense with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #16
Some interesting answers, especially the one to "Do I need kids to have my existence matter?" (his answer: no). Focusing on our legacy is a losing game. We will all be forgotten in 10, 100, or 1000 years. It's just a question of time. So we should focus on the present (being useful to people around us, mindfulness, etc.).
Very Bad Wizards - Bonus Episode: Twin Peaks
I've seen the three seasons and the two movies, but not recently, so part of the discussion was interesting, but a lot of it was a bit too specific for me to follow.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 148 Jack Dorsey
I'm not using Twitter much lately (those last few years). It could be way better than it is. Jack Dorsey seems to know it. I hope Twitter will become useful again.
Peach & Black Podcast - When Prince invited Peach & Black Podcast to NYC - with Nasser Metcalfe
Prince's employees/band members have been prohibited by NDAs from discussing their time with him until his death in 2016. I had never heard of Metcalfe, who worked as Prince's bodyguard for 6 months in 2010. I hope more and more former employees will be able to tell their stories to podcasts and journalists. Prince was a fascinating man/artist. It's crazy that Peach & Black is already 10 years old. For a podcast, this is a very long time.
Peach & Black Podcast - Non-Album Tracks Vol. 3
Another fun episode! Two of the tracks covered are among my favorites (Pope and, especially, Pink Cashmere). I had never noticed the single muted trumpet note in Pink Cashmere (at 4:22). It's a mystery.
Making Sense with Sam Harris 147 Stephen Fry
Sam and Fry talked a lot about meditation and mindfulness. Way more than expected. This was a pleasant discussion to listen to. Not much new ground was covered, but it's always illuminating to hear Sam explain what meditation/mindfulness is (or is supposed to be) to a "beginner" (as opposed to Joseph Goldstein). Stephen Fry sounds like a really nice guy (I don't know him much). I'm just realizing now that he played in Black Adder!
Very Bad Wizards 156 Notes From Underground (Pt. 1)
I must admit I haven't read any book by Dostoyevsky (yet). If (or, rather, when) I read one, it will be Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons, or The Brothers Karamazov, not Notes from Underground. I guess. Anyway, this episode was not completely uninteresting, but having not read the book, it failed to really grab my attention. But now I want to read Dostoyevsky. And soon.
Very Bad Wizards 155 Alfred Hitchcock's Money Shot
I watched Vertigo for the first time in my life in 2018. I apparently missed many things in the movie, which I'll have to watch again in the future.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 146 Digital Capitalism - A Conversation with Douglas Rushkoff
Rushkoff sounds like a nice and clever guy and, at the same time, he sounds somewhat way too much anti-technology for my taste (e.g. underestimating the power of AI, praising physical books without acknowledging the convenience of e-readers, etc.). Many of the questions that were discussed are actually really interesting, but at this point, I don't think I'll buy one of Rushkoff's books (unfortunately, I'd say, because I really wanted to like him more).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 145 The Information War - A Conversation with Renée DiResta
I started listening to this episode for the housekeeping part, but finally listened to the whole episode. I was not really interested in the Russian interference in the 2016 US elections to begin with (I've heard enough about Trump from Sam), but DiResta was, I think, really interesting and knowledgeable. I had never really read or heard about specific, concrete examples of manipulations via social networks, so this was really intriguing. And frightening.
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - What is making the Universe explode?
Dark energy. Like dark matter, it's everywhere. It's expanding the universe. It actually creates new space between objects, which means that some things that are currently in the observable universe are becoming unobservable (i.e. light emitted from those objects will never reach us).
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - Will an Asteroid Kill You?
Statistically, yes, someday, an asteroid will probably hit the Earth (again). 5 meters is the threshold for an asteroid to reach the ground. Anything less than that should completely burn in the atmosphere. For reference, the asteroid which killed the dinosaurs 66 millions years ago had a diameter of 11-81 kilometers. We've been tracking potentially dangerous celestial bodies for decades now. We should be safe for the century to come. We don't have the necessary technology to change the trajectory of an asteroid yet (e.g. powerful enough rocket, powerful bomb, massive enough body to attract the asteroid, etc.).
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - What's Inside a Black Hole?
Again, we don't know exactly. Einstein's theory predicts a singularity, but quantum physics doesn't allow one (mass can't occupy an infinity small space, i.e. infinite density is not possible). Black holes can be very small (e.g. the size of a proton) or very large (like the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies).
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - How Big is the Universe?
Two possible answers: 1) pretty big 2) we don't know exactly. We're not sure if the universe is larger than the observable universe (pretty likely). We don't even know what space is and if space goes on forever or not. More specifically, we don't know for sure if the universe is flat or has an intrinsic curvature. It's pretty likely it's flat, though (based on measurements of the cosmic background radiation).
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - What is everything made of?
Dark (= doesn't interact with electromagnetic force) matter (= interacts with visible matter through gravity) is everywhere. It's 5-6 times more abundant than regular matter. It's a crazy hypothesis, but we've discarded all other hypotheses. We need dark matter to explain how galaxies move/rotate. Gravitational lensing also proves dark matter exists and we've observed two galaxies colliding which each other as a more direct proof of its existence.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - The Drive Interview with Peter Attia
A clear and very enjoyable discussion. A lot of it was about meditation, but it was way more accessible (i.e. less esoteric) than the discussions with Joseph Goldstein. It's good to remember that anger doesn't last unless we "feed" it and that it's always a good idea to try and see the world from other people's perspectives. We also learn that Sam is currently writing two books. I was under the impression that he was writing a book about artificial intelligence, but it's apparently not the case. A summary is available on Podcast Notes.
2018 115
Date Name # Episode
Waking Up with Sam Harris 144 Conquering Hate - A Conversation with Deeyah Khan
It always impresses me when people find the energy and patience to talk with people with extremely different (and extreme) views. We need more people like Khan.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #15
This is probably the question that I found the most interesting: "What is your relationship to money? How important is it to your happiness?" I always had that sense that, yes, money is important up to a certain point, and then it doesn't change anything. Apparently, the main study people are citing differentiates between two measures of well-being: moment-to-moment well-being and life satisfaction. According to Sam (I haven't checked), money and life satisfaction are correlated even for larger amounts of money. I don't know what to make of this. Sam's explanation (money buys time) doesn't completely make sense to me.
Alex & Erik's Podcast 50 Journaling
I don't think I could convince Alex that writing a journal is useful in the same sense that getting a blood test is useful. For me, it's a way to fight against oblivion (do you remember what you did 3 days ago? 2 months ago? 7 years ago?), it's a form of self-psychotherapy, it gives me a different perspective on my life, and it's a way to develop my creativity (I see my journal as a kind of laboratory), among other things.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 143 The Keys to the Mind - A Conversation with Derren Brown
I didn't know Derren Brown. It's still not clear to me whether television specials such as Pushed to the Edge are somewhat serious pyschological experiments or just pure entertainment. The discussion went to interesting places (skepticism, stoicism, etc.). Another thing that's still not clear to me: to what extend hypnosis is a serious thing. Isn't it a bit like placebo, i.e. some people react to it way more than others, and, in all cases, it won't do anything particularly spectacular (like curing cancer)?
Waking Up with Sam Harris 141 Is #MeToo Going Too Far? - A Conversation with Rebecca Traister
I'm not sure I understood on what points exactly Sam and Traister disagreed (especially near the end of the episode). Is Traister saying that we shouldn't worry too much about "collateral damage" (i.e. the "people get fired from jobs every day" argument)? If so, I think I disagree. Anyway, the structure of the discussion was a bit hard to follow.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - The TED Interview
One comment on Reddit: "This was like a Sam Harris' greatest hits album." This was an enjoyable discussion nevertheless. There's a good quote at the end: "We can't be radically tolerant of differences."
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - What is everything made of?
According to one definition of matter (i.e. atoms/molecules), everything is made of electrons, down quarks, and up quarks. Three particles. Which is kind of insane, when you think about it. Protons and neutrons are made of up/down quarks.
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - What came before the Big Bang?
I had always thought that the consensus was that there was nothing before the Big Bang, because spacetime started with the Big Bang, so the question doesn't really make sense (like "What is north of North Pole?"). Apparently, there is no such consensus. It's one of the possibilities, but we actually don't know. There might have been something before the Big Bang, just like there might be something outside of our universe. There's a strong likelihood what we will be stuck with speculations about those questions forever. The little we know about the Big Bang comes from "hints" that are still observable, such as the cosmic microwave background (CMB).
Alex & Erik's Podcast 49 Fear of death
Not a happy topic, but an important one. This was a reaction to episode 137 of Very Bad Wizards. Let's just say that I don't totally agree with Alex & Erik: the traditional "death is like what is it before you were born" answer is not the whole story. For many people, it won't be enough to make death less frightening (me included).
Alex & Erik's Podcast 48 Getting the most of a social event
I share Erik's frustration: sometimes, you have a good time at a social gathering, but you know that the discussions could have been more interesting. I don't have a solution. Sometimes, before meeting someone in a one-to-one context, I make a list of topics to discuss. I used to do this more often in the past. It can be helpful. I've never tried this "trick" at an event with many people. Maybe a list of generic questions could be helpful as well, but the dynamics of such events are often less predictable (will one person monopolize the conversation, for example?).
Very Bad Wizards 151 Viddy Well, My Listeners (Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange")
I won't comment on the movie itself (I'm currently re-watching it). This episode probably gives me a few keys that will allow me to watch the movie from a different angle: retributive vs restorative justice, the question of free will, the link between morality and behavior, Kubrick's reasons for filming choreographed violence, etc. I was probably not aware, when I first watched A Clockwork Orange more than 14 years ago, of all those underlying questions/themes.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 142 Addiction, Depression, and a Meaningful Life - A Conversation with Johann Hari
I started listening to this episode without realizing that Johann Hari is the author of Lost Connections, which I finished reading in September 2018. Sam didn't talk much. A lot of what Hari said is detailed in his book. They also talked a lot about addiction being the symptom of lack of meaning, etc. I liked how Hari is looking for indirect causes. "It's a bit more complicated than that", as Ben Goldacre would say. He also talked a lot about how we should talk with each other when we disagree (about Trump, for example). Again, being pro-Trump is the symptom of real problems, that we should take seriouly and shouldn't ridicule or belittle. Overall, Hari is a really interesting guy. Certainly not a mental health expert, but he has talked to enough of them to know what he's talking about.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 139 Sacred & Profane - A Conversation with Bill Maher and Larry Charles
Apart from the parts about American politics, this was a nice discussion, but, surprisingly, I didn't retain much from it. Sam not having the patience to watch North by Northwest was very surprising/disappointing (he's supposed to be a serious meditator). I loved that movie!
Very Bad Wizards - Bonus Episode: The Entire History of You
"The Entire History of You" is an excellent episode from the also excellent series Black Mirror. As someone who has been keeping a personal diary for more than twenty years, I like this idea of "recording everything" (i.e. lifelogging). When everybody starts doing it with permanent audio/video recordings, things start to become creepy, of course.
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - Is the Higgs Boson useful?
"The Higgs boson is a thing." This is probably what I'll remember about the Higgs boson in a couple of years. :) Basically, the Higgs boson is the particle which gives other particles their mass. One interesting thing about it was that it was discovered thanks to CERN's Large Hadron Collider, which means that its discovery cost billions of EUR/USD. What does it mean for the future of experimental physics? Will we ever be able to validate string theory, for example?
Peach & Black Podcast - The Time - Ice Cream Castle Review
Most of the Peach & Black panel (with the exception of Captain) thinks that this is the weakest of the first three Time albums. I agree. I wouldn't call "If The Kid Can't Make You Come" a filler, though. Yes, the lyrics are silly, it's a bit longish (especially the unreleased, unedited version, at 9:12), and wine apparently played a significant part during the studio session, but from a musical point of view, it's an intriguing piece of music.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Live in Toronto with Brian Greene
A lot of rehashed questions in the Q&A question, but I enjoyed the main discussion a lot, especially the part about the different interpretations of quantum mechanics. I was happy to hear than Greene seems to be sympathetic to the De Broglie–Bohm theory. I like it, too, because you don't need to completely throw away your intuitions to accept it. Greene is a vegetarian, so I wish they talked more about this topic. Sam is always disappointing with his old, incoherent arguments (the "happy cow farm" thought experiment, never talking about environmental impacts, not realizing that he is setting a bad example, etc.). A summary of the event can be found here.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Live in Philadelphia with Janna Levin and Maria Popova
This episode suffers from the same problems as "What Is and What Matters": the two guests are interesting, but it would have worked better with one guest at a time; the Q&A section is too long, sometimes embarrassing, and it gets repetitive (some questions are repeated in one form or another from one event to another). That being said, I liked the part about the need for secular communities and rituals. I still don't know what the actual solutions are (meetups? conferences? secular churches?), but we need to think about it. One thing I'm now trying after hearing that episode: I've added a "one year ago today" section in my diary (Maria Popova's idea, if I recall correctly).
Alex & Erik's Podcast 47 It's ethical for me to be unethical
No, it's not. What a frustrating episode! It could have been called "Looking for excuses" or "Too lazy to do the right thing". :) First, I've already responded to some of the points mentioned (again) in this episode - mainly vegetarians being a "pain in the ass" when going out with friends; don't tell me you can't find a restaurant that pleases a group of 4-5 persons that includes one vegetarian! Erik is right: there are multiple moral theories and, thus, different ways to determine whether one action is "good" or "bad". Consequentialism, for example, is only interested in consequences of one's actions. Virtue ethics and deontology are other approaches in normative ethics. But I find Erik's consequentialist analyses way too simplistic. By not eating meat, you're not only saving the lives of several thousands animals over the course of your life (and diminishing the amount of suffering in the world, although it's very hard to quantify that), you're also setting an example, probably (I hope!) triggering private conversions (or at least more subtle changes), forcing restaurants to adapt, etc. By following similar arguments to Erik's, you can come to the conclusion that it's useless, or even ethical, not to vote (a common argument, as noted by Alex) or useless and/or ethical not to boycott a company that does questionable things. Also, as noted by Alex, by not eating meat, you're not doing something useful instead of another thing that's also useful (like in the case of fixing one bug instead of another bug). It's not a "resource allocation" problem. You're doing it in addition to the other things you're doing. And if your friends think you're a pain in the ass for "doing the right thing", then maybe you should consider seeing more supportive friends. Or is that simply called "friends"? :)
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince - Piano & A Microphone 1983 - Album Review
A fun review of Prince's latest (posthumous) album, released in September 2018. The album is a 34-minute piano rehearsal, which had previously been circulating on bootlegs for almost 30 years. They didn't find the original tapes, only a cheap cassette tape in Prince's vault, so this is a particularly hissy recording (but still better than the bootlegs). They could have released way more interesting recordings from the vault, but, at the same time, this is a good sign: the Prince estate is apparently open to releasing unusual/archival albums. At the same time, Prince was releasing a lot of odd stuff at the end of his life (bits and pieces of rehearsals, etc.), so, in a sense, even if Prince would have never released that album himself, it's somewhat in line with what he was doing from time to time.
Alex & Erik's Podcast 46 Makers
"Make something with my hands" (sculpture? painting? etc.) has been on my "brainstorming list" for a long time. I wouldn't say that making physical things is in the same category as writing or coding. In both cases, it can be an expression of creativity, but I would bet that evolution "wants" us to be creative with our hands, not only with our brains. Our grandfather was definitely a maker. I remember building a miniature wood bench and table with him (I probably don't have them anymore, unfortunately). Similarly, I also remember knitting a small scarf for our cat. We also built a few things at school, but I can't remember any physical things I built or made after my teenage years (if you except pieces of furniture). I guess one of the reasons I don't have a hobby that necessitates a lot of space (e.g. painting, etc.) is the simple fact that we live in an apartment. It also goes against my minimalist side. About insignificance: it's very difficult to make an impact with anything (blogs, podcasts, music, software, etc.). It has never been so easy to create and distribute digital content, but it gets diluted in an ocean of similar content. My current conclusion about this problem: use your money to have an actual impact (GiveWell, etc.); build/make things because you enjoy it, even if it's not particularly useful to other people.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 138 The Edge of Humanity - A Conversation with Yuval Noah Harari
Harari doesn't necessarily like the idea of universal basic income (UBI). It depends on what you mean by "universal" (national is not enough, you have to have an international system) and "basic" (people have to be able to do what they like, not only what's needed to survive). An interesting idea: nationalism is a good sign; we have naturally evolved to live in tribes of about 100 persons which we personally know; if we can go from tribes to whole countries, it's encouraging, because it means that we'll be able to go from countries to the whole humankind (i.e. we can probably go against our evolutionary instincts all the way). A piece of advice from Harari: if you want to have an impact, join an organization, don't act alone. This episode confirmed that I really like Harari.
Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe - Are we Living in a Simulation?
My personal answer is no, but it's a very important question. I don't find it odd or silly. It's generally not a testable question, but if we make the hypothesis that the simulation is imperfect, then it can become testable. Basically, we can use what we know about current physics simulations and/or video games to make some very concrete assumptions about the simulation we're living in (hypothetically). Even if we're not living in a simulation, it's interesting to see our universe as a kind of computer. It computes what we measure in a particle accelerator, for example. And it computes it way faster than our current computers (which would need billions of years or way more to give the same results). This is why we do experiments. Because we can't do effective simulations yet (either because our computers suck, or because our algorithms suck, or because we don't have correct models yet). The problem of philosophical zombies was briefly mentioned as well. Can we simulate consciousness? Does that question make sense? Can we produce artificial consciousness? This is probably a better question. Can we do it with silicon-based computers? If I remember correctly, Giulio Tononi doesn't seem to think so.
Very Bad Wizards - Bonus VBW "Hang the DJ" (From Black Mirror S4)
This was an excellent episode of Black Mirror, from an excellent season. I liked the discussion, despite the fact that it was not particularly insightful. For example, Tamler and Dave didn't talk about the actual simulations, whether the simulated persons are actually conscious or not, etc.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Introducing the Waking Up Course
I will be probably interested in the lessons (i.e. audio recordings about various topics such as free will, death, etc.), but I don't know if I will use the app for actual meditation. I already use Headspace and haven't used any app for my latest meditation sessions, where I've simply practiced Vipassana meditation without any guidance.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 137 Safe Space - A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt
The question of how we should raise our children is interesting. We naturally tend to overprotect them, but this leads to some problems, as seen on some American campuses these last few years (oversensitivity, self-victimization, etc.). The idea is, for example, to let them play with other children in a completely unsupervised environment from time to time.
Alex & Erik's Podcast 45 Fifty percent fun
I agree that most things you do individually don't have a lot of impact (e.g. not driving a car, not eating meat, etc.), but I can't help but think that counting on technology to really solve the problem globally (e.g. electric cars, artificial meat, etc.) is also quite lazy. I think it was in Plaidoyer pour les animaux (A Plea for the Animals, in English) that Matthieu Ricard was contemplating what we can do to trigger "ethical revolutions" (I don't remember what wording he was using). What I retain from this is that individual actions count, at least by setting examples, triggering discussions, etc. But looking at the most effective ways to change things is always a good idea. About the fun-vs-hard-work ratio: I like the "loss of cabin pressure" metaphor (I don't remember where I heard it first); attend to your own mask before you try to help anybody else with theirs (including children). So, yes, you have to be as helpful as possible to other persons, but you have to think of yourself first or you won't be very helpful to others (in case of loss of pressure, you could faint or die, obviously).
Very Bad Wizards 147 Effective Altruism and Moral Uncertainty (with The One True Scotsman, Will MacAskill)
I've heard MacAskill on Sam Harris' and Tim Ferriss' podcasts in 2016. I've been very intrigued by the idea of effective altruism since then. This episode is more technical. How do you "compute" what you should do (i.e. take decisions) under uncertainty? I can't say I've understood everything I've heard, but I guess one of the interesting points is that you can hold several views / use several frameworks (even incompatible ones) at the same time (e.g. extreme / radical utilitarianism that say that you should care the same about your son as you should about a complete stranger, at the same time as more intuitive views that say that you should care more about your son than about a complete stranger) and still come to a conclusion. That's what MacAskill's current research is about. An important point: effective altruism is not the same as utilitarianism. Finally, doing "moral calculations" is not an intuitive thing for most people, so a certain percentage of the time, it's perfectly okay to be a bit more spontaneous and, for example, to give a small amount of money to a random person asking for donations. Doing so is less off-putting to most people than being strict and trying to give money only to the most effective causes you can find. Often, the (symbolic) signals you're sending are important as well.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 136 Digital Humanism - A Conversation with Jaron Lanier
15-20 years ago, I was way more into pirating music and consuming "free" stuff than these last few years. I'm now more and more into paying for FLAC files, supporting creators via Patreon, donating to websites/services that I find useful, etc. The idea that we should pay for good content has become quite natural to me. I don't know what convinced me exactly. One thing is sure: I hate ads and I'd gladly pay for services I use everyday, just as Google Search, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, etc. (especially if it means that I can actually get support). I'd gladly pay for good articles via an application such as Instapaper. About music/books: we live in a period of abundance; it's easy to record music and distribute it, write books and distribute them, but I guess it has never been so hard to get noticed and live from those activities. We need to find new paradigms.
Alex & Erik's Podcast 44 The fun out of life
Effective altruism (Peter Singer, William MacAskill, etc.) is a very useful tool one can use to look at this kind of problems (e.g. is it worth paying more for a car or not?). Another tool that was not mentioned in the episode is psychology and, in particular, what it has to say about happiness. According to Daniel Gilbert (see Stumbling on Happiness), we are very bad at predicting what makes us happy or not. In general, accumulating more stuff (or more expensive stuff) doesn't lead to more happiness. It at least works for me: I know that the more physical stuff I have around me, the more anxious I get. One simple rule I try to apply as much as possible is the 30-day rule: whenever I want something, I wait for 30 days or more; then if I still want that thing, I can seriously consider buying it. A lot of people love buying stuff, though. It can be easily understood from an evolutionary perspective: for a very long time, we evolved in a scarce environment, so it made perfect sense to accumulate as much stuff (and food in particular) as possible. It doesn't really make sense anymore in our modern environment.
Alex & Erik's Podcast 43 Borges's Library of Babel
See my previous comments about the Very Bad Wizards episodes. #lazy
On en parle - Émission du 16 août 2018
Je suis content d'apprendre que je ne suis pas le seul à être dérangé par les motards. Il y a peu de solutions, mais il y en a. Prendre en photo un motard bruyant et le dénoncer à la police. Inciter les communes à prendre des mesures douces/préventives. Ça n'est pas grand-chose, donc il faudra un changement de mentalité. Des affichages "smileys" mesurant le niveau sonore plutôt que la vitesse vont bientôt être testés en Suisse alémanique. La séquence concernant le CBD (le "cannabis légal") était intéressante. En gros, il y a du potentiel (anxiété, dépression, etc.), mais il faudra attendre le résultat des centaines d'études en cours pour y voir plus clair. L'interview concernant le café m'a aussi appris pas mal de choses (que j'aurais probablement dû déjà savoir).
Alex & Erik's Podcast 42 Computer setups
What's the ideal computer setup? I tend to go the "minimalist" way at home, i.e. just a laptop, no desktop computer, no external monitor, keyboard, mouse, or trackpad. I use a laptop at work as well, with an external monitor, keyboard, and trackpad, this time. Scala compilation is a problem, but I can live with it. I've never been tempted by a tablet / iPad so far. In practice, my personal MacBook Pro is not significantly bulkier than an iPad Pro, as if you want to do anything serious on an iPad, you'll need a physical keyboard anyway. Another thing is that you always get used to more powerful computers, so it's an never-ending game. For vacations/trips, my iPhone (Plus) is usually good enough. I sometimes use a Bluetooth keyboard to type longer texts.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 135 Navigating Sex and Gender - A Conversation with Martie Haselton
A nuanced discussion about sex and gender. Another complex topic. I'm not sure I retained much from it.
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince & NPG Records' 1800-New-Funk
Another fun episode. I have very good memories of the time when I bought the 1-800 New Funk compilation. I was on vacation in Tuscany. Its release was a complete surprise to me. I agree that "Standing At The Altar" is a fantastic song. Overall, a weird release in Prince's discography. Not bad. Not great. But a couple of the songs on it are classics.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #14
Q&A with Joseph Goldstein on meditation. Like all other episodes with Goldstein, this one was pretty esoteric, but at the same time a bit more accessible. This was timely, as I'm leaving for a 10-day Vipassana course in two days!
Very Bad Wizards 145 Lost in Borges' Garden
Another episode I found more interesting than the work being discussed ("The Garden of Forking Paths"). Tamler compared Borges with David Lynch (and mentioned Twin Peaks: The Return in particular), but I still fail to see the genius in Borges' work. I know there must be something I'm missing. This is frustrating.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 132 Beyond the Politics of Race - A Conversation with Coleman Hughes
Hughes is very well spoken. He speaks like he's reading a text, except he's not - like Sam, this is always impressive. Anyway, I can't comment too much on the content of the discussion. Obviously, this (race) is a very sensitive topic. I don't know enough about it. A lot of points sounded good. We need to move beyond identity politics. I'm still not sure what to think about affirmative actions and positive discrimination. In an ideal society, we shouldn't need them, of course, but can they have some (even small) positive effects?
Very Bad Wizards 144 Borges' Babylon
I read The Library of Babel for the first time in my life a few days ago. As a computer scientist, I immediately thought that I could easily write a very short and simple program to enumerate all possible books of 410 pages and 3200 characters per page. Of course, this program would have to run for longer than the universe will exist. Most "books" wouldn't make any sense. Interesting information would be lost in quasi-infinite noise, so such a program (and, hence, the Library of Babel) would be completely useless. All in all, I fail to see the brilliance of that story. Yes, it's intriguing, but I'd say it's the discussions that it triggers that are interesting, not really the story itself. It kind of reminded me of La Tour, from the Cités obscures series.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #13
Hypnosis is a topic I wish I knew more about. I've always associated it with pseudoscience, but, at the same time, I know it's also a serious thing. Sam seems to have a really positive opinion about Jordan Peterson (surprisingly?). He seems to see something in him that I can't see. A couple of questions about free will. Nothing new. Sam reads books all the time. Physical books, ebooks, and audio books. He doesn't feel the need to finish them if they're bad. I should read more...
Obsessed by Music - Loving The Montreux Jazz Festival
A real fan of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Rob Esse is also part of the Peach and Black podcast, which I love. It was nice to hear about the festival from an "outside" perspective (I've been working on the Montreux Jazz Festival archive for six years now).
The Tim Ferriss Show 66 The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide – Risks, Micro-Dosing, Ibogaine, and More
I'm currently reading Fadiman's book. It seems to be the book about this topic. I'm especially intrigued by the micro-dosing / therapeutic applications of psychedelic drugs. Especially knowing that antidepressants work so little in practice and have so many side effects. They're only slightly better than placebos. I find it odd that Fadiman believes in God, but, at the same time, he doesn't seem to be a "traditional" believer either.
Very Bad Wizards 143 The Psychology of Personality
I must admit I was not familiar with the Big Five personality traits, so this was an instructive episode. The clustering / dimensionality reduction part (i.e. why five traits exactly?) was also interesting, but a bit less clear.
The Tim Ferriss Show 305 Daniel Pink — How to Make Better Decisions and Be More Creative
A few tips about when to plan meetings and how to write books/speeches. Nothing really actionable for me. Disappointing.
The Tim Ferriss Show 104 Are Psychedelic Drugs the Next Medical Breakthrough?
See my comments about "Freedom from the Known" (Sam Harris). I'm more and more intrigued. Also, I'm going to try a flotation tank as soon as possible.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 131 Dictators, Immigration, #MeToo, and Other Imponderables - A Conversation with Masha Gessen
Some people seemed to have enjoyed this discussion very much. For some reasons, I didn't. I'm a bit tired of hearing about Trump and Islam. I should have skipped this one.
Peach & Black Podcast - Non-Album Tracks Vol. 2
Four tracks were reviewed: "Rich Friends" (a very average song), "In A Large Room With No Light" (the 2009 remake of the 1986 outtake - not bad, but the 1986 version is legendary), "Rebirth Of The Flesh" (an officially-released, early-1988 rehearsal version, but I love the unreleased studio version), and "Free Urself" (a good song - I was surprised to hear that it was Toejam's favorite Prince song along with "1999" and "Strange But True"). Another fun episode.
Very Bad Wizards 142 Suicide (with Matthew Nock)
The introduction was about the Stanford prison experiment: a lot of criticisms have appeared recently; in light of those, it sounds like the experiment is finally not that illuminating. The rest of the episode was not about the ethics of suicide, but about suicide prevention. It's difficult to do studies about suicide, for obvious reasons.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 130 Universal Basic Income - A Conversation with Andrew Yang
Universal Basic Income, or a similar solution, is inevitable. Jobs will disappear and, contrarily to what many people believe, we won't be able to retrain everybody to do something else. It's simply impossible. The hard question is: how do we transition from where we are today to a world with even more automation and even less jobs? Many people still believe that new jobs will magically appear, but there's no physical law that guarantees this. In a sense, we have created many new jobs, but a lot of them are what some call "bullshit jobs". I don't see the value in such jobs. Another hard question is: how much money should we give to people? Enough to survive? Enough to live comfortably? How can we implement UBI in a country when other countries don't implement it? And, finally, how can we make sure that people still have meaning in their life without jobs? Those questions are so hard, I fear no country will ever implement UBI before it's too late...
Waking Up with Sam Harris 129 An Insider's View of Medicine - A Conversation with Dr. Nina Shapiro
According to my own anecdotal experience, doctors usually don't know what they're talking about, but it's not because they're not intelligent or knowledgeable, it's because the whole field of healthcare/medicine is very complex and there are a lot of information available (research papers, etc.), a lot of it of poor quality. It's especially true when it comes to nutrition. The first two thirds of this episode were pretty disappointing (generic, vague answers, etc.). The last third (about Shapiro's book) was more interesting (i.e. with more "actionable" information), but, still, it was pretty basic overall.
Very Bad Wizards 141 Implicit Bias
From Wikipedia: "The implicit-association test (IAT) is a measure within social psychology designed to detect the strength of a person's automatic association between mental representations of objects (concepts) in memory." I had previously read that a lot of people who explicitly don't consider themselves racist can be shown by an IAT test to be implictly "racist". This episode gave me some perspective on the limitations of that kind of tests. What does it mean exactly to be racist? Should we only care about what people do (behaviour) and not about what people think?
Waking Up with Sam Harris 128 Transformations of Mind - A Conversation with Geoffrey Miller
A lot of talk about polyamory (it's not uninteresting, but not my cup of tea). Sam brings back his lazy/weak "happy cow" argument. Overall, a lot of topics were previously discussed. The Q&A was pretty good (shorter questions, etc.).
Very Bad Wizards 140 Milgram's Mice
I'm beginning to understand why Tamler and David are so critical of moral dilemmas (trolley, etc.) and related studies. I agree with a comment on Reddit: "the study doesn't really say much of anything interesting about what it sets out to, but on the other hand measuring or testing these things is damn hard in real life". Also, using mice as a proxy for human beings is probably not a good idea. It often doesn't work in biology/medicine and, here, it's obvious that's it's a poor choice for a psychology study.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 127 Freedom from the Known - A Conversation with Michael Pollan
I'm intrigued. I've never consumed psilocybin mushrooms, but it could be something I might want to try at some point.
Very Bad Wizards 139 Honor, Identity, and Headbutts
I don't have much to add compared to the Sam Harris episode. Let's say that I'm convinced we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. We have psychological needs, shaped by thousands of years of evolution. We should take those needs into account.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #12
I liked the part about complaining: we should do it as little as possible.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 126 In Defense of Honor - A Conversation with Tamler Sommers
I'm not convinced restorative justice, at its best, cannot be fully understood from a consequentialist point of view, but I find the idea of letting the victims confront their offenders intriguing.
Peach & Black Podcast - May 2018 Prince News Episode
I'm repeating myself here, but a new Peach & Black episode is always an exciting event for me. This one is about the recent events (i.e. the release of "Nothing Compares 2 U", the photos of the vault at Paisley Park, the celebration, etc.). I don't know if I'm right, but, at the moment, I'm confident that Prince's audiovisual archive is in professionnal/serious hands. This is very comforting. Like Captain, I don't think we'll see/hear much from those tapes, but, still, it's good news.
Very Bad Wizards 138 Memory, Pain, and Relationships (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
Can we really erase memories? Do we have to consciously remember things to learn? These are just a couple of questions raised by the excellent Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which I watched again for the first time since its release, just before listening to this episode. I guess I don't have much to say about this episode. I enjoyed it. It made me watch the movie again. And then it gave me a new perspective on it. I'm with Tamler on the ending: I have an optimistic interpretation of it.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 125 What is Christianity? - A Conversation with Bart Ehrman
Ehrman seems to know what he's talking about. This was a refreshing episode. I don't know much about the Bible. A lot of what was discussed was interesting and/or new to me (the inconsistencies between the different books, the reason why the resurrection was introduced as a concept, etc.). I was also kind of surprised to hear both Ehrman and Sam discuss the historicity of Jesus as if it was obvious that Jesus did in fact exist (i.e. as if no alternative explanation was worth discussing). Ehrman is "almost certain" Jesus existed. I thought "serious", non-believing Bible scholars thought it was probable, but not "almost certain".
The Tim Ferriss Show 175 How to Cage the Monkey Mind
I liked Tim better during this interview than during his own show. Or maybe I'm getting used to him. :) Anyway, a lot of interesting topics were covered. At the moment, I'm probably most interested in stoicism, meditation, the 5-minute journal, life extension, etc.
The Tim Ferriss Show 149 How to Live in The Moment
A passage from On The Shortness of Life by Seneca the Younger. "Why do you torment yourself and lose weight over some problem..." Tim: "This is a fantastic reminder to separate the critical few from the trivial many."
The Tim Ferriss Show 90 Peter Diamandis on Disrupting the Education System, The Evolution of Healthcare, and Building a Billion-Dollar Business
Some mildly interesting answers. I was surprised to hear the standard "yes, AI will make some jobs disappear, but people will be able to do other jobs" answer. This is not serious. But this might be an uncharitable interpretation from me, since Diamandis is also for universal basic income.
The Tim Ferriss Show 125 Derek Sivers on Developing Confidence, Finding Happiness, and Saying "No" to Millions
I read Anything You Want in 2011. I kind of liked it, although it's not the greatest book I've ever read. Some interesting ideas were discussed in this episode. Perfectionism is a bad idea and "good enough" is a good target. We should listen to the psychological pain we feel and treat it as a sign that we're doing something wrong (i.e. something that we shouldn't do). Derek mainly did things that were helpful to other people (when developing CD Baby). He didn't want to become big. Derek takes notes while reading books and wants to learn as much as possible from them. He tried to summarize all the books he read into a kind of to-do list. Derek is influenced by stoicism and minimalism. I like it. What I don't really like is his "get rich" directive, but I guess it can be understood as effective altruism (i.e. earn money to give it to others).
The Tim Ferriss Show 105 5 Morning Rituals That Help Me Win the Day
1) Make your bed 2) Meditate 3) Hang 4) Drink tea 5) Five Minute Journal (incl. gratitude). I already meditate. I make my bed, sometimes, but not always. I don't drink enough tea. I've been writing a diary since 1993 and regularly do gratitude journaling. I guess I could buy a pull-up bar.
The Tim Ferriss Show - How to Prioritize Your Life and Make Time for What Matters
"Busy is a decision". It's a useful way to look at things. Mental health is important. A psychotherapy can be very useful.
The Tim Ferriss Show 77 What Do Google X, Medicine, and Great Relationships Have In Common?
I didn't expect this episode to be so much about love, marriage, relationships, etc. It's not an uninteresting topic per se, but the discussion was not that illuminating.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 124 In Search of Reality - A Conversation with Sean Carroll
Sam and Sean disagree on free will and morality. To sum it up, I think I understand why Sean defends his positions (compatibilism, Hume's is-ought, etc.), but I'm definitely not convinced they're very useful positions. I felt the discussion was neither about semantics nor about what really matters (ethical/judicial conclusions). I mean: yes, as agents, we make choices, even in a deterministic universe, but are those choices free and what do we mean by free? That's the question. Stop talking about free will, because people use those words to talk about different things. It's confusing. So, yes, I'm with Sam and not with Sean on that one. And I didn't really learn anything new on why compatibilists and determinists disagree. It's frustrating.
The Tim Ferriss Show 70 How to Earn Your Freedom
Two chapters of Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts. "Disclaimer: These might make you quit your job… even if you're the boss. I'm not kidding, as I've seen it happen. If it comes to pass, you'll thank me later." Tim Ferris is selling dreams, as usual. Except he really made me quit my first job, back in 2008...
Philosophy Bites - Simon Blackburn on Plato's Cave
A quick refresher on the Allegory of the Cave. I must admit that, after all these years, I wouldn't have been able to explain what it was about.
The Tim Ferriss Show 118 How Philosophy Can Change Your Life, Alain de Botton
I still don't know what to think of Alain de Botton. He really sounds like a nice guy. I watch his School of Life videos on YouTube from time to time. He reads Kundera. He has a lot of good advice on how to live one's life. I should like him. Really. Maybe it's the fact that he's in the self-help field, which has a bad reputation. I don't know.
The Tim Ferriss Show 113 5 Tools I Use For Faster And Better Sleep
The Chili Pad sounded like a good idea, but it seems to be: noisy, expensive, not that comfortable. The other tips don't seem that interesting/useful (I already sleep with earplugs).
The Partially Examined Life 1 "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living." (part 2)
I studied Socrates and Plato more than 20 years ago. I'm not used to hearing more than one or two persons in a podcast, so I found this episode a bit hard to follow. But I guess there's a lot of food for thought. What's the goal of philosophy? How can it be integrated into our daily lives? What should we value? Can Socrates teach us anything useful?
The Partially Examined Life 1 "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living." (part 1)
See part 2 of episode 1.
The Partially Examined Life 0 Introduction to the Podcast
Just an introduction to the podcast. I'm not familiar with it, but I've heard about it from Tamler and Dave (of Very Bad Wizards).
Arte Radio - Préhistoire numérique - Les pionniers français de l'informatique
Cela fait du bien de prendre du recul, de temps en temps, pour apprécier le progrès réalisé. "A l'époque", on programmait les ordinateurs (qui n'étaient pas encore appelés ainsi) à l'aide de câbles. On devait perforer des cartes pour entrer les données dans les machines. Ce travail était effectué par des femmes (exclusivement), qui travaillaient 45 heures par semaine et enchaînaient ce travail ingrat avec uniquement deux pauses de quinze minutes par jour. Une équipe vérifiait le travail de l'autre (en refaisant exactement le même travail). Du travail "qui ne développait pas beaucoup le QI", selon une ancienne employée. Lorsque les claviers sont apparus, les hommes ont eu de la peine à les adopter, pensant que l'utilisation d'un tel objet était réservé aux femmes...
Very Bad Wizards 137 Are Buddhists Afraid to Die? (with Shaun Nichols)
I was already very intrigued by this idea the last time I heard about it (in episode 133). "You might think that Buddhist conceptions of the self as illusory would reduce their fear of death (after all, if there's no real self, why worry about it ceasing to exist?). But the evidence collected by Shaun and colleagues suggests exactly the opposite. Why would that be?" Are Buddhists more aware of their feeling of fear? Are they more honest about it? Or is this result simply caused by the fact that you actually have to be a long-time meditator to really integrate the fact (?) that the self is an illusion? Or is it caused by the fact that Buddhists are usually happier, live their life more fully, and, hence, are more afraid of death?
Hidden Brain 1 Switchtracking
This is the first episode of this podcast that I listened to. It's not bad. I guess I'll have to listen to more episodes to really make up my mind. A summary of the episode is available here. "Assume positive intent" is an important message.
Very Bad Wizards 119 A Brief History of Values
I don't know how to sum up this discussion, but the question is interesting: "What happens when we discover why we believe the things we believe? What if we discover that our values are the product of our cultural tradition, or personal experience, or natural selection? Should we be more skeptical of our values once we learn their history?" Sometimes, it doesn't change anything (e.g. knowing why we prefer some things over other things doesn't really change the fact that we like what we like) and, sometimes, it can change everything (e.g. knowing why we're biased or why we developed some moral instincts).
Very Bad Wizards 118 We Don't Love Them Hoax
I'm with Tamler and David. Let's just say that I'm still not convinced by James Lindsay. He sounds like a smart guy, but a confused one. Maybe he has a point, but I don't get it.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 122 Extreme Housekeeping Edition
I think Sam should pay less attention to what people say about him. So, yes, less Twitter, more blog posts. Anything but worthless fights on social media. I also think it's a good decision to do less live podcasts. It was an interesting experiment, but it has limited value compared to his regular podcasts.
Very Bad Wizards 136 The Good Life (with Laurie Santos)
Most personal development / self-help books are useless, but I remain convinced that some advice has to be useful, especially if it comes from good, science-based psychology research. So I like this idea of applying psychology ideas to our own lives. Some "tips" mentioned in the episode: gratitude journal, forcing oneself to converse with other people (on the street, on the train, etc.), time affluence, putting one's phone away as much as possible, etc. There's still the problem of measuring happiness (whatever it is). Self-reporting seems like the obvious (i.e. easiest) method, but I guess it has many downsides (e.g. do we really know when we're happy?).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 121 White Power - A Conversation with Christian Picciolini
The (probably simplistic) moral here is that you can convert extremists, not by shaming them, but by using compassion and conversation. It apparently works in some cases, so this is encouraging. Nothing groundbreaking, though.
Very Bad Wizards 135 Utilitarianism and Moral Identity
Bernard Williams's idea that, if we really try and maximize a utility function (well-being of a population, etc.), we sometimes have to go against some of our core values, is interesting. His two moral dilemmas (Jim and George) were illuminating. Now, after hearing this episode, I'm still not convinced that utilitarianism or consequentialism are problematic as theories. It just means that they're hard to implement in real life situations. Some of the comments on Reddit were longer than usual.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 120 What Is and What Matters - A Conversation with Rebecca Goldstein and Max Tegmark
Some of the audience questions tend to be repetitive after a while (always the same questions, more or less, about free will, etc.) and there are often cringeworthy moments (long questions, questions that are not really questions, etc.). I'm not sure the fact that this talk had two guests worked this time. Strangely, I felt it was not enough about philosophy, not enough about science, and not enough about their relationship.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 119 Hidden Motives - A Conversation with Robin Hanson
From one comment: "It's fun to laugh at how self-deceptive we are, or how university credentials are less about education and more about posturing and showing off." From another comment: "The idea that we shouldn't try to have opinions on everything is so important." A rough plan/summary of the discussion is available here.
Very Bad Wizards 134 Digital Outrage
The deontology vs utilitarianism dichotomy is a bit simplistic, I agree. It's easy for us, homo sapiens, to get outraged, especially on social media, as they're designed (via machine learning and/or evolutionary algorithms) to push our buttons. We have to be aware of those psychological and technological biases, and make the conscious effort to engage in civil discussions with people we disagree with. Realizing that people on social media are not necessarily a representative sample of the general population can help, too.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #11
Sam gave a very nuanced answer about the Lawrence Krauss situation. That was not easy, but he nailed it, in my opinion. The answer about the link between intelligence and well-being was interesting. I think some studies indicate that intelligence helps up to a point (i.e. an IQ of about 130). Then it gets more complicated (e.g. people are more likely to get depressed, etc.). I'm glad to hear Sam say good things about stoicism. It is a good philosophy and it has many similarities with Buddhism. It kinds of bother me, but I think I have to more or less agree with Sam about the ethics of inherited wealth. It was not a very detailed and practical answer, but he's right to say that we have to keep some incentives for people to produce value for society and that includes the possibility to earn (possibly a lot of) money that can be inherited by our children.
Very Bad Wizards 117 Extended Minds, Extended Foreskins
About circumcision: it has almost nothing to do with female genital mutilation, which is way worse, but I'm still against it, except in case of medical indication. Can a notepad, a smartphone or even the entire internet be considered as an "extended mind"? This is an interesting question. Quickly retrieving some information from the internet using our smartphones is not totally unlike retrieving some information from our (biological) memory by thinking hard about it. It's different, but not totally. Except that if you lose your notepad or smartphone, you still have your brain, but it's hard to "lose your brain" (maybe if you're drunk or tired?). Also, some people know how to find information on the internet more easily than others. Especially true information. So having access to the internet is not enough. You have to know how to apply your critical thinking skills.
Very Bad Wizards 116 Pain, Pleasure, and Peer-Reviewed Penises
About the conceptual penis hoax: Tamler and Dave think "the hoax does not succeed in demonstrating what the authors purport it does", because the paper was published in a pay-to-publish journal. I agree with them and I don't understand what the big deal is with that hoax. It's pretty lame. Actually, I'm disappointed in one of its authors, James Lindsay. I read two of his books and his last one was really average. I wrote him an email and never got an answer. I guess he's not the kind of person interested in discussion... The second part of the episode was also interesting. How do you measure pain, pleasure, well-being, happiness, etc.? How do you compare them between people? If you use self-reported values (let's say on a scale from 0 to 100), this is problematic, because depending on one's personal experiences, a given value might have different meanings. If you've never given birth to a baby without pain medication or if you've never been shot, maybe you've never really experienced pain. Same thing for pleasure, happiness, etc. We know that people have such differences in taste buds in their tongue that they will taste the exact same food very differently. If it is true for very basic sensations, it's probably also true for very complex emotions, which will be even harder to measure objectively.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 117 Networks, Power, and Chaos - A Conversation with Niall Ferguson
A history lesson. 21th century (computers/internet) is a bit like 16th century (printing press). Both had new ways of spreading new ideas, very fast. This is a good thing, but it also has negative consequences (e.g. fake news, cyberterrorism, etc.). I like this idea what we should judge historical events compared to what could have happened instead (i.e. counterfactuals). Applied to Trump, it means that the Trump presidency is a way for many Americans to vent their frustrations (i.e. a catharsis). People will eventually realize that electing a populist is not a good solution. According to Ferguson, communism has really been tried over and over, and failed every time. About capitalism: although inequality has increased within countries, it has decreased between countries.
Versus-écouter - Hommage à Didier Lockwood
Je ne suis pas fan de Didier Lockwood, mais je l'avais tout de même vu deux fois, dont en 2016, lors d'un concert que j'avais beaucoup aimé. Cet hommage est un tour d'horizon très rapide, basé surtout sur des archives de la RTS. On y entend par exemple Didier Lockwood jouer... de la trompette.
Very Bad Wizards 115 Which Field is More Fu@%ed: Philosophy or Psychology?
Philosophy: it's an old field (more than 2000 years old), but has it "solved" any problem? How could we measure it? Then there's the problem that philosophy is not really tackling the "big questions" anymore (i.e. the meaning of life, etc.). In that sense, is it really "useful"? Doesn't philosophy spend too much time on defining and redefining words and questions? Psychology: there's the huge problem of replication (see replication crisis). Then there's the problem that it sometimes make claims that are too broad/general. Some of the problems in psychology are widespread in science in general (e.g. modifying the hypothesis after analyzing the data, fraud, p-hacking, etc.).
Very Bad Wizards 113 Pascal, Probability, and Pitchforks
It's difficult to take Pascal's Wager completely seriously nowadays, but it's still a very interesting argument. The two main criticisms are that: 1) you can't decide to believe something if you don't already believe it (just like you can't decide to fall in love with somebody) 2) there are many religions, so why should we believe in the Christian God and not in the many other gods from other religions? I didn't know about the Pascal's mugging thought experiment. Highly unlikely events with high rewards or severe punishments are hard to reason about. Similarly, transformative experiences/decisions (having a child, etc.) are also hard to take rationally (how do you weigh complex choices?).
Very Bad Wizards 112 Gettier Goggles
An episode about the Gettier problem ("Gettier-type counterexamples [...] challenged the long-held justified true belief (or JTB) account of knowledge"). I think I understand why Tamler thinks people have devoted too much time to this problem (which I knew nothing about before listening to this episode). At the same time, I don't have a problem with researchers/thinkers devoting a lot of time to "useless" problems, because you never really know beforehand what impact a research project/paper is actually going to have. A lot of people probably think we should devote less time to string theory, for example. Should we, though? I don't think so. That being said, after hearing Tamler/David's discussion, I fail to see what's particularly interesting in the justified true belief (JTB) position and, hence, in the Gettier problem. "Knowledge as justified true belief" looks like a simplistic way of defining knowledge. There's always some uncertainty about what we think we know. It's implicit. We could live in a simulation, for example. For me, there's always room for an alternate explanation, but, at some point, you have to decide what you believe is true, based on the information you have, and go with it.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #10
A few interesting topics. Should we give money to beggars (probably not)? Are prostitution and pornography ethical (it depends), and should they be legal (yes)? Adoption versus having one's own biological children. And I'm starting to understand the concept of metaphorical truth a bit better. The example of manipulating a gun (something I never do) as if it were always loaded is a good one. Sometimes, it's factually incorrect and it's possible to know it's incorrect, but it's still encouraging a good behaviour.
Peach & Black Podcast - Non-Album Tracks Vol. 1
Just three songs were covered: an excellent one, "F.U.N.K." (an average one - in my opinion), "Purple House" (a straight blues, basically), and one of Prince's worst released songs, "Purple And Gold". An odd selection, but a fun episode, as usual.
Nectars - Archives: On regarde dans le rétro?
Le bout d'archive à propos du passage de Marconi à Salvan en 1895, raconté par Maurice Gay-Balmaz en 1968, est fascinant : c'est un double saut dans le temps. Les archives, c'est important. Encore un argument contre l'initiative irresponsable No Billag, car la SSR est aussi chargée de conserver toutes ces archives, dont la valeur est inestimable. Globalement, je n'ai pas appris grand-chose. Numériser des documents, audiovisuels ou autres, ne suffit pas : ça n'est qu'un début et la conservation des fichiers résultants est un travail de longue haleine. Le rôle de la technologie est important : il est possible d'extraire plus d'information de supports physiques en les numérisant à l'aide de technologies plus récentes, plus sophistiquées. Il est donc important de conserver les supports physiques, même une fois numérisés. Ce ne sont que quelques-unes des considérations à prendre en compte. Le sujet est complexe.
Very Bad Wizards 111 Our Language Doesn't Have a Word For This Title (with Yoel Inbar)
Would you still decide to have a daughter if you knew she would die at a young age? Bonus question: if you could know exactly when you're going to die, would you prefer to know or to remain ignorant of the date of your death? Arrival was a good movie. I liked it. It's not the greatest science fiction movie ever made, but it's really good and beautiful. Like all movies with time paradoxes or time travel, it's full of inconsistencies (some of them I hadn't noticed), but it remains enjoyable nevertheless. One of the interesting aspects of the movie was how it dealt with the theme of language. It follows the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis (i.e. "the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition."), which is a controversial, but intriguing hypothesis. It's pretty clear that having more words to describe the world is useful and makes us more attentive to some concepts/details. Some metaphors can also influence our behaviour (if you see a debate as a "war to win", for example). In the end, I don't know if I would have a child knowing that she/he would die at 16 and I'm not even sure I would like to know the date of my death, but the message in Arrival is clear: we should cherish the time we have (with our family, our friends, etc.), even if we don't always have the control on what happens in our lives.
Very Bad Wizards 110 Stepsisters and Neck Braces (with Yoel Inbar)
I don't have much to say about the Charles Murray protest at Middlebury. People should have the right to protest and to express themselves, but physically preventing people to talk or physically assaulting them is always bad. Do these incidents happen more lately, though? It's not clear. What's clear is that it's good for people (and especially young people) to feel bad about the ideas of other people. When someone disagrees with me, I often have to breathe and calm down before answering, so I understand why it's so upsetting to hear different views, but we all have to make conscious efforts to have better discussions, even with people with very different opinions. It's hard, but it's worth it.
Very Bad Wizards 133 Death and Dreams
I agree that dreams are often a lazy way to explain something in a TV show or movie, but not always (e.g. David Lynch). I agree with Dave that saying death is like "before our birth" is not comforting. It's not the absence of consciousness that's scary. There's an asymmetry between the "death" before our birth and the death after our life: it sucks more to lose what you have than what you've never had. In that sense, death is always dramatic (when we're young, when we're middle-aged, and when we're old). Yes, it's more normal to die when you're old. If you're old and tired, it can even make death more appealing, but if you're old and healthy, then no amount of time is enough to make death seem less dramatic. About Buddhist monks being afraid of death: it's an intriguing paradox, but it can also be logical. By meditating, learning that the self is an illusion, being more grateful, learning to live in the moment, etc., you actually become better at "enjoying" life. It doesn't really change anything about death: to really accept death, you have to accept that it's somewhat a good thing. But how can you think death is a good thing if you enjoy life and are healthy?
Waking Up with Sam Harris 116 AI: Racing Toward the Brink - A Conversation with Eliezer Yudkowsky
Yudkowsky is very clever and knowledgeable, so this was a hard discussion to follow. My general feeling is that "it's a bit more complicated than that", again. A summary of the podcast is available here. I liked the part about the coordination problem: if a group of people is stuck on a local optimum, any single individual will lose if he/she decides to move alone; the only way to go to another, better local optimum is to move as a coordinated group. This is difficult to do (i.e. the right incentives are hard to find).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 115 Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss, and Matt Dillahunty (1) - A Live Recording from New York City Center in NYC
There was a lot of talking over each other. This was annoying at times. I like Krauss, but he doesn't seem to think philosophy is a worthy pursuit and some of his comments were too dismissive/childish. He only trusts empirical data. Dillahunty was better here than last time (but not everyone agrees, it seems). This episode included some standard discussions/arguments about morality (is–ought problem, etc.), consciousness, free will, the (illusion of the) self, and meditation. This comment probably sums up the discussion about free will pretty well: "Sometimes it gets really hard to parse what is a real difference of opinion and what just comes down to semantics." The discussion about epistemology, intuition, what it means to know something, the nature of time, etc. was more interesting. Sometimes I get the dizzying feeling that we cannot really know anything, especially the things we take for granted (time, space, etc.).
Very Bad Wizards 109 Moral Pluralism: Behind the Lube
Most people will probably say that child sex dolls should be illegal and are unethical. As a consequentialist, I would say that it depends whether the consequences are good (i.e. it will lead a paedophile to not have sex with actual children) or bad (i.e. it will exacerbate the problem). I guess we don't have empirical data about this and, in the absence of any such data, it's probably a safe "bet" to make them illegal. Unfortunately, the problem will only get worse with virtual reality, realistic computer-generated videos, etc. The discussion about moral pluralism was hard to follow. I think I still don't understand what moral pluralism is in practice. "Moral pluralism is the idea that there can be conflicting moral views that are each worthy of respect. [...] Moral pluralists believe that many moral issues are extremely complicated." It sounds like I might be a moral pluralist, then. Does it make sense to be a consequentialist in principle and a moral pluralist in practice? I'm not sure.
Very Bad Wizards 108 The Gimp Exception
Research tip: you have to read a lot (papers, books) or else you risk being not very original (old/derivative ideas). Moral hypocrisy: see this article. "We contend that the reason people dislike hypocrites is that their outspoken moralizing falsely signals their own virtue. People object, in other words, to the misleading implication — not to a failure of will or a weakness of character. [...] Logically speaking, there is nothing dishonest about condemning an action and also engaging in it. [...] Our contention is that your objection to your co-worker is perfectly logical, because the principal offense of a hypocrite is not that he violates his own principles, but rather that his use of moral proclamations falsely implies that he himself behaves morally."
Very Bad Wizards 132 Emotional Willpower (with David DeSteno)
Betting on our willpower to achieve our goals is a bad idea. This is not a new observation. Scott Adams says we should bet on systems, for example. For DeSteno, we should develop positive emotional habits, as he explains in this article: "The problem is that when we are faced with choices between pleasure now and reward in the future, we will often choose the former. [...] I propose that you cultivate the positive emotions of gratitude, compassion, and pride. Why these emotions? Because they evolved to help us act in "prosocial" (kind and helpful) ways, effortlessly bringing out our better natures and encouraging a long-term view of our present-day actions. And these emotions have three advantages over reason, habits, and willpower: Their strength doesn't wane after repeated use, they can't be hijacked to favor immediate rewards, and they improve our decisions in different areas of life at the same time." There's a "a connection between daily gratitude and greater average patience and self-control." Writing a gratitude journal can help. And you don't need to feel gratitude towards someone: "Even luck [...] can lead to a feeling of gratitude." Compassion for our future self and self-compassion can help, and meditation can be used to encourage compassion. Finally, "authentic pride" can help, too, so it's important to realize that "we learn from our mistakes and that effort matters".
Alex & Erik's Podcast 41 The ethics of having children
A topic that's very relevant to me at this time in my life. I agree that David Benatar's argument is not totally convincing (see my comments). I agree that the average/potential happiness of a child will depend on the parents, country, etc., so we probably can't say, globally, that people should stop reproducing. We need to be more nuanced than that. We can't make it illegal to have children or require parenting permits. This is not practical. So, yes, we need indirect measures (sex education, education in general, etc.). The discussion about the environmental impact of a child was a good start, but probably a bit too optimistic. I sense that there is a bias towards thinking that our children will have a positive impact on the world. Also, the fact that people in India are not as starved as anticipated several decades ago is not the whole story. Yes, we have more effective agricultural techniques, but what are their impact on the environment? Are they sustainable? I'm not so sure they are. A few important points also missing from this discussion: adoption (and the fact that there are more than 100 million orphans at any given time), parents' happiness, the effect of the number of children you have (1, 2, or more), etc. Studies have been done on these variables/effects and should probably be taken into account when deciding whether you should have children and, if so, how many you should have.
Very Bad Wizards 120 Clap Your Hand for Robert Wright
The second interview with Robert Wright that I listen to (the first one being the interview on the Sam Harris podcast). I like how Wright describes meditation as a way to become more aware of our evolutionary biases (moral values, emotions, etc.). Evolution doesn't want us to be happy; it wants us to reproduce, to copy our genes. For that, it kind of needs us to be unhappy, to be always struggling, unsatisfied. For Buddhism, seing things as they really are can lead to happiness and make us better persons. Is it really true, though? This is an empirical question. Do we have any data about this?
Waking Up with Sam Harris 113 Consciousness and the Self - A Conversation with Anil K. Seth
A dense discussion about one of my favorite topics. I found it difficult to follow Sam and Seth at times. If I had to listen to an episode several times, this would be one of them. Seth is the second person to reject some of Chalmers' ideas, mainly the hard problem of consciousness (i.e. "we have moved on since the 90s", focusing on conceivability is a bit naive, etc.). Seth's take on vitalism: we used to think that life was a mystery, but it's a bit too easy to find our modern explanation "obvious" now, in hindsight; consciousness could be the same. Seth is not convinced that we will still have a hard problem "at the end", when we have a detailed model of the brain. Consciousness in non-human animals: it seems that I have the same intuitions as Seth, i.e. mammals are almost certainly conscious; birds are probably conscious; he's not sure about fishes and even less sure about insects; but consciousness is a gradual phenomenon. I didn't completely understand the concept of a Bayesian brain, that the brain is constanstly trying to predict perceptions. It reminds me of the idea of Geoffrey Hinton's Capsule Networks. We don't notice gradual changes, so we tend to overestimate the stability of our self. For the same reason, we might not notice a gradual decrease of our consciousness if we gradually replace our biological neurons with silicon neurons, so we shouldn't necessarily trust our intuitions when thinking about this kind of thought experiments. Seth is not convinced by the philosophical zombie argument, but for him it doesn't mean that AI has to be exactly like human intelligence; for him we can have AI agents without any consciousness (if I understand correctly). I don't know where I first heard about Giulio Tononi's integrated information theory (IIT) (probably in Christof Koch's book). Seth seems to think that we should explore this kind of models. I personally don't know/understand if this will lead us anywhere. For Seth, simulated consciousness is not necessarily possible and this matches my current intuitions. Can AI agents make us more psychopathic, à la Westworld? Are children giving orders to Alexa/Siri without saying "please" problematic? It might be. Again, according to Seth, our loss of empathy can be gradual, so this is something that might happen without us even noticing it.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 112 The Intellectual Dark Web - A Conversation with Eric Weinstein and Ben Shapiro
Eric Weinstein sounds very intelligent and interesting, but this configuration (three persons) didn't really work. I liked the discussion with Bret Weinstein better and I'm pretty sure that a one-on-one discussion with Ben Shapiro would be more interesting as well (I was definitely not impressed by him here). Still, it's a good thing that Sam and Ben had a public discussion. They agree about free speech. They disagree about religion and free will. The discussion was not always interesting in this case, but it's important that people with different views still debate together, in the most open and honest way possible. Ben was obviously wrong or incoherent about a couple of points: no free will doesn't imply that you don't act and he can't seem to grasp how it's completely arbitrary that he's Jewish. Also, I'm always surprised to hear intelligent people mention the unmoved mover concept as a serious proof for God's existence. Sam's position about reason being linked to intuitions/emotions ("you cannnot help but be convinced by a good argument") is important.
Very Bad Wizards 131 I Have No Genitals and I Must Scream

According to the paper mentioned in that episode, children that lie tend to be more intelligent than others. Should we encourage our children to lie more? Of course not. Lying is just one of many metrics you can use as a correlate for intelligence. There are many other things that you should encourage before lying.

About the Black Mirror episodes: I was expecting a discussion about the feasibility of artificial consciousness, philosophical zombies, etc., but I guess Dave and Tamler's discussion was a good start. They mentioned the fact that it's impossible to duplicate a person with all her/his memories using just her/his DNA (it's so obvious I don't know what the writers were thinking...). Sam Harris' idea that morality matters only when we're talking about conscious creatures/entities was, I think, briefly mentioned. The part of the discussion about punishment and what it means to punish a (conscious) digital copy of a person was interesting. I think that, at this point, they should have mentioned free will, though. If it doesn't make any sense to punish a copy of someone, does it make sense to punish the "original"? Of course, here, it's all about the psychological "benefits" of revenge, not about its effects on the "guilty" persons and on society as a whole. I already mentioned that artificially conscious agents created with the goal of maximizing suffering is one of my worst nightmares. Think about a conscious entity suffering at the maximum level at all time, continually, for billion of years, in a virtual environment where this entity cannot do anything but suffer (including choosing to die / committing suicide). Now think about a billion of those entities. What's the limit? "USS Callister" and "Black Museum" came pretty close to this idea of "artificial torture". It's important to have those very abstract / difficult concepts presented in a TV show. I think they might introduce them to more people and that the vital discussion about consciousness, morality, artificial intelligence/consciousness, etc. will grow.

Very Bad Wizards 130 Dehumanization and Disintegration (with Paul Bloom)

About personal identity: I was glad/intrigued to hear Paul Bloom talk about some people that have different intuitions, in particular about what matters or what should matter (if I understood correctly). Should we fear death by a teleporter, knowing that we're usually okay with sleeping and that we lose consciousness every night? Knowing that we're not really the same persons as we were 20-30 years ago? Yes, there's a physical continuity in the case of sleep, but without being a dualist, if I understand correctly (again), particles/atoms don't have what we could call an identity, so there's nothing special about the fact that our brains are made of a certain set of particles/atoms. Is there anything intrinsically bad about death knowing that we're all going to die someday? Also, should we be that interested in mind uploading if we're making copies of ourselves and not "transfering" any dualist soul? In summary, I still can't wrap my head around the fact that: 1) the soul doesn't exist 2) we seem to be our brains 3) the actual matter in our brains change over time (really?). I think our intuitions are wrong here, including Dave and Tamler's. I really need to read Derek Parfit.

About Mr. Robot: I guess I'm starting to agree that there should be only four seasons. I really hope that Sam Esmail has a real ending in mind and that the show won't end in a disappointing way like Lost.

About dehumanization: one the one hand, being more humane doesn't magically leads to more good; violence often comes from lack of control. On the other hand, as someone wrote on Facebook: "We have glaring examples all around us that indicate that understanding the humanity of another individual is a laborious and skillful process; we shouldn't assume that everybody has completed this process for everybody on the planet. [...] We are born being able to see individuals as agentic beings and therefore consider strategies about how to interact with them to our advantage (whether through violent or pro-social behaviors), but seeing their humanity (and the "humanity" of animals) is a process which relies on a seed (of varying viability for different people) of empathy and cultivation of that seed (both by the individual and the society)."

Waking Up with Sam Harris 111 The Science of Meditation
Quite a technical episode. What I retain from it is that meditation is probably not useful for physical problems and barely useful for mental problems such as regular depression, for example. Also, using meditation specifically for its side effects on well-being, relaxation, etc. might be counterproductive, as it can lead to unrealistic expectations. I guess we should focus on its usefulness as a tool to better understand ourselves.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 110 The Change Artist - A Conversation with A.J. Jacobs
I like the idea of changing habits, trying out new things, in a kind of extreme way, and seeing what works and what doesn't. Timothy Ferriss does that, too, but I like him less and less with time. Jacobs is a vegetarian, so I definitely feel closer to him (i.e. there is an ethical / empathic sensitivity to his approach that I don't find in Ferriss'). I might be interested in his book Drop Dead Healthy, but it seems that Jacobs feels that there aren't many pieces of health advice to give and they're always the same (exercise, eat well, mostly vegetables, sleep enough, regulate your stress, etc.), so reading another book on health might not be very useful to me at this point. Hearing Jacobs talk about germophobia made me think about the fact that I wash my hands very often. I'm not sure it's a bad thing, though. The bit about radical honesty was fun. I guess a simple rule might be that we should say something if it is true, useful, and, in the case of a fact or judgement about a person, if it is something we would say in the presence of that person. About genealogy: I haven't been very interested in that subject so far. I have been more intrigued by the idea of analyzing my DNA to get some insights about my health. But the idea of a huge family tree with billions of persons sounds intriguing. If I remember correctly, Sam used his "happy cow farm" ethical argument once again in this episode. I wish someone would explain to him why it's not a good argument (because we're so far from a "happy cow" situation that it's a misleading argument, because it's not practical/scalable, because a cow, happy or not, is still using energy and emitting greenhouse gases, etc.).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 109 Biology and Culture - A Conversation with Bret Weinstein
A lot of interesting ideas in this episode. Daniel Miessler has a summary on his blog. This is old news for many people, but don't talk about races; talk about populations. It's a difficult concept, but one that makes sense from a biological point of view. Some differences between populations do exist and can be explained in evolutionary terms (e.g. Ethiopians and Kenyans marathon runners). Differences between sexes exist as well, but we shouldn't assume that they are biological differences. They most probably are cultural differences, as "we are the most nurture-based creatures in history." The concept of metaphorical truth is important. As Daniel put it: "Metaphorical truth is a belief that is factually wrong but you come out ahead if you believe in it." Religion: it used to be useful, but "we're now at a point where it (often) hurts more than it helps". I'm disappointed by Sam going back to eating meat. He sounds like he didn't take this seriously and didn't discuss his problems with a doctor. He doesn't mention any blood analysis or rigorous testing. He even admits that he might be victim of a placebo effect. Yep: disappointing. "If you stop eating farm animals they go extinct." Weinstein says this like this is a bad thing, but it's not, unless I'm missing something. It sounds like an excuse from someone who doesn't want to change. I like Daniel's conclusion: "Evolution's purpose for us is bad. It's basically to survive and reproduce at the expense of everyone else." All in all, Bret Weinstein sounds like a very smart and articulate person. I will keep an eye on him.
2017 114
Date Name # Episode
Very Bad Wizards 107 Winking Under Oppression (with Manuel Vargas)
This was a hard one. First of all, because I didn't think the discussion/interview was particularly well structured; it was really hard to follow. Then, when it comes to free will, I'm a determinist more than a compatibilist, although I think I understand the compatibilist position pretty well. I also understand that the determinist position is not very useful in practice, when we're talking about justice. So one of the main questions in this episode was: does oppression reduce the number of degrees of freedom of an agent/person? Does it reduce his/her culpability? If so, in what way? Maybe I was too tired, but I didn't think the discussion was very illuminating.
Very Bad Wizards 129 Dystopias
Not much to say about this one. Most of the movies about dystopias mentioned during this episode and that I haven't seen are apparently "average" movies (according to my strict standards about IMDb ratings), the exceptions being Children of Men and The Trial (but, having read Kafka's book, I'm not sure I want to watch Welles' movie). I really need to watch A Clockwork Orange again, though.
Very Bad Wizards 106 American Grandstand
I learned a new word: grandstand ("to behave dramatically or showily to impress an audience or observers; to pander to a crowd."). In French, we could say "jouer pour la galerie" or "faire l'intéressant". "Moral grandstanding" would be translated to "grandiloquence morale". This is something I have to resist doing, especially when it comes to vegetarianism/veganism (am I doing this again, right here?). I'm always torn between just doing the right thing, giving money to associations ("fighting" for me), and shutting up, on the one hand, and preaching (and, thus, annoying people), on the other hand. There's a hard balance to find between the two. Moral signaling is probably something deeply ingrained in us. We want to belong to groups that think like us. I guess the lesson is that we have to try and to be as humble as possible.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 107 Is Life Actually Worth Living? - A Conversation with David Benatar
Antinatalism is something I had already heard about, but this is the first time I hear somebody defending the position. I'm sympathetic to the idea that having children is something that people do way too easily, without even thinking about it. There are way too many people on this planet. We're polluting it, exhausting its resources, etc. Also, at any moment, there are more than 100 million orphans in the world. So my reasoning has more to do with the negative impact of a child on the world, including existing people and, in particular, the parents themselves. Benatar's position is based on several asymmetries. A good explanation (I think) of one of those asymmetries was given on Reddit. A good refutation is also given (by the same person). So this is one of the problems I see with this assumption that there's a fundamental asymmetry: it's only an asymmetry because you intuitively think it is one (?). Or at least because you're asking a biased question. Sam was, I think, right to ask Benatar if his personal experience was tainting his reasoning/intuition. Benatar refused to answer. I also didn't understand why Benatar can be an anti-natalist but not a pro-mortalist. Not going from non-existing to existing is good, but going from existing to non-existing is inherently bad? Benatar used the movie analogy to explain his position. If you're at a movie theatre, watching a bad movie, you will probably resist the urge to get up and exit, because, maybe, you think, the movie is going to get better at some point. Now, if at the end of the movie, you realize that the movie was really bad, then you probably think that you shouldn't have started watching the movie in the first place. It's another asymmetry, according to him. But how does Benatar come to the conclusion that we're watching a bad movie? That our lives are barely worth living or not worth living at all? It's not clear. He also didn't answer clearly when Sam presented its instant/painless death thought experiment. This was frustrating. I also agree with another person on Reddit: the Mars analogy was not helpful. We don't think much about the absence of lives on Mars, but we actually don't think much equally about the absence of lives, happiness, or suffering on Mars. I don't think there's an asymmetry here or at least not a strong or useful asymmetry. All in all, I'm not convinced by Benatar. I agree that it's not obvious that we should have children. I agree that it's not obvious that life has meaning. But I don't agree with his reasoning. Of course, there's still the very likely possibility that I don't understand what he's actually saying. One thing is certain: this is a somewhat depressing topic, but a very imporant one. Also, I realize that it's very hard to reason clearly about non-existing consciousness / non-existing conscious beings.
Peach & Black Podcast - Mr. Hayes Interview
Morris Hayes has been in Prince's band or entourage for more than 20 years, until 2012, but he's definitely not Prince's most well-known and/or visible musician. He played on many studio sessions for songs I love, though (mainly in the 90s). He's also very humble and knows that he's no Herbie Hancock (to paraphrase him). I find those interviews interesting (musicians, engineers, etc.), but I wish somebody would write books with all those anecdotes, all those facts.
Alex & Erik's Podcast 40 Patriotism
I agree with pretty much everything that's been said during the episode. You don't choose where you were born. If you live in a good country, with a good education system, a good economy, etc., then, great, be happy you were not born in North Korea. But being proud of something you didn't do is just weird. If you live in a great country, then you probably have nothing to do with it. And there are other countries on the planet. Some of them are good as well. Some are even better than your country, possibly. Now, patriotism certainly had some utility from a historic point of view, when nations were born, to gather communities/tribes together, but it's like religion: yes, it might have had some utility, at some point, but it's currently suboptimal (in the better case). I don't agree that there can be "cute" patriotism or religion. There's always a downside to those simplistic views.
Very Bad Wizards 128 Fragmented Values and Sex Panics (with Christina Hoff Sommers)
I kind of struggled with what Louis CK did (I wrote an article about it). This episode helped me clarify my position. I agree that we're not in a "sex panic" yet, but I see how we could get there, so we have to be careful. Not all men are bad. Not all women can be trusted. The part about Thomas Nagel' paper was interesting, but harder for me to follow. Again, I think the point of view of a computer scientist can help. I disagree with Tamler (and David?) about the fact that our intuitions and our wisdom cannot be modeled by algorithms. Not by simple, naive algorithms, no, but by more complex algorithms, such as neural networks. Modern machine learning / deep learning algorithms are still crude, but they can already learn and model complex and fuzzy data sets. The problem is that they then become "black boxes": we don't know how they learned what they learned. So, yes, it's easier for humans to come up with simple, discrete, "fragmented" values, but it doesn't mean, in my opinion, that a more complex, harder-to-understand unified system is not possible, in principle. If utilitarianism is about simple utility functions, then, yes, utilitarianism is wrong. If utilitarianism can use complex utility functions that don't necessarily make sense to humans, then I think it can still be true. That's my intuition, at least. Again, Nagel sounds like someone I should read. He doesn't seem put off by hard, (currently) unsolvable problems.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 106 Humanity 2.0 - A Conversation with Jennifer A. Doudna
Again, I think Kurzweil was onto something. It took 15 years for the Human Genome Project to be completed. And then, during more than 10 years, almost nothing happened (I'm oversimplifying, here). But now, CRISPR-Cas9 is there and it looks like it could change everything, very quickly. So, this is the usual slow-phase-followed-by-rapid-change Kurzweil has always been talking about. Doudna is not convinced that we will be able to change things such as intelligence in the short term (because it depends on dozens or hundreds of genes and changing them could lead to unexpected downsides), but there are a lot of clear applications that could appear in a few years already. Again, Kurzweil warned that experts are often less worried about advances in their field (it was the case with artificial intelligence and it appears to be the case here as well). So, as usual, technology advances and the public debate is lagging behind. Most people have absolutely no idea what's happening. This is frightening, in a sense.
Alex & Erik's Podcast 39 Scott Adam's interview by Sam Harris
Scott Adams "is playing a game". I agree with that. What's frustrating is that it's hard to understand which game, whereas before he simply was provocative, purposefully. You could even say he was thought-provoking, which is positive. To quote myself: "In the end, I still don't know why Scott Adams defends Trump as much as he does. Is he trying to make people (on the left, especially) see things from a different perspective? Is he trying to sell as many ads on his blog as possible? Is he trying to make his next book as successful as possible? I don't know. It doesn't really make sense." In that respect, I find Alex's view a bit too charitable.
Peach & Black Podcast - Duane Tudahl Interview
I've started reading Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions: 1983 and 1984 last week. Tudahl sounds like a very nice and knowledgeable person. He's the kind of geek I can relate to (attentive to details, etc.). I'm glad to hear that he'd like to work on further volumes (1985-86, 1987-88, and 1981-82, mainly).
Very Bad Wizards 105 Wizards With (Reactive) Attitudes
Not a very good episode. Tamler is constantly reminding the listener that he used to be a free will incompatibilist/skeptic, but that he's now an "enlightened" compatibilist. Yes, I know, this is supposed to be funny (maybe), but it's also annoying, because of another problem: when talking about Sam Harris' position, they're actually attacking a straw man, unless I'm really missing something. They're doing exactly what Dennett has been doing in the past, pretending that "[Harris, Coyne, etc.] want us to completely abandon punishment". Quoting Harris and proving that it's a straw man: "I agree that punishment might be practically necessary in certain cases (as it might be the only way to get people to behave)". So Tamler, and maybe David as well, are annoyingly condescending, here. And factually incorrect. Also, I'm tired of the "Nahmias" position on people's intuitions about free will. It really doesn't make any sense. Some people on Facebook are apparently also a bit frustrated. Another problem with this episode (or with me?): I still don't know what Strawson's position about reactive attitudes is. Finally, the fight at the end was weird. Yeah, definitely not a good episode...
Very Bad Wizards 102 Red, Black, and Blue
I enjoyed the part about the Black Mirror episode San Junipero, which was an episode I really liked. It's partly dark, partly happy, but not in a clear way. You don't really know what to think of it. It's about healthcare, death, love, the meaning of life, virtual reality, mind uploading, and probably many other things as well. The way virtual reality is portrayed is plausible. Simulating whole universes where real people can meet and interact is already a thing. Doing it in a more realistic way, with more complex brain-machine interfaces that could lead to "simulated" pain, pleasure, etc. is, I bet, something that will happen. Now, mind uploading is another problem. David and Tamler are not convinced that it's possible. The argument is the same as the "teleporter as a suicide machine". I still don't know what to think. Another intriguing question, raised by the Black Mirror episode, is the following: can life be meaningful if it doesn't really end? Can an artificial life or artificial "heaven" where you cannot die be meaningful? My current answer would be: yes, but probably not with our current psychology. Still, I think you can have your cake (immortality) and eat it (meaning).
Very Bad Wizards 101 Having Desert and Eating It Too
The parallel between free will and art/sports didn't really work for me, but it's interesting. I usually don't care whether artists or athletes deserve blame/praise or awards/medals. I don't have any interest in sport, but I listen to music, watch movies, visit museums, etc., because I enjoy good music, good movies, good paintings, etc. I associate artists with what they produce only in the sense that it helps me discover more good music, good movies, etc., but I don't feel the need to blame artists if they produce bad art. I just ignore them. Now, bad moral behavior is something entirely different: it can be dangerous to society. So we use blame as a signal: don't do that; we don't want you to do that. So, am I a compatibilist? I don't know. Maybe. I still think determinism is a very important concept when talking about ethics and not when talking about art, because if we blame somebody, we have to do it pragmatically, but we have to do it very carefuly, recognizing that if she did what she did, at a given point in time, she couldn't have done otherwise in the "absolute" sense, only in the "local" / "degrees of freedom" sense. A good quote from Facebook: "the key difference, which you somewhat hovered around is that in the aesthetic case we are using accolades and calling for recognition, not making statements regarding character attributions, on top of encouragement which is common to both."
Waking Up with Sam Harris 105 Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Matt Dillahunty - A Live Recording from the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver
I'm less familiar with Matt Dillahunty and, judging by the audience questions at the end, most people are way more familiar with Sam and Richard. If I have the opportunity, I might want to go to one of those "live events" one day, but hearing an audio recording of this event is a weird experience. It sometimes sounds like a rock concert or a stand-up comedy show, to the point of being a bit cringeworthy at times. I wouldn't want a non-agnostic/atheist/humanist person to hear this.
Very Bad Wizards 127 Moral Luck
For once, I didn't disagree with David and Tamler about free will. Yes, we have to accept both the reality of determinism (microscopic/physical view) and the reality that our brains don't see people as things and don't see people's actions as just physical events (macroscopic/societal view). Our brains evolved to understand the world as a place with agents having intentions, not as a place composed of a large number of particles interacting in a very complex and chaotic way. Are we completely constrained by our brains? Maybe. Maybe not. Apparently, some people can use meditation to really see that there's no limit between the self and the rest of the world, and that thoughts just happen (i.e. that there's no thinking self having those thoughts). Anyway, Thomas Nagel really sounds like a very clever philosopher. I should read one of his books or papers someday. I like how he doesn't feel the need to resolve the tension he describes in his paper.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 104 The Lessons of Death - A Conversation with Frank Ostaseski
Not a fun topic, but something I think about a lot, especially lately. I guess we need more people like Ostaseski, who help people who are very ill and going to die soon. But we're all going to die soon, if we really think about it. So I agree that it should change how we choose to live. And most people prefer not to think about it. Because, yes, it's not fun. The only thing in this conversation that I found a bit cringeworthy is Ostaseski's idea that "we don't know" what happens after we die. Well, yes, technically, we don't know. Just like we don't know if God exists, if Russell's teapot exists, etc. But we can have a pretty good idea. So far, science tells us that there's nothing, because we are our bodies, we are our brains, and our bodies and brains decompose after we die. It's not complicated, actually. It's the usual agnosticism vs atheism debate. Come on: you're probably not really agnostic, you're an atheist; just admit it!
Very Bad Wizards 125 Can You Feel It?
The more I think about the "teleporter as a suicide machine" concept, the less I'm sure what I think about it. Isn't the fact that our intuition tells us that teleporting somebody is equivalent to killing her/him the same as having a dualistic view of the mind/body (substance dualism)? I should probably write a blog post about this (consciousness, identity, teleporting, mind uploading, death, etc.). The part of the episode about emotions was interesting to me, because I realized there's a parallel to be made between the emotion-language or color-language mapping problems and the algorithmic problem of clustering n-dimensional points/vectors (e.g. k-means clustering, etc.). How do you choose the number of clusters? How do you define the distance between two points/vectors? And, then, how do you map those clusters to human concepts? Could you use a neural network to do that? Isn't that approximately how our brains map raw emotions or sensory perceptions to linguistic concepts?
Very Bad Wizards 83 Ego Trip
Cognitive biases are a way for our brains to keep a set of more coherent beliefs, to have more "easily retrievable" beliefs. Complex sets of nuanced or even contradictory beliefs are harder to manage for our brains. This has the obvious drawback of making our beliefs harder to change. There's a parallel to be made with governments or tribes, who tend to be resistant to changes coming from the outside but also from the inside (intolerance for individuals that behave differently, against the rules, etc.), which makes them easier to govern. This is a question of trade-off, as cognitive biases also make us hold beliefs that are simply not true. I guess I should read The Totalitarian Ego. It sounds like an interesting paper.
Very Bad Wizards 126 The Absurd
The moral dilemmas at the beginning were fun. People have very different moral intuitions. As often, I tend to agree more with David. I would also pay $100 to make my next child more intelligent (by one standard deviation), but I'm ready to bet that a lot of people I know would be against it. Another proof that appeal to nature is hard to escape, I guess. The case of the anti-gay baker was definitely not a "no-brainer" for me. Absurdism is a topic I'm highly interested in. I read Le Mythe de Sisyphe by Camus in 2013. Like David (again), I tend to be regularly depressed when realizing the absurdity of life (i.e. the absence of "ultimate" meaning in life). Some people find it easy to not think too much about it. Or have commited a philosophical suicide (to use a terminology introduced by Camus) by embracing religions. Not me. I liked the interpretation that "nothing is important" can be depressing, but it can also help us overcome arguments and put our problem in perspective.
Very Bad Wizards 121 The Beauty of Illusion - David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive"
I've watched Mulholland Drive only twice, the first time in 2001 and the second time in 2011. I'm surprised how much I remember about the movie and its "correct" interpretation. The part about the diner scene was interesting, because I hadn't thought too much about it. I like Tamler and David's interpretation (i.e. Lynch, the director, talking almost directly to the audience, via different scenes, the most obvious one being the Club Silencio scene).
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #9
Sam's distinction between acts of terrorism (where the intention of the killer is to harm/kill in the name of an ideology, e.g. a religion) and acts of violence commited by mentally ill people (not motivated by an ideology) makes sense to me. I don't see the controversy there. His answers about Black Lives Matter and feminism boil down to: identity politics is generally bad. His answers about guns, free will, and Hume's Is-Ought distinction are nothing new and are consistent with his books and blog posts / F.A.Q.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 102 Is Buddhism True? - A Conversation with Robert Wright
A lot of discussion about meditation, consciousness, the illusion of the self, etc. What we can learn by meditating makes sense when seen from a materialist (not dualist) and evolutionist point of view. In that sense, Buddhism is probably the most clear-sighted of the major religions.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 101 Defending the Republic - A Conversation with Cass R. Sunstein
About the importance of serendipity: it sounds like the exploitation-exploration dilemma, again (e.g. in reinforcement learning) and is actually similar to what Christakis explained in the previous episode. We sometimes need to do "random" stuff to discover new or better things. Being irritated while reading/hearing an argument can lead to new insights. About the importance of face-to-face discussions: I agree and it's something I've slowly changed my mind about over the last ten years or so. About direct democracy: I'm surprised they didn't mention Switzerland. Or were they talking about a more extreme form of direct democracy?
Peach & Black Podcast - The Family - Album Review
One of my favorite "related artist" project. Another fun episode. The Peach & Black team is right: this is a weird project. The band only performed live once. It's actually a Prince-Eric Leeds-Clare Fisher collaboration, not a band effort. Yes and Susannah's Pajamas are prototypes of what Madhouse would do later. Another weird thing: the version of Nothing Compares 2 U on that album is the first version of that song that was ever released, 5 years before Sinéad O'Connor's version and 8 years before Prince's own live version. This is also the weakest of those three versions.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 100 Facing the Crowd - A Conversation with Nicholas Christakis
I've always thought that, as human beings, we have more in common than not. More than that, we have a lot in common with non-human animals and even plants! I don't like it when people say or imply that I cannot understand them because I haven't had the same life path as them. It doesn't make sense. About freedom of speech on US campuses: Sam is agnostic about the current trend; an article from The Economist seems to indicate that "young Americans who have attended college are in fact more accommodating of controversial speakers", but that a "vocal minority can have a chilling effect on what everyone else thinks they can say". I like how Christakis thinks it's important to listen to students, answer them in the best possible way, stay civil, etc. He's setting an excellent example. His research about how we can influence the behaviour of a group of people, using artificial agents, sounds exciting. This has so many applications in "real life", as well as online (Twitter mobbing, etc.). I personally would be interested in knowking how to convince people to become more interested in ethical concerns (veganism, etc.), for example. The way Christakis explained how we can escape local optima in optimization problems (i.e. by adding some kind of noise) was pretty good. This is nothing new, of course, and this is a concept we find in many processes (mutations in genetic algorithms, simulated annealing, etc.).
Waking Up with Sam Harris - The "After On" Interview - A Conversation with Rob Reid
An excellent interview! Many topics were covered. Like someone said on Reddit, this was like a "greatest hits". If someone needs to be introduced to Sam Harris, this is an excellent starting point. The part about Sam "dropping out" of college and then going back to school was something I had not heard in such detail before. I'm not sure I agree with Sam about phones and encryption. I understand his point of view, but he seems to underestimate the dangers of introducing any backdoor in an encryption mechanism.
Very Bad Wizards 44 Killer Robots
I'm convinced that we will be able to create perfectly moral AI agents. Conscious or not, they will be able to replicate or simulate the effects of emotions, if needed. Now I'm not sure I'm convinced that any country would really want to "play nice" during an armed conflict. Yes, I'm aware of the Geneva Conventions, but I'm not sure the concept of ethical war really makes sense... The idea of simulating a war (instead of actually, physically going to war) is intriguing, but, ultimately, could only work in a context where countries have become mature enough to realize that war is useless. Isn't that what sports are about, anyway?
Very Bad Wizards 42 Reason, Responsibility, and Roombas (With Paul Bloom)
It's interesting to think about our intuitions about teleportation, identity, and death. The movie The Prestige is illuminating in that respect. I agree that a teleporter is basically a suicide machine. It doesn't matter if the reconstructed person at the other end of the teleporter says he's me. It could be an entirely different person; my intuitions shouldn't change. I agree with that. I've always wondered what this means for mind uploading. The logical conclusion seems to be that mind uploading is impossible (it would be another kind of suicide machine, after all). But, at the same time, this all sounds too dualistic to me. I don't know how to completely reconcile the suicide machine intuition with the materialist view of the mind (i.e. we don't have a soul). I don't have much to say about the reason vs biases/impulses discussion. I agree with most of what was being said. Finally, is "biochemical Roombas" (Tamler) better than "biochemical puppets" (Sam Harris) as a metaphor for the fact that we don't have libertarian free will? I get it that in the case of the Roombas, it makes it clear that the decisions are made by an "internal algorithm" and not an "external agent", but internally or not, it doesn't really matter: the laws of physics are everywhere. And that's, in my opinion, the whole point of insisting that we're never completely free (absolute/libertarian freedom).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 98 Into the Dark Land - A Conversation with Siddhartha Mukherjee
The way a doctor communicates a diagnosis to a patient is very important, especially when it comes to cancer. He has to be understanding, but not too empathic (really empathic or faking empathy, both are bad). He also has the very difficult task of explaining the statistics. Where the patient is located on a bell curve and why, etc. Other than that, I don't know what to retain from this episode. Statistically speaking, a lot of people around me will get cancer. I will maybe get cancer. This is depressing. And we still don't know how to treat it efficiently even though we know a lot more about cancer than we did only 20 years ago (thanks to genome sequencing).
Very Bad Wizards 124 Dr. Strawson or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Episodic Life
Am I episodic or diachronic, i.e. do I see my life as a series of separable events or as a consistent, continuous story? I guess I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. Can I answer "both"?
Very Bad Wizards 123 What Chilling Effect? (Intelligence Pt. 2)
Race is a fuzzy term. It doesn't correlate exactly with biological features. Sometimes it correlates more with cultural features. Sometimes, it's not clear which "race" (or, more exactly, ethnicity) you should belong to (e.g. latin vs black). For studies about intelligence, the race that is used is the self-reported race. Which means that it will sometimes include ethnicity or other more cultural concepts. Also, the obvious biological features we use to determine the race of a person (color of the skin, shape of the mouth, nose or eyes, hair color and texture, etc.) are just a small subset of the biological features we could actually use. So, that's one problem. Then, the scientific evidence shows that there are significant differences in mean IQ between races. This is a very sensitive topic. The question is: do those differences come from genetic differences or from environmental differences? If I understand correctly, this is an open question. David thinks that this is highly unlikely those differences come from genetic differences, because it is completely unlikely that the genes that encode visible differences that are clustered into races would be the same genes that influence intelligence. I'm not sure I understand his argument correctly, but I'm not convinced. Quoting a comment on Facebook: "If you have a stable population for many generations, you should expect them to exhibit many internal similarities relative to other populations." So, in other words and if I understand correctly, is there a third (still genetic) variable to explain the correlation between race and IQ? Alessandro Vernet also wrote a post on why he found David's argument unconvincing. So the question remains, I think: is the race/IQ correlation explained by genetic or environmental differences (or both)?
Peach & Black Podcast - Carmen Electra Review
One of my least favorite Prince albums/projects of all time (I think I like it even less than Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6 - but it's still better than Kamasutra). But the review, as always, was a lot of fun. And it sometimes gave me a new perspective on the songs and the project as a whole. I don't know if it's a conscious decision or not, but I think it's a good thing they're reviewing some of the weakest Prince projects "as a batch" (i.e. in 2017). It will be even more fun to hear their reviews of the better projects (The Family, Jill Jones, the Sheila E. albums, the Madhouse albums, etc.) knowing that the bad ones are "out of the way".
Very Bad Wizards 122 Nothing but a "G" Thing (Intelligence Pt. 1)
The first part about the paper on dogs' desires and fMRI was interesting, in that it shows that research using fMRI often leads to simplistic conclusions. What does it mean to desire something? Are we "allowed" to have conflicting desires? In such cases, what does "real desire" mean? What does it mean for a dog to desire something? Is fMRI more robust than simply observing the dog's behavior? Anyway, it's a good thing that we're starting to take our pets' preferences when deciding who gets to keep them in a divorce, for example. The rest of the episode is about intelligence, the definition(s) of intelligence (e.g. "the ability to solve problems and learn"), the heritability of intelligence (which depends very roughly 50% on genes and 50% on the environment - but we don't know how precisely), IQ, how IQ is computed (normalized around 100), what IQ is correlated with (school/job performances, income, health, etc.), how IQ is determined (standardized, somewhat "well-guarded" tests), the Flynn effect, the fact that IQ depends on more "static" things (e.g. vocabulary) and more "dynamic" things (e.g. reaction times), that it's difficult to change the environment to make IQ higher, etc. There are specific differences between sexes, but not overall (i.e. only when you consider particular types of intelligences, such as verbal vs spatial).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 96 The Nature of Consciousness - A Conversation with Thomas Metzinger
A great discussion about consciousness, meditation, the self, etc. The existence bias mentioned by Metzinger is a useful concept (from an ethical point of view). I think I had never encountered it before. From Reddit: "existence bias is the tendency that conscious creatures have toward both continuing to live themselves and continuing the species in the future". From another comment (about Metzinger's thought experiment): "a god-like super-intelligence with perfect ethics and a perfect allignment of values with our own, determines that non-existence is ethically and even subjectively preferable to existence and [...] our own evolved bias towards continued conscious states is an illusion". I don't think I would completely agree with Metzinger about death and technology/AI, but another podcast would be needed for him to better explain his position. I agree with him that we should accept the reality of death more (this is the main idea in Life in Light of Death by James A. Lindsay), but I also agree with Yuval Noah Harari, who explains in Homo Deus that technology will eventually allow us to become gods. I agree that atheism (and "New Atheism" in particular) is somewhat shallow and that more is needed (a new kind of secular "spirituality" - see Waking Up by Sam Harris). The same thing can be said of some skeptics communities online. I don't know if Metzinger is correct to say that the hard problem of consciousness is maybe not that worthy of our attention. But I'm glad that people as clever as him are still studying consciousness seriously. We need a model of consciousness to have better, more universal ethical theories.
Very Bad Wizards 100 It's a Celebration
The first part, about the driverless car moral dilemmas, was funny, but it also highlights the fact that "trolley-like" thought experiments are often too simplistic and that it's hard to conclude anything useful from them. The rest of the episode was an Ask Me Anything / Q&A.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 95 What You Need to Know About Climate Change - A Conversation with Joseph Romm
The fact that hundreds of millions of people will need to move because of sea level rise is frightening. For some reasons, I hadn't really realized this until now. Also, I must admit I was not aware that the fact that humans are the cause of climate change was such a scientific "consensus". Yes, I'm really ignorant when it comes to climate change, probably because it's such a politicized topic. It was refreshing to hear that we're on the right track when it comes to clean energy, electric cars, batteries, etc.
The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe 634 Podcast #634 - September 2nd, 2017
This podcast has been recommended to me several times, so I'm giving it a chance, although I don't really have the time to listen to it regularly. This particular episode was about the 40 years of the Voyager space probes, among other things. The Voyager program has really cemented my interest in space and astronomy. The first pictures of Neptune I saw from Voyager II were absolutely gorgeous. These were really exciting times! All in all, this podcast seems interesting. I'm not sure I'll be able to listen to it regularly, but I'll try.
Very Bad Wizards 99 Mockingbirds, Destructo-Critics, and Mr. Robot
Should To Kill a Mockingbird be censored in a middle school (because of the "N-word")? I agree that it shouldn't and that it's the opportunity to talk about a lot of complex and serious issues with the children and their parents (racism, language, art, etc.). Easier said than done, I guess. The part about "methodological terrorists" was also interesting. How should we handle methodological problems in a given field? Should people be more tactful? Should they express themselves on social media or use "official" channels only? At the end of the day, science is not about being nice, it's about discovering what's true or not in our world, so drama should be avoided as much as possible. The part about season 2 of Mr. Robot was especially interesting, because I'm not reading forums, blog posts, interviews, etc. about this show. Some of the theories discussed by Tamler and David were intriguing. It was the first time I really thought about this, actually. I watched season 2 in a short period of time this summer (over a bit more than two weeks) and put myself more in a kind of "contemplative mode", rather than an analytical mode. This is maybe a defense mechanism indirectly caused by Lost, among other things. Like many people, I was really disappointed by how that show ended (let's just say that it was not a particularly clever and/or coherent ending). I don't want Mr. Robot to be another Lost, so I unconsciously avoided thinking too much about it, about how it could make sense (i.e. what's real? what's not?).
Very Bad Wizards 98 Mind the Gap
An episode about the is-ought problem. So, yes, there is a gap between facts and values, and people disagree about the size of that gap. Is it a large gap? Or a very narrow gap? I'm not totally convinced by Sam Harris' argument and I guess it would be stronger if he accepted to engage in actual philosophy and meta-ethics (instead of dismissing that branch), but I tend to agree with him. He's on the right track. The fact-value gap is not that big. At least in principle. And that's maybe part of the problem when we're talking about meta-ethics. It's often not clear if we're talking about the ability to determine values in principle or in practice. This is a distinction I've not heard from David and Tamler. But at the end of the day, I think Harris is right: the gap we're talking about is not that wide and it's very likely that it can be bridged with a few axiomatic ideas (see Harris' health/medicine analogy).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 94 The Future of Intelligence - A Conversation with Max Tegmark
I was just wondering if I should buy Life 3.0 or not. After listening to this episode, I think it might be an interesting book. Let's see if the reviews are good. The discussion about the concept of substrate independence and the wave anology was illuminating, at least for me. I'm glad Tegmark seems to think it's important to think about consciousness (and artificial consciousness). One of my worst nightmares would be humanity creating AI agents that are considered unconscious (i.e. "zombies"), but that actually are conscious and suffering since they would be slaves having to work for us. My worst nightmare is people willingly creating artificially conscious agents with the goal of maximizing their suffering (i.e. "artificial suffering"). We need to come up with a good theory of how consciousness works, even if it's a really hard problem. Another important point is the fact that we need to start thinking positively about artificial intelligence, especially in science fiction, where a lot (most?) of the stories are about dystopias (e.g. killing robots, etc.).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 93 Identity & Terror - A Conversation with Douglas Murray
I liked how Sam tried to apply the "uncanny valley" concept to another domain (discussions between people on different locations on the "moral spectrum" - or "moral landscape"). The part about why it's difficult/problematic to find values and meaning in a secular society (e.g. atheism, secularism and even humanism are not enough) was thought-provoking. We currently don't really have an alternative to religions, in particular when it comes to morality. And, according to my own, perfectly anecdotal experience, most people seem morally confused (i.e. for them, morality is some kind of fuzzy concept, everybody can have an opinion about what's good or not, etc.). I can't say I retained much from the rest of the discussion (about identity politics, etc.).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 92 The Limits of Persuasion - A Conversation with David Pizarro and Tamler Sommers
This was a pretty good episode, until Sam basically started explaining Buddhism to David and Tamler. This last part was way too long. I liked the discussion about how Very Bad Wizards affects (or not) David and Tamler's professional life (i.e. how you can be irreverent, publically, on a podcast, and still have a "serious" professional position, with students, etc.). The discussion about mockery hasn't convinced me one way or the other. I guess it depends on the context. I also liked the part about how technology can change how we assess a moral dilemma (e.g. abortion).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 91 The Biology of Good and Evil - A Conversation with Robert Sapolsky
The discussion about free will was, of course, interesting. But I'm not sure it will advance the debate between compatibilists and determinists. We're doing good things or bad things because of how things are wired in our brains. "It's tumors all the way down", as Sam would say. But I don't think compatibilists would deny that. I really would like the discussion to go further (as I explained in a blog post in French). Apart from that, this was a very enjoyable discussion. Sapolsky sounds like a clear thinker/speaker. I should probably read his book.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 90 Living With Violence - A Conversation with Gavin de Becker
de Becker's message is perhaps not that bad, but the way he presents it is sometimes off-putting. For example: "I hate statistics." Me? I like good statistics. They're useful. If you know how to interpret them. Also, the way he seems to think we should listen to our intuitions more is weird. Intuitions are heuristics. They're a way to quickly come to a conclusion. But the speed of our intuitions comes at a price: intuitions are often wrong (e.g. we're all biased). So, yes, I understand that distrusting people more will lead to less "tissue damage", but I'm not concinved that we need a society where people distrust each other more. And I also understand that it's not exactly what de Becker is saying. But he should probably insist less on the intuition/reason dichotomy. I guess my takeaway is that we should learn how to use our in-the-moment intuitions as inputs, among other inputs, to decide whether a situation is dangerous or not. But it's not a very practical piece of advice. How do we tune our intuitions?
Waking Up with Sam Harris 89 On Becoming a Better Person - A Conversation with David Brooks
David Brooks seems to defend virtue ethics and uses words such as "sin", arguing that they can be used in a non-religious sense. I didn't retain much from this discussion, as I see myself more as a consequentialist. I guess I accept the fact that virtues can have some value, but I see them more as heuristics that have survived the test of time. Like Sam, I'm pretty much convinced that you should lie as little as possible. But exceptions are always possible. The discussion about Patreon (before the actual interview) was also interesting: the community aspect of a platform such as Patreon is important.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 88 Must We Accept a Nuclear North Korea? - A Conversation with Mark Bowden
The current situation in North Korea is an ethical nightmare. If nobody does anything, million of North Koreans are already starving/suffering. If anybody does anything, we risk a nuclear war and hundreds of thousands or millions of deaths. About Trump: according to Bowden, an impeachment procedure is unlikely and not desirable; the Democrats should focus on finding a good candidate for the next elections.
Peach & Black Podcast - Purple Rain Deluxe Review Part 2
Another long (almost four hours!), fun episode, about the second disc (From The Vault & Previously Unreleased) of the Purple Rain Deluxe release. Again, there are a lot of sound glitches/problems and errors in the liner notes for this disc, but, as Captain would say, "it is what it is". Most of the songs probably come from old cassettes stored at Warner Bros., so this was to be expected. All in all, this is the first official album of previously unreleased music by Prince, so this is an important release.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 87 Triggered - A Conversation with Scott Adams
Scott Adams likes to see the world through filters, patterns, etc. Using an analogy? You've run out of argument. This sometimes leads to lazy, frustrating oversimplifications. Other than that, Scott Adams is intelligent, but he gives a way too charitable interpretation of how Trump operates. I agree with Sam that Trump, more often than not, operates in a "whatever sticks, sticks" mode. He's not using a method. Unless you think the absence of a method is in itself a method. But Scott Adams will always find a way to justify what Trump does, using his "master persuader" filter. As someone said on Reddit, Scott Adams is "setting himself up to always be right". Also, the idea that something can be "not exactly true", but "true enough" (à la Jordan Peterson) or "emotionally true" is really an annoying idea. In the end, I still don't know why Scott Adams defends Trump as much as he does. Is he trying to make people (on the left, especially) see things from a different perspective? Is he trying to sell as many ads on his blog as possible? Is he trying to make his next book as successful as possible? I don't know. It doesn't really make sense.
Very Bad Wizards 97 Dogmatic Slumber Party
I'm not sure what to think about the part on Neal deGrasse Tyson's Rationalia. I had never heard/read anything about it before. So, the problem is that governments, politics, and, particularly, politicians suck. What can we do about it? Neal deGrasse Tyson's answer is to "inject" more science, more reason into governments. Yes, this is a bit naive: "The debate then ends quickly in the face of evidence, and we move on to other questions." My conclusion is that the idea, the intention is better than the (proposed) implementation. It's still better to have more reason, more evidence-based thinking, than not. But it won't be enough, as the second part shows: "David and Tamler discuss a recent paper by Dan Kahan and colleagues showing how prone people are to make errors in processing information to favor positions they are predisposed to believe. And even more shocking: the higher your numeracy skills, the more prone you are to fall prey to this bias." That's depressing. We're all biased. So, how do we know what's true and what's not? There's no silver bullet. Intelligent people are wrong. All the time. So we have to keep having civil discussions, with respect, humility, no sense of superiority, etc. And, yes, humor can be seen as a sign of humility (but not always, I would say).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 86 From Cells to Cities - A Conversation with Geoffrey West
I absolutely love this idea that there are "simple" rules that we find at different scales of reality. The world is complex, but this is somewhat reassuring to know that some basic, underlying principles are simple. That's why I've always loved fractals, I guess. Now, does West's theory work or is he oversimplifying how biology and cities actually work (mandatory xkcd reference)? There seems to be some problems with the charts in his book, among other things. Anyway, it's encouraging to hear that some principles can be found at various scales and work at least to some degree. I don't really expect longevity to be stricly linked with the size of an organism, but if there is a relationship between the two on average, then this is already intriguing.
Very Bad Wizards 96 Memory and Meaning in "Memento" (with Paul Bloom)
I saw Memento only once, in 2014. I thought it was excellent, but, ironically, I don't remember much about the movie itself... I should watch it again, obviously. What's the relationship between memory and personal identity? Even though we forget things, can we intuitively know/learn them? We constantly "rewrite" our past, consciously or not (e.g. self-deception), because we cannot remember everything. How can we know what's real or not? Can other people also manipulate us like we manipulate ourselves? Those are some of the many questions this movie raises.
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Ask Me Anything #8
An episode "for supporters only". Not sure I like the idea. Sam answers my question about how he reads books at 56:00. The answer is not really illuminating. He doesn't really take many notes or organize them in a "rational" way. Basically, he reads on Kindle a lot and relies on his memory (whatever sticks, sticks). I like some of the advice he gave in other parts of the episode: don't be afraid to ask for help, ditch perfectionism (which is the same as fear, for him) and just do things, don't hesitate to change your mind about decisions you made earlier (almost nothing's for life), don't be afraid to not finish books you don't like, don't think too much about the meaning of life (be mindful instead), be as honest as possible (see Lying), etc. Sam doesn't listen much to music (not enough time, cannot work to music). He prefers non-fiction books (I do, too). He doesn't adhere to a strict daily schedule (but he's self-employed, so that's easier to work that way, I guess). He seems to like Aubrey de Grey, so he should really invite him.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 85 Is this the End of Europe? - A Conversation with Douglas Murray
Is Europe commiting suicide by accepting too many immigrants? Should we defend our values more? What are "our values"? To quote a comment on Reddit: "The death of Europe being presented is not about the number of immigrants or the rate of such crimes, it's about the failure of our societies to react appropriately and instead to either acquiesce to, or even simply endorse, abandonment of our core values and moral principles in the name of tolerance and pluralism, no matter the cost." Sensitive topic, of course. The "western values" are not necessarily the "Judeo-Christian values" I often hear about (a weak and divisive concept, to say the least). We're talking about free speech (including the right to criticize religions), women's rights, LGBT rights, etc. It seems clear to me that we have a moral duty to accept as many people that need to flee their country as possible (refugees). It also seems clear to me that immigration has practical impacts, including negative ones. I don't know what the limit should be, but there needs to be one. No practical solutions were discussed in this episode, which is a bit frustrating.
Peach & Black Podcast - Purple Rain Deluxe Review Part 1
This is a review of discs 1 and 3, i.e. the remastered album, as well as the B-sides and edits. Nothing really exciting on these discs. The second part will be about the unreleased tracks (the most interesting part of the set). The remaster is not impressive. It's overcompressed (see loudness war on Wikipedia), like all Prince albums since The Gold Experience (1995). There are sound glitches (end of "Let's Go Crazy", start of "Erotic City", etc.). Captain is right to say that it is unforgivable. Overall, a light and fun episode, as always.
Peach & Black Podcast - John Blackwell - A Tribute
John Blackwell is probably my second favorite Prince drummer, after Michael Bland. He died on July 4, 2017. I was not even aware that he played so much with Prince (from 2000 to 2004 and from 2010 to 2013). I saw him live only once, in Zürich in 2002. I really like his studio work with Prince (The Rainbow Children, Xpectation, N.E.W.S., and some of the tracks on Musicology). The Montreux 2009 concerts are also a highlight. I don't have much to say about the episode itself. The anecdotes were fun. The rest of the episode was serious, as expected.
Very Bad Wizards 95 The Repugnance of Repugnance
Disgust can be literal (the emotion) or metaphorical (e.g. used in a value judgement). In the second case, we don't really feel disgusted. It's easy to see how disgust has been selected by evolution to protect us against potentially dangerous foods or substances. What's interesting is that there's also a link between disgust, morality, and politics (e.g. liberals are less easily disgusted than conservatives on average). David did a TED talk about this. Interestingly, the presence or absence of a feeling of disgust can even change a person's opinion about morality or politics. Emotions change how we think, even if we don't realize it.
Very Bad Wizards 94 Buttery Friendships
Another episode I didn't retain much from (I don't know why). I've just started reading A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, so I was under the impression that David and Tamler's description of Stoicism might be a bit incomplete (or even wrong?). Are there really people that can totally suppress their sadness when they lose somebody they love? I'm not sure that's what Stoics were aiming for... Anyway, unsurprisingly, Tamler and I seem to disagree about the importance of emotions (I would describe them as heuristics, in the computer science meaning of the term, leading to quick, but often wrong, "conclusions"), about Peter Singer, etc.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 84 Landscapes of Mind - A Conversation with Kevin Kelly
I somehow feel that Sam is not too comfortable discussing Kurzweil's ideas. I know that Kurzweil can sound like a religious prophet to some, but I thought that Sam was a bit more nuanced than that. About the dangers of AI (the alignment problem, etc.): I don't agree with Kelly about the fact that "we have time to figure everything out". He keeps repeating that things won't happen overnight, but even if that's the case, it doesn't necessarily mean that we have plenty of time to think about those problems. Also, we'll know that people such as Sam Harris and Elon Musk, who think that we have to be very careful about AI, will have succeeded when, indeed, nothing too bad will have happened. But it's precisely because some people say we have to be very careful that things will go well. It won't mean they're wrong. I'm also disappointed by Kelly's reaction about automation and job losses: he seems to agree with the mainstream idea that we'll always find other tasks to do (I can't see how, unless we merge with machines) and that we can train almost everybody to do something else when a profession (e.g. truck driver) disappears. This is overly optimistic and dangerously wrong. His idea that we should experiment with universal basic income before implementing it at a large scale is also not very useful. Yes, maybe so, but, theoretically, what's the alternative? So, yes, a very disappointing episode. Also, I'd really like to hear Sam discuss the idea of artificial consciousness more. It's a very important topic.
Very Bad Wizards 93 Avalanches, Blame, and Cowardice (With Yoel Inbar)
I slowly realized that I had seen the movie they're talking about (Turist, aka Force Majeure) more than two years ago. I gave it a rather high score (4 out of 5). So, yes, this is a very good movie. At the time, I probably didn't think of all the themes discussed in this episode (the moral dilemma in the most important scene of the movie, the question of cowardice, instinctive vs conscious character, what can be or cannot be forgiven, what it means to forgive, etc.). Good movies are movies than can be watched several times and trigger rich discussions. I definitely need to watch it again.
Very Bad Wizards 92 Jonathan Edwards' Basement
I must have been tired, because most of this episode went over my head. Some emotions (e.g. a white person having a negative reaction when seing a black person) are not necessarily representative of who we are, so, yes, emotions can be dumb (and often are). They tell us more about our (stupid) biases than about what we really believe to be true or good. I liked the first bit about what it means to be offended. How much of a given population needs to be offended for the offense to be "serious enough". One person? 10% 50% More? Do you really need to be offended to say that something is offensive?
Waking Up with Sam Harris 83 The Politics of Emergency - A Conversation with Fareed Zakaria
A quote from Ali A. Rizvi: "The left is wrong about Islam. The right is wrong about Muslims." Is "telling the truth" the best way to help Muslims reforming their religion? This is a hard question. Sam's goal has never been to help "Muslims on the ground" so different approaches can coexist, e.g. Sam's and Maajid Nawaz'.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 82 The End of the World According to ISIS - A Conversation with Graeme Wood
I didn't know of Al-Masih ad-Dajjal ("the anti-christ") and the role of Jesus in Islam. That part was really entertaining. The fact that well-educated people can become members of ISIS, because they're attracted/motivated by their ideas, not because they're poor, stupid or crazy, is frightening. But it's a reality. Wood reminds us that there aren't that many members of ISIS, though ("only" about 40,000, according to him) and that ISIS is slowly but surely becoming weaker, so it's still a worrying organization, but things will eventually get better. It was also interesting to hear that members of ISIS crave attention and will "gladly" give interviews to journalists (or even welcome a German journalist to ISIS-controlled territories and let him leave safely).
Peach & Black Podcast - Goldnigga Review
The first New Power Generation album. According to my notes, I received it on March 21, 1996, after ordering it by fax (!) from the New Power Generation Store in Chanhassen/Minneapolis. Good memories! This is not a bad album. Way better than Apollonia 6. So, as usual, the review was fun.
Very Bad Wizards 91 Rage Against the Machines
"Should we use algorithms to influence decisions about criminal sentencing or parole decisions?" Yes, we should, as long as the algorithms work. And I agree with David that algorithms can be as good or better than humans at almost any task (and will be better at any task in the near future). The problem is the data you use to feed your machine learning / deep learning algorithms. If your data is "biased", then your algorithm will be biased, so you have to be very careful, especially when the life of people depends on it.
Very Bad Wizards 90 Of Mice and Morals
As a vegetarian, I'm slightly "shocked" by the mouse/money experiment mentioned in this episode. At the same time, I'm not shocked at all that we associate different values/prices to different persons, animals, species, etc. This is expected when you introduce a market (i.e. capitalism). What's more interesting is that the value/price you associate with something (e.g. the life of a mouse) goes down when you deal with somebody and goes even lower when you deal with several persons (i.e. when you introduce more and more complex markets). This is not completely surprising. After all, not buying an iPhone won't change the fact that sweatshops exist, because, if you don't buy an iPhone, millions will buy one anyway. In other words, in a market, your moral responsability is somehow attenuated. About the swapping-baby thought experiment: I tend to agree with Tamler here; I'm not sure that it leads to particularly interesting conclusions / useful actions. At the same time, I'm convinced that we should tend as much as possible to a Singerian morality. I'm more and more annoyed with this tendency to favor local people, local enterprises, etc. just because it's fashionable. It makes sense in a lot of cases, but not always.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 81 Leaving Islam - A Conversation with Sarah Haider
Life is not easy for ex-Muslims. We need more people like Haider. And like Maajid Nawaz, even if he's attacking the problem from a completely different angle. I've always been on the fence about this, but banning the burqa/niqab would probably lead to more isolation for the women having to wear it. I'm still not convinced that openly allowing the burqa/niqab in the public space is a good idea, though. This is a complex issue.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 80 The Unraveling - A Conversation with David Frum
I didn't retain much from that episode, apart from the fact that, according to Frum, an impeachment is not very likely to succeed or to have any effect at this point. He thinks that Trump will finish his term.
Unsupervised Learning with Daniel Miessler 81 Unsupervised Learning: No. 81
Show notes / newsletter. "Scientists have almost perfectly re-created images of human faces just by reading the minds of monkeys who saw them." This is indeed very impressive. And a good sign, since we're currently worrying that artificial neural networks are just black boxes that "magically work" without us knowing how.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 79 The Road to Tyranny - A Conversation with Timothy Snyder
It's useful to remember how people such as Hitler, Stalin, etc. came to power, how the press reacted at the time, how the populations progressively accepted to lose their freedoms without even realizing it, etc. It's a bit frightening. It can sound a bit too hyperbolic at times. But to quote a comment on Reddit: "comparing Trump in 2020 with Hitler in 1945 is ridiculous at this point, but comparing Trump in 2017 with Hitler in 1933, when Hitler wasn't yet a monster but merely an authoritarian, can teach us useful lessons on how to perserve democracy".
Waking Up with Sam Harris 78 Persuasion and Control - A Conversation with Zeynep Tufekci
This sounded more like a monologue than a real discussion, but Tufekci sounds knowledgeable, although the part about internet connectivity, iOS vs Android, Microsoft vs Apple, etc. was a bit cringeworthy (from a software engineer standpoint). The potential for mass manipulation by companies such as Facebook, Google, etc., using their data and deep learning, is a bit frightening.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 77 The Moral Complexity of Genetics - A Conversation with Siddhartha Mukherjee
I don't know what to make of the Boghossian/Lindsay hoax. Sam's discussion with Mukherjee was interesting/dense and, in particular, the part about intelligence. I'm not sure I agree with Mukherjee's position on this (that intelligence is a kind of cultural construct, that it cannot really be defined, etc.). Genetic engineering is exciting and at the same time frightening (just like artificial intelligence).
Unsupervised Learning with Daniel Miessler 79 Unsupervised Learning: No. 79
Show notes / newsletter. This is a good thing that the creators of WannaCry didn't receive too much money ("only" 100'000 USD). This might discourage an explosion of future attacks. About remote working: companies shouldn't ban remote working, but I understand why they also don't want to have people always working from home.
Very Bad Wizards 89 Shame on You (with Jennifer Jacquet)
I agree with Tamler and David: some people are not clear enough when writing a paper, article, or book. And it's not because some fields are really complex and difficult to understand (physics) that you should deliberately use obscure words or concepts to make your field or topic sound more "important" or "serious". I had never really thought about the difference between guilt (more private) and shame (more public), as well as their relationship. Also, it's interesting to think about how shame can be constructively used in public policies, etc. Being anonymous on the internet leads to less shame. That's a problem.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 76 The Path to Impeachment - Conversations with Anne Applebaum and Juliette Kayyem
Donald Trump's idiocy/incompetence never ceases to amaze. I'm not American, but I'd love to see him go before 2021.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 75 Ask Me Anything 7
A shorter episode. The most intriguing topic for me is something I've already been thinking about regularly: the welfare of wild animals. Ethically, should we intervene in nature to help animals? My answer would be "why not?", but as Sam explained, it's not a simple problem (e.g. preventing some animals from being killed might cause the death of other animals, etc.).
Unsupervised Learning with Daniel Miessler 78 Unsupervised Learning: No. 78
Show notes / newsletter. The WannaCry ransomware worm is yet another reminder that you should backup your data. And be serious about security. I like the "swap TV time for reading time" idea, but, for me, it's not enough.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 74 What Should We Eat? - A Conversation with Gary Taubes
I found this episode to be confusing, not very clear and illuminating (I'm not alone, apparently), so I didn't take a lot of notes. Sugar is bad. Fats are not that bad. Science is hard. Nutrition science is also hard. We don't know much. More research is needed. But sugar is bad.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 73 Forbidden Knowledge - A Conversation with Charles Murray
A very controversial topic. Again, I'm happy that other people are discussing (toxic) topics such as this one. IQ tests predict something else than just the ability to do IQ tests (i.e. IQ is correlated with many other things). IQ tests don't seem to be biased toward a given culture. Race can be a valid biological concept, but a fuzzy one. You can see race as a kind of extended family. From a genetic point of view, we should probably use the word "population" instead of the (very) charged word "race". According to Murray, the difference between the mean IQ of whites and blacks is significant, but there's a huge overlap between the two bell curves, so you should never discriminate based on that knowledge (that there's a difference in the mean value). So the question remains: why discuss this topic at all? If you say something true, but very controversial/taboo and not very useful, shouldn't you expect the backlash you're getting? I don't think I understood Murray's answer (about positive discrimination, etc.). I had to read several comments on Reddit to get an idea of what his position might be. Nevertheless, Murray's motivations don't seem bad. And I agree with Sam that the negative reactions he has received since 1994 are unjustified. In particular, what happened at Middlebury College is completely unacceptable. Finally, Murray's positive position on basic income is interesting, as he's a conservative and it contradicts the idea that people on the left are more in favor of basic income than people on the right.
Very Bad Wizards 88 A Doobie for Elijah
The small excerpt from a Prince interview at the beginning was nice. Tamler and David explain later in the episode that they're Prince fans (although not hardcore fans, I suspect). What can or should be discussed in philosophy: I tend to disagree with Tamler, here. Everything should be up for discussion. Even (especially!) things that are obvious (to "normal human beings"). Now, that doesn't mean that the book and review they're talking about in that episode are good. Tamler recommends "A History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russel. I bought this book a few years ago. It's on my "to-read" list. I guess I really should read it, but I don't really know how (it's pretty long!). Tamler is not bothered by his finitude. It's not the first time he says that. I guess it explains why we have different positions on some topics (free will, maybe vengeance, etc.). The question of how we should (or can) appreciate the work of Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, or Bill Cosby is discussed again. An important (psychological) difference is whether you see the person in his work or not (e.g. it's impossible to watch "The Cosby Show" without actually seeing Bill Cosby). Is justice in part a substitute for vengeance?
Waking Up with Sam Harris 71 What is Technology Doing to Us? - A Conversation with Tristan Harris
Attention economy is a fascinating topic! It's linked with many other topics: free will, cognitive biases, epistemology, skepticism, fake news, advertisement, psychological manipulation, etc. And, also, in a more indirect way: effective altruism, the meaning of life, etc. "What should I do next?" or "How can I best spend my time?" are the most important questions we should ask ourselves. For me, the answer is never "spend 3 hours on Facebook", "play a game on my smartphone for the next 2 hours" or "watch live television". My time is precious and I'm getting more and more serious about how I want to spend it. The fact that people want to make us waste our time is revolting. Facebook and others are guilty of this, of course, but pre-Internet things such as television have been time wasters for a long time. In a completely different domain, I've also refused to serve in the Swiss army (a completely useless organization), for example. Some tools/systems I use to fight time wasters: GTD/to-do lists and reviews, diary/lifelogging, Feedly, lists on Twitter, Demetricator plugin for Facebook, not buying things without thinking about it for some time (e.g. 30 days), etc. An important thing is to become aware of our limitations (what Tristan Harris calls "human architecture"), which include cognitive biases, among other things, and how people can exploit those limitations. I've only been aware of this since reading Petit traité de manipulation à l'usage des honnêtes gens" ten years ago.
Peach & Black Podcast - Apollonia 6 Review
This is a "forgettable" album, but it's always illuminating to hear the Peach & Black Podcast review an album, even a bad album, track by track. As usual, it gave me a slightly different/new perspective.
Peach & Black Podcast - Deliverance EP Review
The announcement/"accidental" release of the "Deliverance" EP in April 2017, including five previously unreleased songs from 2006, was a very good surprise. So it's a real pleasure to hear the Peach & Black Podcast reviewing a new/recent release once again (the last time was "Hitnrun Phase Two" in January 2016).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 70 Beauty and Terror - A Conversation with Lawrence Krauss
Some ideas that stood out for me: 1) The "debate format is a very poor format. It's a rethorical format."; the goal is to convince the audience, not your opponents. 2) Scientists are humans, biased as all other humans, but science is an error-correcting process, so those biases are not really important. The part about quantum mechanics was a nice refresher, but, having already read quite a lot about the topic, I realize that I still don't undertand anything... The last part, about the danger of Christian vs Islamic fundamentalisms, was also interesting in the sense that Harris and Krauss seem to largely agree and, at the same time, arrive at different conclusions.
Very Bad Wizards 86 Guns, Shame, and the Meaning of Punishment
I had never really thought about the fact that the way a criminal punishment is presented (to criminals, to society), the "story" behind it, its meaning, matters. Community service, for example, is problematic. Do we want to convey the idea, to criminals, to society, that serving our communities is a punishment (i.e. a bad thing)? Of course not, so we have to be careful in how we present this kind of alternative punishments (in that case, in insisting that this is a symbolic way to restitute something to society). About shame: I'm not convinced that it has to be part of punishments.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 72 Privacy and Security - A Conversation with Gen. Michael V. Hayden
A very short episode (unusual for Harris). I guess I learnt the difference between the different intelligence agencies (NSA and CIA, mainly). I also realized that I don't really know what to think about Snowden. By default, I'm going to align my opinion on Daniel Miessler's ("In short, it's complicated, and be cautious of thinking you have all the information.").
Very Bad Wizards 75 A Golden Shower of Guests
A few discussions were related to how to do good science and good research. I had already mentioned a book I read 10 years ago, "Petit traité de manipulation à l'usage des honnêtes gens", which is mostly about priming studies (if I recall correctly) and I already was under the impression that most of those studies probably only indicate a weak effect. So, yes, priming studies are probably a bit "overrated". And often conducted using too few research participants, as many psychological studies. Speaking of "overrated", this probably applies to a lot of neuroscience studies as well, as was discussed with Laurie Santos. The discussion with Sam Harris was good, as usual. The two discussed topics are "old news" to me (artificial intelligence and vegetarianism). I mostly agree with Sam. As did Tamler and David, apparently.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 69 The Russia Connection - A Conversation with Anne Applebaum
An episode about politics. And again about Trump. I agree with some of the comments on Reddit: when it comes to politics, Sam seems to be a little out of his depth. There was nothing really bad about this episode, but nothing really good either. Yes, people such as Harris and Applebaum need to learn how to have better discussions with people who disagree with them. Maybe we need more psychological research in that direction. Some (simplistic) points I retain from this episode: Trumps likes Putin/Russia; in particular, Trump likes how Putin became a politician and used his political power to get even richer; Trump doesn't care about the United States' historical friends/allies; this can have a destabilizing effect on the rest of the world; the constant lies from Trump is something new for the US, but it's a tactic that has already been used many times in other parts of the world.
Very Bad Wizards 73 Lies, Damned Lies, and Ashley Madison
Part of this episode is about the "Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science" study from 2015, which attempted "to replicate 100 original studies that had been published in one of three top-tier psychology journals in 2008". "Depending on the criterion used, only 36 to 47% of the original studies were successfully replicated". Good science is hard. Good studies are hard. This is explained at length in Ben Goldacre's two excellent books "Bad Science" and "Bad Pharma". I guess this is a good thing that psychology is trying to get better as a scientific field. Ever since I read "Petit traité de manipulation à l'usage des honnêtes gens", I've been under the impression that psychological studies are usually conducted in universities with 20-30 students as research participants. This is a cliché, of course, but I'm not particularly surprised by the results of the 2015 study. We need more serious studies and we also need meta-analyses to reach serious conclusions. Maybe we also need more educated researchers, as bad research is probably more often the result of incompetence than fraud (cf Hanlon's razor). Other questions that have been discussed: is it moral to lie to children about Santa Claus? is it moral to lie to people in order to conduct a psychological study (which is done on a regular basis)? Personally, I think they have to be understood from a consequentialist standpoint.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 68 Reality and the Imagination - A Conversation with Yuval Noah Harari

The introduction about how Sam's "fans" should or should not behave online (e.g. how they should be respectful of all the guests on Sam's podcast, even if their views don't make sense) was a bit weird. But I guess he's right. Discussions should always stay civil and constructive, online or not. The part about how Sam doesn't like ads and how only 1% of his listeners are giving money via Patreon, etc. was more interesting. I hate ads. Listening to the Tim Ferriss Show is painful to me in part because of ads. Currently, I'm giving money to five persons on Patreon. Sam is one of them. I really like this system. I actually wish I could support more people in that way (musicians, bloggers, etc.).

Harari tends to use words a bit loosely, so, for him, religions and ideologies have the same role from a historical perspective. Sam retorts that religions rely on supernatural claims, whereas ideologies usually rely on natural claims. They then discuss an example I've been thinking about for years: the technological singularity. Many people see this concept as a "techno-religion" (eternal life, mind uploading, etc.), so I've always been careful not to be too enthusiastic about it. At the same time, it's difficult not to believe that it will happen at some point. I agree that loss of meaning will be one of the hardest challenges to come (e.g. when people won't have to work, at least not as much as they currently have to). The disconnect between what we're "supposed" to do according to evolution and what we'll actually do will get larger with time. Things will probably get weirder. I'm also a bit concerned about virtual reality: I've met several people throughout my life who play video games a lot. Let's just say that I'm far from convinced that this is the best use of your time if you want to become someone interesting...

Very Bad Wizards 73 Authentic Apes and Infinite Torture
Can animals consent to anything at all? In particular, is there any way to justify zoophilia? My personal answer would be: no, probably not. I agree that corrida is torture. It's difficult to understand why it still exists in 2017. I also agree that we should be honest with children, as much as possible, even (especially!) when it comes to religious beliefs, and that children are probably more comfortable with ambiguity than we might imagine.
Very Bad Wizards 72 Tweenie Turing Tests, AI, and Ex Machina (with Joshua Weisberg)
The more I think about the Chinese room thought experiment, the more I think it's useful in showing how not to think about artificial intelligence. Our neurons, individually, do not "understand" our thoughts. Does IBM Watson "understand" the hypotheses it formulates when providing health recommendations? Where's the threshold? What makes us understand things? Ex Machina is more interesting in that it shows what an artificial intelligence can do when it is not (completely) aligned with human moral values. Or aligned with "psychopathic" values. This is the AI control problem. Ask an AI to maximize the number of paperclips in its collection and it could become a dangerous paperclip maximizer. Ask an AI to maximize its score in a video game and it might exploit weird flaws in the video game. Let an AI develop the desire to escape from a room and it might exploit the sexual attraction of a man towards her to manipulate him, kill people, and finally escape. Ok, that last one was a bit more complex, but it's also more intriguing. And entertaining.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 67 Meaning and Chaos - A Conversation with Jordan Peterson
It's impressive that two persons who really disagreed about something (during more than one hour!) can find the time and patience to make a second attempt at a constructive/civil discussion. This is a good example for everybody. A lot of thought-provoking questions are discussed. Can we transcend our genetic/evolutionary predispositions? As was discussed in episode 61 of Very Bad Wizards: if a person or a group of persons suffer from a pathology, can she/they still be said to have a meaningful experience? What's the relationship between truth and fiction? Sam's brilliant deep/spiritual/philosophical interpretation of a fish recipe was absolutely funny and at the same time weakened Peterson's position. Yes, there are "truths" to be found in fiction, including religious fictions, but those patterns are to be expected, as our brains all share the same structure, more or less. I still don't understand why Peterson insists that Christianity has a special value/role here. There are "truths" (or illuminating patterns, to be more precise) in almost all works of fiction, good ones (e.g. Dostoyevsky), but also bad ones. This is just a question of interpretation, as was demonstrated by Harris' fish recipe example.
Very Bad Wizards 61 Putting a Little Meaning in Your Life
If we feel that our life is meaningful, is it a sufficient condition to say that our life is meaningful? Or are there more objective criteria to determine whether it is meaningful or not? I'm not sure there's any takeaway from this episode. My personal view is that life is "ultimately" meaningless. We will all die. Everybody we know will die. As I wrote in my comments for "Life in Light of Death": "Even if we manage to live longer and/or to upload our minds to machines, Earth will be destroyed by the Sun at some point in the future. And even if we manage to move to another planetary system and/or galaxy, the universe will most probably die as well." Can life be "locally meaningful" (e.g. as a social construct)? Yes, I think so. If so, is there any objective criterion for "local meaningfulness"? Such as what others think of what we do (our friends, our family, society in general, etc.)? Is it compatible with the fact that most of us are actually insignificant and will be completely forgotten in a few generations? As Tamler said, "For every van Gogh, there's a million people who just suck.". The conclusion is that I don't really know how to embrace the fact that I'm both "locally meaningful" and "ultimately insignificant".
Very Bad Wizards 41 Moral Dilemmas at the Movies
The question of how we should approach the work of movie directors, for example, who did questionable things in their life (like Roman Polanski or Woody Allen) is important. I don't have a definitive answer. What I know for sure is that I like a lot of Polanski's movies (I've seen most of them). The fact that false memories can be "easily" implanted in people's memories is intriguing (in the case of Allen, not Polanski). Conclusion: we will probably never know what happened. I don't have much to say about Tamler's and David's top 5, as I've only seen two movies from their list (Minority Report and The Dark Knight). I agree they're good choices.
Very Bad Wizards 40 How Many Moralities Are There? Pt. 2 (with Jesse Graham)
I don't have much to say about the part about free will: as I've said many times before, I agree with Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, etc. more than I agree with Daniel Dennett. The discussion with Jesse Graham sheds some clarity on the "foundations of morality". Graham's work is supposed to be descriptive more than normative, but the frontier between the two is a bit fuzzy and it's hard to be purely descriptive. It's maybe useful to think about those "foundations" as moral intuitions. As far as I am concerned, moral questions should be solved using reason as often as possible, and intuition only when time is very limited.
Very Bad Wizards 39 How Many Moralities Are There? (Pt. 1)
I'm still not sure what I think about the "six foundations" of morality (care, fairness/proportionality, liberty, loyalty/ingroup, authority/respect, and sanctity/purity). Most of them still looks "nonaxiomatic" to me. I'm certainly more on the liberal side of the spectrum than the conservative side. Maybe even more than Sommers and Pizarro, as I probably don't agree with them about the loyalty/ingroup foundation. It makes sense for family/friends (for psychological reasons), but I fail to see why I should care more about a random citizen in my country than about a random person anywhere on the planet. And, yes, I understand the evolutionary explanation behind in-group loyalty and how it might have made sense from a survival standpoint a long time ago.
Very Bad Wizards 37 Porn, Poop, and Personal Identity (with Nina Strohminger)
The discussion about the link between disgust and humor, and between disgust and sexuality was somewhat illuminating (mainly because I hadn't really thought about it before). The part about personal identity (e.g. what's more important for personal identity, memories or moral values?) was thought-provoking but too short.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 66 Living with Robots - A Conversation with Kate Darling
"We are only homo sapiens more or less by accident and we're not going to be them for long." This was a refreshing discussion. Ethics and artificial intelligence are two of my favorite topics. Some very sensitive subtopics were discussed (sex robots, sex toys, paedophilia, beastiality, etc.). The role of empathy and how it can be triggered even with non-humanlike/realistic robots is fascinating.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 65 We're All Cucks Now - A Conversation with David Frum
Another episode about Trump. Actually, this one is relatively "original" in the sense that Harris is interviewing a ("moderate") Republican. We need more discussions like this (i.e. across political parties).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 64 Ask Me Anything #6
I'm a bit tired of hearing about Trump or Islam, but some answers were about more original topics (for Harris). I especially liked the parts about the ethics of life extension and his frustrating discussion with Jordan B. Peterson (I like how Harris insists on having a discussion with people, an exchange of ideas, not simply asking questions and superficially reacting to the answers).
Waking Up with Sam Harris 63 Why Meditate? - A Conversation with Joseph Goldstein
This is a bit ironic as this is an episode about mindfulness, but I had to listen to this episode twice. I really had a hard time focusing on the discussion. I guess it's intriguing to think that there's more to meditation than what I've experienced from it so far (using Headspace, mainly) - the loss of the sense of self, etc.
The Prince Podcast - Eric Leeds Interview Part 2
Surprising to learn that Eric "suffered through" the Lovesexy tour (because the show was very repetitive, because it started after months of boring rehearsals, etc.), when, from a fan perspective, it's just a fantastic tour. The fact that Eric came from a jazz/R&B background and was not particularly interested in the pop/rock dimension of Prince's music, in particular, but is very grateful of all the opportunities Prince gave him, is refreshing. I like the way Alan and Eric have never been afraid to say positive, as well as negative things about Prince. The parts about the dinner with Miles Davis at Prince's home and Prince listening to Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" on repeat were fun. Also, the background story of the Madhouse albums and Eric's own first two albums, even if largely known, was also nice to hear. It's a shame they didn't talk about "N.E.W.S.", though.
The Prince Podcast - Eric Leeds Interview Part 1
I've always liked what Eric added to Prince's music, especially in 1985-1988. I've never been impressed by what I've heard from him outside of Prince's work, though, so it's kind of weird to hear him talk about all his musical idols (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Wayne Shorter, James Brown, etc.). He sounds like he really knows his stuff. The only frustrating thing is that Michael & Co. don't seem to ask particularly clever questions. Lots of "wow" and "fan reactions", when Eric is in fact talking about well-known facts. This was also a frustrating thing about the Susan Rogers interview. A bit more research before the interview would have helped. Fortunately, Eric talks a lot. Many fun anecdotes make this interview (which sometimes sounds like a monologue) very enjoyable.
Very Bad Wizards 35 Douchebags and Desert
This episode somehow failed to held my interest. I don't know why exactly. I'd say that, yes, we do have biases when it comes to attribute blame and those biases should be systematically avoided as much as possible.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 62 What is True? - A Conversation with Jordan B. Peterson
What a weird episode/discussion about epistemology, morality, and (briefly) gender-neutral pronouns. After two hours, I still don't understand Peterson's position. I don't know if that's his fault or Harris'. At this point and after reading some of the comments on Reddit ("What is True? A conversation with Jordan B Peterson" and "Sam Harris vs. Jordan Peterson on Defining Truth"), I have the feeling that Peterson is trying to redefine "truth" and I'm not sure that's particularly helpful. I still don't know why he's doing it.
Alex & Erik's Podcast 38 Democracy, a new era of demagoguery, or just a fluke?
Is the rise of populism (and the election of people such as Trump) caused by more democratic, less elitist societies? What role does technology have when it comes to democracy? Those are intriguing questions. I agree that the "fake news" phenomenon is similar to spam and can probably be fixed, technologically, in a similar way. The "echo chamber" phenomenon is a bit harder to fix, as people are on social networks such as Facebook for fun, not to be challenged. But I have the intuition that it can also be fixed (via psychology, deep learning, etc.). Another factor is the rise of inequalities. Here, I don't completely agree with Daniel Miessler: you have to "fix" the people, but you also have to fix (by fine-tuning or radically changing?) the system.
Peach & Black Podcast - Vanity 6 Review
Vanity 6 is far from being my favorite "protégé" album. Two of the songs are good to very good and the rest is average or simply mediocre. But it was still fun to hear the Peach and Black team discuss this album, with a lot of humor, as usual.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 61 The Power of Belief - A Conversation with Lawrence Wright
Surprising to learn that many women in Saudi Arabia are very conservative. Instructive exchange about conspiracy theories and fake news: we need more skepticism, as cognitive biases can be dangerous. We have an ethical obligation to help refugees, but at the same time we can't help everybody: this is a hard problem. The situation in the Middle East is the worst Wright has seen in all his life. The discussion about scientology was instructive as well. What a dangerous, powerful, and hence worrying sect!
Waking Up with Sam Harris 60 An Evening with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris (2)
I really like hearing Dawkins speak about evolution and biology. This episode made me want to read more of his books.
The Prince Podcast - Susan Rogers Interview
Susan Rogers is a fantastic source of information about Prince. A few missed "opportunities" during the interview (a copy of the original version of "Wally" was made on a cassette tape before the multitrack was completely erased? come on, let's talk about that!) and average (or even bad) questions made listening to this episode a bit frustrating, though.
Waking Up with Sam Harris 59 Friend & Foe - A Conversation with Maajid Nawaz
Another episode that went over my head. I'm a bit tired of this topic (Islam, etc.) at this point. I understand this is a very important one, though.
Very Bad Wizards 30 The Greatest Books Ever Written
Several of the books were already on my to-read list ("The Extended Phenotype", "Gödel, Escher, Bach", and "Guns, Germs, and Steel"). I guess I should really read "Passions Within Reason" (but it's not available on Kindle...) and "Jacques le fataliste et son maître". The only book I had already read is "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!".
Waking Up with Sam Harris 58 The Putin Question - A Conversation with Garry Kasparov
"You know." Kasparov sounds like somebody who is knowledgeable, but I can't say I'm really that interested in politics. Most of that episode went way over my head. The part about chess and artificial intelligence (AI) could have been interesting, but Kasparov doesn't sound particularly knowledgeable in that area (artificial intelligence, not chess, obviously). His book on the topic might be interesting, though.
Peach & Black Podcast - 2016 - Epilogue
It was nice to hear the Peach & Black team again, even if it was not an episode about a particular album or topic. 2016 has been a tough year for Prince fans...
2016 122
Date Name # Episode
The Dr Funk Podcast 31 Episode 31
Very Bad Wizards 26 Evolution and Sexual Perversion (with Jesse Bering)
Waking Up with Sam Harris 57 An Evening with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris (1)
Waking Up with Sam Harris 56 Abusing Dolores - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
Waking Up with Sam Harris 55 Islamism vs Secularism - A Conversation with Shadi Hamid
The Dr Funk Podcast 30 Adrian Crutchfield Part 2
The Dr Funk Podcast 29 Adrian Crutchfield Part 1
Waking Up with Sam Harris 54 Trumping the World - A Conversation with James Kirchick
The Dr Funk Podcast 28 Dave H & Scott P Part 2
Very Bad Wizards 24 The Perils of Empathy (with Paul Bloom)
BBC Music Jazz - Alyn Shipton in conversation with Keith Jarrett
Waking Up with Sam Harris 53 The Dawn of Artificial Intelligence - A Conversation with Stuart Russell
Peach & Black Podcast - Tony M: The Interview
Waking Up with Sam Harris 52 Finding Our Way in the Cosmos - A Conversation with David Deutsch
Very Bad Wizards 22 An Enquiry Concerning Slurs and Offensiveness
The Dr Funk Podcast 27 Dave H Scott B Part 1
The Dr Funk Podcast 25 Morris Hayes
Waking Up with Sam Harris 51 The Most Powerful Clown
Very Bad Wizards 19 The Burning Bridges Episode (Pt. 2)
Very Bad Wizards 15 The Burning Bridges Episode (Pt. 1)
Peach & Black Podcast - Ida Nielsen Interview
Waking Up with Sam Harris 50 The Borders of Tolerance - A Conversation with Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Peach & Black Podcast - Come - The Album Review
Waking Up with Sam Harris 49 The Lesser Evil - A Conversation with Andrew Sullivan
Very Bad Wizards 13 Beanballs, Blood Feuds, and Collective Moral Responsibility (With Fiery Cushman)
Waking Up with Sam Harris 48 What Is Moral Progress? - A Conversation with Peter Singer
The Dr Funk Podcast 26 Scott Baldwin Part 3
The Joe Rogan Experience 804 Sam Harris
The Tim Ferriss Show 50 Dr. Peter Attia on Ultra-Endurance, Drinking Jet Fuel, Human Foie Gras, and More
Alex & Erik's Podcast 37 Democracy and elections
The Dr Funk Podcast 24 Scott Baldwin Part 2
The Dr Funk Podcast 23 Scott Baldwin Part 1
Waking Up with Sam Harris 47 The Frontiers of Political Correctness - A Conversation with Gad Saad
Peach & Black Podcast - Black - The Album Review
The Dr Funk Podcast 22 Dave Hampton (part 2)
Waking Up with Sam Harris 46 The End of Faith Sessions 3
The Tim Ferriss Show 68 Lazy: A Manifesto
The Tim Ferriss Show 65 Supplements, Blood Tests, and Near-Death Experiences (Dr. Peter Attia)
The Tim Ferriss Show 56 How to Think Like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos
The Tim Ferriss Show 44 How to Avoid Decision Fatigue
The Tim Ferriss Show 23 The Truth About "Homeopathic" Medicine
The Dr Funk Podcast 21 Dave Hampton
The Tim Ferriss Show 14 Sam Harris, PhD on Spirituality, Neuroscience, Meditation, and More
The Tim Ferriss Show 9 The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now
Waking Up with Sam Harris 45 Ask Me Anything #5
Alex & Erik's Podcast 36 Follow-up on vegetarianism
Very Bad Wizards 12 Justice for #!$@ ?
Peach & Black Podcast - The Gold Experience Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Ask Peach & Black
Peach & Black Podcast - Controversy - 30th Anniversary Review
The Tim Ferriss Show 120 Will MacAskill on Effective Altruism, Y Combinator, and Artificial Intelligence
Waking Up with Sam Harris 44 Being Good and Doing Good - A Conversation with William MacAskill
Waking Up with Sam Harris 43 What Do Jihadists Really Want?
Alex & Erik's Podcast 35 Public vs private image
Waking Up with Sam Harris 42 Racism and Violence in America - A Conversation with Glenn C. Loury
Waking Up with Sam Harris 41 Faith in Reason - A Conversation with Eric R. Weinstein
Peach & Black Podcast - Parade Review - 25th Anniversary Edition!
Very Bad Wizards 57 Free Willie
Very Bad Wizards 9 Social Psychology, Situationism, and Moral Character
Waking Up with Sam Harris 40 Complexity & Stupidity - A Conversation with David Krakauer
Waking Up with Sam Harris 39 Free Will Revisited - A Conversation with Daniel Dennett
Peach & Black Podcast - 20Ten Review
Peach & Black Podcast - The Slaughterhouse Review
Very Bad Wizards 5 Revenge, Pt. 2: The Revenge
Very Bad Wizards 4 Revenge, Pt. 1
Very Bad Wizards 3 "We believe in nothing!" (Cultural diversity, relativism, and moral truth)
Alex & Erik's Podcast 34 Clarifying the thesis
Waking Up with Sam Harris 38 The End of Faith Sessions 2
Alex & Erik's Podcast 33 Long or short
Very Bad Wizards 52 Thought Experiments (Huh!) What Are They Good For? (Pt. 2)
Waking Up with Sam Harris - Morality and the Christian God - An Invitation to Animators and Filmmakers
Very Bad Wizards 51 Zombies, Trolleys, and Galileo's Balls (Pt. 1)
Very Bad Wizards 38 The Greatest Movies Ever Made about Personal Identity
Very Bad Wizards 27 You, Your Self, and Your Brain (with Eddy Nahmias)
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince: A Tribute
Waking Up with Sam Harris 37 Thinking in Public - A Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson
Very Bad Wizards 10 Religion, Meaning, and Morality
Alex & Erik's Podcast 32 Universal Basic Income
Very Bad Wizards 2 The Dangerous Truth about Free Will (Free Will Pt. 2)
Very Bad Wizards 1 Brains, Robots, and Free Will (Free Will Pt. 1)
Alex & Erik's Podcast 31 IoT
Very Bad Wizards 65 Stalemates and Closets (with Sam Harris)
Waking Up with Sam Harris 36 What Makes Us Safer? - A Conversation with Juliette Kayyem
Very Bad Wizards 7 Psychopaths and Utilitarians Pt. 2
Very Bad Wizards 6 Trolleys, Utilitarians, and Psychopaths
Waking Up with Sam Harris 35 The End of Faith Sessions 1
The Tim Ferriss Show 106 Scott Adams: The Man Behind Dilbert
Waking Up with Sam Harris 34 The Light of the Mind - A Conversation with David Chalmers
Peach & Black Podcast - The Chocolate Invasion Review
Compared To What Podcast 26 The Vince Wilburn Conversation
Peach & Black Podcast - Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Batman Review!
Alex & Erik's Podcast 30 Thoughts on LambdaConf
Waking Up with Sam Harris 31 Evolving Minds - A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince: Piano & A Microphone - The Autralia Shows review
Waking Up with Sam Harris 33 Ask Me Anything #4
Waking Up with Sam Harris 23 Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue
Waking Up with Sam Harris 30 Inside the Crucible: Syria and the Islamic State - A Conversation with Michael Weiss
Waking Up with Sam Harris 29 Throw Open the Gates - A Conversation with Maryam Namazie
Alex & Erik's Podcast 29 Internet addiction
Waking Up with Sam Harris 26 The Logic of Violence - A Conversation with Jocko Willink
Waking Up with Sam Harris 25 Behind the Gun - A Conversation with Scott Reitz
Peach & Black Podcast - 3121 Review
Alex & Erik's Podcast 28 Apple vs. FBI
Waking Up with Sam Harris 28 Meat Without Misery - A Conversation with Uma Valeti
Alex & Erik's Podcast 27 What education should be about
Waking Up with Sam Harris 27 Ask Me Anything #3
Alex & Erik's Podcast 26 The future of computing
Peach & Black Podcast - Lotusflow3r Review
Peach & Black Podcast - MPLSound Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Musicology Review
Peach & Black Podcast - The Time - The First Two Albums Review
Alex & Erik's Podcast 25 We don't know anything
Peach & Black Podcast - 2 New Prince Albums - P&B Discussion
Peach & Black Podcast - Larry Graham: The Interview
Alex & Erik's Podcast 24 Uninteresting
Peach & Black Podcast - Hit n Run: Phase 2 Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Rob Esse (MC) Presents... Harts
Peach & Black Podcast - London 2014 Review
Alex & Erik's Podcast 23 The retractable wheel (on autonomous cars)
Peach & Black Podcast - Clare Fischer Tribute
Peach & Black Podcast - May 2014 News Episode
Waking Up with Sam Harris 24 Ask Me Anything #2
2015 117
Date Name # Episode
Peach & Black Podcast - Talking For The Fun(k) Of It
Waking Up with Sam Harris 21 On the Maintenance of Civilization - A Conversation with Douglas Murray
Waking Up with Sam Harris 22 Surviving the Cosmos - A Conversation with David Deutsch
Alex & Erik's Podcast 22 On rent control and minimum wage
Alex & Erik's Podcast 21 On education
Peach & Black Podcast - The Xmas Show & 'One Song' Episode 1
Peach & Black Podcast - The Greatest Prince TV Performances
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince & 'Peach' & Black' In NYC
Peach & Black Podcast - The Top 20 Greatest Prince Songs....Ever!
Peach & Black Podcast - 20TEN - First Impressions!
Peach & Black Podcast - Sydney Opera House Challenge!
Peach & Black Podcast - MJF Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Michael Jackson (and Prince) Show
Alex & Erik's Podcast 20 The future of work
Peach & Black Podcast - Lotusflow3r - First Impressions Podcast!
Peach & Black Podcast - Lotusflow3r Anticipation Podcast
Alex & Erik's Podcast 19 Follow-ups
Waking Up with Sam Harris 20 Still Sleepwalking Toward Armageddon
Waking Up with Sam Harris 19 The Riddle of the Gun (Revisited)
Waking Up with Sam Harris 18 The Multiverse & You (& You & You & You…) - A Conversation with Max Tegmark
Waking Up with Sam Harris 17 What I Really Think About Profiling
Alex & Erik's Podcast 18 The colonization of the universe
Alex & Erik's Podcast 17 Slowly being replaced
Waking Up with Sam Harris 16 The Dark Side - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
Vacarme - Faut-il craindre les ondes électromagnétiques? (5/5)
Vacarme - Faut-il craindre les ondes électromagnétiques? (4/5)
Vacarme - Faut-il craindre les ondes électromagnétiques? (3/5)
Vacarme - Faut-il craindre les ondes électromagnétiques? (2/5)
Vacarme - Faut-il craindre les ondes électromagnétiques? (1/5)
Alex & Erik's Podcast 16 The Facebook spouse (on the future of humanity)
Waking Up with Sam Harris 15 Questions Along the Path - Further Reflections on the Practice of Meditation with Joseph Goldstein
Alex & Erik's Podcast 15 We're done for (on the Turing test)
Alex & Erik's Podcast 14 Follow-up on vegetarianism
Alex & Erik's Podcast 13 Too busy with your hands (follow-up on ad blocking)
Alex & Erik's Podcast 7 Advertising and iPhone 6S follow-ups
Alex & Erik's Podcast 6 Ad blocking on iOS
Waking Up with Sam Harris 14 The Virtues of Cold Blood - A Conversation with Paul Bloom
Waking Up with Sam Harris 13 The Moral Gaze - A Conversation with Joshua Oppenheimer
Alex & Erik's Podcast 5 Schools
Alex & Erik's Podcast 4 Privacy
Alex & Erik's Podcast 3 September 9 Apple Event
Peach & Black Podcast - Hit n Run Review
Alex & Erik's Podcast 12 Evaluating Sam Harris
Alex & Erik's Podcast 11 The limits of conversation
Alex & Erik's Podcast 2 Rumors ahead of September 9 Apple Event
Alex & Erik's Podcast 10 Alex's 30-day experiment
Alex & Erik's Podcast 9 One of those moments that will never happen again, hopefully
Alex & Erik's Podcast 1 The ethics of advertising
Alex & Erik's Podcast 8 Harm in the category of cows
Waking Up with Sam Harris 12 Leaving the Church - A Conversation with Megan Phelps-Roper
Waking Up with Sam Harris 11 Shouldering the Burden of History - A Crosscast with Dan Carlin
The Tim Ferriss Show 87 Sam Harris on Daily Routines, The Trolley Scenario, and 5 Books Everyone Should Read
Peach & Black Podcast - Welcome 2 Australia Tour Report
Peach & Black Podcast - Welcome 2 Australia Preview Show
Peach & Black Podcast - October News Episode
Peach & Black Podcast - News Episode - September
Peach & Black Podcast - June News Episode
Peach & Black Podcast - Cause & Effect?
Peach & Black Podcast - Hot Summer! (it's gonna be a...)
Peach & Black Podcast - One Nite Alone Era (02/03)
Peach & Black Podcast - The 20 greatest Prince songs of the 90's
Peach & Black Podcast - Montreux 2013 Review (with Niki)
Peach & Black Podcast - July 2015 News & (Re)views
Peach & Black Podcast - The B Sides - Part 2
Peach & Black Podcast - The B Sides - Part 1
Peach & Black Podcast - The Vault... Old Friends 4 Sale - Reviewed
Peach & Black Podcast - Symbolic Beginnings
Peach & Black Podcast - Sign 'O' The Times review - Part Two
Peach & Black Podcast - Sign 'O' The Times 25th Anniversary Episode!
Peach & Black Podcast - Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic Review
Peach & Black Podcast - The Rainbow Children Review - Part 1
Peach & Black Podcast - The Rainbow Children Review - Part 2
Peach & Black Podcast - Superconductor Review
Peach & Black Podcast - North Sea Jazz Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Newpower Soul Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Lovesexy - 25th Anniversary Review
Daniel Miessler - Absolute vs. Practical Free Will
Peach & Black Podcast - Indigo Nights - Remixed And Remastered
Peach & Black Podcast - For You - The Album Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Emancipation Review - Disc 3
Peach & Black Podcast - Emancipation Review - Disc 2
Peach & Black Podcast - Emancipation - 15th Anniversary Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Diamonds & Pearls - The Album Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Chaos & Disorder Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Around The World In A Day Review
Waking Up with Sam Harris 10 Faith vs. Fact - An Interview with Jerry Coyne
Waking Up with Sam Harris 9 Final Thoughts on Chomsky
Peach & Black Podcast - Love Symbol - The Album Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Prince - The Album Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Graffiti Bridge - The Album Review
Waking Up with Sam Harris 8 Ask Me Anything #1
Waking Up with Sam Harris 7 Through the Eyes of a Cult
Waking Up with Sam Harris 6 The Chapel Hill Murders and 'Militant' Atheism
Waking Up with Sam Harris 5 After Charlie Hebdo and Other Thoughts
Waking Up with Sam Harris 4 The Path and the Goal - A Conversation with Joseph Goldstein
Waking Up with Sam Harris 2 Why Don't I Criticize Israel?
Waking Up with Sam Harris 1 Drugs and the Meaning of Life
Peach & Black Podcast - Purple Rain Review
Peach & Black Podcast - The Truth Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Planet Earth: The New Master
Peach & Black Podcast - Crystal Ball Review: Part Two
Peach & Black Podcast - Crystal Ball Review: Part One
Peach & Black Podcast - Dirty Mind Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Black - The Album Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Exodus Review
Peach & Black Podcast - 1999 Review - Part 2
Peach & Black Podcast - 1999 Review - Part 1
Peach & Black Podcast - Art Official Age / Plectrumelectrum - First Impressions
Peach & Black Podcast - Plectrumelectrum Review
Peach & Black Podcast - Art Official Age Review - Part 2
Peach & Black Podcast - Art Official Age Review - Part 1
The Prince Podcast - What If You Never Heard Unreleased Music?
The Prince Podcast - The Ultimate Prince Band
The Prince Podcast - When The Music Changed
The Prince Podcast - The Bottom 5 Prince Songs
Very Bad Wizards 59 Tumors All the Way Down (With Sam Harris)
Compared To What Podcast 42 The Marcus Miller Conversation
2011 1
Date Name # Episode
Hypercritical 16 The Soap Opera Effect