1. We should all be paying more attention to global warming. Globally, nineteen of the last 20 years are now the warmest on record. Not great.
  2. The Internet isn’t done growing. 37% of the world’s population, 2.9 billion people, have never used the Internet. (via Tom Whitwell)
  3. Detective Math, on the case. According to Benford’s Law, in any large numerical data set, “1” will be the leading digit ~30% of the time while “9” will be the leading digit only 5% of the time. If this distribution doesn’t hold, the data you’re looking at is likely fraudulent, like in the case of the 2009 Iranian elections.
  4. Building things has gotten wildly more expensive. Today, it costs $62 million to replace 8 escalators in New York. In 1931, it was $41 million to build the entire Empire State Building. Even accounting for inflation, one would think better technology would make it cheaper to build things. It doesn’t! (@aborgurbacs)
  5. Perhaps it is a bad thing no companies can control their AIs. LLMs like ChatGPT are astonishingly good, but they are primarily trained to be helpful. They are not trained for accuracy. This means that they “hallucinate” facts and details in the spirit of being helpful. One of my favorite essays of the year. (Scott Alexander) (Another example)
  6. The era of Social Networks has ended. Once upon a time, we saw posts from friends and people we knew. Now, Facebook, Tiktok, and others shape your online life around the algo-sorted preferences of millions of strangers around the globe. (Scott Rosenberg)
  7. Modern science is built on billions of dollars of free labor. Globally, scientific journal reviewers spent more than 100 million hours on peer reviewing journal articles in 2020. That’s 15,000 years of labor, worth $1.5 billion USD. (source)
  8. When it rains, it pours: invention edition. Felix Hoffman invented aspirin and heroin 11 days apart. (Dan Shipper)
  9. Crisis is the midwife of invention. People have been metal detecting since 1881, when Alexander Graham Bell invented a device to find the bullet lodged in President James A. Garfield. (NY Times)


  1. Americans are narrow-minded because most of them never leave. 57% of Americans have never lived outside their home state; 37% have never lived outside their hometown. (Steve Hind)
  2. The war in Afghanistan was mind-bogglingly expensive. The United States spent more than $2.3 trillion on Afghanistan over two decades, or roughly $300 million a day for twenty years. (CFR)
  3. Don’t fuck with a drunk Finn. Finland tracks what percentage of murders were committed by men who were drunk. It has been above 50% for almost the entire time the statistics were recorded (@armandDoma)
  4. Your mental map of Africa is wrong. The North Coast of Africa reaches a latitude as far north as Norfolk, Virginia in the United States. The southern tip is parallel to Buenos Aires Argentina. (StoryMap)
  5. South America should be called South-East America. The entirety of the continent is east of Jacksonville, Florida. It’s closer to Africa than it is to Houston, Texas. (StoryMap)
  6. Europe is much more north than you think. London is on the same latitude as Calgary. Venice and Minneapolis. Rome and Chicago. New York and Madrid. (StoryMap)
  7. Prime Minister of Pakistan” seems like a hard job to keep. No prime minister of Pakistan has ever completed a full term in office. (Tyler Cowen)
  8. The good life has a lot of carbs in it. 94% of the entire population of Paris lives within a five minute walk of a bakery. (@parisyimby)
  9. What is happening in Russia? 2.8% of men ages 30-39 in Russia are HIV positive (and this is likely a big underestimate) (@alexeyguzey)