Dreaming Electric
Joined November 2020

On April 30, the online UFO community lit up with excitement. The New Yorker, the most luxe of news magazines, published a major UFO article by Gideon Lewis-Kraus alleging there was good reason for the U.S. government to get back into the business of hunting flying saucers. On May 16, CBS’s Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes broadcast stories about UFOs, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio sternly intoning about the importance of treating them as a potential national security concern. All month, major media have jumped on the bandwagon. Magazines published think pieces. Ezra Klein gushed about the “spaciousness of mystery” in The New York Times. Morning Joe invited Lewis-Kraus on to chat about UFOs, and Gadi Schwartz did multiple spots across NBC’s broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms breathlessly hyping new videos from the Navy showing fuzzy shapes in the sky.

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When Ford sent out the press materials for the electric F-150 Lightning, there were a few things that really needed checking…like the price. No matter how many times Ford kept saying that it started at $39,974, that just didn’t seem right; I mean, this thing is a full-on truck with hauling capabilities, how are you making it electric for just under forty grand?

But, yep, that’s the entry price. There’s gotta be a catch, surely? Yeah, it’s the most expensive F-150 ever as it approaches $90,000 at the top end of the spectrum but the EV market is simply different. They cost more to make, mostly because of the batteries, and you see it up front in the pricing. Heck, $50,000 for an Audi E-Tron was a pretty significant watershed moment. So how are you gonna make a genuinely durable, capable truck with hauling capacity and 230 miles of range for that kind of price? 

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The evolution of the frozen pizza, the ideal form of sustenance for people who have an oven, a microwave, or an aversion to delivery. (Possibly all three.)

I recently published a longform research piece on inflation, and an article on some of the dynamics of market capitalization and asset bubbles.

This newsletter extends the topic of inflation by analyzing how it is manifesting this year in particular, examines why the current situation is more comparable to the 1940s than the 1970s, and finishes with some of the investment implications of it.

Two of the books I’ve been meaning to delve into sometime this year are about evolutionary biology; how the incentives that lead to reproductive and social success (which itself is a facilitator of reproductive success) shape everything from our government institutions to the popularity of dating profiles.  The first book is Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha.  The second book is Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World by Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden.

I decided to try and get into them sometime next week, if I can fit them into the schedule, after the post on the Culture Code mental model.  In that post, I included a few embedded videos of Dr. Rapaille talking about his research.  In one of those videos, at around the 25:40 mark, he spoke about the “code” for biological reproduction when it came to men who wanted to sire children; the number that arose in his research regardless of what a man said he found attractive as the man couldn’t lie about his body’s response in a laboratory.

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In March, I got an email from SpaceX saying Starlink was available at my address, and I could pre-order. I paid $500 for the equipment, plus $25 for a Volcano Roof Mount, and $99 for the first month of service, and a few weeks later, I got the kit you see in the image above.

I was a little too excited about getting Starlink, though, because I realized after I started looking for mounting locations that Starlink needed a 100° view of the northern sky, and my house is literally surrounded by 70-80 ft trees.

So I thought, why not let a cousin who lives out in a rural area try it out while I figure out what to do about mounting ‘Dishy’ (a common nickname for the Starlink satellite dish) on my own house?

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1994.

Dreaming Electric commented on a post by @dmje Jan 12

@UndergroundMan There was a brief period where I thought he was goofy, especially for that exchange with Chomsky. But I actually understand his side better now.

Sam Harris (as ever) being highly eloquent about the recent insurrection, the irony of comparisons to BLM and the state of US democracy. He also touches on how meditation and an examined life fits into a bigger picture of democratic and political thinking.

Well worth a listen.


Some people do decide to live in a tent for an extended duration, and believe it or not, they live quite comfortably. There is a lot to factor in before deciding to go live in a tent, but when you prepare properly, it can not only be a lot of fun but it can be a truly unforgettable experience.

Whether you are living in a canvas wall tent or bell tent or any other sort of tent, it can be a major change of pace for some people. However, it brings with it a lot of benefits and lifestyle changes that attract more and more people to it every year. It may sound miserable to a lot of people, but to others it’s paradise.

But is it even possible to live in a wall tent? What are the benefits and downsides of canvas tent living and what makes a good tent in the first place?

In this article, we are going to cover these questions and more, so if you have ever wanted to live in a canvas tent, then you are in the right place.

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The 1920s were a heady time for the United States. The economic windfall of booming industry seemed to have made every corner of the country flush, the radio carried popular entertainment into every home, and professional athletics were becoming the pastime of rich and poor alike. It was a time when anyone with a bit of pluck, perseverance, and lots of spare cash could make the extraordinary happen in the most unlikely of places.

Nowhere was that more evident than in the town of Shelby, Montana, a sleepy railroad junction and herding station just 40 miles south of the Canadian border. A newly rich town with a wide-open future and a blossoming population, Shelby was home to one James “Body” Johnson Jr., an ambitious, if whimsical, local real estate operator and son of Mayor Jim Johnson Sr. The junior Johnson had visions of Shelby as a destination for out-of-state tourists, cross-border travelers from Alberta, and oil-rich locals alike. The way he saw it, Shelby had the oil, the railroad, and the money needed to transform the town into the glittering gem on the northern plains. All he needed was a way to make the world take notice⁠—and for a moment, the world did…

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Hundreds of non-commercial Nintendo fangames have been removed from the popular game publishing community Game Jolt after the platform complied with several DMCA takedown requests. Many of the affected games have dedicated fanbases including many die-hard Nintendo fans, some of whom now seem eager to revolt.

Wie is de Mol? (‘Who is the Mole?’) is a popular Dutch television game show, currently airing its 21st season. Contestants compete in challenges to win money that goes into a shared prize pool. One of the contestants acts as a mole, attempting to sabotage the other contestants in their efforts to win challenges. The identity of the mole is unknown and it is up to the contestants to determine who it might be. Every episode a contestant leaves the show, until the final contestant leaves with the money collected during the season.

For the last couple of years, my colleagues have been competing in a group in the Wie is de Mol? app, available for iOS and Android. The app allows users to place a bet (using free digital tokens, there are no payments involved as far as I know) on the persons who they deem most likely to be the mole.

When I received an invitation from a colleague for this year’s group, I couldn’t resist to take a look inside the Android app and its accompying API to see whether I could dig up any interesting vulnerabilities. I should note that I first made sure that the broadcasting network, AVRO, has a vulnerability disclosure policy in place that allows such research. They appear to welcome security research, so off we go!

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Mount Fuji.

My name is Jim, and I have spent most of my adult life swindling people out of money — big money. I worked in 30 fraudulent business operations over a 10-year period, pitching everything from gold coins to time-shares to oil and gas leases and other business opportunities. These scams took in millions of dollars. No matter how much money we made or how far-fetched the deal was, I never got caught. That is, until Sept. 30, 2004.

Researchers provide the first physiological evidence that a foundational center of the brain influences how sound is processed, identify a previously unknown neural circuit.

Soon after winning the Fields Medal in 1962, a young John Milnor gave these now-famous lectures and wrote his timeless Topology from the Differentiable Viewpoint, which has influenced generations of mathematicians. The lectures, filmed by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), were unavailable for years but recently resurfaced. With Simons Foundation funding, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute has produced these digital reproductions as a resource for the mathematics and science communities.

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