18 Comments
Dec 1, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt

W/r/t surviving winter: I grew up in New Mexico and I now live in Wisconsin. My advice: get outside as much as humanly possible. Take a winter vacation someplace cheap(ish), like Tuscon or Corpus Christi. Schedule it for when you're at your lowest. Read something worthy—Herodotus maybe.

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Dec 1, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt

OK - I hate winter too, especially recently having moved back to the NE from SoCal. Here's something that's helped me - and bear with me here, because it definitely sounds like I'm advocating for fighting ice with ice...but cold plunges. Well, cold plunges immediately followed by exercise has really helped me. And trust me - I am NOT a fitness, longevity bro.

I started doing this last winter and I truly found it to help in my day to day. The actual ice plunge itself is not fun. Not gonna sugarcoat it. But the invigorating feeling afterwords (dopamine) both wakes me up and helps me with my day, not to mention the longer-term benefits. But it's also an incredible motivation for me to get some exercise. Trying to warm up under a blanket just doesn't cut it, whereas doing some lifting/cardio warms me up almost instantly. So then you have the added dopamine and endorphins from exercise to carry you into the day.

You can do this with a 30 second cold water finish in the shower, you can buy a cheap little tub to put outside,or if you wanna do it with a community and can get out to Rockaway Beach, there's a community that plunges in the ocean every day!

Ok so maybe I am a longevity bro. I don't know. Try it!

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Dec 3, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt

Wintering by Katherine May is a great book on making peace with winter… it was mentioned briefly in there that the pagan wheel of the year has celebrations every six weeks, which bakes in a really lovely rhythm of always having something to look forward to. That’s a great practice in general for life, but especially critical in winter… the one after winter solstice is called Imbolc, it’s on February 1st (and is where groundhogs day came from, lol) and celebrates essentially that we’ve made it halfway to Spring Equinox. This stuck with me, and I try to either plan a vacation to someplace beachy and warm around this time or at least a party with lots of food and drinks and otherwise interpersonally generated warmth and light. It helps!

On that note, have the meetup in January. Everyone’s got a million expensive obligations in December anyways, and it’ll give people something to look forward to. I’m in Utah but will happen to be in Brooklyn on Jan 18th, so I vote that day specifically!

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Dec 3, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt

1) great episode. I heard other reporting on Altman exit but not the additional opinion and speculation about the board motives and not the thoughtful question “who should be in charge of AI” 2) loved the beautiful exit music, what is it?

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YES -- I firmly believe that a) Thanksgiving and Christmas are too close to each other and b) the winter holidays are too early. We could solve a) alone by swapping Halloween with Thanksgiving, thus making the two big travel holidays farther apart (why am I schlepping my college kids back and forth twice in two weeks!?) or a) and b) by keeping Thanksgiving where it is and moving Xmas into mid-late January.

Anyway, as a lifelong midwesterner who definitely gets some degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I think I’ve learned a few coping mechanisms. 1) I do use a SAD lamp and I think it works, but YMMV. 2) I try to get outside while it’s light as much as possible, but even going outside when it’s dark helps. I try not to be afraid of the cold, trying instead to really experience it. If you don’t fight it, it’s kind of nice. 3) I try to appreciate winter for what it is: a hibernating/resting season. We have more time to read, to write, and just to lay in a darkened room, listening to music and staring at the ceiling. It helps, I think, to make an effort to appreciate the season for what it is rather than getting mad about what it isn’t.

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Dec 2, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt

Ah yes, gas to the foot pedal. Rolls off the tongue.

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In the depths of January in Canada last year I started using the SAD lamp in the library where I work, all the while thinking "this is stupid. These things do nothing." But I think I felt better...?

I dunno, the placebo effect is real, I guess, but like others have said, you should go outside if you can. If you can't, SAD lamps can maybe trick you into thinking they've packed sunlight in a box you turn on. Whatever works, maybe.

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Dec 1, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt

Did anyone else notice that DALLE-2's depiction of social anxiety looks vaguely like Sam Altman and his concerned eyes?

For winter, the thing that has always saved me is that my birthday is in January - it's not a tactic that everyone can use, but it does get me to appreciate the good in January and mid-winter in general. I think the historic holidays are front loaded because they are just before the dark solstice...afterwards, remember that every day is increasing daylight...at first imperceptible, but gaining real power by the time mid-February rolls around. Also, mid-winter in NYC is kind of the worst...getting out of the city for a day does as much good in the winter as it would in the height of summer.

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Dec 7, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt

Me: “Siri, please play the latest episode of the podcast Search Engine.”

Siri: “Now playing the latest episode of Search Engine, who should be in charge of A.I.”

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt

Can't say I have a horse in this race, but one thing that stood out to me is how poorly the old openAI board seemed to understand the nature of power..?

It's as if they looked at an organogram and said, "Well, we're at the top, and technically we have the authority to do this, so everyone else'll just have to suck it up."

I can't fathom how a group of smart people could make a decision that big without asking what would have happened if employees and investors revolted... and yet.

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Winter is actually the best season because: snowmans. Think about it.

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I have two strategies for dealing with the winter blues. One is I do my darndest to get outside for at least a few minutes every day as close to noon as possible. I get some coffee or tea so I pretend it's not freezing and I just enjoy the sun. This is easier to do on sunny days, which can actually be quite lovely.

The second is that I start checking sunrise/sunset calendars sometime in February and start making landmarks: when's the last day I have to get up in the dark, when's the last day I get to leave work in the dark. I can deal with most anything for a predetermined length of time, so if I can say to myself "in 4 more weeks I'll be walking to the subway in sunlight" it feels much better than "it's so dark."

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Dec 3, 2023·edited Dec 3, 2023

Pretty crazy you could tell this whole story and not point out or even obliquely acknowledge that the only two women on the board were fired and replaced with old white guys (literally Larry Summers?). No way that isn't part of the story at some level... Like, there are clearly other factors. But it feels like an interesting complete omission.

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Intriguing read! The OpenAI saga's swift twists are captivating. Impressed by the quick turnaround on the story. Excited for more insights and discussions on OpenAI and the AI landscape!

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Great episode! This represents well my current feelings on AI as an economic and political force.

I'm curious why Microsoft didn't come up at all? They're 49% shareholders in OpenAI and (before his reinstatement) basically offered a whole department to Sam Altman to go fully commercial. They seemed highly involved in getting him reinstalled (speaking of - what's the actual mechanism that was used to displace the board and reinstate Altman? Some kind of emergency shareholder vote?), and they just got a (nonvoting) board seat. If you want to talk about the silicon valley and economic situation of AI, they're a pretty large omission.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/12/11/the-inside-story-of-microsofts-partnership-with-openai

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Ok but--who made the decisions about who should be replaced on the board? Is there some kind of board beyond the board? One definition of sovereignty is the person who decides when the law applies. It really sounds like there was a sovereign force beyond the board that decided when the board’s decisions counted. Whoever made that decision is sovereign over OpenAI and I guess in some way the coming world, at least for now.

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