A Little Ludwig Goes a Long Way

A smattering of opinions on technology, books, business, and culture. Now in its 4th technology iteration.

Recent Books -- Upgrade, Infinity Gate, Dust, Tailspin, Barbarian Days, Money, System Collapse

22 January 2024

  • Upgrade by Blake Crouch. Fun bio hackign adventure, not really much new in here tho.
  • Infinity Gate by M. R. Carey. Fun multiple universe romp, a lot of interesting ideas. I do wish the author had written a smaller story, not every book needs to be part of a universe-ending trilogy.
  • Dust: The Modern World in a Trillion Particles by Jay Owens. Interesting, infuriating, disagreeable, insightful. I learned a lot about some ecological disasters – the Aral Sea, the Dust Bowl, etc. I was intrigued by some of the recovery projects underway. I was annoyed by some of the degrowth talk, an unrealistic approach. I was confused about the tie to climate change, as the author points out that dust loads were much higher at times in prehistory, and that climate change may be largely a function of sun cycles and orbital oscillations. Overall, intriguing.
  • Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall–and Those Fighting to Reverse It by Steven Brill. A sometimes-too-long exploration of how the middle class has declined, how the rich have gotten richer, how our political systems have failed us. A lot of data and anecdotes. The author is ultimately optimistic but gosh it is a rough and sad tale.
  • Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. What a great book. More detail about surfing than I ever wanted (I don’t surf), but all shared in a way that was compelling. And man, the author’s life choices, a set of choices that I could never have imagined making, chasing after his surfing compulsion.
  • Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing by Jacob Goldstein. A breezy and brief history of money. Not the deepest story but does a nice job of intuitively explaining how money is a social construct.
  • System Collapse by Martha Wells. I loved the prior murderbot books, but this one didn’t cut the mustard. Strays away from the unique murderbot characteristics and is a generic space adventure.