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July/August Links: Missile Silo Scuba Diving, Climbing, Nord Stream

Interesting stuff from July and August, 2023
July/August Links: Missile Silo Scuba Diving, Climbing, Nord Stream
"Scuba diving in a nuclear missile silo, digital art"

Hello from Portland, Oregon! 

After almost four straight months on the road, we are ready to go home. The nomadic lifestyle is fun, but we learned we need more breaks in our own space between travels. Things get hectic sometimes and it burns us out. In one example week at the beginning of this month, I flew to Austin (TX) and back from Seattle for work and traveled two and half hours up to Glacier (WA)–where we were living in an Airbnb near Mt. Baker. Since our stay ended the next day and we couldn't extend it, we packed up the place that same evening. We were up the next morning at 5:45am, and Fiona drove me down to Sedrow-Woolley where I started my Mt. Baker climb. While I was up there for three days, a wildfire forced Fiona to relocate from her charming campsite next to Baker Lake and spend most of a day looking for another place to overnight. When I came off the mountain, we were both exhausted, but we proceeded to drive the four hours down to Portland. Two days later I tested positive for Covid, and we were down with the illness for about two weeks.

The sheer duration of the sickness made it a lot worse than I thought it would be. The symptoms (congestion, coughing, loss of taste/smell, fever, fatigue) weren't terrible by themselves, they just lasted...and lasted. At a certain point, I ran out of compelling stuff to watch on my phone, and just couldn't focus well enough to read. Boredom set in hard and I fell into a brief depression. 

The virus now seems to be getting everyone I know who managed to skate by for the last three years without contracting it. 

All of this makes me want to settle back into our own house in the mountains with a cup of tea and play some Starfield, which comes out in about a week!

From the past couple months

From me: Climbing Mt. Baker:

The efforts to find the perpetrators of the Nord Stream explosions read like a spy novel!

Investigating the Nord Stream Attack: All the Evidence Points To Kyiv
It’s a spy thriller that has the potential to change the course of international politics: A year ago, a secret commando blew up the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea. Since then, investigators have been searching for the perpetrators. The leads they have found are extremely politically sensit…

You can scuba dive an old Atlas missile silo in Texas (via my pal Sam S.):

Diving Deep in the Heart of Texas – Valhalla Nuclear Missile Silo

Prove to yourself that you can do hard things by trying hard things:

A very good writeup on Denali’s Cassin Ridge with notes about the West Buttress route I will be attempting in 2024:

The Cassin Ridge — Brian Goes On Adventures
We came up with the idea of going to Alaska after having too many beers one night at a bar in Chamonix. Nine months later John and I were topping out on the Cassin Ridge of Denali, one of the major alpine climbs of the world leading right to the top of the highest mountain in North America. Climbing

Google's foray into LLM land:

The AI takeover of Google Search starts now
The 10 blue links aren’t gone, but AI is pushing them down the page.

LLMs in plain English:

Large language models, explained with a minimum of math and jargon
Want to really understand how large language models work? Here’s a gentle primer.

Hoel expands on “High Tech Pastoral" (resonated with me, an aging millennial):

High-tech pastoral as the new aesthetic
Explaining a common taste of aging millennials

David Heinemeier Hansson (of Basecamp) on hybrid work:

Hybrid combines the worst of office and remote work
The honeymoon for remoteworkisover, and managers who never liked the concept to begin with are plotting its complete reversal, so that things may return to how they were before The Great Remote Experiment. This experiment convinced millions of employees of how much better life could be without a com…

2023 drone photography awards:

The Winners of the 2023 Drone Photo Awards
I am a sucker for aerial photography, so I had a lot of fun looking through all the winners and runners-up of the 2023 Dro

Naval Ravikant on one the most rewarding podcasts (Spotify) you’ll listen to this year, probably. It aired first I think in 2017, but it's just pure gold.

A 1956 game show episode featuring a man who witnessed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln:

ChatGPT writes a college entrance essay (via my pal Sam S.):

ACX’s Dictator Book Club: Vladimir Putin (a review of Masha Gessen's "The Man Without a Face"):

Dictator Book Club: Putin
Review of Masha Gessen’s “The Man Without A Face”

An analysis of the pivotal battle for Hostomel Airport:

The Battle of Hostomel Airport: A Key Moment in Russia’s Defeat in Kyiv - War on the Rocks
Editor’s note: The three authors recorded a companion podcast for this article for the Russia Contingency, the War on the Rocks members-only show that

A strange point of contention between China and the Philippines is a beached World War II ship that serves as an outpost for the Philippine Marines in the Spratly Islands:

BRP Sierra Madre - Wikipedia

The world’s largest landowners:

The World’s Largest Landowners
Madison Trust’s Self-Directed IRA Empowers You to Invest in Your Ideas

What’s special about this number? (via Annie Rauwerda)

What’s Special About This Number?