Boris Smus

interaction engineering

Five Links for Spring 2023

Spring has sprung, as have five more links to things I enjoyed reading over the last three months:

  • Being and Time Series (Simon Critchley, 2009) — A relatively accessible 8-part series dedicated to Heidegger's magnum opus "Being and Time", a notoriously difficult but also insightful and influential philosophical masterwork from the mid-20th century.
  • Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback: How and Why Does It Work (Frontiers) — Turns out the pressure wave produced by the heart and breathing are deeply intertwingled. By breathing at a certain frequency (~6 breaths a minute), one can increase HRV temporarily, and also exercise the neuroplasticity in the baroreflex, increasing resting HRV.
  • The Cult of the Founders (Crooked Timber) — Frames the well known distinction between visionary-founder and operator-CEO in terms of prophets who rip up the rulebooks and create an ecstatic cult, and priests who are rule following administrators skilled in the "routinization of charisma".
  • Why Big Companies Keep Failing: The Stack Fallacy (Anshu Sharma) — Explains the Stack Fallacy, in which people believe that it is trivial to build the layer above, but very difficult to improve the layer below. Examples include browser engineers who ridicule web development and pure mathematicians who deride physicists as merely applied mathematicians.
  • Explore/Expand/Extract (Kent Beck) — A well articulated exploration of corporate behavior at different parts of the S-curve.