#002: prescription apps • preaching to the choir • improvised freestyles

Welcome to the second edition of Ephemerata, a weekly-ish digest of links, ideas, learnings, and sounds that I think are worth sharing.


I’m doing this to stimulate discussion around what I find interesting and also to share things before they disappear into the void of my journal.


Scott Alexander explains the dynamics of apps that require a medical prescription to use:

I feel angry about prescription-gated apps that cost $899. CBT-i is so good, and so important, and we were so close to being able to make it accessible to everyone. Then we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Getting your CBT-i will remain as financially and logistically inaccessible as everything else in medicine

@boris knows the people working on this ‘no loss lottery’: deposit crypto, everyone’s money earns interest, one lucky person wins all the interest each month, no one loses. I would love to know if there exists something similar for fiat money.

Alfredo Lopez talks about how the May First Movement Technology co-op offers and safeguards private/secure infrastructure for organizations working on social change.

[The Internet is not the technology—it’s the 4.5 billion people that are connected. The power lies in bringing them together to create change.]
[Black and pro-Palestinian movements get attacked more by the right wing than other causes.]
[We don’t comply with police data requests because the data doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to our members.]
[Stop and reflect periodically that you are taking part in one of the largest interactions in human history.]

Ben Grosser’s Go Rando confuses Facebook’s emotional surveillance by choosing a random reaction when clicking the Like button.

The Blockchain Socialist explains NFTs (they are ‘not crypto art’) and considers leftist applications around 29 minutes in.


I was reflecting on societal conflicts where there are ‘two sides’:

What’s the difference between preaching to the choir ‘on your side’ versus preaching your point of view to ‘the other side’? What changes in each case? Are there better ways to have an impact?

Beau makes an odd argument for minimum wages by relating fertility rates to the bottom lines of large companies:

[Consumerism needs consumers. The United States population is shrinking because mothers are having fewer children. Statistically, they report wanting to have more, but they don’t because of financial concerns. Therefore, pay a living wage or suffer squeezed profits.]


I got my ears cleaned. Last time I did this I looked for an ‘ear doctor’, but in Brazil it’s called otorrinolaringologista (owe-toe-he-know-la-ring-all-owe-djzees-ta), which is an ear, nose and throat specialist, or in English: otorhinolaryngologist.



All the following items can be accessed as a one-click playlist.

  • Harry Mack’s famous improvised freestyle for a man’s late fiancé has a backstory that for me underlines the importance of sharing outwards and encouraging vulnerability.
  • Kevin Seddiki creates a short Cuban guitar groove by treating the frets as a percussion instrument.
  • Tigran Hamasyan’s Revisiting the Film features kaleidoscopic colour shifting, intricate rhythms and interplay between subdivisions and the meter, and yet a consistent flow (if you can hang on through the chaos)—a meticulous freak out. @flying_fisher thinks the voice sounds like mine. The melodic style reminds me of Pedro Martins’ album from last week.
  • Hours and hours of J Dilla hip-hop instrumentals are ours. If you’re not familiar with Dilla beats, introduce yourself to the supreme sonic masterpiece that is Donuts. (thanks to @lectronice for the reminder)
  • I’ve been learning to sing and play some songs on guitar from Caetano Veloso’s Ofertorio live album. Many feature a deceptive simplicity and create a diversity of feelings by re-using smaller parts. I feel somewhat ashamed that it took until my second trip to Brazil to know about this artist.
  • Dona Onete’s No Meio do Pitiú is a body-shaker that is, as I understand, named after smelly fish.
  • Eu Não Quero Saber (I don’t want to know) is a song about moving on. The melody revisits me from time to time, and lately I find myself enjoying the lyrics. The first disc of the album has a bunch of other great tracks, worth a listen. (via )
  • A jazz and prog rock arrangement of Carly-Rae Jepsen’s Come away with me. (via @aadil)
  • Lots of polyphonic hockets in this Aka Pygmy Music. We are privileged as a species to have an opportunity to hear this—sound that comes from the earth by people who have a relationship with the land they live on.

I always love receiving music. Send me recommendations anytime, anywhere!

That’s all folks!

Feel free to reply and share any reflections you might have.

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