Cam Pegg Pocket Articles

April 30, 2020

68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

It’s my birthday. I’m 68. I feel like pulling up a rocking chair and dispensing advice to the young ‘uns. Here are 68 pithy bits of unsolicited advice which I offer as my birthday present to all of you.

Kevin Kelly • 1,750 words • 8 minute read

April 28, 2020

‘Zoom fatigue’ is taxing the brain. Here's why that happens.

Jodi Eichler-Levine finished teaching a class over Zoom on April 15, and she immediately fell asleep in the guest bedroom doubling as her office. The religion studies professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania says that while teaching is always exhausting, she has never “conked out” like that before.

National Geographic • 1,203 words • 5 minute read

April 27, 2020

It’s Time To Learn

Yesterday my feed had many references to a new Marc Andressen essay titled It’s Time to Build. I understand it’s popularity as it has an enthusiasm that’s in short supply in the tech world today.

Scott Berkun • 2,248 words • 10 minute read

April 27, 2020

Why we can’t build

In a viral essay, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen makes a simple exhortation: It’s time to build. Behind the coronavirus crisis, he writes, lies “our widespread inability to build.” America has been unable to create enough coronavirus tests, or even enough cotton swabs to fully utilize the tests we do have. We don’t have enough ventilators, ICU beds, personal protection equipment.

Vox • 2,629 words • 12 minute read

April 23, 2020

The New White Lies of Lockdown

During the pandemic, video and phone calls have become a crucial source of social connection, but like in-person interactions, they can become tiring if they go on too long. The world used to be rich with excuses for cutting a conversation short: I should probably get home to feed my dog; this was fun, but I have to go to another party; and so on. But this new, locked-down era calls for more creativity in coming up with a good reason to say bye.

The Atlantic • 1,222 words • 6 minute read

April 22, 2020

The Forbidden City: Face-to-Face with New York in Crisis

For the first time in its long history, New York City is silent. Fear is palpable in the air. You see it in the eyes of the workers in the grocery store, the pharmacy, and the corner deli. These are almost all people of color. They tell you they are thankful for the work but also know they are risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones by working. It’s a terrible calculus.

Rolling Stone • 1,599 words • 7 minute read

April 22, 2020

The End of Economics?

In 1998, as the Asian financial crisis was ravaging what had been some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the New Yorker ran an article describing the international rescue efforts. It profiled the super-diplomat of the day, a big-idea man the Economist had recently likened to Henry Kissinger.

Foreign Policy • 1,249 words • 6 minute read

April 20, 2020

Productivity Is Not Working

Some questions are infinitely more interesting than their answers. One such question started to echo around the internet in the early days of the Covid-19 lockdowns and has become increasingly frantic in the febrile weeks that have followed.

WIRED • 1,856 words • 8 minute read

April 18, 2020

It's Time to Build

Every Western institution was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, despite many prior warnings. This monumental failure of institutional effectiveness will reverberate for the rest of the decade, but it’s not too early to ask why, and what we need to do about it.

Andreessen Horowitz • 1,822 words • 8 minute read

April 17, 2020

Why the Future Doesn't Need Us

From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century. I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil, the deservedly famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind and many other amazing things.

WIRED • 11,725 words • 53 minute read

April 17, 2020

Is It Even Possible to Focus on Anything Right Now?

Weeks into the new reality of stay-at-home orders, remote work, and being constantly bombarded by news of how bad things can get, we’re all getting used to new ways of getting business done. For many of us, one detrimental result is that we’re struggling more than ever to find the focus we need to be productive. This means the practice of attention management is more important than ever, not just for our productivity, but for our peace of mind.

Harvard Business Review • 1,201 words • 5 minute read

April 16, 2020

Didn’t I Write This Story Already? When Your Fictional Pandemic Becomes Reality

Sometimes, you’re haunted by your own stories. I wrote “So Much Cooking” in 2015: in it, a food blogger describes cooking in quarantine during a pandemic, feeding an ever-increasing number of children she’s sheltering at her house with an ever-decreasing supply of food.

Tor.com • 1,694 words • 8 minute read

April 14, 2020

The relentlessness of remote meetings in the Covid-19 era must stop

There has been no shortage of advice on how best to work from home in these unprecedented times. The silver lining is the acceleration of the future of work. Millions of businesses that may have otherwise been years away from transforming to remote work are now learning new ways of working in leaps and bounds.

Quartz • 1,093 words • 5 minute read

April 13, 2020

The Last Train Trip Before Everything Changed

Toward the end of last year I found myself craving both snow and a slowing down of time. It had been a feverish few months crammed with work and deadlines and in which hardly a week passed without my boarding a plane, or five. Then on Christmas Eve, my partner Ben and I walked ten blocks from our house in Berkeley to the Amtrak station, headed to visit family up north near Sacramento.

Literary Hub • 2,509 words • 11 minute read

April 12, 2020

The Social Distancer’s Guide to Urban Etiquette and Ethics

Say you’re walking down the street to get some fresh air while you’re practicing social distance. You’re attempting to stay six feet away from those around you, as public health experts advise. You pass someone on your right. You want to give them a smile and a greeting, but you avoid eye contact for fear of some accidental spray of droplets, however asymptomatic you appear to be. Then you see as they walk by that they’ve dropped their hat. You bend to pick it up — but wait. The germs! Your normal impulses are totally thrown into disarray.

CityLab • 3,469 words • 16 minute read

April 10, 2020

The Weirdly Enduring Appeal of Weird Al Yankovic

Last summer, in the middle of what struck me as an otherwise very full life, I went to my first Weird Al Yankovic concert. Weird Al, for anyone reading this through a golden monocle, is the most renowned comedy musician in the history of the multiverse — a force of irrepressible wackiness who, back in the 1980s, built a preposterous career out of song parodies and then, somehow, never went away.

The New York Times Magazine • 8,498 words • 39 minute read

April 9, 2020

How to Edit Your Own Writing

The secret to good writing is good editing. It’s what separates hastily written, randomly punctuated, incoherent rants from learned polemics and op-eds, and cringe-worthy fan fiction from a critically acclaimed novel. By the time this article is done, I’ll have edited and rewritten each line at least a few times. Here’s how to start editing your own work.

The New York Times • 1,648 words • 7 minute read

April 9, 2020

The danger of absolute thinking is absolutely clear

Think of the most happy and well-adjusted person you know – what can you say about their thinking style? Are they dogmatic, with an all-or-nothing outlook on the world? Do they place totally rigid demands on themselves and those around them? When confronted with stresses and misfortunes, are they apt to magnify and fixate on them? In short, do they have an absolutist thinking style?

Aeon • 994 words • 5 minute read

April 8, 2020

Dear internet: we must ban targeted advertising immediately

Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Google, Senate hearings, data breaches… targeted advertising has been in the news, as well as come under fire a lot lately. What if—and hear me out on this—instead of trying to better regulate it, we flat-out banned it? The solution to one of our most challenging privacy issues of today could have the simplest answer.

Fathom • 756 words • 3 minute read

April 8, 2020

How Eliud Kipchoge Broke Running’s Mythic Barrier

It was one of sport’s great question marks: Is it humanly possible to run 26.2 miles in under two hours? Then Eliud Kipchoge did it. What followed was international fame—and plenty of controversy. So we flew to Kipchoge’s ultra-rarefied Kenyan training ground to meet the man who pulled off the impossible.

GQ • 2,870 words • 13 minute read