I’m starting a technology + philosophy newsletter called “Think Out Loud”



You’ll get a bi-weekly list of the best books/articles related to topics including, but not limited to, technology, philosophy, literature, software engineering, and economics. In addition, I’ll give some of my own opinions, and how those opinions are changing in light of new evidence or arguments.

Subscribe here: https://thinkoutloudnews.substack.com/about

Note: This post is a republish from substack, here

A bit of background: I’m a software engineer interested how technology influences society more broadly, as well as what computation/logic can reveal to us about the nature of knowledge and…

What can Camus teach us about facing the pandemic?

Note: No spoilers are below!

Reposted this one from my journal-style Substack to Medium because I think it meets the quality bar.

The Plague, set in the 1940s, is the (fictitious) story of the city of Oran during an outbreak of bubonic plague. The story is stitched together by a mysterious narrator based on his personal experience, as well as journals and anecdotes from those around him. The plot, as is typical in Albert Camus’ writing, serves to point out the contradictory actions humans take as we struggle to create meaning in a world that is out of our control.

Including a step-by-step tutorial

An outline of all the resources involved when copying between encrypted buckets, cross account. Created with Draw.io

Encryption is tricky, even when you’re using managed services, like AWS.

In my last post, I went over what you need to know about IAM, the identity and access management service offered by AWS. In this post, I want to be a little more concrete, by covering a common scenario where a large number of different permissions are at play. Here, you’ll see all the different types of resources I talked about previously in action, and hopefully everything will click.

Read my Introduction to IAM post if you need a rundown on the basics of how permissions work within AWS.


An overview of AWS identity and access management service

The key elements of IAM are users, roles, and policies. We’ll go over each in this post, in addition to any relevant background. Created with Draw.io

The first thing to both shock (and frustrate) many people moving into cloud-based environments is how complicated permissions can be. Typically, after years of becoming acclimated to being the God — sudo— of whatever code you have been writing prior, you are introduced to an environment where nearly everything is locked down by default.

This post will focus on alleviating some of that pain by teaching you the most important parts of IAM, the identity and access management service for Amazon Web Services, as well as introducing some well known best practices. …

Leveraging computer science for answers to a classic philosophical question

Authorship is just one of the many challenges facing a deterministic worldview. Why give anyone credit for something they never chose to do? Source

“God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change,

Courage to change things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

— Reinhold Niebuhr

Everyone at least acts as though they have the power to make their own decisions. Yet, when we reflect upon what we know about the natural world, it seems like this shouldn’t be possible. Instead, the thoughts you have should be cold, neurochemical reactions you have no control over. Similarly, chance must also be an illusion. …

An opinionated guide to organizing your self-teaching process.

There’s a magic point in your journey to becoming a software developer where you get the feeling you could build just about anything given enough time and access to Google [1]. This is the point where code becomes a tool for self-expression; the point where you can build what you feel like building. The aim of this post is to get you to that point.

I remember exactly when this happened to me. It was when I got my first programming job at 18 as an intern at a startup in Cincinnati, Ohio called LISNR. They wanted me to write…

An overview of simple algorithms that generate complex, life-like results.

The famous rule 30; capable of generating pseudo-random numbers from simple/deterministic rules. Rule 30 was discovered by Stephan Wolfram in ’83.

If you’re interested in the philosophical implications of cellular automata, check out my post here.

Cellular Automata (CA) are simultaneously one of the simplest and most fascinating ideas I’ve ever encountered. In this post I’ll go over some famous CAs and their properties, focusing on the “elementary” cellular automata, and the famous “Game of Life”. You won’t need to know coding to read this post, but for more technical readers I provide endnotes and Github repos.

I’ve also written a library in Python to generate the CAs which I use throughout the post. I didn’t like many of the ones…

The sum total of all the deadliest mass shootings in the US is still dwarfed by deaths due to flu alone. Is this a valid reason to quell our response to mass shootings? Source

Recently Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famous astrophysicist, has garnered a lot of criticism for a tweet he posted regarding the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

The most charitable interpretation of Tyson’s tweet is that he wants people to look past their instinctive reactions to the mass shootings and pay more attention to more mundane issues that cost us more lives. Insensitivity aside, why is this stance so asinine?

Tyson is failing to consider how a mass shooting is different than a bunch of less dramatic events. Imagine instead that there were 34 more individual homicides that day…

Systematizing one of our most common forms of argument

A chapter Mill’s “System of Logic” was part of the inspiration for this post.

I recently came across one of the best Twitter accounts I’ve ever seen.

The account, @justsaysinmice, does one thing: Points out where journalist’s reports fail to mention a study has only been performed on mice. For some reason — probably lack of flair — journalists are slow to advertise that only about 11% of drugs clinically tested in human beings will actually work after a successful trial in rodents [1].

This is important work.

Mouse clinical trials are a swiss army knife in medicine — especially oncology — yet they often fail when scientists try to replicate the results in…

Thoughts on one of the most contentious problems in philosophy of mind today

The classic anime Ghost in the Shell’s title comes from philosopher Gilbert Ryle’s critique of cartesian dualism — the idea that the mind and body are separable entities.

A couple of months back I finished a book by Daniel Dennett written in 1991 titled Consciousness Explained that sped me down a multi-month rabbit hole where I tried to learn as much about anything consciousness-related as I could. I poured over the latest in philosophy, computer science, neuroscience, and psychology, only to find that in 2019 the topic is as contentious as it was in ’91. All the things I learned about in those few months seemed to be glued together by one particular question known as the “Hard Problem” of consciousness.

Consciousness is fascinating because everything you do…

Evan Kozliner

I write about technology, philosophy, and their intersections. Subscribe at thinkoutloudnews.substack.com! My articles are also on evankozliner.com.

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