Tangential Tuesdays #64

Persian food, comedy for machines, cults, can twitter save science?

Hello, I hope you all had a lovely valentines day + presidents day. I neither have a girlfriend nor did I take Monday off from work, so I can’t say either of these events had a huge impact on me.

That said - I did have a good weekend. Happy to be back in SF for awhile :).

Persian Food

Maybe this is already trendy to say in the food world, but Persian food is amazing and super underrated and I suspect we’ll see a lot more Persian/Iranian restaurants popping up in major cities.

Over the weekend I made Kashki bademjan (a luscious eggplant dip with Kashk cheese), Adasi (warm lentil dip), and kookoo sabzi (a CRAZY frittata dish that tastes like nothing else I’ve ever eaten).

I didn’t follow this recipe, but it’s a fun video if you want to learn more about kookoo sabzi.

Just in 3 dishes this weekend I used:

  • rose petals

  • rose water

  • kashk

  • saffron

  • barberries

  • pistachios

These are some seriously wild ingredients (!). All recipes are from Bottom of the Pot.

Might attempt tachin sometime over the next week.

Possibly one of my favorite fringe benefits of living in a city is that I can get practically any ingredient I desire within a ~2 mile radius. (but if you don’t live in a city I promise there are lots of dishes with everyday ingredients).


I’ve been hearing a lot about two pieces of writing recently: Uncanny Valley and The high cost of a free coding Bootcamp.

Now - before I make my spicy hot take here, a few notes:

  • I haven’t even read uncanny valley, so my understanding of it is strictly hearsay and probably wrong.

  • I didn’t go through Lambda school myself… so I don’t really know what it’s like. But I did mentor a student (who got a sick job) and know a few people that work there. So I guess that just means I’m heavily biased.

ANYWAYS… the point is that I think we undervalue how beneficial to the world cults can be. Let me explain.

In a broad sense, I think both of these stories are about people on the inside of a cult not fitting in or fully believing in the cult, and then deciding to openly criticize and comment on their experience.

There is more nuance to each of these stories, but I think this is part of a larger pattern. Fraternities/Sororities, Religion, Startup culture…

In the most intense kind of organization, members abandon the outside world and hang out only with other members. We have a word for such organizations: cults. Cultures of total dedication look crazy from the outside.

- Peter Thiel in You should run your startup like a cult.

I believe all of these organizations have a lot of room to grow and approve. But I also believe all of these cults do a net good for the world.

Even Tyler Cowen approves of the Mormons

Some Lambda school and Silicon valley criticism is valuable! But let’s not *completely* forget that these cults are changing the world in a positive way. There’s enough pessimism.

Comedy Written for the Machines

no one seems to know why the charger video — which contains no jokes, no surprises, no stakes, no suspense, no changes in the characters or their circumstances and nothing that a normal person would call a story — is so popular.

First, we shape our tools… then our tools shape us.

Highly recommend at least watching the video it the article… I found it oddly chilling.

Read it.

Can Twitter Save Science?

This is why our postdoc has no choice but to surrender the sharpest years of her career to a lab that’s not hers, which has no loyalty to her, and barely pays her. The only way to build a brand in science is to pay a tax to those who already have it. This isn’t just a trivial hoop to jump through; it is the dominant concern of the people who are actually doing all of the science.

This is a legendary article from Alex Danco. It articulates all the reasons I had no desire to pursue higher education in a way I never had words for.

Read it.

Interesting Companies

Thanks for reading. enjoy the week.

- Taylor