Logo Image of Álvaro Durán

I've been a Digital Consultant, a Data Scientist and a Software Engineer.

I love creating things from scratch, and being bored. Learning fast is my superpower.

This site hosts all of my essays, notes on everything I read, and more.

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Start Reading

Or "Relearning to Read".

When I was a kid, I read everything, voraciously. I read the breakfast cereal boxes— in Spanish and in Portuguese—, I read the billboards, I read the objects in mirror are closer than they appear warning, I read the shampoo labelling, the fine print on medicine labels, and the advertising disclaimers, passing like high-speed trains across the bottom of the TV.

In Depth
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Email (let's drop the hyphen)

I don’t even have an e-mail address. I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages.

Umberto Eco, quoted in the New Yorker

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The 2018 Anti-Reading List

We’re bombarded with reading lists lately, as year comes to an end. The best books, the best sellers, even the most anticipated books for next year! Certainly there isn’t a lot to gain from these list suggestions. Lots of via positiva. Instead, this post is focusing on via negativa: this is the list of books I advice you not to read in 2018.

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On Wasted Time

A PhD, the pinnacle of our current educational system, is ill-defined. There is an array of variables involved that uniquely separate one PhD programme from the next; the topic of the thesis, the size of the grant, the involvement of the professor. But they all have something in common: A PhD implies wasting 4 years of your life.

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An electronic story

How do we handle complex ideas in our head? How do we manage to use a brain that, in all its power, was designed to grasp concrete ideas to hunt, organise small groups of people and preserve itself, and put it to manipulate concepts that cannot be seen? At the peak of their era, Romans have conquered pretty much all the known world, and yet they were using a numerical system that could only count up to 10,000, and the concept of zero was yet to be mastered!

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My Story

When I was a kid, reading stories was part of the deal. At home, you didn’t get to watch too much TV anyway; there were some books on the shelf, and you were given more books on Christmas to read. So you read stories, or you got stories told to you.

The Journal

Revolutions

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Since I read Deep Work, I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of time I waste on social media and, overall, distracted. This has come as a realisation that my addiction to it was worse than I was aware of: picking up my mobile every time I had to wait or queue up was my default mode; I became conscious of how many times I was just watching a commercial on Instagram, and how many trains of thought I had in the shower compared to out of it. This had to end.

The Delights of Science

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’- Why are you always arguing about things?’

Dogfooding

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I’m in love with edge cases of capitalism. One thing I have always being told is that property is at the core of our modern society, and economies thrive partly because individual agents have something (their “stuff”) to care for, and they are unwilling to give away goods or services unless it is in exchange for money, or any other form of remuneration. What we usually reduce to “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

Replication of Success

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A couple of days ago, I bumped into a rant by an anonymous guy who bantered something like this:

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