1 June 2023
[internet] Doug Rushkoff Is Ready to Renounce the Digital Revolution
… A profile of Douglas Rushkoff in 2023. ‘I first encountered Rushkoff’s writing around this time, in 2010, while I was working for a site called Shareable.net. The site’s premise was that connecting everything and everyone to the web would allow people to freely lend the stuff they already owned, creating further abundance for all. Room-sharing platforms would reduce housing costs, and ride-sharing platforms would reduce the number of cars on the road. Rushkoff was a proponent of reorganizing the internet according to peer-to-peer principles, and he became one of the site’s most popular contributors. As platforms like Airbnb and Uber took over, leading the world into a new age of inequality and increased resource consumption, his dream of participatory decentralization died hard. But even amid mounting cognitive dissonance, certain parts of Rushkoff’s faith held out. On reflection, he says, “I blamed capitalism and held the technology itself innocent.”’
5 June 2023
[ai] Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People
… This talk about AI and much more from 2016 by Maciej Cegłowski
seems worth revisiting.
What I find particularly suspect is the idea that “intelligence” is like CPU speed, in that any sufficiently smart entity can emulate less intelligent beings (like its human creators) no matter how different their mental architecture.
With no way to define intelligence (except just pointing to ourselves), we don’t even know if it’s a quantity that can be maximized. For all we know, human-level intelligence could be a tradeoff. Maybe any entity significantly smarter than a human being would be crippled by existential despair, or spend all its time in Buddha-like contemplation.
Or maybe it would become obsessed with the risk of hyperintelligence, and spend all its time blogging about that.
7 June 2023
[www] Inside Snopes: the rise, fall, and rebirth of an internet icon
… The inside story behind Snopes – the early internet fact checking site. ‘Mikkelson had adopted a surname of William Faulkner’s creation, a family “of pure sons of bitches,” who appear in a number of Faulkner’s works. Mikkelson was very familiar with their saga: Flem Snopes, the central character, possessed a talent for verisimilitude, which helped him climb from outcast sharecropper to bank president and church deacon. Mikkelson would go on to say that he had chosen snopes “simply because it was short and distinctive,” and he’d only shrug noncommittally when asked if he was a fan of Faulkner’s. But people have often pondered the connection to an alias along the lines of snipe, snicker, sneak, or snake. “We all felt that it was deeply, deeply appropriate,” says Teasley.’
8 June 2023
[comics] 2 Kinds of Anger by Justin Green
12 June 2023
[life] Dead Ringers
… The compelling story, from 1975, about identical twin gynecologists who died together under mysterious circumstances in New York. The story was an influence on David Cronenberg’s movie Dead Ringers. ‘On Tuesday, July 14, Cyril lurches one last time out of the twins’ final nesting place. He stumbles as he is about to cross the threshold to the outside world. The doorman who offers to assist Cyril thinks he “looks like death.” Out on the sidewalk Cyril looks at life without Stewart. The first thing he will have to do, he knows, is explain things. It’s not hard to explain why he returned so soon to that crypt in 10H. Only in those two minutes he languished in the womb after his brother’s departure could Cyril have been more alone. He double-locked the door behind him. He pushed an armchair up against it as a further barricade…’
16 June 2023
[comics] The Comic-Book Aesthetic Comes of Age in “Across the Spider-Verse”
… A good look at what makes Across the Spider-Verse worth watching. ‘ It leans hard into, and emulates onscreen, the storytelling devices and the visual flair that make comic books special. Even more than its predecessor, “Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), the film feels designed to show young people, many of whom were raised on superhero movies, why they might care about the comics that launched these characters. It does this so well that, at a time when some Marvel movies haven’t been doing so hot at the box office, “Across the Spider-Verse” has already raked in nearly four hundred million dollars. At 7 P.M. on a Wednesday night, with local schools still in session, my seventh grader and I found most of the seats in our suburban multiplex full.’
20 June 2023
[games] Arcade Authorship – High Score Table Credits
… Designers of early video games sneaked their initials into high score tables as credits – this article expands the initials into names. ‘The practice was birthed in a time both when displaying any but the most crucial text on screen was novel and the value of people making the games by the companies themselves was poorly thought of. Sneaking one’s name into the game had precedent before high score tables, yet with their advent it became a subculture. Sometimes rebellious, sometimes intricate, and oftentimes serving as an aspiration for high score chasers, this phenomenon largely of the 1980s was one of the few ways game creators could signal themselves to game players.’
21 June 2023
[excel] Microsoft Excel v1.00 (san inc crack)
… Use the first version of Excel in your browser. Click below but it needs a fast link to download quickly.
22 June 2023
[fiction] Fictional Brands Archive
… A collection of fictional brands created for films, TV and video games. ‘NERV (German for “nerve”) is a special organization that was put together to combat the Angels after the Second Impact and is the organization responsible for the creation of the Evangelions. NERV is an international organization with their center of operation located in the city of Tokyo-3, Japan. More specifically, they run the majority of their research and operations out of NERV Headquarters, a large facility located in the GeoFront.’
23 June 2023
[tv] Best ‘Black Mirror’ Episodes, Ranked
… ‘A pair of men hunker down during a blizzard at a remote outpost to share three tales of deception and murder, but they’ve both got secrets galore. In what must be the darkest Christmas special ever made, Jon Hamm relates his past life of sleazy seduction-coaching by night and torturing digital copies of living people by day, racking up a host of futuristic sins along the way. His companion Rafe Spall isn’t much better, having handled his separation from his wife, shall we say, poorly. As mini-twists give way to jaw-dropping mega-twists and the episode’s core concept gets frightfully postmodern, both actors deliver skin-crawling work as villainous but sympathetic figures.’ — White Christmas Episode
25 June 2023
[space] Mars and it’s smallest moon Deimos (from r/spaceporn)
… ‘The UAE’s Hope spacecraft captured Mars’ smaller moon, Deimos, from a distance of about 62 miles (100 km). This Deimos image is the 1st-ever high-resolution view of the far side of the little moon…’
26 June 2023
[iphones] How to (Really) Bypass Paywalls in Safari on iOS in 2023
… A great guide to avoiding newspaper paywalls on iPhones.
28 June 2023
[crime] ‘Why I might have done what I did’: conversations with Ireland’s most notorious murderer
… Fascinating article on Malcolm MacArthur, Ireland’s GUBU
‘“Well,” he said, wasting no time, “the first thing to be said is that I lived a blameless life until 1982. Entirely blameless. If you were to plot my life along a graph, morally speaking, you would see a very flat line for the first 37 years, then one very sharp spike in the middle, followed by another completely flat line right up until the present day.”
“Given,” I said, “that that seems to be the case – ”
“Oh, it is the case,” he said.
“Well, I thought we might try to talk about why it happened.”
“Fine,” he said. “But you must remember that this was a financial situation. It wasn’t what you might call irrationality, or lack of control. There was a problem to be solved. And you might well ask, well, why solve it using this particular technique? And that’s a legitimate question. But it wasn’t an act of madness.”
After the call ended, I sat on the bench, staring at the words I had scribbled in my notebook as we spoke. I circled the word “problem”, and then the word “technique”.’
30 June 2023
[lego] The Surprising Magic of the Macaroni LEGO Brick [Part 1
| Part 2
| Part 3
] … Who knew you could do so much with the macaroni LEGO brick?