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Link Log 2020-09-19

Built to Last

Indeed, present-day tech could use more of the sort of resilience and accessibility that COBOL brought to computing – especially for systems that have broad impacts, will be widely used, and will be long-term infrastructure that needs to be maintained by many hands in the future. In this sense, COBOL and its scapegoating show us an important aspect of high tech that few in Silicon Valley, or in government, seem to understand. Older systems have value, and constantly building new technological systems for short-term profit at the expense of existing infrastructure is not progress. In fact, it is among the most regressive paths a society can take.

Vocational Awe

Because of our refusal to deal with systemic, societal issues, librarians – much like public school teachers – grapple with a condensation of duties onto their profession. Librarians become technology experts, crowd control specialists, and emergency responders, trained in how to deal with someone in the middle of a mental health crisis. Now they’re custodians of our democracy as well….in addition to being, you know, information scientists and attempting to maintain collections of knowledge. They are working at least three jobs. Five jobs? More? But they’re often only compensated (and often poorly) for that last one.

My PBP Bike: Contact Points

Comfort on a bike really depends on two things. The first is absorbing vibrations through supple, wide tires and a little suspension in the fork. The second is to make the contact points, where your body touches the bike, as anatomical as possible.

A Time Piece

A decent watch is a useful piece of personal equipment. While not a critical item many of use appreciate a rugged, practical timepiece. I thought I would discuss my experience with watches, as it reflects the activities I was involved in at the time.

How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy

Democracy relies on an informed and engaged public responding in rational ways to the real-life facts and challenges before us. But a growing number of Americans are untethered from that. “They’re not on the same epistemological grounding, they’re not living in the same worlds,” says Whitney Phillips, a professor at Syracuse who studies online disinformation. “You cannot have a functioning democracy when people are not at the very least occupying the same solar system.”

Attack Surface Kickstarter

Fuck Audible.

de Young 2020

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Link Log 2020-08-25

A clean start for the web

Inside the high-stakes world of clandestine crude shipping

Hygiene Theater Is a Huge Waste of Time

COVID-19 has reawakened America’s spirit of misdirected anxiety, inspiring businesses and families to obsess over risk-reduction rituals that make us feel safer but don’t actually do much to reduce risk-even as more dangerous activities are still allowed. This is hygiene theater.

Elderblog Sutra: 11

Applied to a blog, angkorwatification is a sort of textual equivalent of rewilding. You have a base layer of traditional blog posts that is essentially complete in the sense of having created, over time, an idea space with a clear identity, and a more or less deliberately conceived architecture to it. And you have a secondary organic growth layer that is patiently but relentlessly rewilding the first, inorganic one. That second layer also emerges from the mind of the blogger of course, but does so via surrender to brain entropy rather than via writerly intentions disciplining the flow of words. I’ve seen some other old sites undergo angkorwatification. Some seem to happily surrender to it like I am doing, others seem to fight it, like I won’t.

Bikes of the Bunch: Rob English’s English road bike

I am very excited about this revolutionary bicycle, and look forward to testing it. Look at all the gains – the same braking power, modulation and control, but with less weight, easier-to-remove wheels, no hydraulics, more compliant fork and no rotor-rubbing noises! Yes, there are a couple of downsides – it’s not ideal in the wet, and it can’t use the best shaped aerodynamic (carbon) rims. Still, could this oversized rotor concept be the next big thing in cycling?

Buena Vista Fire Sunset

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Link Log 2020-07-19

Wireless is a trap

I want my tools to be predictable – to have consistent performance and fail in ways that I understand. Wireless protocols are inherently more complex (because many devices share the same airspace) and have more different ways to fail, so they’re much less predictable than wires. For me, the convenience often isn’t worth that cost.

Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journals Don’t Really Do Their Job

In many ways, journals don’t even pretend to ensure the validity of scientific findings. If that were their primary goal, journal policies would require authors to share their data and analysis code with peer reviewers, and would ask reviewers to double-check results. In practice, reviewers can only judge the science based on what’s reported in the writeup, and they usually can’t see the details of the process that led to the findings. (This is kind of like asking a mechanic to evaluate a car without looking under the hood.) And for really important discoveries, you might expect journals to recruit an independent team of scientists to try to replicate a study from scratch. This basically never happens.

How Normie Minimalism and Farmhouse Chic Took Over Contemporary Design

The fetishization of and association with regional manifestations of a labor past is what ties together the minimalism of the industrial loft to an aesthetic that has been increasingly dubbed “modern farmhouse.” Just as the loft romanticizes the backdrop of 19th century urban industry, the modern farmhouse romanticizes the similarly Steinbeck-ian plight of the agricultural worker. It makes sense that an aesthetic marketed towards suburban homeowners would be based off agricultural work, since the history of the suburbs from the Garden City movement to gated communities is based off escape from urban plights and the further-flung expansion into greenfields, or previously agricultural, areas. This fetishized and aestheticized use of the motifs of agriculture also enabled marketing to areas such as the regional South, whose economic production still revolves around agriculture and which never urbanized to the same extent – or in the same way – as the Northeast.

Handmind in Covidtide

Moreover, one of the effects of Covidtide, I think, is that by forcibly breaking some of our technological habits it creatively destabilizes others. To have any one thoughtless pattern of life disrupted is to be put into a frame of mind that allows you to contemplate the deliberate disruption of a different thoughtless pattern. Thus all the people who, after three months of baking bread, are now saying that they’ll never go back to buying their bread from the supermarket. They probably will buy bread from the supermarket; but they’ll know what they are doing, and why. And this is useful knowledge.

The Conspiracy Singularity Has Arrived

The strain of living in this particular time, with a dragging, devastating pandemic and a global uprising against police brutality and racial injustice, crashing together at the highest speed, has accelerated something that’s been going on for years. Call it the conspiracy singularity: the place where many conspiracy communities are suddenly meeting and merging, a melting pot of unimaginable density. UFO conspiracy theorists and QAnon fans are advocating for drinking a bleach solution promoted by anti-vaxxers. QAnon groups and Reopen America groups alike promoted Plandemic, a film clip jam-packed with conspiratorial claims about the causes and spread of COVID. The Freedom Angels, an anti-vaccine group based in California, are among the many such groups joining anti-lockdown protests, using language that feels heavily drawn from the Patriot movement: They’re calling stay-at-home orders “tyranny,” addressing their followers as “Patriots,” and positioning themselves as “a new civil rights movements.”

Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories

Thus, we predict that for someone with a conspiracist world-view, nearly any theory that assumes deception by officialdomin its explanation for a world event and stands in opposition to the “mainstream” account will garner some agreement. This relationship may hold even to the point that people who believein a world governed by conspiracy are likely to endorse contradictory conspiracy theories about the same topic. Just as Adornoet et al. (1950) found positive correlations in endorsement of contradictory stereotypes, we expect to see positive relationships between endorsement of contradictory conspiracy theories about the same event. For example, the more that participants believe that a person at the center of a death-related conspiracy theory, such as Princess Diana or Osama Bin Laden, is still alive, the more they also tend to believe that the same person was killed, so long as the alleged manner of death involves deception by officialdom.

Aquatic Park

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Link Log 2020-06-30

A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be

I don’t think we’re ever going to get to utopia again by going forward, but only roundabout or sideways; because we’re in a rational dilemma, an either/or situation as perceived by the binary computer mentality, and neither the either nor the or is a place where people can live. Increasingly often in these increasingly hard times I am asked by people I respect and admire, “Are you going to write books about the terrible injustice and misery of our world, or are you going to write escapist and consolatory fantasies?” I am urged by some to do one – by some to do the other. I am offered the Grand Inquisitor’s choice. Will you choose freedom without happiness, or happiness without freedom? The only answer one can make, I think is: No.

The Long Shadow Of The Future

It’s generally a mistake to make long-term forecasts in the midst of a hurricane, but some outlines of lasting shifts are emerging. First, a government or society’s capacity for technical competence in executing plans matters more than ideology or structure. The most effective arrangements for dealing with the pandemic have been found in countries that combine a participatory public culture of information sharing with operational experts competently executing decisions. Second, hyper-individualist views of privacy and other forms of risk are likely to be submerged as countries move to restrict personal freedoms and use personal data to manage public and aggregated social risks. Third, countries that are able to successfully take a longer view of planning and risk management will be at a significant advantage.

Punishing the Innocent

For the ones doing the mobbing, ruining the lives of innocent people is not a bug in their program, it’s an essential feature. There can be no reign of terror when only the guilty are punished.

Hardcore UFOs

In his 2018 book New Dark Age, James Bridle identifies the conspiracy theory as an essential coping mechanism of late modernity. He writes, “Surrounded by evidence of complexity, the individual, however outraged, resorts to ever more simplistic narratives in order to regain some control over the situation.” Bridle’s observation has proven especially useful lately, with even the most composed of us experiencing a prolonged sense of collective powerlessness in the face of a global pandemic.

Wireless is a trap

I want my tools to be predictable – to have consistent performance and fail in ways that I understand. Wireless protocols are inherently more complex (because many devices share the same airspace) and have more different ways to fail, so they’re much less predictable than wires. For me, the convenience often isn’t worth that cost.

So this is the famous JavaScript

Tank Hill

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Link Log 2020-06-14

Stochastic Resonance in Reading

It’s when the current environment lies outside the scope of your attention, when you neither seek nor expect any connection to it, that you make room for random resonances to form.

How Google Docs became the social media of the resistance

“Hyperlinks are the most succinct and quickest way to access things, and you can’t do that on Facebook or Twitter.”

Garbage Language: Why do corporations speak the way they do?

In an environment of constant auditing, it’s safer to use words that signify nothing and can be stretched to mean anything, just in case you’re caught and required to defend yourself.

A Portrait of Eliane Radigue (Institute for Media Archaeology, 2009)

Derailleurs - an introduction

Deport Racists Mouse

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Link Log 2020-06-07

Changing Stripes: a History of Tiger Stripe Camo

While it has been called “tiger stripe camo” unofficially, as the name derives from its resemblance to the stripes on the big cats, it is unique in that the pattern has no name. And unlike OCP, UCP, or the other official camouflage patterns, tigerstripe camouflage is also not really one specific pattern.

The Overmilitarization of American Foreign Policy

U.S. policymakers have many nonmilitary tools at their disposal. But those tools will remain inadequate for the challenges ahead if Washington does not overhaul its outdated national security apparatus. The current structure, established by the National Security Act of 1947—which created the Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force (as a separate military service), the CIA, and the National Security Council (NSC)—has outlived its usefulness.

Judoka (Josef Reeve, 1965)

I don’t think Kimura recognizes physical limitations. He just trains us beyond any that happen to come up.

The Boogaloo Movement Is Not What You Think

About Face: Death and surrender to power in the clothing of men.

COVID-19 Occupied Japantown, San Francisco

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