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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 4, 2021

‘Is Substack the Media Future We Want?’ The New Yorker. (A month-old article that I’ve just got around to reading.) Random aside: I find it mildly interesting that the big three creative membership sites: Substack, OnlyFans and Patreon are all exceedingly ugly. Honestly, just grotesque. It goes to show how little a startups success often has to do with good design.


‘Twitter Acquires Revue, a Newsletter Company.’ New York Times. Will anything come of it? Probably not. As Om Malik points out they have already messed up the ownership of Periscope and Vine.


‘Twitter is opening up its full tweet archive to academic researchers for free’. The Verge. No access to any tweets from Donald Trumps banned account though.


‘How Many Microcovids Would You Spend on a Burrito?’ Wired. She did the maths.


Talking of Substack… I’ve been meaning to create some way to subscribe to I’m Left Handed via email for a while now. So if you’re not a big fan of staying updated via RSS you can now subscribe on Substack here. Have a good weekend everyone.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 3, 2021

Technologists Use Facial Recognition on Parler Videos‘. Vice [c]. ‘It demonstrates the democratization of facial recognition, but comes littered with ethical issues.’ Indeed. I’m against facial recognition in nearly all forms. I’m also concerned that facesoftheriot.com seems to have lots of images of people who were just protesting, not rioting.


‘Online speech and publishing’. Benedict Evans [c].

The internet and then social platforms break a lot of our definitions of different kinds of speech, and yet somehow Facebook / Google / Twitter are supposed to recreate that whole 200-year tapestry of implicit structures and consensus, and answer all of those questions, from office parks in the San Francisco Bay Area, for both the USA and Myanmar, right now. We want them to Fix It, but we don’t actually know what that means.


A visit from the Zune squad.’ The Verge [c]. ‘Microsoft may have killed off its flagship MP3 player nearly a decade ago, but these fans are keeping their enthusiasm alive.’


Intel is re-hiring retired employees. AnandTech [c]. New CEO Pat Gelsinger is already making changes.


Slate Star Codex is back. Astral Codex Ten [c]. The anonymously written blog was taken offline by its author after the New York Times was going to reveal the authors real name. Now the blog is back via Substack. If you’ve never heard of Slate Star Codex before now is probably a good time to start reading.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 2, 2021

Is Letterboxd Becoming a Blockbuster? New York Times. I’ve been an on-again off-again user of the movie reviewing social network Letterboxd ever since they launched. It’s a lovely little corner of the internet. And it’s been a good year for them:

In 2020, however, the site’s growth was explosive. Letterboxd has seen its user base nearly double since the beginning of the pandemic: They now have more than 3 million member accounts…

I’m astounded by that figure. Because the site still feels as boutique-y and small as the day I joined. I would of guessed they had 60,000 users or so. With most users having the premium Pro plan as the reason the site was still viable financially. But 3 million?! Blimey. And it’s a testament to the folks behind it that it’s as nice a place to visit as the day I joined.


Twitter Shares Fall 7% Following Permanent Trump Ban. Bloomberg. I find it mildly interesting that Twitter is one of the most well known and popular social media sites on earth. It is firmly embedded into the zeitgeist of our time. A single Tweet can ruin careers, alter elections or spark violence. But despite this it’s been a pretty bad investment. All its competitors share prices have gone from strength to strength over the past five years. But $TWTR has been stagnant.


Wikipedia is 20 years old! Wikimedia. It’s still the best thing about the internet.


Hyundai Buys Boston Dynamics for Nearly $1 Billion. IEEE Spectrum. Electronic cars have gone mainstream now. I wonder how long it will take for robotics to join them.


Intel is getting a new CEO. MarketWatch. VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger will be the new head of Intel. He worked at Intel for over 30 years before leaving a decade or so ago. Does he have what it takes to save the sinking Intel ship? Doubtful in my opinion. All that’s needed now is for AMD to aggressively go for the server market and then Intel will be dead.


A Few Thoughts On Writing. Morgan Housel. Morgan Housel’s “The Psychology of Money” was my favourite book of 2020. It’s one of the most beautifully simple books on money ever published. It’s been added to the list of books that I’d insist my child read before they turn 21. Please buy it.



Burger King has been rebranded. Creative Bloq. I like it. Very ’70’s. Very simple. Now they just need to work on every other aspect of the business (at least in the UK). I haven’t eaten at a Burger King for years now, so I’m a little behind the times here. But the things I liked about BK were their fries were crispy and their burgers had a nice strong smokey flavour and plenty of meat. The bad: I’ve never seen one with a drive through, the inside was always filthy (including the kitchens), it had so little foot-traffic that nothing was ever ready, the staff were for the most part not great and the chicken nuggets were hilariously bad. I noticed not long ago that Deliveroo was offering BK delivery in my area and I felt immediate feelings of disgust. Crappy BK food, totally crushed and entirely cold delivered to me with a £2.69 delivery charge. I could think of few things worse. Anyway, nice rebranding. It’s live on the UK site too.



The Dissident (2020). The new documentary by Bryan Fogel. You may have seen his previous film “Icarus” (2017) on Netflix. It was fantastic and won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. His latest project is about the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by his own government inside their consulate in Turkey. I’ve just finished watching it. And whilst it’s not quite as good as his previous film, which benefited massively from having a tremendous story essentially fall into his lap, this is still very much worth your time.

The editing does takes a little bit of getting used to, with the entire film almost feeling like a montage or trailer. But there’s no denying this a slickly made documentary that will likely keep your attention for its entire two hour runtime. If you liked Citizenfour, the documentry about Edward Snowden then you’ll like this too. It’s currently quite expensive at $20. But give it a while and it will probably appear on a streaming platform you’re a member of eventually. More info (be warned the movies website is a crappy, CPU intensive, Flash-looking mess).

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 18, 2020

But first, some housekeeping… I apologise for the lack of recent updates. My RSI returned recently and the spring weather has been so pleasant that I’ve spent almost every sunlit hour in the garden reading, far away from my computer and the internet. But good news for the blog: England’s grey and pleasant clouds have returned. So here I am.


Jack Dorsey’s fight to survive as (part time) Twitter CEO. Vanity Fair.

Twitter is no longer just a technology company. It is used by world leaders to wage war and local governments to warn of shutdowns. It’s used by politicians to announce they are running for office, to declare they are suspending their campaigns, and to endorse other candidates. It’s where news breaks and journalists find sources. Where Trump pulls the levers of chaos and controls what will consume the nightly news or the morning headlines. During the spread of the coronavirus, it has been an invaluable place to share minute-by-minute mortality and epidemiology statistics from around the globe. Over time, Twitter has become less of a social network and more of a public utility. And yet Dorsey insists it does not need a full-time CEO.


A look at the users of /r/DataHoarder who like to archive and hoard often strange digital data. Ars Technica.


During this current COVID-19-induced finanical crisis why is Warren Buffet radio silent? Vanity Fair.

No words of optimism. No high-profile investments in troubled companies that could surely use his endorsement at this difficult time.
[…]
As for what he thought Buffett was doing, Ackman said he suspected his mentor was quietly putting his $125 billion in cash to work buying stocks. He was keeping a low profile to make sure the stocks stayed cheap while he is buying. “After he invests that $100 billion and change,” Ackman says, “he’ll let everybody know.”


Ophthalmologist’s are trying to create a contact lense which tracks blood sugar levels. Medical Xpress. “Chemicals on the contact lens bind with glucose and trigger an electrical current change…” Full paper here. I wonder how far away we are from fairly-smart contact lenses? We’ve had smart glasses via Google Glass, but they were just that tad too bulky. Contact lenses would make sense. Though I imagine they’ll never be able to be especially versatile due to the size contraints. I doubt they’ll be able to do much more than a current Apple Watch does.


The manuals for the new Air Force One will cost $84 million. The Hill. Total price estimate: $5.3 billion. Remarkable cost for just one aircraft.


400-year-old English mill is making flour again. Food & Wine. It previously just made flour for its tourists. Thanks to COVID-19 those tourists are gone now, so it’s making flour again full-time.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 13, 2020

Music streaming has actually decreased since coronavirus has increased around the world. Hypebeast. I find this fascinating and unexpected. I myself listen to most of my music whilst at home, prefering podcasts whilst commuting and exercising. But maybe commuting is when most people listen to music?


Is it OK to go for a walk? New York Times. Yes! Well, for now. Italy recently put a stop outside exercise as they grow more and more desperate.


Maciej Cegłowski, creator of Pinboard and usually an advocate for digital privacy rights, argues that compromising some of them to save lives during the COVID-19 crisis is worth the trade-off. Idle Words. I personally disagree (the death rate isn’t high enough and governments these days are looking for any little excuse to totally lock down the internet) but he makes a lot of good points.


What happens when a city gives its citizens $500 a month, no questions asked? The New Republic.


YouTube videos will default to standard definition now. But you can still manually chose HD quality. Bloomberg.


Edgar Wright (director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) on life in quarantine London. Vulture.


Victims of domestic abuse are in for an even worse time than usual as households around the world enter lockdown. Time.


[Gallery] Beautiful libraries from around the world. Colossal.


Notes

I was glad this week to see that grocy, ‘a web-based self-hosted groceries & household management solution’ was near the top of Pinboard’s most-bookmarked list. Ever since the COVID-19 crisis has begun I’ve done my very best to ensure I don’t waste any food (something I’m sadly not usually too good at). I’m yet to try grocy as it seems a little overkill for my needs and fridge. But whenever I buy food at the moment I add the various products ‘use-by’ date to a text file so I can ensure nothing gets wasted.


I’ve moved from Safari to Firefox. I have 16GB of RAM on my MacBook Pro but I was still getting ‘no application memory’ warnings thanks to Safari eating too much RAM all the time. Also Safari kept on hanging on my increasingly-old Mac mini. So I thought I’d give Firefox a go for the first time in a long time and I like it. It’s no where near as beautiful as Safari. But it feels light and my open-tab addicton doesn’t seem to bog it down like it did with Safari. Also, the cloud syncing features of Safari I like are now on Firefox. You can sync all data (including browser extensions), see open tabs on other devices, and ‘send’ tabs to other devices, which is nice.


I also abandoned another Apple product this week: iCloud Drive. Because if one of my macOS devices wasn’t restarted for a while iCloud Drive would just stop syncing properly. It was always a risk trusting an Apple cloud product (not exactly their strong suit) and sadly it was a risk that didn’t pay off this time. I’ve now moved to Resilio Sync. It doesn’t offer any cloud backup features, instead – as the name implies – it just syncs files between computers. So I let Arq and Backblaze handle the cloud backup side. But so far I like it. If you need to access your files on your phone a lot then I wouldn’t reccomend it because the app is poor, confusing and slow. But luckily it’s not a feature I need so I’ll happily keep on using it for the time being.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 12, 2020

‘Working From Home — Tips, Tricks and Motivation’

I’ve read a lot of these type of articles this week. This is my favourite. I really like the ‘pairing up’ idea a lot:

Pick a buddy for an afternoon, install Discord, and stay persistently on Discord with them or your team so you can strike up audio conversations at will and feel like you’re interacting more. Hearing other people socialize even if you’re not interacting will help with the isolation.


[New Book] ‘Coffeeland: One Man’s Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug’

Near the end of Coffeeland, Sedgewick attempts to quantify exactly how much value a pound of coffee gives an employer (or, put another way, extracts from an employee)… He estimates that it takes 1.5 hours of Salvadoran labor to produce a pound of coffee. That’s enough to make 40 cups of coffee… In other words, the six cents that Hill’s plantation paid for an hour and a half of labor… was transformed into $22.50 worth of value [for the American economy,] an alchemy that reflects both the remarkable properties…

But the symbiotic relationship that coffee and capitalism have enjoyed for the past several centuries may now be coming to a sad close. Coffea arabica is a picky plant, willing to grow only in the narrowest range of conditions: Sunlight, water, drainage, and even altitude all have to be just so. The world has only so many places suitable for coffee production. Climate scientists estimate that at least half of the acreage now producing coffee—and an even greater proportion in Latin America—will be unable to support the plant by 2050, making coffee one of the crops most immediately endangered by climate change. Capitalism may be killing the golden goose.

To be released on April 7, 2020.


Apple Product Updates

Updated iPad Pros with a new keyboard that has a trackpad because iPadOS 13.4 now has ‘pointer’ support! The MacBook Air and Mac mini also have been updated. Daring Fireball has a good summary.


‘For, Then Against, High-Saturated-Fat Diets’

Could eating a lot more saturated fat and a lot less unsaturated help the obesity epidemic? Spoiler: probably not. But this article is still very much worth your time. If only because it doesn’t pretend to know all the answers, which I always appreciate when it comes to articles on nutrition and health.


‘How Saunas Could Boost Your Mental Health’

Jari Laukkanen, a Finnish cardiologist who’s fond of taking a daily sauna, has observed a similar pattern among larger groups. In a 2018 study of more than 2,000 Finnish men, he found a correlation between taking a traditional sauna four or more times a week and decreased risk of developing a physician-diagnosed mental-health disorder.

My current gym is a little bit out of my ideal price range. But I’m still a member because its the only one in town with a sauna and steam room. And I find 25 minutes in a sauna to be a truly wonderful thing. It’s a great way to unwind after a workout or a long week. And while I’ve never been particularly convinced by a lot of the supposed physical health benefits it wouldn’t suprise me at all if it does improve mental health.

I think this paragraph sums up the reason why you have to take a lot of sauna health studies with a grain of salt:

But critics contend that these associations could stem from selection bias — fit people who exercise regularly may just happen to sauna more often. Sauna bathing could also serve as an indicator for people who live in affluent societies and have healthier living patterns.


‘The Stoics in Exile’

Coronavirus self-quarantines are the closest many of us are going to come to being exiled. It’s important to use that time wisely. Learn from the stoics in exile:

Now imagine this. Imagine you’re at your peak in Rome with a remarkable influence, life is pretty good, and you get kicked out, you’re exiled, you go from Rome at its peak to some desolate island in the middle of nowhere. How would you respond to that?

Well, if you’re a Stoic philosopher you’d respond with taking responsibility and looking after yourself properly. That’s what Rufus did. He took exile as an opportunity to practice courage, justice, and self-control. Exile doesn’t prevent anyone from practicing these virtues, he said.


‘TikTok Told Moderators: Suppress Posts by the “Ugly” and Poor’

One document goes so far as to instruct moderators to scan uploads for cracked walls and “disreputable decorations” in users’ own homes — then to effectively punish these poorer TikTok users by artificially narrowing their audiences.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 11, 2020

[New Book] Very Important People: Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit

Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution posts some extracts from a new book about ‘the elite global party circuit of “models and bottles” to reveal how beautiful young women are used to boost the status of men.’

The older, uglier men may have to pay 2k to rent a table for the evening, whereas “decent-looking guys with three or four models” will be let in for free with no required minimum.

And:

Men familiar with the scene make these calculations even if they have money to spend: How many beautiful girls can I get to offset how I look? How many beautiful girls will it take to offset the men with me? How much money am I willing to spend for the night in the absence of quality girls?

My Sister spent some time in Los Angeles last year and I was shocked and fascinated by her stories of the bizarrely open shallow world of being granted entry into a club. Cowen said this is his favourite book of the year so far, so I will certainly be picking it up. To be released on May 26, 2020.

[Gallery] When Everyone Stays Home: Empty Public Spaces During Coronavirus

Photos from around the world of empty once crowded locations.

What Does It Really Cost to Run a Restaurant?

TL;DR: $1,215,037 income, $22,116 profit. Razor thin margins (1.8%).

Inside the Members-Only World of Online Beer Trading

Charging $155 for a single bottle of beer, as some did for Pliny [the Younger IPA], might cause the average beer drinker to spit out their average beer. But for a passionate community of craft beer aficionados who trade and resell rare beers online, that price was just business as usual.

Quibi Is Coming. Here Are the Famous People Making Shows for It.

Quibi, set to launch on April 6, stands for “quick bites,” which refers to the service’s plan to offer short segments (10 minutes or less) designed for small screens (your phone).

The list of people making shows for this new streaming streaming service is insane. I guess they’re giving stars a lot of money to make something that doesn’t require a big time commitment. Either way, this could actually be interesting.

“The Faster You Pour It Down”: On Charles Bukowski’s “On Drinking”

Bukowski is now, of course, a kind of patron saint of lowlifes, in Los Angeles and beyond; our eternal brownbag-swilling denizen of the liquor store, the poor East Hollywood–dwelling bum constantly hanging out at the racetrack. And it isn’t as if his type doesn’t exist today: it does, in abundance, the “community” of barflies of every color and non-creed, the tortured class, the not-quite or part-time homeless. He was one of them. But what set him apart was a heightened emotional sensitivity and genuine, stick-to-his-guns literary ambitions. […] He was dealt a bad hand in many ways, but one thing you could say for him: as a drinker and a writer he possessed the stubborn endurance of a cockroach.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 46, 2019

Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep” Is Riddled with Scientific and Factual Errors

A great in-depth look at some of the exaggerations in the book “Why We Sleep”. Sometimes when reading long articles like this I think to myself ‘wow, these people must be so efficient and fast to be able to knock out a piece like this’. Well it turns out that nope, it’s just good old-fashioned hard work:

I spent more than 130 hours over the last 2 months researching and writing this essay (~5 hours to write the outline; ~60 hours to get to the first draft; ~65 hours to edit and fact-check), which constituted essentially all of my surplus free time over this time period.

Trump, Biden, Sanders: How Old Is Too Old to Be President?

Concerns about politicians’ ages are not limited to presidential candidates. The average senator is 62. Mitch McConnell, the 77-year-old Senate majority leader, is already past the U.S.-male life expectancy. If the country were to deem, say, the Social Security retirement age of 66 as the mandatory cutoff for a career in politics, it would amount to a total overhaul of government. It would eliminate not just the top four presidential candidates, but much of Congress.

How the Dumb Design of a WWII Plane Led to the Macintosh

At first, pilots took the blame for crashes. The true cause, however, lay with the design. That lesson led us into our user-friendly age—but there’s peril to come.

Meet the Cybertruck, Tesla’s Ford-Fighting Pickup

I’m not sure if I love and loathe the look of it. Either way, it’s attention grabbing. I think it will look even more extreme when out on the road and alongside ‘normal’ cars.

‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims

More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Forgiveness, Peace, and Productivity

The surest way for me to not get anything done is to get overwhelmed by the guilt of not getting anything done. I’ve worked for years to solve this little quandary, and I’ve found a key element in the solution: forgiveness.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 45, 2019

Any Amount of Running Linked to Significantly Lower Risk of Early Death

When the study data were pooled, any amount of running was associated with a 27% lower risk of death from all causes for both sexes, compared with no running.

You really can’t afford not to be doing a small amount of regular exercise. We’re not talking about marathons or three hour long cycle rides here. There’s been so many studies finding that just twenty minutes of exercise three times a week gives humans massive life extending gains (not to mention the added benefit of the slowing down of cognitive decline). This is a really good deal that your body is offering you. Take it up on the offer and exercise!

There’s a Whole Category of Software to Help People Manage Friendships

While many of the apps have an explicit professional-networking utility, the Irish company Monaru, one of the Y Combinator companies, is focused specifically on users’ 10 to 15 closest relationships. Not only will Monaru remind you of a loved one’s birthday, but it will also suggest specific gifts to buy her. It can help you plan a date night, or remember to call your parents regularly. “Millennials are four times lonelier than seniors,” the company’s homepage reads, probably erroneously. The service costs $20 a month, and its tagline is “Be the most thoughtful person you know.”

Apple Has Released a 16-Inch Macbook Pro

‘New’ keyboard with a physical Esc key. Not as expensive as I was expecting. Good short reviews from Marco Arment and Daring Fireball:

No one would ever suggest that the steering wheel for a car be designed by people who don’t drive. But yet somehow the entire Macintosh world has spent the last three years dealing with or avoiding keyboards that were seemingly designed by people who don’t type.3 The whole saga of the butterfly keyboards — their unreliable switches, poor typing feel, and anti-functional layout — betrays a certain arrogance. The more powerful an organization — a corporation, a nation, a sports team, whatever — the more at risk that organization is to hubris. It’s power that allows one to act on hubris.

We shouldn’t be celebrating the return of longstanding features we never should have lost in the first place. But Apple’s willingness to revisit these decisions — their explicit acknowledgment that, yes, keyboards are meant to by typed upon, not gazed upon — is, if not cause for a party, at the very least cause for a jubilant toast.

Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure — Stephen Wolfram

This is my third time reading this long and in depth look at Stephen Wolfram’s personal tech setup. I love stuff like this.

Instagram Is Testing Hiding ‘Likes’

Probably a good move. However, in the video linked in the article Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri says “private likes”. So I’m presuming the poster can still see the ‘like’ count, but the outside world can’t. The main reason ‘likes’ are so harmful is because people obsess over how many their photos receive. If they can still see this metric I’m not sure this fixes anything.

All the International Brands That Have Apologised to China

It’s eerie how all the PR press releases from these companies are so similar. “[Company] consistently respects and upholds China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” To the word repetition of the same thing is very dystopian. And let’s be honest, China is very dystopian.

The King (2019)

The Netflix movie “The King” is out. Directed by David Michôd – who also made “War Machine” – this in many ways has a lot of the same disjointed elements. With the lack of flow and continuity in some scenes making the film feel a bit like the effort of an inexperienced first time director. The script is decent and this could have been a much improved movie with a better director involved. However there’s enough here to make it worth the 2 hours 15 minutes of your time. I’m not sure if the restrained realism of the sets was planned or due to budget constraints, but either way it works. I also really like how realistic the light is, considering the period it’s set in. No artificial flood lighting here. Just sun streaking in through the windows. Timothée Chalamet is maturing as an actor and despite his boyish frame and bad posture sometimes undermining the believability of certain moments he leads the film very well. And Robert Pattinson is great in his brief moments on screen. 6/10

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 44, 2019

A Day of Dopamine Fasting in San Francisco

Throughout that day of their dopamine fast, they wandered slowly from room to room. They read. They put on more and more sweaters. The food fasting makes them cold.

As someone who often fasts and gets pretty cold I’m glad to find I’m not alone in this (I wore a vest under my t-shirt and jumper for the first time ever today).

After the fast, Mr. Sinka finds that everyday tasks are more exciting and fun… Food is more delicious.

I’ve found a similar thing after I’ve done a week of Soylent-like food only. That first solid meal afterwards is bliss.

However, I’m mostly linking this article due to just how fucking ridiculous ‘dopamine fasting’ is. I mean listen to this techbro douche:

The other day, Mr. Sinka ran into an old friend but had to tell her they could not continue speaking. “I hadn’t seen her in six months, and it was extraordinarily exciting, super-stimulating, and I could feel how excited I was,” he said. “So I had to cut it off and I just said, ‘Listen, it’s not you, it’s me, doing this dopamine fast.’”

Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia

Social media moles seem to be becoming more and more common.

YouTube Quietly Hides Its Code after Content “Throttling” System Is Leaked

… YouTube is using various proprietary internal metrics to suppress YouTubers but they also show that corporate brands, Hollywood stars, and YouTube’s so-called “authoritative sources” are often given preferential ratings.
YouTube’s algorithms are a genuine disgrace. They have the largest library of amateur (and professional too) video content in the world and it’s all hidden behind a recommendation engine that just wants advertising money and the highest amount of hours watcher per user possible. I only visit YouTube these days if I’m going to search for something in particular such as a tutorial. I refuse to passively browse the wasteland.

The Making of the World’s Greatest Investor

A radical investing style was behind Mr. Simons’s rise. He built computer programs to digest torrents of market information and select ideal trades, an approach aimed at removing emotion and instinct from the investment process. Mr. Simons and colleagues at his firm, Renaissance Technologies LLC, sorted data and built sophisticated predictive algorithms—years before Mark Zuckerberg and his peers in Silicon Valley began grade school.

It’s Time to Take Down the Mona Lisa

Some 80 percent of visitors, according to the Louvre’s research, are here for the Mona Lisa — and most of them leave unhappy. Content in the 20th century to be merely famous, she has become, in this age of mass tourism and digital narcissism, a black hole of anti-art who has turned the museum inside out.

New Default WordPress Theme

WordPress hasn’t had a good default theme for years. The default should be simple and very much not trendy. That’s rarely been the case recently. Well the new default, “Twenty Twenty”, actually looks pretty damn good. It will be released with WordPress 5.3 in the middle of November. But for now you can see a live preview on Matt Mullenweg’s blog.

.su

Did you know that the Soviet Union existed long enough into the 20th Century to get its own domain name?

The Current War (2018)


I first became aware of this film quite a while ago due to the fact it had some big names in it (Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Holland) and that it had been in post-production hell for over two years and might never see the light of day (IMDB lists the filming date as 18 December 2016!). I found this to be a shame as it was about a subject I was interested in, the war of currents. Anyway after some re-shoots and re-edits it’s finally starting to appear (often listed as “The Current War: Director’s Cut”). I’ve seen a few films in the past which suffered in post-production limbo and they’ve all been understandably awful. But this isn’t too bad. I don’t know if it’s just because I had such low exceptions going into it, but I enjoyed it. The actors alone are good enough to carry this into being a perfectly respectable affair. It’s not challenging or groundbreaking but it’s a good Sunday afternoon watch. And it piqued my interest enough that I’ve picked up the new Edison biography. 3/5