2023-02-15Well, we moved to Germany (we know!), so I’ve been correcting some of my gaps in recent German history by reading the lengthy Wikipedia page on German reunification. In terms of online life, that’s the only real giveaway that I’ve moved in the real world. The rest of the anglophone media roar rolls along as before with two notable edits. I’ve completely cut out the very high volume Westminster insider newsletter I used to read first thing every morning (why?
2022-04-12Image generated by Midjourney TL;DR I’m switching from Goodreads to Oku. Sign up here (referral code). I got rid of most of my social media accounts. The remaining ones are really services I use to track something I do myself that I share with others: Strava (running and cycling), Duolingo (learning languages), and Goodreads (reading). Of these, the one that I have always been dying to replace is Goodreads.
The article then quotes a doctor named David Eisenman as saying, “I think people see a mask and they see an illusion of protection.” Though Eisenman’s quote does not quite support the subheading on the article, I reached out to him to see whether he still stands by his interview.
In short, he does not. “These things come back and haunt you,” Eisenman, a professor-in-residence at UCLA, told me. “Science recommendations have evolved. Now I would say that the evidence is very much in favor of masks as an important protector in the spread of COVID-19.”
Eisenman says the article was widely read. People occasionally tweet at him asking how he can be recommending masks now when he didn’t six months ago. He explains that the science changed, and so did his advice, but according to him, “it doesn’t seem to satisfy anybody.”
The “masks make you sicker” idea underscores how online misinformation is like an ocean liner: Once it’s headed in one direction, it’s difficult to turn around. The advice on masks changed seven months ago, but some people have stuck with what experts were saying in the confusing early days. One doctor’s criticisms of masks—which he now recants—live on in Twitter threads. And as people find new ways to share incorrect information, through posts, photos, and videos, social-media platforms are struggling to catch and remove all the hokum. Before long, the conspiracy theories break free of Facebook and infect reality.
— How a bizarre claim about masks has lived on for months, Olga Khazan in The Atlantic
Many who participate in the IETF are most comfortable making what we believe to be purely technical decisions; our process favors technical merit through our well-known mantra of “rough consensus and running code.”
Nevertheless, the running code that results from our process (when things work well) inevitably has an impact beyond technical considerations, because the underlying decisions afford some uses while discouraging others. While we believe we are making only technical decisions, in reality, we are defining (in some degree) what is possible on the Internet itself.
This impact has become significant. As the Internet increasingly mediates essential functions in societies, it has unavoidably become profoundly political; it has helped people overthrow governments, revolutionize social orders, swing elections, control populations, collect data about individuals, and reveal secrets. It has created wealth for some individuals and companies while destroying that of others.
— The Internet Is For End Users, Mark Nottingham in Internet Architecture Board RFCs
2020-08-27This article was originally published on the BuzzFeed Tech Blog Header image by Devin Argenta Last month, external accessibility experts certified buzzfeed.com as compliant with the best accessibility practices for the web. That simple statement, ripped straight from the headlines of a boilerplate internal email, does not do justice to the two-year process that brought us to that point. Nor does it embody what the achievement means to our team, especially myself, on a personal level.
Douglas Barnes, an Oakland-based hacker and cypherpunk, looked into this issue a couple of years ago when, inspired by Bruce Sterling’s Islands in the Net, he was doing background research on a project to set up a data haven in the Caribbean. ‘I found out that the idea of the Internet as a highly distributed, redundant global communications system is a myth,’' he discovered. ‘Virtually all communications between countries take place through a very small number of bottlenecks, and the available bandwidth simply isn’t that great.’' And he cautions: ‘Even outfits like FLAG don’t really grok the Internet. The undersized cables they are running reflect their myopic outlook.’'
— Mother Earth Mother Board, Neal Stephenson in WIRED
There is an equation between calculated coyness and savage bears. But Pomplamoose has nothing on this video, where a skilled musician who works under the name Kawehi produces and mixes a cover of Heart Shaped Box. The signifiers are pure Pinterest, down to a bottle of wine and some pleasingly ratty lamps. It’s a very old house and a very old table. The camera moves and sweeps but the artist barely meets its gaze. She is lost in a rapture of real-time-audio mixing and 1990s grunge passion. We’ve lost the room and we’ve lost eye contact. The camera moves, then moves some more. At the end of a very dramatic performance she looks at the camera and smiles happily, as if to say, oh, you caught me! This is the future.
— The American Room, Paul Ford
2020-05-14I wanted to quickly follow up to my recent post about personal infrastructure with some updates I made this week. Why the change I got a warning last week that I was almost at the limit for my allocation of “build minutes” on Netlify. Upon investigation, I found that my personal website had been building too often and for too long on Netlify, and that soon they would start charging me for the overages.
2020-05-08Note: There’s a follow up to this because I’ve since made more changes to the infrastructure of the site. Read more. I’ve been slowly moving over to self-hosting more services and trying to balance that with personal convenience. This post is a quick summary of the current setup I have running to do the following: Develop and run my personal website Cross-post certain types of content from my website to Twitter Periodically scrape a couple of proprietary services I use, to keep track of the media I’m consuming Store and serve that data along with some other personal data in an API Regularly update my personal website with the latest in my media consumption Personal website My website is built on Hugo, a static suite builder written in Go.
Part of the problem here is metadata is hard. Someone has to sit there and fill out the author, title, subtitle, summary, page count - and they’re probably not going to do it for free. Amazon is a good at it but is hostile to publishers. Goodreads has much potential but seems to have stagnated. Linking to the book’s Wikipedia entry would be my preference but very few books have an entry.
— Digital Tools I Wish Existed by Jonathan Borichevskiy