Friday 20 October, 2023

Evening in Norfolk

Brancaster Staithe (where I hope to be again fairly soon)

Quote of the Day

“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils”

  • Hector Berlioz

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

John Mayer & Steve Miller | The Joker


Exuberant audience but a great performance.

Long Read of the Day

 Why You Can’t Trust X for News

It’s not news that the “company formerly known as Twitter” is a shell of what it once was, but the transcript of this interview with Casey Newton, a veteran observer of these things, is illuminating and insightful.

A video was recently posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) with a caption informing viewers that they were watching footage of Hamas fighters shooting down an Israeli helicopter in Gaza. The video has been viewed more than 2.5 million times and reposted more than 2,500 times. The issue? It’s totally fake. The clip is from a video game called Arma 3. It’s not in Gaza. It’s not in Israel. Nothing about it has anything to do with the current conflict.

Other videos, horrifying real ones from Israel and Gaza, are all over X with little or no warning. It has turned the platform—a place people used to go for news—into a ghastly brew of suffering and confusion over what’s real, what’s not, and what’s being posted just for clicks.

On Friday’s episode of What Next: TBD, I spoke with Casey Newton, founder and editor of the technology newsletter Platformer, about how the war between Israel and Hamas is revealing how broken X really is. This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Do read on.

Books, etc.

This is an interesting book to come from a political scientist. Landemore argues that democratic leadership is determined by a method roughly akin to jury service: every now and then, your number comes up, and you’re obliged to do your civic duty by taking a seat on a small-scale legislative body. For a fixed period, your job is to work with the other people in the body to solve problems and decide on action. And when your term is up, you go back to normal life and work.

Nathan Heller has an interesting piece about the author in the New Yorker.

On my reading list.

My commonplace booklet

James Payne’s trailer for his YouTube treatment of Alice in Wonderland in his ‘Great Books Explained’ series.

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