Friday 23 December, 2022

The World Wide (Cob)web

Quote of the Day

”My Twitter feed has essentially become a television tuned to a channel only showing 24/7 programs about what should and shouldn’t be on TV.”

  • Austin Carr, writing in Bloomberg’s  Tech Daily

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss | The Wexford Carol


A change from the usual Xmas fare.

Long Read of the Day

O Holy Crap

Wonderful guest post by Walter Kirk on Bari Weiss’s blog.

About five years ago, for seven dollars, I bought an old citrus juicer at a thrift shop. It was one of those vintage small appliances which seem built to survive gas explosions and hammer attacks. When I turned on the motor with a metal toggle switch, a drive shaft spun a heavy ceramic knob that gouged out the hearts of lemon and orange halves, leaving not a scrap of pulp uncrushed. The thing worked beautifully, almost like new, so I looked up its serial number on the internet to see when the unit was manufactured, guessing it might be almost 40 years old. 

Wrong. It dated to the 1940s. It was 70, the stubborn monster, still giving satisfaction with every use.

I can’t say the same about my coffee grinders. I use the plural because I’ve owned a lot of them, all bought in their original packaging and dead within a year. They’re good ones, supposedly, with burrs not blades, but they stop performing before long, ending their long journeys from overseas factories in unmarked graves in my local Montana landfill. 

I have a whole ghost kitchen in this landfill, and soon I will need to reserve a bigger plot…

You get the drift.

Time to Close Down the Elon Musk Circus

Jack Shafer writing on the way Uber-trolls like Musk and Trump lead journalists everywhere by the nose. At the moment Musk is making monkeys of the world’s mainstream media.

In addition to being the world’s second richest person, Elon Musk is now the greatest press manipulator since Donald Trump inhabited the White House. Daily, often hourly, frequently minute-by-minute, Musk intercepts the news cycle and rides it like a clown on a barrel to the astonishment of all. Should he fall, he always gets back on and rides some more as the press corps records and transmits his every gyration.

Given Musk’s track record, reporters should put little stock in what he says. Instead, the press continues to chart and publish nearly every bold utterance he makes and every tweet he types into his account. This tendency, already severe, has exploded into full flower over the past month, ever since Musk rolled his barrel into Twitter headquarters in San Francisco and established residence there to remake the service. Why does the press keep falling for this circus act?

I’ve been asking that question for several years. To no avail. Sigh.

My commonplace booklet

The Military-Industrial complex is alive and well and living in the Pentagon

From The Register

The US Air Force has awarded $334 million to defense contractor Leidos to develop the next phase in its hypersonic arsenal: An unmanned craft meant for super-speed spying dubbed “Mayhem.” 

This latest contract award comes less than a week after the USAF announced the successful test of its first service-ready hypersonic weapon (defined as able to travel faster than Mach 5 while maintaining maneuverability), the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW.

Unlike ARRW, Leidos’ Mayhem award isn’t just about building a weapon – it’s for “Expendable Hypersonic Multi-mission ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and Strike program, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike craft.” A warhead will fit, but this is more like a photon torpedo/probe/space coffin from Star Trek: customizable to meet the needs of the mission.

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