Thursday 16 March, 2023

The beach approaching sundown

Shows how difficult it can be shooting into the light. Flawed photograph, but I didn’t want to miss it.

Quote of the Day

“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”

  • Detective Philip Marlowe in Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely.

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Jackson Browne with David Lindley | Before The Deluge, June 26, 2010


Long Read of the Day


I found this reflective blog post by Venkatesh Rao to be intensely thought-provoking. That’s partly because he’s such an interesting thinker, but also because the topic he’s on about is close to my heart — and indeed to this newsletter.

Rao has come up with a striking metaphor for thinking about writing in different media — salt-seeking — which he thinks is superior to the more familiar metaphor of “coming up for air”.

One of the effects of this evolutionary history is that all air-breathing life has to seek out perhaps the most important chemical that’s ubiquitous in the oceans but not trivial to find on land: salt. Salt-seeking is one of the most fundamental behaviors of terrestrial life. Animals in the wild seek out salt licks even at great risk of predation. Humans with salt deficiencies have serious problems, and beyond a point of salt deprivation, you die.

He’s thinking about this because, like me, he runs a blog on the open Web as well as a newsletter. “This past February,” he writes,

“has possibly been the first time in the 15-year history of this blog that I haven’t posted for a full calendar month. Or at least one of a handful of very rare periods. And I feel a sort of mysterious nutritional deficiency in my psyche. It feels similar to how I feel if I go without eating vegetables for too long, but more elemental. A kind of vague chemical unsettledness…

Read on. It’s worth it, especially if you’re interested in the Web as the nearest thing we’ve got to a genuine public sphere.

My commonplace booklet

From the you-couldn’t-make-it-up Department

Apparently some people have difficulty composing 140-280-character messages. Hence this Reuters story.

Koo, an India-based social media app that aims to rival Twitter, has integrated OpenAI’s ChatGPT to help users more easily create posts, the company’s co-founder told Reuters.

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence bot that can create prose in response to prompts and has set off a tech industry craze over generative AI.

Koo users will be able to use ChatGPT directly within the app to help them draft posts about current events, politics or pop culture, said Mayank Bidawatka, co-founder of Koo, in an interview.

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