Wednesday 11 October, 2023

Our microwaved future

Great New Yorker cover puts it in a nutshell.

Quote of the Day

“The late Richard Feynman, a superb physicist, said once as we talked about the laser that the way to tell a great idea is that, when people hear it, they say, ‘Gee, I could have thought of that.'”

  • Charles Townes, How the Laser Happened

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Handel | Where’er you walk | Rick Wakeman


Wakeman’s take on one of my favourite Handel arias.

Long Read of the Day

The Moral Case for No Longer Engaging With Elon Musk’s X 

I’m hoping that this article on Bloomberg News by Dave Lee, Bloomberg Opinion’s US technology columnist, remains open for non-subscribers, because it tells you everything you need to know about what has happened to Twitter.

A man was murdered in my neighborhood on Monday. Ryan Carson was waiting at a bus stop with his girlfriend just before 4 a.m. when a man stabbed him repeatedly in the chest. The couple had been at a wedding.

A video of the attack, obtained initially by the New York Post, was soon seized upon by one of X’s newest “stars” — one of those users who has thrived under the new Elon Musk regime at the former Twitter. His feed (which I will not publicize) is a stream of incendiary incidents from around the world, posted several times a day to an audience that is approaching a million followers.

I don’t follow this account, but X’s algorithm makes absolutely sure that I see what it has to say. A senseless murder is apparently a content opportunity not to be missed. The user’s post on Tuesday contained all the ingredients for success: It was timely. It was shocking. It was an innocent 32-year-old man dying on the streets of New York City. It was a chance, duly taken, to write an inflammatory comment on Carson’s work in public policy, as though it had somehow led to this moment, as though he had it coming.

As I rode the subway home to Bedford-Stuyvesant, I watched as the video clocked 1 million views, then 2 million. Up up up. Disgusting replies flooded in by the thousands…

It’s the monetisation of this kind of filth that Musk has enabled, in his desperate quest for revenue to support his failing company, that is so galling.

My commonplace booklet

Larry Summers is very cross with Harvard over the Hamas attack



Something I noticed, while drinking from the Internet firehose.

 New York City in the 1940s — in colour!


Video restorer NASS remastered footage of New York City in the 1940s, enhancing the color, sound, and general appearance. This included boosting the footage speed to 60 fps, refining resolution to high-definition viewing, improving the brightness of the scene, and adding color and sound for ambiance.

Fascinating. I kept seeing men who looked and dressed like my grandfather.

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