Bookmarked The Far Invisible (The Hedgehog Review)

Pynchon diagnosed our idolatry of the inanimate.

Alan Jacobs explores Thomas Pynchon’s work from a theological perspective. It was a reminder of how deep and complex Pynchon can be and made me wonder if I have really “let down my shields or opened the valve” to really let him in?

Continue reading “📑 The Far Invisible”

Bookmarked How do we build the future with AI? by ChelseaChelsea (

I don’t think the Paypal Mafia building for themselves can independently launch us into the future we want. I think they can rapidly saturate any market opened by a new tech platform. As a result, first-generation and even second-generation product ideas are done to death almost as soon as the platform becomes available. The surest, and maybe the only, pathways to innovation in a saturated market require a focus on the marginal cases. Who can best identify and solve for these cases? Often, it’s the people for whom the status quo works the least well—whose existence doesn’t even factor into status quo decision-making.

To the extent that the availability of generative models constitutes a new platform, that framework applies the same way it applied for the mobile platform and the consumer web. The perspectives, lived experiences, and contributions that would transition AI products from “expensive skeuomorph” to “meaningful innovation” won’t, and can’t, come from tech’s noveau riche. For that transition to materialize, the execution support available from the Paypal Mafia will have to go looking for who it has left behind.

I’m not holding my breath.

Source: How do we build the future with AI? by Chelsea Troy

Chelsea Troy explains that visionary ideas are often derived directly from centering people at the margins, not generated based on data and statistics. The opportunity with AI lies in the margins, the problem is that those in control, “tech’s noveau riche”, are unlikely to embrace this.

“Jeremy Keith” in Adactio: Links—How do we build the future with AI? – Chelsea Troy ()


The Sea, The Sea is a novel by Iris Murdoch. Published in 1978, it was her nineteenth novel. It won the 1978 Booker Prize.

The Sea, The Sea Wikipedia

The Sea, The Sea is a novel that seemingly places the reader on the stage and helps us reflect upon how we might act. I wrote a longer reflection here.

Continue reading “📚 The Sea, The Sea (Iris Murdoch)”

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a blog is probably the least cool way to communicate with people. It doesn’t have old-school cred or state-of-the-art shine; it falls into a kind of uncanny valley. To be a blogger is sort of like being that Japanese guy who makes paintings with Excel. But that suits me.

The Uncanny Valley of Blogging

Liked Travis Barker on the Treadmill and Other Fitness Content Slop by Audrey WattersAudrey Watters (Second Breakfast)

It’s a good reminder, perhaps, that it’s not so much that AI is getting better. It’s that humans are just becoming more like robots.

Audrey Watters

Bookmarked How to Easily Display Code on Your WordPress Site (3 Methods) by About the Editorial Staff (

This method is for advanced users because it requires more work and does not always work as intended.

It is suitable for users who are still using the old Classic editor and want to display code without using a plugin.

First, you need to pass your code through an online HTML entities encoder tool. It will change your code markup to HTML entities, which will allow you to add the code and bypass the WordPress cleanup filters.

Now copy and paste your code into the text editor and wrap it around <pre> and <code> tags.

Syed Balkhi

For code, I was just using <code>, but it never formatted properly. Using <Pre> and a HTML encoder solves that.

Replied to (

I wonder if these are an alternative to IndieBlocks or something else.


I remember reflecting upon Ton’s concern about Post Kinds lock in a few years ago.

Without the time and patience to develop my own fully fledged solution, I have instead taken to kind of living in both worlds by manually including the quote part of the respond property within my post. My reason for this is because I feel that this often adds context to the post, especially when displayed as a comment.

In addition to this, I have created my own buttons in the text editor to add ‘reply’ or ‘like’ to a link. I often use this as a means of displaying bookmarks etc in the comment section of a linked post, rather than displaying as a pingback. For example, this comment will display beneath my response to Ton’s original post.

Regarding Blocks and Classic, I am still live two worlds. I use blocks for my long post site and classic for this site, therefore I have not really dived into IndieBlocks. However, I probably should have a look. But to be honest, I think a part of me holds hope that David might one day integrate the response box into the content or provide an export tool.

For now, I plod on.

Replied to Secret, Safe and Informed: A Reflection on Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the Collection of Data by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (

There have been a lot of discussions lately about Facebook, social media and connected society in light of the Cambridge Analytica revelations. Here are my thoughts on what it might mean to be more informed consent. Secret and Safe?
At the start of Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins inherits a ring fr…

Doug, I was looking back at a past post today, and was reacquainted with your DML Central post on the ‘Brief History of Web Literacy’. You attempted to map the eras associated with the internet:

A few years ago, Doug Belshaw made an attempt at mapping the internet. He divided it into five eras:

  • 1993-1997: The Information Superhighway
  • 1999-2002: The Wild West
  • 2003-2007: The Web 2.0 era
  • 2008-2012: The Era of the App
  • 2013+: The Post-Snowden era

I have been thinking lately, with fake news and data breaches, maybe we are entering a new era, what Belshaw mooted as an ‘informed era’.

Source: Secret, Safe and Informed: A Reflection on Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the Collection of Data – Read Write Respond by Aaron Davis

I was left thinking that in addition to the ‘informed era’, we may have entered a new era with AI?

Bookmarked M.I.A. Launched A Clothing Line To Block 5G On The Alex Jones Show by Danielle CheloskyDanielle Chelosky (

A couple of years ago, M.I.A. compared Alex Jones’ Sandy Hook lies to celebrities advocating for COVID vaccines. Last week, the British musician went on Jones’ Infowars show to promote her new clothing line that claims to “preserve your privacy, autonomy, and rights over your body and your data.”

Source: M.I.A. Launched A Clothing Line To Block 5G On Alex Jones’ ‘Infowars’ by @stereogum

Where is Chuck from Better Call Saul?

Watched 1985 film directed by John Hughes by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
On the New Music Friday podcast, discussed The Bleachers origins as a soundtrack for an imaginary John Hughes film. (Read Yasmeen Gharnit’s attempt at matching up of John Hughes films associated with Strange Desires.) I was left intrigued at thinking about the Bleachers through this lens.

I grew up with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Home Alone and Dennis the Menace, but for whatever reason, I never borrowed The Breakfast Club (or Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles) from the video store.  I recently watched The Breakfast Club for the first time. It was an intriguing film, basically set in one space, similar to Reservoir Dogs. (I imagine that both films have been adapted this for the stage since.)

It is intriguing watch these films with hindsight, as Ringwald touched on in her 2018 essay rethinking her three films in a post-#METOO world:

John’s movies convey the anger and fear of isolation that adolescents feel, and seeing that others might feel the same way is a balm for the trauma that teen-agers experience. Whether that’s enough to make up for the impropriety of the films is hard to say—even criticizing them makes me feel like I’m divesting a generation of some of its fondest memories, or being ungrateful since they helped to establish my career. And yet embracing them entirely feels hypocritical. And yet, and yet. . . .

How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose? What if we are in the unusual position of having helped create it? Erasing history is a dangerous road when it comes to art—change is essential, but so, too, is remembering the past, in all of its transgression and barbarism, so that we may properly gauge how far we have come, and also how far we still need to go.

Source: What About “The Breakfast Club”? by Molly Ringwald

There is something fantastical and absurd about all these films. But on a serious note, when were smoke detectors invented and where is the duty of care with leaving the students unattended for large swathes of time?

Listened 2024 studio album by Charli XCX by Contributors to Wikimedia projects from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

I drink, I smoke, I use autotune

Source: TN:138 Charli XCX, George Daneil & A.G. Cook

Charli XCX’s comment on autotune on the Tape Notes podcast sums Brat up for me. On the one hand, Charli XCX cares, she cares enough to know that she wanted something other than her previous album, Crash, but she also does not seem to care enough to worry about how she might be perceived in supposedly turning from the mainstream. As Alexis Petridis suggests, Brat is something of a ‘palate cleanser’.

Satisfying the contract she signed with Atlantic as a teenager, 2022’s Crash was a conceptual go-for-broke by a pop star who had made her name as a refusenik, save a few uneasy youthful flirtations with the mainstream. She swapped her avant garde collaborators for blue-chip songwriters, mastered slick choreo and duly interpolated old dance bangers. It worked, becoming her most successful album yet. Having simply decided to be successful and then pulled it off, most artists in her position would surely keep at it. Not Charli, who has since admitted that she couldn’t even listen to some of Crash, nor stomach the rictus-grin promo. The sleazy grind of Brat, her superb sixth album, is the palate cleanser, albeit one that tastes like cigarettes, vodka and chemical afterburn.

Source: Charli XCX: Brat review | Laura Snapes’ album of the week by Alexis Petridis

I feel that there is an element of Ian Brown about it all. This is who I am, this is what you are going to get. I am sure there is more to it, but that is certainly how it feels.

Brat wears a prickly carapace as lure and defence. Unlike the crowdpleasing Crash, the textures here are defiantly underground – panel-beating, serrated, darkly bubbling with acid – made with the likes of Daniel, AG Cook, Easyfun, Hudson Mohawke and Gesaffelstein. It plots Charli’s history with dance music, from lifelong Aphex fan to bloghouse teen and PC Music doyenne with a sincere respect for trash.

Source: Charli XCX: Brat review | Laura Snapes’ album of the week by Alexis Petridis

As an album, Brat is rather lean, there really is no fat anywhere. Charli XCX manages to fit 15 tracks on one vinyl disc. I imagine there maybe some remixes drawn out produced from some of these tracks, as there are so many threads that feel that they could be teased out further, as was captured in the PARTYGIRL Boiler Room performance. However, as an album, everything feels like it is in its right place.

What was interesting was that the singles did not really lay out the narrative for me. I was circumspect on hearing ‘360’ and ‘Von Dutch’. I entered Brat as a ‘return to the club’ and wondered what that would mean.

i was born to make dance music.. i came from the clubs.. xcx6 is the album i’ve always wanted to make.

Source: Charli on Twitter, Feb 25, 2024

Yes, there is a clear palette 808’s and 909’s throughout, something discussed on the Tape Notes podcast by Charli XCX, ‘Alex’ Cook and George Daniel. However, as Jem Aswad suggests, “there’s a lot more more besides.”

The album changes moods surprisingly smoothly with nearly every track, not just musically but lyrically: The songs swerve between boastful swagger and shriveling insecurity and vulnerability, and are autobiographical in their conflicted feelings about fame, success and her own worth.

But “Brat” would be a masterful album even if all the lyrics were simply about clubbing — it’s melodically and musically sophisticated, with remarkably detailed production. As always, she’s a serial collaborator, and A-list coproducers here include Cirkut, George Daniel, El Guincho, Gesaffelstein, Hudson Mohawke, Finn Keane and others, and A.G. Cook is back in the copilot seat, bringing his shimmering arpeggios and countermelodies to a majority of the songs.

Source: Charli XCX Launches an Exhilarating New Chapter of Pop With the Innovative ‘Brat’: Album Review by Jem Aswad

In some ways, I wonder if ‘the return to the club’ is a distraction in the same way as St Vincent creating a ‘Toolesque’ album? Just as I was unsure about St Vincent’s initial singles, I too was not sure about Charli XCX’s initial releases, however in both cases hearing them as a part of a whole seemed to make more sense.

Charli XCX goes in and out of thoughts and experiences. One minutes she is talking about jealously, then regret, then her own ego. For me, it is an album album, with great tracks, made better as a whole. With this in mind, it is interesting listening to it alongside Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Department. I feel both grapple with life, but each in a different way. Petridis argues that Charli XCX grapples with being human.

Most of her superstar peers are busy making unrelatable music about how hard it is to be famous. Yet Charli has never lost sight of how hard it is to be human.

Source: Charli XCX: Brat review | Laura Snapes’ album of the week by Alexis Petridis

Brat though is more than just an album, it seems to be an attitude. There is talk of a ‘brat’ summer, whatever that actually means. For me, this attitude was something that started with George Daniel and Charli XCX’s remix (or reclamation) of Caroline Polachek’s ‘Welcome to my Island’. With Charli’s added “bitch” to the chorus hook, it feels like she is graffitiing a piece of art, making it her own. I cannot hear the original without hearing Charli XCX’s statement, what is heard cannot be unheard.

Place between AG Cook and Caroline Polachek

Continue reading “🎵 Brat (Charli XCX)”

Not exactly sure how I ended up watching Rick Beato’s interview with James Maynard Keenan, but I did not regret it. I was intrigued by the discussion of the three bands and how the combination of musicians in each allows for a different side, perspective.

The T-Shirt.

However, the thing that really left me thinking was Keenan’s reflections on touring. He discussed the reality of not being able to eat after 3pm and why even though every dietician would cringe, he then eats a meal at 12pm, after performing.

I have to eat either at three o’clock or not until 11 30, after the show, because you can’t eat too close to the show, because I’m carrying it around and you risk your reflux and now you now you’ve compromised your voice for the next three shows. So I have to eat early in the day, knock that out, and then after the show, if you have talked to any dietitians, they’re like, “you’re eating at 11 30 at night or midnight what’s wrong with you.”

Source: Maynard James Keenan Interview (Tool, A Perfect Circle & Puscifer)

This reminded me of the sacrifices that Kate Miller-Heidke makes as a performer.

I watched the performance of I’m Just Ken from The Oscars with my daughter and then showed her November Rain to explain the significance of the guitar solo. Her comment within seconds of the solo in November Rain, “why is he smoking? Smoking is disgusting …” I will trying to provide her a lesson in culture, instead she gave me one.

This was after she came into my office the other day concerned about a video that came up in YTKids. I was worried and asked her to show me. It was Van Halen’s Jump. She was really concerned about David Lee Roth doing the splits in leather pants. I had never really noticed that before, really I could never get past the hair.

Replied to Experiential Learning and AI: Redefining Education Through Immersive Experiences by New community features for Google Chat and an update on Currents (

This powerful convergence of experiential learning philosophy and AI technology promises to reshape education in the coming decades. As AI continues advancing, understanding its applications in creating immersive, data-driven experiential learning environments is crucial. However, a lot more discussion is necessary as we explore the profound implications this convergence could have for individuals, educational systems, and humanity at large.

Source: Experiential Learning and AI: Redefining Education Through Immersive Experiences | Dr. Ian O’Byrne by Ian O’Byrne

I remember being in a discussion about devices a few years ago (probably ten) and I asked the presenter about the pedagogy underpinning the technology. I was told that technology is pedagogically agnostic. This has always lingered with me. On the one hand, I can understand the point, that technology makes learning more doable, but there is also a part of me that feels like an application that actively promotes surveillance clearly says something about the type of learning occurring in the classroom. In regards to things such as chatbots, I can appreciate the argument that it makes the learning more doable, but, as people like Dan Meyer highlight, are we happy with this learning? For me, this is why the Modern Learning Canvas has really stayed with me as a way of thinking about technological change. Too often it feels like the conversation around technology is in isolation, whereas the canvas invites you to think about all the different facets.

Bookmarked The machine stops (

Self-hosted sabotage as a form of collective action.

Smarter people than me are coming up with ways to protect content through sabotage: hidden pixels in images; hidden words on web pages. I’d like to implement this on my own website. If anyone has some suggestions for ways to do this, I’m all ears.

If enough people do this we’ll probably end up in an arms race with the bots. It’ll be like reverse SEO. Instead of trying to trick crawlers into liking us, let’s collectively kill ’em.

Source: The machine stops by Jeremy Keith

I am assuming that this is why some spaces, such as ABC News, stopped publishing their content through RSS? We certainly are in strange times.

Replied to The Feature is a “Dumpster Fire” by wiobyrne (

Welcome to Digitally Literate, issue #397. Your go-to source for insightful content on education, technology, and the digital landscape.
This week I posted the following: Experiential Learning and Its Synergy with Artificial Intelligence – Anna CohenMiller sent me a request to get my thoughts abou…

As this technology advances, consumers will face new decisions about the products they purchase and the level of AI integration they are comfortable with. Just as we currently evaluate the specifications of a new smartphone before upgrading, we will need to understand the capabilities and potential implications of these emerging AI components. Do we want devices that can learn our preferences and habits? That can engage in open-ended dialogue? That can autonomously generate content alongside us?

The line between convenient digital assistant and autonomous artificial intelligence is blurring. Navigating this new landscape will require diligence from both companies and consumers to separate substantive technological breakthroughs from empty marketing claims. We must think critically about the roles we want AI to play in our lives and products.

Source: The Feature is a “Dumpster Fire” by Ian O’Byrne

I love how this newsletter starts out with Microsoft’s announcements, only to then for Recall to be recalled. I was left thinking about your points regarding comfort levels and thinking critically regarding the emerging AI components. For me, this reminds me of Doug Belshaw’s eight essential elements of digital literacies. Reviewing the list, I feel that I see a lot more dabbling with what is creatively possible and how to cognitively work through various challenges, but outside of my feed I am not seeing much critical conversations or setting up of cultural expectations. This makes me wonder if their is some sort of hierarchy of change in regards to the elements?

Liked (

If you are only engaging five students in a class of 30, you are by definition not personalizing learning for the other 25 students. You are not addressing their individual needs. You’re creating more work for teachers, also, treating them like tier-two customer support representatives, asking them to handle whatever problems your technology can’t solve along with whatever problems your technology creates.

Khan and other advocates of personalized learning will frequently disclaim that they aren’t trying to replace teachers. I appreciate that, though I’m worried about that possibility like I’m worried I might medal in the decathlon in the Olympics this summer. I do not, however, appreciate the role they imagine for teachers: a coercive force in the lives of students who need much more and much better support than personalized learning offers them.

Source: Teachers Aren’t Your Customer Support Representatives by Dan Meyer

Liked Adobe’s Enterprise-First Ambitions Led To This Mess (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

To me, I think there is a firewall of trust between product and business model that needs to be maintained, and Adobe has failed to do so. It’s not that Adobe necessarily made a mistake with its terms of service. It’s that goodwill around Adobe was so low that a modest terms change was nearly enough to topple the whole damn thing over. Adobe needs to get over its focus on B2B and realize that it is a B2C company whether it likes it or not, and price and focus accordingly. Cheap education pricing will not win over the next generation of creatives forever.

Source: Adobe’s Enterprise-First Ambitions Led To This Mess by Ernie Smith