Liked Why QAnon Left Reddit (The Atlantic)

The tale of how Reddit squashed QAnon seems like it must hold a tangible lesson for the rest of the social web, but the internet is messier than that. The particularities of Reddit, its culture, and the timing of its QAnon purge cannot be replicated by other companies. QAnon has found fertile ground on even more mainstream sites than Reddit. It simply doesn’t need the platform anymore.

Liked Waterworld at 25: Reappraising cinema’s biggest flop (BBC)

But if film fans are now beginning to appreciate Waterworld, why was it so eagerly dismissed and savaged when it originally hit cinemas? According to the University of Liverpool’s Yannis Tzioumakis, a perfect storm of issues blighted its release. First of all, there was a “huge increase in what’s called enfotainment” – the combination of entertainment and industry news. This primarily covers “box office figures and film productions, especially if they have problems and go over budget”.

Comedy and humour often serves as a safe space for addressing.

I thought using the Mr Men characters provided a lovely safe space to discuss their characteristics, traits and wellbeing. The characters were a proxy for some of the feelings they might have. You can imagine developing this further with other characters from other stories or films.

The problem is when this cuts too close to the bone, when the medium serves up a mirror too close to the truth. Such a safe space then becomes uncanny.

Filed an Issue Post Kinds (Github)
David, I am having issues with the new version of Post Kinds. Although I am able to publish posts, I am finding that the content is disappearing from the screen in the editor for some posts once published:

A screensho

I am also finding that some links are being stripped from Response Properties when I publish. For example, I tried posting this issue from my site, but it kept removing the Github URL when I press ‘publish’.

Here are the error details provided by WordPress:

WordPress version 5.5.1
Current theme: Collect2016 (version 0.1)
Current plugin: Post Kinds (version 3.4.1)
PHP version 7.2.33


An error of type E_ERROR was caused in line 255 of the file /home/readwrit/ Error message: Uncaught Error: Call to a member function format() on string in /home/readwrit/
Stack trace:
#0 /home/readwrit/ divide_datetime(‘2020-09-17T10:1…’)
#1 /home/readwrit/ Kind_Metabox::kind_the_time(‘cite_published’, ‘Published/Relea…’, ‘2020-09-17T10:1…’, ‘published’)
#2 /home/readwrit/ require_once(‘/home/readwrit/...’)
#3 /home/readwrit/ require_once(‘/home/readwrit/...’)
#4 /home/readwrit/ load_template(‘/home/readwrit/…’)

Listened From John Lennon to Bob Dylan: Lou Reed’s 100 favourite songs of all time from

Not long before he passed away, Reed sat down with the Helsinki Music Club in an attempt to collect 100 of the songs he would consider the greatest of all time. That list of artists, rescued by Acclaimed Music, includes a typically adventurous mix of musicians which range from the likes of John Lennon and Bob Dylan to Outcast and Moe Tucker.

Link to the Spotify playlist.

via Austin Kleon

Bookmarked LF10 – Permissionless Identities (Little Futures)

For both full timers and independents, career growth in a permissionless world is increasingly going to be a modular and iterative process vs the step-change enabled by the old world of gatekeepers.

So don’t wait for permission. If you’re unsure about the future of your career – don’t look for answers, don’t look for validation or labels – look for experiments, new networks and narrative air-cover. And remember that this networked permissionless world has enabled the opportunity to simply write your way into a new way of thinking and being

Big futures are permissioned. Little futures are permissionless.

Tom Critchlow discusses blogging and thinking out loud as a form of narrative institutions.

One way to create narrative stability is through creating “narrative institutions” – these are projects, websites, businesses, side projects, hobbies or activities that you can lean on for stability. While formal things like career, job description or professional label are in flux we can rely on our narrative institution to provide stability.

I wonder how this relates to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s discussion of anti-fragility?

Replied to Watch Tame Impala Go Full Synthpop, Playing “Borderline” On Fallon (Stereogum)

Tame Impala are not a rock band anymore. Kevin Parker’s long-running project might’ve started out making bleary-eyed psych-rock, but they haven’t really been a rock band in years. Over their last few albums, the band has embraced synthpop and disco and various other forms of non-guitar music. And last night, in their role as musical guests on The Tonight Show, Parker and his band practically made it official.

I actually enjoyed the Tiny Desk Concert as well as this performance and do not mind the change. What interests me is how they might reimagine their older songs with the new setup. I guess their FIFA 21 gives some clues:

Replied to Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Day in Trump’s America (

The two Tom the Dancing Bug books, Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse, and The Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reader, are now available. Information about the books, including how to order, and special offers here.

I love how this Richard Scarry image is able to capture so much.
Bookmarked Imagining the pandemic continues into 2023: part 1 (

How could such a 2023 occur?  Several things will have to not happen:

  1. Right now there’s a lot of discussion about a coronavirus vaccine.  While one doesn’t exist, many hope or expect one over this winter.  However, the vaccine will take time.  To begin with, it’s a hard problem.  Nobody has ever built a coronavirus vaccine before.  It’ll have to be tested and trialled for human safety – and it will have to actually be effective.  Then it needs to be produced at enormous scale, hundreds of millions of doses.  Then distributed worldwide.  This assumes people only need one dose; given recent reinfection stories, we might need doses every year, or more frequently still, which amplifies production and distribution challenges.  On top of that, this rosy view assumes enough people will actually take the vaccine.  Given the persistent antivax movement, the politicization of science in many nations, and some popular skepticism of medical authorities… it could take a while for an as yet uninvented vaccine to actually do its job.  Months or years.
  2. COVID-19 will have to not mutate into less virulent forms.  Viruses mutate, like all life forms, and it’s possible that this awful thing could develop into something less terrible.
  3. An effective treatment for infected people would have to not appear.  Over 2020 better therapies have been developed, but the infection experience is still terrible.
  4. Some call for herd immunity as a solution to COVID’s ravages.  I’d like to discuss just what a horror that would be in another post.  For now let’s imagine the death toll, should America truly attain herd immunity.  There are roughly 328.2 million people in this country.  Let’s posit 80% of them need to get infected for immunity to work, or about 262.5 million.  Then let’s assume a fairly reasonable-to-low case fatality rate of 0.6%.  The result: around one million, five hundred thousand dead.  Which is an astonishing, terrible figure to contemplate.  For the purposes of forecasting, it’s also a problem in that it would take some time to attain.  In six months about 6 million Americans have been infected.  At that rate sufficient infection will take something like 20 years.  Even if infection rates take off, through accidental or deliberate means, it will take some time for herd immunity to be attained.

For the sake of futuring one possible path I’d like to posit that none of those things take place before 2023.  No herd immunity arrives any time soon.  Hundreds of millions of people are not taking our COVID vaccine.  No benign mutation has appeared.  Medical professionals have not developed a splendid treatment.  If none of those occur, then we have one path forward for COVID-19 to keep ravaging the United States for at least several years.

Bryan Alexander adds to his hypothesising about how the current pandemic might unfold. This time he elaborates on the possibility that things continue in much the same fashion until 2023.
Replied to Watch London Grammar’s Ultra-Chill Cover Of The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” (

The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” is a bona fide smash that’s hit #1 in dozens of countries. In the US, it’s the song that ended the very, very long #1 reign of Roddy Ricch’s “The Box.” This week, “Blinding Lights” broke a Billboard record, logging more weeks in the top five for longer than any other single in history.

First, The Naked and Famous took on The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights:

Now London Grammar put their own spin on it:

I wonder if it is the simplicity of the structure which draws people to reimagine?

Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers from The Naked and Famous share some of their thinking here:

Replied to David Lynch on getting ideas (

Thank you Austin for sharing. I love this reflection on ideas from David Lynch:

If you catch an idea, you know, any idea, it wasn’t there and then it’s there! It might just be a small fragment, of, like I say, a feature film or a song of a lyric or whatever, but you gotta write that idea down right away. And as you’re writing, sometimes it’s amazing how much comes out, you know, from that one flash…

This reminds me of an interview between Kevin Parker and Rick Ruben in which Parker talks about the challenge of capture ideas when they come to you. Ruben shares how Neil Young always responds to ideas no matter how rude it may be. This excerpt captures Young’s thinking:

Usually 1 sit down and 1 go until I’m trying to think. As soon as I start thinking, I quit… then when I have an idea out of nowhere, I start up again. When that idea stops, I stop. I don’t force it. If its not there, it’s not there, and there’s nothing you can do about it… There’s the conscious mind and the subconscious mind and the spirit. And I can only guess as to what is really going on there. (Zollo, 1997, pp. 354-5)

Ruben then gives Parker permission to stop what you are doing and capture the ideas when they come.

Liked Throw Another Chair Leg On The Fire, We’re In A Recession by (

Mr Abbott also shared some thoughts on what he termed a “health dictatorship” being run by the Victorian Government, which he argues is needlessly prioritising the life of the elderly over freedom, viz: “Every life is precious and every death is sad, but that’s never stopped families sometimes electing to make elderly relatives as comfortable as possible while nature takes its course,” he told the committee.

Bookmarked crumple zones by Alex Hern ([object Object])

In 2018, Rafaela Vasquez was working as a “safety driver” for Uber in Arizona. Employed to sit in a “self-driving car”, and seize control if something went wrong, she was behind the wheel when the car, a modified Volvo, hit and killed a pedestrian. The details, as they always are, are messy. The car had been altered to disable Volvo’s own automatic braking function, so as to test Uber’s machine learning system. The pedestrian was crossing the road outside of a designated spot. Arizona had passed wildly permissive laws allowing testing of self-driving vehicles with minimal oversight, in an effort to tempt valuable engineering jobs from companies like Google and Uber. And Vasquez, at the time of the collision, was watching TV.

Alex Hern discusses self-driving cars and the difference between Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy:

Waymo now says that experience was crucial in guiding how it approached self-driving cars. Rather than aiming for so-called “level 4” autonomy, where the car can mostly drive itself but a human needs to take over in emergencies, the company decided to jump straight to “level 5” – where a human driver is never needed. Their experience was that human drivers simply weren’t capable of serving as a back-up to a nearly-but-not-entirely infallible robot.

The reality in the end is that although full automation is the goal, companies like Uber are still reliant on humans to step in when needed and this is easier said than done.

Liked HEWN, No. 351 by Audrey Watters (HEWN)

Despite trying to take a break from thinking and writing about ed-tech for the past month, I’ve become immersed in its practice. Audrey the pigeon too. And it’s not just the behavioral technologies. Dog companionship has me buying products and services that I’ve long railed against. Poppy is chipped, for example — the doggy surveillance technology everyone has given into “for their safety.” I also paid for a doggy DNA test. (She’s 50% Rottweiler, 12% American Staffordshire Terrier, 12% Labrador Retriever, 12% McNab, 7% Bullmastiff, and 6% German Shepherd, supposedly.) I bought a Roomba that runs daily to deal with the pet hair. We’re considering buying a car.

But we’re all making do with the shitty circumstances and the bad choices and the terrible technologies, I suppose. Be patient, the dog trainer reminds me. You got this. Click. Treat.

Bookmarked The Social Dilemma Fails to Tackle the Real Issues in Tech by (Slate)

Ultimately, this omission of experts and lack of nuance results in The Social Dilemma feeling like a missed opportunity. On the plus side, it informs a wide audience about issues like surveillance, persuasive design practices, and the spread of misinformation online, which may encourage them to hold big technology companies accountable. But who gets to convey this information and how it is framed are also crucial. Amplifying voices who have always had a seat at the table and continuing to ignore those who haven’t will not lead us any closer to resolving the dilemma the film claims to present.

Pranav Malhotra argues that although the documentry The Social Dilemma is helpful in providing information about the problems with social media, the choice of whose voices are included and how it is framed is problematic.

This documentary, which will undoubtedly reach a global audience being on Netflix (itself a key cog within the technology industry), could have amplified such voices. It could have also given space to critical internet and media scholars like Safiya Noble, Sarah T. Roberts, and Siva Vaidhyanathan, just to name a few, who continue to write about how broader structural inequalities are reflected in and often amplified by the practices of big technology companies.

This is something that Maria Farrell also touches on this in regards to the ‘prodigal techbros‘.

The prodigal tech bro doesn’t want structural change. He is reassurance, not revolution. He’s invested in the status quo, if we can only restore the founders’ purity of intent. Sure, we got some things wrong, he says, but that’s because we were over-optimistic / moved too fast / have a growth mindset. Just put the engineers back in charge / refocus on the original mission / get marketing out of the c-suite. Government “needs to step up”, but just enough to level the playing field / tweak the incentives. Because the prodigal techbro is a moderate, centrist, regular guy. Dammit, he’s a Democrat. Those others who said years ago what he’s telling you right now? They’re troublemakers, disgruntled outsiders obsessed with scandal and grievance. He gets why you ignored them. Hey, he did, too. He knows you want to fix this stuff. But it’s complicated. It needs nuance. He knows you’ll listen to him. Dude, he’s just like you…

via Bill Fitzgerald

Bookmarked The Hidden Costs of Streaming Music by (New Yorker)

Alex Ross on the environmental costs of streaming-music services like Spotify and Kyle Devine’s recent book, “Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music.”

In reviewing Kyle Devine’s book, Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music, Alex Ross reflects upon the the materiality of music. From the materials used to record music to the energy associated with streaming, Ross discusses the various parts of music. This feels like it sits in the same vain as The New Dark Age.
Replied to A checklist for how I’d like comments to work in WordPress by Jeremy Felt (

In current WordPress, the only way for a comment to remain private is for it to stay in an “unapproved” status. It would be nice if comments could flow more easily between unapproved, private, and public.


  • When someone leaves a comment, an option is available to submit the comment as private so that only the post author will see it.
  • When a post author moderates a comment, an option is available to make it private.
  • A post author has the ability to privately reply to a public or private comment within the WordPress admin.
Jeremy, I really like the idea of private comments. I guess this is a part of the wider discussion around private posts.