Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Weeknotes 2021-05-16

A quote

“Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at last it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share.” – Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

The world:

  • Violence escalated in the Israel-occupied Gaza strip over the past week, as the IDF bombarded Palestinian-occupied civilian areas and buildings (including a building housing the Associated Press and al-Jazeera) supposedly in retaliation for missile strikes from Hamas. I won’t pretend to be knowledgable in the history and complexities of the Israel-Palestine conflicts. We kind of grew up in a world where the international media narrative has almost always had a pro-Israel slant (especially since the US government tends to support them), so our opinions are often biased in that direction. But this time feels different, this time feels like the state of Israel is losing control of the narrative and more and more people are supporting the Palestinians. I would suggest anyone who has grown up exposed to the pro-Israel narrative to start following some sources espousing the POV from the Palestinian/Arab world. I personally follow Rami Ismail, an indie gamedev who happens to be Muslim, his coverage of the current crisis over the past few days has been insightful.
  • Meanwhile, in the US a gas pipeline fell victim to a ransomware attack, causing people to worry about a gas shortage and apparently start pumping gas into plastic bags. Eh, what?
  • The US CDC has issued guidance that vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks indoors, but apparently this relies on some sort of honesty system. Not sure this is going to end well.
  • Lockdown restrictions are being lowered in the NCR+ bubble, and the powers-that-be have decided to define an entirely new classification level “GCQ with heightened restrictions”. Meanwhile, Singapore and Taiwan are increasing their lockdown levels because they got a few dozen cases. The contrast is stark.
  • Cory Doctorow writes about The Memex Method (warning: Medium), basically reflections on 20+ years of blogging and how it has affected his thinking and note taking and such.
    • I’m a big of Doctorow as a blogger and have been basically following him since his days at Boing-Boing. It feels like we’ve been blogging for around the same time, but he’s gone a lot further with the practice. I wish I had the energy and capacity he has for the regular, daily blogging and linksharing that he does.
  • Speaking of Doctorow, I like his recent discussion of how copyright filters lead to wage theft. Excerpt:
    • The impossibility of automating copyright judgments didn’t stop Google from trying to perfect its filter, adding layers of complexity until Content ID’s appeal process turned into a cod-legal system whose flowchart looks like a bowl of spaghetti. … The resulting mess firmly favors attackers (wage stealers, fraudsters, censors, bullies) over defenders (creators, critics). Attackers don’t need to waste their time making art, which leaves them with the surplus capacity to master the counterintuitive “legal” framework.

  • Chris McCormick writes about how a million people saw his dumbest tweet, yet another reflection on withdrawing from social media.
  • Scott Berkun writes about how Bad CEOs Fear Remote Work, a mindset that will hopefully become rarer as we move towards the pandemic-ushered future.
  • StumbledUpon used to be a thing, and there’s a new site that kind of aims to be a spiritual successor I guess? I haven’t found anything interesting yet in my few rolls though.
  • Pottery barn is selling bilaos as “round wall art”

From the archives, this week in history:

My stuff:

Noodles #sketchdaily 127/365 (Correction: 128/365)
Noodles #sketchdaily 127/365 (Correction: 128/365) (Click to view full-size)
  • Watching:
  • Gaming:
    • Still playing a bunch of Horizon Zero Dawn on PS4 and Street Fighter V on Steam. Kind of stuck in a rut with Balrog (Boxer), need to leve up!
    • Currently looking for a single-player game to play and stream on twitch when Arena limited is off season, so that I’m not only doing Arena streams for a while.
  • Had quiz night last night, but we didn’t do particularly well.
  • Did some more work on the triviastorm back-end code.

This coming week:

Huh, nothing in particular I’m looking forward to this week. Anything I missed?

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