Abacus Noir

Self Wright

Of conspiracies and “conspiracism”

Ten-to-fifteen years ago, I would’ve been very surprised to see an op-ed like this published, and I would’ve been even more surprised to find myself nodding along.

Monthly recap (May 2021)

Clay modeling “face” made around a spiky round seed ball that fell from a tree

Major updates

  • Not a lot, this month just flew by!

Minor updates

  • Some gardening attempts at home
  • A “terrarium activity” at work; got a hardy plant in the bowl to show for it
  • Weekend
  • Random play time: clay modeling, lego

Watched/read/played/made

  • Tools: spending more time in Doom Emacs
  • Tools: Found Roam too slow for my “life-log”, tried Tinderbox for a while, but settled back with DevonThink
  • Watched: The Last Days on Netflix

On history and progress

From

https://www.city-journal.org/lionel-trillings-warning

Deja Vu

From an article in Wired Magazine, in 1995

– Today’s Next Big Something is so wrapped in hype it’s tough to see what’s really going on. And as the hype solidifies into conventional wisdom, almost anyone can recite the narrative. It goes like this: The online revolution is happening now. The revolution will facilitate interaction through the digital exchange of information. By exchanging information, we grow closer as a community. By exchanging information, we become free. Blah, blah, blah.

– But what if conventional wisdom is wrong? What if the crystal-ball narrative doesn’t turn out as planned? What if, a decade or so from now, we wake up to find that the digisphere has been overrun by swarms of inane mass marketeers – people who believe that “interacting” is something you do with a set-top box that provides only an endless stream of movies-on-demand, bargains overflowing from virtual shopping malls, and spiffy videogames?

It has happened before.

– This isn’t the first time a new medium has come along, promising to radically transform the way we relate to one another. It isn’t even the first time a fellowship of amateur trailblazers has led the charge across the new media hinterland. Radio started out the same way. It was a truly interactive medium. It was user-dominated and user-controlled. But gradually, as the airwaves became popular, that precious interactivity was lost. We need to understand how that happened.

Generally interesting links – May 2021

(not a lot this month …)

  • A bunch of interesting alternative CLI tools
  • Some drama over at Freenode (used to hang out there a lot up until a few years ago)

A look inside PayPal of old

Generally interesting links – Apr 2021

“Shipton’s Arch”

Science

Watchables

  • I like watching all the “Beauty of …” videos, this is one on BladeRunner 49

The world

Readables

Computing

Watching the Hobbit

I recently finished (over a few months) reading through the illustrated version of The Hobbit with my daughter.

This week the whole family watched the 1977 animated version of the Hobbit, and we loved it.

My “possibly unpopular opinion” here is that it is better than the new remakes.

With its 78 minute length (compared with the several hours run time of the three Peter Jackson movies), the story is crisp.

The animation too, is “old school”; pre-dating any CGI, every frame is hand-colored, and there is a very different feel to it.

Additionally, the custom song that serves as the theme of the movie is just … wonderful.

Its lyrics are inspiring.

The man who’s a dreamer and never takes leave

Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe

Will never know passion, will never know pain.

Who sits by the window will one day see rain.

P.S. I also found this Original Soundtrack (which is really the entire audio track of the movie!) with the video featuring an illustrated book — Youtube is a goldmine for rare stuff like this.

MLP and Star Trek

Yes, this is a serious title.

While reading with Tara, I have acquired a “taste” for My Little Pony, and this has largely been due to all the references found within it.

These are not for kids at all or even (come to think of it) for most adults, but rather for a vague yet specific nerdy subculture.

I came across an extremely specific one recently, where Cosmos (a … well, cosmic villain) utters something while being defeated.

“Beratis Kesla Redjac”

I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that this is something uttered in a specific Star Trek episode. The classic Star Trek (“Wolf in the fold”, 1967)

This is not a generic Star Trek reference (I can share an example of that later). No, if you had watched every episode of the classic Star Trek but this one, you wouldn’t get it.

I have, for better or worse, watched (along with my brother for most of them) and re-watched these episodes about twenty years ago, and it triggered a vague recollection.

The writers clearly enjoy themselves with these series, and I don’t think they’d find similar luck anywhere else. I don’t know, really, where else you’d find a mix of bizarre out-of-the-blue references in the middle of a completely unrelated for-kids-no-really storyline.

He-man

I did not expect to see this in a store, not in 2021.

Yes, it’s good ‘ol He-Man and Battle Cat.

The last time I saw this was probably the early 90s.

Now I’m wondering whether I just wasn’t paying attention for several years, or it’s “come back in style” recently.

Weird.

On old software

George R. R. Martin, when asked by Conan O’ Brien, on why he wrote on on an old PC, running MS-DOS, not connected to the internet, in Wordstar 4.0.

I actually like it, it does everything I want a word processing program to do and it doesn’t do anything else. I don’t want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lowercase letter and it becomes a capital letter. I don’t want a capital. If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key.

Page 1 of 86

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén