The “Tsar Bomba” nuclear test on Oct 30, 1961.

Science

History

People, culture, society

  • Cautionary tale: carry water while hiking

  • On the impermanence of digital culture

    • If you’re young today, your formative years depend on auto-deleted snapchat videos, short-lived memes, stories told in computer games likely unplayable in 30 years (without emulation of complex proprietary CPUs and GPUs), and whatever happens to flutter by in a feed. I’m curious what the future of reminiscing will look like, even if all of this is saved somehow. So much to sift through, so few tangible artifacts.
    • Even more traditional culture is less permanent: we get our music and movies from streaming services, we rent our e-books through EULA:s and consume them on devices controlled by the manufacturer. I do most of this myself – but I was young in a different era and I at least have my stacks of CD:s (including bob hund) tucked away in a safe place and shelves full of the prose and movies that shaped me.
    • And yet, despite these and countless other examples, we still put our faith in digital permanence. We create so many mementos we hardly have time to look at them and then we entrust them all to companies and platforms beyond our control, storing them on machines we don’t own using services that could disappear tomorrow. Will Youtube still be there in 50 years? Will Instagram and Dropbox?
    • I mostly have questions, not answers. But I do know that a carefully handled bunch of photographs can last for over a century.
  • Bizarre conference call mishap

    • Once everyone had made the switch to an old-fashioned conference call, the guest told the bankers what they had been wanting to hear: That Ozy was a great success on YouTube. As he spoke, however, the man’s voice began to sound strange to the Goldman Sachs team, as though it might have been digitally altered, the four people said.

    • (later …) A confused Piper told the Goldman Sachs investor that he had never spoken with her before. Someone else, it seemed, had been playing the part of Piper on the call with Ozy.

Computing & Software

Tools

Reader submissions

  • The importance of human tool co-evolution

    • “We are inside the machine”: even truer a decade later (!)
    • “Micro-biome of a massive AI only now being born”
    • “Always get your wish, and always get it wrong”
    • “…. runaway objective function … Growth must go on forever”

btw, I’m always happy to hear about interesting stuff, please feel free to send them over to mail+curation@agambrahma.com