→ Desert Tornado

I don’t know, I thought this was kind of neat.

→ Jim Carrey in The Shining

Deepfake. I would have preferred this use his Ace Ventura voice, but I guess the AI isn’t up to that (yet).

→ The Subtle Subversion of Hating Nazis

It’s not a contest but every generation has to confront its own evil because there is something deeply wrong with human beings.

The reason for the existence of shows like Hunters is the same reason why Godwin had to come up with his “Law.” And it doesn’t have to do with the laziness of screenwriters, though that does play into it. In the absence of religious faith Hitler and the Nazis have taken the place of the devil in our collective mythology. Nazis are inhuman and irredeemably evil bogeymen who we can blame and hate and kill with impunity (at least in our works of fiction). In fact, not to do so would be a moral transgression. The only thing comparable in pop culture would be zombies, but that’s another story, and with a different meaning and message.

The great dictatorship in 1984 used scapegoats — individuals in that case — to focus and direct the people’s pent-up rage and frustration, in an effort to control them. The actual Nazis did the same, but they didn’t invent it. They simply knew how to harness it well. It’s a phenomenon as old as society and common to all peoples, because people are broken.

When you hate someone, an actual living person or group of people, who you blame for all the problems because of something you read or saw in the media — whether those people are Nazis or “the Jews” or Donald Trump or George Soros — there is a good chance you are being manipulated.

→ The Windows of Our Isolation

Since the coronavirus started spreading, our little computer and phone cameras have become the windows of our isolation, looking into other people’s lives, catching glimpses of pets, children, and spouses in the background of video calls. I find these moments deeply humanizing; reminders that we’re not perfect work machines, just people trying to do the best we can. Our hair is messy, our faces poorly framed and lit. Sometimes we leave the mic on when we go to the bathroom.

Through this tiny lens we see the ambient background of life: people working in kitchens, bedrooms or spare rooms, the hoarded detritus of life piled behind them.

Interesting article on the sudden predominance of Zoom in all of our lives. It makes some strong points about the dangers of the product itself, but also why it works the way it does, the tradeoffs we are willing to accept for the sake of convenience, and what I think are the fundamental shortcomings of all our collective characters, in that we cannot have anything good without some seeking to exploit or weaponize it.

Technology is made stupid by the constant necessity of having to guard against and outthink the bad agents.

Also, Zoom, a product known to have egregious security holes, that behaves like a virus and points a camera and mic into your home, was developed by a team of contractors from China.

→ The Most Expensive Font in the World

It’s because it takes a lot of powerful tech to bend that slant backwards.