The magical thinking of guys who love logic | The Outline:

It was much less fun for them to reckon with say, the complex social structures within the skeptic community, and the way that might affect the movement, than it was to make fun of some hick who couldn’t get his head round evolution. Those were the people who had some learning to do — for the New Atheists themselves, there was nothing more to learn. If people from marginalised groups within the movement started speaking about issues which involved listening and learning, or self-reflecting on one’s biases… well, that was unacceptable, since it would require wider reading and understanding of issues that were not immediately accessible or aesthetically pleasing to many New Atheist men.

In retrospect, it’s unsurprising that a lot of New Atheism devolved into reactionary, antifeminist, and even white supremacist thought, because it was never really about the things it claimed to be about. The dominant affect of New Atheism wasn’t humility, or reflexivity, or curiosity, all the things one truly needs to improve intellectually. It was smugness.

The whole article is worth reading.

I was just dropping my Smith-Corona Super off at the local typewriter shop for a repair—the carriage has stopped advancing after the first few keystrokes—and I’m pretty sure I spotted a Remington Streamliner up on the top shelf. I am concerned that I may end up spending a fair amount of money in that place.
57 Words

“I mean, we barely even use technology,” the person tells me via video chat, in a meeting scheduled via an online calendar to discuss a plan built out in a shared document.

Uhh… sure. Okay.

35 Words

I’m not finishing Tessa Hadley’s Late In the Day.

I have been reading Tessa Hadley’s new novel Late In the Day for the last week or so. At about the two-thirds mark last night, I decided to give up and move on to the next book in my to-be-read pile.

The characters in Late In the Day are all irritating and their problems were not interesting. Making matters worse, I found Hadley’s narrative style to be overly documentarian; I kept thinking of John Cale’s narration of the story of Waldo and Marsha in The Velvet Underground song “The Gift”.

Life is too short to spend time finishing a novel I don’t like just to say that I have finished it.

Next up: The Witch Elm by Tana French.

Your Smart Light Can Tell Amazon and Google When You Go to Bed – Bloomberg:

As Inc. and Google work to place their smart speakers at the center of the internet-connected home, both technology giants are expanding the amount of data they gather about customers who use their voice software to control other gadgets.

For several years, Amazon and Google have collected data every time someone used a smart speaker to turn on a light or lock a door. Now they’re asking smart-home gadget makers such as Logitech and Hunter Fan Co. to send a continuous stream of information.

In other words, after you connect a light fixture to Alexa, Amazon wants to know every time the light is turned on or off, regardless of whether you asked Alexa to toggle the switch. Televisions must report the channel they’re set to. Smart locks must keep the company apprised whether or not the front door bolt is engaged.

Is this sort of invasion worth being able to ask a speaker to play a song?

177 Words

Large companies aren’t good homes for beloved services – Colin Devroe:

Large companies are not good homes for beloved services. We are living in an age of the internet where if a service isn’t at hundreds-of-millions of users and throwing off tons of profit they simply aren’t worth the time for companies the size of Verizon or Google. Both of these companies have enormous cemeteries in their backyards of things they’ve built or bought and shuttered regardless of their usage or loyal users.

Over the last year I’ve moved my use of platforms, services, or products to things I can control long term or are open source. Examples include my photo management process no longer being reliant on the cloud, my content all being on my own domain, and my site being on my own infrastructure. I still have more work to do but I want to future proof as much of the stuff I care about as I can.

There is a book I am interested in, so I called my local bookshop and asked them to order it. It should be in by the end of the week.

Honestly, it was just as easy and convenient as clicking the button on Amazon, and the book will get here in about the same amount of time.

Maybe it’s my old IRC roots showing, but I really don’t like the trend toward threaded conversations in channel-based chat apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and the new Google Chat product.

I get why people think it’s a good idea, but I find it much more confusing to have a bunch of simultaneous but separate conversations in a channel rather than just a continuous stream of conversation.

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction:

And perhaps the greatest danger posed to literature is not any newfangled technology or whiz-bang rearrangement of our synapses, but plain old human greed in its latest, greatest iteration: an online retailer incorporated in the same year The Gutenberg Elegies was published. In the last twenty-five years, Amazon has gorged on late capitalism’s values of ease and cheapness, threatening to monopolize not only the book world, but the world-world. In the face of such an insidious, omnivorous menace—not merely the tech giant, but the culture that created and sustains it—I find it difficult to disentangle my own fear about the future of books from my fear about the futures of small-town economies, of American democracy, of the earth and its rising seas.

132 Words