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Wednesday, June 04, 2014
It's that time again, and yes, I guess it's been that time a lot lately, but links are fun, so enjoy them why don't you:
- Law and Order: GOT - Pitch perfect. I saw this before last week's episode and felt a pang of sorrow when I saw Oberyn.
- Fitness Crazed - It turns out that the latest scientific approaches to exercise are generally inferior to the simplicity of old timey weightlifting routines.
The program sounded like an unscientific joke. It called for exactly three workouts per week, built around five old-fashioned lifts: the squat, dead lift, power clean, bench press and standing press. But the black-and-white photographs were so poorly shot, and the people in them were so clearly not fitness models, that it seemed legit.
Personally, I have a couple sets of dumbells in the basement and an elliptical (my workouts also usually include old standbys like pushups and situps), and I seem to be doing alright for myself.
... Now for the astonishing part: It worked. I was able to lift a tiny bit more every single time, like magic - or, rather, like Milo of Croton, the ancient Greek wrestler who is said to have lifted a newborn calf and then lifted it every day thereafter, as it grew, until Milo carried a full-grown bull.
- The ghost in the machine - As Kottke predicted, this hit me right in the feels. It's a touching story, but the biggest shock is that it turns out that sometimes Youtube comments actually contain something worthwhile.
- The Age of Instant Backlash - Outrage happens at the speed of Twitter, but I think Shamus has a good point here:
...if you're unhappy that someone, somewhere is having an apoplectic freak-out over entertainment news? You might as well get mad at the weather. You might have a point, but there's no fighting human nature.
Perhaps the problem is that we're taking Twitter too seriously. I'm very optimistic about technology, but not every sentence uttered in haste into a social network is cause for panic. Just because someone cracks wise about the new Batman v Superman title doesn't really mean all that much, but everyone seems in a rush to put out think pieces wondering why some people don't like the title and what does it all mean? Characterizing that as backlash is probably jumping the gun a bit. The same could be said for just about any other topic, including more serious ones.
- Everything Is Broken - Hey look, more tech pessimism:
Your average piece-of-shit Windows desktop is so complex that no one person on Earth really knows what all of it is doing, or how.
Hardware has improved pretty reliably over the past few decades. Software? Not so much.
Now imagine billions of little unknowable boxes within boxes constantly trying to talk and coordinate tasks at around the same time, sharing bits of data and passing commands around from the smallest little program to something huge, like a browser -that's the internet. All of that has to happen nearly simultaneously and smoothly, or you throw a hissy fit because the shopping cart forgot about your movie tickets.
We often point out that the phone you mostly play casual games on and keep dropping in the toilet at bars is more powerful than all the computing we used to go to space for decades.
NASA had a huge staff of geniuses to understand and care for their software. Your phone has you.
Plus a system of automatic updates you keep putting off because you’re in the middle of Candy Crush Saga every time it asks.
Because of all this, security is terrible.
That's all for now!