Link Dump

After months of Hugo recapping and Kung Fu, the links have been piling up, they have. Enjoy:

  • Carmageddon is Coming – Angus Hervey forecasts the convergence of mobile tech, electic cars, and self-driving software:

    Within a few years, electric vehicles are going to be cheaper, more durable and more reliable than petrol powered cars, autonomy will be good enough that you don’t need human drivers and everyone will be able to hail a car on their phone (or their voice-activated Alexa spectacles). The cost of taking a car trip will become cheaper than getting a coffee, which means it will be accessible to everyone. Overnight, we’ll see a mass defection to mobility as a service.

    This is the real kicker: we don’t have to wait for people to get rid of their old cars; one morning, they’ll sit down and do their monthly budget, and realise it makes more sense to hail an autonomous, electric vehicle. Given a choice, people will select the cheaper option.

    The predicted timelines are a bit aggressive, but I think this gets the general shape of things right, including all the non-obvious impacts (to things like healthcare, etc…) I’m at the point right now where I would normally be thinking about getting a new car, but if these things actually do progress this quickly, that might not be a wise choice…

  • Meet the Artist Using Ritual Magic to Trap Self-Driving Cars – On the other hand, these guys trapped a self-driving car using a salt-circle, just like the frigging Winchester brothers use to fight demons. (In all seriousness, this is the sort of thing people point to as a silly failure mode of self-driving cars… that will obviously be solved quickly and quietly, until such failure modes become vanishingly rare, which won’t take too long…)
  • Pharma Bro claims he can’t get a fair trial because of Post’s coverage – The story is fine and all, but this is worth clicking through just for the courtroom sketch, which makes Martin Shkreli look like an orc. Well played, courtroom artist, well played.
  • How a Minor Character from ‘Taxi Driver’ Influenced One of the Most Iconic Scenes in ‘Pulp Fiction’ – Neat story about how the character Easy Andy (the guy who sells DeNiro guns in a hotel room) was played by an actor who basically inspired one of Tarantino’s famous scenes from Pulp Fiction.
  • no feelings may be hurt – Generalizing lessons from disputes over sexuality:

    demand for the affirmation of sexual choices may simply be an example of a greater demand, that for the affirmation of all the self’s choices. The real principles here are (a) I am my own and (b) the purpose of society is to empower and affirm my claim that I am my own.

  • Remembering the Murder You Didn’t Commit – Innocent people so thoroughly bamboozled that even after they’ve been exonerated by DNA evidence, they still feel guilt and can recall the crime they didn’t commit. It’s an incredible story.
  • “I Just Wanted To Survive” – Another crazy story, this time about a college football player who was abducted and tortured for 40 hours.
  • The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We’re All Going To Miss Almost Everything – Worth keeping in mind:

    The vast majority of the world’s books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It’s just numbers.

    … there are really only two responses if you want to feel like you’re well-read, or well-versed in music, or whatever the case may be: culling and surrender.

    Culling is the choosing you do for yourself. It’s the sorting of what’s worth your time and what’s not worth your time.

    … Surrender, on the other hand, is the realization that you do not have time for everything that would be worth the time you invested in it if you had the time, and that this fact doesn’t have to threaten your sense that you are well-read. Surrender is the moment when you say, “I bet every single one of those 1,000 books I’m supposed to read before I die is very, very good, but I cannot read them all, and they will have to go on the list of things I didn’t get to.”

    What I’ve observed in recent years is that many people, in cultural conversations, are far more interested in culling than in surrender. And they want to cull as aggressively as they can. After all, you can eliminate a lot of discernment you’d otherwise have to apply to your choices of books if you say, “All genre fiction is trash.”

    With apologies for chopping up my quote so much, this idea that people are obsessed with culling is definitely a thing that spreads across broad spectrums. No one wants to build towards expertise, they want to know what the best such-and-such thing is so that they can immediately become an expert. I see this pattern all over (to pick a non-obvious example, beer is filled with dorks who are obsessed with only drinking walez, bro). But you need to know the bad before you can realize what the good is really doing. For skills, you need to learn to fail and learn from your failures before you can really achieve something. There was a computer programmer who got fed up with the preponderance of “Learn to program in 24 hours” style books, so he wrote a book called “Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years”. Back to books and movies, I recapped a fairly wide swatch of martial arts films last week, but I’ve only really scratched the surface. Many of these movies aren’t “great” in a broad sense, but even some of the bad ones have important or interesting elements that I’m really glad I caught up with…

And I think that’s enough for now. Stay tuned, but I, um, don’t know what’s coming up next. This is both nice and also somewhat troubling.

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