To celebrate a July 4 weekend (eh, close enough), we take the usual spin through the depths of ye olde internets for interesting links:
- Goncharov – This is a nonexistent 1973 gangster film directed by Martin Scorsese with the tagline “The greatest mafia movie ever made”. It was conceived on Tumblr in 2022? Wow, I thought Tumblr had pretty much grown into complete irrelevance, but this is pretty funny. This fake movie has a pretty elaborate set of details like posters and superfans that make it feel real. (I discovered this on my phone many moons ago and kept forgetting to include it in one of these link dumps, so I’m way behind the curve here, but still…)
- The city put out a ‘Potty Poll’ to name its new public bathrooms and Philly did not disappoint – These sorts of polls are always a bad idea from the perspective of the people running them (see also: Boaty McBoatface), but lots of fun for everyone else. Some Philly highlights: “Wee the People”, “Porta Jawn”, “Phlush”, “Wooder-Closet”, “Leave Turds, Go Birds”, and “The Dallas Cowboys”. All well and good, but my personal favorite remains: “Kite and Pee”
- How the States Got Their Abbreviations – I don’t know, I’d watch that documentary.
- Back to the Orifice – Interesting take on how “work from home” has changed things and why many “back to the office” pushes are unsuccessful:
The problem with the post-pandemic “back to the office” push is that companies now want three different things from white-collar office workers:
- Spontaneous in-person teamwork.
- Virtual worldwide collaboration.
- Individual productivity.
It’s easy to create to a workspace that supports any one of these three modes of work. It’s hard but possible to create a workspace that supports two. But no workspace can support all three at once because they make radically incompatible demands.
- What the Sports Culture War is All About – Evenhanded portrayal of the way politics and sports interact that comes down right around where I do. Many culture war battles are exhausting because they force people to take sides that aren’t especially relevant to them or to what they’re talking about, which is one reason the current battles in sports are so annoying:
What the subsequent generations aren’t getting as much, what the leagues are confounding in their efforts to woo them, and what activist groups are hamfistedly attempting to channel, is of a transcendent nature. Sports is a surrender, and that’s what makes them great. To notice that so many people sign up to be hypnotized together is less to identify a problem than it is to identify the need it’s addressing. Also, sports is more mirror than mover of the zeitgeist, always a time capsule of conventional wisdom. It remains valuable ad space due to optics and scale, but it’s hard to truly harness towards propagandistic ends. Why? Because the fan communes with the game specifically not to be focused on anything else.
- Baseball player looks for the “and 1” foul – Speaking of sports, this is a very funny baseball play that draws on basketball for the joke. It’s also on Twitter, which is a disaster right now, so I apologize.
- Apparently you’ll need to be logged into Twitter to view this, and even if you are, you will be rate limited on the amount of tweets you can view. For the record, this is worth being one of the 600 tweets you’ll be able to view right now. Anywho, I’m thinking Twitter is pretty much toast at this point. There are competing explanations for this weekend’s woes, in part because all of them stem from stupid decisions and are thus manifestly believable.
- Explanation the first: Musk wanted to limit viewing twitter to users of twitter. On its face, this seems stupid, but it’s not unheard of for social media, most of which limits what you can see if you’re not a member. But then, one of the things I liked about Twitter was that you didn’t need to be logged in to see it, and sharing it on text message chains was easy, etc… Anyway, the thought is that this change to limit viewership was made quickly by a depleted development team that didn’t foresee a cascade of issues arising (some dev on Mastodon speculated about Twitter DDOSing itself because when the site suppresses tweets, it thinks something is broken, so it keeps sending the request, which keeps failing, ad infinitum.)
- Explanation the second: By why was Musk trying to suppress viewership? Don’t they make money on ads? Well, he mentions bots and crawlers and whatnot, and with the AI evolution that’s going on right now, it’s certainly possible that there’s been an uptick in bots and scrapers. This makes a certain sort of sense, but obviously the execution is either broken (and thus impacting all users, not just ones not logged in), unless:
- Explanation the third: Apparently Twitter was negotiating their cloud hosting contract with Google, which had a deadline of June 30. So basically, these problems started happened right then. The conspiracy here is that maybe Twitter is out of money and can’t pay hosting fees, so they’re trying to stem the bleeding. Kinda plausible, even if it feels like we’re watching Twitter self-destruct. Not sure anyone will truly miss it.
- TCM Creative Structure Set – We’re going through a weird period of time right now where every major corporation seems to be self-sabotaging right in front of our eyes. Obviously TCM is a niche market, but Warner Bros Discovery, which had built up cred with movie dorks by supporting stuff like TCM and filmmakers and HBO, has been doing everything in their power to destroy what they’ve built. This is the third big corporation mentioned in this post alone that has made dumb decisions that are not working out well for them (also of note: Reddit is imploding because of boneheaded tech decisions as well). Anyway, the backlash to TCM changes was big enough to garner some minor concessions, which is something, I guess.
I think that’s enough for now, have a great July 4…