No news cycle ever ends, if it’s viral enough

A Superwholock for every news cycle:

But it’s not that Gamergate never ended, it’s that no news cycle, if viral enough, ever actually ends now. The merge that has happened over the last decade between virality, news content, social platforms, and fandoms has created cultural pockets online that never fully die. Social platforms are full of zombie communities that were forced into existence thanks to the short-sighted incentives of corporate engagement quotas and now they light up when anything remote aligned with their initial reason for being comes across their feeds. It’s happened with the Gamergaters who became anti-Last Jedi activists who became Snyder Cut truthers who became Depp v. Heard watchers. And it’s happening with the pandemic expert LARPers who became lab leak conspiracy theorists who are now obsessed with monkeypox.

(Via Ryan Broderick)

JPMorgan still has confidence in the cryptos

JPMorgan still has confidence in the cryptos:

Crypto, the most perfectly designed way to separate a person from real wealth,

I love that sentence fragment, but I would insert “so far” as there are at least as many scammers as there are suckers in any market, and I would spell out “cryptocurrency”.

is still high on JPMorgan’s list of things to gamble on. They feel bitcoin is massively undervalued and the entire crypto shellacking that has gone on in 2022 is “capitulation.”

In fact, they are swapping out investments in real estate for digital assets. In the words of Han Solo, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

/me checks portfolio

Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales

Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales – Issue #122:

Adam Savage on Retirement and Idea-Vulnerability:
 
In a recent Q&A, Adam Savage was asked if he shares his project ideas with family and friends. His sincere answer touches on the vulnerability of an idea and how you want to be careful with whom you entrust those ideas to. His answer reminded me a little bit of Stephen King who was asked about whether he shares his work-in-progress books with anyone. His answer is no, NEVER, because of the vulnerability of the idea. King doesn’t let anyone read a word until he’s finished. His first reader is always his wife, Tabitha, because he knows she knows about idea-vulnerability. King says to have one reader, someone who understands what you’re doing and knows how to navigate the precarious nature of your creative process. Similarly, Adam suggests figuring out who the people are who you can talk to “safely” and only share your ideas with them.
I love this tip:
From the latest issue of Family Handyman comes this idea for using cheap translucent toothbrush travel cases to store bits, blades, and other small tools and components.
And then there is pure genius:
Maker’s Muse
Think of the thing that's so obvious that no one is going there. Go there.

Think of the thing that’s so obvious that no one is going there. Go there.

※ In post-Roe world, privacy researcher worries about a ‘scenario where everyone is a sheriff’

In post-Roe world, privacy researcher worries about a ‘scenario where everyone is a sheriff’:

“Your phone is the snitch in your pocket,” cybersecurity researcher Zach Edwards told the Click Here podcast this week. “Every app that you download, the permissions that you give that app, all of the other… companies that are integrated into that app also get those same permissions.”

Edwards’ area of expertise is focusing on data brokers, the companies that bundle up personal information, create anonymous profiles, and then sell it. Among other things, they keep track of the websites you visit, your GPS location, how long you’re staying in one place, and a roster of other bits of your digital dust to create pattern data. Then, anyone with a credit card can buy it.

Shortly after Politico published a Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting the conservative majority was prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision legalizing abortion, Edwards went into a roster of data broker platforms to see how the information stored there might be weaponized in states that come to outlaw — and possibly criminalize — abortion. 

Some of his findings were published in a report by Joseph Cox at Motherboard, which made clear that just about anyone with the inclination and a credit card could access granular data about abortion clinics from public sites like SafeGraph and Placer.ai  (both companies have since removed Planned Parenthood as a searchable option).

In the latest episode of Click Here, Edwards explained how simple weaponizing data can be and  why people living in rural areas need to be especially careful. 

(By Dina Temple-Raston and Will Jarvis at The Record)

Zach Edwards is not wrong. The ease with which one can acquire bulk surveillance data in the US without ever having to do the surveillance is frightening.

The US needs strong privacy legislation. Tech moguls don’t want it.

I recommend asking those seeking your vote what they will do in office to protect privacy, among other problems with such legislation.

Governor to sign ethics reform bill into law despite call for veto

Governor to sign ethics reform bill into law despite call for veto:

Gov. Bill Lee says he will sign into law legislation requiring dark-money groups that pour cash into political campaigns to disclose their expenditures before elections. … 

Supporters of the legislation, however, argued that the bill would apply only to expenditures by 501(c) groups when they spend a total of $5,000 on an election within 60 days of the vote. … 

The 30-day window for lawmakers refers to the limitation for sending taxpayer-funded mass mailings to lawmakers’ constituents. … 

Much of it requires increased reporting requirements for state lawmakers. For instance, from now on they’ll have to report just about every penny they receive and spend.

Passing a fish bowl to gather cash at community events won’t be allowed unless they document the donor of every dollar.

People who form political action committees also will be required to show a photo identification, as part of an effort to stop bogus PACs from operating in Tennessee’s government. … 

Part of the legislation also prohibits anyone in the governor’s cabinet from doing consulting work on the side. … 

During its passage, supporters pointed out they amended the legislation to ensure it wouldn’t stop nonprofit advocacy groups from communicating with members in the run-up to an election. Early in the process, they also removed a provision that would have required donors to be disclosed.

(By Sam Stockard via the Tennessee Lookout)

I had to do a lot of editing in the article to summarize the bill. I did this because I think I support this? More from the Tennessean here and here.

The bill, HB 1201, is here.

A virus we can get behind (I hope)

Big Tech Wins One.:

An experimental cancer-killing virus has been administered to a human patient for the first time, with hopes the testing will ultimately reveal evidence of a new means of successfully fighting cancer tumors in people’s bodies. The drug candidate, called CF33-hNIS (aka Vaxinia), is what’s called an oncolytic virus, a genetically modified virus designed to selectively infect and kill cancer cells while sparing healthy ones. In the case of CF33-hNIS, the modified pox virus works by entering cells and duplicating itself. Eventually, the infected cell bursts, releasing thousands of new virus particles that act as antigens, stimulating the immune system to attack nearby cancer cells. Previous research in animal models has shown the drug can harness the immune system in this way to hunt and destroy cancer cells, but up until now no testing has been done in humans. (Source: sciencealert.com et alia)


(Via John Ellis)

※ Musk and Bezo Show the Perils of Plutocratic Pettiness

Musk and Bezo Show the Perils of Plutocratic Pettiness:

Let me get nerdy for a minute. At least since the work of Max Weber a century ago, social scientists have realized that social inequality has multiple dimensions. At minimum we need to distinguish between the hierarchy of money, in which some people have a disproportionate share of society’s wealth, and the hierarchy of prestige, in which some people are specially respected and looked up to.

People may occupy very different positions in these hierarchies. Sports legends, pop stars, social media “influencers” and, yes, Nobel laureates generally do fine financially, but their wealth is surely mere pocket change compared with today’s great fortunes. Billionaires, by contrast, command deference, even servility, from those who depend on their largess, but few of them are widely known public figures and even fewer have dedicated fan bases.

The tech elite, however, had it all. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg was, for a while, a feminist icon. Musk has millions of Twitter followers, many of them actual human beings rather than bots, and these followers have often been ardent Tesla defenders.

Now the glitter is gone. Social media, once hailed as a force for freedom, are now denounced as vectors of misinformation. Tesla boosterism has been dented by tales of spontaneous combustion and autopilot accidents. Technology moguls still possess vast wealth, but the public — and the administration — isn’t offering the old level of adulation.

And it’s driving them crazy.

Tl;dr: Don’t pin hopes on these petty tech moguls.

I have a post from last year that says basically the same thing but I cannot find it.

Packing For Travel

I have many thoughts about this article.

Packing For Travel:

Your bags: Travel bags should always be rollable and made with telescoping handles.

No! No! No! If one has health reasons as to why one cannot carry bags, then roll-a-board bags make sense. If so, I strongly recommend the two wheel variety and not the common four wheel type. Why? If one needs to quickly move – say, to a distant gate to catch a tight connection, and/or have to deal with stairs – say, anywhere where there are stairs, then the two wheel bags will handle those far better than the alternative.

However, if one can do non-suitcase bags like backpacks and shoulder bags, they are the best. They are more portable, safer, flexible, and are less likely to be gate checked. I will take one of each on longer business trips.

Do Not Travel with camo or khaki or military drab or overly tactical bags. There are many places in South America and Asia where that will flag you for additional scrutiny, at best.

Also, a lot of non-US airlines are very strict about bag weight where US airlines care more about bag size. Keep that in mind when choosing between a suitcase that weighs 6 pounds empty and a bag that weighs 2.

Do Not Travel With Four Wheel Suitcases! They are AV carts, old-school Daleks. The wheels are tiny and prone to breaking. One cannot move quickly with them and they require more space when one runs alongside. To be fair, I own one for a very specific use case but otherwise avoid it.

Ideally, if you are traveling by air, you can pack everything in your carry-on, at least for the outbound trip.

True.

This is because checked bags force you to wait at the airport for them to come out at the claim

… unless you can gate check them. If so, then you might be waiting about 10 minutes.

They can also get delayed or lost, forcing you to rely on an airline’s delivery services that can take several days.

NEVER only check bags. Always keep one with you with at least a full change of clothes, medication, toiletries, and anything that might get stolen.

Lastly, as the snarkily fun/Air Babylon/suggests, checked bags can get pilfered, and since 2001 it’s effectively impossible to lock them. Even locks advertised as TSA-safe can result in your bag arriving half-open and with zippers wrenched-off because the security services don’t care. Since you can’t lock checked bags, anything that has a possibility of being checked should also be anonymous: black nylon with no particular designer marks.

True. Suitcase locks are beyond worthless. They instead signal that the bag might be worth taking.

Leave the gorgeous Rimowa aluminum on Instagram and the custom-fitted, excruciatingly heavy leather luggage for a car trip.

Yes.

If you have a flashy bag, … 

Don’t. Just … don’t.

For the return trip, consider shipping things home if you have a lot. I bought a bunch of books on a recent Portland trip and was on the tipping point of shipping versus cramming into a checked bag.

… always keep the following ready to go:

Plenty of plastic bags: To store dirty laundry, wet clothes such as swimsuits, leaky bottles of shampoo, or the new bottle of wine that you’re bringing back. You never know when you’ll need them.

Yes, but not for those reasons. You do not want to store wet clothes in a plastic bag for more than an hour or so. Instead you want something made of a modern fabric that will wick away moisture. Why are you traveling with liquid shampoo? If your wine bottle breaks a plastic bag will not help.

Slippers

Agree. Muji sells some and they have a good travel option when it’s in stock.

Travel tray: To keep hotel keys, sunglasses, change, watch, wallet, and other stuff that’s otherwise easy to leave lying around your room. Available at all price ranges, such trays can be unbuttoned at the corners so you can pack them flat. I love mine.

I have a Tom Bihn model that is multipurpose as a packable bag for tech kit.

Plastic utensils: A spare set of plastic knives, forks, and spoons will come in handy when you have to stay somewhere too sketchy for room service. More advanced colleagues travel with nutrition bars.

Agreed, though I include chopsticks (also useful in unexpected non-food ways), a thermal bottle, and a collapsable water bottle. I level up with a foldable plate/cup/bowl set. Instant coffee and tea sachets are great when you can get hot water.

Clear travel washbag: Regulation sized, of course.

Yes, but … 

In addition to hotel-sized toiletries, you need a compact, concentrated shaving cream. 

No. If you’re traveling to a modern hotel they will have shaving cream. Better, find a dry shaving soap one can lather up with a washcloth.

Travel accessories: A plastic receipts folder, noise-canceling headphones with jack adaptors, plug converters, and spare charging cords. I usually keep extra collar stays in my bag and a cheap pair of ribbon knot cufflinks if I ever mistakenly pack a French-cuff shirt.

Yes!!! Also, a lapel pin and tie clip. Bring some duct tape or similar for de-linting clothes (and quick repairs), a sewing kit, and a shoe polishing cloth.

Roll, Don’t Fold: Remember to pack clothes by rolling them, not folding them. 

Yes!

Also, pack a small collapsible umbrella because it will rain if you don’t.

This varies based on destination. I would not bring an umbrella to Japan. Not because it won’t rain, but rather because one can buy a better-than-average one in a konbi for little. On an NYC trip and I will definitely bring my own.

What to wear when you travel?

That is the question.

When I have to travel light, I usually wear a pair of my suit trousers. They have side adjusters to loosen them when I try to rest, and their wool generally breathes.

I travel with a pair (or two) of modern performance trousers that can work in a business casual environment. The company that made mine lost its way, so I’ll link to a resource to help you find something else). I’ll usually wear one on the plane.

I may wear the jacket on the plane as the pockets are useful for travel documents and other essentials.

Pockets on the plane or train or other conveyance are key. I often wear a travel blazer on board.

However, instead of a dress shirt, I usually wear a fine-gauge knit, which is more comfortable and softer than a woven button-up.

I wear a modern performance button down shirt, such as from Ministry of Supply and Mizzen & Main.

When I travel, I often take only a single pair of shoes, something laceless and made with a rubber sole. Laceless because airports and planes can be filthy, and it saves time having to remove and put them on again at security (which is why I also keep a small shoehorn in my bag). Rubber-soled because you never know if it will rain while you’re traveling.

I do much the same with shoes that are color muted. I also pack boots if I think I will do any hiking or long walks.

After this, I hope you can stumble comfortably off your red-eye and eventually direct yourself to a shelter where this advice helps you settle, spruce up, and feel you have what you need. … 

The post Packing For Travel appeared first on Put This On.

Other things I recommend (brain dump; I’m not sure the last time I did such a list):

  • Printed boarding pass (even if you keep it in your bag and use your phone in the airport)
  • Playing cards and/or dice
  • Book(s)
  • Sleep mask
  • Melatonin
  • Notebook, notepad, pen, and pencil
  • Copies of your ID kept away from your actual ID
  • A piece of paper with important numbers (emergency contacts, embassy and consulates, hotel, local contact, etc.), medication, blood type, etc. in a plastic bag
  • Foreign language guide (if needed)
  • Wool socks
  • Wool t-shirts
  • Wool or performance underwear
  • Lots of $1 bills (in the US for tipping) and the same in other countries as culturally allowed
  • Emergency currency
  • Wired over-the-ear headphones (and adaptor, because mobile phone makers hate us)
  • Inexpensive reliable watch (Casio makes a bunch of these)
  • Hat
  • Sun glasses
  • Bandanas and handkerchiefs (for nose issues and sweat and tourniquet and hobo-ing and sun avoidance, etc.)
  • Day bag (that I also use as a packing cube)
  • RFID-blocking pouch (for passport, etc.)
  • Inexpensive reliable compass
  • Whistle
  • Door stop
  • Destination map that includes the airport or train station
  • Jumbo binder clips
  • Airplane seat back organizer
  • Airplane cup holders

Here endeth the lesson.

“To me, the definition of hell is simple: it is a place where there is no understanding and no compassion. We have all been there. We are acquainted with hell’s heat, and we know that hell is in need of compassion. If there is compassion, then hell ceases to be hell. You can generate this compassion yourself. If you can bring a little compassion to this place, a little bit of understanding, it ceases to be hell. Hell is here, all around us. Your practice consists in generating compassion and understanding and transforming the suffering around us.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

(H/t Patrick Rhone)