history

HBO
This documentary uses firsthand video from people who were on the Diamond Princess cruise in February 2020. It’s quite a record of the early pandemic and a reminder of how little we knew and how poorly we handled it in the early days.
daniel.haxx.se
"Small and quick decisions done back then, that would later make a serious impact on and shape my life. curl has been one of my main hobbies ever since – and of course also a full-time job since a few years back now."
curl is one of those ubiquitous tools that all developers use. It's just part of the water we swim in and I forget that tools don't just spring from Earth fully-formed. This is a fun look at where curl came from and where it's going. These hobbyists, amirite?
Ars Technica
"Seven out of 50 video clusters the researchers identified are deemed 'situational' music. This designation doesn't operate under the standard concept of genres but rather the context in which the music takes place. This includes relaxation music like 'Ambient/Chillout,' 'Sounds of Nature,' and the ASMR-affiliated 'Hair Dryer Sound.' The paper concludes that situational music, sometimes deemed trivial by musicologists, is growing in popularity."
One great aspect of the Internet is that old (or new!) niche media can find its audience. This ambient music is my jam, glad I found it. [via waxy via mefi]
Medium
"’00: There also must be some really good music discussion forums."
[pained face] The Internet is complicated and didn't go as planned. Paul Ford converses with his past self about where we are in 2020.

Update: Paul added a new version of this conversation that is less jokey and more earnest. For example, he elaborates on the discussion forum pain I quoted above:
"’20: Independent forums are mostly dead, swallowed up by Reddit, social media, and the like. I cannot overemphasize how much the lesson of the web is that people, given the choice between the freedom of operating and managing their own platform, and running a centralized platform that they do not control, will choose the centralized platform."
Sometimes it's worth explaining the joke!
New York Times
"If there’s no way for the trailing candidate to catch up, no legal way, no mathematical way, then the race is decided, essentially,” Sally Buzbee, The A.P.’s executive editor, said in an interview. “And if there is any uncertainty, or if there are enough votes out to change the result, then we don’t call the race."
The AP has done this before.
99% Invisible
"In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville toured the country and was amazed by the postal system. Even in the most isolated parts of the American frontier he found people who had read newspapers and could talk about politics in America and Europe."
Great episode of 99pi about the origins of the postal service and how it promoted infrastructure and literacy.
Browseulator
Fun experiment: see if loading up Paul Ford's random archive.org ephemera thing gives you the same dopamine hit as the random crap social media gives you to look at. I enjoy it.
the economist
"What matters is not only how many votes candidates get, but where they get them. Because electoral-college votes are assigned by state rather than by the country as a whole, and because smaller states receive a disproportionately high number of votes, it is possible for smaller states to overrule the majority of voters."
Time to get rid of the electoral college.
nytimes.com
"In the last two weeks, American voters’ support for the Black Lives Matter movement increased almost as much as it had in the preceding two years."
Fast Company
"They were designed to fit inside existing firearms as an alternative to shooting someone with a real bullet, often as a way for authoritarian regimes to control a free-speaking, free-protesting populace. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen happen yet again today. As protesters have taken to the streets across the U.S. to protest the murder of George Floyd, they’ve been shot, indiscriminately, with military technologies that are known to maim and kill."
There are some graphic images in this article but it has a good history of how not-as-lethal weapons became ubiquitous. It gives important context to gut-wrenching stories like this: Activist who trained officers on bias ‘heartbroken’ after San Jose police seriously injure him with rubber bullet at protest.
washingtonpost.com
Some impressive investigation using cell phone footage from the scene of the Lafayette Square protest.
nytimes.com
"As I scrolled through endless collections of these online, I found it hard to escape the conclusion that America’s police forces are not just unfairly brutal — they also do not seem to care anymore about being caught on tape."
Cameras are capturing what our system with no consequences for bad actors looks like.
« Older posts