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Internet anecdotes.

So hey you remember that story that goes around on Tumblr every now and again about the art class making pots? The one that’s always presented as a Totally True Thing That Happened and yet is accompanied by no actual identifiable details but that people share because it “feels” true? Yeah. Just what is up with that, anyway?

2021-02-10T08:51:45+11:0021st February, 2021|Tags: |

Turing complete.

A game of Magic: the Gathering as a Turing machine.

The extreme layperson’s explanation for this1 is this is basically a proof that Magic: the Gathering can be used as a kind of programming language. Because nerds, I guess.

  1. Counting yours truly as said layperson because theoretical computer science gah. []
2021-01-11T07:46:33+11:007th February, 2021|Tags: , |

You’ve got fail.

In that sense, You’ve Got Mail is the ur-Clintonite film, a pure expression of the era’s liberal political defeatism masquerading as an optimism that politics are now disposable — indeed, that they’re only standing in the way of utopia. This is the ethos of Third Way centrism: that socialism versus capitalism is an outdated dichotomy, and that popular interests will be most broadly served through technocratic tinkering rather than conflict. Of course, big capitalists come out on top in the final result, but everyone else — from the proletariat to the petty bourgoisie — is also happier and more prosperous for having relented. We have no use for the old antagonisms, the movie seems to say. History’s over. Romance has defeated it.

On romance at the end of history.

This is what I think about, incidentally, every time I read a You’ve Got Mail AU fanfic. Mostly because most of the ones I’ve seen recently involve whomever is playing the Tom Hanks character to realise the Evils of Capitalism at some point in the story. The Meg Ryan doesn’t just “forgive” him; he has to actually renounce (at least some portion) of his previous Evil Plot to take over the bookstore/cafe/car mechanic/kid’s science centre/library/whatever, usually by teaming up with the Meg Ryan against the real villain, who is inevitably the Tom Hanks’s evil capitalist CEO boss and, usually, also parent.

Which is kind of… So, like. The “normal” application of a fic AU is to take characters from one media property and have them enact the plotline, or engage with the worldbuilding, from another one. Right? So far so good. What I think it kind of interesting with the YGM AU stuff is that they’re almost kind of the opposite, in that they’re characters from an outside property “fixing” Mail’s original plotline.

It’s worth pointing out at this point I’ve never watched You’ve Got Mail and never intend to. Literally everything I know about it I know from reading fic AUs and—literally just right now—the summary on Wikipedia, and I suspect I’m not alone in that. I suspect a lot of people who write these AUs have either not seen the original film or saw it so long ago its themes have mostly been overtaken in their minds by YGM AU fic plots. Which isn’t to say that’s a bad thing—I actually think it’s awesome—just… interesting. The way these things go.

2021-01-05T07:40:19+11:0017th January, 2021|Tags: , , |

Whenever media has a character who’s supposed to be “goth” or “punk” or whatever and this is shown by having a totally conventionally attractive girl with long blonde beach waves except she’s wearing, like, a pair of Docs or something I feel my soul physically leaving my body.

2021-01-05T07:17:16+11:0017th January, 2021|Tags: |

Netflix for music.

You can add Spotify to the list of services pivoting to satisficing as a business model…

Satisficing is, incidentally, the answer every time anyone asks something along the lines of, “But why would Netflix cancel [popular show]?” Answer: Because Netflix isn’t in the business of making “good” content. Netflix is in the business of making “good enough” content, which is far cheaper. Netflix seems to cancel shows the second they get popular because popular shows can do things like demand more money for their actors and creators, which Netflix is definitely not in the business of paying (the only people getting more money from Netflix are their executives and shareholders). Because Netflix is vertically integrated—it’s both the content delivery platform and the content producer—it knows that most people won’t cancel it to chase content, so long as it provides them with something. Netflix was arguably the first to catch on to this, but it’s the same model everyone else is also changing, and that Disney will likely perfect…

2020-12-07T08:27:52+11:0022nd December, 2020|Tags: , |

The Haunting of Blue Lick Road.

We once spent three years looking for a new house, so have seen our fair share of bizarre renovations. Not this bizarre, though…

Also something something gamification of the mundane something something virtual reality something.

2020-11-16T07:26:54+11:0017th November, 2020|Tags: |
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