In limited color.

Interesting look at browser color limitations, which is one of those “huh yeah I guess that makes sense” things that, if you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t thought much about.

(Which is unfortunate, because now it’s making me think I might need some new monitors . . .)

2021-09-23T10:29:33+10:0026th September, 2021|Tags: , |

“Choice.”

I don’t particularly enjoy giving such an uncharitable take extra oxygen, but in this case, I think talking about it is instructive. It is a near perfect representation of an antique, paternalistic mindset toward employee/employer relationships and work culture. Reading it, I immediately recognized the tone because it is the very voice that has been drilled inside my head since my first job as a teenager. It is a voice and an argument that I’ve heard repeated by my bosses, family members, teachers, and even some friends throughout my life. It has taken me years to stop listening to this voice. Even now, in odd moments, I find myself feeling guilty for trying to resist it.

The voice says: You are free to choose your job. But once you’ve done that, it’s time to fall in line. It argues that you should be extra grateful for what your company provides you — a salary, purpose, any auxiliary benefits — and not to think as much about what you provide to your company. After all, you agreed to take this job. You signed the contract. And, most importantly, you have options. If you don’t like it, leave.

These are the words of a bully. This line of argument is designed to make those speaking up feel as if they’re being ungrateful, unreasonable and hysterical. [ . . .] Who do these people think they are?

Charlie Warzel on work culture.

Remember kids: definitionally, if you got more out of your company then they got out of you, they wouldn’t be hiring you.

2021-09-21T08:11:52+10:0025th September, 2021|Tags: |

Diamond hands.

The real games rich people play with money are not, actually, about having money to spend per se. They’re about having money to use, preferably in the most tax-exempt ways possible . . .

2021-09-21T07:59:55+10:0024th September, 2021|Tags: , |

Adventures in BuJo, week 2.

A few wonky lines, but not too bad for Week #2. Also rounded corner boxes are a huge pain, as it turns out.

Materials: Paperblanks dot grid journal. Copic SP 0.5 and BS. White Uni-ball Signo white broad. Tombow ABT 992 & 126 (plus more for the moth).

2021-09-21T07:54:22+10:0024th September, 2021|Tags: , |

The project.

[N]eoliberals were less interested in markets per se (and even less in market competition) than in what could be achieved through them. Though neoliberals usually aim to eliminate any state intervention that interferes with the free decisions of private enterprise, they are not opposed to all forms of state intervention. Neoliberals are, of course, less concerned with forms of state intervention that redistribute to core business groups (through generous tax exemptions or massive bailouts during financial crises) than they are with the kind of intervention that mandates redistributive measures for the working class. Similarly, neoliberals vow to extend markets and market logics to all forms of social and political life but are less concerned if this ends up leading to unfair competition or outright monopoly.

Second, it is now well understood that neoliberals need strong states to impose — and enforce — their free markets, even if it takes the form of outright repressive state measures.

Neoliberalism, then, is much more than just a set of ideas about free markets. It’s a political project that aims not only to reduce the power of the state but, more concretely, to undermine the efforts of any collective actor — be it states, labor unions, political parties — to interfere with the decisions of private enterprises. This project to alter the balance of power is the key to its resilience.

On redistribution of wealth.

2021-09-21T07:49:57+10:0023rd September, 2021|Tags: , |

hacker.man(ual)

Tl;dr in 1990 the Secret Service raided the home of a tabletop RPG creator because they were convinced GURPS Cyberpunk was, like. An actual hacking manual. Which on the face of it is very funny, but as Steve Jackson points out, the damage it did to the business forced me to lay off half my staff, which will never be funny.

2021-09-17T07:17:58+10:0022nd September, 2021|Tags: , |

The cruelty.

That’s the system that’s being created in industrial (and not just industrial) labor today: not careers but gigs, with better pay and benefits than the worst jobs, but also even less room for advancement or scrutiny on how and where you’re hired. The assumption is that low-level employees will cycle out, even if serious injuries, chronic humiliations, or (unlikely, but) a global pandemic forces you out of the workforce sooner than expected.

This high rate of churn is somewhat paradoxically considered, from a top executive’s perspective, a good thing: the lost costs paid for worker acquisition and training are more than made up for by making it difficult for long-term workers to socialize, build up relationships with each other, and organize (formally or informally) to transform the job.

Or, as Vox’s Jason Del Rey writes in another story this week, “Amazon corporate managers have goals for “unregretted attrition” — basically a percentage of their staff that should leave the company each year, either voluntarily or by being forced out.” It’s just like Adam Serwer put it in a different context: the cruelty is the point.

Tim Carmody on new labor.

2021-09-17T07:13:16+10:0021st September, 2021|Tags: |

Catastrophic failures.

[Donald] Rumsfeld was the worst secretary of defense in American history. Being newly dead shouldn’t spare him this distinction. [ . . . ] Rumsfeld was the chief advocate of every disaster in the years after September 11. Wherever the United States government contemplated a wrong turn, Rumsfeld was there first with his hard smile—squinting, mocking the cautious, shoving his country deeper into a hole. His fatal judgment was equaled only by his absolute self-assurance. He lacked the courage to doubt himself. He lacked the wisdom to change his mind. [ . . . ]

Rumsfeld started being wrong within hours of the [9/11] attacks and never stopped. He argued that the attacks proved the need for the missile-defense shield that he’d long advocated. He thought that the American war in Afghanistan meant the end of the Taliban. He thought that the new Afghan government didn’t need the U.S. to stick around for security and support. He thought that the United States should stiff the United Nations, brush off allies, and go it alone. He insisted that al-Qaeda couldn’t operate without a strongman like Saddam. He thought that all the intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was wrong, except the dire reports that he’d ordered up himself. He reserved his greatest confidence for intelligence obtained through torture. He thought that the State Department and the CIA were full of timorous, ignorant bureaucrats. He thought that America could win wars with computerized weaponry and awesome displays of force.

On ill of the dead.

It’s easy to heap scorn on dead “Great Men” while simultaneously ignoring all the dozens or hundreds or thousands of yes-men and enablers and hangers on they need to make their shtick work. It’s not like Rumsfeld was using Jedi mind tricks to brainwash everyone into buying into his obvious garbage; he was a symptom of the disease that is American foreign policy, not the cause of it.

Still. He was pretty fucking terrible, so . . .

2021-09-17T07:05:48+10:0019th September, 2021|Tags: |
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