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The whole world, in a gif.

Amazing (logarithmic) scale map of the whole known universe. Loving the weird ominous Space Fire that separates us from the Red Line and the Outer Black Ring. Definitely not terrifying at all to think about! Iä! Iä! The universe is great!

2019-10-30T14:56:23+11:0029th February, 2020|Tags: space|

The name of the beast.

Neoliberalism is the ideology developed by people such as Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. It is not just a set of free market ideas, but a focused discipline, deliberately applied around the world. It treats competition as humanity’s defining characteristic, sees citizens as consumers and “the market” as society’s organising principle. The market, it claims, sorts us into a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Any attempt by politics to intervene disrupts the discovery of this natural order.

It was embraced by Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and most subsequent governments. They sought to implement the doctrine by cutting taxes, privatising and outsourcing public services, slashing public protections, crushing trade unions and creating markets where markets did not exist before. The doctrine was imposed by central banks, the IMF, the Maastricht Treaty and the World Trade Organisation. By shutting down political choice, governments and international bodies created a kind of totalitarian capitalism.

It has failed on its own terms, and in many other ways. Far from creating general prosperity, as it promised, growth has been significantly slower in the neoliberal era than it was in preceding decades, and most of its fruits have been gathered by the rich. Far from stimulating an enterprise economy, it has created a gilded age for rent-seekers. Far from eliminating bureaucracy, it has created a Kafkaesque system of mad diktats and stifling control. It has fomented ecological, social, political, economic and financial crises, culminating in the 2008 crash. Yet, perhaps because its opponents have failed to produce a new, compelling story of their own, it still dominates our lives.

George Monbiot on total control.

For what it’s worth, I somewhat disagree with the last line, if only in the sense that so much intentional energy has been expended to try and ensure no alternative could possibly arise. Or, probably more accurately, could get widespread popular and political support; the CIA didn’t spend all those decades assassinating and deposing democratic socialist governments for nothing, after all, and American pop culture still spends billions of dollars packaging up neoliberal ideologies in flashing lights and dramatic music and attractive bodies (ref. for e.g. the entire MCU, among others).

And yet…

And yet.

Interesting times, I guess.

2019-10-30T09:27:53+11:0028th February, 2020|Tags: politics|

unknown.mp3

What if there was a song so obscure not even the internet could find it?

I had one of these for years and years as an mp3 I got from a friend who in turn got it from another friend. It took nearly a decade until it started showing up in (English-language) search results, but even now it’s hard to track down the specific mix of the song I’m used to…

2019-10-30T09:14:49+11:0027th February, 2020|Tags: music, pop culture|

And I oop (sksksksksksksk).

At the same time, high-level former employees are publicly repenting or expressing remorse for their role in making these companies [Facebook, Twitter, et al.] so powerful. These former founders and designers have taken to apologizing in the pages of Forbes, The Guardian, and the Washington Post (to name just a few venues) in what I like to call the Oopsie Circuit.

Ostensibly, this Oopsie Circuit serves as a check to powerful institutions, from a credible source. But this apology tour serves the rich and remorseful former tech executives first by allowing them to repent and be forgiven for breaking the world, and second by reaffirming Silicon Valley’s all-powerful view of itself. It’s important to note, of course, that each apology tour begins much after the person apologizing has already become rich from the actions they regret.

Ashwin Rodrigues on the anti-whistleblowers of Silicon Valley.

See also: MCU!Iron Man, whose literal whole entire character arc is just propaganda for the real-world Oopsies…

2019-10-30T09:07:07+11:0026th February, 2020|Tags: culture, tech|

Kinda sorta.

Have you ever been in that situation where you kii-ii-ii-inda know your password, but not exactly? Like, you know it’s probably the name of a Naruto character but you can’t remember exactly which one, and that it’s got some 1337-speak in it but you can’t remember exactly where?

Well. There’s now an app (script) for that.

Of course the actual real-world use of this script will be password hacking based on recon about a target’s life. So if you know someone has three kids and a wife—or that they love Naruto—and you know their names and birthdays and anniversaries, you plug those values into this and… bam. Quicker than rainbow tables.

(And this is why you never base your passwords on things like your pets, hobbies, and/or family members, kids!)

2019-10-30T08:58:56+11:0025th February, 2020|Tags: infosec, tech|

Counterpoint.

[A]ny software that is intended to be used by humans is inevitably an expression of its programmers’ understanding of the software’s audience, and therefore the programmers’ beliefs about the nature of those humans’ lives and priorities and the value of their time and experiences. Consequently, larger a program is, the more likely it becomes that you can evaluate its merits purely on the politics of its developers.

mike hoye on context.

2019-10-30T08:52:23+11:0024th February, 2020|Tags: culture, tech|

Monstrous contents.

Hey y’all remember how I was editing that anthology of monsters? Yeah. That’s still A Thing That Is Happening, and we just announced the table of contents (i.e. the authors and their stories) and it is gonna be so good

Also spent all weekend booking things for both Continuum and the motherfreakin’ WorldCon and… it’s happening y’all. It’s really happening…

2020-02-24T08:30:16+11:0024th February, 2020|Tags: books, cons, continuum, csfg, sff, unnatural order, worldcon|