Is it really “making a mess” when the mess itself is soap?
What’s more, [Facebook] targeting people in developing nations [for its digital scrip, Libra] sounds noble and could be genuinely useful, but it also smacks of neocolonialism. What happens if this currency fails to gain adequate traction? What happens if it succeeds in gaining traction, and now small, local economies in developing nations are dependent on venture capital firms and credit card companies in the United States for their functional base of trade?
I get the eagerness to disrupt something as big as the global financial system. But you don’t have to trust the system to worry about a small consortium of mostly-American companies inventing a private and poorly regulated psuedo-currency.
Nick Heer on company worlds.
So in my Space Demons book (that I’ll totally get around to posting soon I swear), one of the little bits of side-fluff is that every galactic megacorp has its own “in-game currency”, i.e. a digital token that’s used on its worlds, and… well.
(Also, for those of you paying historic attention, what Facebook is proposing is essentially just a digital version of a company script, which is nothing new…)
The case for not replying to emails.
I used to be meticulous about keeping inbox zero until I hit a middle-management-esque job where I was getting like a hundred of the things a day. So in defense I started instituting the Mustrum Ridcully Method, i.e. assuming people would just come in and tell me anything actually important, at which point I’d find the associated email and action it.
I can’t quite get away with that any more, but I still don’t reply to everything and don’t really worry too much about stuff “backlogging” and… yup. Yup, I can definitely recommend it.
New books! Mostly my haul from Continuum, plus one Kickstarter reward, and one book from Japan. Titles include:
- Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish
- Alison Evans, Highway Bodies
- Marlee Jane Ward, Welcome to Orphancorp
- J.S. Breukelaar, Aletheia
- Amanda Bridgeman, The Subjugate
- the remaining B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth collected volumes
- the Over the Edge core rulebook
- a touristy artbook of demon and ghost ukiyo-e works I bought from a museum in Harajuku.
Also, if you squint, in the top left of the image you can see the box of Werewolf: the Apocalypse character sheets from the game we haven’t played for like a year because half the players decided to have a baby. Pfft.
From [Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger’s] perspective, the most serious threats digital technologies pose are not strictly personal concerns like identity theft or companies’ surreptitiously listening in on conversations but the emergence of a softly deterministic techno-social order designed chiefly to produce individuals that are its willing subjects. They note, for example, that when a school deploys fitness trackers as part of its physical education program, privacy concerns should extend not only to questions of students’ informed and meaningful consent. Even if consent is managed well, such a program, Frischmann and Selinger argue, “shapes the preferences of a generation of children to accept a 24/7 wearable surveillance device that collects and reports data.” This is to say that these programs contribute to “surveillance creep”: our gradual acquiescence to the expanding surveillance apparatus. Such an apparatus, in their view, appears pointed ultimately toward the goal of engineered determinism. Frischmann and Selinger conclude by advocating for legal, cultural, and design strategies that aim at securing our freedom from engineered determinism. And I would suggest that we would do well to reframe our understanding of privacy along similar lines.
L.M. Sacasas on the new panopticon.
This has been a thing in self-publishing for, like, a decade, but it’s always worth re-mentioning that there’s always more money in telling other people how to (allegedly) make money than there is in, yanno. Actually making money…
Decentralization upends the social network business model by dramatically reducing operating costs. It absolves a single entity of having to shoulder all operating costs alone. No single server needs to grow beyond its comfort zone and financial capacity. As the entry cost is near zero, an operator of a Mastodon server does not need to seek venture capital, which would pressure them to use large-scale monetization schemes. There is a reason why Facebook executives rejected the $1 per year business model of WhatsApp after its acquisition: It is sustainable and fair, but it does not provide the same unpredictable, potentially unbounded return of investment that makes stock prices go up. Like advertising does.
Eugen Rochko on decentralization.