December 31, 2020

Against essential and accidental complexity.

Apple loses copyright battle against security start-up Corellium. Minor good news on the copyright front.

Emergency Use Authorizations for two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines represent a turning point in the pandemic. They also herald a new era for vaccinology.

Why Larry Summers MUST Believe $2,000 Checks Are A Bad Idea.

Facebook’s Unknowable Megascale.

Amazon still hasn’t fixed its problem with bait-and-switch reviews.

The Customer Is Not Always Right. Customer entitlement at restaurants is at an all-time high, making work unsafe and unbearable for many in the industry. The way we think about hospitality needs to change.

Unless this government stops dithering and works to eradicate Covid-19, more variants are bound to emerge. True everywhere.

The Life in The Simpsons Is No Longer Attainable. The most famous dysfunctional family of 1990s television enjoyed, by today’s standards, an almost dreamily secure existence.

Argentina legalises abortion in landmark moment for women’s rights.

Biden’s pick for intelligence chief, Avril Haines, is tainted by drones and torture. Shocking no one at all.

America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster. Did anyone really expect anything else?

“The internet is becoming more and more sanitized every day because of people taking extreme measures to make us ‘safer.’ It’s censorship masquerading as public safety.”

December 30, 2020

Landlords Shouldn’t Get Away Without a Hit This Time.

Korea’s Artificial Sun Just Ran for 20 Astonishing Seconds.

Severely Injured Woman Heroically Fights Off Paramedics Trying To Force Her Into Medical Debt.

Larry Is Lying. As always.

Ripples in space-time could provide clues to missing components of the universe.

Still Disinfecting Surfaces? It Might Not Be Worth It. Very low fomite transmissibility of Covid-19.

Hues of our own: How we perceive color.

Through gilets jaunes, strikes and Covid, Paris’s 400-year-old book stalls fight to survive.

If We Don’t Break Up Big Tech, We’ll All Be Uber Drivers Soon.

Readers of words like these, impractical superfluous words, are a different population than readers of memoranda, court orders, and instruction manuals.

$2,000 checks are good.

Neoliberal Champion Larry Summers Opens Mouth, Inserts Both Feet.

2020: charts from a year like no other.

December 29, 2020

It’s no longer enough to be ideologically pure by current standards. One must always have held the proper beliefs.

Systems design explains the world: volume 1.

Public Transit Has to Come Back. The pandemic shouldn’t become a pretext for giving up on subways and buses.

Even with stimulus, US mass transit faces a death spiral.

America’s healthcare system will struggle to deal with Covid ‘long-haulers.’

Biden will invoke Defense Production Act to boost Covid vaccine production, advisor says.

Life Beyond Markets.

Sexual conflict drives micro- and macroevolution of sexual dimorphism in immunity.

How Covid made us conscious. How lockdown monotony helps us to see our permanent existential struggle.

The High-Tech Valor Glass Vials Used To Deliver The Coronavirus Vaccine.

The Plague Year. The mistakes and the struggles behind America’s coronavirus tragedy.

Ted Cruz and Hong Kong’s Democrats. The Senator blocks a bill opening America’s door to victims of China.

Covid poses ‘greatest threat to mental health since second world war.’

December 28, 2020

Nanda Devi’s Nuclear Secret and a Botched CIA Operation.

The False Promise of Obama’s ‘Promised Land.’ As bad as Trump.

Lost in the middle: Will the arrogant certainty of “centrism” destroy America? Too late. Obama sealed the deal.

As the Vaccine Arrives, Death and Denial Rage in a California Coronavirus Epicenter.

Four Black Deaths.

Coronavirus crisis will not be the last pandemic. No it will not. Expect them with greater frequency.

1 of every 17 people in the U.S. has been infected, and 1 in 1,000 has died. Yet the worst may lie ahead.

The most distant galaxy is upending our model of the universe’s history.

School shooting drills have gone virtual. We live in a deeply diseased society.

Peak Oil Is Suddenly Upon Us.

Early Vaccine Doubters Now Show a Willingness to Roll Up Their Sleeves. Polls show that pervasive skepticism is melting, partly because of the high efficacy rates in trials and the images of real people getting the shot. A rare bit of good news.

Why on Earth Was Christopher Nolan Trying to Lure Us Into Movie Theaters Teeming With Pathogens to Watch Tenet? That movie was crap. Even Elizabeth Debicki could not save it.

On Determinism: A Brief Case for Free Will.

Estimated transmissibility and severity of novel SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern 202012/01 in England. Dang.

December 27, 2020

Reading, That Strange and Uniquely Human Thing.

Content Moderation Case Study: Using Copyright To Take Down A Transformative Criticism Video (2019).

Not Everything Is a Commodity. Not Every Human Interaction Has to Be a Deal. This Christmastime, I hunger for something that exists only for its own sake, something that cannot be coined or bartered. I am tired of living in an emotional counting house.

For Corrosive Inequality, Look to the Upper Middle Class. It’s not only billionaires that are the problem.

Make Schools More Human.

For years, Republicans have used the specter of cheating as a reason to impose barriers to ballot access. A definitive debunking of claims of wrongdoing in 2020 has not changed that message.

Whether artificial or engineered, the Left can be aptly described as suffering from Bateson’s schismogenesis: It long ago entered a breakdown phase.

American selfishness and Covid-19. We’ve moved into a new phase of Covid-19 in America, the selfish phase. It disgusts me.

December 26, 2020

GoDaddy Employees Were Told They Were Getting a Holiday Bonus. It Was Actually a Phishing Test. Pure evil and anyone who had anything to do with this should be shitcanned.

Families on brink of eviction, hunger describe nightmare Christmas as $900 billion relief bill hangs in limbo.


Amid Pandemic, Scientists Reassess Routine Medical Car.

How the History of Waterloo, Iowa, Explains How Meatpacking Plants Became Hotbeds of COVID-19.

For the first time in more than 80 years, salmon spawning in the upper Columbia River.

A pain reliever that alters perceptions of risk. In study, acetaminophen makes risky moves seem less dangerous.

Astronomers Get Their Wish, and a Cosmic Crisis Gets Worse. We don’t know why the universe appears to be expanding faster than it should. New ultra-precise distance measurements have only intensified the problem. It’s because every part of the universe hates every other part.

Mutated COVID-19 strain confirmed in Japan as nationwide case tally hits record high.

December 25, 2020

Hunting for ‘Disease X.’ In the Congo rainforest, the doctor who discovered Ebola warns of deadly viruses yet to come.

How Disco Defined 2020.

Watch the ‘Seven Minutes of Terror’ Awaiting NASA’s Perseverance on Its Martian Descent.

Gavin Newsom, Other Democrats Break Rules Because They Can.

How We Saved .ORG: 2020 in Review.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Instagram’s Sex Content. Instagram swears it’s not targeting sex workers and erotic artists. So why are their profiles still vanishing?

Trump’s Coup Attempt Could Cost Republicans the Senate.

Millions go hungry as America reels from pandemic’s effects.

The enduring lessons of a New Deal writers project.

The Milky Way is probably full of dead civilizations. Ours will soon join them.

QAnon and the ‘Trump coup’ have more in common than you might think. Two political fantasies show how many Americans have become frustrated with democratic politics.

December 24, 2020

Leaving Hong Kong. As China cracks down, a family makes a wrenching decision. Too bad. I loved Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s descent into darkness. Tiananmen without the massacre.

In America and Britain and Canada, and I suspect a lot of other nations, Covid-19 has been a huge boon to the rich, vastly increasing their wealth and power, so, well, why save lives and jobs? That’s it right there.

30 Years Later: Early Days of the Web (1991).

Things you’re allowed to do.

In 1980s Los Angeles, a bank was robbed every hour of every day. This is the story of how a bandit culture took over the city.

What Does Privacy Really Mean Under Surveillance Capitalism? ‘Bout a bucket of warm spit.

1.67 million (95% uncertainty interval 1·42–1·92) deaths were attributable to air pollution in India in 2019, accounting for 17·8% (15·8–19·5) of the total deaths in the country.

Nothing to see here: Why media keeps downplaying Trump’s coup attempt.

Tom Vilsack Is the Reason Urban and Rural Progressives Must Unite to Fight Corporate Agribusiness Control Over Democracy.

I’m a pharmacist administering the COVID-19 vaccine at nursing homes.

The omnibus bill was packed with energy and environment policy. DOE gets a long list of clean energy R&D projects. Sweet.

How Amazon Wins: By Steamrolling Rivals and Partners.

How to Revive a Dead Language.

US deaths in 2020 top 3 million, by far most ever counted. 400,000 more than in 2019. But sure, the pandemic is a hoax. Fucking idiots.

‘Losing A Generation’: Fall College Enrollment Plummets For 1st-Year Students.

The reality is, even if it managed to keep people holed up for parts of the year, the pandemic is not leaving us with a healthier planet.

The Secret History of the First Microprocessor, the F-14, and Me.

December 23, 2020

Carey Mulligan on “Promising Young Woman,” a feminist revenge story for the ages.