Issue #422
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👋🏼 Hello!

How's things? I'm OK, thanks for asking!

Since you last received one of these missives, I've started posting to Thought Shrapnel on an almost-daily basis, reflected on how the pandemic has affected me and others, got frustrated at how male-dominated online discussions around governance are, had my home office roof re-felted, discussed nuking everything and starting over again, shown how 'sovereign individuality' is a dangerous lie, and had my second COVID vaccine. Oh, and I've started swimming again 🏊

But hey, you're here to find out what I've got for you on my travels around the web, right? Well, you're in for a treat this month, let me tell you.

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📅 Weeknotes

  • Weeknote 23/2021 — "I’m trying my best at the moment to take Wednesdays off as part of my plans to return to the four-day weeks I enjoyed from 2016-18. This week, I pretty much..."
  • Weeknote 22/2021 — "I’m sitting writing this, one beer in, listening to Despite a couple of work meetings yesterday morning, I’ve been on holiday all week ⁠— including..."
  • Weeknote 21/2021 — "I’m composing this weeknote from our holiday home just over the border into Scotland. Prices are as eye-wateringly expensive as you’d imagine during a Bank Holiday weekend when..."

👀 Things to which I've been paying attention

I've shared over 60 links since resuming posts at the Thought Shrapnel blog. While I'll share the highlights here, do head over to the archives for the full list!

🤩 Wonderful

  • Sky explosion — Amazing.
  • Degrees of Uncertainty — I rarely watch 24-minute online videos all the way through, but this is excellent and well worth everyone’s time. No matter what your preconceptions are about climate change, or your political persuasion.
  • How to recover from burnout — I read a lot of Hacker News, including some of the ‘Ask HN’ threads. This one soliciting advice about burnout received what I considered to be a great response from one user.
  • You don’t have to monetize your joy — A useful reminder.
  • Portals to another world (or town) — I love this idea. I can think of many ways it could go wrong, but that’s not the point. There’s also lots of ways it could be awesome.

🤪 Weird

  • Mastering a 5,400-character typewriter — I can't even imagine how difficult this must have been to type on!
  • Professor goes to ‘TikTok University’ — This is a fun, yet slightly disturbing, look at mansion houses for influencers where people create TikTok videos. The author is a university professor, which makes his insights all the more interesting in terms of the contrast with where some of these young people would otherwise be – i.e. university.
  • Screenshot culture — I'd love to see a longer article about this because discussing the role screenshots play in our increasingly-digitally-mediated culture is fascinating to me. Especially as they’re so easy to fake.
  • A robot that sticks to ceilings by… vibrating — This is very cool.
  • Who’s the pet? Tarantula or tiny frog? — I read recently that some tarantulas keep tiny frogs as ‘pets’. Of course, I had to do some more digging and found out that’s not quite true, and if it were, it would be more like the other way around (as some tarantulas are so docile!)

🥺 Woeful

  • Deepfake maps — There's plenty to be concerned about in the world at the moment, and this just adds to the party. At a time when most of navigate by following a blue dot around a smartphone screen, we’re susceptible to manipulation on a number of fronts.
  • Male bias in scientific trials — Wow, this excerpt from Pain & Prejudice is pretty hard-hitting, especially around the paternalistic tendency treating women as ‘walking wombs’.
  • Invisible sculptures are the logical conclusion of NFTs
  • Epistemological chaos and denialism Good stuff from Cory Doctorow on how Big Tobacco invented the playbook and it’s been refined in other industries (especially online) ever since.
  • AI-generated misinformation is getting more believable, even by experts For every positive use of this kind of technology, there are of course negatives. Misinformation and disinformation is everywhere. This example shows how even experts in critical fields such as cybersecurity, public safety, and medicine can be fooled, too.

Until next month!

PS Don't forget to check out the regularly-updated and!
Doug Belshaw
Thought Shrapnel Weekly is published by Dr. Doug Belshaw. You can connect with him by replying to this email, or via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Mastodon.

Some say he's double-vaccinated. Some say the only other word that rhymes with 'vaccinated' is 'unvaccinated' 😂
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