Tag: technology (page 1 of 44)

Censorship and the porn tech stack

They say that technical innovation often comes from the porn industry, but the same is true of new forms of censorship.

For those who don’t know or remember, Tumblr used to have a policy around porn that was literally “Go nuts, show nuts. Whatever.” That was memorable and hilarious, and for many people, Tumblr both hosted and helped with the discovery of a unique type of adult content.


[N]o modern internet service in 2022 can have the rules that Tumblr did in 2007. I am personally extremely libertarian in terms of what consenting adults should be able to share, and I agree with “go nuts, show nuts” in principle, but the casually porn-friendly era of the early internet is currently impossible….


If you wanted to start an adult social network in 2022, you’d need to be web-only on iOS and side load on Android, take payment in crypto, have a way to convert crypto to fiat for business operations without being blocked, do a ton of work in age and identity verification and compliance so you don’t go to jail, protect all of that identity information so you don’t dox your users, and make a ton of money. I estimate you’d need at least $7 million a year for every 1 million daily active users to support server storage and bandwidth (the GIFs and videos shared on Tumblr use a ton of both) in addition to hosting, moderation, compliance, and developer costs.

Source: Matt on Tumblr | Why “Go Nuts, Show Nuts” Doesn’t Work in 2022

Image: Alexander Grey on Unsplash

The 2022 Drone Photo Awards

I had a conversation with my neighbour this week about drones. They were pointing out how invasive they can be, while I was talking about the amazing photographs they can take.

Sure enough, later that day I come across this year’s Drone Photo Award and there’s some absolute stunners in there. The ones of nature are, of course, amazing, but for some reason this one of a Dutch suburb grabbed me as my favourite.

The annual Drone Photo Awards announced its 2022 winners earlier this month, releasing a remarkable collection of images that frame the world’s most alluring landscapes from a rarely-seen view. This year’s contest garnered submissions from 2,624 participants hailing from 116 countries, and the aerial photos capture a vast array of life on Earth, including a caravan of camel shadows crossing the Arabian Desert, a waterlily harvest in West Bengal, and the veiny trails of lava emerging from a fissure near Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall volcano.

Source: From a Volcanic Fissure to a Waterlily Harvest, the 2022 Drone Photo Awards Captures Earth’s Stunning Sights from Above | Colossal

Technological Liturgies

A typically thoughtful article from L. M. Sacasas in which they “explore a somewhat eccentric frame by which to consider how we relate to our technologies, particularly those we hold close to our bodies.” It’s worth reading the whole thing, especially if you grew up in a church environment as it will have particular resonance.

Pastoral scene

I would propose that we take a liturgical perspective on our use of technology. (You can imagine the word “liturgical” in quotation marks, if you like.) The point of taking such a perspective is to perceive the formative power of the practices, habits, and rhythms that emerge from our use of certain technologies, hour by hour, day by day, month after month, year in and year out. The underlying idea here is relatively simple but perhaps for that reason easy to forget. We all have certain aspirations about the kind of person we want to be, the kind of relationships we want to enjoy, how we would like our days to be ordered, the sort of society we want to inhabit. These aspirations can be thwarted in any number of ways, of course, and often by forces outside of our control. But I suspect that on occasion our aspirations might also be thwarted by the unnoticed patterns of thought, perception, and action that arise from our technologically mediated liturgies. I don’t call them liturgies as a gimmick, but rather to cast a different, hopefully revealing light on the mundane and commonplace. The image to bear in mind is that of the person who finds themselves handling their smartphone as others might their rosary beads.


Say, for example, that I desire to be a more patient person. This is a fine and noble desire. I suspect some of you have desired the same for yourselves at various points. But patience is hard to come by. I find myself lacking patience in the crucial moments regardless of how ardently I have desired it. Why might this be the case? I’m sure there’s more than one answer to this question, but we should at least consider the possibility that my failure to cultivate patience stems from the nature of the technological liturgies that structure my experience. Because speed and efficiency are so often the very reason why I turn to technologies of various sorts, I have been conditioning myself to expect something approaching instantaneity in the way the world responds to my demands. If at every possible point I have adopted tools and devices which promise to make things faster and more efficient, I should not be surprised that I have come to be the sort of person who cannot abide delay and frustration.


The point of the exercise is not to divest ourselves of such liturgies altogether. Like certain low church congregations that claim they have no liturgies, we would only deepen the power of the unnoticed patterns shaping our thought and actions. And, more to the point, we would be ceding this power not to the liturgies themselves, but to the interests served by those who have crafted and designed those liturgies. My loneliness is not assuaged by my habitual use of social media. My anxiety is not meaningfully relieved by the habit of consumption engendered by the liturgies crafted for me by Amazon. My health is not necessarily improved by compulsive use of health tracking apps. Indeed, in the latter case, the relevant liturgies will tempt me to reduce health and flourishing to what the apps can measure and quantify.

Source: Taking Stock of Our Technological Liturgies | The Convivial Society