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What’s happening now

2014 May 9

I feel like posting some links. Many follow up on topics previously explored on This Old Blog, but first, I really liked this xkcd world clock. It’s neat, and, given that I work with people on the other side of the world (and many points in between) at least semi-regularly, even kind of useful.

Meanwhile…

So, Cuyahoga County renewed the “Sin Tax.” The 56-44% voting may, I suppose, depending on context be seen as a fairly close outcome or a landslide, so we may assess my overestimation of this as a factor accordingly. Meanwhile, the CleveDealerGroup.com formula for reform and accountability remains: 1a) defeat any proposal for change that might have any possible unwanted consequence for anyone; 1b) give status quo powers effective carte blanche, 2) express hope that good behavior will follow anyway… 3)… profit…? Mm hmmm.

This was interesting. The Echo Chambers blog does a round-up of recent “Twitter has jumped teh shark” sentiment. So, 14 months on it looks like this bit of intuition is doing rather well. I guess I won’t give up completely, then.

This was also interesting, an NPR.org item about racial bias in photography. It caught my attention because I suspect there was (and probably still is to some extent) a similar phenomenon in printing. I recall attending a press check years ago and the press operator commenting that it’s really hard to get black skin tones right… I don’t and didn’t know entirely what to think of this; it certainly seems possible that correctly balancing the generally much richer ink builds of dark skin tones is in a sense technically challenging compared to pale pinks… but 1) I don’t feel certain that this must be the case, and 2) even if it does require more effort to learn, is it more difficult to do if you have bothered to learn it? As myself and everyone I could see around me, on the occasion, fell into that pale pink range, I had to wonder.

In another category of printing, it’s been about a year and a half since I expressed a bit of “left-out” angst about the predicted 3D printing revolution. Recently, Slate published a big plateful of skepticism. Maybe 3D printing is still going to change everything… but perhaps hydrogen cars and the Segway should start scooching over to make room, just in case.

This post by Charlie Stross was simply outstanding, from my perspective, as a step-back reality check regarding labor and modern capitalist economics. As additional context… 1) This item about “branding lessons” from a fictional drug kingpin seems like almost a perfect distillation of object of Stross’s criticism… 2) Slate being consistently non-discerning, it also published this relatively thoughtful interview… 3) And this item examining the case for shorter work weeks is also a good look at relevant implications. Meanwhile, still no word on this proposed experiment yet, so far as I can tell.

To close with something of a lighter note, I was and remain knocked over by Denis Medri’s “Star Wars 80s High School” sketch series. I haven’t had any great interest in Star Wars in many years, but it does remain something of a cultural reference point… These drawings, however, take those cultural references and fold them in on themselves along with multiple other layers, to produce multi-directional meta-commentary so dense it produces a kind of pop cultural singularity. Or maybe it’s just me… But dear god it just feels like everything but the kitchen sink is in these. I guess, to be honest, a couple of them are straining to work… but I’m not sure that 2-5 could be any better.

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