Links: Being still, robot food delivery, reading others’s reading, and more!

* Can you be still?.

* The starship food delivery app delivers food via autonomous robots. My guess is that this one isn’t quite ready for primetime but is getting better every year. Learned via The pandemic is bringing us closer to our robot takeout future. We’re not there yet, but we’re starting to see the shape of things to come.

* Shakespeare and Company’s clientele’s book lists. Many “high culture” writers read everything—high, low, in between—as you’d expect.

* Bruce Sterling: Farewell the beyond. He’s been writing his blog for 17 years and is finally—and sadly, in my view—giving it up.

* Studies on slack. High sophistication, lots of unexpected ideas.

* How battery costs fell six-fold in a decade.

* MacOS 10.15: Slow by design. Thankfully I haven’t “upgraded,” although MacOS 10.15 doesn’t seem to be an actual upgrade, to my eye.

* “Elon Musk Is the Hero America Deserves.” SpaceX is getting ready to send astronauts into space: focus on the substance, not the noise.

* Social Anxiety, #MeToo, and Disaster. Not just more of the usual; note: “Rather than counter-productively condemn others for their paranoia, my goal is to deescalate the tensions. ‘Safety first’ is a tempting but dangerous motto. Instead, let us all try to ‘Make risk reasonable again.’ Use moderate caution yourself- and kindly invite others to do the same. Listen to both Anxious and Angry. Side with neither.” Something about social media seems to encourage with-us-or-against-us, false-binary thinking. The culture of “safetyism” that seems to have taken root rarely seems to be questioned.

* “Donald Trump, the Most Unmanly President: Why don’t the president’s supporters hold him to their own standard of masculinity?” Funny venue for this one, too.

* The future of college is online, and it’s cheaper? Maybe.

* Don’t believe the China hype. Maybe, again.

* Millions of abandoned oil wells are leaking methane, a climate menace.

* Dropbox is a total mess. This matches my experience, and Dropbox’s steady bloat and creep has made me keep an eye out for a replacement.

Engineering in the dark: Why American street design is almost uniformly awful.

* Rachel Harmon on policing, a substantive interview and podcast. I’m surprised police unions weren’t mentioned, though, since that seems like an obvious era to reform. I’ve also not seen any localities or state legislatures dissolve any police unions (if I’m wrong on this, let me know). My guess is that legislators think the protests will pass and voters have short memories, but the police unions will continue to be pivotal in local and state elections for years to come. In other police news, the Atlantic finds, The Culture of Policing Is Broken.

* The coming chip wars.

One response

  1. I’d like to see the entrepreneur who wrote “The future of college is online, and it’s cheaper” disclose his investments or potential conflicts of interest before I take him seriously. Yes, one would hope that online college would be much cheaper, but after COVID, I think fewer people rather than more people are gung-ho for online education. For kids, it isn’t social or fun; for parents, it lacks prestige; for professors, it’s just another way for administrators to squeeze more work out of them; for the rest of us, it just doesn’t seem healthy to have people spend even more time in front of screens.

    I am cranky today, so the “Can you be still?” piece rubbed me the wrong way, too. I find it odd to psychoanalyze a literary character like Odysseus with no understanding of the historical or cultural context. Odysseus is restless when he gets home because he lives in a culture in which property is status and revenge on those who take your stuff away from you is a given.

    Like

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