As discussed previously, this is my weekly Twitter roundup. Note that tweets of articles generally include header images from the articles, which are not included here unless they happen to be available under a free license. Most are not. But I now add most of my commentary here, where I’m not restricted by the message length.

diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week

I also don’t generally attach pictures to posts with quotations.

Apologies for the lateness, by the way.

9:05 – Mon 14 December 2020

The Wealthy Are Leaving Cities. Good Riddance from VICE Motherboard

The industrialists of the Gilded Age had a distinctly Silicon Valley bro vibe…

I live a good distance outside a city, and a big part of that is the way they’re exploited as substrates for social engineering experiments, in addition to the lack of fresh air and lack of control of light. Improving any of those situations can only be a good thing.

12:05 – Mon 14 December 2020

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

Lewis Carroll

9:04 – Tue 15 December 2020

Gentrification hits minority communities hardest from Futurity

Gentrification is reconfiguring the urban landscape by shrinking residential options within cities for disadvantaged residents and expanding them for more advantaged residents.

This is yet another study where the conclusion was already obvious—it wouldn’t be out of the question to describe gentrification as using poor, predominantly minority groups to “colonize” a worthless neighborhood for the benefit of the wealthy—but it’s always better to have numbers and citations to attach to that instinct.

12:02 – Tue 15 December 2020

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.

D. H. Lawrence

9:03 – Wed 16 December 2020

The price of solar electricity has dropped 89% in 10 years from Fast Company

…in every single one of the world’s energy markets, it’s cheaper to invest in renewables than in coal.

I often like to make the point that non-democratic regimes now require a ton of money to both stay operational and maintain relevance on the regional or world stage—compare Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Germany, for example, or the funding of the Democratic, Republican, and Green Parties in the United States—and most of that money comes from fossil fuels. That dynamic is going to be even more fun to watch, as fossil fuels become less valuable.

12:03 – Wed 16 December 2020

Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society.

Alexander Hamilton

9:02 – Thu 17 December 2020

Even QAnon Is Abandoning Parler, the Far-Right’s Answer to Twitter from VICE News

…Parler plummeted from being the number one app in the U.S. Android app store on Nov. 6, to being number 587 a month later, on Dec. 6.

When conservatives started fleeing to Parler, my question was how this was going to differ from the launches of Gab, Minds, ZeroNet, and probably other networks that almost nobody has heard of and are mostly QAnon cesspools with sparse populations. The reality is that they don’t want a place where they can say whatever they want. They want a place where they can say whatever they want and force a company to do the hard work of marketing that message to people who might care. So, a Twitter clone without Twitter’s market share is useless.

In telecommunications terms, you’ll usually hear problems like this referred to as Metcalfe’s law, the idea that the value of a network is in the number of connected “terminals.” But there’s an added aspect, here, of algorithmic promotion.

12:01 – Thu 17 December 2020

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

Oscar Wilde

9:01 – Fri 18 December 2020

Google showed us the danger of letting corporations lead AI research from Quartz

…pointed to the carbon emissions generated in developing the massive models, their broad potential for bias, and the danger that they could be used for nefarious purposes.

Given that corporate research always keeps its results behind closed doors and buries failures, letting corporations lead any initiative is generally sketchy. For example, it’s not hard to contrast the value that the civilian economy has added from NASA space programs—memory foam, cochlear implants, scratch-resistant lenses, digital cameras, water filters, media, and so forth—versus the value added to the economy by privately owned space programs. But add in that corporations don’t answer to normal people, and things get more tense.

12:04 – Fri 18 December 2020

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Kahlil Gibran


Because it accidentally became a tradition early on in the life of the blog, here’s a sixth article that didn’t fit into the week, but too weird to not mention.

The ‘pink tax’ on gendered stuff extends to tariffs too from Futurity

Importers ended up paying more for merchandise like jeans, boots, robes, and T-shirts aimed at women than identical items sold to men.

I don’t even know where to begin on this, honestly. We pay women less, claim it’s their fault for being biologically capable of giving birth or misinterpret data to ignore the pay gap, then charge them more. It’s pathological.

Credits: Header image is Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week from a manuscript drafted during the Carolingian Dynasty.