Stray Links for January 22, 2023

Every few days I post some links to things I enjoyed that don’t neatly fit into the topics I usually cover on this blog. Use it to fill your reading queue with interesting stuff.

  • The Most Ridiculous and Weird Tech Gadgets From the Last 25 Years. “The Hushme was a ‘voice mask’ intended to let you make phone calls without bothering anyone.”
  • Between-time by Mandy Brown. “We live in a world full of distractions but short on breaks. The time between activities is consumed by other activities—the scrolling, swiping, tapping of managing a never-ending stream of notifications, of things coming at us that need doing. All that stuff means moments of absolutely nothing—of a gap, of an interval, of a beautiful absence—are themselves absent, missing, abolished.”
  • Movie Trailers Keep Tweaking Well-Known Songs. The Tactic Is Working. (NYT gift article link) “As a composer, Rosen is at the forefront of the trailerization movement: He’s in demand for his ability to rework existing songs to maximize their impact in trailers for films and TV shows.”
  • All Human Systems are Enormous Trash Fires. “Once you recognize that all human systems are enormous trash fires, you stop trying to figure out how to switch to a system that isn’t an enormous trash fire, since they don’t exist. […] Eventually you even start to appreciate the beauty of it. How impressive it is that we manage to get anything done at all, given how completely trash everything is, and how on fire it is all the time.”
  • This is a beautifully-written piece about standup comedy but also about so much more. I don’t want to spoil it, except to say it starts like this: “Perhaps due to lockdown and the interruptions to normal service, but more likely due to autumnal intimations and a long dormant weakness for sentimentality, I now cherish the belief that the only flavour for which a grown-up should cultivate a taste is the bittersweet.”
  • KC Green reflects on creating the “This is Fine” meme. “When a work gets as big as this has, is it still yours?”
  • Eightify: AI Youtube Summary with GPT. A Chrome plugin that promises: “Instant AI summaries for Youtube videos using GPT. Summarize video into 8 key ideas.”
  • Can Doom Run It? An Adding Machine in Doom. “I demonstrate that it is possible to run any bounded computation in Doom, minus constraints on level size.”