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4 May, 4 tweets, 1 min read
This is an excellent thread about the fractured media reality that we inhabit, and the fact that most Republican voters are now unreachable due to living in a different epistemic universe from us. Unlike Putnam I no longer have hope that we can fix this, but her analysis is great
A lot of the projects to fix this (and I'm not referring to Putnam here) are some version of "we just need to educate people!", that evergreen favorite of the educated classes, which only makes the divide deeper and more impossible to bridge
The fact that there are no longer one but two public spheres, with very little overlap, and that one of them has become unglued from contact with reality is the great political crisis of our time, because the only way to fix it is to get the now unreachable people to vote for you
I used to think that some outside event might intervene, and reset the situation. But one lesson of covid that I don't think was sufficiently absorbed was that even direct physical danger—hundreds of thousands dead—was not enough to impose a shared public reality. Very scary.

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More from @Pinboard

5 May
Chia storage use is very much on the exponential growth curve right now, and I'm curious when shortages will start being felt in US consumer channels. Image
The total amount of hard drive storage is massive, but the number assigned to retail channels is not, and it is hard to increase. This is doubly true for the high-end SSDs that chia farmers favor for plotting (that is, creating new bingo squares)
What we really need to make the cryptocurrency revolution complete is a popular new coin that requires massive amounts of RAM. Then all components of homemade PCs will be equally unaffordable, and balance will have been restored
Read 6 tweets
5 May
The Facebook Oversight Board is accountability cosplay, and treating it (or its decisions) seriously advances Facebook's goals of being a law unto itself. The fact that lawyers dominate the discussion around Facebook policies exacerbates the problem of lending false legitimacy
The Lawfare crowd is too ready to have a body of Oversight Board jurisprudence to analyze and [lady]beard-stroke over, as if this entity were a branch of government rather than an attempt by Facebook to exercise the power of a state in perpetuity without being beholden to anyone
In unrelated news, the Pinboard Oversight Board (my mom) has decided I should have a raise in 2021, and once again named me Employee of the Month
Read 4 tweets
29 Apr
I'm inclined to view the fact that vaccine cards are extremely easy to falsify as a feature, not a bug. If we want a vaccine passport regime, then we should pass an appropriate law. It shouldn't just be rolled out as the bureaucratic side effect of a mass vaccination program.
As far as I know there's also no provision to replace a lost card (beyond nebulous advice to try to go back to the place you got vaccinated, if it still exists). And we're already seeing private employers and universities demand proof of vaccination (which I'm surprised is legal)
At the start of the pandemic, when the tradeoffs were different, I called for mass surveillance. If it turns out now vaccine passports are a lifesaving public health measure, then I'll support them. But it shouldn't be done sneaky and ad-hoc like this…
Read 4 tweets
27 Apr
The work culture at rich tech companies (people read something upsetting in the news and want to discuss and 'process' it on company time) is so alien from most people's experience of work that it makes me despair for ever finding common ground with the actual working class
I remember an early Tech Solidarity meeting where a number of electricians joined us to talk about organizing. "What do you guys want?" they asked. The tech workers had no clear answer. "Well, a lot of us were getting electrocuted, so we started a union" the electricians said.
High-end tech jobs are like college that never ends. People want their dean of students and codes of conduct and for everything to be ultimately fair and properly adjudicated by the administrators. It makes the workforce extraordinarily passive, as students ultimately are
Read 4 tweets
26 Apr
In general there is too much discussion of how Republicans plan to steal elections. and too little of their excellent prospects of winning them fairly by big margins. It feeds a comforting fantasy that we live in a deeply progressive country instead of a divided one.
Here's a fallacy I see pop up over and over. Yes, there are deep structural inequities in the electoral college, the way the Senate is designed, and so on. But you can't take Republican successes in that flawed system and calculate how they would "really" do in a fairer system
In such a reformed system, issues and tactics would necessarily change, and we might still lose. Democratic commentary today is a form of fantasy football where we convince ourselves we're the real winners if you factor in all the unfair stuff we face. It masks a political crisis
Read 4 tweets
23 Apr
When you wonder "why is [NEW FORMAT] suddenly a thing?", the dynamic is always the same. Early advertising is fantastically lucrative. Once the stampede to the format starts in earnest, the margin drops quickly, and the cycle will have to repeat. It's driven by novelty.
The motor on both sides of the ledger is hope. Writers/broadcasters hope they finally found an ad model that pays the bills without being hateful to the audience. Advertisers hope they have found a new model that leads to terrific engagement. But all that's left is a hangover
The long term results are more entrenched surveillance (since every new ad model needs a new story about why it's different and better) and a gold rush culture where nothing gets to put down roots because everyone moves to the next Klondike
Read 7 tweets

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