21 September, 2023

How General Mark Milley protected the Constitution from Donald Trump


A plain reading of the record shows that in the chaotic period before and after the 2020 election, Milley did as much as, or more than, any other American to defend the constitutional order, to prevent the military from being deployed against the American people, and to forestall the eruption of wars with America’s nuclear-armed adversaries. Along the way, Milley deflected Trump’s exhortations to have the U.S. military ignore, and even on occasion commit, war crimes. Milley and other military officers deserve praise for protecting democracy, but their actions should also cause deep unease. In the American system, it is the voters, the courts, and Congress that are meant to serve as checks on a president’s behavior, not the generals. Civilians provide direction, funding, and oversight; the military then follows lawful orders.

20 September, 2023

Emily Wilson on 5 crucial decisions she made in her ‘Iliad’ translation


The challenges of producing a new metrical verse translation of a viscerally emotional, richly varied ancient epic poem go far beyond any individual word. An epic is an ultramarathon, not a sprint. An English word that seems promising in itself may not work for the register of the text as a whole, or may feel implausible in the mouth of a particular character, or may be metrically impossible with the rest of the line, or may awkwardly clash with other elements of a passage. The words must create a grand harmonic music together. And yet the whole experience of an epic is composed out of thousands of individual verbal choices. Here are just a few of the words I wrestled with in creating my translation of “The Iliad.”

Why people go the "word of mouth" route


I am in the same boat. He now teaches swimming classes to kids after he raped me when I was 14 (he was ~40).

Police said there was not enough proof and it would ruin his life. I also got a threat of him sueing me for putting dirt on his name (idk the english word).

I gave up because they made it very clear that I had no chance. I go the word of mouth route now. Hard to prove the source for that.

18 September, 2023



Three weeks later my grandmother, Hannah Fitzgerald Barnicle, sat on the stoop of our house accompanied by her parish priest and a Western Union employee. She held a telegram from the War Department notifying her that Lt. Gerald J. Barnicle was missing in action. In late July she received another telegram notifying her that her youngest son had been killed in action.

Hannah Fitzgerald Barnicle, born and raised in Cork, Ireland, emigrated to the United States in 1916. She died in 1961 at 84. She witnessed two world wars, suffered through a depression, lost twin daughters aged one, her husband in 1936, her oldest son Francis in 1941, went to Mass every day of her life and always, till the day she died, held out the futile hope - a dream really - that Gerald would return home some day.

For her, every day was Memorial Day because the root of the word is memory. Like so many other parents touched with the grief, the shock, the tears and toll of burying a child she never got over his loss and never lived another day without thinking about her brave boy.

Email Exchange Between Steve Jobs and an Apple Customer


From: [ ____ ]

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: ipod malfunctioning

Date: July 27, 2005, 11:16 p.m.

Hi, my name is [ ____ ], and my father has an ipod. recently (1-2 days ago), he was charging his ipod and then, the next morning, when he checked it, it wouldn’t turn on, he checked the hold button but it wasn’t it, so, he realized that the ipod had just “died”.

We live in venezuela and want to know where can we fix the ipod. I think its still on warranty, because, we bought it around 11 months ago, so we would like to know what to do, if theres any store autorized by apple here in Caracas-Venezuela, so we can take the ipod and check it to see whats wrong and if you guys can fix it. well thanks for the help.

[ ____ ]

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

From: Steve Jobs

To: [ ____ ]

Subject: Re: ipod malfunctioning

Date: July 28, 2005, 7:19 a.m.

Please “reset” the ipod by holding down the center button and the Menu button at the same time for at least 5 seconds. This should work.


17 September, 2023

The Tyranny of the Marginal User


This isn’t just dating apps. Nearly all popular consumer software has been trending towards minimal user agency, infinitely scrolling feeds, and garbage content. Even that crown jewel of the Internet, Google Search itself, has decayed to the point of being unusable for complicated queries. Reddit and Craigslist remain incredibly useful and valuable precisely because their software remains frozen in time. Like old Victorian mansions in San Francisco they stand, shielded by a quirk of fate from the winds of capital, reminders of a more humane age.

How is it possible that software gets worse, not better, over time, despite billions of dollars of R&D and rapid progress in tooling and AI? What evil force, more powerful than Innovation and Progress, is at work here?

In my six years at Google, I got to observe this force up close, relentlessly killing features users loved and eroding the last vestiges of creativity and agency from our products. I know this force well, and I hate it, but I do not yet know how to fight it. I call this force the Tyranny of the Marginal User.

11 September, 2023

08 September, 2023

My Brief Career as a Paid Pro-Paxton Propagandist


I asked Woolley a question that had been bothering me. Why was I paid? I assumed it was a computer churning out checks without examining the content of posts, since my tweets weren’t offering an effusively pro-Paxton message. Did I dupe Influenceable? Not at all, Woolley replied. My tweets—and others—created engagement around the Paxton impeachment trial, in turn teaching the social media site algorithm that this was an issue users were interested in. In turn, my posts increased the likelihood that Twitter (or X, as it’s now known) would promote Paxton-related tweets. That would allow other paid posts that more effusively proclaimed Paxton’s innocence to spread further and wider. “The secret sauce on social media is getting things to go viral,” Woolley said. “Otherwise you’re just speaking into the ether. And so you’re contributing to allowing posts to not just go into the ether.”

19 August, 2023

Ezra Klein on the right of a certain form of conservatism


....when I look at the time frame we’re talking about, this post 2010 period, the thing that immediately comes to mind for me is the iPhone, the rise of social media, increased competitiveness in the broader media. And I think this is important because there is the question of the ways the culture and society are changing, but none of us have access to the entire society or culture, and most people aren’t sitting around reading polls about other people’s opinions about cultural issues.

So there’s this question of how do you end up feeling, like what leads somebody in a rural area of Wisconsin to feel like everything is different now. And it seems to me, in a lot of places, all around the world, at the same time, you have this rise in algorithmic media in highly engagement oriented media that is constantly confronting people with, usually, stories charged around identity, in many cases, at least, that really give, I think, often an outsized view of how quickly society is changing, but nevertheless are a very, very big part of a very rapid set of changing views, a sense of what you can and can’t say, because people are now yelling at you in the comments section of your own Facebook posts.

Something I felt was a little bit under theorized in the book is this dimension of the changes in media. 2010 is right around then with the rise of smartphones, is a signal event. And in my experience of it, it’s a signal event that tends to lead to people being confronted a lot more with whatever they fear most about the country they live in. And so the fact that would lead to a rise in these populist authoritarian figures seems pretty logical to me.