[Link] Chemicals to help you write PowerPoint and other cognitive fantasies

So could you pathologise “lack of lateral thinking,” or “dysfunction in authoring structured PowerPoint”, or “inability to consult with the machine elves” – and produce a little blue pharmaceutical to deal with the issue, a blister pack full of 60 minute perspectives, epiphanies, and corporate strategy skills?

Also, his vision quest at the dentist’s.

Original source: Chemicals to help you write PowerPoint and other cognitive fantasies

[Link] Not being there: on prophylactic media and remoteness

In promising to eliminate distance, virtuality also promised to erase the difference between presence and absence. We would always be there, wherever “there” happened to be. That seemed plausible when our virtual selves were engaged in the traditional pursuits of media — news and entertainment, play and performance, information production and information gathering — but it was revealed to be an illusion as soon as social media became our means of living. Being remote is a drag. The state of absence, a physical state but also a psychic one, is a state of loneliness and frustration, angst and ennui.


The architecture of Zoom is the architecture of the panopticon.

And, then, kind of a sudden turn at the end of the piece.

Original source: Not being there: on prophylactic media and remoteness

[Link] Lockdowns have taught the world about isolation, profile of remote French village

A place where “where the same family names can be found on the gravestones and the letterboxes”:

The French village, wrote Roupnel, is a place of conviviality, but “over there, in the fields, the individual converses with silence, fed by dreams and solitude.”

Picking fruit:

Choosing a ripe fruit is about the position on the branch, not necessarily the colour. The ones on the end of the branch are the ripest, so you start at the extremity.


“People say we live in a pays perdu (forgotten land),” comments Simone. “But forgotten by whom?”

Original source: Lockdowns have taught the world about isolation, profile of remote French village

[Link] How to be less full of shit

Predictions can be used to express hopes, which are not actually “predictions”:

But that really is my main takeaway from the study of predictions: don’t predict so much stuff! Predictions are commonly used as one form or another of bad faith rhetorical device in punditry. People predict doom for politicians as a way of saying they don’t like them or predict failure of political tactics as a way of saying they don’t approve of them. Or they’ll issue dire prophecies of doom as a way of saying they want to get people more concerned. This encourages sloppy thinking. And its alarm-raising form is particularly harmful. If you think back to January 2020 it was perfectly reasonable to think the new virus in Wuhan wouldn’t become a global pandemic. But a 15 percent chance of a global pandemic is really bad! We need people to be able to discuss moderately improbable bad events without sounding like the boy who cried wolf.

Original source: How to be less full of shit

[Link] What can the 1944 OSS manual teach us before we all return to sabotage the office?


Insist on doing everything through “channels.”
Make “speeches”. Talk as frequently as possible and at great length.
Refer all matters to committees. Make the committees as large as possible – never less than five.
Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes and resolutions.
Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open discussion on those decisions.
Advocate “caution.” Advise colleagues to “avoid haste” which “might result in embarrassment” later on.
Question every decision as to whether it lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

Original source: What can the 1944 OSS manual teach us before we all return to sabotage the office?

[Link] Scoring points by being cynical

Basically, the understanding is that whoever can paint the darkest possible portrait of the status quo is the one who is showing the most commitment to the cause. And you see this norm at work across climate change, health care, criminal justice reform, the economy, and everything else. If you’re not saying the sky is falling, that shows you don’t really care. A true comrade in the struggle would deny that any progress has been made or insist that any good news is trivial.

I tend to think this approach to politics is counterproductive — it’s psychologically and emotionally exhausting, out of touch with people’s lived experience of the world, and ultimately demoralizing and un-motivating.

Original source: Scoring points by being cynical

[Link] Scholarly life-style

[Erasmus] believed in the healing power of moderation and reason, and in the civilising power of wine and conversation. This was partly a matter of personal style. He craved a life of scholarly comfort: “He lived in his study and died in his bed,” as the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper put it. Confronted with a king—and potential patron—he bent the knee; challenged by a bully, he changed the subject.

Original source: Scholarly life-style

[Link] Cooking Instagram influencer doubled followers with Reels in 1 month

Use descriptive phrases like “secret recipe,” even if it’s not secret, because people will comment and correct you — increasing the engagement. Speak loudly and quickly to grab the viewer’s attention. Add shock value to entice the viewer to stay (once they stay past the three- to five-second mark, they’re likely to continue watching). Follow the trends of what’s popular.


The first few seconds of a video are crucial to keeping a viewer engaged, he said. Bernath explained that it’s the first three to five seconds of a Reel that will determine if someone is going to continue watching…. “Sometimes if I’m making homemade bread, I’ll chuck a thing of store-bought bread and be like, ‘No! We’re not here buying bread, we’re making it at home!'” Bernath said. “You’ve got to do something that really catches the viewer’s attention.”

Original source: Cooking Instagram influencer doubled followers with Reels in 1 month


Stuck at home, people have been unable to spend all their money and their bank-balances have swelled. But once they are vaccinated and liberated from the tyranny of Zoom, exuberant consumers may go on a spending spree that outpaces the ability of firms to restore and expand their capacity, causing prices to rise. The global economy already shows signs of suffering from bottlenecks. The price of copper, for example, is 25% higher than at the start of 2020.

I don’t really understand things like inflation – I mean, I know what it is, but with all macro stuff, it seems so outlandish and hard to prove causation that I don’t understand the mechanics.

The above sounds like a good example of that. I mean: really? People wanting to buy things is bad? Is the alternative better?

Original source: The world economy – After the pandemic, will inflation return? | Leaders

Vendor lock on aspirations, versus reality

One recent Bain & Company survey found that two-thirds of CIOs say they would prefer to use cloud services from several different vendors to avoid lock-in. Yet 71% of those companies still rely on only one cloud provider. The remaining 29% that do manage to pull off a multivendor strategy still spend an average of 95% of their cloud budget with one provider, effectively creating de facto lock-in.

Original source: Should we really be worried about vendor lock-in in 2020?

The electric car lifestyle

How quickly? Pandemic aside, Tesla would be on track to sell half a million cars in 2020, all of them electric. By contrast, GM sold almost 3 million cars last year, almost none of them electric. But by 2025 or so, GM plans to sell a million electric cars, a year that the company think might be a tipping point toward electrics. Why? To quote one executive, the better driving and owning experience. “When you get used to charging your vehicle like a phone at night, when you charge it, and you don’t worry about it, you never have to stop at a gas station. There’s a lot to be said for that kind of lifestyle.”

Original source: Can Detroit Catch Tesla?

Bank startups, features

The service today competes with a range of mobile banking apps, offering features like free overdrafts, no minimum balance requirements, faster direct deposits, instant spending notifications, banking insights, check deposits using your phone’s camera, and other now-standard baseline features for challenger banks.

Original source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/24/mobile-banking-app-current-raises-131m-series-c-tops-2-million-members/

“Cloud Native,” survey

But there’s still confusion about the term. A survey of 1,000 developers and IT decision-makers by software maker Lightbend found that a plurality of respondents (41.7%) ranked writing applications that specifically leverage underlying cloud infrastructure as the most important aspect of cloud native, but a majority picked the other two options: utilizing Kubernetes and containers (34.5%) or moving to a cloud infrastructure provider (23.8%). In other words, most respondents still prioritize where applications run over how they’re built.

Original source: Developers vs. Executives: Cloud Native Confusion Is Real