Paperno quotes the painter Eugène Delacroix, who grandly defined his journal as “the history of what I feel.”


“Two years after her mother died, Virginia Woolf—another teen-age girl in crisis—began a diary, apparently seeking a stable narrative thread, and a more deliberate identity. But the Virginia she constructed, and would continue to construct, in journals, over the course of her life, lacks the robust unity of the Romantic “I.” This Virginia exists as a sequence of intense perceptions, which Woolf called “moments of being” plucked from the “cotton wool” of the everyday. She is a serial subject: open-ended, resilient, ever-changing. Who better to greet an unknown future?”

Original source: Dear Diary, the World Is Burning

Profit doesn’t always choose for social good

What matters to public health is each society’s preparedness: stockpiled tests, masks, ventilators, hospital beds, trained personnel, etc., to manage dangerous viruses. In the U.S., such objects are produced by private capitalist enterprises whose goal is profit. It was not profitable to produce and stockpile such products, that was not and still is not being done.

Original source: Capitalism Has Failed in Fighting Coronavirus

The governance must be as complex as the governed

In colloquial terms Ashby’s Law has come to be understood as a simple proposition: if a system is to be able to deal successfully with the diversity of challenges that its environment produces, then it needs to have a repertoire of responses which is (at least) as nuanced as the problems thrown up by the environment. So a viable system is one that can handle the variability of its environment. Or, as Ashby put it, only variety can absorb variety.

But, if you automate those rules, maybe there’s less need for them, so to speak:

“Using automation and mass surveillance, the control system becomes more fine-grained; more complex. This means the allowed complexity of society should also be allowed to increase — that is, become less regulated.”

Original source: Edge.org

Booking.com experiments, A/B testing, etc.

“If I have any advice for CEOs, it’s this: Large-scale testing is not a technical thing; it’s a cultural thing that you need to fully embrace. You need to ask yourself two big questions: How willing are you to be confronted every day by how wrong you are? And how much autonomy are you willing to give to the people who work for you? And if the answer is that you don’t like to be proven wrong and don’t want employees to decide the future of your products, it’s not going to work. You will never reap the full benefits of experimentation.”

Original source: Building a Culture of Experimentation

Dutch take on the long term, social impact of the virus

According to Makenbach, there are two main issues in dealing with the coronavirus. The first is to what extent this disease, which mainly affects the elderly, should be allowed to damage younger generations who are losing their jobs and falling behind in education, he said. And the second is to what extent the virus and measures against it should be allowed to further increase inequality. Socio-economically vulnerable people are more likely to become seriously ill, and also most disproportionately affected by drastic anti-coronavirus measures, Makenbach said.

Original source: Netherlands could be dealing with coronavirus pandemic for over 2 years: report

Not much room for competition in banking

“At the end of the day, almost any product or feature can be copied,” Simple’s Hijirida said. “Our secret sauce for competing in this market is creating a culture focused on fast experimentation and then quickly doubling down on what works. We will win because we can pivot quickly to respond to customer data and feedback.” That being said, a 2019 survey by Cornerstone Research suggests that Simple, which was founded in 2009, has less than one-third the number of deposit accounts as competitors Ally and Chime have.

Original source: The transatlantic battle for the future of banking

People listen to their leaders

Democrats seem to be taking the crisis more seriously than Republicans. In a poll by the Pew Research Centre, 59% of Democrats said covid-19 is a major threat to the health of Americans; only 33% of Republicans said that. The Unacast data suggest people are acting on their opinions, risking infection from, and spreading, a virus that has killed more Americans than the 9/11 attacks

Plus, movement by county and 2016 voting patterns.

Original source: Democrats seem to take social distancing more seriously than Republicans

Stranger danger

Six had made friends with Second Lieutenant Hopkins, who was mechanically minded and happy to show her things. At first, Thaniel hadn’t been too pleased with the idea of letting her go off with strange men; not because he thought Mori would let anything bad happen, but because it seemed dangerous to teach her to trust everyone. Mori, though, had pointed out that it was just as dangerous to teach a little girl that one foot wrong would mean a lunatic and a dungeon. It made it sound inevitable, whereas if you were brought up safe in the knowledge that people were supposed to be good, you approached the bad ones with a healthy fury that might just see you out of the dungeon.

Original source: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow (English Edition)

Blame China

America’s allies, along with many Trump administration officials and members of Congress, worry about China posing an unprecedented challenge to the post-1945 global order and the norms that underpin it. All evidence suggests that Mr Trump’s concerns are narrower and more domestic. His “China” is a proxy for globalisation, and for the failure of elites to shield American workers from competition. As for the actual autocracy called China, Mr Trump takes its ruthless self-interest for granted, and even praises it.

Western leaders disagree about how to handle China partly because the country has become a larger, more daunting and more assertive competitor. It is also because of a crisis of Western unity.

Original source: China is also an idea, revealing much about Western hopes and fears

People don’t like advertising

The survey of nearly 14,000 middle income consumers in 23 countries found 61 percent of consumers are less inclined to use a product if their personal data is used for any purpose, while 56 percent of consumers want more control over their data.

I mean, people don’t like advertising, but it works and business will grind to a halt without it. So it’s an arms race to be as subtle as possible and come up with new tricks to make people realize it’s not an ad. That’s the whole egg eaing, as they say.

Original source: Consumers don’t believe use of personal data leads to more relevant ads, report finds

Podcast listening down

The company also broke out podcasts by topic: news, sports, comedy, society and culture and true crime. Each topic saw a decrease in listeners since March 9, although the news category only saw a dip of 10 percent, making it by far still the most listened to subject. On the other end is true crime, once a growing subject for the sector. It’s audience has fallen by almost 30 percent since early March. The audience for sports has fallen far as well, by about 13 percent.

I guess. I must not be watching enough TV.

Original source: Coronavirus Causes Dip in Podcast Listening

Let’s hope so

Hopefully, this crisis will not only elevate the status of low-wage workers but spark a new wave of organizing to boost standards and build power across these “essential” industries. Because it’s low-wage workers — not bankers, landlords, or CEOs — who make our society run.

Original source: Just a moment…

Well, that’s one view of right-wing thinking

The right has an antimajoritarian, elitist agenda. Right-wing thought is essentially the belief that some people are destined to rule, and others are destined to be ruled over by their betters, and the world is best when the right people are atop the pyramid. Splits in the right are about who should rule: Dominionists want Christian men in charge; libertarians want bosses in charge, imperialists want America in charge, racists want white people in charge, etc.

Original source: Pluralistic: 24 Mar 2020, Cory Doctorow

You can never step in the same cash flow twice

The central thing to remember about an economy is that it is not an absolute value of something, but one that is really based on flow rates. We think of it like it is an ocean with a certain amount of water when it is really more like a water park with funky rides that looks and feels like a lot of water because it is in high motion in a much smaller closed system.

The flow never stops, and we all have to do our part to keep it moving. And I am not talking about what seems to have been the case through a lot of economic crises in the past, where we have been basically told to just keep shopping and taking our vacations. That is not sufficient, and it never was. What companies need to do is try to do as much business as they possibly can and keep as many people on the payroll as possible to keep as much flow going as possible.

Original source: Love – And Business – In The Time Of Coronavirus

Accountability is a threat

“Accountability” is a setup for blaming down the road. That it is only ever used in a negative context (when was the last time you were held accountable for something good happening?). Accountability, when said by others, is often a thinly veiled threat. It is extrinsic, rather than intrinsic. Accountability is very different to people taking responsibility for something.

Original source: Accountability vs Complexity