Four short links: 19 March 2019

Digital Life, Information Abundance, Quantum Computing, Language Design

By Nat Torkington
March 19, 2019
Four short links
  1. TimelinerAll your digital life on a single timeline, stored locally. Great idea; I hope its development continues.
  2. What’s Wrong with Blaming “Information” for Political Chaos (Cory Doctorow) — a response to yesterday’s “What The Hell is Going On?” link. I think Perell is wrong. His theory omits the most salient, obvious explanation for what’s going on (the creation of an oligarchy that has diminished the efficacy of public institutions and introduced widespread corruption in every domain), in favor of rationalizations that let the wealthy and their enablers off the hook, converting a corrupt system with nameable human actors who have benefited from it and who spend lavishly to perpetuate it into a systemic problem that emerges from a historical moment in which everyone is blameless, prisoners of fate and history. I think it’s both: we have far more of every medium than we can consume because the information industrial engines are geared to production and distraction not curation for quality. This has crippled the internet’s ability to be a fightback mechanism. My country’s recent experiences with snuff videos and white supremacist evangelicals doesn’t predispose me to think as Perell does that the deluge of undifferentiated information is a marvelous thing, so I think Cory and I have a great topic of conversation the next time we’re at the same conference together.
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  4. Quantum Computing for the Very Curious (Michael Nielsen) — an explanation of quantum computing with built-in spaced repetition testing of key concepts. Clever!
  5. 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Began Designing Languages (Peter Alvaro) — when I presented at my job talk at Harvard, a systems researcher who I admire very much, said something along the lines of, “Yes, this kind of reminds me of a Racket, and in Racket everything is a parenthesis. So, in your language, what is the thing that is everything that I don’t buy?” That was nice.
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