Squabbling then using that agitation to synthesise a load of files, into a v0.0 book. Cos hey, it’s only taken 16 months to lay out a bunch of slides. Kind of Anna Sewell-esque (though being posthumously referred to as a “spinster invalid” is maybe not the most generous description of a life). Urgent pharmacy trips + Cracked.com binging. Waffle-free language, dense with cited sources; the only listicles I’ll read. And frankly, when my reading power is limited I’m much more grouchy impatient & into the swearing. Some starters?
∞ The 6 Weirdest Things We’ve Learned Since 9/11 (David Wong)
“Al-Qaida spent about $500,000 executing the 9/11 terror attacks. The U.S. government has spent up to $5 trillion fighting back. One expert estimated we’re spending about $400 million per life saved.
In other words, for every dollar the bad guys spent, we lost 10 million. And that’s not even counting the money lost due to the economic slump that followed. That, friends, is one hell of a return on an investment. Also: The 9/11 attacks killed 2,996 people. The response has killed 224,475 and displaced another 7.8 million refugees…
But now here we are, in a world where you’re told that A) only an idiot would expect any online or cellphone communication to be secure, just by its nature and B) from now on all of your communications — from banking to work projects to shopping to romance — will be done with the Internet or cellphones. And because these two things evolved at the same time — the wall-to-wall worry about terrorism and the 24-hour dependence on the Internet — we just accepted it as a natural evolution of society that everything we do will be monitored. We can’t imagine it any other way.
After all, if you’re under 30, you were still a kid when 9/11 happened, living at home. What the rest of us are calling “a Post-9/11 World” you know only as “the world.” If I try to tell you about the good old days when you could correspond with friends and absolutely know that no one was listening in, you’ll tune out when you realize that I’m also talking about a time before the Internet and cellphones existed. We don’t want to go back to that, right?
Because they’ve told us that our modern world is made entirely of glass, we just accept that this is how it is, that we’re all on display, all the time. And it’s all by necessity because it’s a Post-9/11 World, and that ends the discussion. And please note: It will still be a Post-9/11 World a hundred years from now, because that’s how time works.”
∞ The 6 Weirdest Things That Statistically Lower Crime (Robert Evans)
“Today’s gangs have apparently discovered that the digital age offers crime that is simultaneously less risky and more profitable than pushing dope and capping asses. While crimes like counterfeiting, bank/credit card fraud and identity theft have spiked over the last several years, gang-related violent crime continues to fall from LA to Raleigh and from Santa Barbara to San Castle. Los Angeles civil rights lawyer Connie Rice says gang-related cybercrime rose by 1,500 percent in LA from 2009 to 2010 alone. It’s not exactly a win-win, but it sure as hell beats drive-by shootings or ganking people because they wore the wrong color shirt in the wrong neighborhood.
The money is a big factor in this, but the disparity in punishments matters as well: Armed robbery will land you seven years in prison and maybe get you shot in the face, while you can make just as much cash stealing someone’s identity and only do a few months of time. Plus, no one can shoot you in the face over the Internet (not until the U.S. Patent Office finally approves our application).”
∞ 5 Ways You Don’t Realize Movies Are Controlling Your Brain (David Wong)
“You’ve seen Braveheart, right? You know that’s based on a historical event — the movie makes it clear that Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, was a real guy who really lived in Scotland back in the horse and castle days. You also know that Hollywood spiced things up for the movie — the real Wallace probably never assassinated a dude and then jumped his horse off a balcony in slow motion.
So if you don’t mind, just quickly tell me which parts were fiction. Without looking it up.
Like the evil king they were fighting — was he a real historical figure, too? What about Wallace’s palooka friend, Hamish? Or the crazy Irish sidekick? Were those real guys? That part where Mel Gibson’s main ally (Robert the Bruce) betrayed him and sided with the English in that big battle (aka the turning point of the entire story)– did that really happen? What about the bit at the end, where Wallace has sex with that princess, revealing that the future king of England would actually be Mel Gibson’s son? That’s the most historically important thing in the whole film, surely that was true, right?
You don’t know, do you? But who cares, right? It’s not like that impacts your life at all. It’s just historical trivia. OK, now consider this: After Jaws hit theaters, we nearly drove sharks to extinction with feverish hunting, to the point that their populations may never recover.”
∞ 5 Reasons Money Can Buy Happiness (John Cheese)
“A few months after getting my first non-terrible job, I splurged and paid my electric bill early. When she said what I owed, I told the woman on the phone they had made a mistake. “Wait, the number you’re giving me is less than what my bill says. WHAT SCAM ARE YOU RUNNING, BITCH?” After a moment she realized that I was looking at the “late payment” section of the bill, where they warn you about how much you’ll have to pay if you don’t get it in on time. Because that’s what I always paid before. I was so used to my shit being late that I grew to just automatically look at that number, completely ignoring the normal part of the bill…
The sleep thing is a great example, because in all of these parables about money not mattering, the people are strong and healthy and, if left alone, would be comfortable. But me? I’m an insomniac, so getting to sleep is hard enough on its own, let alone factoring in a hand-me-down mattress with a human-shaped hole in the padding. I’m also six feet three inches tall — not quite as tall as Michael Swaim, but about twice as tall as Dan O’Brien. That means the wrong mattress leaves my feet hanging off the end. You can bet that one of my first real paychecks went to a goddamned king-sized mattress. And some sleeping pills.
And hey, what do you know: The simple, “free” pleasure of sleeping after a hard day was suddenly available to me. For the cost of hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
Oh, and suddenly, budgeting in the extra gas to see my best friend who lives two and a half hours away isn’t an impossibility. Hell, once I’m there we can even eat dinner and rent multiple copies of The Minis without the stress of mentally doing the math to figure out which utility company was going to put a hit out on me. And having a good job means that I can afford to take a day or two off without being fired or setting off a financial crisis that takes three months to fix.”
(The compiled user-contest stuff is pretty great too.)
I’ve had a good post week. Hadn’t bothered looking at envelopes + packets for a few days, so it was a bunch of gifts at once. Adult Mag, Dithyrambalina download links, and an elegantly packaged box. More anticipated but equally appreciated: a tax return nag, + a letter confirming that I don’t owe money. It’s taken me a while to realise that bureaucracies, public services + governments also work on the principle of (letters) or it didn’t happen.
I drew an ecosystem of owed emails + starting writing skeletons cos weighing words has felt like squeezing blood from stones. I forgot a computer PIN today and had to be told four separate times, & it had still gone five seconds later. V frustrating. I usually take constant notes to prevent this from happening but obviously that’s not possible or smart when it’s security/content control.
It’s been the first week back at work since the Christmas break + I’m really glad to be back in the classroom.