Always nice to hear from a president who can actually string a few sentences together.
Having said that, the most truthful part of this essay is this:
"The jury's still out."
Oh yeah. The jury's super, super still out. I just heard a podcast where some smart person mentioned that democracy is not binary but rather a spectrum, which makes so much sense when you really think about it.
With the last four years and the garbage still happening post-election, USA's democracy has been dented like the side of a car. You know how hard it is to undent a car?
We're still in a load of trouble, and my guess is that we've just been given a slight reprieve with the Biden win, but the curve is on the down slope. I hope I'm dead wrong.
I'd think if they have an escalation scale of reparation, they would do even better. Plus ownership of the failure, i.e., if it's the third time in a month that they've blown the estimate, say exactly that -- "I'm sorry that we've failed three times this month. Here's a $20 coupon, and you'll hear from our VP personally."
I've become a much worse reader in the last ten years. I have to actively tell myself not to skim/skip, because that's my default mode nowwadays. No doubt this disease has become exacerbated by the internet...
I don't know much, but this I do know from years of living: predictions of fast/big changes rarely come true. I think it'll be the same here. Excepting for one huge caveat -- if COVID-20 or COVID-21 happens, all bets are off.
As strange as this may sound, as a kid I learned how to problem-solve by playing pirated games on my C-64. No instructions, figuring out what key did what, then figuring out what the game was about and how to win it. It was a combination of rote memorization, blackbox testing, and logical reasoning. :)
It's all simple economics, really. Supply and demand. Before the pandemic, there was low supply (high rent, expensive stores/museums/music) and high demand. The pandemic has reversed the trend. The problem is, the reversal is so quick and severe that there's a huge shock to the entire system.
NYC will survive, of that I have no doubt. But it'll take years for it to get better, possibly decades, and there will be a lot of pain in between (higher crime being one). I have my doubts that vaccines can reverse this; in addition to the antivaxxers, there are also plenty of very science-based folks who know this stuff is being ultra-fast-tracked.
It's true that Fountain and Cezanne required significant forms of patronage to realize their success, but it's also worth mentioning that both Foer and Picasso came from some form of patronage as well (their upper/middle class upbringing, literate/painterly parents, etc.).
What does this mean? It means there are probably many more people who could be fine artists and writers, but it doesn't work out for them for a litany of reasons. Sad, right? Well, yes. The world is indeed a sad place. But it's the only one we have...
BTW, the Fountain novel that was late was no doubt Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, which was very well-received (Angl Lee made a movie out of it, even), so the wait was obviously worth it!
“If you do everything just right you can be successful [on Amazon], but if anything goes wrong and you get suspended, you are just generally screwed,” Christensen told Recode. “They are the judge, jury, and executioner, and there is really no oversight.”
I don't know about you, but it seems like every time I buy any doohickie from Amazon nowadays, the seller or the manufacturer sends an email about some other thing that they're selling that they promise to refund you once you order it and give it a five-star review. :(
You could block Microsoft from your life, if you did not work. But if you work for a corporation? Good luck with that.
As an Android person, Apple is pretty much self-blocked already with almost no consequence. Facebook could go as well, except I would absolutely lose touch with many people. I could live without Amazon, too, but it would be hugely inconvenient.
For me, Google is the only really indispensable entity. But of course, this is all because we do want convenience.
You could almost make an argument that the greatest threat to humanity is convenience.
Copy and paste:
<cfloop index="i" from="1" to="100">
<cfif i mod 3 eq 0 and i mod 5 eq 0>FizzBuzz
<cfelseif i mod 3 eq 0>Fizz
<cfelseif i mod 5 eq 0>Buzz
I guess it was just a matter of time until an episode of Black Mirror became reality. If you haven't seen the episode mentioned in the article, you absolutely should -- it's one of the best.
No doubt there will be money in this -- I used a "shoebox scan" service many years back to have my shoebox full of photographs scanned into files by a machine. It's not hard to fathom a similar service in the future where you can feed someone's texts, emails, and photos to a server and have it crank them out. You could even have a party-type of chat with all of your dead friends together. Then after you're dead, you can join the neverending conversation, the machine talking to itself.
As far as the writer wanting to talk to a younger, more optimistic version of Mazurenko, that can be easily done since just about all communication is timestamped. So you should be able to ask for Joe Schmoe at 21.
I can't say I'm for it or against it; doesn't matter, as it's bound to happen. Too much money for it not to.
I never knew of Schopenhauer until I read Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, which references him quite a bit.
Lately I'm getting a bad feeling that podcasts are really hindering my thought processes. I used to think about all sorts of things while doing the mundane (folding laundry, taking a shower), but now podcasts have invaded my brain. They're like fast food for the mind...