April 2018

  1. I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t
    theverge.com

    Sarah Jeong, for The Verge:

    Facebook had replaced much of the emotional labor of social networking that consumed previous generations. We have forgotten (or perhaps never noticed) how many hours our parents spent keeping their address books up to date, knocking on doors to make sure everyone in the neighborhood was invited to the weekend BBQ, doing the rounds of phone calls with relatives, clipping out interesting newspaper articles and mailing them to a friend, putting together the cards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and more. We don’t think about what it’s like to carefully file business cards alphabetically in a Rolodex. People spent a lot of time on these sorts of things, once, because the less of that work you did, the less of a social network you had.

  2. The Illusion of Control in Web Design
    alistapart.com

    Aaron Gustafson:

    Last week, two events reminded us, yet again, of how right Douglas Crockford was when he declared the web “the most hostile software engineering environment imaginable.” Both were serious enough to take down an entire site—actually hundreds of entire sites, as it turned out. And both were avoidable.

    Start simply. Code defensively. User-test the heck out of it. Recognize the chaos. Embrace it. And build resilient web experiences that will work no matter what the internet throws at them.

  3. I saw this tweet once and now X-Files is ruined forever

  4. Game Score Fanfare: The Anxiety of Celeste and its Music
    youtube.com

    Mathew Dyason:

    Celeste is a poignant exploration of facing anxiety, helped in large part by its deeply personal soundtrack by Lena Raine. Let’s look at how the music approaches the theme of anxiety, whether by inducing it, or turning stress into something more productive.

    I often listen to film and videogame soundtracks to help me focus while working (including the Celeste soundtrack!). This video gets to why that works so well. The idea that stress can be positive (eustress instead of the negative distress) is a powerful concept that I wasn’t aware of.

  5. Plainness and Sweetness
    frankchimero.com

    Frank Chimero:

    I find that the more input I have in the content and strategy of the project, the less burden I place on the aesthetics. Perhaps this is because I believe the aesthetic of the work should be an extention of its objectives, so if you get the strategy right, the look follows. Since I like to tackle problems sideways, I must risk being plain and rely on direct visuals to keep the work comprehensible.

  6. The Tricky Business of Measuring Consciousness
    wired.com

    Jason Pontin for Wired:

    In a groundbreaking study, 102 healthy subjects and 48 responsive but brain-injured patients were “zapped and zipped” when conscious and unconscious, creating a value called a “perturbational complexity index” (PCI). Remarkably, across all 150 subjects, when the PCI value was above a certain value (0.31, is it happens) the person was conscious; if below, she or he was always unconscious.

    Massimini’s test is important because it is the first real proof of integrated information theory (IIT), a theory of consciousness invented by neuroscientist and psychiatrist Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin.

    IIT doesn’t try to answer the hard problem. Instead, it does something more subtle: It posits that consciousness is a feature of the universe, like gravity, and then tries to solve the pretty hard problem of determining which systems are conscious with a mathematical measurement of consciousness represented by the Greek letter phi (Φ).

  7. Pacific Rim: Uprising

    Film, 2018

    Watched 8 April 2018

    A far cry from the original’s simplicity and earnestness, but these giant robots still tickle my fancy. I had a blast watching it.

    The amount of distinct stuff happening in this movie is bonkers — it felt like an entire mecha anime series crammed into a couple of hours. I really wish it could have been made as a 10-hour TV show that actually took the time to linger and explore all those ideas.