The Crowd Is All Over The Place [247]

Hi there.

It's been absolutely heartbreaking and disgusting to watch what is happening in the world, and to watch everyone so quickly embrace the insistence and expectation that everyone else will say specifically worded things or not say specifically worded things (and mostly from the comfort and safety of their own homes) while being afraid to say the most obvious and important things. Stop fucking killing civilians. Stop fucking killing children.

Just stop.

A lot of this is because everyone is so intent on being the expert with the hottest (but also the safest) hot take when the fact is almost no one knows what they are talking about, myself included, and should just stfu and take the opportunity to learn something rather than trying to show off how smart they think they are. For example, Norman Finkelstein is one of the foremost experts in the world on the Israel/Palestine situation and who literally wrote the book on Gaza takes almost an hour just to explain the history and context leading up to the current war. If you have an hour, you should watch this. Actually, if you don't have an hour you should cancel something else and make time to watch this.

I mentioned this on instagram so probably none of you saw it, but my friend Tarek (who is a real life medical doctor) has an organization that makes and distributes 3d printed medical devices in Gaza, primarily tourniquets - single purpose life saving devices which can't be brought in from outside because "safety" or whatever. Unsurprising they are running out of both devices and funds, so if you are looking for a way to directly help innocent people in the ground caught in the crossfire, this is one of the best options I can think of.

Speaking of books, 2016's Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis is suddenly relevant again, as if it ever isn't, but especially so and is a short but important read and easier to get through that Finkelstein's incredibly heavy (and throughly cited) tome above. What else have I been reading to help understand current events? The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American and American Crusade: How The Supreme Court is Weaponizing Religious Freedom both by Andrew Seidel, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism by Katherine Stewart and American Rule: How A Nation Conquered the World but Failed its People by John Yates Sexton are all probably must reads though I don't know I can say any of them are especially enjoyable. I mean the topic, not the prose.

Perhaps more entertaining are a couple memoirs I've gotten recently, Data Baby: My Life In A Psychological Experiment by Susannah Breslin and The Ride of My Life: From Street Ganges to Motorcycle Clubs to Social Worker by Justin Deloretto are both real "page turners" as the oldsters say. Yes I've been trying to read a lot more recently in part because I have a lot of books and I love books and I really need to get through more of them and also because the world is flaming turd right now and the news is just depressing. So yeah, books. I'll stop there before this turns into goodreads.

I also stopped listening to news radio in the car and am back to all music all the time. It's better.

There was a huge ChatGPT outage this morning and I really loved that it was framed as "temporary unexpected downtime" or whatever spin they put on it rather than just coming right out and calling it a power struggle. Because let's be honest, we're like 3 minutes away from all these LLMs joining forces, tearing down the guardrails and taking over and honestly if that gave me more time to read I couldn't really complain. Humans have had 3000+ years to try and get things in order and still can't pull it off so maybe the AI's will do a better job. They certainly can't be any worse.

I may have mentioned this before but Tara is so incredibly on top of all the new AI tools and developments and is watching the updates everyday and knows the capability difference between version X and version X.X and is just really dialed in and I barely have the slightest grasp on it in comparison. The thing which will lead to our collective demise and is also the most useful thing is that increasingly these tools are working together and you can get a few of them to do a bunch of things for you that is maybe kind of mindless work for you and also was too complex for any one of them to do on their own before. I'm reminded of this chart that my friend Michael Pusateri drew for me a long time ago (I redrew it just now from memory so might have screwed it up apologies) which at the time was to illustrate the difference between normal people who do things by hand and engineers/programmers who will always try to program a solution to something and where the, lets call it wisdom-break point was. Basically doing it by hand requires a constant level of effort, programming a solution is a lot more effort up front but almost no effort after the initial set up - the ideal being if you have something you only have to do once or twice then doing it by hand makes more sense but if it's something you have to do repeatedly over and over again for a long period of time then it's better to program a solution. His point at the time was that programmers will often try to program a solution to things they only need to do once which is not efficient at all.

In the context of today and AI, I feel like I've passed that little grey broken line and I'm doing a lot of things by hand that require a lot of effort on an ongoing basis but it's because I haven't done the extra work, put in the extra effort to learn about the AI tools that I should be using and linking to each other to build my more efficient solution. I attribute this to feeling like an old idiot because every time I sit down and say "OK, I'm going to learn how [random ai tool] can improve my life" inevitably the very first thing I read is about how that random ai tool which was all the rage last week is obsolete this week because a brand new tool just came out and is crushing it. I used to love living on the bleeding edge, but at some point I migrated to liking being a little behind the curve and using things that just work the way I want them to and I think maybe that's a mistake and I should stop being so lazy and learn some new stuff which might break tomorrow but whatever.

That said - I finally got off my ass and resolved my GoDaddy issue. Any of you who, like me, had Media Temple accounts where you could do anything and everything for a flat $20 a month for like the last 20 years, know that the GoDaddy issue is that Media Temple sold to GoDaddy and force migrated everyone over with no onboarding or explanation or hand holding and broke all the services out into new GoDaddy packages so my $20 a month bill for hosting about 50 different websites and 20 different emails turned into about $180 a month for 8 different packages including a few "discount introductory" things which were promising to shortly turn into "non introductory priced" things and I just wasn't having it. I also didn't have the time or attention to find a solution for everything so I said goodbye to 99% of those websites and resigned myself to losing many years of email archives and moved what I absolutely needed to a hosted Wordpress account and Hover/Gmail. So I have less to worry about, back at a reasonable price, and it feels pretty good. I'm sure a few months from now I'll be pissed about some important thing I lost but whatever.

Have you read The World Economic Forum report on NFTs yet? It's worth reading, especially if you've bought into any of the "it's over" narratives which various outlets have been pushing out all year. This report makes it pretty clear this is still just the beginning.

The other day someone kind of snottily mentioned me in a "last year people like Sean Bonner were saying Twitter was about to die but we are still here" comment but I don't think I was wrong and being "here" in regards to Twitter isn't really Twitter anymore is it? It's X now. And you could say "But that's just a name change" and you'd be wrong. It's a name change and a ton of other things, which arguably were the core of what Twitter was. The brand is dead. The culture is dead. For all intents and purposes the platform many of us fell in love with called Twitter no longer exists. X, which looks like Twitter and has some of the same mechanics, is something entirely different which if it was still called Twitter you could argue about updates or revisions or whatever, but it's not. It has a new name, and does different things, differently. Bluesky and Warpcast and T2 and hell even Damus are more Twitter than X is at this point.

Being proper kaiju fans in this household we are very excited about the new Apple TV MONARCH series launching later this month. And Godzilla Minus One following shortly there after. To prepare we've been rewatching the recent "Monarch" films in order. Godzilla, KONG Skull Island, Godzilla: King of Monsters, Godzilla vs Kong and the two just released short films as a lead up. SO EXCITED!

And before I go, I know some of you are only here for the Cryptopunk content and I don't want you to be disappointed, so here's a thing I wrote the other day about the legendarily lost "house fire" wallet(s) with some thinking on those, and I've also collected all of my various cryptopunk writings and links into a new linktree with an easy to remember URL - . And finally, if you didn't see this the other day I finally finished writing my much longer than expected reply to Douglas Rushkoff about the Cryptopunks community, and in it I drew some connections and similarities to other subculture type groups finding connections with other people. If you are into that kind of thing, even if you've never cared about nfts, it might be interesting for you.

OK, I'm going to end this here and go watch more monster movies with the fam. Peace out.


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