Exploding old toilets
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Here in the UK it felt like Autumn arrived very suddenly. There was an extra bonus day of lovely warm September and then grim rain arrived and hasn’t gone away.
So here, by contrast, are some vaguely cheering things:
If you need to feel good about people then please watch The Speed Cubers. It’s a quick, brilliant documentary about competitive Rubik cubing. And everyone in it is sooo nice. (I have a feeling I might have mentioned this to you before. I’m not bothered. It’s so good. I might mention it every month.)
Feeling good about imposter syndrome : “You have imposter syndrome,” He says, “but paradoxically, that’s often a sign of competence. Only people who understand their work well enough to be intimidated by it can be terrified by their own ignorance. It’s the opposite of Dunning-Kruger syndrome, where the miserably incompetent think they’re on top of the job because they don’t understand it.”
From The Labyrinth Index by Charles Stross
No nations, no borders. This feels a bit less true than when it was written, but, still : “Today you can qualify to play for the rugby team of a nation if just one of your grandfathers happened to be born there, even if you have never been to the place, even if you speak no word of its language – a qualification almost as absurd as Nazi definitions of Jewishness. One day the very idea of nationality will seem as impossibly primitive as dynastic warfare or the divine right of kings; first the unification of continents, then the global rule of the almighty corporations, like institutions from space, then perhaps space itself and finally plain common-sense will reduce it to a hobby for antiquarians or re-enactment societies.”
From Trieste by Jan Morris
Relevant to things people are thinking about at the moment : “The Internet exists at the confluence of culture, code, and infrastructure. As the technology historian Janet Abbate writes, “Communications media often seem to dematerialize technology, presenting themselves to the user as systems that transmit ideas rather than electrons.” This makes the boundary between users and producers, and between software and hardware, so porous as to be effectively permeable. As the story of hypertext shows, technology alone isn’t enough to change the world—it has to be implemented in an accessible way and adopted by a community of users who feel enough ownership over it to invent new applications far beyond the imagination of its architects. To make successful links, in short, we need things worth linking.”
From Broad Band by Claire L Evans
This idea makes me chuckle : “I read once—an urban legend? but maybe Latour?—that Paris would explode if everyone flushed their toilet at the same time. Imagine the Russian disinfo campaign: “5pm today, Paris, symbolize your rejection of Macron by flushing at the same time!!!”
A tweet by Geoff Manaugh
(There are 617 of you. Again! Stasis. A plateau. Nobody move! In 617 Sigeberht the Little became King of Essex)