Technology is the reason we get old enough to complain about technology.
It’s worth remembering that there is good news out there, if you know where to look.
Gary Numan is 13 days older than Gary Oldman.
That the Wikipedia entry for sofa redirects to “couch” is a salutary reminder that the Internet is written in American and we British fool ourselves that this is English.
B3ta newsletter, 06/10/2018
A little history of a great line I first heard in a trailer for a new Christopher Robin film.
People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day
In conclusion, this joke was in circulation by 1906 when it was printed in a humor book authored by “Theodor Rosyfelt”. The phraseology changed as it was transmitted across decades. In modern times it has been connected to two iconic figures: Alfred E. Neuman and Winnie-the-Pooh. QI has not found any substantive evidence that A.A. Milne used the expression.
It remains a very Winnie-the-Pooh thing to say, though. Except in East Germany.
“Not all things worth counting are countable and not all things that count are worth counting.”
Albert Einstein (Or was it?)
Chris Dillow reviews The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Muller, a book about “how the obsession with quantifying human performance threatens our schools, medical care, businesses, and government.”
The Tyranny of Metrics: a review
Muller provides lots of examples of this, mostly from the US. But you’ll all have examples of your own. In universities the Research Assessment Exercise (now the REF) contributed to increased administration costs and perhaps to the replicability crisis by incentivizing the publication of mediocre research. In schools, targets can encourage teaching to the test, endless revision and a focus upon the marginal student to the neglect of both the strongest and weakest. Waiting-time targets might distort clinical priorities. Immigration targets deter foreign students and lead to the harassment of people who have lived here for decades. Sales targets encourage workers to mis-sell financial products, cook the books, or increase risk by encouraging “liars’ loans. And so on.
It’s not all bad news, though. It’s just a question of balancing the quantitative with the qualitative.
The Tyranny of Metrics is not, however, a diatribe against targets. Muller points to the experience of some US hospitals to show that metrics can work. They do so, he says, when they are “based on collaboration and peer review”:
Measurements are more likely to be meaningful when they are developed from the bottom up, with input from teachers, nurses and the cop on the beat.
In other words, metrics can succeed when they are complements to knowledge: when they organize the tacit and dispersed professional judgements of people who know ground truth.
Shakespearean insults for every situation
In addition to appreciating his literary contributions, Shakespeare enthusiasts understand and enjoy the snarky humor that is embedded in his work. His writing shows the power of language for its ability to make a statement and pack a punch. To celebrate the 402nd anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death, we’ve compiled the best insults from some of his most famous works into a Shakespearean insult generator.
As well as providing us with an infographic for us to generate our own insults, there’s a comprehensive list of his best put-downs, barbs and slurs, including:
“You have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness.”
Much Ado About Nothing
“Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.”
“I do desire that we may be better strangers.”
As You Like It
(Via At the BookShelf)
Dalí: the first celebrity modernist
There’s a big problem with seeing the surrealist movement as a pure, serious artistic phenomenon and Dalí as a hack who betrayed it. First, his best paintings are genuinely creepy and beautiful, and Un Chien Andalou, his 1929 cinematic collaboration with Luis Buñuel, is a masterpiece. But second, in taking modern art to the shops and turning it into telly, he recognised a reality. The avant garde in the modern age has two choices: either it is for a wealthy elite or it is for the masses. Dalí is accused, with some justice, of everything from snobbery to fascism, but the paradox is that he made modern art popular and accessible.
I, too, had his posters in my bedroom as a teenager. Whatever we think of the high-ness or low-ness of his art, he made an impact.
“Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure – that of being Salvador Dalí.”
“Apollodorus says, ‘If any one were to take away from the books of Chrysippus all the passages which he quotes from other authors, his paper would be left empty.'”
Sorry, couldn’t resist this, but that was me quoting Robert Brook, quoting Wikipedia, quoting Diogenes Laërtius, quoting Apollodorus on Chrysippus’ quoting too much!
This need to save and preserve has got me thinking of an alternative to all these Cloud services. It’s rooted in an older, pre-existing model. Web hosting services.
Jason Paul, Your Own Personal Cloud
To properly design for a medium, you need to understand it. I like to think of the web as a kind of material, with unique characteristics we can take advantage of, and limits it can reach before it breaks.
Paul Robert Lloyd, The Web Aesthetic