"Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself." —Richard Bach, Illusions
- Just this weekend, South African authorities have discovered a new covid19 "variant of concern" which the WHO has named the Omicron variant. It has more mutations and initial studies suggest it may be a lot more transmissible than the dreaded Delta, so a lot of countries immediately went into high alert, mostly in the form of travel bans. Travel bans are unlikely to be able to keep Omicron out (though they may help in delaying it); in fact it may already be in more countries than we realize. In the past 24h, multiple European countries have reported identifying Omicron cases locally. It's early yet and the situation is still evolving, but I like Noah Smith's summary. Hopefully it's not as bad as expected and doesn't ruin people's holidays. (Hope is not a strategy, etc etc)
- Political clans have formed a coalition to support the dictator's son. The members of this coalition tell you everything about Philippine politics and what's at stake in the coming elections.
Links of interest:
- Stephen Diehl writes about the Handwavy Technobabble Nothingburger that is blockchain:
"Any application that could be done on a blockchain could be better done on a centralized database. Except crime."
- Grafton Tanner writes in "Yesterday Once More" about how algorithms, driven by nostalgia, are also changing how we experience nostalgia
- Kottke (quoting Scott Stedman) writes about the Ten Rules of Golden Age Detective Fiction. Mostly of interest to me because I read my first few Agatha Christie books this year.
- Devin Kelly writes: "I Miss it All", a hauntingly quotable longread about the things we miss in our isolation:
"But when you are among people, even and especially the people you love, you don’t get to fashion it your way. And that’s okay. The beauty of people is that you become beholden to the fragility and waywardness of others, just as they are beholden to you. I know this because I have inconvenienced many a friend. I forget every birthday. I’ll take a week to respond to a text message. I used to get sad at parties and make people stand outside with me while I smoked. I don’t know how to drive. Everyone drives me everywhere. Being friends with me is like being friends with a tiny king who hasn’t found his kingdom."
- Karen Hao of Technology Review writes about how Facebook and Google fund global misinformation. It's a detailed report of how big tech funds and incentivizes spread of misinformation, all in the name of chasing profits. Myanmar is the focus here, but several other countries are mentioned as well, including my own.
- Drew DeVault writes about his philosophy for productive instant messaging. His examples are about IRC, but the principles apply to any IM platform including Slack, Discord, etc.
Visit the Links page for more links of interest.
- My eldest niece turns 12 today! I'm so old...
- Had a bunch of errands eating up my time this week, and now it feels like I'm behind on so many things.
- One of the things I'm still behind on is the daily sketching. The covid hospital stay really did a number on the "daily" part of that habit. Anyway, here's some spaghetti I drew:
- Powered through the final chapter of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles this week. With achievement completion even!
- Tales of Symphonia is proceeding apace as well, I am fairly sure I am close to the end, although any sort of completionist goals may just be a fantasy.
- Still struggling to climb the ranks in my regular fighting games: Guilty Gear Strive and Street Fighter V.
- Still doing my daily games of Eternal and still streaming Crimson Vow drafts on Magic Arena! Also, not sure if I can hit Master/Mythic in either game this month, there's only a couple of days left and I'm still a ways away.
- Have several RPGs in my Steam cart at the moment, not sure if I should pull the trigger, giving me even more backlogs / things to do. And RPGs are so long!
- Movies: Didn't watch any this week!
- TV: Got started on the first episodes of new seasons of Star Trek Discovery, Hawkeye, Wheel of Time, Doctor Who, Flash, etc. Still behind on most of these shows!
- Reading: Still reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Progress isn't as quick as I'd hoped. The book isn't hard to read, I just have so many other things I want to do!
- Trivia: The regular crosswords continue.
This coming week:
- Draft Arena Open on Saturday!