Making culture for the internets—all of them — The Sea of Fog — Medium

People ridiculed George W. Bush when he called them “the internets” but he had it right. Technically, the internet is one huge interconnected network. Linguistically and socially, it is many networks, and they are very distinct. For example: There are 40 million Brazilians on Twitter. Do you follow any Brazilians?* This is a significant fraction of a service that many of us consider our internet front porch—and yet, unless you speak Portuguese, it’s invisible. It might as well be a different service entirely.

Making culture for the internets—all of them — The Sea of Fog — Medium

B Michael Tumblr: Just Free Stuff


Rappers are very much analogous to bloggers in that both groups sort of do what they do because they want to do it, but they also know there’s not really any worth to what they’re doing – except sometimes one of their cohort gets scooped up by some faceless place with money, so there’s always a little halo of maybe-money attached to what they do. Maybe that halo’s worth more than actually making a piddly amount of money.

B Michael Tumblr: Just Free Stuff

What is art in the internet age? | Yale Insights

Q: What are the incentives you think artists are responding to?

Money and fame and sex—the same as always—but now there’s a difference. You can’t perfect your masterwork for 20 years. There’s a bit of a hurry. There’s a sense that things are changing. You can end up obsolete.

Q: How about from the audience perspective? How different is consuming art versus other consumption?

I think it’s changed enormously in the last 10 years. You see it in movie theaters, but it’s everywhere: people text or tweet and don’t pay full attention. They’re in some ways quite fussy. The attitude is, I’m already in control of my own informational life and entertainment. What else can you bring to the table? Not in a hostile way, but in an entirely legitimate “what have you got for me?” way. A lot of creators aren’t really up to it.

What is art in the internet age? | Yale Insights

The Blue Collar Coder – Anil Dash

Part of our challenge is that the tech sector has to acknowledge and accept that a broad swath of jobs in the middle of our industry require skills but need not be predicated on a full liberal arts education at a high-end university. The Stanford CS grads are always going to be fine; It’s the people who can’t go into the same trade as their dad, or who are smart but not interested in the eating-ramen-and-working-100-hours-a-week startup orthodoxy who we need to bring along with us into tech.

The Blue Collar Coder – Anil Dash


Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky

Started reading this last year, finished it a few weeks ago. My favorite sentence from the book which maybe summarizes it best: “The internet is an opportunity machine.”

My other favorite passage, which I’ve already posted, but I’ll repost here anyways:

The stupidest creative act is still a creative act… On the spectrum of creative work, the difference between the mediocre and the good is vast. Mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.

Oh, by the way: it’s fun to pay attention to subtitles, especially when a book comes in a hardback/paperback edition — the paperback edition usually shows the evolution (or devolution) of the publisher’s marketing of the book. The hardcover subtitle of Cognitive Surplus is “Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age” vs. the paperback subtitle, “How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators.” When Lewis Hyde’s The Gift came out, the subtitle was “Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property”—later, much later, it was “Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World.”

That favorite passage reminds me of Peter Thiel talking about horizontal business vs. vertical business. Going from 1 to N, copying things that work, incrementally spreading and improving, is hard, yes. But going from 0 to 1 is really, really hard in a very different way.

Pallets: The single most important object in the global economy. – Slate Magazine

Some 80 percent of all U.S. commerce is carried on pallets. So widespread is their use that they account for, according to one estimate, more than 46 percent of total U.S. hardwood lumber production.

Takes me back to high school, working the night shift stocking the shelves at Kroger. So. Many. Pallets.

Pallets: The single most important object in the global economy. – Slate Magazine

AUSTIN KLEON: Bob Ross’s rivalry with his mentor, Bill Alexander: “He betrayed me!”

This is so awesome.


So here’s something you don’t hear about a lot — Bob Ross, the famous afro-ed host of The Joy Of Painting, was taught his famous “wet on wet” fast painting technique by a German expatriate painter named Bill Alexander, who, believe it or not, had his own PBS painting show calledThe Magic of Oil Painting, that ran from 1974-1982.

AUSTIN KLEON: Bob Ross’s rivalry with his mentor, Bill Alexander: “He betrayed me!”

Online fraud: Blatancy and latency | The Economist

Blatancy is a means of weeding out all but the most credulous respondents. (…) A big cost for [spammers] is the time they spend coaxing fully into their net those who show initial interest. So they need to select the most promising targets, rather than timewasters or the wary. “By sending an e-mail that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks [victims] to self-select.”

Online fraud: Blatancy and latency | The Economist

The Believer – Beat Boutique

On library music and the idea of “selling out”.

“Are you OK with making compromises with your art, or is it just better off for you to have your big compromise be walking into an office every day and getting to do whatever you want?” she says, without a fleck of judgment in her voice. “I think there’s arguments to be made for both.”

The Believer – Beat Boutique