Boris Smus

interaction engineering

Links for April 2022

Generated image of a codex with helicopters.

  • We Aren’t Just Watching the Decline of the Oscars. We’re Watching the End of the Movies (NYTimes) — Sensationally titled, Douthat gestures at the declining cultural importance of movies, and speculates convincingly about their likely relegation to a stable but niche role like that of theatre, opera, or ballet.
  • Against Rotten Tomatoes (Aesthetics for Birds) — Matt Strohl argues that crowdsourced movie rankings the Tomatometer are "mostly a bad thing". Designed to punish bad movies, they also punishes bold and distinct ones, reducing creative risk taking.
  • I Can Feel My Heart Hardening as the War Goes on (The Spectator) — Pomerantsev considers the parallels the biblical story of Exodus to Russia's genocidal war on Ukraine as he travels home to celebrate Passover in his hometown Kiev. In particular, he wrestles with the puzzle of how to keep your humanity while killing a genocidal enemy.
  • The insidious cultural relativism of failure (Linotype) — Stefano argues that it's much easier to climb down a hill if you are confident that the world is full of many hills. However if you think it’s not so full of hills it’s insane to climb down from your comfortable perch!
  • Why Elon Musk Bought Twitter (New Yorker) — Twitter is just one of many games Elon Musk is addicted to (we're living in a simulation, right?). Historically, he has created value for his companies by being unhinged on Twitter, but this is a dangerous game since many high-profile people have gotten in trouble for their tweets. Time to fix it!
  • Elon Musk Is Already Grinding Us Down (The Atlantic) — Warzel highlights two dark patterns on twitter, which are likely to be amplified by Musk's changes: 1) The dominance of pithy, short, reductive utterances (memes) over chains of informative tweets (tweetstorms), and 2) The tendency to race to quickly reply to high profile tweets, in order for the reply to be placed in the valuable real estate below.