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October 12, 2020

Comments

KC

My clothes remain perpetually the same, but I've simply stopped reading a bunch of multi-contributor blogs/sites; I'd go, meaning to catch up on what I hadn't read since last time, and... nope. Too many inputs for my brain right now. That just sort of happened organically rather than by explicit choice, though.

Arlene

My life is too much the same. I rotate between Netflix, a very complicated Jigsaw puzzle and shopping online--but not for clothes. I figure I have enough clothes in any size I'm likely to need to last forever. Mostly shop for groceries and dog toys. Sometimes, I put the dog in the car and we just drive. I'm sort of expecting this to be my life for another year.
The good thing is the contents of my drawers, shelves, and closets are slowly making their way to Goodwill.

Big Dot

I wear a uniform, of jeans or 3/4s, plus one of about 4 polo shirts, plus a fuzzy fleece if it's cold. Every day. When I have to go out I wear a slightly smarter version of the above. Can't be bothered with clothes - when my daughter got married in February, it was a nightmare finding something to wear. Would happily never buy any more. But that's all ingrained sartorial laziness unconnected with Covid.
Where it affects me is what I watch/read. Can't be doing with anything dark or scary, must be funny. Fortunately there's richness out there - though that doesn't stop me returning often to Brooklyn 99.

TheQueen

KC - interesting. You know, I can’t think of the last magazine or book I read. That’s scary.
Arlene - a Goodwill purge sounds like an excellent use of covid time. Do you drive them to Goodwill or does Goodwill come to pick them up?
Big Dot - interesting Brooklyn 99 is one of those things I have tried to like, because everyone likes it, but it has never clicked for me. I don’t know why.

KC

I'm reading books, but exclusively fluffy books or informative nonfiction (on not-dark, not-depressing, not-plague-related topics)(I've had "Re-Engineering Humanity" on my reading list since the beginning of the year or so. Not right now; yes, it's an important topic, no I do not have capacity to deal with another Problem I can't do much about at present.).

Different people have reported different tilts in their reading or other media intake (either Towards Sad & Plague or Vigorously Away, mostly) - just about everyone agrees that reading long-form is generally harder right now than it usually is, and this is a heavily-reading demographic. That said: you can pick up a book if you want! Sometimes it's therapeutic to get lost in a book...

Big Dot

Just discovered there’s a US version of a very funny Aussie cop comedy on CBS called No Activity. I can’t access it - enjoy it for me?

(I do watch other things besides cop shows.)

TheQueen

KC - Re-engineering Humanity sounds like something the NixiVm people would like in The Vow, which I am trudging through on HBO.
Big Dot - I will, but bear in mind my standard for cop comedies is Barney Miller. A high bar.

KC

Ah, see, yes, the book is about how current technology is changing us and aspects of that which are Not Good At All, more than a how-to book. Although I suppose most things that are warning of hazards that need to be corrected... could also be used to some degree as how-to guides on creating those hazards?

Book description:
Every day, new warnings emerge about artificial intelligence rebelling against us. All the while, a more immediate dilemma flies under the radar. Have forces been unleashed that are thrusting humanity down an ill-advised path, one that's increasingly making us behave like simple machines? In this wide-reaching, interdisciplinary book, Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger examine what's happening to our lives as society embraces big data, predictive analytics, and smart environments. They explain how the goal of designing programmable worlds goes hand in hand with engineering predictable and programmable people. Detailing new frameworks, provocative case studies, and mind-blowing thought experiments, Frischmann and Selinger reveal hidden connections between fitness trackers, electronic contracts, social media platforms, robotic companions, fake news, autonomous cars, and more. This powerful analysis should be read by anyone interested in understanding exactly how technology threatens the future of our society, and what we can do now to build something better.

TheQueen

KC - well, I feel that AI will probably kill as many people as were killed by the looms that ushered in the Industrial Age. Shall we become luddites? I hope not.

KC

Do you mean the ones killed directly by the looms (somewhat preventable by better loom design and better factory safety), the ones killed slowly by breathing in cotton fibers (somewhat preventable by better ventilation), or the ones killed by starvation due to their livelihood being mechanized?

I guess: no, let's not necessarily be luddites, but there are *definitely* aspects of technology that could be improved from a human-flourishing (or lives-saved) point of view. There are a lot of things, like total loss of privacy, that are peddled as "inevitable" that are not actually inevitable - they are merely profitable to the people who are peddling them as inevitable.

I'd like technology to be less mostly-making-the-rich-richer and more of a service, conceptually, and I'd like 1. greater transparency to be required and 2. more limits in EULAs and 3. a ideological change from humans-as-button-pushing-rats-to-be-made-profitable-in-as-many-ways-as-possible to humans-as-the-ones-to-optimize-things-for. But we won't get any of that without people knowing that there are problems *and* being able to realize that many of these problems aren't inherent; they're merely an additional profit layer.

TheQueen

KC - I don;t know specifics on how looms killed people. Just a Very vague memory that looms were bad. doesn’t it seem like someday the rich will be rich enough? I certainly don’t think anyone should be committing suicide to make my iPhone cheaper.

KC

Well, it's both making your iPhone cheaper and increasing profits twice: once in the cut of the money that isn't making your end product cheaper, and a second time when, because the product is "cheap enough" you buy a new one/upgrade earlier than you would have otherwise (or treat yours carelessly enough that it has an End Of Life Event earlier than it would have if being coddled due to being and expensive treat).

But yes. I'd really much rather pay more for a shirt than know that someone, somewhere is working at starvation levels so that 1. I can get it cheaper and 2. the company can make more profit. But I don't want to just buy more expensive shirts if the money isn't actually going to the workers! (men's dress shirts are currently my Quest Item; no, I do not want to pay $300 for a fancy-pants luxury made-in-the-US hand-tailored shirt when a huge amount of that cost is marketing and various aspects [like hand tailoring] that we don't actually need. But yes, I do want the workers to be paid, and I would happily pay 2-3x the current cost of, say, Kohl's quality shirts to get an equivalent-quality shirt where the workers have been paid more reasonably.) (I've almost totally swapped to non-child-slave-labor chocolate, and to gulf shrimp rather than lots-of-slave-labor shrimp, but men's "professional" shirts are still eluding me...)

I would say that, broadly speaking, people rarely think they're rich enough, no matter where they are on the ladder. There's almost always more/farther. (I mean, I'm personally *ludicrously* rich compared to the vast majority of the world population, and yet...) There's also that thing where when people do get rich, they tend to get acclimated to their lifestyle upgrades, such that enjoyment in the current lifestyle is reduced - and when people have focused hard enough on becoming rich, then they hold the habit of "needing more money" even when the additional money isn't actually contributing substantially to their enjoyment of life - and that in many social circles of rich people, wealth is a large part of status even if they're not doing anything with the money, which is... weird... to me. And where they're "supposed to" have all these lifestyle accessories - the fanciest kitchen, antiques, luxury furniture, huge houses - even if they don't personally enjoy them. (I know someone who has the most deluxe kitchen I've ever seen in a home - and no one in the household cooks. It's only used occasionally by visiting caterers.)

So. No. I don't think most people will conclude they're rich enough and that it's fine to ignore business/economy magazines' assessment of whether they're squeezing every last drop out of their company (and the assumptions inherent in those discussions that it's *best* to squeeze every last drop out!). But maybe some people will wake up and start trying to reduce the gap.

TheQueen

KC - I imagine the folks with the luxury kitchen will be selling the house in a few years. Probably an investment more than a home.

KC

I think it *was* an investment in terms of "when bigwigs have people over, this is what they expect from a bigwig and this is the package deal, including books on the bookcase that the interior decorator got from the antique shop and they've never looked at" - but that was in 2006 or so. Sort of the housing equivalent of wearing a really nice suit to an interview. But man, from a "home" point of view the "public" areas were a decorative and beautiful but hollow waste (they did have "home" in other bits of the house, though, at least!).

TheQueen

KC - well, given that I’m now having to invest in repairing the sunken foundation at my house, a status kitchen sounds fun to me.

KC

Yeah. I think that's part of the thing where we never have "enough" money - because we see other people getting treats, whether or not they're actually enjoying them (and whether or not we'd actually enjoy them much, either). It would be nice if we could say "enough!" and call it a day.

But yes. Spending money on things to make your house not fall down - but that you don't really get to see any positive change from - is a whole lot less fun. Being *able* to spend that money, though, instead of just waiting and worrying: that is NICE.

TheQueen

KC - yes, not satisfying at all. Not as bad as when we got the whole-house water softener and after spending five grand we had water.

KC

We were pretty darn happy, on the times our water has gone out, to have water again, but maybe you did not have a Service Interruption, but just "the water needs to have a water softener again" "oh" and then got it done?

TheQueen

KC - oh, the water was never out. We had hard water, spent five grand, had supposedly sifter water. Made lots of remarks about “taste this pricey water which tastes like .... water.”

KC

Oh. Yes. That would not be exciting. I mean, if it meant your hair was easier to deal with or you noticed that you didn't have to clean hard water deposits off things as much (we have hard water and it is kind of obnoxious?), then that might eventually result in minor cheeriness, but... eh.

But going from "there is no tap water" to "there is tap water!" is exciting, in approximate proportion to how many inconveniences you've experienced due to it being off...

TheQueen

KC - I don’t think I have ever been without tap water in my own house (certainly I was at my moms where the pipes would freeze).

KC

It does make one more grateful for The Modern Conveniences!

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