Cloudy, dark day today. The Northern Hemisphere decrease in sunlight this time of year is really punishing; no wonder there are a few festivals featuring lights around now. I just wish we pushed it into January and February.
1. World’s richest 1% pollute more than the poorest two-thirds, Oxfam says: It’s impossible to talk about climate change without talking about wealth inequality and labor exploitation:
“The super-rich are plundering and polluting the planet to the point of destruction, leaving humanity choking on extreme heat, floods and drought,” Oxfam International’s interim executive director, Amitabh Behar, said in a news release on Monday. He called for world leaders to “end the era of extreme wealth.”
If you want a specific example of mega-rich pollution, the Guardian has a look at private-jet emissions for 200 celebrities since the start of 2022: “Jets belonging to entertainers, CEOs, oligarchs and billionaires produce equivalent to emissions of almost 40,000 Britons”.
2. How to Maintain Mental Hygiene as an Open Source Researcher: This guide is geared toward potential researchers looking into war crimes in Ukraine, but I think the tips have a use for everyone in unmoderated or poorly-moderated spaces online right now. Additional thoughts not in the link that I’ve seen elsewhere online: curate your feeds aggressively, invert the colors on your screen and flip images around if you need to look closely, maybe play Tetris (one study, there are probably more)?
3. Andre 3000’s new flute album, New Blue Sun, has been making the joke rounds on social media and late-night comedy. I like the album, and I like this profile about the album and Andre 3000’s career from the New Yorker: Andre 3000 disrupts our sense of time.
4. I’m honestly sharing this one because summarizing can help me understand a topic better: ‘What the heck is going on?’ Extremely high-energy particle detected falling to Earth. Apparently, something like a supernova isn’t strong enough to create a particle like this, which makes it strange enough, but scientists have only been able to trace it back to empty space, which makes it even stranger. (I have also now learned the specific empty space bordering the Milky Way is called the “Local Void”.)
(Remember, if you prefer to read over watch, you can read transcripts on YouTube! See my first link post for more.)
1. Why Dark Side of the Moon Still Matters by Polyphonic: This is the joined-up, hour-long version of a video series Polyphonic did on the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon, which is one of my all-time favorite albums and a moving treatise on life, death, and modernity (in the ‘70s, but it still works). The video is a beautiful blend of visuals, audio snippets, lyric and musical analysis, and production review. Even if you don’t feel like watching the video, consider giving the album a spin.
2. Three Specific Kinds of Terror by Jacob Gellar: An overview of horror as seen in the games Amnesia: The Bunker, Who’s Lila, and The Utility Room. What do you find more horrifying, how the gargantuan size of the cosmos renders choice meaningless, or having to live with the consequences of your own decisions?
The video and comments left me most interested in Who’s Lila for two reasons. The game mechanics are largely built in unnatural facial expressions you control, and that, for better or worse, rang a bell with autistic viewers. Other commenters referenced another video essayist, Flaw Peacock, who made a 7.5+ hour analysis of the game. Whether I get to game or long summary first, I added Who’s Lila to my Steam wishlist, and the two “Similar to games you’ve played” listed are Disco Elysium and Phasmophobia. Promising!
3. I Bought the Same Dress for $4, $30, $60, and $200 by Safiya Nygaard: An interesting look at the unchecked scam ad market on Tiktok (and although it wasn’t the video’s main focus, apparently things are similar on Instagram). Like, this isn’t (just) covering dupes of higher-end fashion design. This is hundreds of ads made from stolen videos, hundreds of fake reviews that steal pictures from Instagram and reviews from Amazon, and dozens of online shops that vanish before you can tell them they sent you the wrong product or that you never received a product at all.
I’m not sure if the problem here is a lack of vetting or inadequate vetting. Either way, even if Tiktok and Instagram put more work into the process, things are still dire in the ad space as a whole. The video only touches on it briefly, but I was alarmed that Steve Madden (an actual company I’ve known about for decades) used a Markiplier overlay in an ad without his knowledge or consent (Safiya asked him directly). If a personality with his level of fame and clout has little recourse, what about the rest of us?
4. You wanna see an edit where it looks like Cookie Monster is singing Tom Waits’s “God’s Away on Business”? (Trust me, you do.)