Links and Notes – Week 44, 2019

A Day of Dopamine Fasting in San Francisco

Throughout that day of their dopamine fast, they wandered slowly from room to room. They read. They put on more and more sweaters. The food fasting makes them cold.

As someone who often fasts and gets pretty cold I’m glad to find I’m not alone in this (I wore a vest under my t-shirt and jumper for the first time ever today).

After the fast, Mr. Sinka finds that everyday tasks are more exciting and fun… Food is more delicious.

I’ve found a similar thing after I’ve done a week of Soylent-like food only. That first solid meal afterwards is bliss.

However, I’m mostly linking this article due to just how fucking ridiculous ‘dopamine fasting’ is. I mean listen to this techbro douche:

The other day, Mr. Sinka ran into an old friend but had to tell her they could not continue speaking. “I hadn’t seen her in six months, and it was extraordinarily exciting, super-stimulating, and I could feel how excited I was,” he said. “So I had to cut it off and I just said, ‘Listen, it’s not you, it’s me, doing this dopamine fast.’”

Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia

Social media moles seem to be becoming more and more common.

YouTube Quietly Hides Its Code after Content “Throttling” System Is Leaked

… YouTube is using various proprietary internal metrics to suppress YouTubers but they also show that corporate brands, Hollywood stars, and YouTube’s so-called “authoritative sources” are often given preferential ratings.
YouTube’s algorithms are a genuine disgrace. They have the largest library of amateur (and professional too) video content in the world and it’s all hidden behind a recommendation engine that just wants advertising money and the highest amount of hours watcher per user possible. I only visit YouTube these days if I’m going to search for something in particular such as a tutorial. I refuse to passively browse the wasteland.

The Making of the World’s Greatest Investor

A radical investing style was behind Mr. Simons’s rise. He built computer programs to digest torrents of market information and select ideal trades, an approach aimed at removing emotion and instinct from the investment process. Mr. Simons and colleagues at his firm, Renaissance Technologies LLC, sorted data and built sophisticated predictive algorithms—years before Mark Zuckerberg and his peers in Silicon Valley began grade school.

It’s Time to Take Down the Mona Lisa

Some 80 percent of visitors, according to the Louvre’s research, are here for the Mona Lisa — and most of them leave unhappy. Content in the 20th century to be merely famous, she has become, in this age of mass tourism and digital narcissism, a black hole of anti-art who has turned the museum inside out.

New Default WordPress Theme

WordPress hasn’t had a good default theme for years. The default should be simple and very much not trendy. That’s rarely been the case recently. Well the new default, “Twenty Twenty”, actually looks pretty damn good. It will be released with WordPress 5.3 in the middle of November. But for now you can see a live preview on Matt Mullenweg’s blog.


Did you know that the Soviet Union existed long enough into the 20th Century to get its own domain name?

The Current War (2018)

I first became aware of this film quite a while ago due to the fact it had some big names in it (Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Holland) and that it had been in post-production hell for over two years and might never see the light of day (IMDB lists the filming date as 18 December 2016!). I found this to be a shame as it was about a subject I was interested in, the war of currents. Anyway after some re-shoots and re-edits it’s finally starting to appear (often listed as “The Current War: Director’s Cut”). I’ve seen a few films in the past which suffered in post-production limbo and they’ve all been understandably awful. But this isn’t too bad. I don’t know if it’s just because I had such low exceptions going into it, but I enjoyed it. The actors alone are good enough to carry this into being a perfectly respectable affair. It’s not challenging or groundbreaking but it’s a good Sunday afternoon watch. And it piqued my interest enough that I’ve picked up the new Edison biography. 3/5

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