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ProLinks #57 – Truth, Wayland and Sex Tapes


Let’s talk about Wayland …

This is the fundamental principle of every single product (including security products). If you cannot use a thing, because its “safety” or “security” mechanisms prevents the core functionality from being utilized in the intended fashion, the product is useless. For example, a Web browser without an Internet connection is possibly very secure from Internet exploits – but it also doesn’t do its main function – let people browse the Internet

Speed is the killer feature

When you touched a Razr or a Palm phone, there was a delay. It felt sluggish and slow. Apple removed the delay between your finger tapping the screen and something happening. Your finger could finally manipulate the UI in realtime, just like in the real world. It felt magical. If there was even a slight delay, the whole experience fell apart.

Everything is broken, and it’s okay

Every car you’ve ever ridden in, every elevator you’ve ever taken, every safety-critical computer program you’ve ever trusted your life with was flawed in some way. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend—your system’s uptime will always be measured in 9s, a percentage of perfection.

The Social Dilemma Makes You A Victim When You’re Not One | The Nir Eyal Philosophy


How ‘Lolita’ Escaped Obscenity Laws and Cancel Culture

My father defended a lot of murderers — his favorite clients, because he said they had generally got rid of the one person on earth who was really bugging them, and a kind of peace had descended over them — but his other specialty was obscenity. He was of the “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” school of thinking

The Value of Truth

When millions of voters believe, despite all evidence, that the election was stolen, that vaccines are dangerous, and that a cabal of child predators rule the world from a pizza parlor’s basement, it becomes clear that we cannot afford to ignore how knowledge is formed and distorted. We are living through an epistemological crisis.

Battleship Newspaper

Before Donald Trump became president, most newspaper op-ed pages sought to present a spectrum of politically significant opinion and argument, which they could largely do while walling off extremist propaganda and incitement. The Trump presidency has undermined that model, because there’s generally no way to defend the administration without being either bigoted or dishonest.

What is the difference between a reporter, editor, and columnist?

Slouching Toward Post-Journalism 

Traditional newspapers never sold news; they sold an audience to advertisers

Howling in Unison

What exactly was the Soviet Writers’ Union? Like all unions in the USSR, it existed not to pressure authorities on behalf of its members but, quite the contrary, to transmit party orders.


How This All Happened 

The joy of the war ending was quickly met with the question, “What happens now?” Sixteen million Americans – 11% of the population – served in the war. About eight million were overseas at the end. Their average age was 23. Within 18 months all but 1.5 million of them would be home and out of uniform. 

The Microwave Economy 

The world loses its soul when we place too much weight on the ideal of total quantification. By doing so, we stop valuing what we know to be true, but can’t articulate.

Two Worlds: So Much Prosperity, So Much Skepticism

The most important economic stories don’t require forecasts; they’ve already happened. And they tend to be the most overlooked, because when everyone’s focused on the future it’s easy to ignore what’s sitting right in front of us.


5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating 

instead of balanced optimism since the launch of the vaccines, the public has been offered a lot of misguided fretting over new virus variants, subjected to misleading debates about the inferiority of certain vaccines, and presented with long lists of things vaccinated people still cannot do, while media outlets wonder whether the pandemic will ever end.


Pronominal Strife

In 2018, I found myself at a New York dinner party in conversation with two graduate students in their 20s. When the students found out that I’m a lexicographer and grammarian, the subject shifted to pronouns. They knew some people who preferred xe/zhee/and thon (hard th), and others who went by their, and they told me something that came as a surprise at the time. Among their peers, it was common to introduce yourself by announcing your pronouns: “Hi, I’m Beatrice. Xe¸ xer/zhee, zhuhr [I think]/.” “Hi, I’m Arnold. She, her.” “Hi, I’m Leslie. They, them.”

They wanted to know what I thought — or so they said. Believing myself to be rather enlightened and open-minded, I said, “Experimental pronouns have been tried without success for a very long time. I think the singular they will win out ultimately. It’ll be interesting to see how the language sorts things out.”

All By Myself

In medieval Europe, when life was a far more communal experience than it is today, solitude was considered ‘the worst form of poverty’. The Latin word solitudo, from which the modern English word solitude derives, implied a negative, uncivilised condition.

I Escaped the Cult. But I Couldn’t Escape the Cult Mentality.

People said that we were abused — and yes, we were, but as children we were taught that the beatings we received were an expression of God’s love, and we didn’t question the Prophet when he said that periods of forced isolation were to help us commune with Jesus. He taught us that sex was pure — within marriage, between marriages, and even with children — and his followers obeyed. Knowing that the world couldn’t understand our beliefs, we kept ourselves locked up, hidden, isolated.


They were forbidden to use force or fear — Sauron’s favorite tools — to dominate Men and Elves. No bending societies under their rule, no political scheming or hoarding of power, even to accomplish honest goals. They’d have to get people to trust them instead. 

Sex Tapes, Hush Money, and Hollywood’s Economy of Secrets

Most of this content is never released; scandal is generally worth the most to a star trying to protect their reputation, so Blatt’s primary hustle is to offer it back to the person it might embarrass—in exchange for cash and silence.

Sir Kazuo Ishiguro warns of young authors self-censoring out of ‘fear’

The 66-year-old said he was worried that less established authors were self-censoring by avoiding writing from certain viewpoints or including characters outside their immediate experiences.

No, They Weren’t Dead the Whole Time An oral history of Lost’s daring, divisive finale, our last truly communal broadcast TV experience. 

When the White House signaled that the president might deliver his State of the Union on the same night that the premiere of the sixth and final season was scheduled to air, Lost fans went so ballistic online that Barack Obama’s team made sure to convey they would get out of Lost’s way.

The Intelligent Life of Droids

 In fact, we unthinkingly make judgments about the minds of others every day. How do you decide if a drone has a mind? Your cat? Your best friend? The fact is you don’t actually know for certain about anyone or anything, but you can make reasonable guesses. A drone? Almost certainly not. Your cat? Sure, to some extent. Your best friend? Almost definitely. But what are these guesses based on?

What Happened to Jordan Peterson?

“Parents, universities and the elders of society have utterly failed to give many young men realistic and demanding practical wisdom on how to live,” David Brooks wrote in a New York Times column. “Peterson has filled the gap.” He offered self-help for a demographic that wouldn’t dream of reading Goop.


Why Nuclear Power Must Be Part of the Energy Solution

Like all energy sources, nuclear power has advantages and disadvantages. What are nuclear power’s benefits? First and foremost, since it produces energy via nuclear fission rather than chemical burning, it generates baseload electricity with no output of carbon, the villainous element of global warming.


McKinsey’s partners suffer from collective self-delusion

When hiring a management-consulting firm, he said, clients do not know what they are getting in advance, because they are looking for knowledge that they themselves lack. They cannot measure the results, either, because outside factors, such as the quality of execution, influence the outcome of the consultant’s recommendations.

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