April 21st, 2019

(no subject)

TED talk Facebook’s Role in Brexit — and the Threat to Democracy, by the investigative journalist who published about Cambridge Analytica.

The talk follows the same general pattern as commentaries on the 2016 US presidential elections.

People, as may be concluded from her example of interviewing residents of a primarily working-class town in Wales, are stupid (ok, technically speaking, they are average, but that just means that average is stupid). They are easily duped. Or perhaps they are vile and predisposed to nationalistic and xenophobic messages. In behavioral economist’s words, they are irrational.

She doesn’t make this conclusion. Perhaps it doesn’t occur to her; perhaps it’s unspeakable; but instead she points her accusing finger at Facebook and says how it’s on the wrong side of history for enabling evil lying politicians.

She talks about democracy. Democracy, she says, is threatened by the likes of Facebook, because it delivers to people messages that they want to hear and while doing so it is not accountable to any supervisory bodies that will have control over these messages. But if democracy is the will of the people, and if people, as she herself demonstrates in the opening part of her talk, are so ignorant and irrational, then why is democracy such a treasure anyway? Doesn’t it simply mean that whoever is the best influencer, wins?

(no subject)

I always read the word fit here in its medical sense (because of the word agony next to it). What I didn't realize was that fit is also an archaic term for a part of a poem, which already introduces a wordplay that makes this subtitle untranslatable ("агония в восьми приступах" is probably the best variant I’ve seen in that it also offers a play on the modern, narrowly medical, and the archaic meaning of the word).

(no subject)

Hm, Jafar Husain moved from Netflix to Facebook:

There were three developers at Netflix visible in the reactive programming community: him (I think he brought the technique of reactive programming from Microsoft to Netflix), Ben Lesh (now the main contributor to the RxJS library), and Jay Phelps (who built the redux-observable middleware). Ben left for Google. Jay also left (not sure where, eventually), and now Jafar left as well.

I wonder if there’s something wrong with Netflix, or whether Facebook and Google are just naturally more attractive places.