Giant WTF

it’s either real or it’s a dream, there’s nothing that is in-between

01 Feb 2021

I was going to write about the insurrection at the Capitol where ignorant angry white entitled men heeded their ignorant and unintelligent leader’s voice to perform acts of treason in attempting to overturn a fair election and subvert democracy.

I waited too long. And I’m glad that I did.

Because then Amanda Gorman opened our eyes from our long national nightmare with her voice, and now I don’t want to revisit the insurrection and the fools who partook in it ever again.

She is amazing. She is a human of a quality that no QAnon follower, insurrectionist, separatist, white supremacist could dream of being. We need more like her in this country.

The people we’ve been ignoring for four years are the real patriots.

Bless them for nurturing their goodness and their souls and their humanity, keeping them intact and alive for a reawakening of our collective intellectual senses.

The people we’ve been magnifying for four years are the real traitors.

Damn them and theirs to misery and torment for what they’ve wrought and the evil they intended.

The funny thing about every day since Joe Biden’s inauguration is that it seems so MUNDANE. It’s funny how tame things can feel when grownups are doing grownup things in grownup ways. What I’m saying is, if Biden does nothing else other than allow extremely competent administrative types to do their jobs, it’ll be a one billion percent improvement over the last four years of hellhole government brought to you by awful people who just sincerely want others to fail so they can feel like they’ve succeeded.

And not insignificantly, as noted by Laura Bassett on Twitter:

Of course, not all is kittens and ice cream just because we ousted the orange Oompa Loompa. A much larger than desirable percentage of Americans still believe the election was stolen and are invested in some or all of the right’s conspiracy theories. Some of them are even teaching these things to kids in our schools.

In his book Fall: Or, Dodge in Hell, Neal Stephenson goes off on a bit of a tangent (in terms of the overall storyline) about the division of America into the recognizable (the coastal regions) and the less recognizable (the de-evolution of the flyover states into a region known as Ameristan).

The idea that the U.S. could fracture into separate nation states based on ideologies seems more plausible than any other time in recent history. The only problem is that Ameristan is already here, it just can’t be extracted neatly in geographic terms the way Stephenson portrays it. The crazies are all amongst us, coiled around our feet like the physics-defying serpent on their beloved Gadsden flag (those poor oppressed souls).

I am on Twitter if you want to talk about anything I’ve posted here or to block me when I tell you I like the rain.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com

 

13 Jan 2021

WTF Weekly is now Giant WTF. First of all, life is a giant WTF at the moment, and also me pretending my posting frequency belongs in the same universe as the word “weekly” was getting embarrassing.

Giant WTF will be aimed at more focused posts on one topic. This might result in fewer posts1 or more frequent posts, but either way, it’ll require more thought on my part and more clickety-clacking and practicing choosing verbs and adjectives and things. The words, they hard.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t hand you my first future broken promise: I’ll be back very soon, because I’ve already started writing about the first major WTF of 2021, and you already know what that is.

I am on Twitter if you want to talk about anything I’ve posted here or to block me when I tell you I like the rain.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com


  1. Hard to imagine that’s possible though. ↩︎

 

22 Nov 2020

No, I’m not dead. No, WTF Weekly is not dead either! Stop it already.

I was taking my sweet time to move things to a new server, and now I’m there. As a result, I will start generating WTF Weeklys again. And yes, I do realize I missed the entire election.

However, I am thinking about taking a more focused approach with one or two things per week instead of a huge list of links. I don’t know. I think I’ll try it a few times and see how it goes.

As always:

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me if you really think that will help.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com

 

11 Oct 2020

Originally I started writing a WTF Weekly about the Apple Sept 15 event, but life (cough:work:cough) intervened and too much time has passed. Besides, the world is far more fascinating now: Orange Dipshit One, who goes around mask-less to appease his low-IQ ego, has contracted coronavirus. It couldn’t have happened to a better person.

The President Is Not Well

This account is already old news, so short is the news cycle these days. In fact, Trump has apparently recovered completely, something that leaves me with mixed emotions.1

Still, the takeaway for me is that when you ignore all social distancing and mask guidelines, as much of Trump’s party does, there’s a high probability of contracting COVID-19.

The Swamp That Trump Built

Federal tax-return data for Mr. Trump and his business empire, which was disclosed by The New York Times last month, showed that even as he leveraged his image as a successful businessman to win the presidency, large swaths of his real estate holdings were under financial stress, racking up losses over the preceding decades.

But once Mr. Trump was in the White House, his family business discovered a lucrative new revenue stream: people who wanted something from the president. An investigation by The Times found over 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments that patronized Mr. Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration. Nearly a quarter of those patrons have not been previously reported.

Coronavirus ‘Can Survive For 28 Days On Surfaces’: Study

I have to admit that over time, I’ve probably worried less and less about the likelihood of coronavirus infection from touching random surfaces, but maybe I shouldn’t get complacent. Still, other humans are a much larger potential source of transmission.

Director of US Geological Survey James Reilly is blocking studies of the impacts of coronavirus on black-footed ferrets. Part of why he’s doing so seems reasonable, to be honest, but much of it stems from fear of accidentally unleashing mutated viruses.

Reilly’s opposition to the research appears to gibe, to some extent, with the Trump administration’s line on the pandemic’s origins. While most researchers believe that the new coronavirus spread naturally from bats to humans, perhaps via an intermediary host, senior White House staff and some Republican members of Congress have speculated that the virus was engineered in a lab in Wuhan, China, and then unleashed, deliberately or not, from there.

On the surface, these human-engineered theories seem like nutty conspiracy theories, and we’ve got more than enough of those. But in fact it’s inevitable that labs dealing with pathogens will have accidents. Which leads us to a great read on that particular topic.

The Non-Paranoid Person’s Guide to Viruses Escaping From Labs

This happens even in well-run labs. The National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases estimates that, at their labs, a lab-acquired infection will occur once for every 600,000 hours of work. That’s really low, and if there were just a few scientists working with these pathogens, the odds of an accident would also stay low. But with hundreds, maybe even thousands of such labs proliferating around the world, even low-probability events can become relatively common.

And finally, from the Department of “I can’t even”:

Lindsey Graham says Black people can ‘go anywhere’ in South Carolina if conservative

The GOP really IS this bad at trying to emulate being actual human beings.

But wait, there is one more thing… and it’s a great one.

Hamilton goes beyond his wildest dreams with 91st F1 win

Lewis Hamilton becomes only the second person in history to win 91 Formula One Grands Prix, a record by a huge margin over third place Sebastian Vettel, who has 53. He’s also on pace to equal Schumacher’s record 7 F1 World Championship titles this year, and is certainly one of the best drivers ever, if not the best.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me if you really think that will help.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com


  1. I’m not bragging about the fact I wouldn’t be sad to see this particular man suffer, just being honest here. ↩︎

 

03 Sep 2020

I feel like we’re entering a Neo-Dark Ages. Brains are leaking out people’s ears, and they’re ecstatic about it.

I’ve despised the Q-Anon types from the beginning, but I never imagined so many people would associate with it, believe in it, radicalize around it. The fact that it seems to be mostly middle-aged Facebook types says a lot to me about both the mental capacity of many computer-illiterates of a certain generation to distinguish fact from fiction and about Facebook itself. Neither those people nor that service should have ever been given internet access, because clearly they can’t handle it.

In my darker hours, I almost wish for a purging of the earth, because I don’t know how we get back to reality from here.

Bill Barr Mocked After ‘Playing Dumb’ Over Legality of Voting Twice

If Bill Barr and the Trump administration aren’t working towards overthrowing an election, then I have no explanation for anything they’ve said and done in the past month. I’m really afraid America is just going to sit back and let this happen. We’ve done nothing but let ourselves get steamrolled for the past 4 years.

Protests In Rochester, N.Y., After Bodycam Footage Released Of Daniel Prude’s Death

If you’re Black in America, at best you have to pretend the police don’t exist, because if you call them for help you’re going to wind up arrested, injured, or dead. At worst, you can’t pretend they don’t exist, because even if you don’t call them you’re going to wind up arrested, injured, or dead.

A co-worker of mine expressed to me the sentiment that yeah, racism is real and it’s a problem, but that the rich and powerful also want us divided and fighting amongst each other, so they’re pushing this narrative.

No. People who are tired of getting killed for not being white are the ones who are pushing it, and they’re right. It’s real, it’s a problem, and it’s not a political agenda. In point of fact, politicians on BOTH sides of the fence ignored this as long as they possibly could. It’s only become an issue when individuals gathered together and made their feelings known.

SpaceX gets Starship rocket closer to Mars with another successful hop

SpaceX is doing cool things, but I cannot look at this without thinking grain silo. Grain silos in space. Grain silos on Mars. Grain silos on the moon?

Your Beloved Blue Jeans Are Polluting the Ocean—Big Time

Here’s one the climate change deniers can’t argue humans aren’t responsible for: bits of jeans ruining the oceans. I mean I guess if people can believe the Q Anon stuff, people can also believe that Orcas and porpoises and seals are washing jeans and destroying the oceans themselves, but it seems unlikely. If reality is a thing. Which apparently it isn’t.

How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism

I saved the best for last, because it’s a long read. It’s worth it.

Cory Doctorow is a very perceptive observer of technology and society, and he’s got some concerns about the effects of surveillance and overreach.

What if the trauma of living through real conspiracies all around us — conspiracies among wealthy people, their lobbyists, and lawmakers to bury inconvenient facts and evidence of wrongdoing (these conspiracies are commonly known as “corruption”) — is making people vulnerable to conspiracy theories?

There’s definitely something to that. It does go back to the fact that dumb people can’t weed out the likely bad things from the very unlikely bad things, but still it’s true that for a lot of people, it’s hard to know when to stop when there are very clear real conspiracies to get the mind reeling. Critical thinking skills would help, but those aren’t in abundance anymore.

Figuring out what we want our tech to look like is crucial if we’re going to get out of this mess. Today, we’re at a crossroads where we’re trying to figure out if we want to fix the Big Tech companies that dominate our internet or if we want to fix the internet itself by unshackling it from Big Tech’s stranglehold. We can’t do both, so we have to choose. I want us to choose wisely. Taming Big Tech is integral to fixing the internet, and for that, we need digital rights activism.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me if you really think that will help.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com