5 Quick Things: April 2024

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

>Number One<

Is It Over?

When I was a kid (AUGH) the internet was an extremely cool place that basically was run by a bunch of random people making the same 3-4 templated pages and filling them in with random things because they wanted to reach an audience or understand this new technology or even just to find human connection, now we have this. I was in college when Facebook launched and as one of the first dozen or so colleges where you could get Facebook and it was literally run by a handful of dumb college age kids and now Facebook is a multi-billion dollar IPO. Google has gone from the savior of the internet being able to connect people to pages to a nightmare AI factory that sells your data. This article starts with the upcoming Reddit IPO but we’re in the age where all our tech is moving in the direction of being built by a loving community only to be sold the second it turns profitable to do so. The ride feels over.

>Number Two<

You’re Not a Lizard, Stop Being Weird About Evolution

Having just read a book about taxonomy and the discovery, and then complications, of evolution this has really been on my mind again. Here’s a paper debunking the weirdly common misconception that humans actually have some sort of lizard brain inside them. I understand many people are using this as a short hand for the type of thinking that is automatic but also…not quite a joke for a lot people.

>Number Three<

I Love Girl Dinner

I recently came across the YouTube channel of Ana Fern who has been making some pretty good videos and this one stopped me in my tracks. I have watched a lot of videos about “girl dinner”, the tiktok trend. For whatever reason I understand girl dinner deep down in my horrible core and I love all of the interesting angles one can take about it. I guess because I have never been a fashion, gossip, makeup, hair, or celebrity obsessed “girly” I can only understand those realms through observation but girl dinner is much closer to my soul.

>Number Four<

Fat Obas…

I really enjoyed this piece from 2000 on the very interesting conlang, Volapük. What I love about conlangs, and especially those from around the turn of the century is their high flying optimism that everyone would be able to speak a language together and it might unite them. A beautiful idea that was crushed by many forces, but especially the Nazis. Reading this article reminds me of being in Vienna, in the Esperanto museum, and knowing there are a handful of actual Esperanto native speakers out there in the wild. Other times, I feel like learning Estonian is my own Volapük, a language tittering on a cliff, unable to be used if I ever leave this country, unable to be appreciated by strangers and possibly one day, to die out.

>Number Five<

Video Girl

I just find this article deeply adorable. I never played Phantasmagoria as a kid but I always loved the few other video interactive games I had as a kid. I never really thought of them as actors until much later in life but it’s good to know that at least in this game, the look back at this game (and the original process) wasn’t awful and was actually fun and freeing in a strange way. These games must have seemed much more abstract and strange back then and you kind of hope for a situation where the actor is having a great time (Benedict Cumberbatch in Hobbit) and not a bad time (Ian McKellen breaking down in LOTR).

That’s all for this month and hopefully I’ll see you back again next month with some more exciting and cool things!

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