5 Quick Things: February 2023

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<

Make Art, Make Noise

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration and art lately because as AI art has drifted into the public consciousness people have fundamentally misunderstood why most people are against AI art since the AI programs are taking art from people who are not sharing it for these purposes. The thing is that if you’re a human and want references, art material, and to explore and remix without being a sneaky monster and thief you can do that pretty readily today with Smithsonian Institutes Open Access program. It feels like most people are aware you can look at pictures from art museums online now (even in VR!) but programs like this one which allow you to download assets, share objects, etc. also exist. There’s a lot of cool things in museums, I really urge you to check out ones near you! They often have free nights, free tours, and free extras and the people who run them are usually very passionate about it and happy to talk with you.

>Number Two<

A Product of the Environment

I’ll be the first to tell you that this article isn’t much more than the start to a very interesting think piece and probably a lot of research but as a person who has lived in highly urbanized environments next to the water my entire life, I still found it extremely interesting. You’re probably aware that we’re all impacted by our environments and then we enact what we think should exist on any new place we’re in. This presents an interesting problem for people in urbanized environments that are ever urbanizing. In a funny way it reminds me that probably the most important thing that needs to happen for nuclear reactors to be built isn’t something technological, it’s changing people’s mind about reactors. At the end of the day it’s hard to change peoples mind but in order to preserve our environment, to prioritize our continued survival and the health of the world, we’re going to have to stop thinking of ourselves as separate from nature.

>Number Three<

Strong, Beautiful Men

This is a fantastic video by Finntastic Mr. Fox who is worth giving a follow because he does a bunch of cool videos on a variety of different topics. This video is focused on body modding and standards of beauty for men through a more thoughtful and compassionate lens. We often talk about body image and body standards in relation to women but obviously our culture of food, health, wellness, fitness, etc are also affecting boys and men. I think it’s very clear in the rise of usage of steroids, eating disorders, and protein powder in the lives on men that sadly the negative repercussions of a culture built on body shaming and fatphobia aren’t exclusively for the ladies. I like this video because it doesn’t just talk about how men are changing their bodies but also why and for who.

>Number Four<

Fanfiction, For Evil

If you’re not familiar with Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality I don’t know if I should recommend this article about it’s interactions with crypto, finance, government, and other system on the internet or not. I promise you that if you read this you will learn something horrible and dark and for it won’t just be that JK Rowling is a miserable TERF.

Like most absolutely batshit things on the internet this article is the tip of an iceberg which isn’t the kind of knowledge that you can’t exactly share with another person without getting out a murder board and preforming your own Ted Talk so read at your own expense but also realize that unfortunately a fanfic has changed the world financial market in part and it wasn’t even a good fic.

>Number Five<

It Really Whips the Llama’s Ass

If you’re familiar with the phrase above, make sure you stretch today. That is to say, that “it really whips the llama’s ass” isn’t just some random phrase but it’s what you heard every time you opened Winamp, a popular media player from the early 90s until the death of the mp3 in the mid-00s. Like most things on the internet in the 90s, it had a very dedicated base of people making custom skins and this absolutely awesome page tries to catalogue all of them. Scrolling through it I saw several that I used to use (I had to my winamp load a random one of my skins every time the song changed, I had 100s downloaded) and plenty that I remember deciding not to download. It’s not just a museum to old art but also to the things we liked, the design styles that were popular, and the ways we interacted with media at the time.

Winamp does still technically exist but its heyday is long behind it. It eventually looked like the itunes player and now looks like Spotify and as far as I’m aware there is no longer any ability to customize the look of the player either. It also lets you sell NFTs through the player for some reason (sorry to end the post on a downer…).

Alright folks that’s all she wrote, see you next month!

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