Our Fundamental Right To Shame And Shun The New York Times:

I’m going to offer a working definition for the purposes of this essay: “cancel culture” is when speech is met with a response that, in my opinion, is very disproportionate. Perhaps that sounds cynical, and I could certainly give you a Justice-Breyer-seven-factor balancing test, but that’s what this discussion boils down to: just as we constantly debate norms of what speech is socially acceptable, we debate norms about what responses to speech are socially acceptable.

Missing from most definitions of “cancel culture” is the relationship to the target… A traditionally minority or under-served group using social-media amplification to “Punch Up” against someone who’s “Punching Down” from a position of authority based on celebrity, status, wealth or other source of power, to try for some degree of accountability, should be encouraged. Privileged people using their legions of followers to beat down those with less power, often already disenfranchised, not so much.

Let’s discuss some examples, because when I criticize sloppy use of “cancel culture” I’m accused of denying that there are ever any unfair, disproportionate, or evil responses to speech. I don’t deny that. What happened to Justine Sacco was, in my opinion, very disproportionate. What happened to David Shor was disproportionate and maddeningly stupid. What’s happening in the community of Young Adult Fiction seems like a complete shitshow that makes me want to avoid everyone there. What happened to Professor Greg Patton was disproportionate and anti-Asian bigotry to boot. Shouting invited speakers down so they can’t speak and attendees can’t listen is fascist and contemptible. I could go on, but you get the point.

The “YA Twitter” thing is harder, because YA lit very often is written for people of some vulnerable group, at an age where they really don’t have the emotional training to deal with intersectionality… But is also a part of the larger publishing social media wasteland where plenty of people are more interested in getting the “hot take” viewer numbers than any real conversation about the works themselves.

The Laboratorium (2d ser.) (I Do Not Think That NFT Means What You Think It…):

I thought it would be useful to clean up and collect my thoughts in one place. I am a law professor who thinks a lot about digital property and about decentralized systems, and I think the idea that NFTs are about to revolutionize property law misunderstands how property law actually works.

Once again, America is in denial about signs of a fresh Covid wave | Eric Topol | The Guardian:

When it comes to Covid, the United States specializes in denialism. Deny the human-to-human transmission of the virus when China’s first cases were publicized in late 2019. Deny that the virus is airborne. Deny the need for boosters across all adult age groups. There are many more examples, but now one stands out – learning from other countries.

How concerning is it that Covid infections are rising in the UK?
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In early 2020, with the major outbreak in the Lombardy region of Italy that rapidly and profoundly outstripped hospital resources and medical staffing, Americans expressed confidence that it won’t happen here. That it couldn’t happen here. And then it did.

Fast forward two years of the pandemic: the United Kingdom and Europe have provided five unmistakable warnings to America that a new surge was occurring. Within weeks, each time, the United States experienced a new wave, some not as severe (such as with the Alpha variant), some worse (Delta and Omicron variants). From this Covid track record over two years, it is palpable: what happens in the UK and Europe doesn’t stay in the UK and Europe.

Indie game stars exposed as workplace nightmares | Boing Boing:

Two incredible moments among many:

• When Ken Wong’s colleagues put everything on the line in an all-hands meeting with Annapurna Interactive to try and get him dealt with, Annapurna allegedly contacted Wong to suggest he start a new studio in another city with graduates fresh out of college. (Wong denies this)

• Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi allegedly built a barricade out of office furniture to prevent Robin Hunicke from bothering him and his team.

For some kids, long COVID-19 is harder than having the virus | MPR News:

with some estimates suggesting that around 20 percent of the population will have lingering symptoms after they’re over the worst of the virus

Man who lost eye to Mpls. police projectile wins $2.4M from city, describes ordeal | MPR News:

A Minneapolis police spokesperson has not yet provided comment for this story. A city spokesperson acknowledged the settlement, but did not answer questions about whether the officers faced any sort of discipline, or if they’re still on the force.

Bennett said it was difficult to determine who shot her client. She initially named John Doe officers in the lawsuit. Through the discovery process, she obtained body camera video that eventually yielded answers.

“Really it came down to way too much time spent watching the bodycam, trying to figure out first who was even really in that vicinity, who had their body cameras on,” Bennett said.

A judge has barred the attorney from releasing the body camera footage.

A culture of protecting bad apples is pervasive in Minneapolis city hall and MPD. The video(s) showing officers actively hunting people to play cowboy, the award coins the union was giving for injured protestors, the fact that the department won’t release names… It’s all bad.

The officers involved in this should be fired and named, loudly, and other cities can know who they are before hiring them. Behavior like this should make someone a pariah.

Spectacular image of a distant star captured by new Webb telescope during alignment milestone | Boing Boing:

“While the purpose of this image was to focus on the bright star at the center for alignment evaluation, Webb’s optics and NIRCam are so sensitive that the galaxies and stars seen in the background show up,” NASA reports. “At this stage of Webb’s mirror alignment, known as “fine phasing,” each of the primary mirror segments have been adjusted to produce one unified image of the same star using only the NIRCam instrument. This image of the star, which is called 2MASS J17554042+6551277, uses a red filter to optimize visual contrast.”

That broken tech/content culture cycle:

Double down on funding the worst voices on your platform. Call it “free speech”, and make sure that nobody internally points out that truly defending free speech would have entailed protecting those early marginalized creators who made your platform credible in the first place.
Definitely misuse “free speech” as a rhetorical bludgeon against people who are pointing out that you are both amplifying and sponsoring content, not merely making it available. Resolutely refuse to be intellectually honest about the difference between merely providing a platform to all, vs. making editorial decisions to promote and subsidize content that you have control over.

It’s the RePutincan Party | Boing Boing:

Daring Fireball: Twitter’s Confusing New, but Hopefully Now Abandoned, ‘Home/Latest’ Timeline:

The new feature defaulted to only showing you the “Home” timeline, but gave you an option to put a tab controller atop your feed with two options: “Home” and “Latest Tweets”. You could either tap or swipe to switch between them. But by default, the Home/Latest Tweets header wasn’t shown, and you only saw the algorithmic Home feed, with no indication that there was an option to switch. You had to go into the cryptically-iconned “✨” menu (the “sparkle menu”?), and tap “Pin your Latest timeline”, which was described thus: “The latest Tweets from people you follow will be one swipe away from Home.”

First, I had no idea what the hell the “✨” button did before this. I didn’t even know it was a button. What a bizarre icon for the options to control the essential nature of how you view Twitter. Not to be too cynical, but it feels like this icon choice was driven by a desire to hide this option while maintaining plausible deniability that the option had been hidden. “It’s not hidden or buried in settings — it’s right there in the sparkle!” The whole thing felt like using a Twitter app in a bad dream where you can’t figure out how anything works.

I don’t even install Twitter’s own app on my devices, it’s a sin against UX and sanity on the best of days… But if I had to use their interface and this was permanant, I’d have dropped it like I did Facebook. As is, if they ever stop supporting 3rd party APIs I’m probably out.