Discover more from 📡 by Mike Rugnetta
📡 – 2023-02-24
With brands like these...
In the middle of doing client work – looking for artists on Instagram to commission work from – I was locked out of my account, and told it would be permanently suspended. No real reason was given, though all the copy is about needing to “verify it’s me”. Not sure what suspicious activity I’d engaged in – I hadn’t posted for a few weeks, and was only cataloging posts into various Collections for reference later. Guess I wont do that again. The “provided” “info” mentioned above is a selfie of me holding a piece of paper with a number Instagram texted me handwritten on it, hostage negotiation style.
I mention this for two reasons. Fist, the shitty one: uhhhh… can anyone out there help? My client work is stuck behind an account I’ve been locked out of for no apparent reason. And second, to place this sort of thing alongside the rest of the social media turmoil happening of late.
Instagram, like Twitter, will soon begin charging $12/mo for “verification” - which includes a suite of features that should be available to everyone on the platform: protection against impersonation, access to customer service, etc. While I will do everything I can to avoid giving Elon Musk cash for Twitter, which I use and despise, when / if I get my IG account back, I’ll be signing up to give them my $12/mo as soon as possible. What can I say: I’m a simp. If this was part of their plan, it worked. Not only do I need Instagram for work moreso than Twitter, I enjoy it more. They got me.
But my willingness to fork over the cash aside, Ed Zitron wonders if this all is a sign that Social Media is Dying. The bottom has fallen out of the digital advertising market as platforms must break an increasingly large number of laws to gather the data needed for what has become the gold standard of ad tech: targeting. As more and more regulations are passed in huge markets like the EU and (it looks like eventually, maybe) the US, simply siphoning off all the personal information you can from people’s devices and then using it to tell them what shoes to buy, among other nefarious ends, will move from “vaguely creepy and probably bad” to “illegal.” What then for our stalwart social media networks, some of whomst’s bottom lines are 98% ad sales?
If you subscribe to 📡 Substack tells me if you’re a good newsletter opener and link clicker. You get literal gold stars next to your name for your “activity.” So – if you’re not opening things and clicking links I CAN TELL 🔎 Please subscribe, I guess!
Add to this the fact that it’s increasingly difficult to see platforms as mere communications technologies connecting like-minded people when they enable hate groups, coups, genocides and whatever it is Mr. Beast does. The shine is off. I’m reminded of being a kid watching old GE ads from the 50s about the wonder and amazement of television
beaming news and entertainment right into your home and then seeing screeds from Tipper Gore, et al. about how video games and violent cartoons are ruining kids’ brains. Except Tipper was wrong, I’m normal, Ren and Stimpy was good, and the platforms are bad.
All this to say, now seems like a bad time to invest large amounts of money in any visibility campaign tied meaningfully to social media. The Corps know it, and now The Platforms know it. Yet instead of improving their software – making it more usable, accessible, improving search, investing in editorial, curbing disinformation, consistently punishing or disincentivizing harassment, developing consistent policies and approaches for moderating and removing hate speech, implementing much asked for convenience features, doing literally anything to address rampant DMCA abuse, communicating publicly about their plans or challenges in doing these things in an authentic manner, and so on – they are simply charging money for continued access to the product as you currently know it, with one or two more bells and whistles that should be part of the standard feature set.
I wonder if, in the long run, this turns social media from a potentially idle pass time for many to something more like … a Netflix, Spotify, or Playstation+ account: something that more explicitly associates payment with a specific type of entertainment. Still ubiquitous, sure. And I suppose there will always be “free” versions of this software, but I wonder how usable it will be if the Era of Paid Verification reaches its logical conclusion, and I wonder (says the guy currently locked out of his account) if the risks associated with maintaining a non-paid account will outweigh the benefits of investing any real effort in one.
I’ve also been thinking about what to do if my IG account DOES get nuked, and I’m not sure. Maybe a career change.
2023-02-24 16:50 UPDATE:
Completely deactivated. Fucking hell. News on the new record / coffee shop I’ll be opening with “NO WIFI, TALK TO ONE ANOTHER” signs posted at every table forthcoming.
Anyway - on to the stuff I liked!
I will say nothing about these releases except that all should be listened to in a room, with speakers, at the loudest comfortable volume.
A Day With the NY Sanitation Department’s Resident Artist
After we pored over the poster collections, Len brought me up to the fifth floor to show me the real goldmine — the long-lost broadcasting room at the end of what felt like a mile-long corridor. Even Mierle Laderman Ukeles, sTo’s predecessor and DSNY’s artist in residence for over 44 years and counting, wasn’t clued into the existence of this sanitation-specific Library of Alexandria. Having lain dormant for at least a decade, the broadcasting room contained hundreds upon hundreds of photo slides, VHS tapes, DVDs, and film reels of documentation footage following the DSNY’s operations for generations — the earliest of which dates back to 1903, Len said.
The Devil’s Milkshake
Years ago, I surveyed the literature looking for a name or term to describe this phenomenon of consuming potentially tainted materials. After all, it seemed to be increasing in frequency, and I’d even started witnessing it at the level of local politics. But if there was a name, I couldn’t find it. So I gave it one: the Devil’s Milkshake.
The Devil’s Milkshake is bipartisan. Neither Democrats nor Republicans hold monopoly on it. Which means it can be multiple things, depending on who wields it. To some, it’s cynical political theater, meant to make the politician look invincible and brave. To others, it can be a genuine—yet transparently phony—attempt at showing solidarity. And to others still, it abets a kind of mass hysteria, in which public officials feel increasingly pressured to outdo each other for attention and admiration.
Alain Badiou Is the World’s Leading Philosopher of Communism
Importantly, truths shape and constitute the possibility of philosophy itself. Badiou insists that philosophy does not itself produce truths but must think through truths as they appear in art, science, love, and politics, which he terms the four “conditions.” Here we encounter one particularly valuable feature of Badiou’s schema vis-à-vis politics. By insisting that philosophy does not produce political truths, he ensures that philosophy doesn’t attempt to determine politics. Instead, by arguing that philosophy should be determined by politics, he attempts to maintain the potential for political thought as such.
A science fiction magazine closed submissions after being bombarded with stories written by ChatGPT
He goes on to suggest that magazines such as his may have to resort to limiting submission windows, offering invitations to submit to only “known” authors, or requiring a submitter to provide more personal and identifiable contact information to fight AI plagiarism. He finds none of these options appealing.
What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work?
There’s certainly something rather human-like about it: that at least once it’s had all that pre-training you can tell it something just once and it can “remember it”—at least “long enough” to generate a piece of text using it. So what’s going on in a case like this? It could be that “everything you might tell it is already in there somewhere”—and you’re just leading it to the right spot. But that doesn’t seem plausible. Instead, what seems more likely is that, yes, the elements are already in there, but the specifics are defined by something like a “trajectory between those elements” and that’s what you’re introducing when you tell it something.
And indeed, much like for humans, if you tell it something bizarre and unexpected that completely doesn’t fit into the framework it knows, it doesn’t seem like it’ll successfully be able to “integrate” this. It can “integrate” it only if it’s basically riding in a fairly simple way on top of the framework it already has.
‘Honestly, I Equate It to Human Greed’
Like previous criticism leveled at Marvel by effects techs tired of being “pixel-fucked” and pursuing unionization, these workers say the project was severely understaffed while facing an unrealistically short deadline to hit Ant-Man’s long-established Presidents’ Day bow. The upshot: a grueling slog during which filmmakers and studio executives “nitpicked” and revised vast swaths of Quantumania without budgeting enough time to implement the changes, forcing VFX workers to toil as many as 80 hours per week for months. “This was like a second wave of what happened with James Cameron on Titanic, where the compositors were basically taking naps under their desks, because there wasn’t enough time between shifts to go back home, then come back,” one of the techs said. “Now, the entirety of the industry that has been touched by Marvel is permanently seared, and that’s what’s causing the most burnout.”
Rethinking Post-Authoritarian Chile through Its Popular Music
This article is a study of Chilean popular music produced during the 1990s, the first decade following the end of the Pinochet dictatorship. The return of democracy and a period of strong economic growth contributed to a boom in the Chilean music industry. A wealth of music was recorded and the opportunities for listening to live music multiplied. The article's main objectives are to illuminate the ways in which Chilean popular music addressed democracy's inspiring promises and frustrating limits and to consider how Chileans used popular music to foster new post-authoritarian identities. First, it argues that music was used to reclaim national symbols that had been coopted by the dictatorship. Second, it considers the music of two generations of musicians who returned to the country after living in exile. Finally, it focuses on punk and hip-hop, the styles that produced the most significant examples of protest music in the post-authoritarian period.
People believe misinformation is a threat because they assume others are gullible
Alarmist narratives about the flow of misinformation and its negative consequences have gained traction in recent years. If these fears are to some extent warranted, the scientific literature suggests that many of them are exaggerated. Why are people so worried about misinformation? In two pre-registered surveys conducted in the United Kingdom (Nstudy_1 = 300, Nstudy_2 = 300) and replicated in the United States (Nstudy_1 = 302, Nstudy_2 = 299), we investigated the psychological factors associated with perceived danger of misinformation and how it contributes to the popularity of alarmist narratives on misinformation. We find that the strongest, and most reliable, predictor of perceived danger of misinformation is the third-person effect (i.e. the perception that others are more vulnerable to misinformation than the self) and, in particular, the belief that “distant” others (as opposed to family and friends) are vulnerable to misinformation. The belief that societal problems have simple solutions and clear causes was consistently, but weakly, associated with perceived danger of online misinformation. Other factors, like negative attitudes toward new technologies and higher sensitivity to threats, were inconsistently, and weakly, associated with perceived danger of online misinformation. Finally, we found that participants who report being more worried about misinformation are more willing to like and share alarmist narratives on misinformation. Our findings suggest that fears about misinformation tap into our tendency to view other people as gullible.
Trash, dirt, glitch: The imperfect turn
‘Trash, dirt, glitch’ offers an introduction to a cluster devoted to trash, dirt and glitch – concepts that, in aesthetic and artistic domains, firmly merit joint exploration. In fashion and urban design, music, art and other aesthetic practices, the trashy, the dirty and the glitchy interconnect in complex choreographies, in discourses and practices where they are framed as benefit rather than bother. For this cluster, the authors asked four scholars in media, design and fashion to examine the interconnections between trash, dirt and glitch as affirmatively charged categories. They do so through in-depth studies of ‘dirt(y)’ and glitch-based sound-making practices and media art in Australia (Caleb Kelly); German electronic and glitch music (Jakko Kemper); dirt and trash aesthetics in sneaker fashion and (especially but not only) US-based grunge subcultures (Ekaterina Kulinicheva); and discourses of dirt and disorder in the creative industry in Russia (Margarita Kuleva). This introduction contextualizes their findings and offers tools to theorize the present-day interest in dirt-, trash-, and glitch-based aesthetics as an imperfect turn. This turn we envision not as an unprecedented shift, but as the latest in a series of socio-technologically motivated historical imperfect turns. The imperfect turn that we witness today is not without its flaws – but, as we argue below, it can facilitate important social interventions.
If there are academic papers you wanna read, but are having trouble getting access, drop and a comment and we'll see what we can do.
My favorite part of this video is all the fiddling Bill does up front with the tone and volume controls on his guitar. I found myself getting impatient with the turning and clicking until he dials in the right complex of positions and it creates this incredible touch sensitivity, letting him change the overall sound of his instrument (within limits, of c) just by altering the intensity of his playing. Really, really dig this.
Not here just because I happen to appear very briefly in it; always nice to see an Ian video pop up.
This is some nerd shit HOWEVER it is also very pretty – so you could just watch the pretty parts and get a little bit of insight into How They Do some type of things you’ve definitely seen on like … album covers … in the last year or so.
We’re traveling at the moment, spending some time in a region that’s pretty empty this time of year. So we have a bunch of down time because there is simply nothing to do. In the evenings, when not working on some little MaxMSP projects here and there, I’ve been replaying Dark Souls 3 while Molly chugs through her re-watch of the entirety of ER (some parts hold up better than others; you know what part holds up the best imo? The theme).
I’m wrapping up a[second version of a]n Elden Ring video script, and there’s some comparison to the Souls-games in it. I wanted to refresh my memory and get a little comparative perspective. My first big reaction - unrelated to game itself - is how surprised I was that the Steam Deck can handle it without complaint. It’s been a real pleasure getting to play DS3 on a handheld device.
In game, I was struck by how linear DS3 feels. I remember playing it the week it came out, feeling flummoxed by the environment, the High Wall, the looping pathways, having no clue which way “forward” was through the first few hours of the game. It would have been my third DS game at the time (I played 1 after playing 2), but perhaps I was out of practice? Or perhaps this style of environment design, pathing, etc has become so much more common, refined and … challenging? … as implemented in all the games inspired by DS since, those from FROM and otherwise.
Either way, I was not expecting to pick up DS3 and have it feel quaint in some respects. But I suppose time does that to all media.
Also, it’ll be a bit before I get to it, but the Like a Dragon: Ishin! English localization came out this week. Always good to have more Yakuza to sink one’s teeth into.
The third episode of the Brindlewood Bay campaign that the Fun City crew are playing is out this morning on Simplecast and wherever pods are cast. In addition to the Mavens continuing to drill down to the truth of the murder-mystery-at-sea, they manage to (almost) uncover a much, much larger and spookier conspiracy around the Bay itself. It’s super fun, and these episodes have been great, short listens. There should be an FC Patrons only Chatty out sometime early next week, and I’m on it! First in a while, and it was a pleasure.
Also, as mentioned above, second draft – really, first rewrite – of a video nominally about Elden Ring but actually about bureaucracy is nearly finished. That will go up for my Patrons sometime next week, I’m guessing. No clue when I’ll have time to shoot it, but that’ll be up for Patrons first as well, when it exists!
That’s all I got for you. Hope you’re having a good week and have a great weekend, and I hope you enjoyed some of the stuff here. If you enjoyed enough of it, I wouldn’t complain if you wanted to tell your pals about 📡 however you go about doing that: