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Weeknotes 2022.21

A few things I’ve been thinking about this week. The twenty-first post of a series.

I’m still of the opinion that Twitter is on the wane in terms of its cultural influence, even if not in terms of other measures. I wondered a few weeks ago “whether by this time next year we’ll still see the same constant exhortations by television and radio programmes to follow their people on Twitter.”

The Political Editor of the BBC said this week, “my focus is on television, radio & the BBC News website and app. I’m less fussed about Twitter, to be honest.”

Confirmation bias is a cruel trickster, but it really does look like this fits into the trend that I think I’m seeing.

The man is obviously unfit to lead. His ability to cling onto office after so many resignation-requiring failures is something quite atrocious. But no-one besides him thinks he can win another election, which seems to me to make a “bet the house” early surprise poll a better prospect than being binned by his own side for an electable alternative.

Monkeypox, monkeypox monkeypox monkeypox, monkeypox monkeypox. Monkeypox.

Clowns do not develop. Purposelessness pervades. The emphasis is on anti-meaning. There is a deliberate fracturing of cause and effect.

This post was filed under: Weeknotes.

Weeknotes 2022.20

A few things I’ve been thinking about this week. The twentieth post of a series.

I’ve been reading Simon Kuper’s Chums this week. He writes, “Britain does have world-class scientists, engineers and quants, but they are stuck in the engine room while the rhetoricians drive the train.”

That feels familiar.

There is a remarkable, powerful article in the latest Prospect (originally published in Die Zeit) bringing together a victim of torture at Guantánamo Bay and his torturer. There are so many layers to it that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I read it.

I mentioned in February that I had a preference for paper notebooks as I’d found nothing quite as “glanceable.” One suggestion in response was to try OneNote with a window either docked or “pinned” on top of all other windows, and actually that seems to work pretty well. I haven’t used my paper notebook for a month or so.

This post was filed under: Weeknotes.

Weeknotes 2022.19

A few things I’ve been thinking about this week. The nineteenth post of a series.

I’ve been irritated over the past couple of years by the emergence of the phrase “at pace” to mean “quickly” (e.g. “we are working at pace”). It’s clearly nonsensical as the pace isn’t specified. I was irritated afresh this week by seeing it appear in a reputable newspaper for the first time.

It’s clearly a new coinage, having not yet been picked up by any of the major dictionaries. I’ve convinced myself that it must be a mishearing of the word “apace” which is a perfectly fine synonym for “quickly”. I’m making it my mission to use “apace” in documents more often, before it’s outpaced by “at pace”.

If I’d been doing weeknotes a few years ago, you’d have been subject to a similar rant about the different between “auspices” and “aegis”, but I’ll spare you. Just know that if you write “under the auspices of…” then you almost always mean “under the aegis of…”. Or, even better, reword whatever you’re trying to say with altogether less ridiculous phrasing.

And don’t get me started on “while” versus “whilst”. My strong preference is to only ever use the latter if you also plan to use “whence” in whatever you’re writing.

I’ve been reading James Bridle’s excellent New Dark Age this week. Chapter nine, which is about YouTube, opened my eyes. I’m also listening to the New York Times podcast Rabbit Hole at the moment, which is mostly about YouTube, and the two make a startling combination.

I’m not a particularly regular user of YouTube, but thought I had a reasonable idea of what it was all about. It turns out, I didn’t have a clue. It’s deeper, darker and altogether less savoury that I ever imagined.

This post was filed under: Weeknotes.

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