Web Excursions 2021-05-09

🌟 [Post of The Day] Experience: I’ve had the same supper for 10 years

I’ve had the same supper for 10 years, even on Christmas Day: two pieces of fish, one big onion, an egg, baked beans and a few biscuits at the end. For lunch I have a pear, an orange and four sandwiches with paste. But I allow myself a bit more variety; I’ll sometimes have soup if it’s cold.

Cuckoos come here every April, and I look forward to hearing them. A lot of people, locals and birdwatchers, come here wanting to hear the cuckoo, but they don’t stop long enough; sometimes they don’t even leave their cars. This makes me feel so sad that I actually cry a bit; it pains me that others don’t get to enjoy it.

I never got married, and it’s not something that I’ve ever regretted. It just didn’t happen, and I can say with confidence that I am happy as I am. I’m married to this farming life.

If I could go anywhere, it would be to the Great Wall of China. The amount of work that went into building it is unbelievable. I’ve been a stonemason; I understand the ingenuity involved.

Xiaohan Zou's Portfolio

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Show HN: A portfolio website simulating macOS's GUI using React | Hacker News

  • Liskni_si: First thing that came to my mind when I opened this: hey let's test if maximization is just as broken as in real MacOS. And oh my god it is indeed!

Market-Making on the Internet

  • The first page of O’Reilly’s definition of 2.0 had a “Web 2.0 Meme Map”:

    • what should feel familiar is this idea of an interlocking web of properties and services between which a user could flit to and fro,

    • tying their content and data together with links.

  • Aggregation was the antithesis of the Web 2.0 promise;

    • the best suppliers could do was either subject themselves to the Aggregator’s terms and try and make the best of it (call it the BuzzFeed strategy) or work to build a direct connection with customers that went around the Aggregators (the New York Times strategy);

    • Twitter, though, may be on the verge of offering a middle path: market-making.

  • Market-making in media isn’t a new concept; perhaps the best example is the traditional advertising agency.

    • the ad agencies gave a single point of contact for advertisers on one side, and ad inventory sellers on the other, creating a market.

  • the more that advertising becomes centralized on Facebook and Google,

    • whether on their sites or on programmatic exchanges,

    • the fewer advertising dollars are available for the inventory that ad agencies used to abstract away for clients.

    • when there are only two places an advertiser might want to buy ads,

      • the fees paid to agencies to abstract complexity becomes a lot harder to justify.

  • Spotify isn’t market-making:

    • rather, it is recognizing that creators are going to want to make their own markets,

    • pulling their fans from medium to medium and service to service,

    • and they want to make sure they are plugged in to that

    • That doesn’t just mean interoperability, in the purest most fungible form of money, but also opportunity.

  • the commonality between what Twitter appears to be building, the phenomenan that Spotify is seeking to plug into, and Shopify and e-commerce is the inherent friction of transferring money (usually via Stripe), for something that is not flattened, but differentiated.

  • Shopify’s real value proposition is working across markets, not creating an exclusive one.

  • Subscriptions work for creators just as well as they do for publications

    • (arguably better given an individual creator’s cost structure),

    • but to-date that has meant that creators were limited to mediums that they could fully control — i.e. text and podcasts — and only on the open web;

    • what Spotify made clear is that they want into this world.

  • Web 2.0 assumed that your one identity would connect together the different pieces of your web existence.

    • However, just as the future of social networking is about different identities for different contexts,

    • interoperability via markets is about linking together distinct user bases in a way that is appropriate for different services,

    • all under the control of the user who is paying for the privilege.

The Oldest Productivity Trick Around

  • Check mark is Gandhi in a world built by Bezos and Zuckerberg.

  • Even while looking at my record of the past year, I can find nothing to show that we have lived through a pandemic.

  • Just word counts, project titles, notations about work sent to my agent and those check marks — the history of my struggle to remain faithful to my mantra; a record of my desire to stay sane and productive

  • On social media, the check mark was initially a neutral verification, a way for users to know that public figures were who they said they were.

    • Quickly, though, people began treating it as a signifier of status — proof that you mattered enough for others to care whether you were really you.

    • Once a sign of ordinary achievement, an indicator of daily struggle and quiet success, the check mark has been corrupted

The Live Event Streaming Experience, with a few twists – Hot Pod News

  • The thrust of FRQNCY1’s design revolves around having all the acts perform in the same physical venue — you know, as if it was a normal festival — where they will be live-streamed to ticket buyers watching at home

  • The company was originally created before the pandemic, and that the platform was principally designed as an add-on solution meant to help live venues even in the best of times — the key idea being to structurally broaden the pool of who can enjoy a given performance without providing a less-than experience for those watching virtually.

  • One noteworthy production aspect of the festival is the way the organizers are approaching revenue splits.

  • FRQNCY, the company, is putting up the money to shoulder the budget: They’re covering venue cost, production expenses, and guarantees paid out to the acts.

  • I’m told that once the event breaks even in sales, the resulting profit will be split between the performers and a centralized pot for future FRQNCY festivals, with a percentage going to Save Our Stages, the NIVA fund dedicated to supporting indie live-event venues at risk of going under due to the pandemic.

  • FRQNCY’s Chief Executive Officer, tells me that the overarching goal was to build something that could help festivals, venues, and acts navigate the balance between scale and experience.

Persuading the Body to Regenerate Its Limbs

  • Levin found that normal tadpoles uniformly learned to avoid the red zones,

    • while those that had been exposed to nicotine learned to do so only twelve per cent of the time.

    • But those treated with the bioelectricity-recalibrating drug learned eighty-five per cent of the time.

    • Their I.Q.s recovered

  • The reverse is also true:

    • when communication breaks down, cells can go haywire.

    • Consider cancer, Levin said. It can be created by genetic damage, but also by disruptions in bioelectric voltage.

    • In an experiment reported in 2016, Levin’s team injected cancer-causing mRNA into frog embryos,

      • and found that injected areas first lost their electrical polarity, then developed tumor-like growths.

      • When the researchers counteracted the depolarization, some of the tumors disappeared.

      • In Levin’s terms, the cancer cells had lost the thread of the wider conversation,

        • and begun to reproduce aimlessly,

        • without coöperating with their neighbors.

      • Once communications had been restored, they were able to make good decisions again.

  • Cells in our bodies use bioelectricity to communicate and to make decisions among themselves about what they will become

  • A cybernetic system, such as a thermostat, controls itself using feedback:

    • a thermometer detects a change in room temperature, and then turns on the heat or cooling system until the desired temperature has been reached.

    • Cybernetic systems work through a kind of internal conversation,

      • and can accomplish surprisingly complex tasks,

      • such as maintaining a car’s speed while on cruise control or regulating an animal’s metabolism.

    • It seemed reasonable to think that the developing body itself was cybernetic: its many parts used inner feedback mechanisms to align around shared goals.

  • Not all patterns are as simple to interpret or create as the electric face;

    • prompting the regeneration of a missing ear or hand, Levin said, may require detecting and mastering bioelectric patterns that are abstract and hard to decipher.

    • Still, it may be possible to find keywords for them—smaller pieces of the pattern that can get cells coöperating along the right lines.

  • Some of the most important discoveries of his career hinge on the planarian—a type of flatworm about two centimetres long that, under a microscope, resembles a cartoon of a cross-eyed phallus.

  • Levin is interested in the planarian because, if you cut off its head, it grows a new one; simultaneously, its severed head grows a new tail.

  • In the past half century, scientists have come to see the brain, with its trillions of neural interconnections, as a kind of computer.

    • Levin extends this thinking to the body; he believes that mastering the code of electrical charges in its tissues will give scientists unprecedented control over how and where they grow