Cyber Oppression—Somethings

Also, weird reading patterns, polarization hysteria, gardens as life and the power of football

Hello Subscribers, New and Old.

Welcome to Somethings, your weekly dose of highlights, quotes and notes from my notebook. If you would like to receive this in your inbox, subscribe now. If you want to support, do checkout the links in the Friends of Somethings Section.

I haven’t had much time to write this week. Been engulfed in multiple projects. The AI essay is coming along. Hopefully done by the end of the month.

On the main event

💡Something I learned

Reading patterns on phone

This section should have been names ‘Something Odd I Learned About Myself’. I read most of the articles featured in this newsletter via Pocket on my phone. The popular conception of people reading on phones is that they aren’t really reading. They are skimming, using an F-shaped eye-pattern.

However, I noticed that I don’t skim, but I also don’t read in the tradition ‘paper’ Z-shaped pattern. Instead I read the top third of my phone and keep scrolling until for new passages until the article ends.

I would love to hear from you guys. How do you read articles and essay on the phone? Reply to the email(or send it to mail at chapra d0t blog if you’re reading on the web).

📕Something to read

  • How Democracies Spy on Their Citizens: Cyberwarfare is not really warfare. Yes, there are state actors that are attacking other states’ resources. However, more common is state actors attacking private organizations and even individuals. Even when the state is ‘Democratic’ in nature. A more appropriate term would be Cyber Oppression.
  • Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition: I personally did not find subject worthy of a whole essay. However I love the craft that went into it.

Friends of Weekly Wisdom

🗣Some Quotes and Notes

Cease The Day

How we use metaphors is how we see the world. Or at least that is what this piece by Chi Luu posits. Carpe Diem has been mistranslated for over 3 decades now. The metaphor for ‘seizing’ the day takes something relaxing to something anxious

For Australian philosopher Roman Krznaric, author of Carpe Diem Regained, the “hijacking [of carpe diem] is an existential crime of the century–and one we have barely noticed.” Krznaric is concerned that the philosophy has come to mean something else, almost the antithesis of what Horace’s words actually meant. “Seizing” the day brings up images of people taking what they can get, people who can get things done—active, self-reliant individuals who are agents in pursuit of their own happiness, reflected in the #YOLO-infused, instant-gratification-obsessed consumer culture that exhorts us to “Just Do It” by buying products. Even life experiences have become commodities, in a world where people can no longer afford to buy a place to live. We’re encouraged instead to buy into precarious economic lifestyles celebrated by ad campaigns like freelance startup Fiverr’s “You eat a coffee for lunch… Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer.” This is the “carpe diem” aesthetic of a modern world of aggressive action, not all that different from the “work till you drop” mentality of industrialism.

— Chi Luu, How “Carpe Diem” Got Lost in Translation

Keyboard Knights

Gurwinder lays out the bogus claims of polarization in a succinct manner. He does succumb to ‘both-sidesing’, and seem to disregard the hysteria that drummed up by right-wing charlatans on AM radio. However, it is worth a read.

If fears of civil war were transmitted far enough, they could theoretically spark an actual civil war, but it’s highly unlikely. Dramageddon spreads quickly among terminally online political pundits, but let’s face it: most polarized intellectuals are too cowardly to fight for real, having historically relied on the common people to shed blood on their behalf. And the common people, living their lives far from Twitter in the real world, show no indication of being polarized or even interested in politics outside of what impacts them directly.

— Gurwinder, Dramageddon: The Virtual Civil War

Why Sports Matter

John Green, writing about a rare save from a Liverpool goalie from 2005. I can’t explain it any better than this passage. An audio version can be heard here.

You can’t see the future coming—not the terrors, for sure, but you also can’t see the wonders that are coming, the moments of light-soaked joy that await each of us. These days, I often feel like I’m Jerzy Dudek walking out for the second half down 3-0, feeling as hopeless as I do helpless. But of all the unimportant things, football is the most important, because seeing Jerzy Dudek sprint away from that final penalty save to be mobbed by his teammates reminds me that someday and maybe someday soon-I will also be embraced by people I love. It is May of 2020, fifteen years since Dudek’s spaghetti legs, and this will end, and the light-soaked days are coming.

—- John Green, The Anthropocene Reviewed

Thank you for joining me this week. If you know some who might enjoy this, please forward this email to them. See you next week.

Mudassir Chapra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.