Digital Entropy—Weekly Wisdom

Also the debacle of Twitter, the unintended consequences of the culture war, and the dying gasps of American conservatism.

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📕Something to read

  • Twitter Isn’t Real: When Elon Musk was trying to purchase Twitter, I wrote out the best case and worst case scenarios. My worst case scenario seems optimistic in hindsight. I did not account for gross incompetence.
  • Inside the Twitter meltdown, Platformer: Speaking of incompetence and twitter, look at the timeline of this bizarre week.
  • Nobody Wants to Teach Anymore, Jessica Wildfire: While a list of grievances on the surface, it is a great lesson on the unintended consequences of culture wars, political grandstanding and listening to consultants.

Friends of Weekly Wisdom

🗣Some Quotes and Notes

Digital Entropy

The great myth of digital media has been durability. Electronic technology advances at such a fast pace that it becomes impossible to maintain digital media. For example, movies are not archived in hard-drives, optical discs or flash memory. They are archived on Film in the many official government and non-government archives. And in the future many of the lost movies will only exists in the form of VHS tape.

I know kids whose baby photos are lost to this digital entropy. posts about the difficulty maintaining a digital archives.

Our paper books have lasted hundreds of years on our shelves and are still readable. Without active maintenance, we will be lucky if our digital books last a decade.

— Brewster Kahle(, Digital Books wear out faster than Physical Books

What is Tiktok

Not particularly useful if you are familiar with the subject. However a great summary of the appeal of the platform.

The problem with these personas is—it’s not quite actually you. The act of describing yourself causes distortion. It’s who you think you are, or it’s how you wish people saw you. Maybe it actually is you—on your best day. This has been widely noted and decried. The compare and despair effect of comparing everybody’s manicured outside to your inside. At it’s worst, a “who has the best life” contest. Attention and validation (both valid human needs) is a scarce resource that must be scraped together with performative posts that start with phrases like “I am humbled to announce…”

— Daniel Immke, The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok

Media and Reality

Stuff that inspire me, intrigues me and sometimes infuriates me.

This is the message you would have read when you signed up. Well this long essay is definitely in the latter group. The central premise of the whole thesis is confused; It conflates Republican, Conservative and Right-Wing. Same goes for Democrat, Liberal, and Left-Wing. All the while talking about the typical voters for the party.

That being said it is a valuable summary of the issues that plague the electoral politics of the US.

One good way to understand the differences here is by looking at the 2020 Trump campaign, which was sort of a reductio ad absurdum of the general trends we see on the right. Republicans simultaneously attacked Biden for being woke and wanting to let BLM burn down cities, and also for being “racist” because he was once tough on crime. The Democratic base would not have let Biden get away with something similar; they demanded he demonstrate an ideological commitment to being softer on crime than Republicans, and he generally did, although he may not have gone far enough for some activists.

How cancellations work on each side also demonstrates the ideological versus tribal divide. On the left, people are cancelled for ideological transgressions. Al Franken was hounded out of the Senate and Andrew Cuomo from the governor’s office for MeToo reasons, with pressure coming from their own side. And when we talk about a Democrat potentially getting primaried, it’s usually over their positions. Republicans, meanwhile, have been purging people for insufficient loyalty to Trump, not over any ideological principles. Recall that Liz Cheney was originally promoted to the third highest Republican position in the House, despite supposedly being ideologically as far away from Trump as one can be. Meanwhile, no one was more supportive of Trump’s agenda, to the extent there was one, than Jeff Sessions, and now Republicans hate him, because again, loyalty to Trump is all that matters.

— Richard Hanania, Liberals Read, Conservatives Watch TV

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Mudassir Chapra

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