Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for November 10th, 2022

Twitter in a tailspin

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Interesting article by Mike Masnick in TechDirt:

Yesterday I tweeted out a question about whether or not there was anyone left at Twitter who remembered that the company was under a pretty strict FTC consent decree: . . .

Continue reading.

Later in the article:

So, here’s the thing. While Elon may think he’s not afraid of the FTC, he should be. The FTC is not the SEC and the FTC does not fuck around. Violating the FTC can lead to criminal penalties. I mean, it was just a month ago that Uber’s former Chief Security Officer was convicted on federal charges for obstruction against the FTC.

And you wonder why Twitter’s Chief Security Officer resigned?

The Verge article also notes the following:

Musk’s new legal department is now asking engineers to “self-certify” compliance with FTC rules and other privacy laws, according to the lawyer’s note and another employee familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity to speak without the company’s permission.

Anyone working in Twitter needs to know that “self-certifying” something that violates the FTC’s consent decree may be tied to a prison sentence and huge fines. This is not how any of this should be working.

Stanford’s Riana Pfefferkorn (who used to be outside counsel for Twitter) has a great Twitter thread explaining the many ways in which this is fucked up. That thread notes that… today Twitter violated the FTC’s consent decree as it was required to file a notice with the FTC about Elon’s takeover and how it relates to the compliance with the consent decrees.

Written by Leisureguy

10 November 2022 at 1:52 pm

Was Kurt Vonnegut a nice man?

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Recently I have been thinking about regret — in particular, the statement made by some (Edit Piaf being a prime example), “I regret nothing.”

Nothing? Not one instance of being unkind? even inadvertently? I can think of more examples than I want of hurting someone by failing to be kind, and I regret every one.

But then it struck me that “I regret nothing” is exactly the sentiment of a sociopath, particularly a narcissistic sociopath.

The above came to mind when I read Dorian Lynskey’s profile of Kurt Vonnegut in UnHerd, which begins:

In 1999, the director Baz Luhrmann had a novelty hit with “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”, a spoken-word litany of whimsical advice for young people: enjoy your youth, keep your old love letters, floss, and so on. The text derived from a column by a journalist called Mary Schmich but it was widely rumoured to be from a commencement address by a celebrated author who was born 100 years ago this week: Kurt Vonnegut. Despite having quit writing two years earlier, he was still delighting students with his witty speeches, of which this appeared to be one. Vonnegut set the record straight but graciously told Schmich: “I would have been proud had the words been mine.”

Nothing illustrates an author’s reputation as clearly as misattributed work. The Sunscreen confusion proved that one of his era’s most scathing satirists had been recast as the cuddly hipster grandpa of American letters. This certainly chimed with one strand of Vonnegut’s work, which is summed up by a famous line from his 1965 novel God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine (“God damn it babies, you’ve got to be kind”) but that was by no means the whole picture.

Like Dolly Parton, Alan Bennett, George Michael and Anthony Bourdain, Vonnegut has become simplified into an avatar of kindness, his wrinkles ironed flat by the heat of sainthood. This happened long before his death in 2007 and he was a willing conspirator. George Saunders recently spoke about his own reputation as literature’s Mr Nice Guy and gave himself some advice: “one: don’t believe it; two, interrupt it.” The first is easier than the second. One of Vonnegut’s most famous lines is from 1961’s Mother Night: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Vonnegut often pretended to be nicer than he was, which was good for both his ego and his income.

If you Google Vonnegut, one of the most-asked questions that comes up is: “Was Vonnegut a nice person?” Tough one. He could certainly be warm, wise and generous, but he could also be a greedy and disloyal business partner, a selfish, unfaithful husband and a crotchety, intimidating father. He suffered from depression and suicidal ideation; his work often flirts with nihilism. Robert B. Weide’s recent documentary Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time (the title quotes Vonnegut’s masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five) is candid about the writer’s failings as a family man but Weide, who considered Vonnegut a close friend and mentor, still sands off a lot of rough edges.

In his more objective biography And So It Goes, Charles J. Shields quotes the private notes that  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

10 November 2022 at 1:06 pm

The Seven Levels of Busy

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Many of us have been there. I now float around in the range of 1 to 3. Michael Lopp writes at Rands in Repose:

Level 1: NOT BUSY My schedule is wide open. I can choose infinite paths. Zero commitments. The weekend. I sleep like a baby. Life is good, but am I living my best life?

Level 2: STUFF TO DO I have a few commitments wandering around my brain. They are reasonable, knowable, and not deadline-based. I can keep track of everything in my head.

Level 3: SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENTS I have enough commitments that I need to keep track of them in a tool because I can no longer organically triage. My calendar is a thing I check infrequently, but I do check it to remind myself of the flavor of this particular day.

Level 4: AT CAPACITY My to-do and my calendar are full. I frequently have to make “What is more important?” decisions to help me figure out where to invest my time. There is no unscheduled time, but I continue to feel on top of things. Inbox zero maintained.

Level 5: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

10 November 2022 at 12:24 pm

I fell into Mastodon for a while there

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Just signed up (on and did various posts and replies. My understanding is (gradually) growing, and I think I’ll like it. Worth checking out, but be ready for some initial confusion. View that as promising.

Written by Leisureguy

10 November 2022 at 10:53 am

King C. Gillette and Declaration Grooming Milksteak

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My WSP Monarch easily created a lovely lather from Declaration Grooming’s Cuir et Épices milksteak-formula shaving soap. I added just a tiny dab of water during loading, and the overall result was great.

The King C. Gillette version of an Edwin Jagger knockoff has a very nice head (thanks, Edwin Jagger!), but the handle was awful, so I replaced it with this RazoRock stainless-steel handle. Three pleasurable passes left my face smooth.

A small dot of Proraso’s “white balm” finished the job. 

The tea today is Murchie’s No. 10 Blend: “a mild, sweet combination of Gunpowder and Jasmine greens and Keemun and Ceylon black teas, perfect for any time of day. “

Written by Leisureguy

10 November 2022 at 10:32 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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