AOL Playing Catch-up with Y2K – Wired 1999

The year 2000 problem might cause more worries for America Online than the company had expected.

AOL’s engineers have not yet determined how many systems are infected with the Y2K bug and only a handful of AOL’s suppliers and partners have responded to requests for information, according to new financial disclosure documents filed this week.

wired, February 1999

Trolls – NY TIMES from 2008

In the late 1980s, Internet users adopted the word “troll” to denote someone who intentionally disrupts online communities. Early trolling was relatively innocuous, taking place inside of small, single-topic Usenet groups. The trolls employed what the M.I.T. professor Judith Donath calls a “pseudo-naïve” tactic, asking stupid questions and seeing who would rise to the bait. The game was to find out who would see through this stereotypical newbie behavior, and who would fall for it. As one guide to trolldom puts it, “If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it.”

Today the Internet is much more than esoteric discussion forums. It is a mass medium for defining who we are to ourselves and to others. Teenagers groom their MySpace profiles as intensely as their hair; escapists clock 50-hour weeks in virtual worlds, accumulating gold for their online avatars. Anyone seeking work or love can expect to be Googled. As our emotional investment in the Internet has grown, the stakes for trolling — for provoking strangers online — have risen. Trolling has evolved from ironic solo skit to vicious group hunt.

“Lulz” is how trolls keep score. A corruption of “LOL” or “laugh out loud,” “lulz” means the joy of disrupting another’s emotional equilibrium. “Lulz is watching someone lose their mind at their computer 2,000 miles away while you chat with friends and laugh,” said one ex-troll who, like many people I contacted, refused to disclose his legal identity.

MATTATHIAS SCHWARTZ, NYTIMES

3 Audio book recommendations

I found these books easier to grok via audio. The cast of Hamlet was particularly good. 

Hamlet
Distressed by his father’s death and his mother’s over-hasty remarriage, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is faced by a specter from beyond the grave bearing a grim message of murder and revenge. The young prince is driven to the edge of madness by his struggle to understand the situation he finds himself in and to do his duty. Many others, including Hamlet’s beloved, the innocent Ophelia, are swept up in his tragedy.
Amazon

Lolita
When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause celebre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Vladimir Nabokov’s wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the 20th century’s novels of record not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author’s use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.
Amazon

Herzog
Like the protagonists of most of Bellow’s novels – Dangling ManThe VictimSeize the DayHenderson the Rain King, etc. – Herzog is a man seeking balance, trying to regain a foothold on his life. Thrown out of his ex-wife’s house, he retreats to his abandoned home in Ludeyville, a remote village in the Berkshire mountains to which Herzog had previously moved his wife and friends. Here amid the dust and vermin of the disused house, Herzog begins scribbling letters to family, friends, lovers, colleagues, enemies, dead philosophers, ex- Presidents – anyone with whom he feels compelled to set the record straight. The letters, we learn, are never sent. They are a means to cure himself of the immense psychic strain of his failed second marriage, a method by which he can recognize truths that will free him to love others and to learn to abide with the knowledge of death. In order to do so he must confront the fact that he has been a bad husband, a loving but poor father, an ungrateful child, a distant brother, an egoist to friends, and an apathetic citizen.
Amazon

10 assorted things from the 2010s

2010
the iPad is released

iPad (/ˈaɪpæd/ EYE-pad) is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., which run the iOS and iPadOS mobile operating systems. The first iPad was released on April 3, 2010.

wikipedia


2011
The budget deficit is an ongoing problem

April 18 – Standard & Poor’s downgrades its outlook on long-term sovereign debt of the United States to negative from stable for the first time in history, citing “very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness” as for why it did so. A statement from Standard & Poor’s explained its reasoning; “We believe there is a material risk that U. S. policy-makers might not reach an agreement on how to address medium- and long-term budgetary challenges by 2013; if an agreement is not reached…this would…render the U.S. fiscal profile meaningfully weaker than [its peers]”.

wikipedia


2012
Voters vote to make Marijuana Legal for Recreational Use

Colorado Amendment 64 was a successful popular initiative ballot measure to amend the Constitution of the State of Colorado, outlining a statewide drug policy for cannabis. The measure passed on November 6, 2012, and along with a similar measure in Washington state, marked “an electoral first not only for America but for the world.”

wikipedia


2013
NSA Shenanigans Exposed

June 9 – The Guardian and Washington Post disclose former Booz Allen contract employee Edward Snowden as their source for the intelligence related information recently published. Both published stories revealing the existence of PRISM, a program they say allows the NSA to extract the details of customer activities — including “audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents” and other materials — from computers at Microsoft, Google, Apple and other internet companies.

CNN


2014
US stance regarding Cuba changes somewhat:

President Obama made a landmark announcement in mid-December declaring that the U.S. would begin restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba by re-opening an embassy in Havana and softening the travel restrictions on the long-banned country.

ABC News


2015
Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli jacks up drug price x 56

On September 17, 2015, Dave Muoio of Healio, an in-depth clinical information website for health care specialists, reported on a letter from the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association to executives at Turing, questioning a new pricing for Daraprim. The price of a dose of the drug in the U.S. market increased from US$13.50 to US$750 per pill, overnight, a factor of 56.

wikipedia


2016
Prince and Bowie die
( see also: John Oliver – Fuck You 2016! )


2017
There is an eclipse

A total solar eclipse (nicknamed “The Great American Eclipse”) is visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States of America, passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts.

wikipedia


2018
Electric scooters become ubiquitous in Denver
Adios 2018


2019
Last season of Game of Thrones
See also sexposition:

In visual media such as television and film, sexposition is the technique of providing exposition against a backdrop of sex or nudity. The Financial Times defined sexposition as “keeping viewers hooked by combining complex plot exposition with explicit sexual goings-on”. Its purpose, according to James Poniewozik, is to divert the audience and give characters something to do while exposition is being delivered, which is what distinguishes sexposition from merely gratuitous titillation.

Mobile Phone Tracking – The Times Looks Into

The Times Privacy Project was given access to a data set with more than 50 billion location “pings” from the phones of more than 12 million Americans across several major cities. Each piece of information came down to a set of coordinates in time. The result is a tapestry of movement laid across a city grid — like the computer game SimCity, only real.

Americans would never consent to a government directive that all citizens carry a device that broadcast, in real time, their physical location and archived that information in repositories that could be shared among powerful, faceless institutions. Instead, Americans have been lulled into doing it voluntarily by misleading companies.

If a mobile phone is turned on, chances are its location is collected in a spreadsheet somewhere. What does it feel like to see that archive? We went to Pasadena to find out.

NYTIMES

In the News – December 24, 2019

Boeing’s fired CEO could walk away with a $60 million golden parachute
https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/24/tech/boeing-ceo-dennis-muilenburg-severance/index.html

Travis Kalanick severs all ties with Uber, departing board and selling all his shares
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/24/travis-kalanick-to-depart-uber-board-of-directors.html

Hunter Biden owns massive home in swanky Hollywood Hills, court docs reveal
https://nypost.com/2019/12/24/hunter-biden-owns-massive-home-in-swanky-hollywood-hills-court-docs-reveal/

Adam Gase on not caring about fan criticism: ‘I’m rich as f–k’
https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/ny-adam-gase-jets-fans-20191224-aqdwksbo5nditexjl65gvdb6ye-story.html

 

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon or “Bacon’s Law” is a parlour game based on the “six degrees of separation” concept, which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart. Movie buffs challenge each other to find the shortest path between an arbitrary actor and prolific actor Kevin Bacon. It rests on the assumption that anyone involved in the Hollywood film industry can be linked through their film roles to Bacon within six steps. In 2007, Bacon started a charitable organization called SixDegrees.org.

wikipedia

Here’s an example –
Bill Pullman has a Bacon number of 2.

Bill Pullman
was in
A League of Their Own
with
Tracy Reiner
who was in
Apollo 13
with
Kevin Bacon

OracleOfBacon

Try it out at: The Oracle of Bacon

3 Worthy Organizations in the Denver Area

Denver Rescue Mission:

Denver Rescue Mission has been serving the most vulnerable in our community for more than 125 years. Our history is rooted in a love of Christ and a commitment to share that love with others.
At multiple locations throughout our community, we help restore the lives of people experiencing homelessness and addiction through emergency services, rehabilitation, transitional programs, and community outreach.

Food Bank of the Rockies:

Helping People Thrive
Food is the foundation for a happy, healthy life.
Hunger can be found everywhere – often where you least expect it. The homeless population represents only about 10% of our food recipients. The rest? Everyday people like low-wage workers, children, seniors on fixed incomes and individuals with health issues.
We’re working to feed them all.

Project Angel Heart:

Project Angel Heart prepares and delivers meals for people living with life-threatening illnesses. Each week, our professional chefs and registered dietitian prepare thousands of delicious meals, from scratch, and tailor them to meet the medical and dietary needs of those who are ill. Neighbors living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, kidney/heart/lung disease, and other illnesses receive our meals, delivered by loving volunteers, free of charge.