Weeknote for 11/8/2020

Christmas labels


I’ve gotten to the part where I create the labels. It’ll still take some time, so given my pace it’ll probably take this whole week. But that’s still miles better than doing it all Christmas Eve!



The Outside by Ada Hoffman is an intriguing mix of ideas. Even though it had a somewhat Lovecraftian theme, I wouldn’t call it scary, since it treated it like a science project, sort of like in Charles Stross’ Laundry Files, although without the Laundry’s apocalyptic expectations. But I do recommend it for the very listenable story and interesting concepts. Unlike in Singularity Sky, another one by Stross, where the AI preemptively rejects the idea of being worshipped, in The Outside the AIs have set themselves up as a pantheon. But apparently this has entrenched them in an ideological rut. Something I’m left wondering is whether the AIs would consider hiring heretics as researchers rather than prosecuting them. If they did that, I would immediately offer myself as a sell-soul.



I’m relieved Biden won the election. I had the network news livestreams running 8 hours a day all week, with my playlist of ominous music going in the background. I have many thoughts on the election, but I don’t want to try to summarize them all in this post. What I’ll say is I think it’s a mistake to demonize all the people who voted for Trump, because politics is complicated, and people’s perceptions vary widely, and yet we reduce all the complexity to a choice between a handful of candidates. We shouldn’t be surprised that reasonable people find reasons to vote for someone we never could.

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