in post

15 January 2021

Learning, relearning

I was going to write the title "what I learned today", but I realized that much of what we think we learn anew, we have actually learned before; maybe just not as well. Boing Boing brings us the link to a film that shows how, with a stroke of a pen, China undermined the entire single-use plastic recycling cycle, back in 2017. The whole practice was based on a lie, and the parts of it that continue, are based on the same lie.

I also learned, thanks to Cory Doctorow, more about the mess at the heart of First Look Media and The Intercept. I don't read the Intercept very often. I know I should, but, for some reason, what I find there does not keep me coming back for more. Anyway, somehow I had completely missed the whole story about Reality Winner., so learning about it now filled in a large gap. I did know that Greenwald left, over the Hunter Biden story. Now we know that Laura Poitras was quietly fired, late in 2020. Today I also learned that the work of archiving the documents collected by Snowden did not continue.

Currently in the Intercept there is a lot about the decisions by the big tech companies to censor Trump and rightwing fanatics, and about their exodus to other platforms like Telegram.

Dave Winer mentions Jack Dorsey's idea for a federated social network infrastructure called "bluesky". The Verge had a lot to say about that at the time he first talked of it, or documented what the founders of the existing federated networks had to say about it. This reminds me of Berners-Lee and his Solid (which is now to be incorporated into some new project that I didn't understand.) I think we should not hold out hope that people who have done great things will magically repeat their successes.

Links blog

✭ The Intercept Promised to Reveal Everything. Then Its Own Scandal Hit.
The Intercept Promised to Reveal Everything. Then Its Own Scandal Hit (NYT)
#journalism from notes

✭ Praxis Films
Open letter from Laura Poitras concerning her firing from First Look Media, which publishes The Intercept.

✭ How China ended the lie of recyclable plastic | Boing Boing
"The plastics industry did a great job of convincing everyone that their product was easily recyclable, but China finally put an end to that pleasant fiction in 2017."

Fascinating. Inconveniently, the solution seems to be to shutdown the entire disposable plastics industry. For the consumer, the best thing is just not to buy things packaged in plastic. What I learned also is that buying good quality plastic is better than buying cheap disposable plastic, not just due to the factor that it lasts a long time, but also because, at end of life, it can eventually be recycled. Assuming, I suppose, that it can be easily separated from other components.

✭ Facebook is showing ads for military gear to far-right users, watchdog group says
"Despite last week’s insurrection, Facebook is continuing to show ads for weapon accessories, body armor, and other military gear on its site, according to the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), a nonprofit watchdog. "