Spring is almost here, and my allergies are making a good proof of that. Still focused mainly on the conflict in Ukraine, but with a few good articles on different topics. Let’s get to it.
It’s the mystery that endures. Not the explanation
The Sandman is truly a masterpiece. It is not only a good comic book with amazing characters, stories, and art, but its messages have also empowered full generations of people to create and share their own visions. The article at tor.com is a very nice example of it. Do we shape reality with our tales and stories? Who am I, the person I identify as, or the experiences that others had with me? Food for thought here, pals.
I don’t think it’s possible, nor desirable to live in a world without stories. In the chronicles of the Buddha, he tells stories constantly. If he’s trying to help his students unravel the self by teaching them to them dismantle the traps of narrative memory, why fill their brains with more stories? In one of his more famous metaphors, he describes his teachings as a boat across a river. Once you’re across the river, you don’t need the boat anymore. Similarly, the stories we tell ourselves about our lives can be liberating vehicles, or they can be prisons. We have to be careful which stories we tell.Why Stories Are Dangerous — And Why We Need Them Anyway, Jason Gots
Help and play
Really cool initiative at itch.io to help raise funds for Ukraine. There are some amazing games in the bundle, and I am pretty sure there are some hidden gems, too. A win-win situation for everyone.
I’ve been playing a lot of Disco Elysium for the past couple of months, and one side quest involves helping some experimental musicians build their own music club. I always thought that the story was kinda crazy, with people recording the sounds of the ground and building vibrations, but this week I just stumbled with this article about using the sound of plants with synthesizers and creating music with it. Reality always overcomes fiction I guess.
The forgotten crisis
Quite interesting piece on how the US tackled the COVID-19 pandemic, on how they ended accepting a high death toll from it. It seems that nowadays everyone is centered on the conflict in Ukraine and the pandemic is over, but there are still many people dying everyday, and measures are getting softer and softer. For the US scenario, it is particularly relevant the percentage of vaccinated people (here in Europe we also have antivaxx movements, but I’d say they are not so strong) vs the speed at which they “went back to normal”.
The pandemic numbers in the US are quite shocking:
The united states reported more deaths from COVID-19 last Friday than deaths from Hurricane Katrina, more on any two recent weekdays than deaths during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more last month than deaths from flu in a bad season, and more in two years than deaths from HIV during the four decades of the AIDS epidemic. At least 953,000 Americans have died from COVID, and the true toll is likely even higher because many deaths went uncounted. COVID is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after only heart disease and cancer, which are both catchall terms for many distinct diseases.HOW DID THIS MANY DEATHS BECOME NORMAL? – Ed Yong
Take, for example, the 9/11 attack. This event shaped our world in many ways. Governments started violating people privacy for the sake of security, a 20 year long war started in Afghanistan, and the effects on the lives on both Americans and Afghans will be felt for decades (or maybe forever). However, people are coming back to normal as if nothing really happened, when the pandemic is still ongoing and it is going to stay with us for a long time. I saw memorials back in Spain after the first wave ended, but now, after the sixth started vanishing, the general mood is to empower economy even if hundreds of people keep dying every week. Would we accept those numbers if the people were dying from car accidents instead?
How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal?, on The Atlantic
Keep those sanctions rolling
Another week, another batch of companies stopping business on Russia. At this point I wonder, is it really useful to block Russian people from using Netflix? I mean, they know what a VPN is, after all. Also, it is not the general population you have to hurt, but the Kremlin. Russians have been oppressed by the system for decades now, and every little action they try to take against it is harshly repressed. At the same time, we keep buying oil and gas, financing the military who kill innocent civilians in Ukraine…
Samsung Suspends Shipments of Phones, Chips to Russia, on Bloomberg
Sony suspends PlayStation store and console sales in Russia, on TechCrunch
You have been pwned!
Hackers stole information from Nvidia not long ago, and this week they published some data from the breach, and also asked the company to unlock the crypto mining capabilities on the GPUs if they do not want the full dump to happen. I was particularly amazed by the way the hackers phrased their demands, as they seemed to be championing for the gaming community, which is total nonsense (I think I will be waiting at least 2-3 years until I can buy a modern GPU if things keep the same). Overall, crypto communities only care about making a quick buck at any cost. No video games, no privacy, no security, no decentralization. Just money. As it has always been in our recent history.
We want nvidia to push an update for all 30 series firmware that remove every lhr limitations otherwise we will leak hw folder. If they remove the lhr we will forget about hw folder (it’s a big folder). We both know lhr impact mining and gaming.
As Nvidia hacker deadline looms, 71,000 employee accounts have reportedly been exposed, on the verge
And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!
Current mood: https://youtu.be/iTPNaUsjksM
Featured image from The Sandman