Part of my family regularly holds family reunions. The reunion scheduled for this summer was revised to be done online instead. Moving meetings and show-and-tell online was pretty straightforward. But how does one play games online and still include those who don’t normally do that (a.k.a. “stereotypical grandma”) and on a very limited budget?
We tried out Steam Remote Play Together, Jackbox Games, and Board Game Arena — all of which support a customer model by which only the game host needs to pay anything or are entirely free.
Tabletopia seemed nice enough to me, but the lack of rules enforcement wasn’t working for our group.
Continue reading Games Online for an Online Family Reunion
Source: Orthodox Privilege, by Paul Graham
There has been a lot of talk about privilege lately. Although the concept is overused, there is something to it, and in particular to the idea that privilege makes you blind — that you can’t see things that are visible to someone whose life is very different from yours.
But one of the most pervasive examples of this kind of blindness is one that I haven’t seen mentioned explicitly. I’m going to call it orthodox privilege: The more conventional-minded someone is, the more it seems to them that it’s safe for everyone to express their opinions.
It’s safe for them to express their opinions, because the source of their opinions is whatever it’s currently acceptable to believe. So it seems to them that it must be safe for everyone. They literally can’t imagine a true statement that would get them in trouble.
And yet at every point in history, there were true things that would get you in terrible trouble to say. Is ours the first where this isn’t so? What an amazing coincidence that would be.
It doesn’t seem to conventional-minded people that they’re conventional-minded. It just seems to them that they’re right. Indeed, they tend to be particularly sure of it.
If you believe there’s nothing true that you can’t say, then anyone who gets in trouble for something they say must deserve it.
Source: How To Understand Things, by Nabeel Qureshi
What we call ‘intelligence’ is as much about virtues such as honesty, integrity, and bravery, as it is about ‘raw intellect.’
Intelligent people simply aren’t willing to accept answers that they don’t understand — no matter how many other people try to convince them of it, or how many other people believe it, if they aren’t able to convince them selves of it, they won’t accept it.
One component of it is energy: thinking hard takes effort, and it’s much easier to just stop at an answer that seems to make sense, than to pursue everything that you don’t quite get down an endless, and rapidly proliferating, series of rabbit holes. … But it’s not just energy. You have to be able to motivate yourself to spend large quantities of energy on a problem, which means on some level that not understanding something — or having a bug in your thinking — bothers you a lot. You have the drive, the will to know.
Related to this is honesty, or integrity: a sort of compulsive unwillingness, or inability, to lie to yourself.
Another quality I have noticed in very intelligent people is being unafraid to look stupid. … Most people are not willing to do this — looking stupid takes courage, and sometimes it’s easier to just let things slide.
The best thing I have read on really understanding things is the Sequences, especially the section on Noticing Confusion.
understanding is not a binary “yes/no”. It has layers of depth.
Source: Don’t Build Roads, Open Schools | The Atlantic, by Helen Lewis
Nurseries, day-care centers, and kindergartens have been badly hit by pandemic closures, but so have primary and secondary schools, which we should also count as child care. These are not just sites for learning, or places where children go to make friends and develop social skills. Schools are also what allow parents to go to work, earn wages, generate tax income, and contribute to economic growth. … Most parents want to have jobs, and very few couples can survive comfortably on one income anyway. State-provided child care, in all its forms, is what gets those people into work, as much as roads or railways.
In a society where the prime minister is asked whether he “helps” with changing nappies for his newborn child, the idea of child care as women’s (unpaid) work holds the issue back in political discussions. It’s not treated as a real job.
Source: The TikTok War | Stratechery, by Ben Thompson
- Humans prefer video to photos to text
- TikTok makes it easy to create videos, ensuring a massive supply of content (even if most of the supply is low quality)
- TikTok relies on the algorithm to surface compelling content, and is not constrained by your social network
The point, though, is not just censorship, but its inverse: propaganda. TikTok’s algorithm, unmoored from the constraints of your social network or professional content creators, is free to promote whatever videos it likes, without anyone knowing the difference. TikTok could promote a particular candidate or a particular issue in a particular geography, without anyone — except perhaps the candidate, now indebted to a Chinese company — knowing. You may be skeptical this might happen, but again, China has already demonstrated a willingness to censor speech on a platform banned in China; how much of a leap is it to think that a Party committed to ideological dominance will forever leave a route directly into the hearts and minds of millions of Americans untouched?
Again, this is where it is worth taking China seriously: the Party has shown through its actions, particularly building and maintaining the Great Firewall at tremendous expense, that it believes in the power of information and ideas. Countless speeches, from Chairman Xi and others, have stated that the Party believes it is in an ideological war with liberalism generally and the U.S. specifically. If we are to give China’s leaders the respect of believing what they say, instead of projecting our own beliefs for no reason other than our own solipsism, how can we take that chance?
In short, I believe it is time to take China seriously and literally: the Communist Party is not only ideologically opposed to liberalism, it believes that only one of liberalism or Marxism can prevail. To that end it has been taking action for over 20 years to control information within its borders and, over the last several years, to control information outside of its borders. It is time for the U.S. to respond, both on the government level and corporate level, and it should do so in a multi-faceted fashion.