Mossy mossy writes: Hubei:
This was no longer a city under lockdown, but effectively an entire province under quarantine.[...]Everyone must understand, first of all, that this epidemic was allowed to spread for a period of more than forty days before any of the abovementioned cities were closed off, or any decisive action taken. In fact, if we look at the main efforts undertaken by the leadership, and by provincial and city governments in particular, these were focused mostly not on the containment of the epidemic itself, but on the containment and suppression of information about the disease.(In fairness, PRC scientists were doing heroic round-the-clock work at exactly the same time the apparatchiks were trying to will problems out of existence.)
Heebie's take: Some acquaintances of mine are stuck on this ship for the forseeable future, confined to their room. It sounds vaguely exciting to me, the way hurricanes seem exciting when they're bearing down because I've been in lots of mild ones and never a scary one. Then my superego has to awkwardly remind the rest of me that it is NOT an adventure. Apparently 18 people have left in ambulances so far. I'm sure the reality of quarantined cities is actually both predominantly scary and tedious. And scary plus bored is really one of my very least favorite kinds of situations.
And that's how you make the Wuhan Coronovirus all about me.
Bostoniangirl writes: I'd be interested to hear what people think of this article from the Atlantic about the destruction of the middle class through the decline of middle management, McKinsey, and Pete Buttigieg.
Heebie's take: I remember when one of my best friends from college was hired on by McKinsey upon graduation, and I'd never heard of consulting before, and I just could not wrap my brain around it. I could sort of get to understand why a company might want to bring in outside advice, but the idea that they'd need help from a 23 year old recent college graduate who majored in math seemed just incoherent to me. And then a few decades passed and I still stand by that reaction.
Nworbie writes: A terrifying piece about the way in which Google can be used to isolate individual ad clickers and pass on what Google knows about them -- which is more or less everything.
With Customer Match, you upload a list of emails to Google. Google then targets ads only to those emails.
Here are the steps to achieve one-to-one targeting via Customer Match:
1. Upload emails of people that live in, say, California.
2. Upload the email of "the target."
3. Exclude Californians from seeing ads.
As long as the target is physically located outside of the excluded region, they will be the sole recipient of the ad. Their click data (now not in aggregate) passes through to the ad runner. Exclusions need not be limited by region. If those in the non-target email list belong to a single age group, gender, or income bracket, while the target belongs to another, the same results are achieved.
I have arranged my life so that I hardly ever see adverts online and click on them maybe once or twice a year but this is more because I am so easily distracted than because I have a high opinion of my own privacy. The last thing I want is ads that are relevant to my interests. If there are any ads at all, let them be things I can laugh at or ignore. This is an attempt at mental hygiene rather than paranoia about surveillance. If any government or seriously organised crime wants to get me, they will. If Jeff Bezos can be hacked, anyone can.
Nonetheless, I hate this stuff. I hate the way it makes it easier for strangers to manipulate us.
Heebie's take: I'm reminded of two other dystopian cyber-things I saw recently:
- The stalker app described in #30 here.
What it is: A phone-spying software company that allows users to monitor another person's messages, locations, social media, browsing histories, calls, and other digital activity. Marketed to parents, the product is essentially the ultimate cyberstalking tool.
- this, about a SuperBowl ad showing how Google has a futuristic vision of worming its way into emotional times and intimate, private memories of our loved ones.
Nworb's is clearer on the path to profit, though.
Iowa caucus results and impeachment closing arguments and acquittal.
Iowa closing acquittal and impeachment caucus arguments and results.
Imowa claucus argults sand acquitting cauceachment rusultments.
Iclowaah acquit peach.
Mobes Hicks writes: I don't know why they picked crappy shoes to use as the key illustration, but it's good to know that even the neoliberal NYT has noticed.
Heebie's take: It's a topic that is so easy to understand fully in one or two sentences - private equity groups are often run by arrogant greedy dumbasses - and yet this deeper dive is still interesting to me. The premise is: if we avoid the most brazen greedy cash grabs, can we describe the arrogant dumb-ass part in more thoughtful detail?