June 24, 2023

Sunrise — 5:31.


"Now we see that only armed people can resist the dictatorship."

"Now there is a small window of opportunity when there is chaos on the streets and the security forces are not in control of the situation. If you see the strength in yourself in the future to become those armed people who will oppose Putin or Prigozhin, then it’s time to arm yourself. Prigozhin is not our friend and not even our ally. He is a bandit and a war criminal. But his rebellion is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and there won’t be another like it for a long time."

Says the Russian businessman, Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, quoted in the NYT.

"However much Prigozhin may have previously declared that this was not a coup but a 'march for justice,' when a commander starts talking about imposing his own will on the government..."

"... and 'taking down everyone you send against us,' then that’s a coup.... It is striking that it is Prigozhin who is raising the banner of rebellion.... Before he was a restaurateur and then a businessman, Prigozhin was a petty gangster and spent nine years in Soviet prisons. He spent his twenties in labour camps, being inculcated with the remorseless macho code of the vorovskoi mir, the 'thieves’ world.' Its basic precepts — that you look after your own, never forget a slight, and never back down — appear still to drive him...."

Writes Mark Galeotti, author of "Putin’s Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine," in "Is this the end for Putin? When history records the downfall of the Russian president, it will say the endgame started here..." (London Times).

"Washington Post is embarrassing itself by reporting— at length— an utterly irrelevant PR stunt by two, white, self-absorbed multi-billionaires."

"Reminds me of Rupert Murdoch sensational, trash 'journalism.' Any further coverage of cr@p like this and I’m stopping my subscription."

I looked up "Elonization" — just to see if WaPo coined it — and I found "Elonization Of The World — Is Elon Musk A Cultural Moment? The billionaire is creating the society of tomorrow" by Michel Kana.

But — wonderfully creepily ‚ there was also this:

"The History of Lobotomies and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."


At 1:02: Duncan Trussell starts talking about "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" — "It's completely different from the movie... Ken Kesey, he was like..." — and Joe Rogan, who'd just said he read the book, blurts out: "Ken Kesey wrote it?!" Trussell lets that go and proceeds to put the story, as told in the book, into his own words.

At 3:22: Duncan and Joe discuss the real-world medical practice of lobotomies: "They really did that"/"They really did that.... What happened to the person? 'They became a really good patient.'"

At 4:45: Duncan and Joe discuss Thomas Eagleton and electroshock therapy for depression. "Today, in this victimhood society, if you said he suffered from clinical depression but he sought help, [he]'d be a shining example: Look at him!... He's a hero!"

"As Russians fought Russians for control of the country’s military, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group, boasted midafternoon on Saturday that citizens were supporting his fighters and even buying them food and drinks in shops."

WaPo reports.

In this "Era of That's Not Funny," is the problem too little humor... or too much?

I've been running my "Era of That's Not Funny" tag for quite a few years. I don't like the suppression of free speech, and putting some topics off-limits for humor is a subcategory of that suppression. But that doesn't mean everyone should have free rein to make any sort of joke about anything to anybody on any occasion. There are infinite considerations of taste, decency, and funniness. There are differences between what can be said by a professional comedian late at night in a club and what can be said by a stepmother at a child's funeral. How much loose talk do we really want? There's also the free speech that comes in the form of telling jokesters that's not funny. Or — because maybe it is funny, really funny — You're an asshole

Anyway, the issue of the day is all those jokes about the implosion of the Titan submersible. I'm reading a WaPo editorial by Molly Roberts titled — unhumorously — "What internet jokes about the submersible disaster say about society."

"Donald in the Sky John with Diamonds Boxes."

"Regarding the betrayal of the motherland, the president is deeply mistaken. We are patriots of our motherland."

Said Yevgeny Prigozhin, quoted in "Russia-Ukraine War/Putin Vows ‘Decisive Actions’ as Wagner Chief Claims Part of Key Military Complex/Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner paramilitary group, entered the courtyard of Russia’s southern military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, seen in video verified by The Times" (NYT).

June 23, 2023

At the Biocore Prairie...


... you can write about whatever you want.


No sunrise photo this morning, though I did get out for today's sunrise. I let my phone battery die, so I was left using only my eyes to experience what was, today, a slow realization that the sun had already fully risen and I was seeing a very pale orange disc. How visible was it before I knew I was seeing it? The sneaky circle quickly brightened to the kind of deep solid orange that no one could miss.

Without a sunrise photo, I'm giving you 2 photos I took yesterday afternoon at 10 to 5. This is a section of the UW Biocore where they did a prescribed burn in the early spring. It was charred black not long ago, and these are the native plants that grew in — very lush and healthy. That's our beloved Lake Mendota in the background.

"The experimental submersible vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body..."

"... and may be constructed of materials that have not been widely used in human occupied submersibles.... When diving below the ocean surface this vessel will be subject to extreme pressure, and any failure of the vessel while I am aboard could cause severe injury or death.... The operation will take place largely at a great distance from the nearest hospital or rescue personnel.... I hereby assume full responsibility for the risk of bodily injury, disability, death, and property damage..."

"Distraction" is trending on Twitter.

"Establishment using RFK to affirm their favorite lie: they don't spread conspiracy theories."

Is Peter Hotez winning the I-won't-debate debate?

Encountering his tweet this morning, I don't think so: 1. Hotez doesn't know how to reach us emotionally. The photograph overwhelms the text, and it's a dramatic, dignified presentation of Joe Rogan. The text is then read and absorbed under the influence of the photograph of the strong, serious man who is only asking for debate.

2. The text relies heavily on putting the word "debate" in scare quotes. It seems as though Hotez is making the scared-child argument that he doesn't have to debate — indeed, shouldn't debate — because what Rogan is calling a debate wouldn't really be a debate. My reaction is: Engage with Rogan over the terms of the debate so that it can be a real debate.

3. You won't even name your antagonist. He's just "a vaccine denier." First, say his name: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He's a real person, and many of us feel drawn to him. Second, it's not accurate to call him a "vaccine denier." What does that even mean? He doesn't deny that vaccines exist and have an effect. He's concerned about side effects, inadequate testing, and corruption in the relationship between government and the pharmaceutical industry. Are you not concerned about these things? If not, I can call you a "denier." See how glib and infuriating that is?

"In 1942, Vogue quoted a male soldier saying of his female counterparts, 'To look unattractive these days is downright 'morale-breaking and should be considered treason.'"

"The next year, that magazine carried an ad naming women in uniform the 'Best Dressed Women in the World Today.' The government asked Elizabeth Arden to concoct a lipstick to match the red piping on women’s Marine Corps uniforms. Women marines were issued this Montezuma Red lipstick and matching nail polish in their official military kits. (It remained mandatory for thirty more years.) A Tangee cosmetics ad from the era reasoned, 'No lipstick—ours or anyone else’s—will win the war. But it symbolizes one of the reasons we are fighting . . . the precious right of women to be feminine and lovely, under any circumstances.'"

"For older kids, her list of punishable offenses includes everything from talking too much, talking too loudly, interrupting, whining, getting up from the table..."

"... during a meal, and refusing to say hello or thank you to having 'a contemptuous attitude' or engaging in 'emotional tyranny.' Non-negotiable rules, she contends, benefit the child as much as the parent: 'The life of a disobedient child is a hell that oscillates between reproach, disappointment and rejection (from his grandparents, babysitters, teachers, friends who don’t invite him to birthday parties).' In Goldman’s metaphor, the parent ought to adopt the posture of a giraffe in moments of conflict, remaining unperturbed by the child agitating below 'like a little red ant.'..."
While detractors label her as a 'Mère Fouettarde réac'—a female version of Père Fouettard, the Yuletide character who goes around whipping naughty kids ahead of Christmas...

Père Fouettard?! Why haven't I read about him in a David Sedaris book?

"... cluing voice..."

"I hear that there's some scheme afoot in the NYT Games newsletter to offer themeless puzzles up with clues that have been completely rewritten by in-house staff (gutting the original constructor's cluing voice completely, without their consent). Editors change clues all the time, of course, but that's ... editing. Not wholesale rewriting. Maybe I have misunderstood, and the plan is less heavy-handed and constructor-unfriendly."

Writes Rex Parker, in today's blog post about the NYT crossword. (Answers for today's puzzle revealed at the link.) 

I'd always assumed all the clues were edited into the style of the NYT, so it's interesting to me to see that the constructors — the original constructors — are thought of as having a "cluing voice" — something that is valued and can be threatened. There is a lot of room to be dull or clever or cute or weird in the clues, so, as a daily solver of the puzzle, I get what it means to say "cluing voice." And of course, I know how much "voice" means to a writer and how aggravating it is to suffer the intrusions of an editor who's bent on imposing a uniform institutional voice. That's why I write a blog and not law review articles.

June 22, 2023

I had to wait out this morning's multipart sunrise: The sun emerged 3 times.




Times: 5:27, 5:34, 5:49.

“Where the Titan submersible was found — 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic — and the size of the debris field indicates that the vessel imploded….”

The NYT reports.

The 90s are back... for people who never lived through the 90s, I guess.

This is Levi's now:

"[Republicans] haven’t uncovered any evidence that Hunter’s business dealings—which included serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father..."

"... was responsible for the Obama Administration’s Ukraine policy—crossed the line from unsavory to illegal. Neither, it seems, have Weiss’s investigators, who spent years looking into Hunter’s finances. The charges he is pleading guilty to relate to his personal taxes rather than the sources of his income. The House Republicans and their allies also haven’t produced any evidence that the President benefitted monetarily from his son’s financial ventures with foreign actors, or that he took any official actions to aid these ventures. The White House has insisted all along that President Biden had nothing to do with his son’s businesses. The Republicans haven’t put a dent in that claim."

Writes John Cassidy, in "The Hunter Biden Plea Deal Leaves House Republicans in a Pickle/The White House can now point out that it let the legal process take its course, which is what has happened" (The New Yorker). 

Weiss = David Weiss, a U.S. Attorney appointed by Donald Trump, who conducted a 5-year investigation. 

"Damon Lawner, the founder of Snctm, has been banned from the high-end sex club after he publicly identified Hunter Biden as a former member."

 The L.A. Times reports.

Lawner, 52, created Snctm in 2013 after watching the Tom Cruise movie “Eyes Wide Shut,” which features scenes in which wealthy elites gather at a secretive orgy. With a carefully curated guest list and membership fees of up to $75,000 a year, it became the free-love private playground of Hollywood actors, rock stars, chief executives, city officials and run-of-the-mill millionaires....

“Hunter was a member at Snctm and I canceled his membership after 1 party because he’s a scumbag,” Lawner wrote in a since-deleted post.... “Posting what I did on my Instagram about Hunter was me letting people know that the type of behavior that he exhibited was something that upsets me,” Lawner said...

"A fictionalized version of the Strauses’ story was immortalized in pop culture by the director James Cameron, whose 1997 film about the disaster features a poignant shot of an older couple embracing in bed as the waters rise around their cabin."

From "Submersible Pilot’s Spouse Is Descended From a Famous Titanic Couple/Wendy Rush is a great-great-granddaughter of the retailing magnate Isidor Straus and his wife, Ida, two of the wealthiest people to die aboard the ocean liner" (NYT). 

ADDED: I've found it here and have clipped to the discussion of the montage seen as the musicians come together and play "Nearer My God to Thee" as the ship sinks:

Sorry for the voiceover there. Was the band "instructed to play soothing music" or did the violinist decide on his own to play a hymn and thereby inspire other musicians to join him (which is much more affecting!)?

"... naturally occurring affordable housing..."

I'm trying to read "Madison City Council refuses rezoning for big student housing project Downtown" (Wisconsin State Journal):
The Madison City Council late Tuesday refused a rezoning for a 12-story student housing redevelopment, citing a lack of low-cost units.... During the debate Tuesday, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway gave some council members reminders to address only their fellow board members, not development team members present.  Additional warnings were given regarding time limits and swearing. 
Ald. Tag Evers, 13th District, called the rezoning issue “a change in philosophy, and ethos.” Looking toward the development team, he decried its decisions to tear down “naturally occurring affordable housing,” and what he considered to be a lack of action on their part to “replace it in kind” with more low-cost options. “You guys need to do better,” he said. “Send these developers back to the drawing board.”...

True carnivores.

"In New York, lithium battery fires have killed 13 people so far this year, including four people in a blaze that started in an e-bike store in Chinatown on Tuesday."

"A total of 23 people have died in battery fires since 2021. This year, there have been 108 fires so far, compared with 98 fires for the same period last year.... [O]nce a lithium battery overheats or malfunctions, all bets are off; the speed and impact of lithium battery fires make them particularly perilous, especially when people live close together.... Fire officials... revised the city fire code... But the fire code does not cover the individual use of e-bikes, and fire inspectors do not enter private dwellings to check for safety violations without a warrant...."

From "How E-Bike Battery Fires Became a Deadly Crisis in New York City/City leaders are racing to regulate battery-powered mobility devices, which have been the source of over 100 fires so far this year" (NYT).

"Shame" chant in Congress echoes the "Shame!" chants heard in Wisconsin in 2011.

I want to remind the world that the "shame" chant was a major feature of the Wisconsin protests of 2011 — the so-called "uprising" — as documented on this blog at "Protesters chant 'Shame! Shame!' after Gov. Walker reads the MLK Day proclamation" and "Weary Wisconsin Democrats surprised by late-night vote, rush at the Republicans "pumping their fists and shouting 'Shame!' and 'Cowards!'", and "Next to the meat, concern for the fish... and for fraud... chanting 'shame'... yelling 'Koch suckers!' at a 14-year-old girl... laughing at Andrew Breitbart's 'Go to Hell!'" 

From that last link:

I've clipped out the "Shame!" chant. There's much more on the video I recorded and edited, and the highlights are identified in the post. To hear the voice of Andrew Breitbart, scroll to 3:36.

"Wanted: Goat Checkers."

"Madison Parks is seeking volunteers to assist with daily goat checks. Goat checkers will ensure the goats and their area are in good condition, ideally each morning and after a storm."

June 21, 2023

The Solstice Sunrise — at 5:26 and 5:28.



"The company said Suleman Dawood is a big fan of science fiction literature, plays volleyball and takes a keen interest in solving Rubik’s Cubes."

From "Two of the Passengers Are a Prominent Businessman and His 19-Year-Old Son/Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, are aboard the missing submersible" (NYT).

Here's a CBS News report on the various passengers. Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, the company running the tour, is on board. You can imagine how his presence affects whatever experience the tourists may be having as the air supply diminishes. 

"Mocking 'White people food' is all the rage on China’s heavily censored internet."

"Tens of thousands of people — many of them Chinese citizens living abroad — have joined... the social media trend of sharing their bland workday meals with the hashtag #WhitePeopleFood. Photos of unseasoned chicken breast, poached eggs, celery sticks, baked beans and dry crackers abound. Eating these foods for lunch is to 'learn what it feels like to be dead,' one user quipped on the Weibo microblogging service.... Cultural observers in China say the mockery around #WhitePeopleFood is innocent, and that many Chinese people who use the term enjoy living or working in the West. 'Most Chinese use it as a [form of] self-irony, without any bad intent or the awareness of racial sensitivity in the U.S.,' said current affairs commentator Hong Guangyu, who studies social media trends...."

The long day.

"The lockdown was the biggest shift in wealth in human history.... I don't want the Democratic Party to be the party of fear and pharma and war and censorship."

"Donald was given the opportunity to pursue his passions and his interests, and he was able to build a very happy life for himself on his own terms."

"He was known in his community, he was accepted in his community, and he was celebrated in his community. All of that demonstrates the importance of building an inclusive society."

The obituary links to this Atlantic article from 2010, "Autism's First Child." Excerpt:
[I]’s clear that Donald reached his potential thanks, in large part, to the world he occupied—the world of Forest, Mississippi—and how it decided to respond to the odd child in its midst.... In Forest, it appears, Donald was showered with acceptance, starting with the mother who defied experts to bring him back home [from a mental institution], and continuing on to classmates from his childhood and golfing partners today. Donald’s neighbors not only shrug off his oddities, but openly admire his strengths—while taking a protective stance with any outsider whose intentions toward Donald may not have been sufficiently spelled out. On three occasions, while talking with townspeople who know Donald, we were advised, in strikingly similar language each time: “If what you’re doing hurts Don, I know where to find you.” We took the point: in Forest, Donald is “one of us.”

June 20, 2023

Sunrise — 5:26:23, 5:26:27, 5:28:18.

IMG_2022 2

IMG_2023 2

IMG_2027 2

"For more than a decade, the dominant form of American feminism has maintained that differences between the sexes—whether in libido, crime rates, or even athletic performance..."

"... largely result from female socialization. Anything else is biological essentialism. The feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon recently declared that she did not want to be part of 'a movement for female body parts … Women are not, in fact, subordinated or oppressed by our bodies. We do not need to be liberated from our chromosomes or our ovaries.'..."

"When things get divisive and controversial so easily, I think it’s an important wake-up call to all of us marketers to be very humble...."

Said Marcel Marcondes, Anheuser-Busch’s global chief marketing officer, quoted in "Bud Light is ‘coming back’ but controversy is a ‘wake-up call,’ Anheuser-Busch exec says" (CNN).

Screenshots display confusion over whether Biden is popular or unpopular.

At WaPo:

I didn't read either column. I just laughed at the first one. As for the second one, I got absorbed comparing the looks of the 69-year-old Kennedy and the 80-year-old Biden. The relative smoothness is freaky.

"Meta has adopted an internal list of Vietnamese Communist Party officials who should not be criticized on Facebook..."

"... said two former employees in Asia, who, like the others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid retribution. This list, which is kept private even within the company and has not been publicly reported on before, is included in guidelines used in controlling online content and was shaped in large part by Vietnamese authorities, the former employees said.... Meta is preparing to tighten content controls further after being told by officials in recent months that it would otherwise have to store data on servers inside Vietnam, raising alarms about privacy and information security, according to people with knowledge of the company’s internal discussions.... In a statement, Rafael Frankel, Meta’s director for public policy in Southeast Asia, said the company is proud of its investments in Vietnam. 'Our focus,' he said, 'is ensuring as many Vietnamese people as possible are able to use our platform to build community and express themselves.'"

"Can a modern young person ever understand what it was like to simply watch whatever happened to be on television?"

"To explain what life was like in the days of yore, I interviewed a number of people who are (roughly) my age about what it was like being (about) 27 in (around) 2002" (at Slate).

I'll cherry-pick and blend the various interviewees together:

"There could be a problem with Titan’s communication equipment, or with the ballast system that controls its descent and ascent..."

"... by flooding tanks with water to dive and pumping water out with air to come back toward the surface. An additional possible hazard for the vessel would be becoming fouled — hung up on a piece of wreckage that could keep it from being able to return to the surface. If the submersible is found on the bottom, the extreme depths involved limit the possible means for rescue.... The Titanic lies in about 14,000 feet of water in the North Atlantic.... The only likely rescue would come from an uncrewed vehicle — essentially an underwater drone.... For recovering objects off the sea floor in deeper water, the Navy relies on what it calls remote-operated vehicles.... [such as] CURV-21 [which] can reach depths of 20,000 feet. Getting the right kind of equipment... to the site takes time, starting with getting it to a ship capable of delivering it to the site.... In many submersibles, the air inside is recycled — carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen is added.... If the Titan’s batteries run down and are no longer able to run heaters that keep the occupants warm in the freezing deep, the people inside can become hypothermic and the situation eventually becomes unsurvivable. Should the submersible’s pressure hull fail, the end for those inside would be certain and quick...."

"The only likely rescue"... seems to mean the only remotely possible rescue.

"Hunter Biden to Plead Guilty on Misdemeanor Tax Charges."

The NYT reports. 

The Justice Department has reached an agreement with Hunter Biden for him to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and avoid prosecution on a separate gun charge, according to a court filing on Tuesday, moving to close a long-running and politically explosive investigation into the finances, drug use and international business dealings of President Biden’s troubled son.
Oh, this will not be enough to end the political pressure! I want to hear more about those "international business dealings." 

The NYT clearly knows this. To quote some more:

June 19, 2023

In the profusely watered backyard....

... you can write about whatever you want.

"Single women approaching middle age are so vulnerable. We have money but we might not have met the right guy yet. And suddenly this good-looking man starts talking to you and you’re excited."

Said Rebecca Holloway, 42, quoted in "Newly divorced mom scammed of entire $100,000 401k savings in Tinder ‘pig butchering’ scheme" (NY Post).
She added: “Looking back, the signs are so obvious. But at the time you want to believe it’s real.”

The scam that hit Holloway is the latest example of “pig butchering,” a term that refers to a months-long scheme to “fatten up” victims with fake romance before “butchering” with fake investment advice.

Well, aren't we all "so vulnerable" to a "good-looking" person who offers love? It's an old story, and I would not find it bloggable, but for that slang "pig butchering."

"Mr. Kennedy is the one person who has the qualities that can bring about the unity that most Americans are hungering for. He speaks a language of conciliation and compassion."

Said Dennis Kucinich, RFK Jr.'s campaign manager, quoted in "Why Robert Kennedy Jr.’s 2024 Bid Is a Headache for Biden/The unexpected polling strength of an anti-vaccine activist with a celebrated Democratic lineage points to the president’s weaknesses, which his team is aiming to shore up" (NYT).

Notice the descriptor: "anti-vaccine activist." A lot depends on the strength of that label. If people accept it as a warning — steer clear of this nut — then Biden easily prevails. But if that insult is questioned — what is it they don't want us to look into? — then Biden is caught flatfooted.

On Joe Rogan's podcast, Kennedy expressed his skepticism about the relationship between vaccine manufacturers and the federal government. It isn't the idea that vaccines don't work, but questioning why so many vaccines, why they are mandated, especially for babies, and how the side effects are balanced against the benefits. Right now, we're seeing an avoidance of debating with Kennedy, but will that strategy work? People who lived through the rigors of the coronavirus pandemic may demand that the experts prove they were worthy of the trust and obedience they demanded. 

"[T]he idea that technological ambition and occult magic can have a closer-than-expected relationship feels quite relevant to the strange era we’ve entered recently..."

"... where Silicon Valley rationalists are turning 'postrationalist,' where hallucinogen-mediated spiritual experiences are being touted as self-care for the cognoscenti, where U.F.O. sightings and alien encounters are back on the cultural menu, where people talk about innovations in A.I. the way they might talk about a golem or a djinn. The idea that deep in the core of, say, some important digital-age enterprise there might be a group of people trying to commune with the spirit world doesn’t seem particularly fanciful at this point...."

A history of the weekend.

I'm reading the Wikipedia article "Workweek and weekend":
A continuous seven day cycle that runs throughout history, paying no attention whatsoever to the phases of the moon and having a fixed day of rest, was most likely first practised in Judaism, dated to the 6th century BC at the latest.

In Ancient Rome (753 BC–476 AD), every eight days there was a nundinae. It was a market day, during which children were exempted from school and agricultural workers stopped work in the field and came to the city to sell the produce of their labor or to practice religious rites.

The French Revolutionary Calendar (1793–1805) had ten-day weeks (called décades) and allowed décadi, one out of the ten days, as a leisure day.

June 18, 2023

At the Sunday Night Café...

... you can talk about whatever you want.

UPDATE: I screwed up this post and deleted comments — I thought I was writing in an empty window when I was writing the first post of Monday morning —  but fortunately I had a window open and preserved them. So here they are:

The endless debate between A.I. Trump and A.I. Biden.

Watch here.

(Via Metafilter).

Celebrating Father's Day...

... is that still something we do? 

How long do you think it will continue, this archaic convention?

Are you following the pretty formidable coalition with neofascist leanings?

The man is refusing to debate because he stands so firmly on SCIENCE. Isn't it funny that he bandies about a slur like "coalition with neofascist leanings"? Don't you have to at least act as though you're devoted to truth and reason if you want to win on the ground that you're the scientist?

If you haven't been  following this, here's a NY Post article that might help: "Joe Rogan challenges Dr. Peter Hotez to debate anti-vaxxer RFK Jr. on his podcast."

"From the distant historical perspective of a 90s or 2000s forum moderator or avid user, the Reddit of today might sound like a pretty depressing destination..."

"... a link aggregator that replaced and flattened the web’s independent communities into a single template owned by one company. But place it next to the other places people started spending most of their time online in the 2010s and it looks like a civic institution in comparison. It may not be ideal, but Reddit is a place where people build spaces with shared norms to talk about stuff they want to talk about. It’s not the feed. The experience of feed-based social networks is primarily about the individual. In addition to endless streams of content, they provide their users with personal feedback and validation, or opportunities for notoriety or fame, in exchange for their contribution and engagement. Their most devoted users, whose presence helps keep others around, are driven to cultivate brands — to see their followers as customers — in all but explicit marketplaces for attention. Reddit’s most devoted users, however, are up to something a bit different...." 

"Two developments over the last week significantly increased the likelihood that Donald Trump will be elected president next year."

At first, I thought this might be about the stellar RFK Jr. performance on Joe Rogan, but no. It's about Cornel West and No Labels. 
First, Cornel West announced his candidacy for the presidency, first on behalf of the People’s Party, before switching to the Green Party. Next, No Labels revised its criteria, and now says it plans to run a third-party presidential candidate unless Joe Biden is “way, way out ahead” in polls....