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 POP LOSER No. 93

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Something That in Itself Was Worthier


Continuing my ongoing adoration of YouTube, I have updated PLTV to play a dozen full-length movies of varying quality and significance. (There were originally 13, but Rescue From Gilligan's Island was taken down sometime yesterday. I'm deeply sorry.)

Anyway, there are worse ways you could spend your weekend.
 

CONFUSIONS

Everything is algos. The whole internet loves algorithms. We regret to inform you that that algorithms are racist.

As AI becomes more and more complex, it can become difficult for even its own designers understand why it acts the way it does. This poses a serious problem, particularly when given the common perception that AI is somehow objective or scientific. In such scenarios, technology becomes a black box that makes decisions and offers pronouncements and that we are encouraged to obey. As complexity only grows, it becomes more and more important to be aware of what effects AI is having on a broader social reality.


1. Swipe right, 2. ???, 3. Profit! Tinder violates its own core tenet—that you'll only see people you like and that like you (admittedly in the most shallow and vacuous sense of the word "like")—turns everyone's dream/nightmare a reality and, obviously, makes piles of cash in the process.

After years of various revenue models, it looks like the feature people were truly willing to pay Tinder for was the ability to see who exactly swiped right on their profile without swiping right back. Tinder had been testing this feature as part of its paid Tinder Gold subscription tier in select markets for months, but after introducing it in the United States this week, the app rose to the number one spot on the App Store’s top-grossing chart in just one day.

📺
Trailers for Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami and Friend Request // The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory // TV Shows Recommended Hyper-Specifically for You // Steve Martin's first TV appearance

Everything is terrible. Remember when Twitter was fun? That was before we were all addicted to being assholes.

This is how Twitter used to work: Think of something funny, insightful, whatever, compose 140 characters, and hit “tweet.” Share the news, share music, share jokes with your followers. It was a lovely mixed bag. But five minutes after I sent that badger lotion tweet, I felt awful. My comment was OK as comic relief amongst friends trying to grapple with the news from hundreds of miles away, but as more details came in I realized now was not the time for sunblock jokes.

It never is anymore.


A brief history of stuff. The history of Ikea's Billy Bookcase, the history of playing card design and the history of—and I swear this is good—baking powder.

And the Billy bookcase? It’s the archetypal IKEA product. It was dreamed up in 1978 by an IKEA designer named Gillis Lundgren. He sketched it on the back of a napkin, worried that he’d forget it. Now there are sixty-odd million in the world, nearly one for every hundred people. Not bad for a humble bookcase. In fact, so ubiquitous are they, Bloomberg News uses them to compare purchasing power around the world. According to the Bloomberg Billy Bookcase Index – yes, that’s a thing – the bookcase costs the most in Egypt, just over $100; in Slovakia you can get one for less than $40.

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Font Review Journal // Archetype

Miscellany: Nardwuar's schtick is 30, which... wow. Also, how? There is a hybrid karaoke mic and selfie stick, presumably for people without nearly enough self-loathing. The chess puzzle that melts computers.


Of crustaceans and considerations. ​"Reconsider the Lobster" is an essay that exists mostly so the author could use that title. But also has some good bits.

I didn’t go to Rockland to burden mid-coastal Mainers with my criticism. I was curious if Wallace’s assessment held up—and I admit I wondered what it would look like to watch thousands of people devour thousands of lobsters, unencumbered by any of the guilt that his essay may have inspired in an eater of a certain disposition—and I wondered how different it all might be nearly 15 years later. But aside from some uninspired cuisine, nothing at the Maine Lobster Festival was more plainly on display than the urge to participate in that time-honored American tradition: to recklessly consume.

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After Andy: Adventures in Warhol Land // A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age

Here there be treasure. Google is where all the pirates hang these days.

To avoid getting caught, pirates have made all of these clips unlisted and have instead opted to distribute them on numerous underground forums, Facebook groups and other discussion boards. This makes it more difficult for both Google and copyright holders to discover and flag such files.
 

PROPOGANDA

The First Social Media Suicide // The Guardian
In May of last year, a teenager in a dreary suburb of Paris live-streamed her own suicide – and acquired a morbid kind of digital celebrity.

Kevin Smith’s Celebrity Reboot // Vulture
After years in critical exile, the onetime poster boy for slacker filmmaking reinvents himself for an era of narrowcast fame.

Truth in Jest? // Hazlitt
Louis C.K. would rather ignore those assault rumours, but at this point, he can’t just let his art do the talking.

Final Cut // The New Yorker
A family moviemaking tradition comes to an end.

Reality TV’s Wildest Disaster // The New Yorker
“Eden” aspired to remake society altogether. What could go wrong?

The Bit Bomb // Aeon
It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return.

Shooting Gallery: John Cena, Roman Reigns, and the Awakening of WWE // The Ringer
This wasn’t a worked shoot—it was an intervention.

 

"Of course I never considered myself the owner of these things, only their custodian… I was intrigued by the idea of bringing them together, making a collection into a work of art. I was aware that in this collection I had created something that in itself was worthier to last than my own works."
Stefan Zweig


Pop Loser is a weekly newsletter of innumerable confusions collected and written by Tyler Hellard.

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