Cam Pegg Pocket Articles

While I don’t read as many books of the physical, dead-tree variety as I probably should, I do have a fairly well-stocked RSS reader, so I tend to read quite a lot of stuff online, and have a correspondingly long list of things to read that (mostly) get saved in Pocket. The articles below are ones that I a) have actually found the time to read, and b) think are worth sharing.

May 30, 2020

Rediscovering the Small Web

Most websites today are built like commercial products by professionals and marketers, optimised to draw the largest audience, generate engagement and 'convert'. But there is also a smaller, less-visible web designed by regular people to simply to share their interests and hobbies with the world.

Parimal Satyal • 5,761 words • 26 minute read

May 28, 2020

Against an Increasingly User-Hostile Web

We're quietly replacing an open web that connects and empowers with one that restricts and commoditizes people. We need to stop it. Despite its undeniable value, I think Facebook is at odds with the open web that I love and defend.

Parimal Satyal • 4,876 words • 22 minute read

May 28, 2020

Our dangerous addiction to prediction

In Alex Garland’s recent sci-fi TV series Devs, Silicon Valley engineers have built a quantum computer that they think proves determinism. It allows them to know the position of all the particles in the universe at any given point, and from there, project backwards and forwards in time, seeing into the past and making pinpoint-accurate forecasts about the future.

UnHerd • 1,295 words • 6 minute read

May 23, 2020

As We May Think

This has not been a scientist's war; it has been a war in which all have had a part. The scientists, burying their old professional competition in the demand of a common cause, have shared greatly and learned much. It has been exhilarating to work in effective partnership.

The Atlantic • 7,884 words • 36 minute read

May 17, 2020

It’s Time to Get Back Into RSS

A lot of people who were on the internet in the early 2000’s remember something called RSS. It stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it allowed content creators to publish updates to the world in a well-understood format. The idea—which seems strange to type out—is that millions of people in the world could create and publish ideas, thoughts, and content…and then people who enjoyed that content would collect sources into a reader, which was called, well, an RSS Reader.

Daniel Miessler • 875 words • 4 minute read

May 16, 2020

If I could bring one thing back to the internet it would be blogs

Nowadays especially it's nice to have things to read. New things, things from various sources and various voices, various minds talking about their thoughts and experiences, telling their stories, posting pictures and things that are relevant to them. A couple of years ago, maybe 8 or 10 so maybe longer than a lot of people will be able to remember, there were blogs on the internet.

TTTThis • 1,684 words • 8 minute read

May 15, 2020

When Manhattan Was Mannahatta: A Stroll Through the Centuries

Before the first Dutch colonists sailed through the Narrows into New York Harbor, Manhattan was still what the Lenape, who had already lived here for centuries, called Mannahatta. Times Square was a forest with a beaver pond. The Jacob K. Javits Federal Building, at Foley Square, was the site of an ancient mound of oyster middens.

The New York Times • 2,474 words • 11 minute read

May 15, 2020

Here’s How Time Works Now

Here at Time, we’ve made a few changes you may already be experiencing that we think you should know about. Please see below. A minute used to be sixty seconds long. We thought this could be spiced up. A minute can now either be one hour, or it can take 3.5 seconds.

McSweeney's • 413 words • 2 minute read

May 13, 2020

Stop Trying to Make Hard Work Easy

Nir Eyal thinks we’re spending too much time trying to make work easy. He’s a behavioral design expert who taught at Stanford and has written two best-selling books. But he thinks most of the productivity panaceas, like forming habits or trying to get into flow, that we all turn to in order to get our work done aren’t always as useful as we might hope.

Superorganizers • 3,146 words • 14 minute read

May 13, 2020

The Pitfalls and the Potential of the New Minimalism

The new literature of minimalism is full of stressful advice. Pack up all your possessions, unpack things only as needed, give away everything that’s still packed after a month. Or wake up early, pick up every item you own, and consider whether or not it sparks joy.

The New Yorker • 3,075 words • 14 minute read

May 11, 2020

Quarantine Fatigue Is Real

In the earliest years of the HIV epidemic, confusion and fear reigned. AIDS was still known as the “gay plague.” To the extent that gay men received any health advice at all, it was to avoid sex. In 1983, the activists Richard Berkowitz and Michael Callen, with guidance from the virologist Joseph Sonnabend, published a foundational document for their community, called “How to Have Sex in an Epidemic.”

The Atlantic • 1,325 words • 6 minute read

May 11, 2020

Why can't we focus during this pandemic?

If you’re reading this, it might be because it’s a last resort. For two months, your mind has been all over the place, unable to focus on anything other than moving to different rooms in your house to carry out required human functions.

New Statesman • 1,437 words • 7 minute read

May 8, 2020

Can we escape from information overload?

One day in December 2016 a 37-year-old British artist named Sam Winston equipped himself with a step-ladder, a pair of scissors, several rolls of black-out cloth and a huge supply of duct tape, and set about a project he had been considering for some time.

The Economist 1843 • 1,130 words • 5 minute read

May 7, 2020

The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking

Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934–December 20, 1996) was many things — a cosmic sage, voracious reader, hopeless romantic, and brilliant philosopher. But above all, he endures as our era’s greatest patron saint of reason and critical thinking, a master of the vital balance between skepticism and openness.

Maria Popova • 2,301 words • 10 minute read

May 7, 2020

Beyond emulation: The massive effort to reverse-engineer N64 source code

Early this week, with little warning, the Internet was graced with a Windows executable containing a fully playable PC port of Super Mario 64. Far from being just a usual emulated ROM, this self-contained program enables features like automatic scaling to any screen resolution, and players are already experimenting with adding simple graphics-card-level reshaders, including ray-tracing, as well.

Ars Technica • 1,405 words • 6 minute read

May 4, 2020

Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by opportunity cost

Hanlon's razor is a classic aphorism I'm sure you have heard before: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. I've found that neither malice nor stupidity is the most common reason when you don't understand why something is in a certain way.

Erik Bernhardsson • 938 words • 4 minute read

May 3, 2020

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was never supposed to exist

Majora’s Mask was never supposed to exist. Shigeru Miyamoto had a modest plan to squeeze a little more juice out of Ocarina of Time. He did not want to develop a new Zelda game, but instead a “Second Quest” remixed version of Ocarina much like the Second Quest in the original Zelda. The overworld would be a mirror image of the original, enemies would do double damage, and, most significantly, the dungeons would be completely rearranged.

Polygon • 2,071 words • 9 minute read

May 1, 2020

What to Ask Instead of ‘How Are You?’ During a Pandemic

Every conversation I have these days with someone who doesn’t live in my home—every FaceTime with a friend or family member, every reporting phone call—kicks off with a brief, awkward, accidental meditation on mortality. “Hi!” I say. “Hi!” the other person says back.

The Atlantic • 1,344 words • 6 minute read

April 30, 2020

‘Expert Twitter’ Only Goes So Far. Bring Back Blogs

Late last month I did an interview with GQ about technology and the coronavirus pandemic. “This is a little bit flippant,” I told the reporter, “but in terms of closing things down for public health, one of the big boosts they could make would probably be shutting down Twitter.”

WIRED • 1,361 words • 6 minute read