Cam Pegg Pocket Articles

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

April 30, 2020

68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

It’s my birthday. I’m 68. I feel like pulling up a rocking chair and dispensing advice to the young ‘uns. Here are 68 pithy bits of unsolicited advice which I offer as my birthday present to all of you.

Kevin Kelly • 1,750 words • 8 minute read

April 28, 2020

‘Zoom fatigue’ is taxing the brain. Here's why that happens.

Jodi Eichler-Levine finished teaching a class over Zoom on April 15, and she immediately fell asleep in the guest bedroom doubling as her office. The religion studies professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania says that while teaching is always exhausting, she has never “conked out” like that before.

National Geographic • 1,203 words • 5 minute read

April 27, 2020

It’s Time To Learn

Yesterday my feed had many references to a new Marc Andressen essay titled It’s Time to Build. I understand it’s popularity as it has an enthusiasm that’s in short supply in the tech world today.

Scott Berkun • 2,248 words • 10 minute read

April 27, 2020

Why we can’t build

In a viral essay, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen makes a simple exhortation: It’s time to build. Behind the coronavirus crisis, he writes, lies “our widespread inability to build.” America has been unable to create enough coronavirus tests, or even enough cotton swabs to fully utilize the tests we do have. We don’t have enough ventilators, ICU beds, personal protection equipment.

Vox • 2,629 words • 12 minute read

April 23, 2020

The New White Lies of Lockdown

During the pandemic, video and phone calls have become a crucial source of social connection, but like in-person interactions, they can become tiring if they go on too long. The world used to be rich with excuses for cutting a conversation short: I should probably get home to feed my dog; this was fun, but I have to go to another party; and so on. But this new, locked-down era calls for more creativity in coming up with a good reason to say bye.

The Atlantic • 1,222 words • 6 minute read

April 22, 2020

The Forbidden City: Face-to-Face with New York in Crisis

For the first time in its long history, New York City is silent. Fear is palpable in the air. You see it in the eyes of the workers in the grocery store, the pharmacy, and the corner deli. These are almost all people of color. They tell you they are thankful for the work but also know they are risking their lives and the lives of their loved ones by working. It’s a terrible calculus.

Rolling Stone • 1,599 words • 7 minute read

April 22, 2020

The End of Economics?

In 1998, as the Asian financial crisis was ravaging what had been some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the New Yorker ran an article describing the international rescue efforts. It profiled the super-diplomat of the day, a big-idea man the Economist had recently likened to Henry Kissinger.

Foreign Policy • 1,249 words • 6 minute read

April 20, 2020

Productivity Is Not Working

Some questions are infinitely more interesting than their answers. One such question started to echo around the internet in the early days of the Covid-19 lockdowns and has become increasingly frantic in the febrile weeks that have followed.

WIRED • 1,856 words • 8 minute read

April 18, 2020

It's Time to Build

Every Western institution was unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, despite many prior warnings. This monumental failure of institutional effectiveness will reverberate for the rest of the decade, but it’s not too early to ask why, and what we need to do about it.

Andreessen Horowitz • 1,822 words • 8 minute read

April 17, 2020

Why the Future Doesn't Need Us

From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century. I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil, the deservedly famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind and many other amazing things.

WIRED • 11,725 words • 53 minute read