Here, in the year that the backlash against ‘long form’ began in earnest, is a list of the year’s best writing on the internet according to me. If you enjoy anything linked here, give the author a shout on Twitter and tell them so.
Ten years ago he would have listed 10 things Afghanistan needed to build a new state: rule of law, financial administration, civil administration and so on. “And, then you would say, well, how do you do that? Well, I’d say, by a mapping of internal and external stakeholders, definition of critical tasks – all this jargon talk. And I’ve only now just begun to realise these words are nonsense words. I mean, they have no content at all. We should be ashamed to even use them.”
What has happened here, I suppose, is that a small shard of a fragmentary and difficult work of literature has been salvaged from the darkness of its setting, sanded and smoothed of the jagged remnants of that context. This is the process by which a piece of writing becomes a quote, a saying—a linguistic object whose meaning is readily apparent, useful, and endlessly transferable, like a coin in the currency of wisdom.
These same parents have their own children full time at tonier daycare centers or with a nanny. They also often work far into the night themselves, laptops aglow, making their dimly lit homes look like aquariums. Yet many found it strange to have a child at a facility overnight. A number were surprised that such places even exist.
I just wonder whether, in fact – the Internet won’t go away – but its magic will disappear. Our delight in screens that we can go like that with [AC scrolls with fingers] will disappear. It will become a functional local library, coupled with sort of weird people chatting online, and the stuff that you don’t know is true or not, and another culture will arise separately from it, which might go back a bit to books and newspapers.
Walker’s analysis found that Brooke’s organs and tissues were developing at different rates. Her mental age, according to standardised tests, was between one and eight months. Her teeth appeared to be eight years old; her bones, ten years. She had lost all of her baby fat, and her hair and nails grew normally, but she had not reached puberty.
Just one character in Moominvalley is nasty: Little My. A tart and ruthlessly independent-minded philosopher, she’s the clenched fist incarnate. Given the milieu, however, those very qualities make her an important check on naïveté, a voice without whom the Moomins’ wishful optimism would go untested.
As biotech companies pour billions into life extension technologies, some have suggested that our cruelest criminals could be kept alive indefinitely, to serve sentences spanning millennia or longer. Even without life extension, private prison firms could one day develop drugs that make time pass more slowly, so that an inmate’s 10-year sentence feels like an eternity. One way or another, humans could soon be in a position to create an artificial hell.
No description, academic or otherwise, can quite do justice to the comedy that is bonobo sex. On a hilarity scale of one to ten, most animal sex trends quickly toward ten. Bonobo sex goes to eleven. Throughout the day, males and females, adolescents and elders alike greet one another sexually for apparently almost any reason—and do so with everything from a quick feel, to porn-style choreographies, to elaborately athletic couplings.
The question is whether the strangeness of the idea will keep us from accepting it. If society rejects sleep curtailment, it won’t be a biological issue; rather, the resistance will be cultural. The war against sleep is inextricably linked with debates over human enhancement, because an eight-hour consolidated sleep is the ultimate cognitive enhancer.
As soon as the joy factor of a game is high enough all the fake “pillars for success” like marketing, PR, data analysis and “giving people what they want” crumble away like the mere scaffolding they are. I love to bring up Minecraft as an example of this and it’s only somewhat because I enjoy the terror in mobile developers eyes when I do.
The thing about being an unstoppable force is that you can really only enjoy the experience of being one when you have something to bash yourself against. You need to have things trying to stop you so that you can get a better sense of how fast you are going as you smash through them. And whenever I was inside the dinosaur costume, that is the only thing I wanted to do.
All of us are crazy in very particular ways. We’re distinctively neurotic, unbalanced and immature, but don’t know quite the details because no one ever encourages us too hard to find them out. An urgent, primary task of any lover is therefore to get a handle on the specific ways in which they are mad. They have to get up to speed on their individual neuroses.
Fear is deeply engrained in Israeli society. Fear of the Shoah, fear of anti-Semitism, fear of Islam, fear of Europeans, fear of terror, fear of extermination. You name it. And fear generates a very particular type of thinking, which I would call “catastrophalist.” You always think about the worst case scenario, not about a normal course of events. In catastrophalist scenarios, you become allowed to breach many more moral norms than if you imagined a normal course of events.
I have come to believe that advertising is the original sin of the web. The fallen state of our Internet is a direct, if unintentional, consequence of choosing advertising as the default model to support online content and services.
It all comes down, again and again, to the same problem: lonely boys who have no social skills who are wallowing in self-pity.
Citizenship is the right to have rights, and our attitude to citizenship, as states and individuals, defines and produces our attitude to other human beings. As we accelerate into the 21st century and the third millennium, citizenship, or the lack thereof, is going to be one of the defining issues.
He had a strange, on-the-spectrum inability to see when he was becoming boring or demanding. He talked as if the world needed him to talk and never to stop. Oddly for a dissident, he had no questions. The left-wingers I have known are always full of questions, but Assange, from the first, seemed like a manifestation of the hyperventilating chatroom. It became clear: if I was to be the ghost, it might turn out that I was the least ghostly person in the enterprise.
As Wise became the face of Tupperware, sales and press continued to skyrocket. In 1954, she was the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week. But as glowing as the magazine’s profile was, it contained warning signs about the future of her partnership with Tupper.
“He’s not supposed to smoke,” his mom says. He can’t get sunburn. He can’t get a cold. He can’t drink. He can’t fall and risk injury. He can’t afford to tax his immune system at all. Even a cut could trigger rejection. It starts as a blotchy rash; it means his body is winning the fight to reject the transplant, and Richard has to be flown to the hospital to receive rounds of emergency drugs intravenously.
Here, after all, was a group that included many of the executives whose firms had collectively wrecked the global economy in 2008 and 2009. And they were laughing off the entire disaster in private, as if it were a long-forgotten lark.
The homicide numbers are especially important, says one cop: “You should see these supervisors, like cats in a room filled with rocking chairs, afraid to classify a murder because of all the screaming they will hear downtown.”
When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.
Bands now have default control of their exposure. It’s no longer necessary to pay people to pay other people to play your records on the radio, only to have those people lie about doing so. It’s no longer necessary to spend money to let people hear your band. It happens automatically.
Lindsy Van Gelder, the New York Post reporter who coined the phrase “bra burning,” wrote in Ms. in 1974 that when she became a journalist, she “avoided the women’s-angle assignments through a maniacally macho willingness to cover train wrecks, riots, anything else, and an unfeigned ignorance of conventional women’s-pagey topics.”
As Sierra Leone’s infrastructure has crumbled, the upper classes have hidden behind ever higher walls, bigger SUVs, and more powerful generators, grumbling but unwilling to engage – to all intents and purposes acting as if the Sierra Leone outside our walls was another country from the ‘Sweet Salone’ that we’ve inhabited.