Guidance in uncertain times

Random Weird Issue #1

Welcome to Random Weird #1. This is the first irregular newsletter of this type.

Since I am usually sending noteworthy articles to friends and family anyways, I thought it might be a good idea to put together a short newsletter so more people can benefit. Sharing is caring after all.

While newsletters are becoming a bit hip again, becoming famous and important is definitely not my goal. Plus, if I’d be really cool, I’d start a podcast.

So what’s this thing about?

Well, as said, I just want to channel articles and information so more people can take advantage. Obviously, it is neither truly random nor truly weird (depending on the actual meaning/definition). We all have our blinders on and are attracted or at least more likely to notice things we have encountered before (cf. cognitive biases). Quite ordinary, sorry. Though, thankfully, there are still things that are odd, unusual, remarkable, or simply noteworthy. I’ll put together things that I found interesting here. And given I do this in my spare time, the newsletter will be irregular for sure.

Choose your leaders wisely

With the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing, everything feels uncertain and out of the ordinary. We are thus looking for proper guidance. Though this can be hard to come by. While people in certain positions are assumed to be leaders, it is uncertain times that separate the wheat from the chaff.

  • 🤑 Cash in - Some leaders and politicians even cash in on the coronavirus epidemic (insider trading). While regular people get a bit of the bailout pie, Trump and big corporations get some serious dollars. And obviously, the rich get richer.

  • 💻 Hermit tech and privilege - Technology enables us to work from home, makes social distancing easier. While it’s hard to stay at home, hermit tech is a luxury not everybody can afford. Not everybody is privileged enough to have a spacious house. Not everybody has the necessary resources and nor the right environment. Some people actually got to work. Essential workers are essential - but often not paid well.

  • 📰 Fake news & source of information - the Coronavirus pandemic emphasizes the value of a strong service public again. As the Economist reports, "Countries with public-service media have more hard news and better-informed populations.” While social media and other platforms are good a spreading and distributing (fake) news, it’s still quality that matters. (Though, funding is always in question.)

  • ☠️ Death cult - Follow the leader(s) off a cliff. Poor and rural regions are most likely going to have a higher Covid-19 fatality rate than more urban and affluent areas. Preconditions, demographics, and infrastructure do play a role. The Southern US, where Georgia just reponed, seems more vulnerable in that regard. Cheers to that! Sip some bleach or take some drugs.

  • 🙏 Hail the tech gods - Since places of worship are closed and some leaders fail, people are again looking up to the tech gods. Now Marc Andreessen wants us to build. There are obviously multiple sides to it, but it seems the gods up in Silicon Valley are a bit out of touch with ordinary folks. Maybe unicorns are just unicorns. Of course not. Blockchain will save us. MuskBros unite.
    (I am well aware of the irony of writing this on Substack.)

Tech’s big dirty secret is that behind the wonderland of automation and highly-paid “innovator” jobs it promises, are invariably hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers erased behind splashy propaganda like “just build”
- Mode View Culture

Source: @fabienvie


📈 Fantastic data and where to find them
[data, data visualization, data journalism]

Source: Financial Times

🕵️ I have nothing to hide

🙅‍♀️ You did Nazi me coming
[right-wing politics]

  • The henchmen do, do, do

  • Germany is leading in right-wing terrorism. Déjà vu

🔥 It’s getting hot out there
[climate change]

This and that