The World

How efficient are you at reading this article? ๐Ÿง

Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times on how many companies digitally monitor their employees’ time in some pretty invasive and distrustful ways.

This includes taking screenshots and photos randomly in 10-minute chunks and actually docking pay if you don’t appear productive. So every trip to the bathroom is possible lost pay. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

And hospice workers being paid by productivity points. ๐Ÿ˜ณ “A visit to the dying: as little as one point.”

And social workers being penalized for not typing on their keyboard while actively counseling patients in drug treatment facilities. ๐Ÿคจ

But the brilliance of this article is how they present it.

To let you appreciate how annoying this kind of digital surveillance is, the article tells you as you read it if you’ve been “idle” for too long. It ends with a summary of your reading efficiency stats, which will inevitably make you feel weird. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Also, I wonder how these companies would feel about the The Ship Repairman Story.

History · The World

When sh*t got real in Tenochtitlan, aka Mexico City

Nobody tells a great story like Throughline. This podcast gives new twists on old stories, from ancient collapses of civilization to modern controversies. Every story is a slice of history told with a tight narrative and professional production, including deft use of sound effects. This is not some dude blabbing about history.

In their episode about Tenochtitlan, they dive deep into the brutal Spanish conquest of Mexico. They start out describing ancient Aztect capital of Tenochtitlan (aka Mexico City) as an immense ancient metropolis, one of the largest cities in the world at the time (and now). It is full of towering temples, canals, schools, and a Venice-like network of waterways for transport and irrigation and composting. This is a city that smells sweet.

The Aztecs are advanced and powerful, but they can be pretty brutal conquerers themselves and have made plenty of their own local enemies.

Then the Spanish show up. โš”๏ธ It’s a fascinating and pretty terrifying story.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Tenochtitlan: A Retelling of The Conquest

The World

Trams, cable cars, ferries, and bikes – making transportation cleaner (and more fun)

Since I first discovered the care-free movement years ago, I’ve always been a sucker for ways to get around besides those same old gas-guzzling, traffic-jamming cars.

It just seems like walking, biking, and taking a ride on something are more fun than cars. Mass transit makes the world more beautiful and is better for the planet.

Here’s a great overview of how cities across the world are finding better, electric options for moving lots of people around.

The World

Printing a village, one house at a time ๐Ÿก๐Ÿ ๐Ÿก

If you had told me a few years ago that homes would be “printed” at all, much less a full village of them down in Mexico, I would have laughed. But here it is, the strange and sometimes beautiful world of tomorrow.

Sure, these “printed” homes are IKEA-showroom-small at 500 square feet. But they are real homes – and real stylish, with interestingly rounded corners and a traditional terracotta look. These homes are not chintzy at all. They have already survived a magnitude 7.4 earthquake.

The houses are made with a a Vulcan II printer, developed by an Austin-based construction technology company. The building material is called “lavacrete”. The process is controlled by a smartphone. Three people can build a house in less than a day.

When it’s time for me to really downsize and move to Mexico, I want one of these.

History · The World

The collapse of the Bronze Age – and what came next

Here’s a pretty fascinating story about the collapse of the complex, globalized society of the late Bronze Age around 1200 BC. As we’re facing climate change, political polarization, and a raging virus, it’s an interesting listen. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

About 3000 years ago, it got bad. There was famine, drought, and earthquakes. And worst of all, the mysterious Sea People were attacking out of nowhere without warning or mercy. โš”๏ธ

But this chaos eventually became a rebirth that led to the alphabet, iron working, monotheism, the Greek and Roman empires, etc. Basically, Western civilization.

The historian notes that, more often than not, civilization pulls back from the brink before it gets toooo bad, so he’s optimistic.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Throughline: The Aftermath of Collapse: Bronze Age Edition (2021)

Illustration by Deborah Lee.
The World

“You can’t stay in Afghanistan forever.”

Leaving Afghanistan sucks, but it’s also the right thing and took courage.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Not Einstein

What would you change about the following narrative?

  1. 9/11 attack on the US from an Afghanistan-based terrorist group
  2. Invades Afghanistan, topple the government, and occupy with an international security force
  3. Provide security, promote democracy, invest in education and infrastructure
  4. Keep nation building
  5. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  6. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  7. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  8. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  9. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  10. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  11. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  12. Kill Osama Bin Laden
  13. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  14. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  15. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  16. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  17. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  18. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  19. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  20. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  21. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  22. Keep nation building for another year, more dead

It’s not a great story, is it?

It’s unfortunate and ugly, but it was time to go. Would another year of nation building have helped? Were things getting any better?

I don’t doubt the good intentions of the war, and I don’t doubt the skill and courage of the brave people who fought it. I thank our soldiers for their service and give them my utmost admiration for sticking faithfully to the mission despite it’s impossible challenges. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

I hate that the ugly Taliban is taking back over, but their deeds are between them and their own god now. The US Army is out of that equation.

You can’t stay in Afghanistan forever.

War Machine

Here’s a clip from a pretty relevant movie that came out 4 years ago about a war that had already been going on for 12 years. Despite some serious overacting by Brad Pitt, it’s a pretty damned good movie and dead on. It shows a good and capable man trying to win an impossible war.

The World

Iceland tries a 4-day workweek with good results

I guess if you’re an island in the far reaches of the North Atlantic, then you’re pretty self-sufficient and can try stuff out on your own terms. Thank you, Iceland’s Association for Sustainability and Democracy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ (hey, we could use one of those! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ), for experimenting with a 4-day workweek.

It turns out the reduced workweek is a win all around. According to Mashable, the extra day was shaved off largely by “delegating and prioritising tasks more effectively”, plus fewer and shorter meetings.

Via Apple News.