Recommended reading 19/7-23/7 2021

This week’s Recommended Reading starts with a nice homely about social media addiction; sees the Internet consuming a developing nation and a government fighting back; urges us to negotiate peace with the Internet; laments the Internet’s co-conspiring to commoditize community; and ends with gut-wrenching intimacy from a time without wifi.

You Really Need To Quit Twitter – Funny – and sad – piece by Caitlin Flanegan about what her addiction has stolen from her. 

Let The Bullets Fly For A While – Lilian Li writes a fantastic Substack newsletter about tech in China, which is not the same tech that the West has. ‘A key theme that runs through Chinese tech is that as a developing country with under-developed institutions, technology isn’t augmenting existing institutions, but creating them. (…) Didi cleaned up the grey market for black cabs, Meituan and act as de facto restaurant inspectors.’  

Eternal October: Bringing Back Tech Optimism, Without The Naivety – The Internet isn’t young anymore, and it’s easy to only see the threats. The pervasive surveillance, the child pornography, the ads, the short-form content, crypto’s energy consumption, the trampled workers’ rights and alienation in a marxist sense. The general godawfulness. But it can still be a beautiful thing, if we’re realistic and mindful about all the ways in which it tends to exacerbate our worst tendencies. I know that sounds cynical. Just read it, you owe it to yourself. 

I Miss It All – Teacher and runner Andy Stagg got into an accident. He can’t run while recovering, so instead he starts riding a home trainer. He tries out Peloton, but the service just reminds him of everything he’s lost, maybe forever. 

A Woman’s Intimate Record of Wyoming in the Early Twentieth Century – Lora Nichols got a camera in 1899. What she captures on film might surprise you!