Weeknotes #229

in weeknotes

  • Donald Trump was found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in a trial in New York City (ABC News). My guess is that he’ll be given probation rather than a custodial sentence.

  • I met up with Ariel. Unfortunately, it was only for a few hours on Saturday morning. It’s difficult at the best of times for me to get away but this weekend happened to be especially difficult because it was the day Mum arrived from Australia. We were still able to fit in discussions of social media, the competition between democracy and autocracy and the horrible affliction of always wanting to run software updaters.

  • I rushed home after seeing Ariel in order to do a final bit of cleaning, go shopping, make the dinner and get the kids ready for bed. I then drove out to Haneda Airport with Rowan. He fell asleep on the way but did wake up when I parked the car. Unfortunately, he greeted Mum with a howl and a complaint. Not exactly what I’d hoped. He’s been better with her since then.

  • One important thing did come out of the meeting with Ariel: he’s now on Swarm. He had a Foursquare account so it wasn’t much of a lift but he’s the first person I’ve ever been able to get to successfully start checking in. He warned me that he’s a bit of a homebody in Sydney so there might not be much activity now that he’s back.

  • On Sunday, we took Emma and John to swimming class and then caught two trains over to the Jesuit church that’s attached (or sort of attached?) to Sophia University. Rowan wasn’t in the mood for the service so I stayed outside with him. Unfortunately, it sounds from Mum as if the style of the mass wasn’t quite what you (or at least I) would expect from Jesuits. It was an interesting experiment if nothing else.

  • I heard M.G. Siegler on the podcast The Talk Show the other week and he mentioned his new website, Spyglass. I was never the world’s biggest Siegler fan back when he made a living as a blogger but so far, I’ve been impressed. His cadence suits my daily check-in and he’s had a few interesting things to say.

  • Noah Smith had a post entitled ‘Happy fun Cold War 2 update’ in which he linked to Philip Zelikow’s essay ‘Confronting Another Axis? History, Humility and Wishful Thinking’ for Texas National Security Review that I thought was really quite excellent. Smith summarises the main points in his post but the whole essay is thought-provoking and a decent read if you’re interested in China’s rise and what it means for the liberal world order.

  • Zelikow’s essay is long and I’m not sure I would have got through it without the fact that I mostly listened to it using a new service, Matter. It’s a (relatively) new read-later service like Instapaper. What drew me to it was the promise that its A.I.-powered voices would enable me to work through my backlog of posts by listening to them. I’m still in the free trial phase and am not sure whether I’ll stay subscribed or not. I do like listening to long-form articles but the voices aren’t incredible. I’ve submitted a bug report but the fact ‘Xi Jingping’ was continually mispronounced as ‘Roman Eleven Jingping’ does not inspire confidence that they’re making rapid improvements.

  • Back in April, I linked to hip-hop group Das Racist’s song ‘Hahahaha jk’. I was listening to their earlier album, Shut Up, Dude (Apple Music) and while it’s now 14 years old, it’s still a banger.

Michael Camilleri inqk.net