June 20, 2018

Posting Drought

So many tabs. So many.

I’ve had trouble posting lately. Not that I don’t have things to say, more like it’s too god damned hot. Well, that and I have this horrible weight stacked up in my "read later" queue (aka my Safari tabs).

Excuses.

Om On Blogging

This piece recently made the rounds and I was a bit unsure about posting it. Yet here I am, mainly because this line has been ringing around my head:

The whole idea is to think to deliberate, and to come back again and again, to finish what was started a long time ago. But there is no end, just a pause, for a voice to start, talking again.

Anyone who makes an esoteric point usually has their finger on something, a nerve or a bustling heart beat, but not the words to fully express that experience to others. But don’t fret, I feel his point. I “get” blogs in a way that I don’t get the social stream. I don’t want to drink from the firehouse.

I am the product of a web filled with ideas, formed well before I became a target of the web of commerce or the atomic content in the web of data. I crave the tiny human whispers hidden between blog posts: those faint messages that can only be discerned through the entirety of a creative’s body of work. Voice matters, definitely, but no more than the context from which it arises. And neither of those is available after being algorithmically sorted and served.

So, I’m with you Mr. Malik. Long live the weblog.

Installing Linux on a Dead Badger

I won’t spoil it, but I love any article with rigorous author notes and stipulations:

The following test installation was conducted on the concrete floor of the garage of a detached single-story house, on unconsecrated ground, using a 400MHz clamshell iBook, and began shortly after local sunset.

Marc Maron Talking with Anthony Bourdain

What a whirlwind conversation. I’m slowly beginning to chip away at why exactly Bourdain has struck a chord with me and this podcast episode managed to capture so much of that feeling. There’s no pretence whatsoever. He is who he claims to be and not much else. Maron serves as a great sounding board, keeping the conversation fun, honest and moving at a fresh pace.

How to Kill a Fish

In honour of my week dedicated to Anthony Bourdain, I widened my net (oh god) looking for interesting stories and have been pouring more sources about food. I can’t hold the same reverence for gastronomy and it’s ingredients as Bourdain could, but I can respect that same effort and attention to detail.

With my eyes opened a little wider, I am looking at the food I consume. Where does it come from? How was it raised/sourced? (A dichotomy that is explored in the article: the warmer an animals blood the more effort we take in raising it, for everything else, how little of the environment do we destroy when sourcing it.) And most importantly, how much did I enjoy eating it?

After learning about how we slaughter fish commercially, I have re-evaluated my stance on it. I don’t often eat fish. When I do, I try my best to buy ethically and environmentally friendly sourced fish. Turns out, none of that matters from a moral and taste perspective. This article turned my stomach the more I read, not because of any grotesque details, although those are there, it was the moral weight of it.

There’s not one massive buyer who can set a blanket rule [for humanely killing wild caught fish]. Plus, the amount of money it would cost to humanely kill them all would raise the price to ten times what we currently pay, according to Culum Brown, associate professor of vertebrate evolution and director of Higher Degree Research at Macquarie University. “I can envision a future, maybe 10 or 20 years down the track, where wild fish are so rare maybe it will become a premium product, and people will be willing to pay for a fish that’s wild and killed humanely,” he told me. “My feeling is that most of the wild stocks will collapse long before we get to that position. It just won’t be economically viable.”

What a quote. No need worrying about a solution for this small issue, when the whole class of problem will go extinct. If the conclusions this article raises are true, then perhaps fish should cost considerably more.

Anthony Bourdain’s Muse: Japan

Having watched Parts Unknown to completion (and now starting over again) it’s clear to see Bourdain’s fascination with Japan. The fact that Tokyo would be his number one choice for being exiled to makes a lot more sense in retrospect.

Place has a real effect on who we are. As I wrap up my time in Europe (while this tiny little island still counts as Europe that is), I’m struck by how I’ve responded to the rhythms of my current locale. I wouldn’t say London in particular has had the lasting effect that Tokyo has on Bourdain, but there has, undoubtably, been a shift. I am forever tied to this place. It’s mannerisms carved into my bones.

Anthony Bourdain Taught us how to Live

Rosie Spinks wrote, as clear as any I’ve read so far, a brilliant encapsulation of what I secretly knew but never realised about Bourdain: his gift wasn’t writing about food, travel or culture, no, his body of work describes eudaimonia.

His travel writing wasn’t just tips on how to scope out good street food or how to seamlessly navigate an airport. It laid out an attitude for living. Whether he was looking chic in Milan or dusty in Mozambique, he possessed a no-bullshit vitality, a humble awareness of his privilege as a white, male American, and an appreciation for the things—cold beer, hot noodles, the fact that seafood always tastes better when you’re barefoot in the sand—that are true no matter where you find yourself on this big, generous earth.

I wish I had written that.

Anthony Bourdain

I don’t often comment on the death of a celebrity, but Anthony Bourdain was one of the very few who managed to make an impression on me. Like many, I enjoyed his honest take on culture, his openness to the world that so many seem to lack. Exploring the bounties of food culture may have been his motivation, but an unwavering appreciation of humanity was his greatest achievement.

AMD unveils Threadripper 2

I honestly thought that the CPU wars were over and we’d reached a reasonable plateau. Maybe there would be efficiency gains between generations of silicon, but this is bananas.

AMD’s current high-end desktop Threadripper CPU has 16 cores and 32 threads. Which is insane in its own right. While the new version doubles that core and thread count, respectively, and it honestly looks like there’s room for more over the next generation or so. Moreover, this is created with a seven nanometre process, which has to be getting close to the boundaries of current physics, right?

Intel tried to make waves just before this announcement with a similarly ridiculous 28 core chip (which based on very little research on my part, looks to be a repurposed workstation part). I’m happy overall that there is competition at all in x86 land, but I do wonder to what benefit. Besides 3D rendering, scientific applications and some other niche applications that I clearly don’t know about, will an average consumer benefit from the additional core counts? I suppose that’s not really the point. These high-end components are meant to be drool-worthy: to attract the awe of the scene while serving as a test bed for trickle down innovations for more mainstream parts.

All that said, if I am ever considering building a PC in the future—who knows these days, honestly—then perhaps I’ll take a close look at AMD’s offerings.