A third truth is that we have a generation in crisis and in desperate need of the best of what science and evidence-based solutions can offer. Unfortunately, our time is being spent telling stories that are unsupported by research and that do little to support young people who need, and deserve, more.

The experts agree that kids need to be cared for better. The experts also agree that people like Haidt are grifters who do not contribute anything into that direction.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-00902-2

I would be the last to ever watch anything by Lex Fridman, but TikTok has been feeding me clips from his interview with Bassem Youssef and I can’t help but be impressed. Fridman does a decent job interviewing but of course the conversation is carried by Youssef, who is nothing short of a treasure.

Amos’s style of software engineering historiography accompanied with snide commentary on the state of the art is both educational and entertaining. The weird factoids about Github Actions are the main act here but don’t miss out on the introduction on software delivery or the lead out on capitalism.

(Also I’m in the credits on this one!)

I found a new German podcast crush in Hart Unfair which is my favorite format: three people (Anna Dushime, Yelda Türkmen and Ari Christmann) rambling through one another but in a way that’s funny, intelligent and diverse. It’s a shame that they publish so irregularly that I can’t tell if the podcast is dead or not.

One of the hosts dropped a casual Hasan Piker reference (in a conversation about pop culture and leftist politics) and… I didn’t even know there were Germans who know who that is.

https://www.instagram.com/hartunfair/

The comments online around the Apple Vision Pro have been pretty deranged in a stupid kind of way. Lots of people jumped to the foregone conclusion that Apple released a failure or that it “wasn’t going to be a success”. Most of that seemed to have been motivated by clout chasing.

I don’t think that really matters that much other than serving to have the person making the comment show their ass for the entire world to see.

I feel that Apple Vision Pro is a deeply interesting and conflicted technology which is also the conclusion that Cortex reaches here. You’ll notice that Grey and Myke actually used the device and they are fairly knowledgeable about apps and ways of working/playing.

I got to take one home for a weekend and I can testify similarly except for missing out on a bunch of features. Because it’s only out in the US, I could not access a paid App Store or get an Apple Arcade subscription. That means I could only get the free vision apps out there which are incredibly lacklustre.

What everybody seems to have done is to take whatever IP they had lying around, wrap it into a VisionOS starter project and throw it onto the App Store. That will probably be the modus operandi for a while going forward. If you look at the absolute dregs on the App Store and now realise that making a good VisionOS app is probably at least 10x as difficult as making a good iOS app, then things are not looking good.

The only really compelling experience was the Encounter Dinosaurs app which is genuinely disconcerting and scary. But because of its very high production values, it’s also only a couple of minutes long.

Most compelling is using the Vision Pro to consume media. Watching movies in Disney+ is a fantastic experience if the device wasn’t so uncomfortable to use. Being able to watch sporting events on a massive screen with sidecar screens and 3D views of the course/track seems like it would also be excellent. It would be even more interesting if we would see a proliferation of 360 cameras to be able to place yourself in a Formula1 car or on a sports pitch. The amount of embodiment it yields, seems like it could go a long way to make remote meetings feel more real.

I agree with this review that this device is a devkit. I’ll wait for the real deal.

Death Stranding

Last night I sat down to finish Death Stranding and after beating the final boss it took an additional two hours of story, dream sequences, credit sequences and false endings before it was over. Or not quite over but finished and into the open ended chapter: “Tomorrow is in your Hands.”

I was so pissed off with Kojima for this because I had wanted to go to bed early but he pulled me through it and the entire thing was totally worth the 60+ hours of gameplay I sunk into it. The duration is the thing that creates the gravitas but also I don’t want to invest that much time in a game again any time soon.

It started with me seeing the trailer for the sequel which is incredibly over the top, absurd and wildly promising. It’s a movie—a Gesamtkunstwerk I called it—that I can watch over and over again, especially now that I’ve played the first part.

That got me interested and then I found out that the original game had been ported both to macOS and to iOS (!!). A hefty download later I was off to play my first AAA game in years.

There’s so much to love about Death Stranding and so much that is weird but works: the names of the characters (Heartman, Die Hardman, Deadman etc.), the endless walks across beautiful mountain landscapes, the boredom, the resource management, the likes, the weird cameos, the breaks of the fourth wall, the BB unit, the weird mishmash of lore and mythology. I could go on and on.

I didn’t think all too deeply on what the game is about but the thought that stuck with me while playing is that Bridges and its delivery operation are a pastiche on Amazon, with its expansionism, militarism and overly saccharine insistence on the ‘benefits’ of “connecting everybody.”

Now, I’ll be taking a break and going back to studying in the evenings but if I decide to go play a big game again, I’m thinking it’ll either be Disco Elysium or Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown.

SPY x Family – Das Leben der Anderen

I’m enjoying another light season of SPY x FAMILY. It’s a light anime whose premise is that of a spy (Loid) who needs live in deep cover in hostile territory and forms a family of convenience. He finds a woman (Yor) who’s secretly an assassin also in need of cover and an orphan child (Anya) who’s a telepath. It’s great fun.

Season 2 goes on with the story arc and some filler segments thrown in between. Of these, in the third episode (S02E03) they pull off a stunning take on “Das Leben der Anderen”. I was watching it and by the time it was over I couldn’t believe they’d done this.

To connect it to the main plot, the listener who works at the secret police is Yor’s overly jealous brother Yuri, an apt Stasi name if ever there was one. The episode also features some more set pieces which firmly establish Ostania—the city where they live—as Cold War East Berlin.

What adds to the delight is that most people watching the anime will never have an idea about this. It’s like an in-joke for movie people.

Just compare these two stills with each other: