Linkfest 2020-11-06


We Will Mock the Brave and Wise

According to the PBS special on Sputnik, President Eisenhower let the Soviets get ahead in the race to space in order to establish a legal precedent they would have a difficult time protesting. Even now, it is hard to appreciate how many things during the Cold War were not what they seemed.

A programmer automated their data-entry job. Now the question is whether to tell their employer.

I think about this example fairly often. There is an immense amount to unpack in this post about a programmer hired to do a job that ended up being data entry, and then automating that task. In less extreme forms, finding a way to streamline or automate some task is something that happens routinely with knowledge work of this sort, but the degree of work reduction makes this stand out. And there is of course a growing divide between the kind of jobs where this is even possible, and where it is not.


Last Call by Tim Powers Book Review

Powers at or near his peak, in my opinion. Last Call is mythologically evocative and disturbingly historically accurate. And I’ll never look at a tarot card the same way again.

Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Gaius Marius

Gaius Marius

The Long View: The Last Generation of the Roman Republic By Erich S. Gruen

It is always worth thinking about the Late Republic, and what it really meant to be one of the Populares or the Optimates.