maybe we could do a better job teaching poor gullible rubes that just because somebody shoved a whole bunch of words together that don’t make any sense it doesn’t mean those words must in fact make sense but only to smart people who can understand them
— kilgore trout, death to putiner (@KT_So_It_Goes) March 19, 2022
Bleeding from the ears, maybe…
I went to #SXSW for a week and saw things you wouldn't believe. Humanoid rabbits minted as 3D NFTs. I watched people struggle to explain the purpose of the NFT project they were observing. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain (i hope) https://t.co/LY5jTS6OQG
— Edward Ongweso Jr (@bigblackjacobin) March 18, 2022
It did not really hit me that I was in a special sort of hell until I was walking aimlessly through Austin for SXSW and came across a venue with a few inflated geodesic domes. There were large 3D anthropomorphic rabbits plastered everywhere, which I gathered were somehow related to crypto though it wasn’t clear how. Large screens inside and outside of the domes streamed a panel where a member of Linkin Park crafted a song that would be minted as an NFT as a discussion about the liberatory potential of the metaverse carried on. And somewhere, a loud voice rang out a cultish mantra: “This is changing the future. This is FLUF House. This is the Hume Collective, so remember why you are here. Remember the power that you have. The power of this community, and when it gets hard, remember you are not alone.”
This week, while at SXSW to speak on two panels about crypto-skepticism and algorithmic labor, I was able to check out if crypto, NFTs, web3, and the metaverse really were taking over Austin. What I found was a deeply underwhelming, mundane, and frankly pathetic series of demonstrations and setups that suggest if these digital technologies do take over the world, it’ll be because of how much money their biggest boosters have and how easy it is for that money to generate interest as opposed to anything of true social utility…
When the conversation inevitably touched upon the industry’s apparent homogeneity at SXSW despite making strides in recent years, the same old sort of posturing followed.
“I don’t want to live in a metaverse built by white men,” Alex Smeele, the white co-founder of New Zealand NFT project FLUF, told me in an interview. “If we don’t engage the rest of the world―the First Nations storytellers, Indigenous people―it’s gonna be a really shit metaverse. Black people invented culture.”
The FLUF Project is a venture by New Zealand creative studio Non-Fungible Labs, offering a collection of three-dimensional rabbit avatars as the cornerstone of a community. The focus on rabbits traces back to a giant Flemish rabbit owned by a creative director that Smeele said has become the “God of our ecosystem.”
While FLUF doesn’t have much of a public roadmap (Smeele said “I don’t think anyone would believe the stuff we have planned” and “when you commit to a roadmap from far out, especially in such a fast-moving industry, you often king of dig yourself into a hole”), it seems to largely center on creating an ecosystem that can be fully commercialized by community members who will also be content creators and consumers. All that is then wrapped up in rhetoric about creating fully commodified and commercialized communities where interactions are mediated by transactions and markets that will actually liberate people from a world dominated by transactions and markets…
Still, the most common comment from attendees was that they wagered they could make money off of it because they either knew of or heard of people flipping their NFTs for a profit. This, not a desire for community or curation, was the dominant sentiment I encountered not just at FLUF but a host of other crypto, web3, metaverse, and NFT projects and events. When asked about how to curb the sort of speculative interest that seems to drive a lot of interest in the industry, FLUF said they hoped to design NFTs to disincentivize flipping Fluffs…
Crypto’s never-ending appearance at SXSW seemed less like a grand conquest than a quiet takeover complete with influencers (Paris Hilton, for example, hosted a DJ set one night), free booze, gimmicky setups, networking, vague program descriptions, and the always-present promise of more money to be made (or lost if you don’t join in).
But then again, of course this is the case. Most of the hype around crypto, NFTs, web3, and metaverse is being generated, after all, by already wealthy participants eager to bring fresh blood to the casino. I just expected that the inordinate wealth present in this space would mean something more impressive than Second Life mods being projected onto screens—but maybe that means the hype is working if I naively anticipated anything other than spectacles given how little of this space is anything other than speculation: speculative finance, speculative tech, and speculative visions.
*jpegs of white bread and American cheese sandwiches.
— hammurhed (@hammurhed) March 19, 2022
Here is a dedicated & earnest prophet of THA FUUCHAAAH who has just groaned Not *that* shaggy!…
thank you yes this is precisely what i imagined the prince of crypto would look like https://t.co/TT9FRs0HNa
— Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) March 18, 2022
I have decided that I need to learn about crypto and NFTs about as much as i need to learn Hittite. I’d rather spend my time learning Italian so that I can chat up women in Rome when I get there.
Sounds like a much better use of time!
I had someone email me saying she had caught me jacking off on my laptop camera. Wants crypto. I have no idea. What is crypto? I sent back I want a cut.
We must be going up and down some of the same Twitter trails, because I saw that Brandy Jensen tweet earlier today and laughed out loud. She had some other good tweets and links at her account.
The world is losing its f’in mind because a trans woman won the women’s 500 yard freestyle at the NCAA swimming and diving championship. I don’t get it. Any advantages she may have had from having once been male will have been mitigated by three years of HRT. Just let her swim, y’all.
@Steeplejack: I’m amused that someone else thought of the Fyre Festival in relation to this NFT stuff at SXSW. Just like that infamous non-event, it will all end in tears.
@burnspbesq: I was wondering if HRT would do that, how long it would take mainly. Three years is a lot of hormones down the river, so to speak, and I think that anyone who undergoes this epic journey of transformation is incredibly brave.
I’m not sure that I would be that brave.
It’s like any other form of gambling. The house never loses, because the game is designed that way.
These will be my tears: ?.
@burnspbesq: Oh, I figured that out when I first heard about Crypto. NFTs are just the Emperor’s New Clothing.
@Steeplejack: Yes, isn’t it hilarious?
I read today that some of the people with a lot invested in Crypto feel like they have to hide now, worried that someone will physically make them give them the key/password/thingie.
There is an ongoing process around eligibility to compete in women’s events. For now, the NCAA and USA Swimming say Lia Thomas is eligible. She might not be able to compete in the 2024 Olympics—or she might be eligible and not be good enough. We’ll see.
Sports Illustrated has a really good article on her journey.
(Repeated from a while back.)
Very good explainer about NFTs.
After viewing I still say they’re spinach and to hell with them.
Today’s woo is tomorrow’s bunkum.
Anyone else remember razor blades nestled inside a pyramid? Howzabout mood rings?
@NotMax: I say it’s broccoli, and I say to hell with it.
@burnspbesq: Thanks. I’ve been watching some people lose their minds over this today, posting hateful comments.
The more I hear about this stuff, the more I’m convinced that it’s all just delusional bullshit.
Sooooo, I couldn’t sleep. Got up, my cat greeted me from the hallway outside the BR. Did some low-light puttering as to not wake Spousal Ms ThresherK.
We had some fur mice around for the prior cat (RIP Dex) and Jazz never cared about them. I was a bit surprised to see her getting all night-crazies with one. When you’re an indoor cat you make do.
Then I looked closer. It was a real mouse!
She scooted away a few times before I could get my hands on her. That was met with quite a growl of protest. “I caught it. It’s mine.”
I managed to open the door while carrying her, and pinch apart her jaw muscles until it drops out, good and gone to the great beyond. Then back inside a few treats.
Now I’m wondering if the treats will only encourage her.
@ThresherK: You were not expecting that one, huh?
I certainly want to get in on the fabulous investment potential promised by the Commemorative Plates of the Future
@Elizabelle: Jeez, no. How mice (there’s never just one) got into our small apartment is beyond me.
And it was 70F here today, so it’s not like they were outside in November and decided the indoors was a nice place to spend winter.
She is almost twelve, and has never been in a spot to do any hunting since I got her a decade ago. Makes me wonder what her life was before I rescued her.
@burnspbesq: It’s not true that hormone replacement therapy eliminates all the physical advantages a male has.
If trans women are allowed to compete in women’s events we’ll continue to see people who were also-rans as men do exceptionally well as women.
I didn’t say “eliminate.” Don’t put words in my mouth.
The governing bodies of swimming have eligibility criteria for trans women to compete in women’s events. You can, if you choose and have some data to back up your arguments, argue that those guidelines should be more stringent. I might even agree with you.
For now, Lia Thomas gets to swim. Deal.
J R in WV
How it is that Vitalic, King of NFTs, has to wear a tee with an ad for Vitalic on it… amazing!
Open thread, ya’ll! Can I just say how tired I am of getting bit by strays here in Karachi. The rabies series is so long and makes me so sick. Blerg.
Our cat Piper joined us age approximately six weeks (according to the vet), probably freshly weaned, but smart enough to run up to a former front-pager when she was out walking her little dog.
Piper catches a mouse (field vole) in the house once every few months. Other cat Rocket (who is a nasty arsehole) was out in the cruel streets for at least some time before the rescue group live-trapped him, but he’s never managed to catch a mouse. He *does*, however, usually succeed in bullying or stealing a caught mouse away from Piper.
When she was still with us, Gloria the papillon-(probably border collie)-mix took the mouse Rocket had stolen away from him… but she couldn’t figure out how to peel the little corpse. She mouthed it & mouthed it & mouthed it until I traded it away for a really high-value treat, and I could dispose of the spittiest little dead varmint I ever hope to handle through three paper towels…
Shorter: Don’t worry too much. The mouse probably came into your apartment because it was a young stupid mouse looking for ‘territory’. If it happens again (when it happens again), rather than wrestling your cat, try offering her a distraction — a really desirable food she’s not usually allowed, or a laser toy / feather wand flashing — and just quietly sandwich-baggy the body & dispose of it once she’s dropped it voluntarily.
“Thomas’ time was a little more than 9 seconds off of Katie Ledecky’s … record.”
@Benno: That sucks. Sorry.
Katie’s so damn fast.
My friend Joan and I were talking about our respective approaches to the digital New World that’s opened up in the latter third of our lifetimes. Joan was an eager “early adopter,” while I’ve been a very late and grudging adopter. So I may have an outsider’s viewpoint, I guess.
Most of the people at SXSW grew up in this Brave New World, and for them it’s as real as the material world. For some it’s more real. and an NFT of an artwork or a song has more value than a beautiful artwork or inspiring musical performance. To me, that seems kind of sad.
Not only am I not of that world, I am not of that generation, and these two facts condition my judgement. I wonder, though, if there will be a cultural reaction within that generation to the ethos I seem to see at SXSW this year. It seems out of balance.
I don’t see the potential for NFT’s as conceptual art, so much. After that French guy used a stick to write ‘concrete’ in the wet pavement and made his art ‘concrete’, it’s kind of the same joke over and over again like, hey, maybe we’re heads floating in a fishbowl.
On the other hand, I think NFT blockchain technology has a world of potential uses. My company is in a test-prep niche. I think it would be useful for someone to make a wordpress plug-in that, when a person clicked an icon and opened a PDF of practice items, the PDF was an NFT with blockchain credentials recording the transaction that took a dime from the PayPal of the student with Woocommerce. It would allow different companies to market each other’s copyrighted materials within our own learning environments because each copy would be unique. It could allow some of the freedom of creative commons publishing within the traditional copyright world, I think. I think somebody is probably about to make a lot of money with NFT concepts.
If you are a WordPress, you can have the idea! Get a big house in Woodside! You can make it and charge me $19.95/year for the rest of my life. Don’t try to do it by yourself or your demo won’t be very good.
Times don’t lie. Thomas’ 4:33.09 was good enough to win in 2022. In 2019, it would have put her in third, behind two of the swimmers she beat this year. She just saved a good swim for when it mattered most.
It’s also almost 15 seconds slower than she swam pre-transition in the 2019 Ivy League men’s championship.
Yeah, I don’t have the technical expertise to know what the standard should be for trans athletes, but whatever it is, it can’t be based on ensuring that the athlete is bad at the sport.
I have just made an unfortunate discovery: my new Strat was miswired at the factory. The tone control for the neck pickup also controls the middle pickup — it’s not supposed to do that — while the tone control for the middle pickup controls nothing.
It has been some weeks since the guitar arrived, and the packaging it came in is long gone. Should I take it back to the shop, which is not too far from here, and demand a replacement; take it back and demand a repair; try to fix it myself (I have a soldering iron but no experience using it); or get it repaired by a third party?
You could smash it on the ground like a real rocker would.
Cripes, does SXSW even have bands anymore?
@Amir Khalid: Oh no! I’d take it back to the store either to get a new one or get it repaired.
@Amir Khalid: I’m on my phone or I’d give you a direct link, but go to stewmac.com and look up their wiring upgrade kits and click on the Strat. I’m pretty sure the directions (and hopefully schematic) are online.
Components are just upgrades from the originals, so wiring will be the same.
@Amir Khalid: Do NOT try out the soldering iron on anything you care about.
Until you have lots of practice, you will make horrible messes. Or maybe even after you have lots of practice. Soldering takes a lot of skill.
Start high: Replacement.
Almost on topic: Josh Mandel, who is the most repulsive Republican vying for Rob Portman’s Senate seat (Portman as you may recall is retiring) is using this slogan:
For God. For Family. For Bitcoin.
Bitcoin, because the government is awful and untrustworthy, and as the old joke goes, Mandel is out to prove that.
On that sad SXSW crypto/NFT event (‘70s type Happening?), it’s yet another example (not that we needed any) of the American tendency to create cultish movements or pseudo-innovations that almost instantly become grifts and mechanisms for fleecing the rubes with too much money and not enough critical reasoning.
Crypto currencies were started by criminals and tax avoiders who like to call themselves “libertarians”. The movement has become either a series of pretty overt pyramid schemes at this point or start and stop actual payment regimes that are volatile and a great way to spend money on nothing, like these ephemeral NFTs. Meanwhile, they churn out huge amounts of CO2 emissions due to the computing power required to make the “currency”.
@NotMax: SSDD. Remember the old Steve Martin quote? “I guess I wouldn’t believe in anything anymore if it weren’t for my lucky astrology mood watch.” ― Steve Martin
Down the rabbit hole? An Alice in Wonderland theme seems immensely appropriate.
Swimming is also a sport where this question is particularly thorny; the decreased strength/weight ratio (which is what HRT diminishes) and the resulting changes in balance/center of gravity/coordination are offset by the, well, by the water.
He also has this slogan: Pro-God, Pro-Gun, Pro-Trump. I wonder how many RWNJs even realize his “God” isnt’ theirs?
@Amir Khalid: Shop repair or third part. If you’re not an experienced solderer (?), this is not the way to learn.
@Amir Khalid: Schematic.
@debbie: I wonder how many evangelicals might not vote for Mandel because of his religious heritage. Evangelicals really admire Jewish people in Israel, but they are somewhat more ambivalent about Jewish people over here. This could also be a factor in Trump’s reluctance to endorse Mandel.
I always thought that in 2012 there was an “undervote” for Romney among evangelicals because he was LDS.
Get it repaired by a third party. It is a simple fix so it shouldn’t be expensive but if you’ve never used a soldering iron you’ll almost certainly mess it up.
BC in Illinois
Yeah. From where I sit, I can see , on the top shelf across the room, my paperback copy of Beginner’s Assyrian. It is my go-to example of a book I am never going to read, much less work through the exercises. (I look at it a few times each year, usually late at night when I can’t sleep, but don’t really want to read.)
This article by Annie Laurie, with tweets and comments, is about all I want to know about NFTs. A perfect middle-of-the-night post.
So in the Phish world, every show has a limited edition poster. After a few incidents involving weather destroying a chunk of them, this is now seen – by some annoying people – as a profit center. Get a lot of people to show up early, buy the poster, immediately flip them to the people in the back of the line after it’s sold out or wait for the value to increase.
It’s people buying posters who don’t have the slightest interest in displaying the poster.
NFTs are perfect for them. Right now (saying that because there could be a time down the road where the NFT tech is used for something better, but the delay in rolling that out is leading to other solutions for those problems) it exists solely for people rich enough that they need a place to park their money, people who are trying to launder money, and those hoping they can time it just right and make a profit.
Gibbons was dogwhistling this exact point I think. The argument seems to have been about making filthy lucre off something or other and not ‘real’ work. I.E. banking/investments = Jew. It’s somewhat subtle but to my ears is clearly an anti-Semitic slur. It explains Josh’s overreaction to what amounts to a schoolyard taunt. Gibbons is demonstrating to those pastors who have endorsed Mandel how to keep their pet in line so he takes care of business the way they want him to once he gets into the Senate. Notice the physical similarities – TFG/Pence. It’s a toss up whether Mandel or the pastors are more deluded about who is really in control at this point.
My J and her twin try to go every year to hear the music. They think that SXSW was ruined when they tried to expand it into a film festival too. What, nearly 30 years ago??
Her sister had Covid a few weeks ago and was wondering if she should wear a mask while there or just try to keep her distance from everyone. I’m a big fan of masks still, myself…
I defy anyone to admire Josh Mandel for anything.
At the very least. I mean, it was your labor.
I’m not sure about that. My understanding was that Jews and Christians more or less believe in the same deity up to the point where the kid entered the picture.
@Steeplejack: well now you understand that Twitter is engineered to drive you into the same trails as the people you interact with, right?
I think it would be useful if you stoped pulling my leg.
@trnc: Not really. Both religious traditions claim the same *scripture*, by different names, Torah vs Old Testament.
Fundamentalist Christians describe the god of the Old Testament as vengeful while the god of the New Testament is merciful and loving.
I have never heard a fellow Jew say anything like, “God is Love” though I have heard, “How can Christians call themselves monotheists with that Father, Son and Holy Ghost thing they have going?”
Now the educated and sophisticated of both broad traditions who embrace liberal theology, will most likely agree it’s all metaphor, equally true and not factual at all. But by definition that does not include the Evanglicals supporting Mandel.
@Ohio Mom: The evangelicals supporting Mandel in Ohio may be telling themselves what white Republicans in Georgia tell themselves about Herschel Walker: here’s a good one.
@Ohio Mom: According to St. Augustine, God’s greatest gift is wisdom. The evangelicals supporting Mandel missed out on that one
That falls apart. They couldn’t accept the Jewish version because then they’d have to accept the Muslim version. //
@NotMax: Yes, I love that one.
I’ve been in the digital world since the early 70s. It still doesn’t make this stuff any more valuable or less ridiculous. This is the equivalent of the stupid stuff we used to see, which every generation has. With one exception, this is about making big money from bullshit and thin air using what are supposed to be brains. That exception is that this Next Thing is about making money out of thin electrons, not thin air. Lots and lots and lots and lots of electrons. A staggering amount of lots of electrons. And everyone of those electrons has a cost. To the person trying to get rich, to the rest of us who have to help pay for the cost to create those electrons so that a few people can create the new nothing bullshit.
Aw life, it always throws the same exact curve ball, people trying to sell something that is nothing for a lot of money because they have no actually usable skills, direction, concepts, values, other than get fucking rich.
I have used soldering irons, pencils, guns in my life. It isn’t that difficult to learn but the important thing is not to practice on the important stuff first. Like anything practice, practice, practice is the key. I can’t imagine that a small roll of wire and some solder is that expensive and that and a bit of electricity is all you need for practice. I’d bet there are Y Tubes showing you the proper ways and whys, likely dozens of them. Those giving you advice not to attempt to fix this without proper knowledge are correct, but getting that proper knowledge is not that difficult.
Take it back to the shop for replacement (not repair, given it’s new). If they refuse for some reason, contact Fender, they’ll send you a box to ship it back to them.
@ThresherK: Kitteh was doing what kittehs do. She caught the mouse in your house. Do you want more mice in your house? Hell, yes, encourage her to be a kitty.
@Amir Khalid: How good are you with hand-work, in general? You can probably easily identify which controls should be wired to which pickups, and if you have a decent craft-work skills, solder should be fed into the to-be-made joint to form a small covered-but-not excessively covered joint. You need to heat both items in each joint evenly. Don’t over-solder.
@Ohio Mom: No, it takes a lot of attention. I say this as someone who soldered well inside of a day, and have been doing it for 30 years.
I am a computer dinosaur, retired almost 2 decades now. Knew BAL & RPG but wrote Cobol and PL/I primarily. Maybe I am just way behind the curve, but I see this as close to a computer version of pet rocks. There are some places where you can buy real goods and services with crypto. The people accepting it must have enough reserves to hold it until they can turn a real profit even if the market turns on them, or the goods they are selling come with a whopping mark-up to start with or both.
Covid-19 did one good thing in my area – almost everyone now has contactless payments. It wasn’t that long ago that retailers here were griping about having to put in credit card readers that could handle chips.
I can see some possible usefulness for some of this stuff, but most of it looks like an academic exercise that escaped the lab. Knowledge is a good thing, but not all of it has an immediate or profitable use. If some NFT really speaks to you and you can afford to buy it, fine. I have stuff I bought for much the same reason, I call them souvenirs. When you can’t explain why your stuff is so good maybe it just has a very limited use or appeal.
Repeat: Don’t try to learn soldering on something valuable. Either practice on junk till you’re skilled, or pay or persuade someone to do it. But I’d contact the factory, first.
(Lesson learned hard way)
Re lgerard’s post: My mother – may she rest in peace – acquired 8 or so* ‘collectors’ plates’ waybackwhen. If there are any folk anywhere who still want them, let me know. Thanks, very much.
*Ain’t gonna go dig around storage closet and get exact count now