WTF Weekly

my thoughts on the week that was

30 Nov 2019

WTF Weekly for November 30, 2019

It’s the end of Thanksgiving week in the United States, and I’m extremely thankful to have taken some mental health days[^Meaning I just really didn’t want to be at work] away from work to focus on more important things – family and technology.

Speaking of technology, it may be easy to assume that we think about design more than ever in technology, but I’d argue that a lot of our current tech proves that we still have much to learn. It is true, however, that bad design can lead to suboptimal, even fatal, consequences, as the B-17 proved during World War II.

How the Dumb Design of a WWII Plane Led to the Macintosh

The lessons of poor user interface gleaned from the B-17 led to design focused on how humans act under stress, and (eventually) influenced the GUI interfaces we all use on modern computing devices.

An infinite loop: New research suggests the universe may be a closed sphere

Infinite loops are undesirable in programming, pretty cool for computer company campuses,[^Say that fast 1000 times…] and (possibly) a feature of the universe.

Contemplating the universe is always a bit mind-bending at the best of times. I’m not sure which is harder to comprehend, a universe that stretches on infinitely, or one that is spherically contained. Either option still leads to more questions about the nature of reality.

Don’t get too excited about it, though, because…

How Overexcited Neurons Might Affect How You Age

Aging may not be as simple as our bodies wearing out. It could be a result of neurons in the brain firing excitedly. Equilibrium is important in life, as we know, but it may also literally be important in LIFE itself.

And finally (speaking of neurons in the brain), a long but fascinating look at the political challenges facing America:

How America Ends

If you think the country is more polarized than ever, you’re probably not wrong. Americans are unable to accurately assess the condition of our two political parties because most of us identify so strongly with one or the other that we can’t understand that they aren’t the parties our grandparents knew.

This is resoundingly true of the GOP. It really has ventured into insane territory with many of its members openly embracing QAnon theories, fear and distrust of fellow member of Congress of different ethnic backgrounds, and generally supporting the most ignorant and corrupt president in our history simply due to party affiliation.

At least in the case of Nixon, even Republicans were willing to stand up and say enough was enough. With Trump, they’re now willing to stand by and not only let it happen, but voice support for it as well.

I don’t see a way for the Republican Party to come back from this level of decay, and I don’t see a way for America in general to walk back the religious zealotry with which they support their party of choice, regardless of what it has become. I think we’re in for a real existential political and national crisis.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me about typos or to talk about anything I’ve included here.