Silicon Valley trying to build a city, getting paid millions to do nothing, money laundering via fake publications, eagles tearing drones out of the sky, and more.
Hello you! I'd like to thank my friends in the improv troupe Silly-Con Valley for the inspiration for the title of this issue. (By "inspiration" I mean I just literally used it.) Anyway, have this incredibly lovely DJ Koze track, Nein Konig Nein, to tide you through these very silly articles.
It's not just in the TV show Vilicon Salley--wait, Silicon Valley--that characters like Bighead get paid to be quiet or just not do anything. It happens for real at Facebook, Google, and Microsoft and likely other big companies for a variety of reasons, like: keeping a rare expert on a newfangled technology on payroll to not work for someone else; having someone not blab about the poor performance of a large project; senior engineers who "optimized the performance cycles of their own jobs" and only work four hours a day; and maximized pay to the point that there's no reason to work hard. Boy, it kind of makes me regret not digging deeper into compsci and machine learning. But no! It's cool. I like my life. ... Don't I? (I do.)
The tagline says it all: "Silicon Valley wants to save cities. What could go wrong?" A look at a bunch of rich San Franciscans who want to build a city as a technoutopia. There's not much in the way of concrete ideas here, but it's certainly interesting to stare into the minds of people who have enough money (and time) to think "big". (If they succeed, I will happily eat those quotation marks.)
A brief history of the notification dots that rule your mind. Blah. Blahhhh.
Interesting look into cybercriminals impersonating authors and selling nonsensical books like "Quadrillion per Cafe" for hundreds of dollars online.
Don't worry, though--nature is here to fight back against technology. It's difficult not to construct a narrative here that Mother Nature has some very strong opinions about our sprawling technophilia, enacted by eagles. (I mean. Is that not what is literally happening?) I guess when the vines burst out of the ground and take down our cell towers, we'll know. Also, don't mind the weird news site--it's just a very sketchy one that copies content from behind paywalled sites like the Wall Street Journal, just for, you know... example.
Never fear, I have brought you an antidote to all of this chaos in the form of this excellent essay. In today's day and age, doing nothing itself is a revolutionary act. This article is about labyrinths, spaces, portals of clouds, bird-noticing, removal, and more. It's really long, and it's worth your time. The essay itself is quite meditative, full of images, and lovely thoughts.