Welcome to onfocus—a weblog by Paul Bausch where I post recommended links, my photos, and occasional thoughts. Subscribe here if you like RSS.
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"The study concluded that 'lifting [eviction] moratoriums amounted to an estimated 433,700 excess cases and 10,700 excess deaths' between March 13 and September 3. The infections and fatalities occurred across '27 states that lifted eviction moratoriums' during the study period."
This is what our entire national conversation should be right now. Where is congress?
Platformer
"And yet if there’s a lesson of the past four years, it’s that thoughtfulness and craftsmanship only got the company about 10 percent as far as Microsoft did by copy-pasting Slack’s basic design."
Casey Newton on Salesforce buying Slack and the realities of enterprise software. I’m really rooting for Slack—it is truly joyful software. I think Casey misses the ways Slack might transform Salesforce.
Ars Technica
"Seven out of 50 video clusters the researchers identified are deemed 'situational' music. This designation doesn't operate under the standard concept of genres but rather the context in which the music takes place. This includes relaxation music like 'Ambient/Chillout,' 'Sounds of Nature,' and the ASMR-affiliated 'Hair Dryer Sound.' The paper concludes that situational music, sometimes deemed trivial by musicologists, is growing in popularity."
One great aspect of the Internet is that old (or new!) niche media can find its audience. This ambient music is my jam, glad I found it. [via waxy via mefi]
San Francisco Chronicle
"The countercultural movement’s pursuit of peace, love and understanding was a worthy goal. This time around, let’s make sure our quests for self-transformation and world-transformation are aligned."
My friend Stuart on the need for new ethics around mental health treatment with newly legal psychedelics.
Medium
"’00: There also must be some really good music discussion forums."
[pained face] The Internet is complicated and didn't go as planned. Paul Ford converses with his past self about where we are in 2020.

Update: Paul added a new version of this conversation that is less jokey and more earnest. For example, he elaborates on the discussion forum pain I quoted above:
"’20: Independent forums are mostly dead, swallowed up by Reddit, social media, and the like. I cannot overemphasize how much the lesson of the web is that people, given the choice between the freedom of operating and managing their own platform, and running a centralized platform that they do not control, will choose the centralized platform."
Sometimes it's worth explaining the joke!

Light Saturday

an old oak tree with unusual colors

Some mellow guitaring for your Saturday.

Underunderstood
Great podcast episode about those mystery Chinese seeds that people were getting in the mail a while back. It's a good story that touches on our collective paranoid psychology, Amazon scams, government agencies, international shipping, and the weight of seeds.
Washington Post
"Each lawyer has a responsibility to evaluate the merits of a case or an argument before bringing it before a judge. No one, in fact, has a right to file frivolous lawsuits, and lawyers are supposed to either talk their clients out of filing frivolous claims or withdraw from the representation. Telling a client they have no case, when that’s what the facts and law indicate, is an essential part of the job. If lawyers fail to do so, court-imposed sanctions or bar discipline can follow."
I hope there are some consequences for these frivolous lawsuits.
New York Times
"In response, the employees proposed an emergency change to the site’s news feed algorithm, which helps determine what more than two billion people see every day. It involved emphasizing the importance of what Facebook calls “news ecosystem quality” scores, or N.E.Q., a secret internal ranking it assigns to news publishers based on signals about the quality of their journalism...Typically, N.E.Q. scores play a minor role in determining what appears on users’ feeds."
Facebook has developed an internal metric for determining the quality of a news source but they choose not to use that knowledge in how they distribute information.
buildbackbetter.gov
First message on Biden's .gov transition site:
"We are building an administration that looks like America."
Very relieved and happy about this: The presidential transition begins as the GSA formally recognizes Biden’s victory. Also, this: Biden Names First Cabinet Picks, None of Whom Want to Destroy World Order.

Knock Knock

a campfire with colors from purple to red

Who's there? Every 80's synth sound.

Factory Chime

clouds in a glass ball with psychedelic colors

Goofing around with an MPD218 + GarageBand.

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