webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of September, 2018.

SageMath – Open-Source Mathematical Software System
September 15, 2018 (comments)
Someone made a calculator, which I used to ascertain that this article received over five votes for every comment posted. Hackernews doesn't have much use for non-Tensorflow-related mathematics, but they'd never admit this to anyone, so when the calculator creator shows up in the comments to socialize, there is a line waiting to pose whatever question might make the poser look informed. Fortunately, an argument breaks out about whether university education is worth pursuing, so Hackernews plops right back into the comfort zone.

Linus Torvalds apologizes for his behavior, takes time off
September 16, 2018 (comments)
Surprisingly, the behavior for which Torvalds apologizes is not the Linux® kernel, but instead a propensity to swear at fuckwits. Torvalds decided to take a step back and leave things in the hands of the people who most consistently defend the behavior now considered incorrect. Every single Hackernews alive is jam-packed with idiotic "insights" gleaned from whatever shitbird's middle-management blog shows up most frequently in Feedly, and so open warfare erupts almost immediately. Depending on which cross-section of partisan fuckery was consumed by a given Hackernews, we learn that brutal honesty is the instrument of society's salvation or else it is the Fimbulwinter that precedes the end. Swearing on mailing lists is either a weapon carefully constructed to marginalize women or else it is the last remaining shred of Finnish culture, under constant threat. Being a dickhead to people who are paid to put up with your shit is a privilege of era-defining genius or a character deficiency normally reserved for Shakespearian kings. The most popular comments, however, narrate the mental gymnastics Hackernews is willing to perform to excuse any non-pecuniary transgression, so long as Hackernews can reassure us that they agree with the audience... no matter what the audience thinks. Nuance: the shortest path to abdication Silicon Valley has ever invented.

EU to stop changing the clocks in 2019
September 17, 2018 (comments)
Hackernews finds another news article about some shit they discussed last week. This time around, the focus is on politics; a thread about a Californian referendum leads to hundreds of Hackernews failing to communicate their respective misunderstandings of both law and timekeeping. Following that, the OCONUS Hackernews gather around to tell each other that fiddling with rules about clocks is what makes the rest of the world superior to the backwards nation that inexplicably dominates Earth. That thread only makes it to a few dozen posts before it devolves into a priori arguments about Brexit. The rest of the comments are pining for changes in US state laws, some of which happened over a decade ago.

Life in the Spanish city that banned cars
September 18, 2018 (comments)
In typical Grauniad fashion, the headline is almost comically inaccurate: the city in question barred cars from two neighborhoods and unsurprisingly made traffic worse in the surrounding area. Hackernews picks up the "America is doing it wrong" drum from yesterday's party and plays a new song with it. The Society for the Advancement of Robot Cars attempts to propagandize, but the lure of bragging about not owning a car is too strong for anything to take root. Later, the amateur urban planners reconstruct whatever city they last saw, while the fake economists debate whether the agency of discretionary travel is an actual benefit to civic freedom or just a phantom designed to extract money from rubes.

Ticketmaster recruits pros for secret scalper program
September 19, 2018 (comments)
Ticketmaster expands its sales team. Hackernews is outraged, because they did it without releasing an app. Large scaffolding appears in the comment thread as Hackernews tries to construct a sturdy exception to laissez-faire capitalism which will allow them to get into concerts cheaper without admitting that some markets require regulation... because everyone in Silicon Valley knows where that particular missile lands.

People Like You More Than You Know
September 20, 2018 (comments)
Hackernews, possibly the demographic least in need of a confidence boost, finds a fluff piece about some half-assed "research" they can use to convince themselves everyone else thinks Hackernews are great. A couple hundred of them show up in the comments to recount every time anyone complimented them, and to rue the dearth of habitual praise in their workplaces. Nobody brings up impostor syndrome, probably because it's not a syndrome if you really are an impostor. Near the end, a few Hackernews copy their "I don't care what anyone thinks" manifestos from their early-2000s MySpace pages.

NewSQL databases fail to guarantee consistency and I blame Spanner
September 21, 2018 (comments)
An academic notices that shitty databases break a lot. Hackernews tediously describes all the myriad ways their webshit requires lightning-fast responses from backend data stores; those "loading" throbbers and progress bars are for javascript startup waits, not the 1,400 concurrent user-tracking updates triggered by every mouse pointer movement!

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