webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of April, 2019.

Public Sans – A strong, neutral typeface for text or display
April 08, 2019 (comments)
Some bureaucrats set fire to tax money, and the result is a pointless microcustomization of an existing font. Hackernews argues about whether web fonts are a terrible burden or a fundamental human right, but that's just a warmup for the main event: the United States Forestry Service has a website that doesn't work without javascript. Is this a concentrated attack on people with slow computers, or a sign of the times? Explanation not considered: rich, high-bandwidth webshits who suck at their jobs.

Congress Is About to Ban the US Government from Offering Free Online Tax Filing
April 09, 2019 (comments)
The United States Congress continues the war against its own users. In this salvo, webshit middlemen have paid various politicians to ensure their rent-seeking business models will survive. Hackernews wrings its hands at the impossibility of avoiding the webshit middlemen, and wonder aloud if there might be some method of intervening in a market determined to fuck the customer. If only there were someone who could represent American citizens when coming up with these rules!

Unveiling the first-ever image of a black hole [video]
April 10, 2019 (comments)
A pack of Euros gathers together to practice their English. Hackernews trades YouTube links to fill in the vocabulary they're missing. One Hackernews contributes an essay claiming that the lack of global peace could be remediated via marketing. Other Hackernews try, based entirely on the contents of one TEDx talk, to figure out how this cutting-edge multinational radioimaging project works.

Julian Assange arrested in London
April 11, 2019 (comments)
A migrant enlists the help of the Metropolitan Police Service to move house. Hackernews tries to ascertain the facts of the situation and extrapolate next steps, but instead get lost inside the clouds of their own assumptions. Everyone has a good time anyway; nobody at "Hacker" "News" cares what's actually happening anywhere near as much as the opportunity to incorrect one another on police procedure, international law, espionage, journalism, and narcissism.

Katie Bouman, the computer scientist behind the first black hole image
April 11, 2019 (comments)
Hackernews declares an emergency recess from the Wikileaks bickering, as important news is brought to light: one of the scientists who worked on the black-hole imaging research is not only female but had the audacity to lead a project. This horrific breach of "culture fit" rallies Hackernews around the world to question this so-called scientist's credentials, approach, methods, etiquette, personal history, social media output, and even (just in case) whether or not this so-called scientist actually did anything Hackernews can identify as work, such as copying text files to GitHub or blogging about PowerPoint alternatives. None of the Hackernews can quite follow the math well enough to decide, so they declare the black hole picture to be cooties-contaminated and try to put this whole terrifying incident behind them.

Great developers are raised, not hired
April 12, 2019 (comments)
A motivational speaker suggests that more programmers might be successful if anyone bothered to show them what the fuck was going on. Hackernews tries to reconcile this possibility with their personal experience of never getting promoted and only getting raises by finding new strangers to snow. Nobody can seem to figure out what benefit there is in training younger programmers, since the natural result of such mentorship is that little shit is going to go get fuck-you money instead of working for Hackernews. Downthread, Hackernews invents the labor union apprenticeship program from first principles. One Hackernews insists that anyone who fails to devote themselves utterly to whoever hires them is not a 'real engineer.'

South Korea now recycles 95% of its food waste
April 13, 2019 (comments)
Korea alters the disposition of specific kinds of trash, moving it from 'under the ground' to 'on top of the ground.' Hackernews of various nations turn the story into some kind of ecological pissing-match, and start ranting about using machine learning to enable robots to look at garbage. Other Hackernews recite numbers at each other in lieu of understanding. Several Hackernews question the article, and when presented with additional evidence proceed to defend themselves by declaring they did not read the article, and therefore should not be held accountable for the relevance of their arguments.

Single-dose propranolol tied to ‘selective erasure’ of anxiety disorders
April 14, 2019 (comments)
Some academics think they can use chemicals to take the edge off a traumatic memory. Hackernews, as usual, spends the afternoon in a lively game of armchair psychiatric theorizing. Some Hackernews approach it by relating all the myriad self-medication experiments they've undertaken. Others prefer to spend their time imagining a bleak future of oppressive drugged militias. One Hackernews, an advanced player, declares that the mere idea of removing a specific type of anxiety is itself anxiety-inducing. Everyone plays the game differently, but they're all careful not to speak aloud the real reason this story was voted so highly: the promise of a future where Thursday's "culture fit incident" doesn't keep Hackernews awake at night, mourning that one GitHub account's obviously superior commit history.