Brain Dump, 28 January 2023


Things aren’t going well for Putin. It’s like watching a bully swing at a baby, miss, fall on their face, then cry about how mean the baby is. The original attack was pathetic, but the execution was pathetic in a whole other way, the failures since then pathetic in a third way, and their blaming the rest of the world pathetic in such new ways that we may need a new word for it.


Things aren’t going well for Elon Musk’s Twitter. I’ve written and said so many things about Twitter that I’ve run dry. But I do want to point out that it’s not a great time to be Elon Musk. He owes a lot of money. His product is bad and he’s making it worse. I don’t mean that subjectively, I mean they are objectively making less money and driving less traffic. By every metric I can find, he is failing.

The debt limit

I’ve been terrified about the debt limit for a few years. Look at the calendar, understand that Republicans swing back into power periodically, note that they always do a debt limit fight, and it’s not hard to spot the years where a debt limit fight will occur. And now here it goes.

But I’m calmer about it now that I have been for years, because people are starting to show their hands. It’s going to be intense, we’re going to read a lot of think-pieces about it, we’re going to be taken hostage, the brinksmanship will be on full display, the markets will flip out … but I think the end result will be something far less than I had feared.

My opponents are having a bad time

Whether it’s Putin attacking Ukraine, Musk attacking Twitter, Trump attacking democracy, or the Republicans attacking Democrats, I’ve been watching the scoreboard. The sides that I stand on (don’t invade countries, Musk made Twitter less safe, Trump tried a coup, and Republicans have no platform) are actually notching some victories. That’s notable.

Auckland’s floods

There are really bad floods happening in Auckland right now. I hope things get better for that area soon.

Friendship levels

Robin Sloan put forth a proposal a while ago that “love” on the internet means things that you return to multiple times. My friend William recently pointed out that there are “activity friends” where you can geek out about a hobby together, who are different from “life friends” where you talk about deeper things. Life, self-improvement, dreams, etc. Also: you can love your online buddies, but how many of them would you help move, or spend time surprising them with a gift? It’s an interesting bar to consider.

The end of holidays

In the southern hemisphere, we’re in the middle of summer. We’re coming to the end of summer, meaning kids will go back to school shortly. That’ll be a big change.