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    The best writing of the week, November 10

    The best writing of the week, November 10

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    Your Sunday reading

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    We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.

    Grab the entire list as a Readlist.

    On HealthCare.gov

    Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin report on the failed rollout and development of HealthCare.gov.

    The Washington Post: Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin - HealthCare.gov: How political fear was pitted against technical needs

    "They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn’t have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business," said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign, who was not the individual who provided the memo to The Washington Post but confirmed he was the author. "It’s very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at implementing it. They are a different set of skills."On the Zombie Age

    Andy Greenwald writes about the rush of safe sequels and predictable shows that cable and broadcast networks are ramping up after a decade of great TV.

    Grantland: Andy Greenwald - TV Eats Itself

    Once 'Jaws' hit and then 'Star Wars' exploded, an age of experimentation quickly gave way to the age of blockbusters. Rather than use the newfound profits as a rising tide to lift all boats, studios treated these movies as a tsunami to wash all of the grit and interesting grease from their slates. In Hollywood, then and now, success doesn’t beget success so much as it instills a deep and profound terror of failure.On Twitter's appeal

    Book critic Kathryn Schulz captures the terror and delight of Twitter.

    New York: Kathryn Schulz - That Goddamned Blue Bird and Me: How Twitter Hijacked My Mind

    But Twitter, man. The medium I mocked most. The one I joined last, and was sure I’d quit first. The hardest to initially understand, and the most seemingly inane. The one so easily vilified from afar as antithetical to nuance, substance, elegance, depth. The one most at odds with my own country-mile prose. Also: the one I adore. The one to which I am addicted. And the one that, over the course of the past three years, in tiny nibbles exactly the size of this sentence, has proceeded to eat me alive.On James Bond

    Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh revisits On Her Majesty's Secret Service one of his favorite James Bond films.

    Extension 765: Steven Soderbergh - A rambling discourse

    For me there’s no question that cinematically ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is the best Bond film and the only one worth watching repeatedly for reasons other than pure entertainment (certainly it’s the only Bond film I look at and think: I’m stealing that shit). Shot to shot, this movie is beautiful in a way none of the other Bond films are—the anamorphic compositions are relentlessly arresting—and the editing patterns of the action sequences are totally bananas; it’s like Peter Hunt (who cut the first five Bond films) took all the ideas of the French new wave and blended them with Eisenstein in a Cuisinart to create a grammar that still tops today’s how fast can you cut aesthetic...On Twitter's guts

    Paul Ford cleverly analysis of the inside of a tweet reveals far more than 140 characters.

    Businessweek: Paul Ford - The Hidden Technology That Makes Twitter Huge

    Once born, they’re alone and must find their own way to the world, like a just-hatched sea turtle crawling to the surf. Luckily they have all of the information they need in order to make it: A tweet knows the identity of its creator, whether bot or human, as well as the location from which it originated, the date and time it went out, and dozens of other little things—so that wherever it finds itself, the tweet can be reconstituted. Millennia from now an intelligence coming across a single tweet could, like an archaeologist pondering a chunk of ancient skull, deduce an entire culture.On production

    Director of Photography Alex Buono explains how his team created the Wes Anderson spoof on last week's SNL.

    Alex Buono: Alex Buono - How we did it: SNL - "The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders"

    But that is not where this story ends, for as soon as I finished the lecture, I got a call that we had more to shoot! Alec Baldwin was already appearing in the Opening Monologue and he agreed to do the voiceover for our spot so he was added to the "character tableau" sequence, appearing in the recording booth for, "…and Alec Baldwin as the Narrator…". Love it! How perfect – the voice of "Tenenbaums" would be the perfect way to tie this all together. So it was back to 30 Rock with yet another crew – this time, just my 1st AC, Nick Demas – and a very simple shoot in a recording booth with the same Alexa/Hawk camera package.For more great longreads, visit our friends at Longreads.

    Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.

    Today’s Storystream

    Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

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    Emma RothSep 24
    California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

    The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

    A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


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    Andrew WebsterSep 24
    Look at this Thing.

    At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


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    The Verge
    Andrew WebsterSep 24
    Get ready for some Netflix news.

    At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


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    Andrew WebsterSep 24
    Looking for something to do this weekend?

    Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


    A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
    Thermae Romae Novae.
    Image: Netflix
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    Twitter
    Jay PetersSep 23
    Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

    Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


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    Tom WarrenSep 23
    Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

    Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


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    If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

    Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

    Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


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    Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

    Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

    Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.