Links and Notes - April 27th 2021

Minecraft manhunt is now 5v1

Dream has upped the stakes again in his incredibly popular Minecraft manhunt series. What used to be 1 v 1 and eventually became 4v1 for quite some time, has finally become 5v1. I won't spoil it, but let's just say that it's a wild ride.

And if you have the time, and you are really into analysing how these matches play out, Dream has also posted the uncut edition. It clocks in at 2 hours and 13 minutes. If you feel tired by the end of it, spare a thought for Dream who probably had adrenaline rushing the entire time and was still operating with godlike reflexes wherever the clutch plays demanded it.

Sex in an MRI... For science!

I can't pretend that the science in the article was particularly captivating. Researches put a couple into an MRI, had them have sex, and every now and then they'd ask the couple to hold still while the MRI captured the scene fully. The goal of the researchers was to "create an image of the female reproductive tract during coitus, using a magnetic resonance imagery machine, commonly known as an MRI machine". And the results did turn out to be different than what most people imagined; the penis didn't enter straight and stay straight. It actually bent. From the research paper:

The images obtained showed that during intercourse in the “missionary position” the penis has the shape of a boomerang and 1/3 of its length consists of the root of the penis. During female sexual arousal without intercourse the uterus was raised and the anterior vaginal wall lengthened. The size of the uterus did not increase during sexual arousal.

But what really caught my thoughts when reading the article was this:

Ida says she also discovered something frustrating about human nature, which was how everyone got so hung up on sex. To this day she says her friends and family still laugh about the time she shagged her boyfriend in an MRI,

“In many ways I think we’re going backwards,” Ida says. “I grew up in a time when sex wasn’t a big deal, and we’d always go bathing naked and people seemed more open minded. Now, people just seem to be getting more and more conservative.”

She's not wrong. It feels like society has become increasingly prudish in some ways. And extremely progressive in others. For example, at the time no one would have anything to do with the research paper that the researchers attempted to publish. That's conservative. Progressive sensibilities might be what finally gave way to allowing the paper to be published in 1999, a full 8 years after the experiment was first conducted.

But, the quote on sex and nudity and conservatism around those topics? I think this might have something to do with certain western attitudes being exported around the world. To clarify, the people involved in this story were all from Amsterdam. And my bit about exporting of certain western attitudes is just speculation on reasons. It could be anything but when various, mostly American, platforms on the internet all come with the blanket rule of "No nudes", I find it convenient to point a finger there and say that's the root cause

The streaming wars

While reading the Economist's morning brief, a headline caught my attention. It was about Netflix facing competition from Amazon and Disney+ and others. Amazon and Disney+ were shown on the graphs to be rapidly catching up to Netflix's position of 200M subscribers. The headline had been prompted by the fact that Netflix missed its subscriber growth projects by a couple of million new activiations[^1].

But recruiting subscribers is getting harder. Last week Netflix said it had signed up 4m in the first quarter, 2m fewer than forecast. Its share price fell by 8%. Meanwhile, the competition is heating up. Amazon Prime Video has nearly as many subscribers as Netflix (it comes free with the e-commerce giant’s Prime bundle of services) and is throwing nearly half-a-billion dollars at a “Lord of the Rings” series

Despite pandemics causing issues, I'm inclined to be concerned for Netflix. Disney+ is not yet globally available yet they are approaching 150M subscribers. I'm not sure how to analyze Amazon's numbers since Amaon Prime customers also get Amazon Prime TV bundled in and I don't know how Amazon is counting numbers. But even if the numbers are accurate, I'd say that Amazon Prime is still not known abroad given the tiny content library they have in a country like Sri Lanka. So them being stuck where they are is extremely unlikely to be for long.

So I guess the question Netflix faces itself are real. Maybe being the behemoth it is, it gets to ignore these questions for now. But it's going to be interesting to see what happens to it when Disney plus and HBO actually being going global.

Jason Fried and DHH pull a bad move

Jason Fried's move

DHH coming in hot

I was planning on make a fuller entry on this, but it's late and it'll have to wait. Suffice to say, Jason Friend and David H have together severely damaged Basecamp's reputation in a single night.

Jason Fried started it by writing a post about changes coming to Basecamp's work environment. Chief amongst them was banning political discussion at work. People were obviously quite shocked to read about this since there's a strong push within the tech circle to allow people to be vulnerable and discuss their societal issues and political habits with others. DHH clearly didn't want any of them and jumped into writing his own blog post about why it matters to keep things this way and of course it made everything worse.

I could summarise more, but I'm falling asleep given how tired I am so I will likely pick it up tomorrow . Instead I'll add a link to my own Twitter thread where I retweet current employees at Basecamp and I discover that no one is happy with the changes, some of which they found out through the blog post!!!

And just before publishing this, DHH manages to post another incredibly tone deaf post. It's not looking good for these two honestly. And they are going to damage basecamp far more than their ideas of political discussion ever did.

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Previous links and notes (April 26th)

Next links and notes (April 29th)

[1]: Netflix attributes the slow growth to the pandemic causing delays in production and therefore resulting in a smaller than expected release slate

Posted on April 27 2021 by Adnan Issadeen