The ‘Form’ Element Created the Modern Web. Was It a Big Mistake?

The web was born to publish documents—in particular, physics papers from CERN, the great laboratory where Tim Berners-Lee, the very first web developer, was employed to do smart information things. But technology evolves … Actually, forgive the digression, but technology doesn’t evolve. Everyone says it evolves, but true evolution includes a whole lot of death. Not all software survives, of course (I’m typing this in Google Docs, not on a Xerox Alto), but as anyone who has investigated the Windows control panels can tell you, there’s a lot of decades-old code in our systems. If people evolved like technology, you’d be 6,000 lizards, 30 chimps, and a couple Neanderthals all glued together with an anguished human face stretched across it as a “visual refresh.” </digression>

Anyway, the World Wide Web may be the most proudly agglutinative technology in history. After a few early tweaks and changes (e.g., removing the <blink> tag), HTML has almost [...]  read more

Volodymyr Zelensky and the Art of the War Story

In 2003, VOLODYMYR Zelensky, then 25 and freshly licensed to practice law, formed an organization “to make the world a better place using humor and creativity.”

The organization was Kvartal 95 Studio, a production company that has created, among other hits, a sitcom about the zany burden of in-laws. The In-Laws suffered a setback in 2017 when one of its stars was banned from Ukraine for publicly supporting the Russian annexation of Crimea.

But it’s Servant of the People, in which Zelensky played the president of Ukraine, for which Zelensky, who is now the president of Ukraine, is best known. Stagecraft was practice for statecraft, and he now produces nonfiction video dispatches from the front lines of the war. They serve as field reporting, pleas for weapons, and arias that glorify Ukraine. But the videos have done more than win Ukraine moral and military support. They have created a serialized manifesto—one that makes the case for liberal democracy [...]  read more

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