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Drat. I am still unable to post to my micro.blog timeline 😞

I thought this was a sign that I needed to fix something about how my rss feed is generated, but alas, the issue seems to be on micro.blog’s end.

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5…4…3…2…1…BLAST OFF! Another rocket ship run! 🚀

In reply to: johnny.decimal

Taxonomy is fun. Arbitrary numbering, however, is a wee bit problematic, maybe?

All (by which I mean most) of the websites I maintain for work now run a-okay under IE 11! 🕺

In reply to: Anyone an Information Architect – Jorge Arango

Many of us who’ve used a greenfield Slack account to coordinate activities with a group larger than a couple of people have experienced this. The environment’s design makes it easy to spin up new channels. Without an agreed-upon ontology, the result is duplication and confusion. Eventually, someone in the team either self-selects or is assigned the role of Slack channel curator. Not quite a bottom-up structuring of the environment; rather, a bottom-up nomination for the top-down role.

In reply to: The Virgin and the Data Center | L.M. Sacasas

It’s tempting to see in the repurposed church an allegory of sorts, science and technology vanquishing faith and religion. It may be closer to the truth, however, to see instead something more akin to a displacement: science and technology assume the place of faith and religion. And in this case, we might put the matter more pointedly, data and computing power assuming the functions and roles once ascribed to the deity—source of all knowledge and arbiter of truth, for example.

I fell off the micro.blog timeline for a bit. During that time my partner started a blog! check it out!

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IE 11, hello there.

The most annoying part of working from home…really the only downside: my desk is in the attic while our modem and router are 2 floors down.

Not having a wired connection is bananas maddening sometimes.

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Oh hey buddy — here comes the snow.

In reply to: GitHub - RSS-Bridge/rss-bridge: The RSS feed for websites missing it

You’re not social when you hamper sharing by removing feeds. You’re happy to have customers creating content for your ecosystem, but you don’t want this content out - a content you do not even own. Google Takeout is just a gimmick. We want our data to flow, we want RSS or Atom feeds.

We want to share with friends, using open protocols: RSS, Atom, XMPP, whatever. Because no one wants to have your service with your applications using your API force-feeding them. Friends must be free to choose whatever software and service they want.

We are rebuilding bridges you have wilfully destroyed.

In reply to: Cheri Baker - I don't want to be a brand.

“You should write down your brand statement, and then EVERYTHING you communicate online (or around your customers) should be in line with that statement. In short, if it doesn’t advance your brand, don’t share or say it.”

And my heart rose up in revolt and shouted: F@CK THAT SH*T!

Angry Cat

Man with beard

Pictures were drawn this evening. Angry cat,” and Man with beard.”

In the summer I make it to our post box everyday. In the winter I consider it a win if I make it out to that fridged postal outpost once a month… 📮🥶

Context: this thing is like 300 yards away from our house across a parking lot. I should really check the mail more often.

Prepare for ALL the hot takes on Slacks new logo.

I received an email a few months ago that GoDaddy was in the midst of purchasing my current webhost, WebFaction. I have mixed to dubious feelings about GoDaddy, so I have slowly been choreographing and orchestrating a migration away from WebFaction to something else. The major focus of that move are the small number of client sites and services that I host, but this blog also needs to move.

Rather than move the blog as is to a new host, I’m thinking this is a fun opportunity to explore something different. Last night I signed up for blot.im.

So far it is pretty awesome. Potentially a bit laggy, but that may all be in my head. In the coming weeks I’m going to explore it a bit more, and see if it is a viable alternative to what I currently use…the biggest hurdle isn’t technical, but emotional. Although my homespun CMS is wicked rough around the edges, it is one of the first working bits of code I ever wrote, in earnest, and I am rather fond of it — it also works exactly as I want, which is nice. It is cozy. I am interested to see if blot can feel cozy, too, though.

In other news, due to a bug on micro.blog I’m currently unable to post directly to my timeline. I can only post replies for the time being.

Planning to move servers. More fun than actually moving servers.

In reply to: Explaining 'Manual Keigo,' the Code of Japan's Clerks - CityLab

Within the framework of Japanese speech exists the somewhat controversial practice of employing formulaic honorific speech by those in the service industry. Manual keigo—so named for the training manuals of phrases that clerks and employees are expected to memorize and use in interactions with the public—creates artificial, repetitious, or otherwise grammatically questionable honorific expressions as companies strive to outdo themselves in terms of reverentially addressing their customers.

In reply to: Sidewalks, Not Just Roads, Need Municipal Snow Removal - CityLab

Even if all a city can do is begin with two streets, Owens urges cities to start there. How people are able to move around in a city that gets snow, who don’t have the benefit of a car, is important,” she said. Does it mean we’re gonna get it right [immediately]? No. But we’re sure gonna try. We gotta start by trying something.”

In reply to: Baldur's Notes - Over The Past

Over the past 2-3 years, CSS has become the least bad part of the web, occasionally being actually quite pleasant. This makes it a bit painful for me to watch JS people try to fix’ the least broken part of the web by breaking it just enough for it to be familiar to them.

Yo! Sometimes I do freelance work. I just made a website to let people know about the freelance work that I sometimes do! The content is a little rough around the edges. Feedback welcome.

I am in the market for a new reading device: I have bad eyes, I have a whole heap of digital books (PDF mostly), my 2nd generation kindle has been dead for about a year, and the family iPad is monopolized by other family members.

I’m ideally looking for something portable, relatively lightweight and under $300. Bonus points if I can also use it as an Android test device, since I also need a new one of those for work, but that isn’t a need-to-have.

Recommendations are greatly welcomed.

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Sometimes Avi and I wear matching sweaters.

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Impromptu trip to the Children’s Museum.

In reply to: Weaknotes 18: Stop torturing me with your bad manicures

We played What became of Edith Finch” through Steam. It was good! Dark and spooky while also not too taxing. But! There is no way the lead character (Edith) has that manicure! What the hell! The Venn intersection of Perfect french tips with square shaping” and wears grey knitted fingerless mittens” is empty. I am happy to be a nail consultant on your next game or kickstarter product video, please just stop torturing me with your bad manicures.

My favorite media of 2018

This is a list of my favorite media from 2018. It didn’t all necessarily come out in 2018, but it came to me in 2018.

Happy George Washington Carver Day 🥜 🥜 🥜

Zhoug Sauce, from Trader Joe’s is one of the most delicious (and spicy) things I’ve ever put into my body.

It is green. Tastes bright, and brings a lot of heat. 🌱 🌶

In reply to: Decide how to distribute/manage CSS · Issue #40 · codemirror/codemirror.next · GitHub

This thread of the codemirror.next issues cogently lays out some of the issues with moving CSS into JS.

I write CSS. I write JS. I get that it is sometimes useful to move CSS into JS, but for code that is going to be touched by lots of people I think it is best to keep them separate.

One reason I see folks reference for keeping them separate is that by doing so you don’t raise the point of entry” for those who don’t know JS, but do know CSS.

I think this is true, but also weirdly demeaning and HUGELY undervalues the complexity, power, and importance of CSS in a project.

Keeping CSS separate from JS helps to ensure that CSS doesn’t become an after thought…just icing. CSS that is an afterthought is CSS that is difficult to, or straight up impossible to maintain. CSS that is an afterthought means that the user interface and interaction model will suffer.


A few weeks ago I said I’d re-write my CMS by the end of the year.

The year ended (happy New Year, btw 🥳).

That has not happened.

I’ve come to a realization:

  • Yes, the code that runs my website is an atrocious embarrassment.
  • Yes, it works perfectly for what I need/want in a website.

In short, it is good enough. Good enough, however, ain’t good enough to share and encourage other folks to use. So, while my CMS may be good enough for me, I want to do more this year to see what I can do to help make the IndieWeb more accessible to anyone who wants in. I also just want to make more thing this year. Not big grand thing, but small fun things. To kick that off I’ve started to make a toy static site generator. It is called little, and it is not done.

Whomever decided to market glass topped stoves as easy to clean” either had never used one for any length of time or had a cruel sense of humor.

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Breakfast with snow.

Ringing in the new year by getting work done, indulging my inner nerd setting up a VPN and celebrating the kids 3rd birthday!

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Rounding out the year with some quality playground-snacking time.

One of the three fans on my graphics card died the other day — meaning that whenever I used my computer under any load whatsoever it sounded like a buzz saw. Because I don’t do anything graphics intensive, and because I didn’t want to buy a new graphics card I cut the power to the saw-fan. Problem solved!

…caveat — now the rear-case fan is hissing!?

I think that my next build will need to be fanless.

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Is this the best seat in the house?

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Merry Christmas you all! May it be safe, cozy, and happy.

What better way than to spend this, one of the most goy days of the year, at a bris with bagels?

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Wandering the old port

In reply to: What Is Glitter? - The New York Times

What is glitter? The simplest answer is one that will leave you slightly unsatisfied, but at least with your confidence in comprehending basic physical properties intact. Glitter is made from glitter. Big glitter begets smaller glitter; smaller glitter gets everywhere, all glitter is impossible to remove; now never ask this question again.

Last night I couldn’t sleep. Instead of doing something productive I re-jiggered some of the css on my website over ssh on my phone.

A learning from this experience: vi keybindings aren’t easy to use on an iPhone’s onscreen keyboard. Esc.

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Requisite solstice time clementine mutilation. Day 1 of 13, winter break.

In reply to: ‘Can Rural America Be Saved?’ Is the Wrong Question - CityLab

Rather than constantly harping on Internet infrastructure and access as the keystone technological issues of rural America, what experiences do rural people bring to the table that help us build a future digital world that can be equitable for everyone? Rural values related to neighborliness and tight-knight communities can be looked to by technology designers to create more open and welcoming online spaces.

IndieWeb, baby!

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I’m usually not one for food photos, but today Tova made the cake to end all cakes. Check out this splendiferous solstice Yule log!

Some episodes of the original Magic School Bus definitely boarder on being straight up body horror.

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Steamy bakery window in an old fire station.

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Watching a squirrel in the snow

Last night I decided to explore other task management solutions. I migrated all my todos from TodoTxt to Notion. After playing with Notion for a bit I then migrated all my tasks to Microsoft’s todo thingy-app…not wanting to break my streak I then migrated my tasks to my self-hosted trello clone. After playing around with that for a bit I figured why not just use emacs” and then re-formatted all of my TodoTxt tasks into Org-mode…so now I have all my tasks across a whole heap of platforms and I feel obligated to maintain them across all of them until I make a choice. WHAT HAVE I DONE!?

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Last night burning bright!

Avi requested kugel for breakfast. Mission complete!!!!

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Waiting for breakfast

In reply to: Anatomy of an AI System

The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources

Put simply: each small moment of convenience — be it answering a question, turning on a light, or playing a song — requires a vast planetary network, fueled by the extraction of non-renewable materials, labor, and data.

In reply to: While we Blink, we loose the Web

Losing engines is like losing languages. People may wish that everyone spoke the same language, they may claim it leads to easier understanding, but what people fail to consider is that this leads to losing all the culture and way of thought that that language produced. If you are a Web developer smiling and happy that Microsoft might be adopting Chrome, and this will make your work easier because it will be one less browser to test, don’t be! You’re trading convenience for diversity. There is no ecosystem in the world that is strong as a monoculture. Monocultures are always destructive, may it be to the soil they are on or to the surrounding villages who now can’t survive without importing stuff. Monocultures are also fragile as whatever hurts it, hurts it everywhere. The one thing monocultures are good is generating money to whoever owns them, and fuck the rest.

In reply to: Risking a Homogeneous Web - TimKadlec.com

I don’t think Microsoft using Chromium is the end of the world, but it is another step down a slippery slope. It’s one more way of bolstering the influence Google currently has on the web.

We need Google to keep pushing the web forward. But it’s critical that we have other voices, with different viewpoints, to maintain some sense of balance. Monocultures don’t benefit anyone.

In reply to: Adactio: Journal—Programming CSS

But let’s not forget that that’s a choice. It’s not that CSS in inherently incapable of executing complex conditions. Quite the opposite. It’s precisely because CSS selectors (and the cascade) are so powerful that we choose to put guard rails in place.

The word for cotton candy in Hebrew translates to grandma’s hair.” Nothing has ever made more sense.

I just successfully made latkes without including a knuckle-blood sacrifice! 😱

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Exploring some teeny tiny lighthouses

In reply to: statement on event-stream compromise · GitHub

So right now, we are in a weird valley where you have a bunch of dependencies that are maintained” by someone who’s lost interest, or is even starting to burnout, and that they no longer use themselves. You can easily share the code, but no one wants to share the responsibility for maintaining that code. Like a module is like a piece of digital property, a right that can be transferred, but you don’t get any benefit owning it, like being able to sell or rent it, however you still retain the responsibility.

[…] When you depend on something, you should take part in maintaining it.

All of this NPM bruhaha has me wondering, what does a better solution look like? NPM has always been a reason I’m wary of modern JS dev. The whole ecosystem seems contingent on NPM as its central rail — what happens when it is bought, hacked, or just flakes? I pretend that quicklisp does it better, but I am really not sure, tbh. Is a centralized package manager always going to be a or even the central point of failure for a wider ecosystem? I regularly use a bunch of different package managers across a few different languages, is one better than the other? At the end of the day is their a better model to follow?

In reply to: Pokémon: The 20-year fad - Polygon

In many ways, Pokémon embodies everything good and appealing about video games. It touches on the social and competitive elements that fuel the likes of Fortnite, while presenting a world all its own. Pokémon manages the rare trick of having immense kid appeal while nevertheless possessing the depth to sustain adult interest.

In reply to: What Car-Free Streets Mean for Family-Friendly Culture - CityLab

One of the most impactful policies on human behavior has actually been removing most of the street parking space inside the pedestrian-priority area. We found that almost 60 percent of vehicles circulating inside town were actually going around in circles trying to find a parking spot. Now, since they know they won’t be able to park, they have stopped bringing their cars in and they use the outer parking areas,” Mosquera explained.

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Cold, wet beach-fun

I live my life at the sink now; if you need me I’ll be doing dishes.

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Sometimes you’ve gotta build with blocks while wearing a raincoat, rain boots, and a hat.

Vegetarian household saddled with uneaten turkey 🤦‍♂️

This feels like the setup for a sitcom

Black Friday, that special time of year where I unsubscribe from as many email lists as I can. 📧 💀

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Another snow day! ❄️ ⛄️

In reply to: Baldur's Notes - One Theory I

One theory I have of why modern web development has become a bit dysfunctional:

Most of the time, a venn diagram of tech you need to focus on to improve your career” and tech that’ll make the product you’re working on great” is just two almost separate circles.

100% this.

Six years ago we went for a hike and got married! We’ve been on a lot of hikes since then, and I’m wicked excited to go on a whole heap more!

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Snowy adventures (the dog wussed out after about 3 minutes).

Tonight: pizza and experimental pumpkin pie, to make sure I’m ready for Thanksgiving…aka pie and pie(s).

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First snow day of the year!

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I don’t care if you think I’m a monster. I love leaving menu-bar-mode enabled in emacs.

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Cold weather climbing practice. Eat your heart out Bear Grylls.

I just solved an actual problem at work with pandoc. I feel amazing.

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Salamanders, pill-bugs and worms

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Post-bagel ambulation 🥯

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Gonna snow soon.

Potty training, wherein a child learns the subtle art of extortion.

📣 Ya’ll, I’m going to re-write my CMS from the ground up by the end of the year.

…there, I’ve committed the project to the public sphere. Now social stigma and anxiety compel me to complete this project.

When redesigning an app, if I reduce the number of taps that it takes to surface a popular feature from 5 to 2 but replace those 3 taps with 3 - 5 screen-inches of scrolling is that really a win?

I resurrected an elderly raspberry pi and have configured it to run pi-hole. So far, I am wicked wicked impressed, and very pleased with the results. Before I got it up and running I hadn’t realized that it can block in-app ads, as well as YouTube ads!? BANANAS

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Portland has the littlest flatiron building.

TFW your kid brings home delicious leftovers from a restaurant that you really want to eat, but know that if you do your kid will ask for them within 27 seconds…the irony being that if you don’t eat them your kid will never remember they exist.


The dog and toddler are firmly against the whole daylight savings thing 😑 😴

This evening I re-watched Ridley Scott’s Legend for the first time in ages. I forgot what a strange movie it is, and I wonder why I don’t see more references to it? While not amazing by any means, I’d say it is a solid film. Some points that stood out to me during this re-watching:

  • It stars a young, pantless Tom Cruise (for real, I don’t think he ever puts pants on)
  • It is oh oh oh so very windy throughout the entire film (even indoors)
  • It is next-level in its Ridley Scottyness, especially the audio-landscape of the film. Its ambiance feels sort of like Blade Runner in how loud everything is.
  • The bad guys mostly speak in rhyme

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I’ve done a good job of working myself into a panicked frenzy about the state of the world (read here as the climate” and American politics”) over the last few days, and found myself feeling really hopeless. I generally make an effort to be Pollyanna-ish about life, the universe, and everything, but that has been a struggle lately. This evening, though, we went across town to the reformed shul to participate in a vigil honoring the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The turn out was remarkable. Feeling apart of the community did me a lot of good. I wouldn’t say I’m hopeful, but I’m feeling like I am not alone which counts for a lot.

In reply to: Own the Demand – Florent Crivello

(A simple way to explain the idea [that modern marketplaces get their power from aggregating demand] is through Brussels sprouts. Given a choice, would you rather own the world’s supply of Brussel sprouts, or its demand? I say you should pick the latter. Owning all the supply would allow you to dictate your own prices, which is nice; but it would also require owning all the land on which Brussels sprouts can grow. That would be absurdly expensive and a nightmare to operate efficiently, on top of being quite a precarious position. How do you know you haven’t forgotten one piece of land somewhere? Or stay ahead of innovations like indoor farming? Controlling all the demand for Brussel sprouts, on the other hand, gives you the same pricing power, without the need to own and operate all that land.)


Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall reckons Google will pay $9B to Apple this year to remain iOS’ default search engine — an amount that could go up to $12B next year (source). By comparison, Microsoft’s search engine Bing generated $1.7B in revenue in 2017. So Apple’s search engine business” is roughly 5x as big as Microsoft’s — all while, you know, having no actual search engine.

In reply to: Children’s $hows

I wonder if it’s possible for children’s television to ever be anything but [Neo-Capitalist fairy tales]—considering how much money is required to produce television.

I think so, yes — especially as kids get older (see Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Hilda). And, while many shows I’ve found fit the pattern that I described, I think that some break the mold, or at least problematize it. 2 examples of this are the Magic School Bus and a show called Tumble Leaf. Tumble Leaf is most interesting to me because it seems to take place in a nearly post-apocalyptic setting that is absolutely awesome. Shaun the Sheep is another interesting example, where, without dialog relationships are all implied, leading to a show more in the vein of the Looney Tunes built around slap-stick hi-jinx.

There are also a number of web-based shows that I’ve been keeping an eye on lately — mostly distributed over YouTube which is its own sort of Neo-Capitalist nightmare — and I wonder if there is where we’ll see the next Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?

Kids shows are weird. Many of the contemporary kids programs I’ve come across (especially stuff geared towards toddlers on streaming services) seem to follow a similar pattern:

  • A group of main characters connected by either proximity or vocation.” No parents, nor guardians really. Just elders who are expert in their field
  • Characters have clearly defined social roles (e.g. a train responsible for moving freight)
  • Narratives revolve around characters either learning to fulfill their roles or failing to do so, and then realizing that others suffer when they don’t meet their responsibilities

Are these Neo-Capitalist fairy tales?

In reply to: turtle.audio

turtle.audio is an audio environment where simple text commands generate lines that can play music.

In reply to: About | Caselaw Access Project

The Caselaw Access Project (“CAP) expands public access to U.S. law. Our goal is to make all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online, in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law Library.

עם ישראל חי

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I love it when you talk dirty to me, Amazon. Treat yourself!

In reply to: The ‘Farmosopher’ Creating Language for Our Climate Doom and Rebirth - Motherboard

In English, there are no words to describe the existential pain of watching the catastrophic impact of climate change on the world around you. How do we explain how we feel when we hear about rising sea levels, burning forests, tornadoes and tsunamis ravaging coastlines, or animals going extinct?

At what point do we stop calling it climate change” and start to call it climate crisis?”

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Running along the boardwalk.

In reply to: I have resigned as the WordPress accessibility team lead. Here is why. | Brad Frost

JavaScript is eating the world, and that has me just a bit worried. Designers and specialists of different stripes might not have the programming chops of a JavaScript engineer, but their perspectives are just as important to the success and health of a software product. I don’t like the idea of you must be this tall to ride” when it comes to participating in software projects. I think it’s important to consider approachability when building tools and choosing technologies.

In reply to: Another technological tragedy | bit-player

The cause of the accident was not a leak or an equipment failure or a design flaw or a worker turning the wrong valve. The pressure didn’t just creep up beyond safe limits while no one was paying attention; the pressure was driven up by the automatic control system meant to keep it in bounds. The pressure regulators were trying” to do the right thing. Sensor readings told them the pressure was falling, and so the controllers took corrective action to keep the gas flowing to customers. But the feedback loop the regulators relied on was not in fact a loop. They were measuring pressure in one pipe and pumping gas into another.

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The fish-bubble at LL Bean in Freeport never gets old

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Wandering around a nearby cemetery

Striving to be a kidult, screw adulthood.

In reply to: Loneliness in the Classroom

Ahoy Kicks!

When there are fights, when there is isolation, when there is success in friendship—those are the moments to lay the topic out together, so this becomes the meta-class of every day.

I wonder if the struggle…or reasoning…behind this move to bring social education’ more explicitly into the classroom is more about charting progress than about efficacy?

I agree with you about the classroom embodying social education’ (I admit, I used to run a summer camp, and thought of that as one great big effort it a) letting kids have as much fun as possible, b) providing a playground for social education), while I am also pleased to see it being talked about more openly, especially when social isolation and loneliness seem to be more and more pervasive.

Hard left: When I read this article originally I kept wanting to find a something or whatnot from Proust, but never took the time to dig one up from my notes. I think his fiction did a good job encapsulating social isolation and loneliness despite massive social connectivity.

In reply to: Emergent Connections Between You, the Readers of These Hypertext Piles

Ok ok, one other thing that has dawned on me: it’s not just the emergent connections between writers that is salient when clustering. It’s the connections between readers as well!

In this way, I think blogs are a whole lot like essays:

Of all forms of literature, however, the essay is the one which least calls for the use of long words. The principle which controls it is simply that it should give pleasure; the desire which impels us when we take it from the shelf is simply to receive pleasure. Everything in an essay must be subdued to that end. It should lay us under a spell with its first word, and we should only wake, refreshed, with its last.

– Virginia Woolf, The modern essay

In reply to: Emoji As Cultural

Emoji as cultural hegemony:

Should we let — in this case, Apple — or any company based in California dictate the style and visual representation of food emoji based on their own American — and specifically Californian — idea of that food?

— Federico Viticci, Connected #214.

The point raised by Federico Viticci on a recent episode of Connected was very refreshing to hear, and it was a shame that the other hosts sort of brushed it off.

There is value in diversity — not just of opinion and people, but also in modes of access. What is the implication of so many people accessing the internet (read here, perhaps, as cultural zeitgeist?”) through 1 of 2 interfaces, e.g. Android or iOS.

Where the medium is the message, what becomes of a world with such a limited scope of message?

In reply to: ars ludi » Union Released

I bought a copy of Union last night! I’m wicked excited to read through the rules tonight and play sometime soon.

In reply to: To Prevent Loneliness, Start in the Classroom - CityLab

Loneliness and social isolation, it’s worth noting, are often used interchangeably, but they’re two distinct concepts. Loneliness is a feeling that may or may not depend on how many meaningful confidants they have in their life—some people feel lonely or suffer from chronic loneliness despite not being socially isolated. Still, social isolation is a leading contributor to loneliness.

In reply to: Original Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Leaves ‘Sesame Street’ After Nearly 50 Years - The New York Times

[…]Spinney said, he was originally asked to play as a funny, dumb country yokel.”

After a few episodes, Spinney made a suggestion to the show’s producers. I said, I think I should play him like he’s a child, a surrogate,” he recalled. He can be all the things that children are. He can learn with the kids.”

That had a lasting effect on Big Bird and on Sesame Street,” where the character came to embody the tender, nurturing soul of the show.

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A family friend took a photo of my face that I don’t loathe!

Do you write acceptance tests? I write many of them, always using a spreadsheet. I’m curious to see if folks use other methods of capturing test requirements and results, though. A spreadsheet works, but hasn’t ever felt like the right tool for this job.

My gut is to use an org file, but my coworkers aren’t always on board with emacs nor org-mode.

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A very fall weekend.

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Spoils from earlier adventure

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Final product of the adventure, success!

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Throwback to some recent adventuring

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Goobers chillin’ on a rainy day

In reply to: Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor | Quanta Magazine

But with powerful computer models that can simulate how plants move water, carbon dioxide and other chemicals between ground and air, Swann has found that vegetation can control weather patterns across huge distances. The destruction or expansion of forests on one continent might boost rainfall or cause a drought halfway around the world.

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View from a bridge in Shelburne Falls, MA

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On our way home from Massachusetts we got to cross a bunch of covered bridges in New Hampshire.

Are other folks getting webmentions from micro.blog? I’m still receiving webmentions from other websites, but not when folks on micro.blog respond to me. 🤷‍♂️

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Grandma’s house has really cool toys.

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Painting pumpkins 🎨 🎃

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Rambling western Massachusetts, exploring some state parks between visiting fall festival after fall festival.

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🍃🍂🍁 🎃

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Wandering western Massachusetts.

In reply to: Heather Havrilesky: There Are Too Many Gurus in America | Literary Hub

In other words, the guru is an expert at gaming privilege. Many of his so-called life hacks are just that, hacks—sly methods of disrupting other people’s resources for the sake of your own. If you happen to have a few demographic advantages, plus the raw self-loathing and lack of affection for humanity that tend to accompany any sustained imperative to maximize your own delicious supremacy behind fortress walls, the guru can make you king or queen of all that you survey. Everyone else can, of course, get fucked.

In reply to: Scandinavia | Haggard Hawks HQ

Scandinavia was originally Scadinavia”, but Pliny (seemingly mistakenly) added a second N in the first century AD. The popularity and influence of his writing in the centuries that followed only served to make the error more widespread, and eventually the dual-N spelling became the norm.

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Watching the construction on Pearl Street.

In reply to: Universal Basic Mobility Is a Human Right - CityLab

Universal Basic Mobility would be a system of partnerships and/or policies that provide a minimum level of mobility to all members of society. An isolated, static population is unhealthy, unproductive and unhappy. A mobile population is economically, culturally, and socially dynamic.

Who dis? New keyboard.

I just finished watching the first season of Hilda on Netflix. I’m heaps excited to get to the library and start reading the graphic novels it is based off of as soon as I can!

In reply to: Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong - The Huffington Post

This kind of myopia repeats throughout history. Seat belts were invented long before the automobile but weren’t mandatory in cars until the 1960s. The first confirmed death from asbestos exposure was recorded in 1906, but the U.S. didn’t start banning the substance until 1973. Every discovery in public health, no matter how significant, must compete with the traditions, assumptions and financial incentives of the society implementing it.

But my mother’s story, like Sam’s, like everyone’s, didn’t have to turn out like this. For 60 years, doctors and researchers have known two things that could have improved, or even saved, millions of lives. The first is that diets do not work.

The second big lesson the medical establishment has learned and rejected over and over again is that weight and health are not perfect synonyms. Yes, nearly every population-level study finds that fat people have worse cardiovascular health than thin people. But individuals are not averages

The terrible irony is that for 60 years, we’ve approached the obesity epidemic like a fad dieter: If we just try the exact same thing one more time, we’ll get a different result. And so it’s time for a paradigm shift. We’re not going to become a skinnier country. But we still have a chance to become a healthier one.

In reply to: Inside the Haywire World of Beirut's Electricity Brokers

Electrical power here does not come without concerted exertion or personal sacrifice. Gas-powered generators and their operators fill the void created by a strained electric grid. Most people in Lebanon, in turn, are often stuck with two bills, and sometimes get creative to keep their personal devices—laptops, cell phones, tablets, smart watches—from going dead. Meanwhile, as citizens scramble to keep their inanimate objects alive, the local authorities are complicit in this patchwork arrangement, taking payments from the gray-market generator operators and perpetuating a nation’s struggle to stay wired.

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Evening art activities, and an iron safety lesson.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to be a father to a son.

I, and he, are some of the most privileged people on the planet: white males.

Avi is compassionate, goofy and smart. He is the love of my life, but I know I can’t forget that he could be the boy bullying a classmate, or catcalling a passing stranger, or so so so much worse…and that I must remember the same for myself.

I’ve struggled to put into words how best to express my wish for his future. Luckily Tova did it better than I could ever:

So as he sleeps his sweet toddler sleep in his warm, safe bed, I make him (and everyone he meets) a promise:

To give him space to be sad and scared, and not just commend his bravery and strength.

To encourage him to be courteous to all, rather than chivalrous toward women.

To teach him that men can be nurturing, warm, sensitive, beautiful, and vulnerable.

To explain that he has incredible privilege in this world, and he can use it to stand up for and empower others.

I will work hard to let him know that he can both wonder at the size of trucks and appreciate the beauty of flowers.

That being called girly” is not an insult.

That he can come to me without fear when he makes mistakes.

That I will take time to listen to him, and to answer awkward questions honestly.

Avi, I promise I will do my absolute best to raise you to be someone who gives a damn. To not just believe in people and their stories, but to care.

And I promise to always give a damn, even if I don’t know how to put it into words.

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Nerds in the woods

We had complete and total strangers over for shabbat dinner tonight. It was lovely, and a heaps nice reminder that the world isn’t a total dumpster fire.

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Running through the woods

In reply to: 2018-09-26T13:52:24.256038129Z / unrelenting.technology

Reeder used to be my everyday driver when it came to all things RSS, but I recently switched over to Unread and have been wicked pleased. I am currently exploring the best setup for Wallabag, so I’ve been using both the native app, and Reeder pointed at my Wallabag recently added RSS feed. A huge portion of my social life online these days seems to be driven through RSS or microsub. I’m really loving it!

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:falls to knees, weeping:

The playlist I listen to while working (it is always growing).

If you need me, I’ll just be listening to Tank and the Bangas…forever. And then some more. Forever and ever.

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Longtime no home screen update.

I just watched the first episode of Hilda on Netflix, and I think I’m hooked. Have you watched it? What did you think?

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Throwing back to this weekend. I’m really glad we got to visit this place early in its history as a National Monument, and I’m excited to visit again as it grows.

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At what point does my attic-office become a co-working space?

In reply to: 084: Federation Is Bad with Aurynn Shaw – Greater Than Code

TL;DR — federation can be bad because it carries with it the political culture of its launch, making it difficult to cultivate over time. Federation without federation, though, e.g. setting up a bunch of focused micro-communities is good (see the rise of Slack and other such P2P private” or closed networks).

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Some more photos taken on our adventures up in the county, including what I believe to be a fly agaric mushroom, like the ones Viking berserkers would munch before going berserk.”

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Our last day in the county was gorgeous. I can’t wait to get back up north.

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Exploring the wilds of rural Maine.

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We broke the fast in style yesterday evening.

In reply to: HQ2 Chasing Is a Dying Model. Cities Should Woo Workers - CityLab

Chasing corporate headquarters and throwing money at them, reflects a great-man theory of economic development that reflects deep civic insecurity: only a corporation can save a city from its struggles. But corporations aren’t the civic heavyweights they used to be.

The future,

This period of change, when workers are being decoupled from their traditional employers, is a huge opportunity for cities. They should look to fill the vacuum created by receding corporations.

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Someone really loves interpretive panels.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately (instead of podcasts) and thinking about the structure of wikis. The two have been informing each other.

I’ve been starting with a contemporary song, usually by a more well known artist like Kanye West, and then listening to everything one of their song’s samples…and onward. Song as wiki.

It has been interesting, and a great way to find new (to me) music and artists.

On a similar musical note @hisaac re-introduced me to Bruce Springsteen. An artist that I’ve of course known about, and heard, but never paid much thought. This week I discovered that the album Nebraska is heart breaking and good…I am probably late to this insight, but it was bracing.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Mos Def, instrumental Pete Rock and Noname (who’s new album is 🔥).

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We’re sticking close to home this weekend. Today we walked through a nearby wood and explored a cemetery.

In reply to: Song of The Year-Recognize by Bun-B featuring TI &amp; Big K.R.I.T. produced by Big K.R.I.T. | FREE MUSIC EMPIRE

I’ve made the argument that the pop sphere is larger than it has ever been due to the ability to find anything. The gatekeeper role of radio and upper level music executives isn’t anywhere near as important…but I’m willing to make the opposite argument now. I think it is possible that due to trending patterns on social media we have less pop music than we ever have before. What happens is a new album drops (maybe its Eminem maybe its Nicki Minaj) it is just the largest name that week and that album gets blogged about and all caps shouted at by the whole world. So that giant internet information space turns out to be a giant garage with one car parked in it.

What do you think is the saddest Bruce Springsteen song? I’m thinking it is Atlantic City. The narrative of the song seems to be headed in the direction of love will prevail,” but at the end sort of floats away…or crumbles, leaving the song’s protagonist hanging. I find it to be gut wrenching, but effective. I leave the song with a similar feeling to the one I left the theater with after watching Meek’s Cutoff, by Kelly Reichardt.

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

Talk to people. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone in this city is looking for someone to listen. You’ll meet the most interesting people, and hear the most amazing stories. Make new friends, and tell yourself that you’ll be back soon, because really: how could you not?

In reply to: At the Flip of a Switch

The switch became a live-action metaphor of the authority and ability to get things done.


The light switch is part of a long history of control mechanisms that regulate an otherwise continuous flow.

In reply to: Our Libraries and Schools Are Vital 'Social Infrastructure' - CityLab

Social infrastructure is a set of physical places and organizations that shape our interactions. When social infrastructure is robust, it fosters all kinds of social interactions, helps build relationships, and turns community from a vague, fuzzy concept into a lived experience. When social infrastructure is degraded and neglected, it makes it far more likely that we will grow isolated and be left to fend for ourselves.

Hello Social Swales and Anomie

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Wandering the Fort Andross mill in Brunswick, Maine

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Sliding into the new year like…

Accio React App

My professional-self has been writing a whole lot of React components lately. I’ve mixed feelings about React (mostly do to it’s parentage), but I’m very much enjoying the work and am happy to be writing functional code.

When I started my most recent React project I decided to not use Webpack and instead opted to use Parcel (shout out to @hjertnes for the intro!). My plan was for this to be a post about Parcel and how to use it, but in the course of sussing out what I was going to cover, I ended up writing a little script…

The script is a beautifully procedural bit of bash that instantiates a basic react starting point.

I’ve used Webpack before and found it to be a) overly complicated, b) a gargantuan time-suck.

I’ve also toyed with react-create-app and always been displeased. It works well, but is a bit limiting out of the box, and it’s eject method is…terrifying?

Accio React App is my answer to react-create-app. It provides the minimal bits needed to start a React project (including react-router, sass and babel) and a basic project scaffolding. It isn’t much, but I’ve already found it to be a helpful little thing.

Here is the script in full, it can also be found on my pastebin and as a gist hosted on GitHub.


# A quick and dirty way to start a simple React project
# NOTE! This script assumes you are using Yarn
# Author: Eli (https://eli.li)
# License: unlicense (https://unlicense.org/)

read -p 'What is the name of your new project? ' PROJECTNAME

echo 'Creating new project, ' $PROJECTNAME

echo 'Now yarn is gonna do *A LOT* of stuff all at once, including initiating a new project, and pulling in a number of dependencies. This may take a few minutes.'
yarn init -y
yarn add react
yarn add react-dom
yarn add react-router-dom
yarn add node-sass
yarn add --dev parcel-bundler
yarn add --dev babel-preset-env
yarn add --dev babel-preset-react

echo 'Next is a slight modification to package.json, adding a `start` and a `build` script'
SCRIPT=',"scripts": {"start": "parcel index.html", "build": "parcel build index.html --out-dir dist" }'
printf '%s\n' H 17i "$SCRIPT" . wq | ed -s package.json

echo 'Making `.babelrc`!'
touch '.babelrc'
echo '{"presets": ["env", "react"]}' >> .babelrc

echo 'Making `.gitignore`!'
touch '.gitignore'
echo '/node_modules' >> .gitignore
echo '/dist' >> .gitignore
echo '/.cache' >> .gitignore
echo '.DS_Store' >> .gitignore

echo 'For our next trick!? Time to make the project scaffolding.'
mkdir 'src'
mkdir 'src/components'
mkdir 'src/scss'
mkdir 'src/static'
touch 'src/index.js'
touch 'src/components/HelloWorld.js'
touch 'src/scss/main.scss'
touch 'index.html'
touch 'README.md'

echo '<!doctype html>' >> index.html
echo '<html lang="en">' >> index.html
echo '<head>' >> index.html
echo '<meta charset="UTF-8">' >> index.html
echo '<meta name="viewport"' >> index.html
echo 'content="width=device-width, user-scalable=no, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, minimum-scale=1.0">' >> index.html
echo '<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">' >> index.html
echo '<title>'$PROJECTNAME'</title>' >> index.html
echo '<link rel="stylesheet" href="./src/scss/main.scss">' >> index.html
echo '</head>' >> index.html
echo '<body>' >> index.html
echo '<div id="root"></div>' >> index.html
echo '<script src="./src/index.js"></script>' >> index.html
echo '</body>' >> index.html
echo '</html>' >> index.html

echo 'import React from "react";' >> src/index.js
echo 'import ReactDOM from "react-dom";' >> src/index.js
echo 'import {BrowserRouter as Router, Route} from "react-router-dom"' >> src/index.js
echo 'import HelloWorld from "./components/HelloWorld"' >> src/index.js
echo '  ' >> src/index.js
echo 'let Root = document.getElementById("root");' >> src/index.js
echo '  ' >> src/index.js
echo 'ReactDOM.render(' >> src/index.js
echo '<Router>' >> src/index.js
echo '<main>' >> src/index.js
echo '<Route exact strict path="/" component={HelloWorld}/>' >> src/index.js
echo '</main>' >> src/index.js
echo '</Router>,' >> src/index.js
echo 'Root' >> src/index.js
echo ')' >> src/index.js

echo 'import React from "react"' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo '  ' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo 'export default class HelloWorld extends React.Component {' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo 'constructor(props) {' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo 'super(props);' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo '}' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo '  ' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo 'render() {' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo 'return (' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo '<div>' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo '<h1>Hello World!</h1>' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo '</div>' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo ')' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo '}' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js
echo '}' >> src/components/HelloWorld.js

echo 'body {padding: 3em; color: pink}' >> src/scss/main.scss

echo '#' $PROJECTNAME >> README.md
echo '  ' >> README.md
echo '(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧' >> README.md
echo 'Built w/a very little bit of magic!' >> README.md
echo '  ' >> README.md
echo '  ' >> README.md
echo 'Run: w/either:' >> README.md
echo '```' >> README.md
echo '$ yarn start' >> README.md
echo '```' >> README.md
echo 'OR, if using NPM' >> README.md
echo '```' >> README.md
echo '$ npm start' >> README.md
echo '```' >> README.md

yarn start

I started to write a blog post and I ended up writing a 100+ line automation script…now I have something to blog about!


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My coworkers. One old. One new. It has been nice having them around during the workday 🐶

In reply to: Webmention Spillage

No worries! Seeing a bunch of your content for a second time got me thinking about how much of online communication happens in the space of one or two transactional-loops. It has been interesting watching you and {h0p3} have a sort of multi-media hypertext exchange that is bigger than the average IndieWeb ping-pong.

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

Language can be weaponized; when used in certain ways, over lifetimes, language can be violent. To those of us whose life, lifestyle, and existence faces threat every day, especially from those who articulate that threat through language, words become trauma and that trauma accumulates over time.

When you use language to dismiss those who are always dismissed, when you marginalize those in the margins, when you denigrate those who are always insulted, when you exclude those who are never included: you are committing violence. Over the years, the trauma from that violence adds up to a lifetime of being told that we are never enough, we will never belong.

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Thistles by the sea

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Full house 🐶 🏠

I just saw that the series finale to Adventure Time is airing this evening (or perhaps already has aired). I’m a few seasons behind at this point, but am sad to see the show come to a close, but also glad it had such a great run. Watching the show was weirdly transformative for me while in school. I’m excited to be able to share it with my son one day, and wicked inspired by the sea-change the show helped prompt in animation.

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Experimenting with the public works

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Portland from the Back Cove.

In reply to: Writing My First Vim Plugin – Emily St*

This began as something I needed because I kept opening files and needing to count how many times a term or pattern occurred in that file. I wrote a small script to do it, and I tacked on more things to the script over the next few days and weeks.

Hello, my name is Eli and my blood is mostly comprised of Claritin. 🤧

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We walked to a lighthouse. It was a much longer walk than I anticipated.

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Tidepooling with mama, ex-marine biologist.

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Today we explored South Portland. Even though it is only a short bridge away we almost never go. We started by visiting the bakery BLVL (not pictured, but knock your socks off phenomenal), then we visited Twin Lights State Park, from where you can sometimes see whales from the shore, next up was a quick lunch break at the Toast Bar…which is exactly what it sounds like, only 120% better. Finally we wrapped our wanderings visiting Spring Point Ledge Light.

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Baby moose eating an afternoon snack

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Throw back to last weekend in Scranton, PA where we ate at a great kosher deli and found these amazing deco doors.

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It has been a lot of fun over the last few weeks to see Avi switch from scribbling to drawing specific shapes and figures. This is a sun, but also the rain.”

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We kicked the weekend off by exploring Gray and New Gloucester, Maine. We visited with some baby moose getting fed at the Maine Wildlife Park, ate pizza at the New Gloucester Village Store, and stopped by Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, the last active Shaker community.

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End of summer vibes

This evening it was warm with a gentle, cool breeze. It was crisp and I could taste the very edge of fall 🍂

In reply to: The Do Date Manifesto

A Do Date is a time to work on the things that have no due date; to give yourself permission to ignore the things you have” to do, and instead do the things you want to do.

Tonight I introduce Avi to veggie steam buns. It was eaten…very quickly.

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This sums up my priorities pretty well

In reply to: Caution: Chromebooks

Thanks for sharing these insights! Reading them, I think you are totally right that it is a bit wonky to say (as I did!) that a Raspberry Pi is a better choice than a Chromebook. I also think you are 100% on the nose re: tech elitism. As the father of a young child, I’m heaps intrigued by what you’ve said about iPads and young kids (especially those who cannot read, yet). I’ve played a little bit with some apps meant for kids, and in a past life, before I confused myself with a liberal arts education I was set on becoming a pre-school/kindergarten teacher. If I ever go back to school I’d most certainly be interested in exploring how to design systems (digital, physical, and otherwise) with children in mind, e.g. what does a public transit system for kids look like.

In reply to: Should I Major in the Humanities? - The Atlantic

I’ve got mixed feelings about this — mixed as someone who holds 2 humanities degrees, but who doesn’t really work in the humanities” per se. But, then, I don’t think the point” of a humanities is to work in the humanities (whatever that means). I think the humanities can sometimes be more about a certain world-view, and learning to think in certain ways, than they are about career prospects. What is missing from here is a serious conversation about career prospects and the value of vocational training.

In reply to: Bill Cunningham’s memoir traces a righteous pursuit of beauty | The Outline

Above all, Fashion Climbing is a celebration of pleasure without the veil of exclusivity that the more pretentious sides of fashion feed on. Cunningham celebrates the feel and weight of a beautiful fabric, the smell of fresh flowers in a shabby apartment on a Monday, the visceral release of a wild costume party with friends, the sight of someone completely at ease and glowing in the outfit they chose for themselves that day

In reply to: @manton hey! We’re on the same page! As a web comic co-creator, this is something that I thought hard about. When we could finally publish our books in print, it made me feel better, however we haven’t done a book in 5 years. I may do a few print on demand ones for archival purposes though. I’d love to hear your updated thoughts on this topic.

There is a really great conversation unfolding on micro.blog at the moment about what happens to our digital identities after we die. It is a subject that I find fascination, and one that I’d like to do more work with.

So will happen to this when you die?

Is anyone using my self-hosted instance of quill? I’m thinking of taking it down in an effort to simplify server management. If, however, you find it useful, let me know and I’ll keep it up and running.

In reply to: Reading fiction helps your career, but reading poetry helps more | Penelope Trunk Careers

Fictional narrative expects the reader to keep turning pages to connect with a character and feel what they feel. Poetry demands that the reader decipher each line in for understanding — the world, or the self or others. Both poetry and fiction develop empathy, but fiction is better for that. Poetry, however, is the practice of simplifying complex topics.

In reply to: A Road to Common Lisp / Steve Losh

I weirdly adore Steve Losh’s blog. I don’t know what it is about it, but the way in which Steve talks about technical things is really lucid and…human? As in, readable, maybe? I don’t know, but I find myself referring to his blog again and again. I first stumbled across his blog when I found his post about how to configure and use Mutt a few years ago. Here, he has done it again with an excellent LISP primer.

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I never imagined the joy I’d experience from re-uniting with folks that I lived with and saw almost every single day for 4 years 7 years on.

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This weekend we drove to Newfoundland Pennsylvania to attend my college roomate’s wedding on his family farm. It was steupenous. We had an absolute blast camping, hanging out with the animals, seeing old friends and making new ones.

We also took the opportunity to explore the area a bit. Scranton is a really great city, especially if you like train museums and kosher delis! On the way back we also poked around Great Barington Massachusetts and found some stellar ice cream.

It was nice to check out of daily life for a bit and hang out with the family on the road. Wicked thankful for all the wandering we’ve been able to do this summer, and excited to see where we get to next!



In reply to: The Rise of the Adventure Playgrounds - CityLab

For Wilson, cities that want to support adventure playgrounds need to carve out some money in their budgets for staffing. But to make play more inclusive, cities need to think beyond playgrounds altogether. These may not cater to everyday needs of children—and may not be accessible to kids who don’t have the luxury of having parents or caregivers to cart them around, she said. Apart from instituting better urban design that lends itself to play in the streets, she added, local governments could shut down certain streets so kids can play near their homes; put up a climbing wall at the public library that has an after-school program; and link up play with school lunch programs, to give a few examples. Lastly, while cities are paranoid of certain types of perceived risk,” they ignore a key reason why parents of color restrict their children’s outdoors play time: harsh policing. Creating more playful cities requires a reckoning with broader systemic issues.

I finished Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor. It is one of the first things I’ve read in a while that I wished was longer (e.g. didn’t want to end). I’m excited to read the rest of the series.

The book’s narrative was lucid and tightly structured. It felt more like a short story than it did like a novel. I was struck by the descriptions of the scenery throughout the book. Scent was an important part of the world-building and helped to flesh out a richly conceived setting.

I went to my first local meetup tonight—it was ostensibly focused on hacking games, but was pretty unstructured so it was mostly nerds talking nerd stuff…sometimes tangentially related to gaming and game development. I am glad that I got myself out of the house and met some folks.

In reply to: PHP Sadness

Don’t get me wrong, I really really like PHP, but…yes to most of this list.

In reply to: Power and Responsibility | Nicole Fenton

When I think about the responsibility we have to each other, this is where I start:

Every kind of user information relates to privacy.

You never know where a trail leads. We are connected in unbelievable ways.

People have the right to know how information is used.

If you ask someone to share information about themselves, help them understand where it’s going and how it benefits other people.

[Trigger warning for the linked piece, Sexual Assault]

In reply to: 2018.08.20 -- Eli: PII Takedown Request

Thank you for your considered response. You have not offended, and I do understand the value of this gift. Thank you for it.

In response to your insights I will offer this:

I love insects. I think they are beautiful and complicated. This being said, I have no desire to collect their bodies and preserve them. I do not pin them to boards and view them out of context.

I try not to begrudge those who do, but it isn’t for me. The beauty of an insect is the individual in larger context, Ecosystem.

Noun or gerund. I hope for gerund.

Similarly, I believe an act of archiving can either be a force of integration or of separation. By drawing a circle around something do we merely call attention to it, or do we cut it out of its larger context?

Again, thank you for your considered response.

The IndieWeb’s recent navel gazing (said lovingly) has caused me to re-visit my thesis notes. My thesis was rather benumbed and I think I’m a little embarrassed about it, but two terms that I used a lot during my thesis seem relevant to the current dialog around the future of social media, and how to cultivate compassionate digital spaces.

  1. Anomie

  • Anomie is a noun that describes the breakdown between an individual and their community. Being able to identify anomie is an important skill when designing for connection because it identifies the space wherein connection could be taking place but isn’t.

  1. Social Swales

  • A physical swale is a simple form of water catchment: a ditch dug on contour with the landscape’s topography. As water flows across a landscape it pools in the swale, this allows the water more time to soak into the soil. One could say that swales increase a landscape’s temporal edge. A social swale is any system that mediates our experience in such a manner that our attention is made to linger on something other than ourselves. A social swale captures our attention and awareness as it moves through the world, acts on us in some manner, and then releases us to continue on our way.

A few recycled thoughts on writing

I don’t think one needs to know where you are going to start writing. You don’t need an endgame, thesis, or goal. All you need is something to explore. Writing isn’t necessarily about the conveyance of specific information. Writing can be a design practice, or a way to learn something new.

A print isn’t a static thing—it isn’t a dead document, or just inked lines on paper—a print is an interface for connection. With technological innovation the immediacy and mode of that connection has changed, but I think at its heart had remained more or less the same.

I write because I don’t know. In writing I won’t necessarily come to knowing, but I’ll begin to move towards it. I write as an explorer seeking some understanding, and wanting to communicate. I write as a beginner…someone who is new to something, but eager to learn more and explore further.

To whomever designed my shower faucet,

Why are there exactly 0.2 radial degrees between this is a very cold shower” and face-melting, flesh-boiling, hotter than the sun itself, hell hath no fury like this white-hot jet of pure pain inducing plasma?”

The recently and frequently burned/frozen

I wonder how many superfluous emails test.com receives on any given day?

In reply to: http://irreal.org/blog/?p=7421

Storing Energy with Concrete Blocks | Irreal
tags: reply

A startup named Energy Vault is leveraging the idea by storing energy by using cranes to lift concrete blocks and recovering the energy by letting gravity lower the blocks against the cranes’ motor to regenerate the electricity. Surprisingly, the system is almost as efficient as lithium-ion batteries.

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Bedhead, pancakes, and the big green bib.

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Making this fairy house into a home.

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While not nearly on par with Iceland, it is reassuring to see that fairies are getting some municipal love. 🧚‍♀️ 💕

I think that I’m weird for my generation in that I love a good phone call with a friend. Don’t get me wrong, I text and chat with folks until the cows come home, but I love having to make the time to wander around the parking lot and chat with a friend who lives elsewhere for a solid hour or so. I love it.

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Squeezing in a little bit of wandering before it rains.

In reply to: Roll your own, then learn a framework | Fiona Voss

This is a pattern I’ve seen a lot in the context of learning to code, and I think it’s really effective: learn to do something from scratch first, then learn a popular library for doing the same thing. You will understand a problem much better if you try to solve it on your own first than you will if you are just handed a solution.

As someone who is more or less self-taught I often find that I start from the framework and then work to replicate on my own. I often times don’t have the know-how to start from scratch, but once I’ve fiddled with a framework for long enough I’m able to reverse engineer my way forward…that being said, as I’m learning LISP I’m trying not to let myself do this. Instead I’m trying to do what @fiona suggests: start from scratch then learn a framework.

In reply to: Graphing Calculator Story

We looked at each other, took a deep breath, and launched the application. The monitor burst into flames. We calmly carried it outside to avoid setting off smoke detectors, plugged in another monitor, and tried again. The software hadn’t caused the fire; the monitor had just chosen that moment to malfunction. The software ran over fifty times faster than it had run on the old microprocessor. We played with it for a while and agreed, This doesn’t suck”

In reply to: The Ferret Lisp System | Irreal

The source of the whole system is a single Org mode file. If you had any doubts as to whether Org could support a literate programming approach in a non-trivial project

Debugging @print css is…interesting. Chrome and Firefox each support some debugging for the @print context, but it isn’t great. I’ve generated A LOT of PDFs this morning

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Sunflowers at Big Sky Baking Co.

🌻 🌻 🌻 🌻 🍞 🍞 🍞 🍞

In reply to: RSS: The Persistent Protocol - Feld Thoughts

While RSS has disappeared into the plumbing of the internet, there’s still something fundamental about it. Its durability is remarkably impressive, especially in the context of the lack of the evolution and perceived displacement of the protocol over the past few years

In reply to: List of HTTP status codes - Wikipedia

When designing APIs, this Wikipedia page is your friend. HTTP codes are good. They are important. They are beautiful. They should be used…not ignored. Respected…not ignored. HTTP codes are good.

Parenting achievement unlocked! We got a note from daycare this morning that there is a case of lice.

Mayonnaise! Mayonnaise! Mayonnaise!

In reply to: Indiewebwebwebindieindie

tags: reply

Thanks so much! I think my post to indieweb.xyz got muddled because it went from my website to telegraph.p3k.io while also being syndicated to micro.blog. Issues of hazy and lazy decentralization by silo-hopping. Whoops!

In reply to: Indieweb.xyz: Difficult or Silo?

In a way, it’s a silo—a central info container. Silos make it easy. You go there and dump stuff in. But, here in the Indieweb, we want No Central. We want Decentral. Which is more difficult because all these little sites and blogs out there have to work together—that’s tough!

In reply to: Where draughts are truly dangerous - Telegraph

In Romania, the greatest threat to life today is not poverty, climate change or al-Qa’eda. It’s moving air. Fans, air conditioning and open windows are not - as I had thought - useful mechanisms to generate a nice breeze, or give a little respite as summer temperatures climb to around 40 degrees. They are weapons of mass destruction.


It turned out that cur-rent”, or the draught that circulates when two windows are open, is blamed in Romania for almost every ill one can think of. Toothache, headache, cold, flu, meningitis, paralysis, even death - all are apparently the result of moving air. This was solemnly confirmed to me by Vasile’s mum, who has just retired from a 30-year career as a nurse.

In reply to: Webrings are Dead

tags: reply

I think computers have completely blown it with discovery. The smartest minds have all been working on this for decades now and it has been a disaster. The question to me now is just: how do we equip our librarians? And I tend to think that we don’t need anything more—our technology is totally under-utilized.

In reply to: Five Classic Designs That Help Kids Become Independent - CityLab

[…] every family is considered an island that must provision for itself. The idea of designing a neighborhood for families as part of a public good just goes against the whole way we think about family life.

Family life has become so stressed in this country. That’s connected to the way we design cities, and to things like commute times, not having communal play spaces, and having streets be unsafe. All of those things take more of the parents’ time or money to navigate, because the child can’t do it on their own. [If you said,] We want to build a family-friendly city,” it would seem almost un-American.

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We had a lot of fun exploring Portsmouth, NH this morning. We’ve driven through, and grabbed a bite to eat a few times but we’d never taken the time to wander the city. It was fun ambling around the nearly colonial-era streets.

Quick day trip to New Hampshire. Live free and die.

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Poopn’ next to a car that costs about what our house cost.

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Shadow friends, the animated version!

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Bug light in South Portland, ME is a teeny tiny, but very beautiful lighthouse.

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You can just see Mt. Washington!



User Stories. I enjoy writing them, and doing so is a significant chunk of my job. I also read a fair number of them. I’ve noticed that a lot of people use the form:

  • As a <type of user> I <some action>.

    While this fulfills the basic goal of a user story, I think it leaves off some important info that helps to contextualize the human aspect of the interaction:

  • As a <type of user> I <some action> so that <some reason or goal>.

While the first form fulfills the basic needs of a user story—describing the interaction between person and application—it doesn’t offer much insight into why the person is doing whatever it is that they’re doing. While this info isn’t always directly relevant to the application, I think providing that info to developer is important because it a) reminds the developer that they’re making something for a person, and not just solving some abstract problem, and b) that the problem being solved usually exists within a larger context.

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Tonight we ate fresh falafel, donuts and ice cream by the ocean.

In reply to: Here is why calling your senator might be futile | The Outline

[…] there is no overriding Congressional rule governing how frequently voicemails should be listened to, and very few offices disclose their approaches to voicemail systems. Depending on your congressperson and the intensity of the political climate, it might take anywhere from one minute to a week for voicemail inboxes to empty out.

In reply to: Fogknife : My oblique climate hopes (4 minute read)

While I may have no hope left for avoiding a heat-blighted future, I do reserve some for human civilization’s ability to survive it anyway. Unless the effects wrought by global warming happen with far more terrible suddenness than science seems to currently predict, then I feel hopeful that humanity will indeed change its carbon-outgassing habits — if only as a form a purely mechanical self-correcting behavior, rather than anything consciously preventative. Life will still become profoundly harder for all but the mega-wealthy, all in ways that will seem infuriatingly preventable in hindsight. But the behavioral adaptations forced upon us may end up enough to keep society knit together in a changed world.

In reply to: The Open Web is a Tool, Not a Silver Bullet — » Something to Say

Ultimately, I think it is unrealistic to think that an open web solves the worst abuses we see on the big social networks. If Twitter and/or FaceBook vanished tomorrow, it would, at least in the foreseeable future, have an unintended consequence of amplifying the voices of the more tech savvy over those who are less so. If we, as a society, fail to recognize that abuse, harassment, and spread of toxic/hateful/false information have, do, and will continue to exist on the open web just as they do on social networks, we are setting ourselves up for a rude awakening. If we do acknowledge this, we can protect against it and build a better and more rewardingly social Internet.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been re-watching Babylon 5. I haven’t seen it since high school when I watched the entire series over the course of a summer after work with a buddy.

I’m reaching the end of season 2 now, and I’m struck by how the show has held up. The graphics and carpet-chewing are most certainly of an era, but the story, specifically the super-narrative that is slowly unwound over the course of many episodes and seasons strikes me as ahead of its time. The show is also dark. Dark is a really interesting way. Contemporary shows that are dark tend to be dark in a gritty, or brutal sense. Babylon 5 is dark in a…I don’t know…maybe dark in a philosophical sense? I think I’m hooked, though, and may work through the entire series.

Have you seen the show? What do you think or remember of it? Have you watched it recently?

Today I responded to an absolutely trivial email I’ve left hanging around my otherwise empty inbox for weeks. It was a thing of little consequence that I was weirdly reluctant to respond to. Glad I got it over with, though.

In reply to: A practical introduction to functional programming

Ignore all that. Functional code is characterised by one thing: the absence of side effects. It doesn’t rely on data outside the current function, and it doesn’t change data that exists outside the current function. Every other functional” thing can be derived from this property. Use it as a guide rope as you learn.

TFW you get the hiccups while on a conference call and think you are on mute…

In reply to: Lessons of running a (semi) static, Indieweb-friendly site for 2 years - petermolnar.net

An interesting post, especially in the context of my own CMS.” I’ve run into different hurdles, partially because my site isn’t static,” per se. The most interesting bit here is the bit about YAML as a data format. I don’t have much expirience with it, but have seen it used in many static site generators…this was exactly why I didn’t use YAML, and instead settled on raw JSON stores. It struck me as strange that there was a type of markup used almost, as far as I could tell, just for static site generators. Well, that and JSON is easier to parse in PHP.

A few years ago Tova digitized a collection of poems that her great grandfather wrote. She then got the scans printed and bound as a gift for her mother. This evening, at my mother-in-law’s request, I made a little website of those poems. It was a fun project I was able to tackle in about an hour.

First I uploaded the PDF to archive.org and Google Drive, then I used pdf2htmlEX to convert the PDF into a webpage. I then threw together a little wrapper webpage to make pdf2htmlEX’s output a tiny bit prettier, and published the whole kit-and-caboodle using surge.sh.

In reply to: First Amendment Experts Warn Facebook Banning InfoWars Could Set Completely Reasonable Precedent For Free Speech

What we see here really could be the beginning of a slippery slope towards a horrific ordeal in which any citizen who violates hate speech policies or blatantly spreads lies that cause other individuals to receive death threats will immediately be discredited and, perhaps, even asked to host their demonstrably false content on a website that they actually own.

In reply to: Minecraft and Me

Arguably, these virtual places are now as significant as the real environments of the outer world, and they are attracting increasing critical attention as both art and narrative.

Webpack, as difficult to use as you need it to be.

In reply to: The U.S. has no good plan for our upcoming water crisis | The Outline

In an area as large as the U.S., successful water management has to involve sharing money, data, and resources between federal and local governments. Huge bodies of water like the Mississippi River or the Great Lakes are used by many different communities. If all water management is on a local level, then it’s very difficult to understand the body of water as a whole and plan for long-term changes that are a result of climate change.

Nothing like going out for a run in the dark when it is still 80° F outside 🌒 🏃‍♂️

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We stole ourselves to Freeport this evening to escape the heat of the city…and to ride on a giant boot. Also, there may have been ice cream.

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LL Bean has very good air conditioning.

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Shut up, it is a million degrees outside. I’m hiding in the relative shade of my very warm attic-office today.

The Apple Watch needs a kneading bread” workout 🍞 💪

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Today we crashed the bougie beaches of Kennebunk, Maine

The problem with having hobbies is that they take energy to do, and by the time I’ve got the space and time to engage with some hobby or another on any given day I’m pooped and just want to sleep. Can sleep be counted among my productive hobbies?


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Light in the old port this evening.

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To get ourselves out of the house on this rainy Saturday we decided to drive up the coast to Maine’s capital, Augusta. We didn’t make it though! Instead we got sidetracked in a little town called Hallowel, home to Scrummy Afters Candy Shoppe, and this library. We thought it was a church but it is actually the oldest library building in Maine still serving its original purpose! It was built in 1880.

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Rainy day road trip

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Why box yourself in like that macaroni and cheese?

(Posted while cooking a box for brunch)

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

What I don’t hear often in the discussion is the moral imperative to help others: the understanding that taking care of the people around us is the right and only thing we must do, and that it is at the core of who we are and how we must act as humans in this world.

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It was an interesting (read as terrifying”) experience being in the grocery store when EVERYONE’S phone received an emergency alert. Luckily, it was just for some impending weather.

The hills one decides to die on as a parent: If you don’t finish this banana we’re not going to be able to leave the house,” said me…desperate to leave the house.

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This evening we assembled this little play kitchen. Remodeling a bona fide kitchen with nothing but a stapler and a piece of bologna may have been easier 🦄

Many folks share screenshots of their phone home screens. These are often intriguing to look at, but what I’m really interested in knowing is what you set as your browser homepage? Here’s mine!

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You had a good life weird plastic hubcap cover. You are gross and broken now. RIP

In reply to: The Octonion Math That Could Underpin Physics | Quanta Magazine

The recommendation problem is designed to give a recommendation for products that users will like. Consider the case of Netflix. It knows what films you’ve watched. It knows what all of its other millions of users have watched. Given this information, what are you likely to want to watch next?

You can think of this data as being arranged in a giant grid, or matrix, with movies listed across the top, users listed down the side, and values at points in the grid quantifying whether, or to what extent, each user likes each film. A good algorithm would generate recommendations by quickly and accurately recognizing similarities between movies and users and filling in the blanks in the matrix.

Four days ago I received a notice from our internet service provider (the only option other than satellite where we live in Portland) that our bill for basic service was about to increase by $10/month. Two days after receiving this notice I started to see upload and download speeds at about half of what they were before. This hasn’t stopped, and, seems to be getting worse. Am I being paranoid, or is this a thing ISPs do?

In reply to: A Spectre is Haunting Unicode

To sum up - in 1978 a series of small mistakes created some characters out of nothing. The errors went undiscovered just long enough to be set in stone, and now these ghosts are, at least in potential, a part of every computer on the planet, lurking in the dark corners of character tables.

Responding to user support tickets is an interesting task. You’ve got to balance the right tone by acknowledging that the user who’s written you is probably frustrated, but also you’ve usually got to be careful not to admit fault if the app is actually behaving as anticipated. The app isn’t broken, but the user isn’t wrong. Expectations weren’t met. My job in responding to the support ticket becomes finding a way to bridge the gap, and, if at all possible, meet the expectation.

Sorry that I haven’t been keeping up with https://m.b.wiki.eli.li these past few weeks. I’m in the process of reworking it, and hope to have the new version published by the end of the week 🦄

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The Draken Harald Hårfagre

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We caught a glimpse of the Draken Harald Hårfagre on our bike ride this evening! Even from a distance Avi was mesmerized and said, Wow, an animal ship! It can talk because it has a face.”

In reply to: What will teach you more? — Sarah K Peck

So as you’re evaluating your decision-making process, consider not just the desired outcome, but what position it puts you in for taking the next step, the one after this one. Often, decisions and moves are as much as about collecting data and learning from the results as they are about getting it right.”

Dearest Node.js,

Why, after weeks, perhaps even months, of running without any issue on my beloved and aged MacBook Air did you decide this morning (when I needed to use you for work…for my joby job…when I needed you the most!?) did you decide to destroy the directory where you live? What reason did you have for this rock’n’roll move?

a very sad Eli

It isn’t pretty (yet), but I’ve got search working on my website! All of my site’s content is stored as static JSON files and I was having a hard time figuring out how best to (quickly) search them all…then I realized that I could use grep wrapped in PHP! Easy peasy. Next up, an archive page of some sort!

No description provided. I will be better about this in the future!

Our air plant bloomed today! 🌱 🎉

Note to self: running the oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit while frying a heap of falafel when it is 80 plus degrees outside in our house that doesn’t have an airconditioner wasn’t the best idea ever.

In reply to: The Peculiar Math That Could Underlie the Laws of Nature | WIRED

The suspicion, harbored by many physicists and mathematicians over the decades but rarely actively pursued, is that the peculiar panoply of forces and particles that comprise reality spring logically from the properties of eight-dimensional numbers called octonions.

…and then I made pita for days 🥙

It is alright to substitute human friends with house plants, right? 🌱🌿🌻

I was just asked to teach an animation class for high school students this fall! I taught and TA’d animation courses for college students before, but never high school students. I’m nervous and excited — time to start planning!

I set up a WebDAV server last night. Now, what do I do with it!? 😬

Who knew!? Going for a run and not having to hold one’s glasses to one’s face leads to a much more enjoyable run! Thank you $5 glasses strap. You are the perfect accessory.

What are folks using in place of Editorial these days? My entire life is more or less built on a large collection of .org, .txt and .md files. I use emacs-deft on Linux, I use nvAlt on macOS, and currently use Editorial on mobile…I’m worried Editorial’s days are numbered, though, so I’m on the look out for a replacement.

I don’t really need syntax highlighting, or anything fancy. The most valuable feature is full text search across all entries, or at least their filenames.

All my files are synced in a single folder using Dropbox…no subfolders, because I’m an animal 🤷‍♂️

beorg by Apps On The Move just got a gnarly update! 💃

All thing org can be synced using iCloud Drive, now, and the app has a heap of enhanced filtering options.

Textor is pretty much my fav. app these days. I like Beorg a lot, but Textor maaaay unseat it at my mobile org mode app of choice (one day I’ll get around to figuring out how to org dance using Drafts 5).

Game Night, wherein a group of parents attempt to play a board game, placating the children with snacks and unlimited TV privileges. Also known as the night when the kids have 0 interest in snacks and movies.

The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai is on Amazon Prime right now. Inexplicably, I’ve watched this movie dozens of times throughout my life (I think we had it on VHS when I was a kid…). Will I be able to stop myself from watching it over and over again?

Hi, I’m Eli and my hobbies include:

  • Grocery shopping late at night
  • Taking the dog out for walks late at night
  • Ironing clothes late at night
  • Running…

In other words: I like listening to podcasts. Listening to podcasts is really my only hobby. I do other things as an excuse to listen to podcasts.

Playing with some toy cars…

  • A: drives a green car to the ice cream shop
  • E: What kind of ice cream would you like?
  • A: chocolate with brownie please
  • E: here you go
  • A: oh no!! I don’t have hands!?

This scenario took an unexpected turn.

I’d like if watchOS could differentiate between a run with a stroller and a run without a stroller, same for bike rides with and without a kid seat.

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Making ice cream”🍦

In reply to: The Outline

All a status indicator can do is tell you whether someone has the app open at that very second, which is a totally irrelevant indication of whether they are reachable. Push alerts arrive regardless of whether the app is open or closed, whether the phone is sleeping or not.

I am heartbroken that the Portland, Maine library system doesn’t seem to be available through Libby 😭

Tonight was one of "those" nights

Tova, Avi and I went for a bike ride.

We started by biking to the grocery store to pickup some salad fixings for a dinner we’re going to tomorrow. At the grocery store we had a little snack and potty break. Because the weather was so nice outside we decided to bike to a nearby playground where we all had a blast. Mid-playground session we got a text from a friend that she and her daughters were headed to an outdoor concert nearby, so we hopped back on to our bikes and rode to meet them.

We caught the tail end of the concert and enjoyed a lovely picnic with some buddies. Afterwards we swung by their house to use the bathroom and get some water. At this point it was nearing 8 and starting to get dark, so, we mounted our bikes and had a cool evening ride home, biking along the back cove under a pink sunset.

We got home to find Bashi, our beloved dog, happily waiting for us by the door. This is always a bad sign. Usually she’s asleep. She sleeps like 80% or everyday (it’s a hound thing, 🤷‍♂️). Inside we were met with one tiny shred of the evidence of her wrong doing (100% our fault). She’d eaten 2 entire bars of 100% dark chocolate…

After a brief scramble and some quick phone calls we coaxed her into eating a bit of food laced with hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting.

This is where we made our first mistake. Rather than immediately take her outside I ran upstairs to grab a hoody…because I’m a sissy and I live in Maine. As I came back down the stairs she barfed a biblical deluge of a barf. I cannot stress how much liquid erupted from our poor stinky hound. It was monumental. As Tova and I stood there, awestruck, Avi happily played with some wooden trains.

After the dazzlement waned a bit I girded my loins (and my feet) and got to cleaning…at which point Avi chimed in do you need some sunscreen daddy!?”

…while Tova and I were bamboozled by barf Avi’s attention had shifted from his toy trains to some moisturizer.

He, our living room rug, and our couch are all now well moisturized. Thoroughly lubricated.

Tonight was one of those nights. It was a blast, it was spontaneous and it was messy. Everyone is cleaned up now, Bashi seems a-okay, and the floor is newly cleaned.

In reply to: How the Car Keeps Americans Apart - CityLab

The key is not individuals’ car use, but the way we sort into communities based on our reliance on cars.

For one, the geography of car use tracks with income and wealth: Car-dependent places are considerably less affluent. Metros in which a higher share of people depend on their cars to get to work are poorer, and those where more people use transit or bike or walk to work are considerably more affluent. The share of commuters who drive to work alone is negatively correlated with both wages and income. Conversely, in more affluent metros, a higher proportion of commuters use transit, walk, or bike.

In reply to: Opinion | What Elon Musk Should Learn From the Thailand Cave Rescue - The New York Times

The Silicon Valley model for doing things is a mix of can-do optimism, a faith that expertise in one domain can be transferred seamlessly to another and a preference for rapid, flashy, high-profile action. But what got the kids and their coach out of the cave was a different model: a slower, more methodical, more narrowly specialized approach to problems, one that has turned many risky enterprises into safe endeavors — commercial airline travel, for example, or rock climbing, both of which have extensive protocols and safety procedures that have taken years to develop.

This safety culture” model is neither stilted nor uncreative. On the contrary, deep expertise, lengthy training and the ability to learn from experience (and to incorporate the lessons of those experiences into future practices) is a valuable form of ingenuity.

In reply to: TBL Has Some Regrets - Mark writes

“We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places … [increasing centralization of the Web] ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.” While the problems facing the web are complex and large, I think we should see them as bugs: problems with existing code and software systems that have been created by people—and can be fixed by people.” You don’t have to have any coding skills. You just have to have a heart to decide enough is enough. Get out your Magic Marker and your signboard and your broomstick. And go out on the streets.” —Tim Berners-Lee, Vanity Fair

On the contrary, Tim, the World Wide Web is very human, and these are not bugs” or emergent”: It’s not a perfect crystalline utopia inhabited by rule-following robots reading RDF tags, but instead it’s like an organically grown city, with a mix of lovely things and nice people, and also back alleys and skyscraper offices full of predators. There’s surveillance systems everywhere because the predators wanted surveillance, paid engineers well to make them, and it’s much harder to stop Internet surveillance than spray-painting a closed-circuit camera.

In reply to: MapLab: The Map Is a Feedback Loop  - CityLab

The uneasy part is what happens with the information, collected by gunshot scanners, traffic detectors, even public wifi kiosks. It’s not that governments necessarily intend to do anything nefarious with people’s data. But smart cities” are usually designed from the top-down with predetermined objectives, be it surveillance, prediction, science, or profit.

Now that I’m working remotely again I’m trying to be intentional about interacting with folks more often, both digitally and in person — beside hanging out on Micro.blog I’m considering joining some Slack/IRC channels. Recommendations welcome!

I already hang around a lot of the #indieweb IRC channels, and just got all set up on the Micro.blog slack channel.

In reply to: Fermi paradox: why haven’t we found aliens yet? - Vox

Many reacted to the paper’s findings by calling it anthropocentric and narrow-minded, arguing that any conclusion suggesting we Earthlings are somehow special is simply human arrogance.

This is somewhat understandable because the idea that intelligent life is extremely rare in the universe feels completely counterintuitive. We exist, along with other intelligent life like dolphins and octopi, so we assume what we see must be extrapolatable beyond Earth.

But this alone is not proof that intelligent civilizations are therefore ubiquitous. Whether the true likelihood is as high as one in two, or as inconceivable as one in a trillion trillion trillion, the mere ability to consciously ask ourselves that question depends on the fact that life has already successfully originated.

This phenomenon is known as an observer selection effect — a bias that can occur when thinking about the likelihood of an event because an observer has to be there to observe the event in the first place. As we only have one data point (us), we have no reliable way to predict the true likelihood of intelligent life. The only conclusion we can confidently draw is that it can exist.

In reply to: Repair Cafes Aim to Fix Our Throwaway Culture - CityLab

In honor of Amazon Prime Day:

the focus isn’t so much on the appliances as it is on interacting with his community. I have to be honest, when you go telling people you want to save the world, they often say, That sounds nice, but I don’t have the time,’” he said. But if there is this aspect of, Do you want your toaster fixed, and while you’re having that done, can we talk about saving the world?’ they tend to be more receptive.”

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Oogling some tractors

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We had a lot of fun visiting Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport today. Excited to go for a hayride in the fall!

ISO iOS or Switch games with really compelling/interesting storylines

When a toddler busts into your bedroom in the wee hours of the morning, weeping, saying that they’re scared of the mac and cheese,” and that they need to eat some mac and cheese is there anything to do other than making mac and cheese for breakfast?

…also, what kind of terrifying mac and cheese dreams is this kid having!?

In reply to: In the Age of Despair, Find Comfort on the ‘Slow Web’ | WIRED

Platforms like YouTube often embody the fast web”: deep, black voids of mindless entertainment. But they can also give us access to a world much wider than our own. Hidden within the systems designed to capture your eyeballs and seize your attention, there is also a capacity to watch slowly and mindfully.

A little over a week into the Whole30

I’m not typically one for fad diets, but when I’m asked to jump I know it’s best to respond how high?”

So far the Whole30 has been kind of fun. I like doing things that force me to notice things I otherwise wouldn’t. So far the biggest revelation is that I eat A LOT of beans. I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life, and beans are a staple in my food ecosystem. As a vegetarian, the Whole30 is kinda scarce on the protein front. I typically eat dairy and eggs, too, so I’ve kept eating eggs while doing, on, in the midst of? the Whole30.

I’ve been researching alternative sources of veggie proteins, though.

Another fun side of the Whole30 is that I’ve been experimenting with other preparations of food. Zoodles, grilled eggplant, etc.

The dark side of the Whole30 was mos def the first three days. Those were dark times. Coming down from grains is always a fun” trip for me. Normally, I eat a lot of grains and nuts. Now, I eat even more nuts.

All in all I’m excited to keep at it, but don’t think that the Whole30 is a logical diet for longer than one month.

Have you done the Whole30 or something similar? Got any good recipes?

In reply to: When in Rome

Whatever their place in the taxonomies of buildings, fountains are distinguished from other urban monuments by one essential element: water. 10 From the perspective of architecture history, this factor complicates both the design and experience of these structures; for it requires that the traditional cognitive scheme involving the object and the viewer be replaced by a more complex phenomenological triad consisting of architecture, water, and the body.

I used our spiralizer for the first time this evening. It was a lot of fun to use — heaps easier than using a mandolin…and the zoodles were delicious!

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Adventure time! Because they’re open 24 hours a day and they have AC.

America: celebrating its independence with the sounds of war since 1776 🇺🇸 🤷‍♂️

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2 pictures taken exactly 1 year apart (July 3rd) in the same spot.

In reply to: “Motivated by Anti-Muslim Animus”: Must-Reads From Justice Sotomayor’s Dissent on Trump’s Travel Ban – Mother Jones

“A reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus,” Sotomayor wrote. The majority holds otherwise by ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.”

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Waiting patiently” for breakfast.

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Pistachios all day long

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We got a new tent after having a kid. This is our first time pitching it (in a friend’s backyard). 3 or 4 of our old, pre-kid tent could fit inside of our new tent. Is this glamping? ⛺️ 💋

In reply to: Thoughts on the Internet, fragmentation and consolidation, and singing weird songs on Micro.blog.

Because [the internet] looks less human and more of a technology-industrial complex, it’s easy to forget that people’s accounts and feeds are their homes on the Net. It’s easy to forget, when I land on someone’s Tumbleblog or Twitter account, that I am the guest who was invited to come in for a little while to listen to them speak and sing. It’s easy to stomp all over that person’s home on the Net and get into fights on their property. –Was it their property in the first place? It was the institution gave them that grey box to live in, identical to my grey box.

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Not a fan of running.

A mistake I made on this mornings run: brining the dog…

She dislikes running very much. The 1ish mile we made it was very slow, and I felt like I was dragging a furry, four-legged anchor. Woof.

In reply to: 10 Stages of Genocide

[The] search for common ground is vital to early prevention of genocide….

To combat dehumanization, incitement to genocide should not be confused with protected speech. Genocidal societies lack constitutional protection for countervailing speech, and should be treated differently than democracies.

In reply to: A Guide to Little Vehicles, the Future of Urban Mobility - CityLab

Getting to mass adoption will require Little Vehicles for all seasons, for all sorts of trips, and for all types of people. Solutions to these obstacles exist, and many more will surely be dreamed up. The bigger challenge will be de-conditioning ourselves out of the belief that cars—whether privately owned or for hire—are the default mode of transportation in dense cities.

Keeping it org mode

Starting a new job seemed like a good reason to re-evaluate my task management set up, partially because my old workflow was built around some internal tools from my old job, and partially because it is heaps fun to re-work productivity workflow stuff.


  • Manage tasks and sub-tasks from iOS, macOS and Linux
  • Support for tasks and sub-tasks
  • Support for due dates and reminder notifications
  • Support for recurring events (e.g. things I need to do on a weekly basis and I would like to nag myself to complete)
  • Fully searchable archive of past tasks

The new system

The new system is heaps boring, but I’m wicked pleased with it. I toyed with a number of apps, including Things, Reminders, Microsoft’s Todo (made by the Wunderlist folks), Todoist, Kanboard, and Omnifocus but ultimately settled on keeping it simple.

  • Recurring tasks are just repeating events in my calendar
  • Everything else lives in org mode
  • BOOM!

I have an .org file for personal tasks (stuff like Schedule a vet appointment”), and an .org file for worky things — right now each project I’m involved with has its own top-level heading, but I may break projects into their own .org files if one big file becomes unwieldy.

The secret sauce to my mostly org mode life is beorg, an iOS app that lets me org on the go…AND supports push notifications. I generally keep push notifications turned off for just about everything, but sometimes I need a gentle reminder to get stuff done — beorg works perfectly for this.

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I’m pretty pleased with the Apple Watch a little over one week in⌚️ 🏃

😑 the dark side of potty training: when the kid realizes you, as a parent, are incapable of saying no” to their requests to use the potty…even when it is well past bedtime. I’ve been played like a fiddle 🎻

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I don’t typically post photos of food because I think they always look a bit gross, but for dinner this evening I made an 80% whole wheat pizza with a mushroom, pepper, sweet potato sauce (more of a ragu, really) topped with cheese and nutritional yeast. It was hideous delicious.

In reply to: Librarians Will Guard Your Privacy With Their Lives | Literary Hub

Many of the rules include making our language clear so that any person encountering our privacy policies knows exactly what they’re reading. We’re not in the business of obscuring information (unless it’s your private data—we’re keeping that under wraps), but illuminating it. We’re gatekeepers.

Do you have Netflix? If so, I highly recommend dropping whatever it is you are doing and watching Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette.

Great first day! Today at work I did a wee bit of QA, some customer support, some web development, some Android development and some iOS development! 🏃‍♂️

First day at a new (old) job! Here we go!

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A portrait of picnic heartbreak 🧀 💔

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Portland Pride kicking off with a rainbow (is it a Sun Dog?)!

In reply to: Flashing Palely in the Margins

Where do you, dear reader, find the things that keep you engaged, the articles and explorations that make you want to learn more, to write more?

When an Apple store employee tells you it is good hygiene” to regularly force quit all running apps on your phone because they use up a lot of memory when in the background 😱

The perils of running a hackintosh: my machine seems to have choked mid-update. Now I can’t boot the machine into safe or recovery modes. Trying a fresh install now, but that too seems to have gotten hung up 🤔

And then all the fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors went off at 1 AM and wouldn’t stop so we called the fire department.

…better safe than sorry.

Epilogue, all the detectors were alerting us to the fact that we’d left windows open and that it was now foggy inside of our house.

No description provided. I will be better about this in the future!

Big day of biking, eating, walking, playing, and riding the narrow gauge railway! We bike by the train museum ALL THE TIME, but finally made time to go for a ride today.

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The Denver-based family folks came to see the ocean.

The relative accomplishment index:

  • Finishing thesis ▁▂▃▄▅▆█ Potty training

Oh mysterious keeper of iCloud Sync explain to me your weird and fickle ways? Why, after years of keeping my bookmarks in sync across many computers and my phone why did you today decide to delete all but 2 of my bookmarks from my phone?

WWDC wish list:

  • Simplify

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Play hard. Nap hard.

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Trunk potty party people watching downtown

  • Con: dog ate a heap of garbage last night and is ill today
  • Pro: dog gets to come to work with me today

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How did I not know that you can copy requests as cURL in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari’s dev. tools!?

In reply to: In praise of doing nothing

Much research — and many spiritual and philosophical systems Buddhism, for example, suggest that detaching from daily concerns and spending time in simple reflection and contemplation are essential to health, sanity and personal growth.

Note that the nothing” referenced here is a really big nothing,” that sort of includes everything.

In reply to: Scott Pruitt's desk is more impressive than yours

A large desk can increase the physical separation between manager and others, thereby supporting the symbolic or hierarchical distance between the two. Thus, desks can be used to reinforce the legitimacy and authority of a manager.

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Adventure time! Today we day-tripped to Old Sturbridge Village for one of their Wool Days,” wherein the sheep are sheared, harangued by agreeable dogs, and oggled by many an onlooker. We had a blast. On the way back to Maine we stopped from some dinner and wandering in Portsmouth, NH. Despite having lived nearby for so long we’d never visited. Would recommend. We will revisit. A delicious veggie burger was eaten.

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Yellow road trip buddy

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Sheepdog, Oula. That’ll do”

…it appears that my server is grumpy about my setting up SSL on a sub.sub.subdomain, do, while I wait for DNS changes to propagate here is the micro.blog micro.wiki’s content, as of today, 2018-05-22:

Micro.wiki, Resources for Micro.blog

Community resources for the avid Micro.blogger

Micro.blog is groovy. This is a community index, champion’s enchiridion of all things Micro.blog. NOTE! This is a community resource and is in no way officially tied to Micro.blog. The bona fide documentation lives at help.micro.blog (make sure not to miss the community guidelines).

What is Micro.blog and how can I do it!?

How do I find users and cool content!?

How can I Micro.blog from WordPress!?

How can I post to Micro.blog other than by using the native app(s)!?

Other community resources

  • Maintained w/♥ by @eli

    • @-me if you’ve got a resource to add, or a correction to make
  • Shout out to @smokey for tracking down the majority of these links
  • Download the raw markdown content of this document

Ya’ll, micro.blog is amazing! The community has generated some truly 💯 content. With a bit of help form @smokey I put together a tiny wiki of community resources to help more folks micro.blog: https://m.b.wiki.eli.li/

Test post from the new version of Icro

In reply to: Blogging in the Second Person: Open Correspondence for a Social Web? – James Shelley

Hi James,

I very much agree with what you’ve written — I think another factor may be that many bloggers mimic styles of writing with which they’re familiar, e.g. newspaper-style journalism.

You’re post also reminds me of one of my favorite Virginia Woolf quotes:

Of all forms of literature, however, the essay is the one which least calls for the use of long words. The principle which controls it is simply that it should give pleasure; the desire which impels us when we take it from the shelf is simply to receive pleasure. Everything in an essay must be subdued to that end. It should lay us under a spell with its first word, and we should only wake, refreshed, with its last.

— Virginia Woolf, The Modern Essay

Do you think blogs are a bit like essays as Woolf has described them?

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We biked circles around the parking lot for a really long time.

I’ve stood at a standing desk for a few years now. Today I used a fatigue mat for the first time ever. WHAT MAGIC IS THIS!?

In reply to: Autistic Abby (Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating...)

Sometimes people use respect” to mean treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use respect” to mean treating someone like an authority”

and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

In reply to: Hickam's dictum - Wikipedia

Hickam’s Dictum

Patients can have as many diseases as they damn well please

… as opposed to

Occam’s Razor (Isaac Newton’s version)

We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. Therefore, to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes

Occam’s Razor (layman’s version)

The simplest explanation is usually the correct one

My son is 2.5 years old. At this point I’m not worried about the quality of education he’ll receive, the educational philosophy of his school, or anything of that sort. I’m worried if he’ll be murdered at school.