Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

Churning out mini batches

I #GotMyUHK and I must say… what an amazing piece of hardware. Excellent build quality, and really well thought out Mod and Mouse layers. Still adjusting, but was productive from the get-go. Great job, @UltHackKeyboard! pic.twitter.com/ydTwSm9sTK

— Tomas Lieberkind (@tomaslieberkind) May 11, 2018

#GotMyUHK Got my new keyboard this week. I had to remap some of my shortcuts and I have to retrain some muscle memory. It's like I have to learn how to type again. The build quality seems outstanding and the agent is awesome. @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/k0rLlDm18s

— Richard Baptist (@rpbaptist) May 10, 2018

2 years and a half since I ordered it, but I finally #GotMyUHK.
I can now definitely say that it was worth it, thank you @UltHackKeyboard ! pic.twitter.com/rU3gd32XDE

— Arthur N. (@sys_less) April 24, 2018

@UltHackKeyboard : the #optimal way of enjoying your #coffee while programming. pic.twitter.com/n3MRhYwkN8

— Hildeberto Mendonça (@htmfilho) May 11, 2018

Now *this* is what I call a Hacking Keyboard (@UltHackKeyboard). Can your keyboard do that? pic.twitter.com/TyrnGk7ezJ

— PartsBox.io (@PartsBoxIO) May 8, 2018

Production and module progress

@UltHackKeyboard #GotMyUHK huge thanks to the UHK team. It’s been 3 yrs but the way you strived for quality and the excellent communications to your backers really showed! Fantastic result!! Thank u this is the most exciting piece of HW I have gotten for my PC in the last 5 yrs! pic.twitter.com/0ZF3FxjehY

— Carlos (@carll) June 7, 2018

#GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard You guys matched my desk almost perfectly. :) Initial impressions: VERY good.

+ Caps and Switches all feel premium.
+ Agent and the setup was painless and well done.
+ Overall feel is outstanding! Great quality and very solid! pic.twitter.com/p0FYWSP24h

— Christopher Brummet (@SwordOfStories) May 30, 2018

Typing station. pic.twitter.com/P9OHJhImOi

— Kafka Fuura (P.N.) (@ZephyrRz) June 3, 2018

Knee-deep in production

#GotMyUHK extra white case! Also thank you @UltHackKeyboard for the quick email reply, I wasn't expecting a response on a Sunday 🌞 pic.twitter.com/jK1sKv6yGZ

— Hayframe (@Hayframe) July 8, 2018

Totally worth the three year wait. Talk about top quality in packaging, hardware and software. Thanks so much for your dedication and amazing work @UltHackKeyboard! #gotmyuhk :) pic.twitter.com/TUXuLJGna6

— Ivars Zarins (@ivarszarins) June 19, 2018

I'm gonna be super productive, as soon as I get used to it.
Perfect packaging, very well built product, fantastic typing experience. #GotMyUHK Thank you so much @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/PFGjrGGAVP

— Lajos Koszti (@Ajnasz) June 21, 2018

Hi @UltHackKeyboard .
My UHK arrived some days ago. Orange with green cherry mx.
It's been 2,5 years waiting… a looong time…
The keyboard is so freaking good, feels so solid, sound so good, it's so confortable… that I've just ordered a second one with palm rest!
Good job!! pic.twitter.com/lVbqnjgjF1

— Bigotum Maximus (@BigotumMaximus) June 28, 2018

Webshop migration and manufacturing progress

#GotMyUHK after 2.5 years and it was more than worth to wait. Great packaging, super helpful guide, and a very smooth and solid typing experience. Thanks a lot for this #mechanical #keyboard #zebra pic.twitter.com/z7nmgk9YNf

— JC Ebersbach (@JCEbersbach) August 7, 2018

#GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard Wow, what better way to end the week than to unbox something to I’ve been waiting for, for 2.5years. I haven’t been in awe of a product since the very first iPhone. Nothing quite prepares you for the “built-like-tank” quality or the first time you hit that #mouse button. My jaw hit the floor… Well done Laszlo and team. You beaten all my expectations. I’ll only take my hands off my keyboard to take a sip from my #ceasaraugustus #ipa #beer. Promise.

A post shared by Ijonas Kisselbach (@ijonas) on

Received my @UltHackKeyboard today after a 2 year wait! I’m surprised how quickly I got used to it – it is already more efficient to use! The build quality is amazing, it has been designed so well. Thank you to @zolawasgod and Mum for the 2016 birthday present! #gotmyuhk pic.twitter.com/H5VjXtXwGR

— Steve Brownett (@stevebrownett) July 18, 2018

It took almost 3 years since I backed this project but I finally #GotMyUHK! Thanks for the constant updates @UltHackKeyboard. The wait was definitely worth it. Now thinking of getting a second one :) pic.twitter.com/fzgY3uFSaQ

— David (@davicorn) August 1, 2018

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard came in the mail and it's awesome! This is the only mechanical split keyboard that allows you to change both the angle and distance of the split independently. All open source hardware and software. #GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/Qv36fTo4SN

— Terri Yu (@terrimyu) July 19, 2018

Lunar UHKs, Unicorns, and the Freeze bug

#GotMyUHK #mechkb now with a nordic layout and added 🦄🌈flavour! Couldn't find an R1 1.5U OEM backspace so will probably 3D print it one day. I never knew keyboards could be this fun! :) Thanks @UltHackKeyboard! 💎 pic.twitter.com/3Y6XKAN9WF

— Wavi (@Riichrd) September 12, 2018

Shipping UHK webshop orders

#GotMyUHK today! It was worth every minute of the wait and penny of the money. For someone who lives life in a terminal, this keyboard cant be beaten. Productivity gains are already happening. @UltHackKeyboard delivered on this big time! Thanks a ton! pic.twitter.com/1MnJZUXTVm

— Justin Angel (@4rch4ngel86) November 20, 2018

#GotMyUHK After half a year of waiting, and following the progress of developing this keyboard; it was all worth it. Exceeded my expectations! Much better than any other true split keyboards out there! pic.twitter.com/XFK7HqB9gw

— Siebren Zwerver (@SiebrenZwerver) November 17, 2018

#GotMyUHK If you're looking for a stunning color combination, here is my UHK. Of course with my own heavily adjusted layers. It has been equipped with brown switches which makes for a very good typing experience. Love the mouse mode too. pic.twitter.com/IbZFKIrdu7

— Maarten Bodewes (@Maarten_Bodewes) November 17, 2018

I #GotMyUHK two weeks back and loving it! Great build quality and easy to configure! Thanks to the @UltHackKeyboard team. 
Will write a review of my experiences with it.  Now remapping all my keymaps. pic.twitter.com/xB6tnXqKI2

— Ashfaq Farooqui (@me_rafiki) December 10, 2018

The @UltHackKeyboard has been in my hands for over a week now. It is without doubt the best keyboard I have ever used. Not only does it allow me to work faster without leaving the keyboard but it actually has made me a better typer. I love my #UHK

— wunO.com (@wuno) December 6, 2018

Churning out UHK webshop preorders

@codinghorror I just got the https://t.co/ddxV9SPTn5 with brown switches and it's honestly the best keyboard I've ever used. My wrists are really digging the split. pic.twitter.com/lPuZ3vYEfY

— Jarrod Dixon (@jarrod_dixon) January 16, 2019

Did I already mention that @UltHackKeyboard is one of the best things I got in 2018! I adapted the layout to my personal taste and it was such a smooth experience https://t.co/rjzmLmjyxz Great product! pic.twitter.com/JyVyJVVwpM

— Lukasz 👨‍💻😀 (@lplotni) December 28, 2018

Day three of using my Ultimate Hacking Keyboard: this may be one of the best hardware purchases I've ever made.

Also, potentially the best unboxing since iPhone/Macbook?

— Josh Duff (@TehShrike) January 16, 2019

Oh, and the @UltHackKeyboard is simply fantastic. Finally fired up my preordered one and I can now retire my hoarded Microsoft Natural Keyboards. Completely open sw and hw. Sturdy, beautiful, ergo.

— Barry Warsaw (@pumpichank) December 15, 2018

Just #gotmyuhk palm rests from @UltHackKeyboard and they're downright beautiful. This is so much better than the makeshift pads I'd been using while waiting… pic.twitter.com/5PCxS9xNJO

— Sure, Brett Terpstra is happy to wait on hold (@ttscoff) January 7, 2019

@UltHackKeyboard Got some more UHK photography for you! SA Oblivion with white Hagoroma Alphas, Git mods, and my UHK with white case. It's a challenging layout to match with custom keysets, but so valuable once it's complete. Can't wait for the addon modules! pic.twitter.com/JI3hjubmnN

— Adam (@ElDanDanito) December 26, 2018

Shipping is about to resume

I have one of these https://t.co/eP0xkJz2G1

It's the best keyboard I have used so far. It's mechanical and you can pick switches. I have clear switches

— Angelo Rüggeberg (@CaptnBlubber) January 25, 2019

Both of my @UltHackKeyboards together with their new caps. Hopefully a fully programmable Ultimate Hacking Numpad is in the works after the modules. pic.twitter.com/4Nlm1ifNTp

— Michael Vincent (@beefsupreme33) January 19, 2019

Received my second @UltHackKeyboard today. One is for private use (blue switches) one for office use. I LOVE both of them. Thank you very much.

— (((Herr Schwarz))) (@HerrSchwarz1) January 25, 2019

Loving my new @UltHackKeyboard ! Coming from a Matias Ergo Pro, this is a huge improvement #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/OK9zXzykn4

— Gonzalo Correa (@gonchimon) January 22, 2019

My UHK arrived today (batch 54), first 15 minutes on it and I am already in love. Well done!

— m0rk (@m0rk) January 17, 2019

@ahmadnazir @UltHackKeyboard Why, yes! pic.twitter.com/XQ3GSv8Av0

— Michael Sokoliuk Jr (@MichaelSokoliuk) February 6, 2019

#GotMyUHK blank keycaps! ❤️ It looks so nice now, finally I am one of the cool kids… right? Right? Love this keyboard. 😎 #ultimatehackingkeyboard pic.twitter.com/ecCnxgIDp2

— ɥʇoɹןɥɐ oʞʞıɯ (@AmNicd) January 21, 2019

Coming up to on-demand manufacturing

6 months in a gotta give credit to @UltHackKeyboard – best I've ever used, an ergonomic wonder and a thought accelerator. I have a stack of fancy keyboards collected over many years and this one is 10x better than second place. Thanks @mondalaci pic.twitter.com/FHGk9sqsDA

— Todd Troxell (@xtat) February 14, 2019

It's so gooood! Setting up was a breeze, the quality is spectacular, and the typing experience is wonderful! Now I have to retrain all my bad typing habits 😅 #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/98aZryvMXH

— Jonathan Nicholson (@jonathanichlson) March 6, 2019

#GotMyUHK! Packaging was incredible. Build quality is amazing. Instructions were simple, and programming is a breeze! ❤ pic.twitter.com/ILsJUOFWyU

— Dan Schuman (@danschuman) March 5, 2019

I just #GotMyUHK, and I have to say, it's in some of the best packaging I've ever seen. I bet it could fall out of an airplane and survive. Thanks, @UltHackKeyboard! pic.twitter.com/Jcz5t0urov

— Ian VanSchooten (@IanVanSchooten) March 5, 2019

#GotMyUHK and it is v.fresh. Thx @UltHackKeyboard – definitely worth the wait. pic.twitter.com/RpR5vc3UXV

— Brady Hiatt (@robotindian) March 8, 2019

IT'S FINALLY HERE! @UltHackKeyboard

even @github's Hubot is excited! pic.twitter.com/cHymBQpAhJ

— Ahmad Nassri (@AhmadNassri) February 25, 2019

Super excited and happy about my new @UltHackKeyboard that I'll use at work(@Zedge @ZedgeHQ). Finally something that goes along with my #xmonad setup! #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/UaYS0swuFR

— Rockj (@rockjodd) March 5, 2019

Pair programming is easier with @ulthackkeyboard pic.twitter.com/ejnHpclZHe

— Milan Aleksić (@milanaleksic) March 12, 2019

Catching up with pre-orders

Probably the most thought-out keyboard there is. The love and care that went into the creation really shows. Super appreciate it! #GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/CTEO1IZHav

— Daewon (@Christi13950271) April 3, 2019

I #GotMyUHK a week ago. Found this gem on my search for a new keyboard for daily usage. To bad our office supplier doesn't offer this ultimate piece of hardware. 😒 Purchased it myself and would recommend 10/10. 🤯🤩 pic.twitter.com/01NVRoQCKT

— Pieter (@Pieteresk) April 3, 2019

@UltHackKeyboard #gotmyuhk this is so awesome! Thanks for making such a great product 😁 pic.twitter.com/6QNwGm8F4F

— Ankur Agarwal (@Ankur_A22) April 13, 2019

Might not be a fancy picture but here it is. My UHK60 and a good mate amargo Argentino while reading @atopbook #GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard Thank you! @UltGadgetLabs pic.twitter.com/laPzGxtoaO

— Red Flag Humanoid (@arguser) April 17, 2019

Had to wait much too long – but I'm glad I did. Happy with my new @UltHackKeyboard .
Now waiting for my German (ISO-DE) keycaps from @CandyKeysStore . pic.twitter.com/vcEeuHbCXR

— zOnelevel photo|video|tech (@z0nelevel) April 11, 2019

@UltHackKeyboard I don't think I'll need to repeat everyone's praise of how good the keyboard is. It is hands down the best input device I have ever owned. I am most blown away by the fact that with @Synergy_App, all input layers work marvelously on both PC and Mac.

— Heejin Ohn (@heejin_ohn) April 16, 2019

New orders ship in a week

I wanted to get used to Ultimate Hacking Keyboard's mouse mode, so I painted this.

Done entirely with a keyboard, no mouse, no tablet, by moving the mouse with ijkl keys and clicking with the space bar. Took about 20 minutes.@UltHackKeyboard #art #digitalart pic.twitter.com/kg0qT917Dc

— Brandon Yu (@Chaoclypse) May 6, 2019

Just #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard and it's as gorgeous as the first one! Now I don't have to lug mine to work and back every day. <3 Thanks László and friends! pic.twitter.com/C2b9UZYbtd

— ɥʇoɹןɥɐ oʞʞıɯ (@AmNicd) April 25, 2019

When you love a keyboard so much you order a second one. @UltHackKeyboard thanks for making an amazing product! pic.twitter.com/1Cx6ka8mNA

— Carl Sverre (@carlsverre) April 23, 2019

Received #GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard !! Already feel how amazing this keyboard is. I've been suffering from sore fingers due to my job but the very first moment I started typing I can feel the difference. The build quality is awesome and it is indeed ultimate keyboard for dev!! pic.twitter.com/fAnz79ctQd

— char_lee (@char_lee) April 23, 2019

#GotMyUHK and already in love with this well designed piece of hardware, love that capslock is replaced by a key I actually have use for. TY @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/ltgXIn17Su

— Christian Strang (@christianstrang) May 7, 2019

It finally arrived! @UltHackKeyboard #GotMyUHK
Already dumped my mouse in favor of keyboard control 😄😄 pic.twitter.com/gM6BLfFxTU

— Chris Werner Rau (@cwrau) April 29, 2019

Been using my @UltHackKeyboard for a couple of days now, split, tented, with palm rests. Can feel the difference in my wrists and little fingers (usual pain points for me) already. A bit on the pricey side, but worth it, would recommend to anyone! #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/zsmOYoWc6i

— Johnny Rubeard (@johnny_rubeard) May 10, 2019

I #GotMyUHK and I'm impressed by the excellent design and build quality by @UltHackKeyboard . Still in the learning curve after years using my Kinesis keyboard and pedals. pic.twitter.com/6VIXPSRurw

— Rafael Luque (@rafael_luque) April 25, 2019

Everyone have UHK, here is mine! @UltHackKeyboard #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/m7Z3JYjnm0

— Marcin Staniszczak (@mstaniszczak) April 25, 2019

Having used it for about three weeks now, I can safely say that the wrist rest for the @UltHackKeyboard is well worth the purchase. If it's in your budget, I would wholeheartedly recommend it.

— Mikael Muszynski (@linduxed) May 11, 2019

Key cluster and trackpoint module progress

This is an incredibly good keyboard. Love how thoroughly well thought-out all the functions are, optimizing the functionality available within reach for your fingers, leading to better ergonomy and less pain, incl the kb-based "mouse" (which is awesome!). 👈 #TypedOnMyUHK

— Samuel Lampa (@smllmp) June 10, 2019

From ordering to delivery, setup and ease of use, the @UltHackKeyboard is simply fantastic!! Loving mouse mode. #productiveprogrammer #lifehacks pic.twitter.com/9TaLI4llBQ

— Paul Usher (@paul__usher) May 21, 2019

So there is about a month since i get my @UltHackKeyboard. And i like everything about it, it will be perfect it there was topre switches! Still definitely recommended to everyone! pic.twitter.com/DOlh77RWs8

— アルテミ ・ ステパノフ (@0xk175un3) May 20, 2019

Thanks @UltHackKeyboard and @ZealPC best keyboard I've ever had the pleasure of typing on. pic.twitter.com/TyhMEeREuH

— Karl Sabo (@karlsabo) May 23, 2019

It arrived! Unpacking in progress. It looks great. Cannot wait to use it. Thanks @UltHackKeyboard for the speedy delivery! (just 2 days) pic.twitter.com/leL5eI8AaO

— Zaiste (@zaiste) May 20, 2019

Module prototypes galore

Using it for a year, and still loving my UHK #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/ku8F9KSQsL

— Patrik (@kirtap_se) June 13, 2019

You guys, I love my @UltHackKeyboard so much. I dread leaving the office to do work now because I don't want to type on anything else. Ever.

— Matt Kern (@lightcap) June 25, 2019

I've had my UHK for almost 2 months now and I have nothing but praise for what you guys have accomplished. Congrats on making such a great product, looking forward to the modules next. @UltHackKeyboard #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/ccuCgoBNHz

— giuliano_b (@giuliano_b) June 25, 2019

@UltHackKeyboard Just #GotMyUHK – first impressions: wow. pure. class. Smaller than my Matias Ergo Pro and clearly of supreme quality. Well done team at UHK! You've made the best keyboard ever :)

— Joseph Falconer (@_josephfalconer) June 25, 2019

Best thing I got this year – this keyboard. I was worried about getting used to it and know I just can't live without it. Thanks @UltHackKeyboard. #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/qyTeFc8tUt

— away.ca☕️ (@_4waY) June 27, 2019

I #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard and it is superb, with fantastic workmanship. It is "sticky" and stable on the desk, and the wrist rest is like nice furniture. I am back to my normal fast speed typing, without wrist strain. pic.twitter.com/5CYJy0bAkf

— Rick Cogley (@RickCogley) June 21, 2019

Module PCBs are ready

well worth the wait. #GotMyUHK now waiting on the modules to be released from @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/73cxnXjXLi

— Burhan Khalid (@burhan) August 5, 2019

I am in love pic.twitter.com/VBvnTWnZXc

— Cannïbal @ DEFCON (@Cannibal) August 1, 2019

Yay! I #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard today, and it seems very promising. Looking forward to master all the layers and never have a reason to leave the home row again. pic.twitter.com/AdjFB3Kwo8

— Mikkel Munch Mortensen (@decibyte) July 22, 2019

#GotMyUHK again. One is for home, another is for office. pic.twitter.com/C3DAewBjFM

— masa kato (@mskt4440) July 20, 2019

An @UltHackKeyboard. I like it so far and might write a review. pic.twitter.com/d1PFvOQRRW

— Neil H. Watson (@neil_h_watson) August 8, 2019

Right, it's an office, there has to be a computer in there somewhere… together with my dearest @UltHackKeyboard. #BitcoinDenShowoff pic.twitter.com/jRh1A8jFHQ

— Stadicus 🌮⚡🔑 (@Stadicus3000) July 18, 2019

Module PCBs assembled

I am now ready for some ULTIMATE HACKING https://t.co/7c1atqoVyv pic.twitter.com/MaSukBnYCq

— Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) September 6, 2019

And now my @UltHackKeyboard has been setup at work, it's just a joy 🤩 (and again thanks to my sweet @neslihanedes for it 😘). Also special @gr8conf cameo in this pic 😉 pic.twitter.com/KFTj5Bbgyo

— Kevin Wittek (@Kiview) September 5, 2019

#GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/PWgDeBQfHr

— arsdragonfly (@l_dragonfly_l) September 7, 2019

Keyboard upgrade, going dark. @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/pS5tZFqqdQ

— Stadicus 🌮⚡🔑 (@Stadicus3000) August 22, 2019

New Agent release and module progress

Just finished the config for my @UltHackKeyboard . Love it! I even use mouse mode after finetuning the speed/acceleration a lot. Didnt expect that! The ergonomics already make a big difference for me. Only thing i dont get is the segment display, which just shows the layout. pic.twitter.com/8UgWqVddoo

— Paranoid Goldfish (@Suchkultur) October 3, 2019

Got my @UltHackKeyboard all set up in tenting mode. After four hours I'm already starting to get used to it. Impressed by the solid craftsmanship of the thing, and I am in love with the Mod layer. Looking forward to lots of productivity! Great job, Budapest friends! pic.twitter.com/FAmON5rvhR

— Charley Kline (@cvkline) September 16, 2019

1-tweet review of @UltHackKeyboard so far:
Palm Rest is so comfortable.
Split mode + Negative Tilting is much more ergonomic IMHO.
Shortcuts are a godsend and really easy to config. ANY KEY can be customized.
Mouse mode not everyone's cup of tea, but easy to customize too. pic.twitter.com/99x71tNpWG

— João M. (@joaomc) September 24, 2019

My life is complete now @UltHackKeyboard this the keyboard for me pic.twitter.com/oIn7Y04R7d

— Khaled Garbaya (learnjamstack.com) (@khaled_garbaya) September 24, 2019

Key cluster and trackball module progress

Some of you asked for feedback about the @UltHackKeyboard, after a couple of weeks. It is awesome! Get one, don't wait two years to pull the trigger as I did.

— Fernando Cladera (@fclad) October 14, 2019

Current status: After a great tutorial I spent an hour customizing all the things of this beautiful @UltHackKeyboard – Detailled review will follow soon pic.twitter.com/zkuIdMA2lf

— Christian Bäuerlein (@fabrik42) October 12, 2019

Got my second @UltHackKeyboard so that I no longer have to lug it to work and back if I want to do computery things at home (I can no longer stand typing on anything else 🙂).

I just *love* the look of the white casing surrounding the black of the keys ☺️ pic.twitter.com/h6N99PIlpt

— Bernhard Häussermann (@bernhardush) October 12, 2019

I hate split keyboards but this one my co-worker has is so slick looking. pic.twitter.com/CPqMFwlIBA

— SEAN LARKIN 廖肖恩 (@TheLarkInn) October 17, 2019

Time to replace my vortex pok3r. Love it so much!#GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/fIV7ZbMw3l

— Anson Tio (@anson_tio) October 22, 2019

Trackball and touchpad module progress

Okay, I've been using my @UltHackKeyboard full time for a few weeks now. My mind is blown on what I can do with it. The UHK Agent has truly changed how I navigate my machine and the tools I use. #VeryVeryHappy

— Mark Pearl (@MarkPearlCoZa) November 21, 2019

@UltHackKeyboard I've got to the point where I'm bringing my UHK back and forth between home and work, because I don't want to use anything else.

— Mikkel Munch Mortensen (@decibyte) December 6, 2019

Loving my @UltHackKeyboard
Hands down the most:
-Beautiful unboxing
-Helpful onboarding process
-Comfortable keyboard

Bravo! pic.twitter.com/GSZZHVFLVb

— Noam Tenne (@NoamTenne) December 6, 2019

Got my first artisan keycap for my @UltHackKeyboard #thelegendofzelda

Loving it! pic.twitter.com/931Tt7Zdh1

— Manuel Iglesias (@menyao) November 22, 2019

Hey @UltHackKeyboard #GotMyUHK today. Fantastic build, love the mod keys, looking forward to coding with it 😁 pic.twitter.com/rHoRu5Mmv8

— Ben Schmidt (@SurRobin) December 11, 2019

自分への誕プレ pic.twitter.com/jonQiJRdTq

— るしあん🥀過疎鯖メーカー (@Rusian0) December 9, 2019

The trackball module is fully functional

It's been about 13 months since I #GotMyUHK….and it's been 13 months since I've used a traditional mouse. @UltHackKeyboard has produced the best computing peripheral I've ever purchased, bar none.

— Justin Angel (@4rch4ngel86) December 24, 2019

I gave second try to @UltHackKeyboard and absolutely love it pic.twitter.com/8ER8taPfO3

— Tygas (@Tygas) January 7, 2020

I've been using my @UltHackKeyboard for three weeks now. It's amazing. The build quality is such that typing is enjoyable. Still get the hang of switching between the various mod keys. If you're thinking about getting one do so. It's so worth it.

— Ben Schmidt (@SurRobin) December 24, 2019

I #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard and I'm really liking it. Beyond the quality hardware, the team really thought about the details (packaging, onboarding, Agent). Paired with a Surface Book 2, I'm really happy with my mobile setup. pic.twitter.com/L5MciQO4Bl

— Matt Robinson (@artPlusPlus) December 26, 2019

Okay, I've been using my @UltHackKeyboard full time for a year now. It was hard to learn how to use a separate keyboard, but the main goal was achieved, I feel no more pain in my wrists when working for more than 3 hours, and it's awesome. I'm very happy about it.

— アルテミ ・ ステパノフ (@0xk175un3) December 27, 2019

New colours for #2020 🥳 @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/UBM8Skxcq6

— Lukasz 👨‍💻😀 (@lplotni) December 30, 2019

I preordered when they first announced then cancelled when the project was delayed. Just got one last month now that they are in stock. The build quality and typing experience are both exceptional. I got white case with clear switches and the wrist rest. Happy to field any Qs

— Josh Greenwood (@JoshTGreenwood) December 25, 2019

Just #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard! pic.twitter.com/PAVxzjTCAJ

— Gastón (@gargrag) January 10, 2020

Every module prototype is functional

I finally #GotMyUHK and it's wonderful @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/KuXMEugUQc

— Alberto Munguia (@albertone_9) January 23, 2020

Goodbye strain injuries! Goodbye cursor keys! #GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/ajBxv0mIbM

— Diederick de Vries (@diederickdvries) January 15, 2020

#GotMyUHK several month ago and loving it more each day. Can‘t wait for the add-on modules to ship. pic.twitter.com/D34vzmipQ7

— Holger Hartmann (@HartmannHolger) January 20, 2020

And I got it set up. This is definitely gonna take some getting used to, but I'm gonna enjoy the process. And both it, the starter guide, even the packaging is so well done. This is gonna be worth every damn penny and then some. #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/QQVLrOJ4nJ

— Sam Block, surly mystic hooligan 𐠎 (@polyphanes) January 23, 2020

Aside from the still-to-be-released trackball module, my UHK is ready for daily use! Current customizations; long & straight rj11 cable reaches behind the laptop screen, custom tenting solution and some blank white keycaps.#gotmyuhk @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/kxM99TkdVR

— Thykka (@Thykka) January 27, 2020

Module ETA announcement


Me: pic.twitter.com/wR8CexCiIS

— Hubert Łępicki (@hubertlepicki) March 4, 2020


Me: pic.twitter.com/mQX3j8qtwv

— Hubert Łępicki (@hubertlepicki) March 5, 2020

I #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard over a year ago and decided it needed some new key caps. I opted for the SA 1976 set from #pimpmykeyboard pic.twitter.com/8hkesv01m9

— John Derr (@johnderrdotnet) February 20, 2020

Semi final form of my @UltHackKeyboard … still looking for the GMK Oblivion spacekit. pic.twitter.com/EuNEvfPAaM

— Rakan Alhneiti (@rakanalh) March 5, 2020

Didn't think I would actually say this, but after using my @UltHackKeyboard for a while, it's actually hard to go back to regular keyboards. Still getting used to it, but it's helped my tendinitis much, and it's so nice to be able to program all the keys easily.

— Trevor (@chivsjawn) March 10, 2020

I #GotMyUHK it‘s awesome 😎 .@UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/C9exeXZmpz

— Oguz KAYA (@asyetisbey) February 20, 2020

Split keyboards are extra portable. Thanks @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/N6uIuKlXHM

— Neil H. Watson (@neil_h_watson) February 19, 2020

The key cluster molds are being made

#GotMyUHK way earlier than expected! Thank you @UltHackKeyboard. The manufacture is outstanding and typing on it just feels fantastic 😁👌🏼 pic.twitter.com/5URihKHa3k

— Manuel Mosso (@jmanuelmosso) April 10, 2020

New keyboard in the house! 🥰 #GotMyUHK a day earlier than I expected. Super solid build quality, feels wonderful under my fingertips! Now I just have to adapt to it and partially relearn how to type, but I think it'll be worth it. Already fallen in love with the mouse mode! pic.twitter.com/ahmC7ZOuRm

— Gina Häußge 😷 (@foosel) April 8, 2020

My second UHK is actually, believe it or not, just as lovely as my first one :) Thank you ⁦@UltHackKeyboard⁩ for such an amazing product! #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/Cwrv6WQhGy

— Ivars Zarins (@ivarszarins) March 19, 2020

@UltHackKeyboard thanks, it is just amazing and I only used it for 30 minutes. I should have bought it a long time ago! pic.twitter.com/wKgxKvYhEi

— Otrebu (@otrebu) April 9, 2020

Where was mouse mode on a keyboard all my life?
If you roam from room to room with a laptop trying to avoid the kids to get some work done @UltHackKeyboard is the only way to get anything done without getting a tendinitis in the process

— Raffaele Fragapane (@ThE_JacO) March 26, 2020

i just #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard (after dreaming about it for a year or two) and i am absolutely in love with it 🤍🤍🤍

— Zaantar (@zaantar) April 8, 2020

Module schematic and BOM finalized

#GotMyUHK last week! In that short week I have become a complete convert. Personal computing will never be the same. @UltHackKeyboard good job on an excellent product! pic.twitter.com/Azi0lspGwU

— Tor Magnus Rakvåg (@TMAutomates) April 23, 2020

UHK rocking Tai-Hao Sunshine. Original source: https://t.co/eczLwftlLu pic.twitter.com/GCoTl7PMXl

— Ult. Hack. Keyboard (@UltHackKeyboard) April 26, 2020

VS Code on the iPad! Well, kind of. Technically it is running on the Raspberry Pi, powered and networked via USB-C. This setup would be pretty useful if Remote and/or Codespaces extensions worked. Unfortunately, both are closed-source and not available for ARM. Ask me anything! pic.twitter.com/gYdKgwYfuw

— benjaminwood (@benjaminwood) May 12, 2020

YES! My new @UltHackKeyboard arrived today. It's not just a keyboard, it's art. Time to unlearn 30+ years of ISO/swe and learn ANSI/us. #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/8AOZnsJriW

— Peter Merikan 🇸🇪 (@pmerikan) April 24, 2020

My UHK by @UltHackKeyboard rocking GMK Oblivion keycaps.

I had to get a bit creative with backspace, enter and \ to accommodate the unusual key widths on the right side, and had to keep the stock mod/space keys, but that should work out I hope. pic.twitter.com/figY6vET1K

— Gina Häußge 😷 (@foosel) May 4, 2020

Key cluster molds and PCBs are almost ready

Since I #GotMyUHK last year, I am amazed by its productivity (open firmware + macro language by https://t.co/7mIDhgt5Qv) its ergonomics (two halves) and its customizability.
Here you see it in action in one of my Machine Learning for Physicists lectures from last semester. pic.twitter.com/LsYt3mNRHV

— Michael Grau (@DrMichaelGrau) May 24, 2020

Today I #GotMyUhk. Loving the premium touch and the key remapping software! The mouse layer also works surprisingly well. @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/kzb4AoX1Ma

— Paul van den Berg (@bergvandenp) May 25, 2020

Just #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard! Immediately upgraded the keys. I already have better posture 😁 pic.twitter.com/L2nNUcvaO1

— Kira McLean (@kiraemclean) May 27, 2020

#GotMyUHK and really love it but it’s not really a hacking keyboard until you start hacking it.

Gateron black ink switches and GMK Keycaps make a huge difference and are totally worth it IMO, although not cheap. Can’t wait for the modules! pic.twitter.com/NyTyEFswH0

— Pedro Canterini (@pcanterini) June 10, 2020

Wow, time flies! Two years later I am really happy with the keyboard. I've got myself a second one, needed to have one in the office and one at home 😅

— Hans Svensson (@dt96hasv) June 8, 2020

Key cluster molds are ready

not too long ago I started to feel pretty bad wrist strain and fatigue while typing so I made the call to get a Ultimate Hacking Keyboard and then kitted it out with a really pretty keycap set pic.twitter.com/9TdYE4TtVz

— 🌸Adi🌼Maravi🌸 (@adeno_trip) July 11, 2020

i’m pretty new to nerd keyboards, but i’m really digging the @UltHackKeyboard after a few weeks of breaking it in. using the mod layer (mapped to right space) to activate arrow keys with h/j/k/l and scroll with u/i has been game changing 🎹 pic.twitter.com/upAwMKgQQd

— 0l0. (@benzguo) July 10, 2020

office for the day pic.twitter.com/VWg8kaR0r4

— 𝘚𝘵𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘴 🏘️ (@Stadicus3000) June 22, 2020

#GotMyUHK :) it's amazing ! Thanks @UltHackKeyboard :) pic.twitter.com/8wiosVl6sZ

— Jonathan Gonzalez V. (@sxd) July 17, 2020

New keeb ⌨️😍 #GotMyUHK @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/Myu149mg0K

— Yoann Fleury 👨‍💻 (@YoannFleuryDev) July 9, 2020

Right-side module mold progress

Palm rest attached and plugged in. Typing tweet with new keyboard. Wrist rest appears to solve my problems (of having to bend your wrists inwards to type on a normal keyboard). I hope I can get used to the split! Does anyone else use one? pic.twitter.com/Zo1HznJP61

— Todd Motto ⚡ (@toddmotto) August 17, 2020

Got my hacker keyboard a week ago and I’m Loving it. Now I really feel the part!

It does need wrist rests though… #GotMyUHK@UltHackKeyboardpic.twitter.com/hgfwR2MXFN

— Rahul Bose (@garagisti) July 30, 2020

Finally arrived #GotMyUHK ! Now it's time to excercise, excercise, excercise … First impression: It will be an exciting journey :) @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/2Ik5uEkk7x

— Roland Huß 🌶 (@ro14nd) August 18, 2020

Right-side module mold progress, part two

Outer left wrist pain for months here, almost 100% cleared up from switching to the @UltHackKeyboard! I hoped it was going to have this much better effect and it certainly did.

— Todd Motto ⚡ (@toddmotto) September 12, 2020

I've been eyeing this super nice keyboard from @UltHackKeyboard, and I finally received it a couple of days ago 🤩

I can safely say:
Yes! It is exactly as AWESOME as expected!

I'm faster, more productive, I cut down my trips to the mouse by 10x, and it's SO satisfying to use 😍 pic.twitter.com/mgA6oSxhaJ

— Simon Høiberg (@SimonHoiberg) September 4, 2020

And here's the result.

The setting up on the chair's armrest is still WIP. pic.twitter.com/JEjUnejXdi

— Felixoid Sage 🔞 (@mr_felixoid) September 23, 2020

#GotMyUHK about 2 weeks ago now and loving it. Has a lot of features I didn’t know I even needed. Bit of a learning curve in the beginning typing tented and split but not bad if you touch type. Excited to try out the modules when available. @UltHackKeyboard #MechanicalKeyboard pic.twitter.com/3bxuEzOUZ1

— josh mcdaniel (@josh_mcdaniel1) August 20, 2020

@UltHackKeyboard been using your keyboard for the last 6 months and it exceeds expectations in efficiency and ergonomics. Made some palm rests from purple hart (harder to make than I thought). Thanks for a great product. pic.twitter.com/6TLctIfmg3

— Chad (@syxxty) August 20, 2020

Major module mold progress

Which one is more cool ? left/right/neither … @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/Ol6PMXNDfj

— Manu Álvarez (@imacnu) November 17, 2020

Decided to nerd it up and recap my @UltHackKeyboard … love the feel of these spherical keys and it looks beautiful to me as well. Was able to replace nonstandard keys in 3 places with blanks… the only issue is the BS key which is an R2 and thus a bit recessed. pic.twitter.com/7zmKnJDseh

— Charley Kline (@cvkline) August 11, 2020

Had it for years, absolutely loved it. Only left it to switch to mechanical and these days am driving an @UltHackKeyboard 💚 pic.twitter.com/VlB31LcRZv

— Gina Häußge 😷 (@foosel) November 15, 2020

Module testing result and manufacturing progress

I've recorded a video in which I wanted to share my thoughts on using the @UltHackKeyboard, after I started using it in 2020.https://t.co/Blqh8VEjnY

In general, I'm very happy with it, thanks again @Kiview for recommending! pic.twitter.com/z9lhYJqIk0

— Sebastian Daschner (@DaschnerS) January 26, 2021

That's prototype version 0.0.1. I have better set up now. Including mounting one UHK on the chair itself. pic.twitter.com/QKzYRjtKMH

— Hubert Łępicki 🤍♥️🤍 (@hubertlepicki) January 14, 2021

Created and printed 15 degrees tenting stand for @UltHackKeyboard
with palm rest.

Print your own: https://t.co/D9QDF9LSXB#GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/YSw5LfKzzP

— Alex (@choovick) December 28, 2020

UHK finally property dressed using Drop MATT3O /DEV/TTY MT3 set. The only set that had all required caps 🎉@UltHackKeyboard Waiting for modules…. #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/q2zSslwtNm

— Alex (@choovick) January 22, 2021

will I ever own a set that doesn’t have pink and blue? doubtful pic.twitter.com/ChF7otb5yc

— Jess (@smaIImood) December 31, 2020

@UltHackKeyboard⁩ UHK is best keyboard in revived 2011 MBP with ⁦@ManjaroLinux⁩ . pic.twitter.com/NUs7KADEKN

— Michael Sokoliuk Jr (@MichaelSokoliuk) January 7, 2021

The best mech board around! @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/zbvgaHpVE9

— U-F-O (@u__f__0) January 5, 2021

Module production is underway

More than I year after purchase I must say it’s the best keyboard I have ever had and will! Great job the this small little company, amazing! #UltimateHackingKeyboard @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/0BzmgqC1UL

— V.PhD (@vpumine) March 7, 2021

I just love https://t.co/QRNBKJdvjU absolutely perfect for my wrists, I'm a pretty big guy and can have the halves just so. @UltHackKeyboard

— Ivars Zarins (@ivarszarins) March 2, 2021

The first module batch has been shipped

I #GotMyUHK #Trackpoint module. Thank you @UltHackKeyboard. 2 years of waiting have finally paid off. This thing is pretty amazing, I already love it! pic.twitter.com/OEhFgHlD6b

— Domi Barton ಠ◡ಠ (@domibarton) April 28, 2021

Wireless UHK stand achieved.

Demonstration video in the album: https://t.co/rm7oV5cVDR@UltHackKeyboard #GotMyUHK pic.twitter.com/idsgfDOKN0

— Alexey (@choovick) March 16, 2021

Before @UltHackKeyboard I maxed out at ~65 wpm. Really recommend it. Rocking V1 with the red switches. pic.twitter.com/UxlUDKL8UQ

— Albin Groen (@AlbinGroen) March 13, 2021

In case you missed it on Saturday, I have a blog again, and the first real post was about my workplace setup – maybe it helps the one or other among you!

👉 https://t.co/o2khnjiYgJ

Also: Shout-out to @UltHackKeyboard ^^

— Gina Häußge 🔴🔴🔴 (@foosel) March 15, 2021

James A. Reeves


“His keenest memory was of Rome, standing before the Michelangelo Pietà in St. Peter’s, of the rows of spluttering candles, the kneeling women, rich and poor, young and old, fixing their eyes on the Virgin’s face with an intensity of longing almost too painful to witness. He remembered their outstretched arms, their palms pressed against the glass protective shield, the low continual mutter of their prayers as if this ceaseless anguished moan came from a single throat and carried to that unregarding marble the hopeless longing of all the world.”

The Greatest Show on Earth

There’s this old couple that gets around. Maybe you’ve seen them. They’ve been touring the country for years, long before America elected a game show host for president. They started off doing decent business at casinos and conventions until their tantrums began causing problems.

Read More

Could you leave everything behind and start from zero again? Pick one thing, and one only, and be absolutely devoted to it? Make it the reason for your existence, the thing that contains everything, that becomes everything, because your dedication to it makes it last forever? Could you? No, this guy here, he couldn’t. He wants to grab everything, can’t give up a single thing. He changes his mind every day because he’s afraid he might miss the right path. And he’s slowly bleeding to death.

We’re smothered by words, images, and sounds that have no right to exist, that come from the void and return to the void. Of any artist truly deserving of the name we should ask nothing but this act of faith: to learn silence.

Posts - Sustainable Transportation Vermont

Dries Buytaert

Building a personal memex

The memex I've created by thinking about and then describing every interesting thing I've encountered is hugely important for how I understand the world. It's the raw material of every novel, article, story and speech I write.

On having to let go to optimize for impact

Yeah, scaling [Microsoft] was a huge challenge. At first I wrote all the code. Then I hired all the people that wrote the code and I looked at the code. Then, eventually, there was code that I didn't look at and people that I didn't hire. And of course the average quality per person is going down, but the ability to have big impact is going up. [...] A large company is imperfect in many ways, and yet it's the way to get out to the entire world. — Bill Gates

Berlin Typography

Andrea Feucht

Learning Los Angeles Ain’t Easy; And It Is

“Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles” -Frank Lloyd Wright

Not long ago, it was just a bunch of small towns: Venice, Pasadena, Burbank, Encino, Beverly Hills – but then for tax reasons they drew a circle around about 30 small towns and decided to call it Los Angeles. So if you go just understanding it’s a bunch of adjacent towns, each quite different in character, and don’t go expecting a city, then it won’t be so frustrating. When someone says they hate LA, you have to ask, “Which neighborhood?” Because Santa Monica is not like Silverlake is not like Van Nuys is not like Hollywood, but they’re all inside that circle called LA. It’s completely de-centralized. (And “downtown” is just another neighborhood. Unlike most cities, it’s not the center of everything.)

Almost Too Wild & Tough: Three Dawns at Hardrock 100

Q: What’s brown, long, and sticky?

A: First of all, where did your dirty mind just go because . . . EW! Secondly, the answer is a stick. A Stick.

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” – Marcus Aurelius

UTMB 2019: If A Lifeline Appears, Say Yes

“it takes a hard-won maturity to experience the depths of regret in ways that do not overwhelm and debilitate us but put us into a proper, more generous relationship with the future” – David Whyte

Tattoos Are For Closers

“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” – Doris Lessing

Tenders for the Government of Prince Edward Island - Goods and Services Tenders

Peter Bihr (Personal)

Spain travel log

Menú degustación

Quotebacks are great

The ultimate goal is to encourage and activate a deeper cross-blogger discusson space. To promote diverse voices and encourage networked writing to flourish.

But, while that’s a lofty goal the tool is small and simple. Quotebacks is three things:

  1. A web-native citation standard and quoting UX pattern
  2. A tiny library, quoteback.js, that converts HTML <blockquote> tags into elegant interactive webcomponents
  3. A browser extension to create quoteback components and store any quotes you save to publish later.

6 quick thoughts & things I noticed

So ONLY staring at a conference talk just doesn’t make sense.

INSTEAD let me watch a conference talk AND ALSO have a text conversation about it, perhaps even with the speaker who may have pre-recorded their talk in order to participate in the simultaneous text channel.

Can virtual conferences be designed for multi-tasking?

SEE ALSO: Nudgestock which was 14 hours long and ran last Friday. I caught this on Twitter and what I found fascinating was the number of people watching the stream on their TV. People hacking their own two screen experience: TV for the talks, 6 feet away, a continuous stream; laptops and tablets (1 foot away) for tweeting, notes, and falling down wikiholes…

Can virtual conferences be designed for the two screen experience?

The Cramped

Why the World’s Best Mathematicians Are Hoarding Chalk – YouTube

Once upon a time, not long ago, the math world fell in love … with a chalk. But not just any chalk! This was Hagoromo: a Japanese brand so smooth, so perfect that some wondered if it was made from the tears of angels. Pencils down, please, as we tell the tale of a writing implement so irreplaceable, professors stockpiled it.

The Trendy New Way to Organize Your Schedule: A Paper Planner – WSJ

Shelby Abrahamsen, a 26-year-old lifestyle blogger with multiple social media accounts, lives much of her life online. Yet her favorite way to organize her schedule is old-school: She uses two paper planners.

Calendar Ruler Set – Present & Correct

A genius stencil set with which you can turn any notebook or piece of paper into a planner. There are many combinations you can make, so your diary will become tailored to you. The set has 3 stencils, in a card wallet. Each one measures 190x130mm

Writing with Pen and Paper – Cheri Baker

Although I was afraid my hand would get tired, and my handwriting would be illegible, it turns out that I love writing fiction by hand. Not only is it fun, but it comes with all these weird bonuses you don’t get when working on a computer. Like Gaiman suggested, hand writing forces me to slow down and think before filling up a page, and therefore I’m less inclined to drop waste-words on the screen and waste even more time fiddling with them. Additionally, seeing the story in my mind’s eye is far easier when I’m using a pen. I don’t know why, but I’ll run with it! And I love the way writing in a journal makes my first draft feel entirely private, much more so than when I work on a screen. There are no distractions inside a paper journal, and no notifications jumping out to fuck with you.

The Liberation and Consternation of Writing a Whole Book with Paper and Pen | Literary Hub

That’s because I wrote probably 75 percent of Hungry in longhand, on planes and trains, in public libraries and cocktail bars. To finish the manuscript (no mean feat with four children in the house, two of them infants and two of them teenagers) I carried around equipment similar to the gear I have with me now on the train: a cheap Wexford wide-ruled notebook from somewhere chic like Staples or Walgreens, and a pen bestowed upon me by some nice person at the New Orleans tourism board.

Well-Read Life™: Why You Should Hack Levenger Pens

But here’s a secret that up until now very few people have known: most Levenger brand rollerball pens will accept Pilot G2 refills. Why is this good to know? Because Pilot G2 pens are some of the most appreciated and most widely available pens on the planet.

Where Theory Meets Chalk, Dust Flies – The New York Times

This is what thought looks like. Ideas, and ideas about ideas. Suppositions and suspicions about relationships among abstract notions — shape, number, geometry, space — emerging through a fog of chalk dust, preferably of the silky Hagoromo chalk, originally from Japan, now made in South Korea. In these diagrams, mysteries are being born and solved.

The French Paper Mill That Sold to Dalí and Picasso – YouTube

For 700 years, the Richard de Bas paper mill has produced some of the world’s finest paper. The French constitution is printed on paper from this mill. And artists like Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall were customers. Emmanuel runs the business today. His great grandfather bought the mill in Ambert, France, during World War II, and it has stayed in the family ever since. It’s one of the last in France where paper is made by hand.

Stamps, Scientific Charts, and Hand-Drawn Maps Occupy Every Inch of Travel Notebooks by José Naranja | Colossal

“Author and artist José Naranja ensures he won’t forget any detail of his year-round travels across the globe through a meticulous and unique documentation process. Formerly an aeronautic engineer, Naranja now archives his thoughts while visiting foreign countries by hand-crafting journals replete with items like collected stamps, an illustration of the periodic table, and a study of fountain pens. Each mixed-media page centers on a theme, such as the culture surrounding eating a bowl of ramen or the flamingos found in a zoo.”

How this Japanese method of saving money changed my life—and made me richer

What sets kakeibo apart, however, is that it doesn’t involve any budgeting software, apps or Excel sheets. Similar to bullet journaling, it emphasizes the importance of physically writing things down — as a meditative way to process and observe your spending habits.

The Skills, Tools & Knowledge You’ll Need for 2020, 101, 61-70 – Nicholas Bate

“Don’t cheat on the quality of your (paper) notebook. It records your greatest work.”

09/01/2020, 08:52 – Colin Walker

“There is something unexpectedly liberating about putting pen to paper in this manner, something I’ve not felt in a long time. It was previously a struggle to choose such an option over typing on the phone but I realise that was because I had the wrong tools. I was simply trying to force the issue rather than let it happen naturally.”

On Handwriting vs. Typing

Handwriting is unique. It’s personal. It’s individual to you. It communicates more than just the words and ink. It communicates your humanity in ways that type never could.

Well-Read Life™: Bring Your Own Pen—The New Normal, Again

You’re doing it both for your sake and for the sake of others, a small but reassuring addition to our armor for staying healthy.

Building My Bullet-Journal-Based Hybrid Productivity System – The Sweet Setup

There’s something about using a nice notebook and a fancy fountain pen that inspires joy in a way even the most beautifully designed application can’t. At its core, a screen is simply a slab of glass – cold, sterile, and impersonal. During this pandemic, I’ve found myself drawn to the siren song of analog more than ever before.

The Study: Issue #32 — Keeping a Commonplace Book – The Study

It’s not a journal, bullet or otherwise. It’s not your collection of morning pages. It’s not a stream of consciousness rambling of your thoughts. A commonplace book is deliberate. It’s curated.

Electronic indexing system for your paper notes : notebooks

“After many years of wrestling with how best to connect my paper notebooks to my digital data, I’ve come up with a simple system that works for me, and that I believe could work for you if you’re so inclined.”

The Handwritten First Draft of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing

“This morning I got up early to go to my corner store, T and T, to buy the paper. The young guys who work there had a Run-D.M.C. tape on. The owner, an old Italian guy, says, “What da fuck is dat? Turn that jungle music off. We’re not in Africa. It’s giving me a stomach ache.” Sooner or later it comes out. Okay, so you don’t like rap music. But why does it have to be about jungle music and Africa? I should have Sal say the same words to Radio Raheem in the movie.”

Uses This / Jane Manchun Wong

My note-taking device is pen and paper. It supports high precision handwriting and has zero input latency. It takes on a skeuomorphic design. The writing surface is also realistic, almost paper-like. It comes with encryption, based on my handwriting. While it does not support cloud storage, the data is guaranteed to be inaccessible to hackers without physical access. It is a blessing in disguise.

PostCARDs for Democracy

Artistic visionaries Mark Mothersbaugh & Beatie Wolfe share a love of tangible artforms, in and amongst their futuristic explorations. In light of the threat to our 225yr old postal service, at a time that could jeopardize the democracy of the country, Mothersbaugh and Wolfe join forces for this collective postcard art demonstration.

The Notebook – theatre of christi

Here’s how I set up my notebooks. I like cheap notebooks with that thin, shattery glass paper texture — nothing fancy. I don’t do any complicated bullet journalling stuff, although I’m totally happy if it works for you! I just haven’t gotten into it. This is the method I’ve found that’s the best intersection of simplicity and reference points.

5. Finally, when I start a new notebook, I go back through the last one and pick out the most important ideas and mindset changes I want to carry through to the next one. (This is the best part.) I write all of these highlights at the beginning of the new notebook.

An Archive of a Different Type – Internet Archive Blogs

Imagine being so well-known for your craft that letters addressed to “Mr. Typewriter, New York” would get delivered by the Post Office to your door. Imagine you mount a letter wrong while crafting a typewriter, and it causes a country (Burma) to change that letter to accommodate your mistake. Or that, through decades, your expert testimony about the accuracy of a brand of typewriter and the characters it types means the difference between guilt, incarceration, freedom or the swapping of fortunes. Such was the life of Pearl and Martin Tytell, of Tytell Typewriter

The Work/Life Task System

The Work/Life Task System (WLTS) allows you to keep your professional and personal tasks separate in the same notebook, while accounting for how most tasks come into our lives in the first place: email.

Paper and Memory • Buttondown

When paper fails, memory; when memory fails, paper

Re-discovering three-cornered notes – The Collation

As far as I can tell, they were never sent through the post (if you know of any examples, please comment). They were just hand-delivered notes containing informal invitations, short apologies, brief questions, little flirtations, and so on. In the 20th century, their function was taken over by the phone call, and in the 21st century, by text messaging.

What My 2020 Planner Has Been Through — The Pen Addict

It started off normal. I had a planner party in November last year, where a handful of friends brought their stationery over and we all decorated and prepped our planners for a productive year. Welp. That was the last time I had a gathering of friends, and all the plans we planned went awry.

The Time-Block Planner by Cal Newport

It’s important that we’re using paper here… I don’t want you on your computer when you don’t need to be.

Thelonious Monk’s Advice — Lists of Note


How I Time-Block and Plan in a Traveler’s Notebook – The Sweet Setup

“I simply gravitate to a notebook and a pen where there’s an unequalled level of freedom.”

Handwriting vs. typing: Study shows which is best for notes — Fast Company

A new study from the University of Tokyo concludes that writing with a stylus or typing on a touchscreen keyboard just isn’t the same as handwriting. “Our take-home message is to use paper notebooks for information you need to learn or memorize,” noted coauthor Kuniyoshi Sakai, a neuroscientist at the University of Tokyo.

My Holy Grail Pen and Paper

While I was on vacation last month, I realized that I had been using the same cheap paper and pen combo for years without complaint. I had found my grail, without knowing it and without breaking the bank.

The Simplest Combo to Maximize Your Productivity

In an age of endless productivity apps, nothing comes close to the deceptively simple combo of The Ivy Lee Method + Analog to master your productivity.

Benefits of a daily diary and topic journals

There are certain subjects in your life you think about a lot. People, places, hobbies, health, plans, finances.

For each subject that you might have ongoing thoughts about, start a separate “Thoughts On” journal. Whenever you have some thoughts on this subject, open up that file, write today’s date, then start writing.

Why I love my paper dictionary – Austin Kleon

All sorts of interesting, serendipitous things happen when you use a paper dictionary, because when you look for a specific word, you have to brush past all sorts of other words before you find the one you’re looking for.

Why handwriting beats typing – On my Om

As a non-native English speaker, I always found (and still do) that writing things down by hand, and then bringing them into the digital realm, allowed me to create better drafts.

Libby Osgood


Southern Cone Travel

Amazon Linux Security

Clyde River

Public Meeting: Proposed Substation in Clyde River

Dear Customer:

Maritime Electric is proposing the construction of a 138 kV transmission line from Maple Plains to a new substation in Clyde River to accommodate electrical load growth and improve the reliability for our customers in the area.

Maritime Electric is holding a public information session to describe the proposed project, including the route options, substation location, environmental aspects and reasons why this project is necessary. Company representatives will be present to discuss the proposed project and answer any questions.

Public Information Session:

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 (Storm date: Wed. Feb. 26, 4-7 p.m.)

Time: 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Location: St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, 1475 Route 13, Kelly’s Cross

The map [below] shows the proposed location for the new substation and route options for the transmission line.

If you have any questions about the proposed project,
please contact us:

Tel: 1-800-670-1012
Email: customerservice@maritimeelectric.com.

Yours truly,

Enrique Riveroll, Vice President, Customer Service

The Conveyor

The Cheney Archive at the Bodleian Libraries

from Isobel Goodman, intern (2017) Rare Books, Bodleian Libraries Special Collections

Reformation 500: Luther autograph on display

A Commonplace Reformation: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Add. A. 92 – Martin Luther’s Autograph Collection of Proverbs

Invisible women: Yolande Bonhomme, 16th-century publisher

Francesca Galligan, Bodleian Rare Books

Additional reading: Beatrice Beech, ‘Yolande Bonhomme: a Renaissance printer’, Medieval prosopography 6.2, 1985; Axel Erdmann, My gracious silence: women in the mirror of 16th century printing in Western Europe, 1999.

Ekaterina Shatalova, winner of the 2017-18 Colin Franklin Prize for book-collecting

About the Colin Franklin Prize: The prize is offered in honour of Colin Franklin, the distinguished author, book collector and bookseller who has over many decades encouraged numerous young book collectors at the University. It is funded by Anthony Davis. The prize follows the tradition of similar prizes awarded at Cambridge and London and at universities in the United States and Canada. It is intended to encourage book collecting by undergraduates and graduate students of the University by recognising a collection formed by a student at the university. The prize is announced each year in October. For information see:  www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/csb/prizes

Portraying a Black African scholar at Oxford in the 1870s — and reimagining those portrayals today

from Pamela Roberts

The ‘Slave Bible’ of 1807

from Charlotte McKillop-Mash, Bodleian Special Collections

Seminar in Palaeography and Manuscript Studies, 2019

Daniel Sawyer, ‘Against dullness: some ways to learn from (and enjoy) “average” manuscripts’

Karl Kinsella, ‘Plan and elevation: the architectural drawings of Richard of St. Victor’

How Religious Fanaticism Affected the Dating of a Book

Maria Czepiel

Maria Czepiel is a DPhil candidate in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages working on Spanish literature, and wrote this blog post as coursework for the MSt Method Option ‘Palaeography, History of the Book and Digital Humanities’ with Henrike Lähnemann. The catalogue record for 4o Rawl. 209 has been updated thanks to her research.

Tracing global connections in a 1730 festival book (from the History of the Book blog, Oxford Medieval and Modern Languages)

By Isabelle Riepe

The Rawlinson copper plates

The collection is the focus of a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership, beginning in October 2020, between the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, and the Bodleian Libraries. Learn more….

Rawlinson copperplates a.1, Map of Anglo-Saxon Britain according to Bede. Printed in Bede’s Historiae Ecclesiasticae libri quinque, opposite p. 653 (edition of 1722), [giving the shelfmark of a Bodleian copy of this item, when available]
[shelfmark] A 15.3 Th.

Rawlinson copperplates g.313, The letter A. Printed on p. iii of a circular announcing the preparation of a complete history of the Mallardians, 1752: Gough Oxon. 60(10)

From research to craft: printing Luther’s theses and teaching letterpress

The Luther Theses broadside is the largest text printed on the Bodleian’s hand-operated presses, and having copies of this broadside in the workshop has set an important standard for the kind of work that can be undertaken, and a model for collective contribution to a larger project.

We learned from this that a technical challenge is a key factor in encouraging learning. This project required a large amount of type-setting by untrained type-setters. Contrary to an idea that the role of a class might be to deliver the theory of type-setting in a lecture, and participants might learn from just a small amount of practice, the Luther Theses project showed that only added practice enabled participants to use their new skills more fully, to recognize and correct errors, and to become competent and creative. For learners with the stamina and ability to undertake a lot of type-setting, this is a key factor in their development, and is now something we look out for and encourage in the public classes.

Between Sun Turns: David Armes, Bodleian Printer in Residence, 2019-20

Watch David Armes’s lecture, ‘Accumulating Narrative,’ from December 2019, hosted by the Centre for the Study of the Book and the Oxford Bibliographical Society

The irreplaceability of the physical object: examining Persian manuscripts

See the podcast of Karin Scheper’s 2020 lecture, ‘Islamic bindings as a window on East-West relations’.

The Bodleian Quarterly Record, Vol. I (1914-16); and Osler’s ‘Illustrations of the book-worm’

Alexandra Walker, Preventive Conservator, writes;

Corrections will be gladly received on entomological or other points – Alexandra Franklin, Centre for the Study of the Book

Medieval manuscripts: how we are working from home

by Matthew Holford, Tolkien Curator of Medieval Manuscripts

Re-blog: Papermaking at home

Here the actual papermaking:@HLaehnemann @WMM_Oxford @MayBe_von_Wiech @NDomeisen pic.twitter.com/7TRshLSE7i

— Luise Morawetz (@LuiseMorawetz) April 24, 2020

The Bodleian Quarterly Record, Vol. II (1917-19); and the Legacy of a Printing Press

Publications mentioned:
Printing at the Daniel Press (Hinton Charterhouse: The Old School Press, 2011) and The Daniel Press in Frome (Hinton Charterhouse: The Old School Press, 2011). Contact The Old School Press.

Decades of manuscript photography on Digital.Bodleian

from Andrew Dunning, R.W. Hunt Curator of Medieval Manuscripts

Alice in Medieval Oxford

‘Once upon a time there were three little sisters,’ the Dormouse began in a great hurry; ‘and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well——’


‘Why did they live at the bottom of a well?’

The Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and then said, ‘It was a treacle-well.’

‘There’s no such thing!’

Because the riverbed was far away, and it seemed inappropriate to her that the sisters should go there to drink water, she obtained a well by prayer. It is there to this day, providing the free gift of health to many who drink from it.

A woman named Brichtiva from the vicinity of Northampton had lost hearing in her right ear for a full year and ten weeks. When she had come to the church of the holy virgin to recover her health, those standing round urged her to go to the well that the blessed virgin had obtained from the Lord during her lifetime by her prayers, which is about a mile from the city.

She immediately walked there, and filled her ears with water from the well. A ringing in her ears and a tribulation of itching immediately followed. She inserted a stalk into her ear, and drew out a small portion of flesh. She had received the gift of hearing perfectly. She returned to the church, blessing God, and showed all who were present that she was cured.

15th Century Booktrade and Learning in the time of Lockdown

How have our reading practices changed during Lockdown?

It behoveth us live merrily, nor hath any other occasion caused us flee from yonder miseries […] we shall pass away this sultry part of the day, not in gaming,–wherein the mind of one of the players must of necessity be troubled, without any great pleasure of the other or of those who look on, but in telling stories, which, one telling, may afford diversion to all the company who hearken.

Although my topic of research differs greatly from Dondi’s work in terms of historical era and social circumstances, in essence both areas of research are fundamentally preoccupied with the same investigative question: what can the physical form of the book reveal about the people behind its printing?

Author: Aoife Ní Chroidheáin BA (Hons) MSt (Oxon) is a Leverhulme Scholar and DPhil Candidate in Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford. Aoife’s doctoral research entitled ‘Dangerous Creations: Power and Autonomy in East Berlin’s Samizdat’ examines the unofficial literary scene in East Berlin from 1980-1990.

Reaching out (digitally) with medieval manuscripts

 Tuija Ainonen,  Manuscripts Digitization Project Cataloguer, Bodleian Libraries

Exemplary difference: examples in historic music theory

Adam Whittaker, Lecturer in Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Adam Whittaker:

A rare books internship at the Bodleian Libraries contributing to the Provenance Digital Archive

from Victoria Higgins, Rare Books Summer Intern

Retrospect of the Hilary Term 2021 Seminars in Palaeography, Manuscript Studies, and Book History

Seminar in Palaeography and Manuscript Studies
Convenors: Daniel Wakelin (English), Martin Kauffmann (Bodleian)

Seminar in the History of the Book
Conveners: Cristina Dondi (Lincoln College, Oxford) and Alexandra Franklin (Bodleian Centre for the Study of the Book)

An appointment with history: Theodor Mommsen finds Jerome’s Eusebius at Oxford

by David Ganz

Mita Williams

Why Libraries Should Maintain the Open Data of Their Communities

Before we can have Linked Open Data, we need Open Data, and that process of education and data publishing with open licenses has been slow going (Voss 2012).

“Open data is data that meets the criteria of intelligent openness. Data must be accessible, usable, assessable and intelligible”(Royal Society (Great Britain) 2012).

“Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness)”(Open Knowledge Foundation 2014).

“prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person’s official duties… is not subject to copyright” and is, as such, free to copy by citizens of the United States (U.S. General Services Administration 2014).

“as of November 18, 2013 Publishing and Depository Services no longer administers Crown Copyright and Licensing on behalf of Government of Canada departments and agencies. Should you be seeking copyright clearance for Government of Canada information, please contact the department or agency that created the information” (P. W. and G. S. C. Government of Canada 2007).

“Over the years the focus of the DLI Program has evolved from purchasing access to major Canadian datasets collected by Statistics Canada to providing training services and the continuous support required for the proper understanding and usage of an ever expanding research data collection” (S. C. Government of Canada 1996).

“exclusive purposes of teaching, academic research and publishing, and/or planning of educational services within my educational institution, and may not be used for any other purposes without the explicit prior written approval of Statistics Canada” (Boyko and Watkins 2014).

“This license has been remarkably effective. The penalty for a breach of the license would be the loss of data access to the offending institution. As a result DLI contacts are extremely diligent in applying the conditions and have a number of tools at their disposal to help in this regard.”

“The original mandate of the DSP was to provide a central and comprehensive distribution source from which published Government of Canada (GC) information would be sent to academic, college, legislative and public libraries, as well as to federal parliamentarians and departmental libraries” (Government of Canada Publications 2014).

 organizes resources according to two values: uniqueness and stewardship/scarcity. Resources that are unique, or rare, tend to be in one collection only. Resources that are not unique or rare tend to be in many collections. At the nonunique end of this spectrum are commodity materials, which are widely published or available through many channels. Resources that are highly stewarded are things that attract library attention, have resources and time spent on them, have systems infrastructure devoted to them, and so on. Stewardship and scarcity tend to go together: we have developed stewardship models for materials that are relatively scarce. This gives us four quadrants.

Some of the key motivations for open data initiatives are to promote transparency of decision-making, create accountability for elected and appointed officials, and spur greater citizen engagement. In addition, however, it is increasingly clear that open data can also enable the creation of economic value beyond the walls of the governments and institutions that share their data. This data can not only be used to help increase the productivity of existing companies and institutions, it also can spur the creation of entrepreneurial businesses and improve the welfare of individual consumers and citizens (Chui, Farrell, and Van Kuiken 2013).

The open data movement has propagated a shifting notion of who the users of data are. In the long history of data, citizens were always considered to be end-users who provided their data to the collector and then interfaced with the end-products of data-driven government innovations. In this new vision, government concedes that citizens can best define and resolve the problems that plague their own communities—implying that communities should take the data provided and use it to address their needs (Deahl 2014).

Were a library to collect and analyze its internal data and integrate it with publicly available data, it could improve the efficiency of workflows and provide evidence-based support for program development. Sharing library data such as in-branch technology, usage, anonymized circulation statistics, and catalogue metadata improves the organization’s transparency and can provide citizens with insight into the value of the library (Carruthers 2014).

“We wanted people to understand what it is and what they could do with it all within the broader context of fostering data literacy in our community”(#HackUOBiblio – Libraries, Hacking, and Open Data 2014).

Despite the very compelling rhetoric of government transparency and civic engagement, studies suggest that in practice open data access appears to benefit government and the entrepreneurial class more than the public at large who find data difficult to interpret. The general public relies on applications developed by the entrepreneurial class to make sense of data. We believe libraries are well positioned to play a strategic role in developing skills required for citizens to navigate the expanding data landscape.

“We didn’t build libraries for a literate citizenry. We built libraries to help citizens become literate. Today we build open data portals not because we have public policy literate citizens, we build them so that citizens may become literate in public policy” (Eaves 2014).

When we think of libraries, we often just think of a building with books.  But 19th century [libraries] mattered not only because they had books, but because they offered literacy programs, books clubs, and other resources to help citizens become literate and thus, more engaged and productive. Open data catalogs need to learn the same lesson. While they won’t require the same centralized and costly approach as the 19th century, governments that help foster communities around open data, that encourage their school system to use it as a basis for teaching, and then support their citizens’ efforts to write and suggest their own public policy ideas will, I suspect, benefit from happier and more engaged citizens, along with better services and stronger economies.

Our main argument then is that hosting and supporting hackathons aligns with larger missions of libraries which is to foster literacies and build communities and specifically, by bringing together people and information, hackathons support digital literacy, they foster civic engagement and leverage community knowledge.  And when we talk about civic engagement, building communities, we are really talking about participatory culture which is a value that the open data movement and libraries share.

Building on the Map Warper’s success, WOTM has undoubtedly impacted the internal conversation at NYPL around digital strategy, user engagement and collections policy. It has helped shift the attention, at least in part, away from static online exhibitions, which notoriously struggle to retain users’ attention, toward participation-oriented Web sites with longer life cycles, involving the public in the grand (if painstaking) work of building the digital library. It has also jumpstarted policy discussions around user-contributed content and its relation to Library-authored metadata (Vershbow 2013).

The actualization of the digital library has taken on a particular form, one that presents considerable danger to libraries and our readers. We have allowed commercial interests to claim “ownership” of the scholarly record through digitization and publishing. In doing so we have allowed an unhealthy system to grow. This system leads to libraries that have been hollowed out, reduced to access points with librarians as skilled product trainers, while the publishers themselves profit handsomely from the labour of the very scholars we support and from the citizens whose taxes support us all.

Learning Objects: Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge

According to the Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF), which performs studies to try and close achievement gaps, metacognition is one of two of the most effective educational interventions it has tested. (Feedback is the other.) Students involved in programs designed to improve how they think about thinking accelerated their learning by an average of eight months’ worth of academic progress. The effect was greatest for low-achieving and older pupils.

The west building of the Leddy Library features a cornerstone that bears the motto of the University of Windsor: TEACH ME GOODNESS DISCIPLINE AND KNOWLEDGE.

Learning Objects is a box of objects that you can borrow from the Leddy Library. Each object is  accompanied by a booklet that let you know how these things can teach you GOODNESS, DISCIPLINE, and KNOWLEDGE.

I’m excited about an idea for an @iSci Sci Lit class I’m brainstorming themed The Science of Studying.

— Darkest Timeline (@colgoni) May 26, 2016

@colgoni @iSci Have you read https://t.co/oU8XmESAjk ? There’s some science of learning in it that I’ve thought would be great to share

— Mita Williams (@copystar) May 26, 2016

As with Drexel, Dewey, and Otlet before him, [Vannevar] Bush argued that speed of recall was key. Without it, one’s external store of facts would be useless. When he called his invention “an enlarged intimate supplement” to memory, the crucial word wasn’t so much “enlarged” or “supplement”; books had long enlarged and supplemented our minds. No, it was “intimate”—the idea that the memex would be physically and cognitively proximal, in a nearly sensual fashion. That was a key to its power. Indeed, Bush suspected the comparative difficulties of using libraries is what had prevented them from being of widespread use to the public. “Even the modern great library,” he wrote, “is not generally consulted; it is nibbled at by a few.” To truly harness our external knowledge, we needed to bring it closer to our minds.

Machines can also remind us of facts precisely when we need reminding. If you’ll recall the Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting from the second chapter, Ebbinghaus found that we forget things in a predictable pattern: More than half our facts are gone in an hour, about two thirds are gone within a day, and within a month we’re down to about 20 percent. Ebbinghaus and his followers theorized that this process could work in reverse. If you reviewed a fact one day after you first encountered it, you’d fight the curve of loss. This process is called “spaced repetition,” and experiments and anecdotes suggest it can work. It explains why students who cram for a test never retain much; the material dissolves because they never repeat it. But though spaced repetition is clever and effective, it has never caught on widely, because ironically, the technique relies on our frail human memories. How would you remember to review something the next day? Then a few days later, a week, and three months?

Machines, however, are superb at following these rote schedules. In the last decade, software programmers began selling tools intended to let you feed in facts, which the computer then reminds you to review on a reverse Ebbinghaus curve. Use of this software has remained a subculture, mostly by people seeking to learn a foreign language, though devout adherents use it to retain everything from recipes to poetry…

Appealing though it might be to offload the responsibility for teaching our students basic knowledge to their elementary school teachers or to Google, the research of cognitive psychologists who study learning and the basic study habits of most students suggest that we cannot do this. One of our first and most important tasks as teachers is to help students develop a rich body of knowledge in our content areas– without doing so, we handicap considerably their ability to engage in cognitive activities like thinking and evaluating and creating. As cognitive psychologist Daniel Willlingham argued, you can’t think creatively about information unless you have information in your head that you can think about. “Research from cognitive science has shown,” he explained, “that the sorts of skills that teachers want for their students — such as the ability to analyze and think critically — require extensive factual knowledge” (Willingham 2009, p. 25). We have to know things, in other words, to think critically about them. Without any information readily available to us in our brains, we tend to see new facts (from our Google searches) in isolated, noncontextual ways that lead to shallow thinking. Facts are related to other facts, and the more of those relationships we can see, the more we will prove capable of critical analysis and creative thinking. Students who don’t bother to memorize anything will never get much beyond skating the surface of a topic.

It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past. ~Mark Epstein

Do you study by reading and re-reading your notes to yourself silently? Stop! I know it feels good, in a monkish, masochistic, pain equals progress sort of way to beat your brains against a book hour after hour, but it’s also a terribly inefficient way to review. Instead, lecture to an imaginary class, out-loud, about the main topics, without reading off your notes. If you can state an idea once, in complete sentences, out-loud, it will stick. You don’t need to re-read it a dozen times. If you can’t capture it out-loud then you don’t understand it yet. Go back. Review. Then try again.

The Pattern Language of the Library

People are different sizes; they sit in different ways. And yet there is a tendency in modern times to make all the chairs alike.

Another accessibility hint for public space like libraries: chairs with arms don’t work for everyone. Not everyone is the same width. pic.twitter.com/O3mkOWr8N3

— Megan Lynch (@may_gun) May 4, 2017

Of course, this tendency to make all chairs alike is fueled by the demands of prefabrication and the supposed economies of scale. Designers have for years been creating “perfect chairs” — chairs that can be manufactured cheaply on mass. These chairs are made to be comfortable for the average person. And the institutions that buy chairs have been persuaded that buying these chairs in bulk meets all their needs.

My neighbours cut ten feet off their shrub, and replaced it with a community bench! ❤

A post shared by dave meslin (@davemeslin) on

This is a fundamental view of the world. It says that when you build a thing, you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.

There’s a thoughtlessness in how people consider their audience that’s reflected in how they set up chairs. You can see that thoughtlessness immediately…

… At a conference, if you want to create a discussion group, you can set up the chairs in a circle, and you don’t need a table…

… Setting up chairs takes a lot of time, but anyone can do it. If you’re running a project and you want to get people involved, ask them to set up chairs. People like to set up chairs, and it’s easy work to delegate. It’s even easier to get people to put chairs away.

Everyone should know these things.

Bret Victor, Bruno Latour, the citations that bring them together, and the networks that keep them apart

It is an accepted notion that the normative view of science expounded by Merton, provided a sociological interpretation of citation analysis in the late 1960s and 70s. According to his theory, a recognition of the previous work of scientists and of the originality of their work is an institutional form of awarding rewards for efforts. Citations are a means of providing such recognition and reward.

Latour’s views of citations are part of his research on the social construction of scientific facts and laboratories, science in the making as contrasted with ready made science, that is beliefs which are treated as scientific facts and are not questioned… In this phase, according to Latour, references in articles are among the resources that are under author’s command in their efforts at trying to “make their point firm” and to lend support to their knowledge claims. Other “allies” or resources are, for example, the editors of the journals which publish the articles, the referees of the journals, and the research funds which finance the pieces of research…

Latour’s theory has an advantage over that of Merton’s in that it can explain many of the findings made in the so-called citation content and context studies mentioned. These findings relate to the contents of citations, which are vastly different and vary from one situation to another; also the fact that the surrounding textual contexts in which they are used differ greatly. Such differences include whether citations are positive or negational, essential to the references text or perfunctory, whether they concern concepts or techniques or neither, whether they provide background reading, alert readers to new work, provide leads, etc.

The Latourian views have been largely ignored by the bibliographic community if their discussions about citations. The reasons why this is so are intriguing. An important conceptual reason is presumably the fact that in Latourian theory, the major of references is to support the knowledge claims of the citing author. This explanation does not legitimate major uses of citation indexing, its use as a performance measure – as in the use of citation counts which presupposes that references indicate a positive assessment of the cited document — or as an indication of the development of specialties – as in co-citation analysis.

What would you get if you designed the scientific paper from scratch today? A little while ago I spoke to Bret Victor, a researcher who worked at Apple on early user-interface prototypes for the iPad and now runs his own lab in Oakland, California, that studies the future of computing. Victor has long been convinced that scientists haven’t yet taken full advantage of the computer. “It’s not that different than looking at the printing press, and the evolution of the book,” he said. After Gutenberg, the printing press was mostly used to mimic the calligraphy in bibles. It took nearly 100 years of technical and conceptual improvements to invent the modern book. “There was this entire period where they had the new technology of printing, but they were just using it to emulate the old media.”

Victor gestured at what might be possible when he redesigned a journal article by Duncan Watts and Steven Strogatz, “Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks.” He chose it both because it’s one of the most highly cited papers in all of science and because it’s a model of clear exposition. (Strogatz is best known for writing the beloved “Elements of Math” column for The New York Times.)

The Watts-Strogatz paper described its key findings the way most papers do, with text, pictures, and mathematical symbols. And like most papers, these findings were still hard to swallow, despite the lucid prose. The hardest parts were the ones that described procedures or algorithms, because these required the reader to “play computer” in their head, as Victor put it, that is, to strain to maintain a fragile mental picture of what was happening with each step of the algorithm.

Victor’s redesign interleaved the explanatory text with little interactive diagrams that illustrated each step. In his version, you could see the algorithm at work on an example. You could even control it yourself.

The more people believe in a statement and use it as an unquestioned fact, as a black box, the more it undergoes transformations. It may even undergo a process which Latour calls stylisation or erosion, but which Garfield called obliteration by information, that is, a scientist’s work becomes so generic tot he field, so integrated into its body of knowledge that people neglect to cite it explicitly.

One example will illustrate what I mean. La Pérouse travels through the Pacific for Louis XVI with the explicit mission of bringing back a better map. One day, landing on what he calls Sakhalin he meets with Chinese and tries to learn from them whether Sakhalin is an island or a peninsula. To his great surprise the Chinese understand geography quite well. An older man stands up and draws a map of his island on the sand with the scale and the details needed by La Pérouse. Another, who is younger, sees that the rising tide will soon erase the map and picks up one of La Pérouse’s notebooks to draw the map again with a pencil . . .

What are the differences between the savage geography and the civilized one? There is no need to bring a prescientific mind into the picture, nor any distinction between the close and open predicaments (Horton, 1977), nor primary and secondary theories (Horton, 1982), nor divisions between implicit and explicit, or concrete and abstract geography. The Chinese are quite able to think in terms of a map but also to talk about navigation on an equal footing with La Pérouse. Strictly speaking, the ability to draw and to visualize does not really make a difference either, since they all draw maps more or less based on the same principle of projection, first on sand, then on paper. So perhaps there is no difference after all and, geographies being equal, relativism is right. This, however, cannot be, because La Pérouse does something that is going to create an enormous difference between the Chinese and the European. What is, for the former, a drawing of no importance that the tide may erase, is for the latter the single object of his mission. What should be brought into the picture is how the picture is brought back. The Chinese does not have to keep track, since he can generate many maps at will, being born on this island and fated to die on it. La Pérouse is not going to stay for more than a night; he is not born here and will die far away. What is he doing, then? He is passing through all these places, in order to take something back to Versailles where many people expect his map to determine who was right and wrong about whether Sakhalin was an island, who will own this and that part of the world, and along which routes the next ships should sail.

Pérez told me stories of scientists who sacrificed their academic careers to build software, because building software counted for so little in their field: The creator of matplotlib, probably the most widely used tool for generating plots in scientific papers, was a postdoc in neuroscience but had to leave academia for industry. The same thing happened to the creator of NumPy, a now-ubiquitous tool for numerical computing. Pérez himself said, “I did get straight-out blunt comments from many, many colleagues, and from senior people and mentors who said: Stop doing this, you’re wasting your career, you’re wasting your talent.” Unabashedly, he said, they’d tell him to “go back to physics and mathematics and writing papers.”

Chasing Shadows

The adjective ‘scientific’ is not attributed to isolated texts that are able to oppose the opinion of the multitude by virtue of some mysterious faculty. A document becomes scientific when its claims stop being isolated and when the number of people engaged in publishing it are many and explicitly indicated in the text. When reading it, it is on the contrary the reader who becomes isolated. The careful marking of the allies’ presence is the first sign that the controversy is now heated enough to generate technical documents.

Latour B. Science in action: how to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 2005. p. 33.

Bret Victor’s Bookshelf

What did I learn from this exchange?
That some men think an individual choice to not read something w/ 0 women cited or quoted, noting that “I feel like maybe I’ve already heard men talk about scientific papers” is more sexist than not citing women + https://t.co/5EWR8vuQB0

— Chris Bourg (@mchris4duke) April 12, 2018

The idea that all forms of knowledge reflect the particular conditions in which they are produced, and at some level reflect the social identities and social locations of knowledge producers. The term was coined by historian of science Donna Haraway in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: the Reinvention of Nature (1991) to question what she regarded as two dangerous myths in Western societies. The first was that it is possible to be epistemologically objective, to somehow be a neutral mouthpiece for the world’s truths if one adopts the ‘right’ method of inquiry. The second myth was that science and scientists are uniquely and exclusively equipped to be objective. Haraway was not advocating relativism. Instead, she was calling for all knowledge producers to take full responsibility for their epistemic claims rather than pretending that ‘reality’ has definitively grounded these claims.

OK ScholComm – time for some game theory

Games without change, like War and Chutes & Ladders, are games without choices; they incorporate change only in the smallest, most random ways. Other than choosing to play or quit, players of these games can do nothing more than follow fate’s fickle finger until a winner emerges. Only children have patience for such games; more experienced players yearn for a higher level of change and the choices that accompany it.

At the other end of the change continuum lies chaos, a swirling mass of rules and playing pieces that survive only on whim. The perfect example: Calvinball. Again, only children can tolerate such games; other players require a structured set of rules for change that they can refer to as needed.

But there are game designers who encourage rule-breaking via the concept of *meta-rules* — that is, rules with a game that change the rules of the game itself. With meta-rules, players can explore any point they wish on a change continuum simply by altering the rules of a game.

This article proposes the “rules mutable game” as a metaphor for understanding the operation of copyright reform. Using the game of Calvinball (created by artist  Bill Watterson in his long-running comic strip Calvin & Hobbes) as an illustrative device, and drawing on public choice theory’s account of how political change is effected by privileged interests, the article explores how the notion of a game in which players can modify the rules of the game while it is being played accounts for how users are often disadvantaged in copyright reform processes. The game metaphor also introduces a normative metric of fairness into the heart of the assessment of the copyright reform process from the standpoint of the user. The notion of a rules mutable game tells us something important about the kinds of stories we should be telling about copyright and copyright reform. The narrative power of the “fair play” norm embedded in the concept of the game can facilitate rhetoric which does not just doom users to dwell on their political losses, but empowers them to strategize for future victories.

Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life; they are played in order to be won, which is when they end. But infinite games are more mysterious. Their object is not winning, but ensuring the continuation of play. The rules may change, the boundaries may change, even the participants may change—as long as the game is never allowed to come to an end.

The goal of the infinite game is to keep playing — to explore every way to play the game, to include all games, all possible players, to widen what is meant by playing, to spend all, to hoard nothing, to seed the universe with improbable plays, and if possible to surpass everything that has come before.


Nearly every game discussed thus far, no matter how successful on its own, owes a debt to Nomic, a rule-changing game that has spawned hundreds of variations over the past two decades.

Nomic was created in 1982 by Peter Suber, a professor of philosophy at Earlham College, as an appendix to his book The Paradox of Self-Amendment. This book explored the possible complications of a government system (such as that of the U.S.) in which a constitution includes rules for self-amendment. As Suber wrote, “While self-amendment appears to be an esoteric feature of law, capturing it in a game creates a remarkably complete microcosm of a functional legal system.

As created, Nomic consists of a two-tiered system of 16 “immutable” and 13 “mutable” rules. Players take turns proposing rule changes and new amendments, and earn points by voting and throwing a die. The first player to achive 100 points wins.

As dry as this sounds, games of Nomic can quickly explode in unimaginable directions. Perhaps the winner must now achieve 1,000 points — make that 1,000 points and the title “Supreme Overlord.” How does a player become titled? Propose a rule. On second thought, forget points; let’s give every rule a color and now someone wins by passing proposals that are colored green, red, and brown. “The ability of Nomic to change itself is a wonderful thing,” says Kevan Davis. “If the game ever starts to become boring, it change to whatever people think is less boring. If it’s going to fast, it can be slowed down; if it’s going to slowly, it can be speeded up. If people think it could use fewer dice and more rubber-band firing, then it gets fewer dice and more rubber-band firing.”

The Glass Bead Game takes place at an unspecified date centuries into the future. Hesse suggested that he imagined the book’s narrator writing around the start of the 25th century. The setting is a fictional province of central Europe called Castalia, which was reserved by political decision for the life of the mind; technology and economic life are kept to a strict minimum. Castalia is home to an austere order of intellectuals with a twofold mission: to run boarding schools for boys, and to cultivate and play the Glass Bead Game, whose exact nature remains elusive and whose devotees occupy a special school within Castalia known as Waldzell. The rules of the game are only alluded to—they are so sophisticated that they are not easy to imagine. Playing the game well requires years of hard study of music, mathematics, and cultural history. The game is essentially an abstract synthesis of all arts and sciences. It proceeds by players making deep connections between seemingly unrelated topics… The plot chronicles Knecht’s education as a youth, his decision to join the order, his mastery of the Game, and his advancement in the order’s hierarchy to eventually become Magister Ludi, the executive officer of the Castalian Order’s game administrators.

Chess is a deep and important human artifact, about which much of value has been written. But some philosophical research projects are more like working out the truths of chmess. Chmess is just like chess except that the king can move two squares in any direction, not one. I just invented it—though no doubt others have explored it in depth to see if it is worth playing. Probably it isn’t. It probably has other names. I didn’t bother investigating these questions because although they have true answers, they just aren’t worth my time and energy to discover. Or so I think. There are just as many a priori truths of chmess as there are of chess (an infinity), and they are just as hard to discover. And that means that if people actually did get involved in investigating the truths of chmess, they would make mistakes, which would need to be corrected, and this opens up a whole new field of a priori investigation, the higher-order truths of chmess, such as the following:
1. Jones’ (1989) proof that p is a truth of chmess is
flawed: he overlooks the following possibility …
2. Smith’s (2002) claim that Jones’ (1989) proof is
flawed presupposes the truth of Brown’s lemma
(1975), which has recently been challenged by
Garfinkle (2002)

Philosophy is an a priori discipline, like mathematics, or at least it has an a priori methodology at its core, and this fact cuts two ways. On the one hand, it excuses philosophers from spending tedious hours in the lab or the field, and from learning data-gathering techniques, statistical methods, geography, history, foreign languages …, empirical science, so they have plenty of time for honing their philosophical skills. On the other hand, as is often noted, you can make philosophy out of just about anything, and this is not always a blessing.

In 2010, Jane McGonigal had a public conversation with Stewart Brand as part of an event Called The Long Conversation that was put on by The Long Now Foundation. Jane McGonigal started the conversation by bringing up Stewart Brand’s past experience with game design as part of the “New Games Movement” in the late 1970s. McGonigal asked Brand if the New Games movement was designed to “change the world” and Brand said yes, and told her of his game-design origin story

During the late 70s, he and friends were talking about how the Cold War was being played out by “rules” that would only result in bad endings for everyone and as such, the rules of the Cold War needed to change. And Brand thought about when he was a kid, when he and his friends changed the rules all the time. For example, kids would change the rules of the game of stickball  that they were playing to accommodate any new kids who arrived to play. And so he and his friends started creating New Games for adults to explore and play in a world that they would rather live in.

Also in 2010, I was invited to be participant in the Evoke Summit held at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC where I had the chance to meet and thank Jane McGonigal in person. The summit was a reward for the winners of the game who had come up with their winning proposals for social entrepreneurial projects and the two days were filled with activities geared to making those proposals a reality.  One of the activities was to work on a short memorable tagline for one’s work that would distill the essence of who you are and what you want to achieve. Eventually I came up with this phrase for myself that I still feature on my professional portfolio: Changing the rules so more can win.

What ruined the web was the lack of good library software

Early homepages were like little libraries…

A well-organized homepage was a sign of personal and professional pride — even if it was nothing but a collection of fun gifs, or instructions on how to make the best potato guns, or homebrew research on gerbil genetics.

Dates didn’t matter all that much. Content lasted longer; there was less of it. Older content remained in view, too, because the dominant metaphor was table of contents rather than diary entry.

Everyone with a homepage became a de facto amateur reference librarian.

Obviously, it didn’t last.

Movable Type didn’t just kill off blog customization.

It (and its competitors) actively killed other forms of web production.

Non-diarists — those folks with the old school librarian-style homepages — wanted those super-cool sidebar calendars just like the bloggers did. They were lured by the siren of easy use. So despite the fact that they weren’t writing daily diaries, they invested time and effort into migrating to this new platform.

They soon learned the chronostream was a decent servant, but a terrible master.

Blogging again and Never again

This week on Function, we take a look at the rising labor movement in tech by hearing from those whose advocacy was instrumental in setting the foundation for what we see today around the dissent from tech workers.

Anil talks to Leigh Honeywell, CEO and founder of Tall Poppy and creator of the Never Again pledge, about how her early work, along with others, helped galvanize tech workers to connect the dots between different issues in tech.

Fn 7: Behind the Rising Labor Movement in Tech

We, the undersigned, are employees of tech organizations and companies based in the United States. We are engineers, designers, business executives, and others whose jobs include managing or processing data about people. We are choosing to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans, immigrants, and all people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the incoming administration’s proposed data collection policies. We refuse to build a database of people based on their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable.

We have educated ourselves on the history of threats like these, and on the roles that technology and technologists played in carrying them out. We see how IBM collaborated to digitize and streamline the Holocaust, contributing to the deaths of six million Jews and millions of others. We recall the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. We recognize that mass deportations precipitated the very atrocity the word genocide was created to describe: the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey. We acknowledge that genocides are not merely a relic of the distant past—among others, Tutsi Rwandans and Bosnian Muslims have been victims in our lifetimes.

Today we stand together to say: not on our watch, and never again.

“Our pledge”, Never Again.

The Intercept is reporting on Thomson Reuters response to Privacy International’s letter to TRI CEO Jim Smith expressing the watchdog group’s “concern” over the company’s involvement with ICE. According to The Intercept article “Thomson Reuters Special Services sells ICE ‘a continuous monitoring and alert service that provides real-time jail booking data to support the identification and location of aliens’ as part of a $6.7 million contract, and West Publishing, another subsidiary, provides ICE’s “Detention Compliance and Removals” office with access to a vast license-plate scanning database, along with agency access to the Consolidated Lead Evaluation and Reporting, or CLEAR, system.” The two contracts together are worth $26 million. The article observes that “the company is ready to defend at lease one of those contracts while remaining silent on the rest.”

“Thomson Reuters defends $26 million contracts with ICE”
by Joe Hodnicki (Law Librarian Blog) on June 28, 2018

In 2015, Reed Elsevier rebranded itself as RELX and moved further away from traditional academic and professional publishing. This year [2018], the company purchased ThreatMetrix, a cybersecurity company that specializes in tracking and authenticating people’s online activities, which even tech reporters saw as a notable departure from the company’s prior academic publishing role.

Surveillance and Legal Research Providers: What You Need to Know“, Sarah Lamdan, Medium, July 6, 2018.

If the map becomes the territory then we will be lost

That which computation sets out to map and model it eventually takes over. Google sets out to index all human knowledge and becomes the source and the arbiter of that knowledge: it became what people think. Facebook set out to map the connections between people – the social graph – and became the platform for those connections, irrevocably reshaping societal relationships. Like an air control system mistaking a flock of birds for a fleet of bombers, software is unable to distinguish between the model of the world and reality – and, once conditioned, neither are we.

James Bridle, New Dark Age, p.39.

The agreement is designed to collect quantitative information grouped under the following broad themes: a) student experience; b) innovation in teaching and learning excellence; c) access and equity; d) research excellence and impact; and e) innovation, economic development and community engagement. The collection of system-wide data is not a bad idea on its own. For example, looking at metrics like student retention data between years one and two, proportion of expenditures on student services, graduation rates, data on the number and proportion of Indigenous students, first-generation students and students with disabilities, and graduate employment rates, all can be helpful.

Where the plan goes off-track is with the system-wide metrics used to assess research excellence and impact: 1) Tri-council funding (total and share by council); 2) number of papers (total and per full-time faculty); and 3) number of citations (total and per paper). A tabulation of our worth as scholars is simply not possible through narrowly conceived, quantified metrics that merely total up research grants, peer-reviewed publications and citations. Such an approach perversely de-incentivises time-consuming research, community-based research, Indigenous research, innovative lines of inquiry and alternative forms of scholarship. It effectively displaces research that “matters” with research that “counts” and puts a premium on doing simply what counts as fast as possible…

Even more alarming – and what is hardly being discussed – is how these damaging and limited terms of reference will be amplified when the agreement enters its third phase, SMA3, from 2020 to 2023. In this third phase, the actual funding allotments to universities will be tied to their performance on the agreement’s extremely deficient metrics.

Ontario university strategic mandate agreements: a train wreck waiting to happen”, Marc Spooner, University Affairs, Jan 23 2018

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.

Anonymous, “The Goose and the Commons”

They say that the networking site is illegally obtaining and distributing research papers protected by copyright law. They also suggest that the site is deliberately tricking researchers into uploading protected content.

One of the least understood and thus least appreciated functions of calibre is that it uses the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) standard (opds-spec.org) to allow one to easily share e-books (at least those without Digital Rights Management software installed) to e-readers on the same local network. For example, on my iPod Touch, I have the e-reader program Stanza (itunes.apple.com/us/app/stanza/id284956128) installed and from it, I can access the calibre library catalogue on my laptop from within my house, since both are on the same local WiFi network. And so can anyone else in my family from their own mobile device. It’s worth noting that Stanza was bought by Amazon in 2011 and according to those who follow the digital e-reader market, it appears that Amazon may have done so solely for the purpose of stunting its development and sunsetting the software (Hoffelder,2013)

Grinding the Gears: Academic Librarians and Civic Responsibility” Lisa Sloniowski, Mita Williams, Patti Ryan, Urban Library Journal. Vol. 19. No.1 (2013). Special Issue: Libraries, Information and the Right to the city: Proceedings of the 2013 LACUNY Institute.

If individual researchers determine that seamlessness is valuable to them, will they in turn license access to a complete end-to-end service for themselves or on behalf of their lab?

And, indeed, whatever model the university may select, if individual researchers determine that seamlessness is valuable to them, will they in turn license access to a complete end-to-end service for themselves or on behalf of their lab?  So, the university’s efforts to ensure a more competitive overall marketplace through componentization may ultimately serve only to marginalize it.

“Big Deal: Should Universities Outsource More Core Research Infrastructure?”, Roger C. Schonfeld, January 4, 2018

The genius — sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental — of the enterprises now on such a steep ascent is that they have found their way through the looking-glass and emerged as something else. Their models are no longer models. The search engine is no longer a model of human knowledge, it is human knowledge. What began as a mapping of human meaning now defines human meaning, and has begun to control, rather than simply catalog or index, human thought. No one is at the controls. If enough drivers subscribe to a real-time map, traffic is controlled, with no central model except the traffic itself. The successful social network is no longer a model of the social graph, it is the social graph. This is why it is a winner-take-all game.

Childhood’s End, Edge, George Dyson [1.1.19]

Digitization is a multiplier and metadata is a fractal

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (sorry), Helga Hufflepuff’s goblet is stored in a vault at Gringotts that’s been cursed so that every time you touch one of the objects in it, dozens of copies are created. On the cover of the original U.K. edition of the book, Harry, Ron and Hermione are pictured scrambling atop a wave of facsimile’d treasure. I’ve started thinking about special collections digitization like this. Digitization doesn’t streamline or simplify library collections; rather, it multiplies them, as every interaction creates additional objects for curation and preservation

The amount of data that can be conjured from any given thing is almost limitless. Pick up a plain grey rock from the side of the road, and in moments you can make a small dataset about it: size, weight, colour, texture, shape, material. If you take that rock to a laboratory these data can be made greatly more precise, and instrumentation beyond our own human sensorium can add to the list of records: temperature, chemical composition, carbon date. From here there is a kind of fractal unfolding of information that begins to occur, where each of these records in turn manifest their own data. The time at which the measurement was made, the instrument used to record it, the person who performed the task, the place where the analysis was performed. In turn, each of these new meta-data records can carry its own data: the age of the person who performed the task, the model of the instrument, the temperature of the room. Data begets data, which begets meta data, repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s data all the way down.

Haunted libraries, invisible labour, and the librarian as an instrument of surveillance

Libraries are haunted houses. As our patrons move through scenes and illusions that took years of labor to build and maintain, we workers are hidden, erasing ourselves in the hopes of providing a seamless user experience, in the hopes that these patrons will help defend Libraries against claims of death or obsolescence. However, ‘death of libraries’ arguments that equate death with irrelevance are fundamentally mistaken. If we imagine that a collective fear has come true and libraries are dead, it stands to reason that library workers are ghosts. Ghosts have considerable power and ubiquity in the popular imagination, making death a site of creative possibility. Using the scholarly lens of haunting, I argue that we can experience time creatively, better positioning ourselves to resist the demands of neoliberalism by imagining and enacting positive futurities.

Intersubjectivity and Ghostly Library Labor by Liz Settoducato, In the library with the lead pipe

In such examples, books are a necessary component of the aesthetic of librarianship, juxtaposing the material (books and physical space) with the immaterial (ghosts). Juxtaposition is central to Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopias, places he describes as “capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible” (1984, 6). Foucault identifies cemeteries, libraries, and museums among his examples of heterotopias, as they are linked by unique relationships to time and memory. Cemeteries juxtapose life and death, loss (of life) and creation (of monuments), history and modernity as their grounds become increasingly populated. Similarly, libraries and museums embody “a sort of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in an immobile place,” organizing and enclosing representations of memory and knowledge (Foucault 1984, 7).

Intersubjectivity and Ghostly Library Labor by Liz Settoducato, In the library with the lead pipe

Richard Bentley, for his part, continued to run into problems with libraries. Long after the quarrel of the ancients and moderns had fizzled, he installed a young cousin, Thomas Bentley, as keeper of the library of Cambridge’s Trinity College. At Richard’s urging, the young librarian followed the path of a professional, pursuing a doctoral degree and taking long trips to the Continent in search of new books for the library. The college officers, however, did not approve of his activities. The library had been endowed by Sir Edward Stanhope, whose own ideas about librarianship were decidedly more modest than those of the Bentleys. In 1728, a move was made to remove the younger Bentley, on the ground that his long absence, studying and acquiring books in Rome and elsewhere, among other things, disqualified him from the post. In his characteristically bullish fashion, Richard Bentley rode to his nephew’s defense. In a letter, he admits that “the keeper [has not] observed all the conditions expressed in Sir Edward Stanhope’s will,” which had imposed a strict definition of the role of librarian. Bentley enumerates Sir Edward’s stipulations, thereby illuminating the sorry state of librarianship in the eighteenth century. The librarian is not to teach or hold office in the college; he shall not be absent from his appointed place in the library more than forty days out of the year; he cannot hold a degree above that of master of arts; he is to watch each library reader, and never let one out of his sight

Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles

Presently, a handful of municipal libraries in Denmark operate with open service models. These open libraries rely on the self-service of patrons and have no library staff present—loans, returns, admittance and departing the physical library space are regulated through automated access points. Many public library users are familiar with self-check out kiosks and access to the collections database through a personal computing station, but few patrons have ever been in a public library without librarians, staff workers or security personnel. Libraries that rely on self-service operation models represent a new kind of enclosed environment in societies of control. Such automated interior spaces correspond to a crisis in libraries and other institutions of memory like museums or archives. Under the guise of reform, longer service hours, and cost-saving measures, libraries with rationalized operating models conscript their users into a new kind of surveillance….

The open library disciplines and controls the user by eliminating the librarian, enrolling the user into a compulsory self-service to engage with the automated space. The power of this engagement is derived from a regime of panoptic access points that visualize, capture and document the user’s path and her ability to regulate herself during every movement and transition in the library—from entering, searching the catalog, browsing the web, borrowing information resources, to exiting the building.

Soft Discipline and Open Libraries in Denmark, Amelia Acker. Posted on Saturday, November 3, 2012, at 5:00 pm.

The other day, after watching Crimson Peak for the first time, I woke up with a fully-fleshed idea for a Gothic horror story about experience design. And while the story would take place in the past, it would really be about the future. Why? Because the future itself is Gothic.

First, what is Gothic? Gothic (or “the Gothic” if you’re in academia) is a Romantic mode of literature and art. It’s a backlash against the Enlightenment obsession with order and taxonomy. It’s a radical imposition of mystery on an increasingly mundane landscape. It’s the anticipatory dread of irrational behaviour in a seemingly rational world. But it’s also a mode that places significant weight on secrets — which, in an era of diminished privacy and ubiquitous surveillance, resonates ever more strongly….

… Consider the disappearance of the interface. As our devices become smaller and more intuitive, our need to see how they work in order to work them goes away. Buttons have transformed into icons, and icons into gestures. Soon gestures will likely transform into thoughts, with brainwave-triggers and implants quietly automating certain functions in the background of our lives. Once upon a time, we valued big hulking chunks of technology: rockets, cars, huge brushed-steel hi-fis set in ornate wood cabinets, thrumming computers whose output could heat an office, even odd little single-purpose kitchen widgets. Now what we want is to be Beauty in the Beast’s castle: making our wishes known to the household gods, and watching as the “automagic” takes care of us. From Siri to Cortana to Alexa, we are allowing our lives and livelihoods to become haunted by ghosts without shells.

Our Gothic Future, Madeline Ashby, February 25, 2016.

However, it does not have to be this way. David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder also take up the questions of embodiment and productivity, examining through a disability studies lens the ways in which disabled people have historically been positioned as outside the laboring masses due to their “non-productive bodies” (2010, 186). They posit that this distinction transforms as the landscape of labor shifts toward digital and immaterial outputs from work in virtual or remote contexts, establishing the disabled body as a site of radical possibility. Alison Kafer’s crip time is similarly engaged in radical re-imagining, challenging the ways in which “‘the future’ has been deployed in the service of compulsory able-bodiedness and able-mindedness” (2013, 26-27). That is, one’s ability to exist in the future, or live in a positive version of the future is informed by the precarity of their social position. The work of theorists like Mitchell, Snyder, and Kafer is significant because it insists on a future in which disabled people not only exist, but also thrive despite the pressures of capitalism.

Intersubjectivity and Ghostly Library Labor by Liz Settoducato, In the library with the lead pipe

Back to the Future of Libraries

When most scientists were trying to make people use code to talk to computers, Karen Sparck Jones taught computers to understand human language instead.

In so doing, her technology established the basis of search engines like Google.

A self-taught programmer with a focus on natural language processing, and an advocate for women in the field, Sparck Jones also foreshadowed by decades Silicon Valley’s current reckoning, warning about the risks of technology being led by computer scientists who were not attuned to its social implications

“A lot of the stuff she was working on until five or 10 years ago seemed like mad nonsense, and now we take it for granted,” said John Tait, a longtime friend who works with the British Computer Society.

Overlooked No More: Karen Sparck Jones, Who Established the Basis for Search Engines” by Nellie Bowles, The New York Times, Jan. 2, 2019

Making blog posts count as part of a not-so-secret feminist agenda

Secret Feminist Agenda is a weekly podcast about the insidious, nefarious, insurgent, and mundane ways we enact our feminism in our daily lives.

About, Secret Feminist Agenda

What did we learn about scholarly podcasting… How and when and where we create new knowledge, that’s what we call scholarship, generally, right?

Secret Feminist Agenda, 3.26

Hannah: I met a prof at the Modernist Studies Association Conference a few years ago who was telling me that he does a comic book podcast with a friend of his and they’ve been doing it for years and it has quite a popular following, and I was like, “Oh, awesome! Do you count that as your scholarly output?” and he said “No, I don’t need to. I have tenure.” And I was like, “Well, but, couldn’t you use tenure as a way to break space open for those who don’t but want to be doing that kind of work? Isn’t there another way to think about what it means to have security as a position from which you can radicalize?”, but that so often doesn’t seem to prove to be the case.

Ames: “Well, and now we’re back to that’s feminist thinking -what you said there and what that person is illustrating is not feminist thinking…”

Secret Feminist Agenda, 3.26

Considering dark deposit

Institutional repository managers are continuously looking for new ways to demonstrate the value of their repositories. One way to do this is to create a more inclusive repository that provides reliable information about the research output produced by faculty affiliated with the institution.

Bjork, K., Cummings-Sauls, R., & Otto, R. (2019). Opening Up Open Access Institutional Repositories to Demonstrate Value: Two Universities’ Pilots on Including Metadata-Only Records. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 7(1). DOI: http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2220

Yes quantifying difficult! But we know that Scholar will not index IRs with < 25% full-text. Mistake to think CRIS = IR. Different

— George Macgregor 🇪🇺🇩🇰🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (@g3om4c) March 13, 2017

When I am asked to explain how to achieve a particular result within scholarly communication, more often than not, I find myself describing four potential options:

– a workflow of Elsevier products (BePress, SSRN, Scopus, SciVal, Pure)

– a workflow of Clarivate products (Web of Science, InCites, Endnote, Journal Citation Reports)

– a workflow of Springer-Nature products (Dimensions, Figshare, Altmetrics)

– a DIY workflow from a variety of independent sources (the library’s institutional repository, ORCiD, Open Science Framework)

If the map becomes the territory than we will be lost

There are at least six types of university OA policy. Here we orga-nize them by their methods for avoiding copyright troubles…

3. The policy seeks no rights at all, but requires deposit in the repository. If the institution already has permission to make the work OA, then it makes it OA from the moment of deposit. Otherwise the deposit will be “dark” (non-OA) (See p. 24) until the institution can obtain permission to make it OA. During the period of dark deposit, at least the metadata will be OA.

Good Practices For University Open-Access Policies, Stuart Shieber and Peter Suber, 2013

Having a more complete picture of how much an article has been cited by other articles is an immediate clear benefit of Open Citations. Right now you can get a piece of that via the above tools I’ve listed and, maybe, a piece is all you need. If you’ve got an article that’s been cited 100s of times, likely you aren’t going to look through each of those citing articles. However, if you’ve got an article or a work that only been cited a handful of times, likely you will be much more aware of what those citing articles are saying about your article and how they are using your information.

Ryan Regier,The longer Elsevier refuses to make their citations open, the clearer it becomes that their high profit model makes them anti-open

I4OC requests that all scholarly publishers make references openly available by providing access to the reference lists they submit to Crossref. At present, most of the large publishers—including the American Physical Society, Cambridge University Press, PLOS, SAGE, Springer Nature, and Wiley—have opened their reference lists. As a result, half of the references deposited in Crossref are now freely available. We urge all publishers who have not yet opened their reference lists to do so now. This includes the American Chemical Society, Elsevier, IEEE, and Wolters Kluwer Health. By far the largest number of closed references can be found in journals published by Elsevier: of the approximately half a billion closed references stored in Crossref, 65% are from Elsevier journals. Opening these references would place the proportion of open references at nearly 83%.

Open citations: A letter from the scientometric community to scholarly publishers

The Library of the Living and the Library of the Dead

When I was a child, the walls of books in the adult section of our modest public library always filed me with unease and even dread. So many books that I would never read. So many books I suspected – even then – that were never read. I was under the impression that all the books were so old that the authors must all be dead. Unlike my refuge – the children’s section of the library, partitioned by a glass door set in a glass wall – this section of the library was dark and largely silent. The books were ghosts.

I am imagining a library that is made up of two distinct sections. These sections may be on separate floors. They may be in separate buildings. But these sections must be separated and distinct.

One of these sections would be ‘The Library of the Living’. It would be comprised of works by authors who still walked on the earth, somewhere, among us. The other section would be ‘The Library of the Dead’.

When an authors passes from the earthly realm, a librarian take their work from the Library of the Living and bring it, silently, to the Library of the Dead.

“We don’t have much time, you know. We need to find the others. We need to find mentors. We need to be mentors. We don’t have much time.”

Choose your quarantine character


Creating your quarantine character😷😂#fyp #viral #fun

♬ оригинальный звук – alextattoo

Homo Ludens is a book originally published in Dutch in 1938 by Dutch historian and cultural theorist Johan Huizinga. It discusses the importance of the play element of culture and society. Huizinga suggests that play is primary to and a necessary (though not sufficient) condition of the generation of culture. The Latin word ludens is the present active participle of the verb ludere, which itself is cognate with the noun ludus. Ludus has no direct equivalent in English, as it simultaneously refers to sport, play, school, and practice.

Homo Ludens from Wikipedia, April 10, 2020

Playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles

Lusory attitude from Wikipedia, April 10, 2020

The Untitled Game of the Goose

A version of the game was given as a gift by Francesco I de’ Medici of Florence to King Philip II of Spain sometime between 1574 and 1587. In June 1597 John Wolfe enters the game in the Stationers’ Register, as “the newe and most pleasant game of the goose”.

Game of the Goose from Wikipedia

Make good choices

“It’s easier to look at it as what is not an interesting decision,” says the legendary creator of Civilization. If a player always chooses the first from among a set of three choices, it’s probably not an interesting choice; nor is a random selection…

… Interesting decisions are persistent and affect the game for a certain amount of time, as long as the player has enough information to make the decision – when early choices can ruin the game experience down the road, developers need to present them in a fashion appropriate to that…

Personality Testing using H5P

So, labelling the four player types abstracted, we get: achievers, explorers, socialisers and killers. An easy way to remember these is to consider suits in a conventional pack of cards: achievers are Diamonds (they’re always seeking treasure); explorers are Spades (they dig around for information); socialisers are Hearts (they empathise with other players); killers are Clubs (they hit people with them).

Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: players who suit MUDS“, Richard Bartles

The Librarian as DJ

Pure economic exchanges can relocate to screen interactions with a minimal loss of fidelity, but encounters meant to be less instrumental are proving harder to sustain without the texture of physical space. Most of the apps we use for interaction simply unbundle an informational component from the scene of social contact. This was sufficient under ordinary circumstances, when messaging and video conferencing apps merely complemented in-person exchanges. But now those tools leave users wanting more, failing to substitute the richness and depth that interaction in physical space could otherwise provide.

Consider, for example, the video-conferencing platform Zoom. During the quarantine’s first few weeks, it emerged as a flexible (albeit insecure) tool for conducting interactions that could no longer happen face to face, rapidly expanding beyond its established domain of business meetings to accommodate gatherings ranging from happy hours to dinner parties to dates. But rather than providing support for adjacent activities, as an app like Slack does for office work, Zoom replaces those activities altogether. In other words, users experience Zoom more as a stultified form of virtual reality than an augmented one, because it feels as though there is very little off-screen reality available to augment right now.

Drew Austin, Home Screens, Real Life, April 27th, 2020

In How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell makes an eloquent case for the importance of place as a site of non-transactional human relations. As an example, she describes how, for many, public transportation is “the last non-transactional space in which we are regularly thrown together with a diverse set of strangers, all of whom have different destinations for different reasons.” She goes on to summarize Louis Althusser’s contention that true societies can emerge only within spatial constraints, where individuals live in bounded proximity without the ability to easily disperse. In such settings, individuals have no choice but to encounter one another repeatedly and establish durable connections based upon a firmer foundation than the exchange value those relationships promise. This represents a quite different logic than that of an app that enables hiring random (and often unseen) strangers to perform tasks for us at a social distance.

Librarians are what the internet is aching for — people on task to care about the past, with respect to the past and also to what it shall bequeath to the future. There needs to be rituals in place online to treat people — users — with dignity, both for the living and the dead. For to speak of the humanity of internet users is to recognize the impermanence, the mortality of that humanity.

Everyone is welcome in a library just for being. A person in a library is a person: homeless or not, hurting or not. My dream for the internet, as a final form, is a civic and independent body, where all people are welcomed and respected, guided by principles of justice, rights, and human dignity. For this, users would express care in return, with a sense of purpose and responsibility to the digital spaces organized with these values. With the internet routing through a planet that is the origin of more than a hundred billion lives, such a project means information in abundance. Segmenting and clustering users and history into communities, rather than mass-purpose platforms, would be an integral component to this ideal internet in its cycles of maintenance and renewal.

Joanne McNail, Lurking: How a Person Became a User, 2020.

With our ability to roam the physical environment necessarily compromised, our platforms – Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, etc. etc. – have taken on an even greater significance as the sites of our work and leisure. But how do we inhabit them in psychogeographic terms, as virtual spaces that shape our behaviours and emotions? Is it possible to find alternative paths to the passive consumption modalities that a data-driven culture industry expects of us? Can we amble through our platforms in ways unforeseen by their designers? And understand their infrastructures better through our experiments and investigations?

Ergo, a psychogeographical approach to platform studies as a means to engage with these infrastructures in novel ways (please note: I am not a licensed psychogeographer).

Tactics for resisting platform passivity, Devon Mordell, 2020

It’s time to cut the CRAAP

So when the web came into being, library staff, tasked with teaching students web literacy, began to teach students how to use collection development criteria they had learned in library science programs. The first example of this I know of is Tate & Alexander’s 1996 paper which outlines a lesson plan using the “traditional evaluation criteria of accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, and coverage.” ….

… So let’s keep that in mind as we consider what to do in the future: contrary to public belief we did teach students online information literacy. It’s just that we taught them methodologies that were developed to decide whether to purchase reference sets for libraries

A Short History of CRAAP

The Provenance of Facts

Both the Scatman John and “Maps” issues, however, point to a looming vulnerability in the system. What happens when facts added early on in Wikipedia’s life remain, and take on a life of their own? Neither of these supposed truths outlined above can be traced to any source outside of Wikipedia, and yet, because they initially appeared on Wikipedia and have been repeated elsewhere, they are now, for all intents and purposes, accepted as truth on Wikipedia. It’s twisty.

mysteries of the scatman

Spinach is not an exceptional nutritional source of iron. The leafy green has iron, yes, but not much more than you’d find in other green vegetables. And the plant contains oxalic acid, which inhibits iron absorption.

Why, then, do so many people believe spinach boasts such high iron levels? Scholars committed to unmasking spinach’s myths have long offered a story of academic sloppiness. German chemists in the 1930s misplaced a decimal point, the story goes. They thus overestimated the plant’s iron content tenfold.

But this story, it turns out, is apocryphal. It’s another myth, perpetuated by academic sloppiness of another kind. The German scientists never existed. Nor did the decimal point error occur. At least, we have no evidence of either. Because, you see, although academics often see themselves as debunkers, in skewering one myth they may fall victim to another.

In his article “Academic Urban Legends,” Ole Bjorn Rekdal, an associate professor of health and social sciences at Bergen University College in Norway, narrates the story of these twinned myths. His piece, published in the journal Social Studies of Science, argues that through chains of sloppy citations, “academic urban legends” are born. Following a line of lazily or fraudulently employed references, Rekdal shows how rumor can become acknowledged scientific truth, and how falsehood can become common knowledge.

Academic Urban Legends“, Charlie Tyson, Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2014

To weed out academic urban legends, Rekdal says editors “should crack down violently on every kind of abuse of academic citations, such as ornamental but meaningless citations to the classics, or exchanges in citation clubs where the members pump up each other’s impact factors and h-indexes.”

Yet even Rekdal – who debunks the debunkers – says his citation record isn’t flawless.

“I have to admit that I published an article two decades ago where I included an academically completely meaningless reference (without page numbers of course) to a paper written by a woman I was extremely in love with,” he said. “I am still a little ashamed of what I did. But on the other hand, the author of that paper has now been my wife for more than 20 years.”

Academic Urban Legends“, Charlie Tyson, Inside Higher Ed, August 6, 2014

Could you make history?

When pilgrims were landing on Plymouth Rock, you could already visit what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico to stay at a hotel, eat at a restaurant and buy Native American silver.

Prisoners began to arrive to Auschwitz a few days after McDonald’s was founded.

The first wagon train of the Oregon Trail heads out the same year the fax machine is invented.

Nintendo was founded in 1888. Jack the Ripper was on the loose in 1888.

1912 saw the maiden voyage of the Titanic as well as the birth of vitamins, x-ray crystallography, and MDMA.

1971: The year in which America drove a lunar buggy on the moon and Switzerland gave women the vote.

from Unlikely Simultaneous Historical Events, kottke.org

Noting well

The Twittering Machine is powered by an insight at once obvious and underexplored: we have, in the world of the social industry, become “scripturient—possessed by a violent desire to write, incessantly.” Our addiction to social media is, at its core, a compulsion to write. Through our comments, updates, DMs, and searches, we are volunteers in a great “collective writing experiment.” Those of us who don’t peck out status updates on our keyboards are not exempt. We participate too, “behind our backs as it were,” creating hidden (written) records of where we clicked, where we hovered, how far we scrolled, so that even reading, within the framework of the Twittering Machine, becomes a kind of writing.

Going Postal: A psychoanalytic reading of social media and the death drive, Max Read for Bookforum

Unlike the main public internet, which runs on the (human) protocol of “users” clicking on links on public pages/apps maintained by “publishers”, the cozyweb works on the (human) protocol of everybody cutting-and-pasting bits of text, images, URLs, and screenshots across live streams. Much of this content is poorly addressable, poorly searchable, and very vulnerable to bitrot. It lives in a high-gatekeeping slum-like space comprising slacks, messaging apps, private groups, storage services like dropbox, and of course, email.

from Cozyweb by Venkatesh Rao

I’ve found Notion to be welcome respite from the public square of Twitter or even the water-cooler of Slack. While I used to plan trips on Pinterest, I now find myself saving inspirational images to Notion. Instead of relying on Facebook or Linkedin to catalog my connections, I’ve been building my own relationship tracker in Notion.

Like the living room, Notion appeals to both the introverted and extroverted sides of my personality. It’s a place where I can create and test things out in private. Then, when I’m craving some external validation, I can show off a part of my workspace to as many or as few people as I want. It’s a place where I can think out loud without worrying about the judgement of strangers or the tracking of ad targeting tools.

Notion is the living room of the cozyweb by by Nick deWilde

In short: brief notes from your own thinking, heavily linked back and forth, continually added to and edited.

The goal is to have a library of notes of your own thinking so you can build upon what you read and write, creating your own ideas, advancing your knowledge.

Digital Gardens, Patrick Tanguay

I don’t want people to get hung up on the technology angle. I think sometimes people hear “Federated Thingamabob” and just sort of tune out thinking “Oh, he’s talking about a feature of Federated Thingamabob.” But I’m not. I’m really not. I’m talking about a different way to think your online activity, no matter what tool you use. And relevant to this conference, I’m talking about a different way of collaborating as well.

Without going to much into what my federated wiki journal is, just imagine that instead of blogging and tweeting your experience you wiki’d it. And over time the wiki became a representation of things you knew, connected to other people’s wikis about things they knew.

So when I see an article like this I think — Wow, I don’t have much in my wiki about gun control, this seems like a good start to build it out and I make a page.

The first thing I do is “de-stream” the article. The article is about Oregon, but I want to extract a reusable piece out of it in a way that it can be connected to many different things eventually. I want to make a home page for this idea or fact. My hub for thinking about this.

The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral, Mike Caulfield

Whereas the garden is integrative, the Stream is self-assertive. It’s persuasion, it’s argument, it’s advocacy. It’s personal and personalized and immediate. It’s invigorating. And as we may see in a minute it’s also profoundly unsuited to some of the uses we put it to.

The stream is what I do on Twitter and blogging platforms. I take a fact and project it out as another brick in an argument or narrative or persona that I build over time, and recapitulate instead of iterate.

The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral, Mike Caulfield

Each memex library contains your original materials and the materials of others. There’s no read-only version of the memex, because that would be silly. Anything you read you can link and annotate. Not reply to, mind you. Change. This will be important later.

Links are associative. This is a huge deal. Links are there not only as a quick way to get to source material. They aren’t a way to say, hey here’s the interesting thing of the day. They remind you of the questions you need to ask, of the connections that aren’t immediately evident.

Links are made by readers as well as writers. A stunning thing that we forget, but the link here is not part of the author’s intent, but of the reader’s analysis. The majority of links in the memex are made by readers, not writers. On the world wide web of course, only an author gets to determine links. And links inside the document say that there can only be one set of associations for the document, at least going forward.

The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral, Mike Caulfield

I use the Zettelkasten method of note-taking, by which I mean that I create notes that contain a single idea or point that is significant to me. These notes are usually linked to other notes, authors, and citations, allowing me to understand that single idea in the context of the larger literature that I’m exploring. I use the knowledge management software Tinderbox to write these notes and map their associations. I’ve created a series of videos that explain exactly how I do this. I also sync my Tinderbox zettels with DEVONthink using these scripts so that I can search my own notes alongside my articles to find connections I might otherwise miss.

Academic Workflow: Reading, Beck Trench

The book is written in an essayistic and very readable style, humorous and anecdotal, which makes both the practical advice as well as the underlying philosophy very accessible and convincing. Ahrens offers a compelling meta-reflection on the pivotal role of writing in – and as – thinking, and as such, he also formulates a timely and important advocacy of the humanities. It is therefore regrettable that in his emphasis on proliferating personal productivity and ‘boosting’ written output with Luhmann’s slip box system, Ahrens neglects to critically reflect upon the luring dangers of academic careerism for truly original scholarship… The explosion of publishing outlets is in turn tightly connected with the increasing governmentalization and commodification of academic life (Miller 2015), and while Ahrens continually emphasizes the potential of increasing written output with Luhmann’s method, he unfortunately misses the opportunity to reflect on the very conditions of academic life that create a demand for a book like his own in the first place.

Book review: How to Take Smart Notes, Reviewed by Melanie Schiller, Journal of Writing Research (2017)

But I’ll boil it down to this. It came down to who had the power to change things. It came down to the right to make copies.

On the web, if you wanted to read something you had to read it on someone else’s server where you couldn’t rewrite it, and you couldn’t annotate it, you couldn’t copy it, and you couldn’t add links to it, you couldn’t curate it.

These are the verbs of gardening, and they didn’t exist on the early web.

The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral, Mike Caulfield

Everything else is either journal articles or blog posts making an argument about local subsidies. Replying to someone. Building rapport with their audience. Making a specific point about a specific policy. Embedded in specific conversations, specific contexts.

Everybody wants to play in the Stream, but no one wants to build the Garden.

Our traditional binary here is “open vs. closed”. But honestly that’s not the most interesting question to me anymore. I know why textbook companies are closed. They want to make money.

What is harder to understand is how in nearly 25 years of the web, when people have told us what they THINK about local subsidies approximately one kajillion times we can’t find one — ONE! — syllabus-ready treatment of the issue.

You want ethics of networked knowledge? Think about that for a minute — how much time we’ve all spent arguing, promoting our ideas, and how little time we’ve spent contributing to the general pool of knowledge.

Why? Because we’re infatuated with the stream, infatuated with our own voice, with the argument we’re in, the point we’re trying to make, the people in our circle we’re talking to.

The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral, Mike Caulfield

Why would anyone pay $1500 to learn how to write notes?

“The system we were working on at Southampton Microcosm [the pre-web hypermedia system developed in the 1980s] had very sophisticated two way linking,” says Dame Wendy Hall, professor of computer science at the University of Southampton. “It was very prescient of the Semantic Web – you used the links to describe why you were making that relationship between those two data objects.”

How Google warped the hyperlink, WIRED UK, Sophie Charara, 26 March 2019

You will learn how to capture, organize, and share your ideas and insights using digital notes, with a systematic approach and tools that you trust to support creative breakthroughs in your work

This is the step-by-step guide on how to set up and understand the principle behind the note-taking system that enabled Luhmann to become one of the most productive and systematic scholars of all time. But most importantly, it enabled him to do it with ease. He famously said: “I never force myself to do anything I don’t feel like.” Luhmann’s system is often misunderstood and rarely well explained (especially in English). This book aims to make this powerful tool accessible to everyone with an interest in reading, thinking and writing. It is especially helpful for students and academics of the social sciences and humanities and nonfiction writers.

Weeknotes : 42 (2020)

“Weeknotes are blogposts about our working week”

Web of Weeknotes

This paper has been cited 1163 times, except it DOES NOT EXIST.

This 'paper' was used in a style guide as a citation example, was included in some papers by accident, and then propagated from there, illustrating how some authors don't read *titles* let alone abstracts or papers pic.twitter.com/oJFMVnIYi8

— Dan Quintana (@dsquintana) October 9, 2020

Weeknote 43 (2020)

Ruth L. Baker (2014) suggested that LibGuides could be used more effectively if they were structured as tutorials that guided students through the research process. Such guides would “function to reduce cognitive load and stress on working memory; engage students through metacognition for deeper learning; and provide a scaffolded framework so students can build skills and competencies gradually towards mastery.”28 In one of the few studies conducted to assess the impact of research guides on student learning, Stone et al. (2018) tested two types of guides for different sections of a Dental Hygiene first year seminar course. One guide was structured around resource lists organized by resource types (pathfinder design) while the second was organized around an established information literacy research process approach. The results showed that students found the pedagogical guide more helpful than the resource guide in navigating the information literacy research process. Stone et al. concluded that these pedagogical guides, structured around the research process with tips and guidance explaining the “why” and the “how” of the research process, led to better student learning.29

Jeremiah Paschke-Wood, Ellen Dubinsky and Leslie Sult, “Creating a Student-Centered Alternative to Research Guides: Developing the Infrastructure to Support Novice Learners“, In the Library with the Lead Pipe, 21 Oct 2020

Weeknote 44 (2020)

Started on the blog of design company BERG a few months back, Weeknotes detailed what they were up to that week, what had been going well, what hadn’t. They were just blog entries, updated weekly, nothing more remarkable than that. Except they struck a little chord with people — and other companies and individuals started doing the same thing.

Russell M Davies: On the structure of time, WIRED UK, 28 May 2010

In The Digital Scholar, Martin Weller argues that new digital tools are “necessary, but not sufficient, for any substantial change in scholarly practice” that they might help to bring about.8 His contention is that for these technologies to be truly transformative, three factors must converge: digital content, networks, and openness. When high-quality scholarly content can be shared digitally via online networks without legal restrictions, we enter an era of scholarship—digital scholarship—that differs substantially from the traditional one. An amplification of the scope of available academic content and the ability to instantly publish and share one’s content online challenges the fundamental assumptions about the nature of scholarly practice. Along this line, Robin Goodfellow and Mary Lea define digital scholarship as “the relatively recent invention of cross-disciplinary groups of individual scholars … who have begun to use technology to disseminate their own work outside the formal academic publishing system.”9

Weeknote 45 (2020)

Community members living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) have been the focal point of countless scholarly research studies and surveys over the years. Up until recently, this research has remained largely out of reach to participants and community organizations, locked away in journals and other databases that require paid subscriptions to access. Community members have said they would benefit from access to that data for evaluating program and service effectiveness, for example, or for grant writing.

The recently launched Downtown Eastside Research Access Portal (DTES RAP), a project led by the UBC Learning Exchange in partnership with UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, is designed to change that.

The DTES RAP provides access to research and research-related materials relevant to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside through an easy-to-use public interface. The portal was developed in consultation with DTES residents and community organizations through focus groups and user experience testing, and in collaboration with a number of university units.

New Downtown Eastside Research Access Portal takes collaborative approach to Open Access (UBC)

Weeknote 47 (2020)

Introducing the Civic Switchboard Data Literacy Project!

We’re pleased to announce the receipt of an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant, which will support the next piece of Civic Switchboard project – the Civic Switchboard Data Literacy project! This project builds on the Civic Switchboard project’s exploration of civic data roles for libraries and will develop instructional materials to prepare MLIS students and current library workers for civic data work.

Through the Civic Switchboard project, we’ve learned about common barriers to entry that libraries are navigating with civic data work. We regularly heard library workers say that they feel unqualified to participate in their civic data ecosystems. With this barrier in mind, the Civic Switchboard Data Literacy project will build and pilot instructional material that MLIS instructors can integrate in coursework and that can be used in professional development training in library settings.

Weeknote 48 (2020)

It’s not, however, really about David Allen’s productivity system, which longtime readers (and listeners) know I really admire. It’s instead about a deeper question that I hadn’t heard discussed much before: Why do we leave office workers to figure out on their own how to get things done?

With the notable exception of agile software development teams, companies in this sector largely leave decisions about how work is assigned, reviewed, and organized up to individuals. We promulgate clear objectives and construct motivating corporate cultures, but when it comes to actually executing these tasks, we just hook everyone up to an email address or Slack channel and tell them to rock and roll. This has led to a culture of overload and fragmented attention that makes everyone involved miserable.

I’m sure I’m being unfair in my stance. To capture a diverse constituency, a big-tent approach can be effective. Compromise can cause cynicism about our politics, but sometimes a little progress can be better than a lot of regression. That’s the story I’ve told myself, at least, while making my daily compromise as a ScholComm librarian who manages our Elsevier-owned institutional repository service, Digital Commons. My school contracted with bepress (then an independent company) shortly before hiring me to manage it, and my values felt fully aligned as I made the pitch across campus to deposit green OA manuscripts there. But that feeling changed with the announcement of Elsevier acquiring bepress in August 2017 (MacKenzie, 2017).

Since 2017, the Digital Commons service hasn’t worsened, but the premise that many customers initially bought into, of supporting an independent platform in the scholarly communication ecosystem, has eroded. And what do people do when they face a deterioration of goods and services? For A.O. Hirschman (1970), there are three choices (which later scholars have revised upon): exit, voice, and loyalty. In my case, exit seems out of the question: a diverse constituency of groups on my campus have now integrated the software, and a swap would be overly-costly and damage relationships in the process. I don’t know whether I’d categorize what I am doing now as voice or loyalty, but what I do know is that there is a strong glimmer of recognition when Sen. Harris walks her fracking-issue tightrope, or when grant-funding institutions rock the boat just lightly enough that it doesn’t risk a capsize.

AAP and CCC End Georgia State ‘E-Reserves’ Copyright Litigation (P. Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, November 12)

After a 12-year fight, the Association of American Publishers and Copyright Clearance Center have declined to pursue any further appeals in their lawsuit against Georgia State University regarding their reliance on fair use in making materials available via e-reserves. Read more @pubperspectives 

Her studies indicate that diversifying the authors, perspectives, representations and examples in standard textbooks is not simply “more inclusive” or “just” in an abstract way (though that would be good anyway). Students who feel they belong — who feel validated as members or potential members of a profession or academic discipline — are more likely to succeed and complete their degrees. That is, Lambert suggests that diversifying the authors and even the examples or hypothetical actors in university textbooks by itself has a positive effect on completion rates, engagement, and student satisfaction with courses. Amy Nusbaum shows in a recent article that OER is an effective way to accelerate this, because with licenses allowing “remixing” of content the examples used within open textbooks can be updated to suit local needs without having to rewrite the entire text….

But it was Lambert uttering the magic words about diverse texts improving “student success” that suddenly felt quite subversive. To understand why, we need to interrogate what universities usually mean when they talk about “student success”, and particularly the infrastructures universities have been building around it.

Hugh Rundle, Empathy Daleks, November 23, 2020

"None of these ‘flagship’ rankings considered #openaccess, equality, diversity, sustainability or other society-focused agendas." https://t.co/am0cTePUOM

— Peter Suber (@petersuber) November 24, 2020

Weeknote 50 (2020)

Earlier this fall, Clarivate Analytics announced that it was moving toward a future that calculated the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) based on the date of electronic publication and not the date of print publication…

This discrepancy between how Clarivate treated traditional print versus online-only journals aroused skepticism among scientists, some of whom… cynically suggested that editors may be purposefully extending their lag in an attempt to artificially raise their scores.

Changes to Journal Impact Factor Announced for 2021, Scholarly Kitchen, Phil Davis, Dec 7, 2020

In 2020, a team at Georgia State University compiled a report on virtual learning best practices. While evidence in the field is “sparse” and “inconsistent,” the report noted that logistical issues like accessing materials—and not content-specific problems like failures of comprehension—were often among the most significant obstacles to online learning. It wasn’t that students didn’t understand photosynthesis in a virtual setting, in other words—it was that they didn’t find (or simply didn’t access) the lesson on photosynthesis at all.

That basic insight echoed a 2019 study that highlighted the crucial need to organize virtual classrooms even more intentionally than physical ones. Remote teachers should use a single, dedicated hub for important documents like assignments…

The 10 Most Significant Education Studies of 2020, Edutopia, By Youki Terada, Stephen Merrill, December 4, 2020

Weeknote 3 (2021)

THOUGH several recent books and articles have been written about change and adaptation in contemporary academic libraries (Mossop 2013; Eden 2015; Lewis 2016), there are few critical examinations of change practices at the organizational level. One example, from which this paper draws its title, is Braden Cannon’s (2013) The Canadian Disease, where the term disease is used to explore the trend of amalgamating libraries, archives, and museums into monolithic organizations. Though it is centered on the impact of institutional convergence, Cannon’s analysis uses an ethical lens to critique the bureaucratic absurdity of combined library-archive-museum structures. This article follows in Cannon’s steps, using observations from organizational de-sign and management literature to critique a current trend in the strategic planning processes and structures of contemporary academic libraries. My target is our field’s ongoing obsession with digital transformation beyond the shift from paper-based to electronic resources, examined in a North American context and framed here as The Digital Disease.

If your library’s organizational chart highlights digital forms of existing functions, you might have The Digital Disease.

Kris Joseph, The Digital Disease in Academic Libraries, Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol 6 (2020)

Weeknote 4 (2021)

We need to talk about Amazon Ring in Windsor.

Windsor’s Mayor proposes we be the first city in Canada to buy into the Ring Network.

As residents of Windsor, we have concerns with this potential project. Seeing no venue for residents of Windsor to share their fears of surveillance and loss of privacy through this private-partnership, we hosted an evening of talks on January 22nd, 2020 at The Performance Hall at the University of Windsor’s School of Creative Arts Windsor Armories Building. Our keynote speaker was Chris Gilliard, heard recently on CBC’s Spark.

Since that evening, we have been in the media raising our concerns, asking questions, and encouraging others to do the same.

An unprecedented volume of harmful health misinformation linked to the coronavirus pandemic has led to the appearance of misinformation tactics that leverage web archives in order to evade content moderation on social media platforms. Here we present newly identified manipulation techniques designed to maximize the value, longevity, and spread of harmful and non-factual content across social media using provenance information from web archives and social media analytics. After identifying conspiracy content that has been archived by human actors with the Wayback Machine, we report on user patterns of “screensampling,” where images of archived misinformation are spread via social platforms. We argue that archived web resources from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and subsequent screenshots contribute to the COVID-19 “misinfodemic” in platforms. Understanding these manipulation tactics that use sources from web archives reveals something vexing about information practices during pandemics—the desire to access reliable information even after it has been moderated and fact-checked, for some individuals, will give health misinformation and conspiracy theories more traction because it has been labeled as specious content by platforms.

Weeknote 6 (2021)

We live in a networked world. Is it even possible for one person to have sufficient expertise to understand a complex situation such as this pandemic? So do we rely on one subject matter expert or rather a subject matter network?

Weeknote 7 (2021)

We are experiencing a moment that is exposing a schism between two groups: those who have faith that there is a way to arrive at truth using epistemological practices that originated during the Enlightenment, and those who believe that events and experiences are portents to be interpreted in ways that align with their personal values. As the sociologist and media scholar Francesca Tripodi has demonstrated, many conservatives read the news using techniques learned through Bible study, shunning secular interpretations of events as biased and inconsistent with their exegesis of primary texts such as presidential speeches and the Constitution. The faithful can even acquire anthologies of Donald Trump’s infamous tweets to aid in their study of coded messages.

While people using these literacy practices are not unaware of mainstream media narratives, they distrust them in favor of their own research, which is tied to personal experience and a high level of skepticism toward secular institutions of knowledge. This opens up opportunities for conservative and extremist political actors to exploit the strong ties between the Republican Party and white evangelical Christians. The conspiracy theory known as QAnon is a perfect—and worrisome—example of how this works. After all, QAnon is something of a syncretic religion. But its influence doesn’t stop with religious communities. While at its core it’s a 21st-century reboot of a medieval anti-Semitic trope (blood libel), it has shed some of its Christian vestments to gain significant traction among non-evangelical audiences.

Weeknote 8 (late) 2021

Over the past three years, We Are Here: Sharing Stories has digitized and described over 590,000 images of archival and published materials related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation.

Digitized and described content includes textual documents, photographs, artworks and maps as well as numerous language publications. All items are searchable and linked in our Collection Search or Aurora databases.

In order to make it easier to locate recently digitized Indigenous heritage content at LAC, we have created a searchable list of the collections and introduced a Google map feature – allowing users to browse archival materials by geographic region!

Visit the We Are Here: Sharing Stories page to pick your destination and start your research!

A Hand With Many Fingers is a first-person investigative thriller. While searching through a dusty CIA archive you uncover a real Cold War conspiracy. Every document you find has new leads to research. But the archive might not be as empty as you think…  

Slowly unravel a thrilling historical conspiracy

Discover new clues through careful archival research

Assemble your theories using corkboard and twine

Experience a story of creeping paranoia

Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) is an interdisciplinary natural and social science lab space dedicated to good land relations directed by Dr. Max Liboiron at Memorial University, Canada. Equal parts research space, methods incubator, and social collective, CLEAR’s ways of doing things, from environmental monitoring of plastic pollution to how we run lab meetings, are based on values of humility, accountability, and anti-colonial research relations. We specialize in community-based and citizen science monitoring of plastic pollution, particularly in wild food webs, and the creation and use of anti-colonial research methodologies.

To change science and research from its colonial, macho, and elitist norms, CLEAR works at the level of protocol. Rather than lead with good intentions, we work to ensure that every step of research and every moment of laboratory life exemplifies our values and commitments. To see more of how we do this, see the CLEAR Lab Book, our methodologies, and media coverage of the lab.


Weeknote 9 (2021)

Bik, a microbiologist from the Netherlands who moved to the United States almost two decades ago, is a widely lauded super-spotter of duplicated images in the scientific literature. On a typical day, she’ll scan dozens of biomedical papers by eye, looking for instances in which images are reused and reported as results from different experiments, or where parts of images are cloned, flipped, shifted or rotated to create ‘new’ data…

Her skill and doggedness have earned her a worldwide following. “She has an uncommon ability to detect even the most complicated manipulation,” says Enrico Bucci, co-founder of the research-integrity firm Resis in Samone, Italy. Not every issue means a paper is fraudulent or wrong. But some do, which causes deep concern for many researchers. “It’s a terrible problem that we can’t rely on some aspects of the scientific literature,” says Ferric Fang, a microbiologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, who worked on a study with Bik in which she analysed more than 20,000 biomedical papers, finding problematic duplications in roughly 4% of them (E. M. Bik et al. mBio 7, e00809-16; 2016). “You have postdocs and students wasting months or years chasing things which turn out to not be valid,” he says.

Nature 581, 132-136 (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-01363-z

Release notes from FreshRSS

Austin Kleon

The trouble with months

• 28 days in every month
• Each week begins on Sun. / ends on Sat.
• Dates fall on the same day of the week every year
• To total 365 days, there’s a floater day
• From 1928-1989, Eastman-Kodak made all employees use it (wut??)

A “MONTH” does not mean anything. A day means something, A year means something. But a month? In the vernacular, what do you mean, month?

We cannot scrap our days or our years without scrapping the sun. We could but we do not want to scrap our weeks. Religious tradition, long habit, and convenience combine to make the week a very acceptable division of time. But we can (and, if we once come to see the awkwardness and inconvenience of them, we will) scrap our months….

A month is a wholly irrational division of time. It has no relation to anything in astronomy, or human experience. It is an inaccurate and varying measure of time that is a constant annoyance in business and a misleading unit in science. It has no religious significance.

A month is nothing but just a bad habit.

Mankind has always had trouble with calendars. As human beings our personal experience of time may be infinitely elastic, but as societies we have always needed calendars, to fix future dates and record past ones. The earliest attempts may date back thirty thousand years. The trouble is that the natural markers of the passage of time — days, lunar months, and solar years — are all incommensurables. Attempts to combine them in a single calendar inevitably run into trouble. Taking the day as 1, the lunar cycle is approximately 29 days, 12 hours and 44 minutes, and the solar year 365 days, 5 hours and 48 minutes. The seasons and the calendar have always had a tendency to drift apart.

Long before the Christian era the Egyptians had a better set of months than we have. Then came along Julius Caesar and robbed February of a day and named one of the longer months after himself. Then came along Augustus Caesar and he took to himself the month that followed Julius’s, but because he wanted a month that was just as big as Julius’s he added a day to it. To do this he stole another day from February. Then he changed around some other days and left the set of calendar months in a jumble. And ever since then we have been putting up with this arbitrary arrangement as if it were as fixed as the tides and the circuit of the earth around the sun.

Blogging as a forgiving medium

I am attracted to pastel as a medium because of the gamble involved in its execution. There is a fascination with the processes of control and risk enacted on a surface, a surface building toward the last plunges of color that bring everything already developed there into focus—the color bolt that finishes a picture.


Learn to play the fool

By fool, to be clear, I don’t mean a stupid, unthinking person, but one with the spirit of the medieval fool, the court jester, the carefree fool in the tarot deck who bears the awesome number zero, signifying the fertile void from which all creation springs, the state of emptiness that allows new things to come into being.

There is an apostolic injunction to suffer fools gladly. We always lay the stress on the word ‘suffer,’ and interpret the passage as one urging resignation. It might be better, perhaps, to lay the stress upon the word ‘gladly,’ and make our familiarity with fools a delight, and almost a dissipation. Nor is it necessary that our pleasure in fools (or at least in great and godlike fools) should be merely satiric or cruel. The great fool is he in whom we cannot tell which is the conscious and which the unconscious humour; we laugh with him and laugh at him at the same time. An obvious instance is that of ordinary and happy marriage. A man and a woman cannot live together without having against each other a kind of everlasting joke. Each has discovered that the other is not only a fool, but a great fool. This largeness, this grossness and gorgeousness of folly is the thing which we all find about those with whom we are in intimate contact; and it is the one enduring basis of affection, and even of respect.

Children, in a very real sense, have beginners’ minds, open to wider possibilities. They see the world with fresher eyes, are less burdened with preconception and past experience, and are less guided by what they know to be true. They are more likely to pick up details that adults might discard as irrelevant. Because they’re less concerned with being wrong or looking foolish, children often ask questions that adults won’t ask.

You say you are scarcely competent to write books just yet. That is just why I recommend you to learn. If I advised you to learn to skate, you would not reply that your balance was scarcely good enough yet. A man learns to skate by staggering about and making a fool of himself. Indeed he progresses in all things by resolutely making a fool of himself. You will never write a good book until you have written some bad ones.

Smells of the lamp

Smells of the lamp
Said of a literary production manifestly laboured. Plutarch attributes the phrase to Pytheas the orator, who said, “The orations of Demosthenes smell of the lamp,” alluding to the current tale that the great orator lived in an underground cave lighted by a lamp, that he might have no distraction to his severe study.

For this, many of the popular leaders used to rail at him, and Pytheas, in particular, once told him scoffingly that his arguments smelt of lamp-wicks. To him, then, Demosthenes made a sharp answer. “Indeed,” said he, “thy lamp and mine, O Pytheas, are not privy to the same pursuits.”

…many of the popular pleaders used to make it a jest against him; and Pytheas once, scoffing at him, said that his arguments smelt of the lamp. To which Demosthenes gave the sharp answer, “It is true, indeed, Pytheas, that your lamp and mine are not conscious of the same things.”

And to the thief nicknamed Brazen, who attempted to make fun of him for his late hours and his writing at night, “I know,” he said, “that I annoy you with my lighted lamp. But you, men of Athens, must not wonder at the thefts that are committed, when we have thieves of brass, but house-walls of clay.”

David Eagleman’s Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

Eagleman was brought up as a secular Jew and became an atheist in his teens. Lately, though, he’d taken to calling himself a Possibilian—a denomination of his own invention. Science had taught him to be skeptical of cosmic certainties, he told me. From the unfathomed complexity of brain tissue—“essentially an alien computational material”—to the mystery of dark matter, we know too little about our own minds and the universe around us to insist on strict atheism, he said. “And we know far too much to commit to a particular religious story.” Why not revel in the alternatives? […] “Part of the scientific temperament is this tolerance for holding multiple hypotheses in mind at the same time,” he said. “As Voltaire said, uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”

The old way

RIP Laura Helen Wilson Davis, my grandma, who died this morning of complications from COVID-19.

Today I will listen to big band music, watch Astaire & Rogers dance, play the piano, and dream of her fried chicken and apple pie.

Here she is with my son, Owen, in better days: pic.twitter.com/RMYAUFbo0Q

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) February 11, 2021

A house for Coconut

We had a house built for Coconut today!

? ? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/905n6Kvekb

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) January 28, 2021

A downright gorgeous day in Austin, Texas. Coconut is hiding in the bamboo again — the squirrels are in a frenzy, ripping up the tree cruft for their nests — but here’s a video of her from yesterday ? ? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/QMTaOo7MQX

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) February 3, 2021

happy Superb Owl Sunday to you from Coconut ?? #coconuttheowl #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/cSqEH7dplU

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) February 7, 2021

Looking at the single-digit forecast next week and very worried about Coconut! Wish she could come inside and live with us ?? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/CVFLb83YF4

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) February 11, 2021

Poor Coconut looks so miserable ? ? ? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/kidr5ygLjm

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) February 13, 2021

There’s been a miracle! ? ? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/WWg3o2tzSr

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) February 14, 2021

Coconut abides ? ? ?? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/mXyuRoeh9C

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) February 15, 2021

Pointing at things

The intention, the purpose, is not to show your talent but to show something…. I had a very great urgency to show, to share. The cat brings you in things, you know? It was that kind of thing. I discovered things and wanted to share them.

Academics are often more focused on showing off their knowledge, or their membership in an exclusive circle…. Journalists are often trying to inflame your anger, or rally support for some cause.

“Step 1: Wonder at something.

Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you.”

It ain’t Grand

“For the sublime and the beautiful and the interesting, you don’t have to look far away. You have to know how to see.”
Hedda Sterne

“It’s not like the Rocky Mountains where it’s going to hit you over the head with, ‘Look how majestic I am,’” Porcellino says. “It’s Paw Paw, Illinois. That beauty is there and that majesty is there, but it’s a thing that you have to learn to recognize. Once you learn to recognize it, you see it everywhere.”

Look for the helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.“

Texans ! RT pic.twitter.com/V0qOXeJG3Y

— thor harris (@thorharris666) February 17, 2021

Some parents wonder how to handle world news with their young children. [We] have discovered that when children bring up something frightening, it’s helpful right away to ask them what they know about it. We often find that their fantasies are very different from the actual truth. What children probably need to hear most from us adults is that they can talk with us about anything. And that we will do all we can to keep them safe in any scary time.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching

The first Tao Te Ching I ever saw was the Paul Carus edition of 1898, bound in yellow clothe stamped with blue and red Chinese designs and characters. It was a venerable object of mystery, which I soon investigated, and found more fascinating inside than out. The book was my father’s; he read in it often. Once I saw him making notes from it and asked what he was doing. He said he was marking which chapters he’d like to have read at his funeral.

“To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

The stream I go a-fishing in

“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars.”
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The good enough parent

If you want something nice in your feed, here are posters from the last few weeks of the four-year-olds research projects. pic.twitter.com/QKHCLbHkF4

— ? damned sinker ? (@dansinker) June 15, 2020

Every parent wants to be a good parent. And every parent, every day, fails at that because, right now, being a good parent is literally impossible. A fine parent? Maybe. An OK one? Possibly. But a good one? We’re eleven months into a pandemic that sent all our children home, laid waste to jobs, killed a half-million people in this country, and sickened many millions more. Politicians like Ted Cruz ensured it would hurt as much as possible by fighting against public health measures and relief efforts that would have made a difference. So no: a good parent isn’t really an option. We’re all just barely getting by.

Winnicott’s concept of “good enough” mothering is in resurgence right now. You can find it everywhere from mommy blogs to Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Are You My Mother? to reams of critical theory. (One of this book’s titles, in an alternate universe: Why Winnicott Now?)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Poetry as Insurgent Art

I never wanted to be a poet. It chose me, I didn’t choose it. One becomes a poet almost against one’s will, certainly against one’s better judgment. I wanted to be a painter but from the age of ten onward these damn poems kept coming. Perhaps one of these days they will leave me alone and I can get back to painting.

Ferlinghetti also discovered signs painted on the walls by a Christian sect that had used the basement for prayer meetings, and on the walls today you can still fragments of them: “Remember Lot’s Wife,” “Born in Sin and Shapen in Niquity,” “I and My Father Are One,” and “I Am the Door.” Ferlinghetti made a deal with the landlord, put in a staircase, persuaded the Chinese Dragon to leave, and expanded the store into the basement.

A chat about writing and drawing with Sam Anderson


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Treasure in the trash

“The things people refuse / are the things they should use”
Bob Marley

How to eat a book

“We are fed by what we attend to.”
Alan Jacobs

[W]hen I read, I don’t really read; I pop a beautiful sentence into my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, or I sip it like a liquer until the thought dissolves in me like alcohol, infusing brain and heart and coursing on through the veins to the root of each blood vessel.”

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

…as far as possible I do not read anything except for that which I am hungry in the moment, when I am hungry for it, and then I do not read… I eat.

Don’t be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.

You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

“Maybe that’s why writing has become so important to me. You don’t realize it, but we’re at dinner right now.”

Picasso’s owl

Pablo loved to surround himself with birds and animals. In general they were exempt from the suspicion with which he regarded his other friends. While Pablo was still working at the Musée d’Antibes, [Michel] Sima had come to us one day with a little owl he had found in a corner of the museum. One of his claws had been injured. We bandaged it and gradually it healed. We bought a cage for him and when we returned to Paris we brought him back with us and put him in the kitchen with the canaries, the pigeons, and the turtledoves.

We were very nice to him but he only glared at us. Any time we went into the kitchen, the canaries chirped, the pigeons cooed and the turtledoves laughed but the owl remained stolidly silent or, at best, snorted. He smelled awful and ate nothing but mice. Since Pablo’s atelier was overrun with them, I set several traps. Whenever I caught one, I brought it to the owl. As long as I was in the kitchen he ignored the mouse and me. He saw perfectly well in the daytime, of course, in spite of the popular legend about owls, but he apparently preferred to remain aloof. As soon as I left the kitchen, even if only for a minute, the mouse disappeared. The only trace would be a little ball of hair which the owl would regurgitate

Françoise Gilot telling the story of the owl she rescued with Picasso

More in LIFE WITH PICASSO: https://t.co/c7VgmH3IAb pic.twitter.com/i1aVlzHXYJ

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) March 5, 2021

Every time the owl snorted at Pablo he would shout, “Cochon, Merde,” and a few other obscenities, just to show the owl that he was even worse mannered than he was. He used to stick his fingers between the bars of the cage and the owl would bite him, but Pablo’s fingers, though small, were tough and the owl didn’t hurt him. Finally the owl would let him scratch his head and gradually he came to perch on his finger instead of biting it, but even so, he still looked very unhappy. Pablo did a number of drawings and paintings of him and several lithographs as well.

They bring me tokens of myself

I have a job that allows me to work from home, an immune system and a set of neurotransmitters that tend to function pretty well, a support network, a savings account, decent Wi-Fi, plenty of hand sanitizer. I have experienced the pandemic from a position of obscene privilege, and on any given day I’d rank my mental health somewhere north of ‘fine.’ And yet I feel like I have spent the past year being pushed through a pasta extruder.
—Ellen Cushing, “What the Pandemic is Doing To Our Brains

Self-amputation, known as autotomy, isn’t uncommon in the animal kingdom. Having the ability to jettison a body part, such as a tail, helps many animals avoid predation. However, no animal had ever been observed ditching its entire body.

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

So they show their relations to me and I accept them,
They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession.

He could sing the phone book (or an oven manual)

“People say that I could sing the phone book and make it sound good.”
—Edith Piaf

“Elton would say to me, “Why don’t you put out more albums?” I would say, “Why don’t you put out less albums?”
Billy Joel

[Taupin] labors for weeks on his horse ranch in Southern California and delivers the lyrics fully formed to Mr. John, who goes into a studio, props the papers on the piano and churns out melodies and harmonies to fit the words at breakneck speed. “It’s kind of spooky,” Mr. John said in an interview. “I get bored if it takes more than 40 minutes.”

“I wrote that song one morning when Elton and I shared an apartment in Northwood Hills just outside of London. And I remember writing it as I was having breakfast. The original lyric had tea-stains on it.”

“[Elton] wrote it the same day. We went into the room where the piano was and just hammered it out.”

It’s ridiculous. He has written four songs in a day sometimes. Sometimes he doesn’t even write songs before he goes into the studio. He goes in the studio on the morning that they are going to start recording and writes a couple of songs, and when they come in he starts recording. Go figure.

I put them all in a folder. And he just goes to the piano, puts the folder up, and sees what catches his eye. He’ll skim through it. I’m sure he looks at titles too. Sometimes he won’t even read through a lyric. He’ll just start. [Laughs] He won’t even understand what the song’s about till probably it’s recorded, and six months later he’ll come up to me and say, “You know, just figured out what that song’s about.”

You have to be obsessed

“Talent is cheap — you have to be obsessed, otherwise you are going to give up.”
John Baldessari

I’m trying to speak—to write—the truth. I’m trying to be clear. I’m not interested in being fancy, or even original. Clarity and truth will be plenty, if I can only achieve them.

Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.

What obsession looks like pic.twitter.com/p27pUQzX2P

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) July 23, 2017

The two Coconuts

? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/7t0USXvDog

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) March 7, 2021

TWO OWL confirmation: one in the box, one in the tree! ? ? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/63VocOFbQO

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) March 7, 2021

Good news, everyone: Coconut and pal have been located! They’re up in a tree on the other side of my house from the box ? ? pic.twitter.com/93JtHjBgpT

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) March 15, 2021

Covers for books I don’t intend to write

Back in high school, maybe 4 or 5 people wanted to be in a band, but nobody knew how to play an instrument. So in art class, we’d sit there and make album covers, and the credits, and I’d have the lyrics, and we’d have everything but music. We even made t-shirts for our band. Walked around, and people’d say, “You guys have a band?” “Yeah, yeah, we’ve got a band!” And no one could play anything. So it started out as kind of a fantasy.

Books that suck you in and books that spin you out

“Listening, argues one researcher on perception, “is centripetal; it pulls you into the world. Looking is centrifugal; it separates you from the world.”

A certain souvenir made in gratitude

It’s a matter of relative indifference to me whether I live a long or a short time. Moreover, I’m not competent to manage myself in physical matters the way a doctor can in this respect. So I carry on as one unknowing but who knows this one thing — ‘I must finish a particular work within a few years’ — I needn’t rush myself, for that does no good — but I must carry on working in calm and serenity, as regularly and concentratedly as possible, as succinctly as possible. I’m concerned with the world only in that I have a certain obligation and duty, as it were — because I’ve walked the earth for 30 years — to leave a certain souvenir in the form of drawings or paintings in gratitude. Not done to please some movement or other, but in which an honest human feeling is expressed. Thus this work is the goal…

Weirdos who left Texas and brought back art

What happens when I spend all day in weird old Texas archives pic.twitter.com/DP2FBzmJ8q

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) January 27, 2021

Getting out from under the influence

“Every writer is every writer they’ve loved and quarrelled with who came before, as every parent is every parent they loved and quarrelled with.”
Hilton Als

I had studied Hemingway so closely and learned a lot, but I didn’t agree with his attitude about life, about himself. He took everything, himself, everything so seriously. And, your style comes out of your attitude — what kind of a person you are, you know, your personality, how you see things. Are you optimistic? Are you funny? Are you grim? What? This is all out of your attitude. And once I learned that, then I had to find other writers to study and imitate.

What I got tired of in Hemingway was that he, in his later work especially, he wasn’t funny. He didn’t have any sense of humor actually. He knew very well who the noble, interesting people were and so on.

And my life was not — I never lived a Hemingwayesque moment really.

I remember as a young kid coming out of a funeral– a very sad, terrible thing. But the funeral was being held in a mock Georgian mansion—one of those mansions that had been put up just to be a funeral parlor.

And then you walk out of that, and everyone’s crying and it’s terrible. And across the street, there’s a Chuck E Cheese. And the mouse is on break. And he’s on the side of the building with his head off. And he’s smoking.

So that moment could not show up in Hemingway. He couldn’t do it. He had a stylistic cave he had made for himself.

And I thought, that’s where the gateway to style is. And when you see something in your life, in your heart, in your world that the style of your hero can’t accommodate, then it’s a time for growth.

A policy of candor

“If you’re going to tell people the truth, be funny or they’ll kill you.”
—Billy Wilder

A quilt made of days

Working on a presentation of some of the collage work I’ve been doing for the past few years. God, I love making this stuff. What a gift it’s been to glue and things to the page when I don’t know what else to do… https://t.co/B4feF8ri7k pic.twitter.com/zUwHS2C14X

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) April 6, 2021

Two Coconuts sitting in a tree

Omg, y’all. Not only did we see both owls tonight, about 30 feet apart in different trees, but if you turn the video way up on this video you can HEAR Coconut. ? ? #coconuttheowl pic.twitter.com/Ok0efE1dUC

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) April 8, 2021

Stepping into the portal

A few years ago, when it suddenly occurred to us that the internet was a place we could never leave, I began to keep a diary of what it felt like to be there in the days of its snowy white disintegration, which felt also like the disintegration of my own mind. My interest was not academic. I did not care about the Singularity, or the rise of the machines, or the afterlife of being uploaded into the cloud. I cared about the feeling that my thoughts were being dictated. I cared about the collective head, which seemed to be running a fever. But if we managed to escape, to break out of the great skull and into the fresh air, if Twitter was shut down for crimes against humanity, what would we be losing? The bloodstream of the news, the thrilled consensus, the dance to the tune of the time. The portal that told us, each time we opened it, exactly what was happening now. It seemed fitting to write it in the third person because I no longer felt like myself.

The challenge is to keep doing something different, something harder and scarier in every way than the thing you did before… to do something more difficult each time.

Boredom is the opposite of learning. When a game stops teaching us, we feel bored. Boredom is the brain casting about for new information. It is the feeling you get when there are no new visible patterns to absorb. When a book is dull and fails to lead you on to the next chapter, it is failing to exhibit a captivating pattern.

All play moves and has its being within a play-ground marked off beforehand either materially or ideally, deliberately or as a matter of course. Just as there is no formal difference between play and ritual, so the ‘consecrated spot’ cannot be formally distinguished from the play-ground. The arena, the card-table, the magic circle, the temple, the stage, the screen, the tennis court, the court of justice, etc, are all in form and function play-grounds, i.e. forbidden spots, isolated, hedged round, hallowed, within which special rules obtain. All are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart.

The song machines

Paul Simon on how he wrote “Bridge Over Troubled Water” pic.twitter.com/HjThePHKbM

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) April 13, 2021

This may be an impossible question, but: Anybody who can really create something… there’s always a mystery of, “How does it happen?” There was a moment in time when “Bridge Over Troubled Water” didn’t exist at all, and then, there was another moment when it did, or when it started to. “Where does it come from? What actually happens?”

“I get this feeling of a big painter’s studio in Italy back in the 1400s or 1500s.” In an STV documentary, The Nineties, he told producer Jens von Reis, “One assistant does the hands, another does the feet, and another does something else, and then Michelangelo walks in and says, “That’s really great, just turn it slightly. Now it’s good, put it in a golden frame and out with it. Next!”

She took out her BlackBerry, and as the track began to play she surfed through lists of phrases she copies from magazines and television programs: “life in the fast lane,” “crying shame,” “high and mighty,” “mirrors don’t lie,” “don’t let them see you cry.” Some phrases are categorized under headings like “Sex and the City,” “Interjections,” and “British Slang.”

Dance music producers have always borrowed liberally from each other’s grooves. There’s no reason not to: beats and chord progressions can’t be protected under the existing copyright laws, which recognize only the melody and lyrics. As dance beats have become the backing tracks to a growing number of pop songs, similar-sounding records have proliferated. The melodies themselves are still supposed to be unique, but because of the way producers work with multiple topliners, tracks and melodies tend to blur together.

For professional writers today, streaming means shorter durations, the compression of melodic and harmonic ideas and faster tempos to counter our diminishing attention spans. It means overloading the front of songs with hooks and earworms and heading straight to the chorus to stop listeners skipping tracks.

The pressure to deliver hits that keep the listener engaged in real time is, some argue, industrialising the craft with a huge growth of song-writing long-distance and by committee – a creative division of labour between producers (now called ‘track writers’) beat-makers and ‘topliners’, those writers hired to focus solely on the melody and lyrics.

Music platforms are recording our listening choices even as they deliver their services, and this is changing the way music is written too. AI and algorithm technologies mean that, even as we stream and share music online, our data is harvested and fed back to record companies and labels and then passed on to the writers, producing a kind of creative feedback loop. Songwriters are under pressure to produce more and more of the same formula, discouraging innovation and risk while the ear becomes conditioned to certain tempos and durations, chord progressions, hooks and production textures.

#OnThisDay 1975: Paul Simon was on Parkinson, where he talked about writing but not singing Bridge Over Troubled Waters. pic.twitter.com/jazuMoGCul

— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) December 13, 2020

What happens in partnerships is that… while the partnership is in its ascendency, things are going well, and you’re really united.  There’s a meshing of egos. You tend to think as one. As the partnership reaches its zenith… it starts to disintegrate in that each person has a clear self-image…

Return of the pansies

Tateishi Tetsuomi was born in Taiwan in 1905. He returned to his birthplace to find painting subjects and then he had been attracted by the landscape and local cultures of Taiwan. During his stay in Taiwan, he made oil paints, illustrations and wood engravings for the magazine Minzoku Taiwan (Taiwanese Folklore).

He was regarded as a promising painter, but his achievements were to be forgotten when he was repatriated to Japan at the end of WWII and lost most of his paintings. He earned a living as an illustrator for children’s books, but finally achieved unique expressions in his last years.

I am no longer weakened by the weekend

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Judaism is a religion of time aiming at the sanctification of time. Unlike the space-minded man to whom time is unvaried, iterative, homogeneous, to whom all hours are alike, qualitiless, empty shells, the Bible senses the diversified character of time. There are no two hours alike. Every hour is unique and the only one given at the moment, exclusive and endlessly precious.

We have invented the weekend, but the dark cloud of old taboos still hangs over the holiday, and the combination of the secular with the holy leaves us uneasy. This tension only compounds the guilt that many of us continue to feel about not working, and leads to the nagging feeling that our free time should be used for some purpose higher than having fun. We want leisure, but we are afraid of it, too.

A book of words

Surely every user of dictionaries or encyclopedias can recall many serendipitous discoveries: as we flip through pages in search of some particular chunk of information, our eyes are snagged by some oddity, some word or phrase or person or place, unlooked-for but all the more irresistible for that. On my way to “serendipity” I trip over “solleret,” and discover that those weird, broad metal shoes that I’ve seen on the feet of armored knights have a name. But this sort of thing never happens to me when I look up a word in an online dictionary. The great blessing of Google is its uncanny skill in finding what you’re looking for; the curse is that it so rarely finds any of those lovely odd things you’re not looking for. For that pleasure, it seems, we need books.

George Landow has written that “the linear habits of thought associated with print technology often force us to think in particular ways that require narrowness, decontextualization, and intellectual attenuation, if not downright impoverishment.” But it turns out that, when it comes to dictionaries anyway, it’s hypertext that narrows and impoverishes. The simple fact that I cannot pick up a dictionary and turn to the precise page I wish, or, even if I could do that, focus my eyes only on the one definition I was looking for — the very crudity, as it were, of the technology is what enriches me and opens my world to possibilities.

Cherish, conserve, consider, create

Pay attention to what interests you, not into this kind of novelty-driven commercial culture we’re in…. Punk yourself out of the daily ephemeral culture and immerse yourself into things that are going to be still there 10 years later or 100 years later. I think the distractions for younger people today are so extreme that they learn very little about the past. Therefore, they learn very little about the present, because you can’t understand anything unless you have a point by which to judge it as a point of perspective.

I’m not languishing, I’m dormant

“Plants may appear to be languishing simply because they are dormant.”
—Oxford Dictionary of English

“Nature is a language / Can’t you read?”
—The Smiths

Gardening situates you in a different kind of time, the antithesis of the agitating present of social media. Time becomes circular, not chronological; minutes stretch into hours; some actions don’t bear fruit for decades.

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up…

“Barren days, do no planting.”
The Farmer’s Almanac

In his autobiography he’s talking about this lawsuit that arose because of the della Rovere tomb project, in great detail, and then there’s a line that says Michelangelo realized that, while dealing with a bunch of lawsuits and Pope Adrian and such, he’d been so stressed he hadn’t picked up a chisel in four years. Because he spent the entire time just dealing with the lawsuit. (Anyone feeling guilty about being overwhelmed by stress this year, you’re not alone!) And we have four years worth of lost Michelangelo production, because he didn’t do any art that entire time, because he was just dealing with a stupid lawsuit. And that’s not the sort of thing that fits into our usual way of thinking about these great historical figures. We imagine Michelangelo in his studio with a chisel. We do not imagine him in a room with a bunch of lawyers being curmudgeonly and bickering and trapped in contract hell.

The true fact (historian here, this is my period!) is that Newton did theorize gravity while quarantining, but didn’t have library access, and while he was testing the theory he didn’t have some of the constants he needed (sizes, masses), so he tried to work from memory, got one wrong, did all the math, and concluded that he was wrong and the gravity + ellipses thing didn’t work. He stuck it in a drawer. It was only years later when a friend asked him about Kepler’s ellipses that he pulled the old notes back out of the drawer to show the friend, and the friend spotted the error, they redid the math, and then developed the theory of gravity. Together, with full library access, when things were normal after the pandemic. During the pandemic nobody could work properly, including him. So if anyone pushes the claim that we should all be writing brilliant books during this internationally recognized global health epidemic, just tell them Newton too might have developed gravity years earlier if not for his pandemic.

Star Wars is over (if you want it)

There’s a Bb to F line in “Bruyères” that sounded familiar to me… a disturbance in The Force, you might say! pic.twitter.com/pWTH5ffSyK

— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) April 20, 2021

Wintering and dormancy

Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximising scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.

Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience, and wisdom resides in those who have wintered. In our relentlessly busy contemporary world, we are forever trying to defer the onset of winter. We don’t ever dare to feel its full bite, and we don’t dare to show the way that it ravages us. A sharp wintering, sometimes, would do us good. We must stop believing that these times in our life are somehow silly, a failure of nerve, a lack of willpower. We must stop trying to ignore them or dispose of them. They are real, and they are asking something of us. We must learn to invite the winter in.

We are (…) in the habit of imagining our lives to be linear; a long march from birth to death in which we mass our powers, only to surrender them again, all the while slowly losing our youthful beauty. This is a brutal untruth. Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish, and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.

Nobody wants to read a book

“It isn’t that people are mean or cruel. They’re just busy. Nobody wants to read your shit.”
Steven Pressfield

Nobody wants to read a book. You’ve got to catch their eye with something exciting in the first paragraph, while they’re in the process of throwing the book away. If it’s exciting enough, they’ll stop and read it. Then you’ve got to put something even more exciting in the second paragraph, to suck them in further. And so on. It’s exhausting for everybody, but it’s got to be done.

I do have a trick that makes things easier for me. Since writing is very hard and rewriting is comparatively easy and rather fun, I always write my scripts all the way through as fast as I can, the first day, if possible, putting in crap jokes and pattern dialogue—“Homer, I don’t want you to do that.” “Then I won’t do it.” Then the next day, when I get up, the script’s been written. It’s lousy, but it’s a script. The hard part is done. It’s like a crappy little elf has snuck into my office and badly done all my work for me, and then left with a tip of his crappy hat. All I have to do from that point on is fix it. So I’ve taken a very hard job, writing, and turned it into an easy one, rewriting, overnight. I advise all writers to do their scripts and other writing this way. And be sure to send me a small royalty every time you do it.

Just make something, anything, really


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Jason Kottke

Some Observations on Leaving Neverland

If you don’t believe that Jackson touched anyone inappropriately, you have to reckon with the fact that he knowingly coerced families into allowing their children into his orbit while incrementally driving their parents away; that he nudged them out of the picture as they got a little older, only remembering to call when he needed someone to testify in a court of law. You have to listen to the Robson family explain how Jackson’s machinations pried the young boy’s parents apart, how the singer convinced them to move to Los Angeles from Australia, how Robson’s father committed suicide because they left him.

You come away from the film with the sense that Jackson was, at a minimum, a troubled and deeply manipulative person, more so than we’d ever imagined.

The story was that Jackson never molested anybody. And we stuck to it, and it stuck to him. And the question now, of course, is what do we do? It’s the question of our #MeToo times: If we believe the accusers (and I believe Wade and James), what do we do with the art? With Jackson, what can we do? Wade became a successful choreographer who’s made a career out of teaching his version of Jackson’s hydraulic bounces, whips, and stutters to Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Cirque du Soleil and rooms full of aspiring dancers. “Look Back at It,” the big single from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s No. 1 album from January, is built out of two Jackson hits. Michael Jackson’s music isn’t a meal. It’s more elemental than that. It’s the salt, pepper, olive oil and butter. His music is how you start. And the music made from that — that music is everywhere, too. Where would the cancellation begin?

The Devil and the Explicit Lyrics Sticker

The very public discussion around the advisory label involved the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), a group led by the wives of Washington politicians, and a few musicians including Frank Zappa, Dee Snider, and John Denver.

While the PMRC’s involvement was allegedly sparked by some raunchy lyrics from Prince’s 1984 album Purple Rain, the debate over rock lyrics had been infiltrating American culture and politics for a decade. The driving force behind that debate was the rise of heavy metal, a genre that saw explosive popularity with the launch of MTV in 1981, and the growing influence of the religious right, who saw rock music as a powerful threat to Christianity.

David Attenborough on How to Save Our Planet

The plan for our planet is remarkably simple. Reduce our impact by making sure that everything we do, we can do forever.

Cooking As A Service

As Cooking As A Service expanded from [less than] 10% to 25-30+% of our eating, we grew to consume and expect a far greater selection and variety of food compared to when we did all our cooking ourselves. Our consumption choices around what food we eat gradually pivoted from “What am I able to cook for myself” to “Is this exactly what I want to eat, yes or no?” Once you transition into “is this exactly what I want, yes or no” territory, it’s very hard to go back; it becomes a part of the standard of living that we expect….

From a couple of anecdotal conversations I’ve had with restaurant managers about this, it seems like once you open yourselves up as a restaurant that can be found on the delivery apps, a huge percentage of your kitchen volume switches over to fulfilling those orders, and your front-of-house costs get hung out to dry as increasingly unnecessary. Flexible, modular kitchens that are available for rent for any chef who wants to cook in it, and that have easy access to delivery cars and which pay for no front-of-house extras seem pretty obviously like the next iteration of back-end Cooking as a Service, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them pop up everywhere soon enough. If they can collectively bring down the cost of outsourced cooking another 20-30%, I think the economics start looking pretty compelling for outsourced cooking (including delivery) to effectively pay for itself out of the savings incurred by paying for ingredients and cooking equipment in bulk. At that point, kitchens start to truly become optional.

Bill Nye to Climate Change Naysayers: “Grow the Fuck Up”

I’ve got an experiment for you. Safety glasses on. By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on earth could go up another four to eight degrees. What I’m saying is: the planet’s on fucking fire!

There are a lot of things we could do to put it out. Are any of them free? No, of course not. Nothing’s free you idiots! Grow the fuck up, you’re not children anymore. I didn’t mind explaining photosynthesis to you when you were 12. But you’re adults now and this is an actual crisis, got it? Safety glasses off, motherfuckers.

Frida Kahlo Speaks

The library have unearthed what they believe could be the first known voice recording of Kahlo, taken from a pilot episode of 1955 radio show El Bachiller, which aired after her death in 1954.

The episode featured a profile of Kahlo’s artist husband Diego Rivera. In it, she reads from her essay Portrait of Diego, which was taken from the catalogue of a 1949 exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts, celebrating 50 years of Rivera’s work.

“He is a gigantic, immense child, with a friendly face and a sad gaze,” she says, as translated by Agence France-Presse. (A different English translation of the text can be found on Google Arts & Culture.)

Yes, I recognize myself. For me it was a big surprise because so many years had passed that I really did not even remember. […] When listening to this audio I remembered some things and I got excited because I did recognize myself.

The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai

If we consider the customer journey of acquiring a digital image of ‘The Great Wave’ from our fourteen museums, a definite trend emerges — the more open the policy of a museum is, the easier it is to obtain its pictures.

Like the other open access institutions in our sample group, The Art Institute of Chicago’s collections website makes the process incredibly simple: clicking once on the download icon triggers the download of a high-resolution image.

In contrast, undertaking the same process on the British Museum’s website entails mandatory user registration and the submission of personal data.

Rating vs Ranking and the Forced Scarcity of American Excellence

But our little thought experiment uncovers a truth that extends well beyond what has been done to our schools in the name of “raising the bar” (a phrase, incidentally, that seems to have originated in the world of show horses). We have been taught to respond with suspicion whenever all members of a defined group are successful. That’s true even when we have no reason to believe that corners have been cut, or that the bar was suspiciously low. In America excellence is treated as an inherently scarce commodity.

Thus, rather than cheering when many people manage to do something well, we’re likely to dismiss that result as meaningless and maybe even mutter darkly about “falling standards” or “being content with mediocrity.” Success seems to matter only if it is attained by a few, and one way to ensure that outcome is to evaluate people (or schools, or companies, or countries) relative to each other. That way, even if everyone has done quite well, or improved over time, half will always fall below the median — and look like failures.

Reframing excellence in competitive terms can’t be defended on the grounds that setting people against one another leads to improvement in their performance. Indeed, a surprisingly consistent body of social science evidence shows that competition tends to hold us back from doing our best - particularly in comparison with cooperation, in which people work with, not against, each other. Rather, excellence has been defined — for ideological reasons — as something that can’t be reached by everyone.

Zero-Waste Cooking

At Nolla there is no waste bin in the kitchen nor can you find any single use plastic in the restaurant either. No produce wrapped in plastic, no cling film, no vacuum bags. Every detail from staff clothing and napkins to tableware has been thought of. Even the gift cards are made of compostable paper that has poppy seeds in them.

We don’t produce waste nor do we cook from waste.

We work directly with suppliers to rethink, reject and control packaging while at the same time sourcing local and organic produce, which are the core of our menus.

How Does Waffle House Stay Open During Disasters?

The “Waffle House Index,” first coined by Federal Emergency Management Agency Director W. Craig Fugate, is based on the extent of operations and service at the restaurant following a storm and indicates how prepared a business is in case of a natural disaster.

For example, if a Waffle House store is open and offering a full menu, the index is green. If it is open but serving from a limited menu, it’s yellow. When the location has been forced to close, the index is red. Because Waffle House is well prepared for disasters, Kouvelis said, it’s rare for the index to hit red. For example, the Joplin, Mo., Waffle House survived the tornado and remained open.

When any of the stores are in danger of being hit by severe weather, so-called “jump teams” are activated to be ready to deploy wherever needed.

Jump teams are made up of Waffle House contractors, construction workers, gas line experts, restaurant operators, food providers and other associates who are assembled and ready to go wherever needed at a moment’s notice. Their purpose is to help relieve local Waffle House operators and employees who need to evacuate, be with their families or tend to their homes when a storm hits, and help make sure restaurants are able to open quickly after a storm or stay open during a storm.

How a 30-Minute Commute Has Shaped Centuries of Cities

Sure enough, most cities from the ancients to the Industrial Revolution did not grow much bigger than a two-mile diameter. Their core areas were often even smaller, though some of the poor lived in settlements outside the city gates. Ancient Rome packed as many as a million people into an area a little more than two miles in diameter. Medieval Paris stretched about two miles from the Bastille to the Louvre, Vienna’s Innere Stadt measures only one mile in diameter, and the historic City of London is nicknamed the “Square Mile” for a reason. Beijing’s walls enclosed an inner city about three miles in diameter; into the 20th century, that still made up most of the developed area.

The car on the expressway enabled large numbers of people to travel long distances on a day-to-day basis. Instead of small railroad suburbs, where housing was restricted to a short radius around stations, drivers spread out across suburbs could now commute 20 miles in 30 minutes. If the streetcar city covered 50 square miles, the 40-mile-diameter expressway city could cover over 1,250 square miles.*

Helsinki has a library to learn about the world, the city, and each other

“This progress from one of the poorest countries of Europe to one of the most prosperous has not been an accident. It’s based on this idea that when there are so few of us—only 5.5 million people—everyone has to live up to their full potential,” he said. “Our society is fundamentally dependent on people being able to trust the kindness of strangers.”

Nordic-style social services have not shielded the residents of Finland’s largest city from 21st-century anxieties about climate change, migrants, disruptive technology, and the other forces fueling right-leaning populist movements across Europe. Oodi, which was the product of a 10-year-long public consultation and design process, was conceived in part to resist these fears. “When people are afraid, they focus on short-term selfish solutions,” Laitio said. “They also start looking for scapegoats.”

The central library is built to serve as a kind of citizenship factory, a space for old and new residents to learn about the world, the city, and each other. It’s pointedly sited across from (and at the same level as) the Finnish Parliament House that it shares a public square with.

Oodi just hit 3 million visitors this year—“a lot for a city of 650,000,” Laitio said. In its very first month, 420,000 Helsinki residents—almost two-thirds of the population—went to the library. Some may only have been skateboarders coming in to use the bathroom, but that’s fine: The library has a “commitment to openness and welcoming without judgement,” he said. “It’s probably the most diverse place in our city, in many ways.” (Emphasis mine)

This Striking Image of the Moon Is a Combination of 100,000 Photos

The natural colors of the moon were brought out here with minor saturation adjustments, but those colors are completely real and what you could see if your eyes were more sensitive. I find the color really helps tell the story of how some of these features formed billions of years ago.

Map of Areas Most Often Missing During Handwashing

In 2008, the WHO designed a handwashing leaflet, making reference to Taylor, who indicated that the fingertips, interdigital areas, thumbs, and wrists are the most commonly missed areas in handwashing. Pan et al. also found that the tips of the nails and the fingertips had the largest amount of residual florescent stains left after handwashing among healthcare workers in Taiwan. The commonly missed areas among medical students in the study conducted by Vanyolos et al. was the first metacarpal, the proximal part of the palm (lateral), the distal phalanges, and the nail beds. In healthcare workers in Škodová et al.’s study, the thumbs and fingertips were the most commonly missed areas. In this study, the most frequently missed area was also the fingertips. However, the medial aspect and back of the hand were the second and third most missed areas, respectively. Moreover, the interdigital area and the front and back of the fingers were the least missed areas, which is in contrast to Taylor’s study.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag Play to be Streamed Online

I hope this filmed performance of Fleabag can help raise money while providing a little theatrical entertainment in these isolated times. Thank you to all our partners and to the creative team who have waived their royalties from this production to raise money for such vital causes in this unbelievably challenging situation. All money raised will support the people throughout our society who are fighting for us on the frontlines and those financially devastated by the crisis, including those in the theatre community. Thank you in advance to those who donate. Now go get into bed with Fleabag! It’s for charity!

Basketball Court Repaired Using the Traditional Japanese Art of Kintsugi

With the heartbreaking beginning to 2020 and this weekend’s return of basketball — I’ve been thinking about the parallels between sport as a uniting platform to inspire healing and my ongoing experiments with the technique of Kintsugi that embellishes an objects repair with gold to celebrate it’s healing as formative part of the journey.

Coronation, Ai Weiwei’s Documentary about the Pandemic Lockdown in Wuhan

The film showcases the incredible speed and power of China’s state machinery with its construction of massive coronavirus hospitals, deployment of roving sanitation-fogging robots, implementation of an exhaustive testing and contact-tracing protocol, and punctiliously engineered protective measures for health workers.

On the other side of the scale is the crushing bureaucracy of that same machine, its totalitarian decision-making, clear deception of ordinary citizens, the absence of civic communication, and perhaps, worst of all, a cold-eyed lack of empathy for those suffering loss and kept away from home.

Ai Weiwei paints a moving and revelatory portrait not just of China’s response to the pandemic but also of ordinary people in Wuhan, showing how they personally cope with the disaster.

A Scientific Portrait of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus

Thanks to the work of scientists like Dr. Li, the new coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, is no longer a cipher. They have come to know it in intimate, atomic detail. They’ve discovered how it uses some of its proteins to slip into cells and how its intimately twisted genes commandeer our biochemistry. They’ve observed how some viral proteins throw wrenches into our cellular factories, while others build nurseries for making new viruses. And some researchers are using supercomputers to create complete, virtual viruses that they hope to use to understand how the real viruses have spread with such devastating ease.

Interviews with Titanic Survivors

#OnthisDay 1979: Frank Prentice, an assistant purser on the Titanic, described how he survived the sinking of the ship. For more archive on the Titanic, you can visit - https://t.co/fYwWoNhuBT pic.twitter.com/9Qi8zw5g0L

— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) October 27, 2020

Mrs Clark left Titanic with Mrs Astor in lifeboat 4. She recalled Mrs Astor insisting that the lifeboat be turned around to rescue more people; the lifeboat eventually pulled around eight crewmen from the water. When the ship eventually founded Mrs Clark recalled the “heartrending moans and cries” of those struggling in the water.

The Earthshot Prize

The Earthshot Prize is centred around five ‘Earthshots’ — simple but ambitious goals for our planet which if achieved by 2030 will improve life for us all, for generations to come. Each Earthshot is underpinned by scientifically agreed targets including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally recognised measures to help repair our planet.

Together, they form a unique set of challenges rooted in science, which aim to generate new ways of thinking, as well as new technologies, systems, policies and solutions. By bringing these five critical issues together, The Earthshot Prize recognises the interconnectivity between environmental challenges and the urgent need to tackle them together.

The Game of the Year: the 3D Virtual Walkthrough of 8800 Blue Lick Road

A larger question remained: what’s the deal with this place? Whoever owned it, they were too organized to be hoarders. The home appeared to double as the office and warehouse for an internet reseller business, but who sells a house crammed floor-to-ceiling with retail goods?

Internet sleuths unearthed several news articles from 2014, outlining how police discovered thousands of stolen items being sold online during a raid at the address, the result of a four-year investigation resulting in criminal charges for four family members living and working at the house.

But it didn’t add up. If they were convicted for organized crime, why was there still so much inventory in the house, with products released as recently as last year? Why is it still packed full while they’re trying to sell it? And what’s with the bathtub!?

I had questions, so I picked up the phone.

Visualizing How Covid-19 Spreads Indoors

Six people get together in a private home, one of whom is infected. Some 31% of coronavirus outbreaks recorded in Spain are caused by this kind of gathering, mainly between family and friends.

Irrespective of whether safe distances are maintained, if the six people spend four hours together talking loudly, without wearing a face mask in a room with no ventilation, five will become infected, according to the scientific model explained in the methodology.

If face masks are worn, four people are at risk of infection. Masks alone will not prevent infection if the exposure is prolonged.

The risk of infection drops to below one when the group uses face masks, shortens the length of the gathering by half and ventilates the space used.

In real outbreaks, it has been noted that any of the students could become infected irrespective of their proximity to the teacher as the aerosols are distributed randomly around the unventilated room.

The World’s Best Tree Felling Tutorial

I live off-grid in the forest (same mtn range as these guys) and for 30+ years I have been felling trees for fire-prevention, firewood, and home-milled lumber. I have fortunately never had an accident, but after watching this video I realized that was only dumb luck. After carefully studying this video (3 times through), as well as others on this channel, this year I have placed every tree exactly where I wanted (even the leaders) and I’ve done this in a much safer manner than before.

How the Instagram Influencer Aesthetic Is Being Used to Sell QAnon

But new research suggests that the biggest jolt to QAnon came from the so-called “Save the Children” movement. It started out as a fund-raising campaign for a legitimate anti-trafficking charity, but was then hijacked by QAnon believers, who used the movement to spread false and exaggerated claims about a global child-trafficking conspiracy led by top Democrats and Hollywood elites. This hijacking began in July, around the same time that Twitter and Facebook began cracking down on QAnon accounts.

First of all, decades of social science research has found that the vast majority of children are abused by someone they know, usually their parents but sometimes other children or figures of authority they trust. “Stranger danger” kidnappings, on the other hand, are extremely rare — the latest estimate is 115 per year in the entire United States.

Second, the summer-long panic about missing children is almost entirely based on faulty statistics. Though it’s true that more than 400,000 children are reported missing each year, that is not even close to the number who disappear. The vast majority of these reports are misunderstandings or runaways. Roughly 10% are kidnapped by a parent as part of a custody dispute. Over 99% return home, most within a few days.

Beloved Children’s Book Covers Reimagined In a Modernist Style

Today, I’ve reduced ‘Goodnight Moon’ to nothing more than a few circles, rectangles, and triangles. What’s amazing, and a testament to how deeply this classic picture book is embedded in our collective consciousness is that even as a collection of the most simple forms, the cover is thoroughly recognizable.

An Archive of Pandemic and Anti-Racist Street Art

Artists and writers producing work in the streets — including tags, graffiti, murals, stickers, and other installations on walls, pavement, and signs — are in a unique position to respond quickly and effectively in a moment of crisis. Street art’s ephemeral nature serves to reveal very immediate and sometimes fleeting responses, often in a manner that can be raw and direct. At the same time, in the context of a crisis, street art also has the potential to transform urban space and foster a sustained political dialogue, reaching a wide audience, particularly when museums and galleries are shuttered.

How to Be at Home

Go outside if you’re able, breathe the air
there are trees for hugging
don’t be embarrassed
it’s your friend, it’s your mother, it’s your new crush
lay your cheek against the bark, it’s a living thing to touch

What Would We Experience If Earth Spontaneously Turned Into A Black Hole?

As spectacular as falling into a black hole would actually be, if Earth spontaneously became one, you’d never get to experience it for yourself. You’d get to live for about another 21 minutes in an incredibly odd state: free-falling, while the air around you free-fell at exactly the same rate. As time went on, you’d feel the atmosphere thicken and the air pressure increase as everything around the world accelerated towards the center, while objects that weren’t attached to the ground would appear approach you from all directions.

FDR’s Second Bill of Rights

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all — regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

- The right of every family to a decent home;

- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

- The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

Initial Data Shows Covid-19 Vaccine Is More than 90% Effective

The company said that the analysis found that the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease among trial volunteers who had no evidence of prior coronavirus infection. If the results hold up, that level of protection would put it on par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases such as measles. No serious safety concerns have been observed, the company said.

The data released by Pfizer Monday was delivered in a news release, not a peer-reviewed medical journal. It is not conclusive evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective, and the initial finding of more than 90 percent efficacy could change as the trial goes on.

Pfizer’s first analysis was planned for 32 events, which they pushed back after discussions with FDA. But by the time they analyzed the data, 94 had accrued. This shows how quickly trials can generate results when placed in hotspots (and how much transmission is ongoing!).

Another open question is whether children will get protection from the vaccine. The trial run by Pfizer and BioNTech initially was open to people 18 or older, but in September they began including teenagers as young as 16. Last month, they launched a new trial on children as young as 12 and plan to work their way to younger ages.

Biden’s Plans for Halting the Unchecked Spread of Covid-19 in the US

The list includes Rick Bright, the former head of the vaccine-development agency BARDA ousted by the Trump administration in April; Atul Gawande, the surgeon, writer, and recently departed CEO of Haven, the joint JP Morgan Chase-Berkshire Hathaway-Amazon health care venture; and Luciana Borio, a former Food and Drug Administration official and biodefense specialist.

Biden has cast the escalating Covid-19 crisis as a priority for his incoming administration. The task force, he said, would quickly consult with state and local health officials on how to best prevent coronavirus spread, reopen schools and businesses, and address the racial disparities that have left communities of color harder hit than others by the pandemic.

Stand up a Pandemic Testing Board like Roosevelt’s War Production Board. It’s how we produced tanks, planes, uniforms, and supplies in record time, and it’s how we will produce and distribute tens of millions of tests.

Establish a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps to mobilize at least 100,000 Americans across the country with support from trusted local organizations in communities most at risk to perform culturally competent approaches to contact tracing and protecting at-risk populations.

“America’s Next Authoritarian Will Be Much More Competent”

The Electoral College and especially the Senate are anti-majoritarian institutions, and they can be combined with other efforts to subvert majority rule. Leaders and parties can engage in voter suppression and break norms with some degree of bipartisan cooperation across the government. In combination, these features allow for players to engage in a hardball kind of minority rule: Remember that no Republican president has won the popular vote since 2004, and that the Senate is structurally prone to domination by a minority. Yet Republicans have tremendous power. This dynamic occurs at the local level, too, where gerrymandering allows Republicans to inflate their representation in state legislatures.

The situation is a perfect setup, in other words, for a talented politician to run on Trumpism in 2024. A person without the eager Twitter fingers and greedy hotel chains, someone with a penchant for governing rather than golf. An individual who does not irritate everyone who doesn’t already like him, and someone whose wife looks at him adoringly instead of slapping his hand away too many times in public. Someone who isn’t on tape boasting about assaulting women, and who says the right things about military veterans. Someone who can send appropriate condolences about senators who die, instead of angering their state’s voters, as Trump did, perhaps to his detriment, in Arizona. A norm-subverting strongman who can create a durable majority and keep his coalition together to win more elections.

This isn’t some rare thing that just happened because of weird circumstances. This is a playbook that works. This is a global playbook on the rise. This is a playbook found in America’s past, too. Realism is the true basis for hope.

Lessons from the Ancient World about the Political Collapse and Recovery of Self-Governing Communities

But in that large sample size, we also get a sense of what solutions succeed and what solutions fail to hold together a self-governing community in these sorts of pressures. Beset by repeated political crises from 494 to 287 (known as the Struggle of the Orders), the Roman Republic repeatedly survived and grew stronger through compromise and by constructive, inclusive redefinition of the republic to include a broader range of people (not merely the patrician elite, but also the plebeian elite). In no small part, that success seems to have been motivated by the avowed need of elite patricians for the support of the plebeian commons in order to campaign, since the plebeians made up most of the army.

In stark contrast, the effort by conservative (in the general sense, not in the American sense) elements of the Roman senate to ‘hold the line’ and permit no compromise on questions of land reform and citizenship in the Late Republic led quite directly to the outbreak of civil war in 91 (with the Italian allies) and in 88 (between Romans) and consequently to the collapse of the Republic. Initially, the influence and raw power of the elite was sufficient to squash efforts at reform (including the murder of some prominent reformers), but in the long run the discontent those crackdowns created laid the fertile ground for the rise of demagogic military leaders to supplant the Republic entirely, culminating in first Caesar and then Octavian doing just that. In an effort to compromise on nothing, the Roman elite lost everything.

In short, Joe Biden is running on a platform of compromise and a constructive, inclusive redefinition of the polity which explicitly welcomes past opponents to join him at the table. To me, reasoning from historical example, that seems like the correct answer to the current moment.

On the other hand, we have a different candidate (and current President) who is running on a promise to ‘win’ the stasis by main force, to dominate and to win, indeed, until he (or we) get tired of winning, to escalate the tensions to the final victory of the faction. This is exactly the approach that I think a sober reading of historical examples warns us is likely doomed to failure, regardless of what one thinks of the underlying policy aims (which might well have been achieved without the rhetoric and practice of escalation). I cannot help but think that, as happened in the last decades of the Roman Republic, rewarding this sort of rhetoric and behavior will produce more of it from both parties and put our republic on a dangerous path.

“Voting Trump Out Is Not Enough”

Like tens of millions of Americans, I voted to end the miserable reign of Donald J. Trump, but we cannot perpetuate the election-year fiction that the deep and bewildering problems facing millions of people in this country will simply end with the Trump Administration. They are embedded in “the system,” in systemic racism, and the other social inequities that are the focus of continued activism and budding social movements. Viewing the solution to these problems as simply electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris both underestimates the depth of the problems and trivializes the remedies necessary to undo the damage. That view may also confuse popular support for fundamental change, as evidenced by Trump’s one-term Presidency, with what the Democratic Party is willing or even able to deliver.

Ruby Bridges Tells Her Story

Written as a letter from civil rights activist and icon Ruby Bridges to the reader, This Is Your Time is both a recounting of Ruby’s experience as a child who had no choice but to be escorted to class by federal marshals when she was chosen as one of the first black students to integrate New Orleans’ all-white public school system and an appeal to generations to come to effect change.

The first day that I arrived with federal marshals, they rushed me inside of the building. And 500 kids walked out of school that first day and they never returned.

[Making friends] did not come easy because I heard kids, there were days when I would go into this coat closet to hang up my coat and I could hear kids laughing and talking, but I never saw them. Later on, I came to realize that they were being hidden from me in another classroom.

And that was because there were some white parents who actually crossed that picket line and brought their kids to school. But the principal who was part of the opposition, she would hide them. And even though I was complaining — or at least mentioning it to Mrs. Henry, she would never say anything to me, but she was actually going to the principal and saying, if you don’t allow those kids to come together, because the law has now changed, then I’m going to report you to the superintendent. And so I think after months of that, we were allowed to come together.

Her daughter went on to become an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, memorialized in Norman Rockwell’s famous painting “The Problem We All Live With” which depicts a tiny Ruby in a white dress carrying her notebooks and a ruler surrounded by much taller U.S. Marshals. But Ruby Bridges once credited her parents as the forces behind her history-making achievement.

“My parents are the real heroes,” the U.S. Marshals Service once quoted her as saying during a ceremony at an art gallery showing the painting. “They (sent me to that public school) because they felt it was the right thing to do.”

AlphaGo - The Movie

With more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe, the ancient Chinese game of Go has long been considered a grand challenge for artificial intelligence. On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea for an extraordinary best-of-five-game competition, coined The DeepMind Challenge Match. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as a legendary Go master took on an unproven AI challenger for the first time in history.

Move after move was exchanged and it became apparent that Lee wasn’t gaining enough profit from his attack.

By move 32, it was unclear who was attacking whom, and by 48 Lee was desperately fending off White’s powerful counter-attack.

I can only speak for myself here, but as I watched the game unfold and the realization of what was happening dawned on me, I felt physically unwell.

Powell’s Books Is Releasing a Fragrance that Smells Like a Bookstore

This scent contains the lives of countless heroes and heroines. Apply to the pulse points when seeking sensory succor or a brush with immortality.

Powell’s Books is releasing a limited edition unisex fragrance that captures what they said is what customers missed most about Powell’s — the aroma.

Store officials said they surveyed customers about what they missed while the store was temporarily closed by the pandemic. It’s not the books. It’s the smell.

No Evidence of Voter Fraud Reported by Election Officials Nationwide

Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s portrait of a fraudulent election.

Over the last several days, the president, members of his administration, congressional Republicans and right wing allies have put forth the false claim that the election was stolen from Mr. Trump and have refused to accept results that showed Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner.

But top election officials across the country said in interviews and statements that the process had been a remarkable success despite record turnout and the complications of a dangerous pandemic.

Q: What Is a Hole? A: We’re Not Sure!

A hole in a mathematical object is a topological structure which prevents the object from being continuously shrunk to a point. When dealing with topological spaces, a disconnectivity is interpreted as a hole in the space. Examples of holes are things like the “donut hole” in the center of the torus, a domain removed from a plane, and the portion missing from Euclidean space after cutting a knot out from it.

Here’s my short answer that is also the reason I’m not an algebraic topologist. If you can put it on a necklace, it has a one-dimensional hole. If you can fill it with toothpaste, it has a two-dimensional hole. For holes of higher dimensions, you’re on your own.

That answer isn’t very satisfying. Is there a better way to describe holes? I talked with some of my topologist friends and discovered two things: topologists don’t all agree on what a hole is, and it’s fun and interesting to think about different interpretations of a word whose mathematical definition isn’t completely settled. I think my larger conclusion, in the spirit of the season, is that holes are like Santa Claus: the true meaning is in your heart.

Nobody Is Normal

There is nothing wrong with being different from other people. But if feeling different is making you feel isolated or upset, then there are things you can do to feel better.

Norway’s Beautiful New Passports

Aside from a design that makes the passport safer, the passport also has details from Norwegian nature used both as a background illustration and a security element.

When the pages of the passports are placed under UV light, the reproduction of the Norwegian landscape will change from day to night, with, among other things, beautiful northern lights and clouds.

The documents need to ensure identification for its holder and for controlling authorities — domestically as well as abroad. This implies that the ID documents are both a private and a public matter. The document’s holder should feel proud ownership, thus treating the documents carefully and with respect.

The 50th Anniversary of the Iconic Exploding Whale

As it turns out, that was overkill. Mammalian marine guts spewed everywhere, raining down on townsfolk. A quarter-mile away, cars were smashed with chunks of cetacean carcass.

This story remained a local legend for two decades, until the early ’90s , when the newspaper columnist Dave Barry mentioned seeing footage of the exploding beast. Soon after, this video clip — originally reported by Portland news channel KATU — went viral on the internet, long before “going viral on the internet” was even a thing.

Julia Evans

When debugging, your attitude matters

When the z-index property is not specified on any element, elements are stacked in the following order (from bottom to top):
1. The background and borders of the root element
2. Descendant non-positioned blocks, in order of appearance in the HTML
3. Descendant positioned elements, in order of appearance in the HTML

The element is removed from the normal document flow, and no space is created for the element in the page layout. It is positioned relative to its closest positioned ancestor… Its final position is determined by the values of top, right, bottom, and left.

Questions to help people decide what to learn

have you ever taken a class (online or offline!) where you were given a quiz first that you could use to check your understanding of the topic at the start? did it help you?

A new way I'm getting feedback on my zines: beta readers!

If you’d be interested in reading through a draft of the zine and sending me some feedback about which parts are confusing, email me at REDACTED! I’m especially interested in hearing from people who know some basic CSS, but still get really confused & frustrated every time they try to get something done.

Anyone who gives me beta reader feedback on the zine will get a free copy of the zine when it comes out, as a thank you :)

Hi NAME! (sometimes a quick sentence personal to them here, like “You’re definitely who I want to hear from – I partly wrote this for people who wrote CSS 10 years ago and haven’t learned anything new since then”)

Here’s a link to download the current zine draft: https://www.dropbox.com/REDACTED (please don’t share it!)

Any amount of feedback really helps me – if you just read 5 pages of the zine and only have 2-3 small pieces of feedback, please send it! I’d like to get the feedback by Saturday. You can either leave comments on Dropbox or just download the PDF and send me an email with a bunch of notes like “page 6: I didn’t understand XYZ”. Whatever’s easier for you!

here’s the kind of feedback that would help me the most:

  1. Things you found confusing. Things like:
    • On page 3 it uses the term “inline” and I had to look up what that meant
    • Nothing on page 10 made sense to me, I was just really confused
  2. Questions you have (either big questions like “what even is the point of this feature at all?” or small questions like “what is that code supposed to output?”)
  3. Specific things you learned! (for example, “I never understood what X syntax meant, and now I get it!”)

I’m generally not looking for:

  1. Things that you think someone else might find confusing, but that you yourself understand. I find that most people (including me, which is why I’m asking for this feedback!) aren’t great at simulating what someone else might find confusing.
  2. Technical review (I have someone else doing that and I find it’s simpler not to crowdsource tech review)

(though if you have something in these categories that you think is especially important, I’m happy to hear it!)

thanks again, and I’m excited to hear what you have to say!


An attempt at implementing char-rnn with PyTorch

“An who was you colotal said that have to have been a little crimantable and beamed home the beetle. “I shall be in the head of the green for the sound of the wood. The pastor. “I child hand through the emperor’s sorthes, where the mother was a great deal down the conscious, which are all the gleam of the wood they saw the last great of the emperor’s forments, the house of a large gone there was nothing of the wonded the sound of which she saw in the converse of the beetle. “I shall know happy to him. This stories herself and the sound of the young mons feathery in the green safe.”

“That was the pastor. The some and hand on the water sound of the beauty be and home to have been consider and tree and the face. The some to the froghesses and stringing to the sea, and the yellow was too intention, he was not a warm to the pastor. The pastor which are the faten to go and the world from the bell, why really the laborer’s back of most handsome that she was a caperven and the confectioned and thoughts were seated to have great made

ole the sound of the beauty of the beetle. “She was a great emperor of the sea, and the sun was so warm to the confectioned the beetle. “I shall be so many for the beetle. “I shall be so many for the beetle. “I shall be so standen for the world, and the sun was so warm to the sea, and the sun was so warm to the sea, and the sound of the world from the bell, where the beetle was the sea, and the sound of the world from the bell, where the beetle was the sea, and the sound of the wood flowers and the sound of the wood, and the sound of the world from the bell, where the world from the wood, and the sound of the

Server-sent events: a simple way to stream events from a server

By default, if the connection between the client and server closes, the connection is restarted. The connection is terminated with the .close() method.

Firecracker: start a VM in less than a second

It takes <= 125 ms to go from receiving the Firecracker InstanceStart API call to the start of the Linux guest user-space /sbin/init process.

Pacific Domes, Inc.

YOGA DOMES: A Unique Geodesic Dome Building System …

Build a Successful Yoga Studio or Retreat Center using Sacred Geometry

Pacific Domes 

How to Set Up the Ultimate DIY Base Camp

Wherever you may wander, there’s no place like dome

Portable Geodesic Dome Tent Shelter Kits for Sale by Pacific Domes

Eco-Adventure Glamping: Portable Prefab Domes

The future will belong to the Nature-Smart ― those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders, who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world; and, who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” ― Richard Louv

Ecoliving Tiny Houses for Sale

Prefab Tiny House DIY Kits for Sale by Pacific Domes

Affordable Shelter Solutions: Prefab Dome Building Systems

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,

but, a Dragon Crete Dome can be!”

Geodesic Eco-Dome & MgO Dragon Crete by Pacific Domes

Planetarium Domes: It’s a ‘Fuller View’ of the Universe!

You belong to the Universe.” — R. Buckminster Fuller


Adopt a “Fuller” view inside a Planetarium Dome.

Luxury Dome Glamping on the Bolivian Salt Flats

Experience Star Gazing at Kachi ‘Stargazer’ Lodge where the stars are always on display.

Pacific domes
star gazing at Kachi Lodge
Star gazing and dome glamping at Kachi Lodge

ZenDome Glamping Around the World: 5 Eclectic Eco-Hotel Destinations

The dome is a resonating structure that attunes us to the Universal Energy

― Vaastu architect, Michael Borden

Crest 13 Geodesic Dome Havens Worldwide

It is largely dissynchronous timing standards that have kept humans off-balance and alienated from the natural cycles of the Earth they inhabit. The worst culprit is the Gregorian calendar, and by extension the “12:60 frequency” it fosters – together these have become the inescapable time clock of globalist capitalism.”


4 Sale Tent Shelters for Eco-Adventure Camps & Glamping Resorts


Trendsetting ZenDome Tent Shelters for Sale or Rent by Pacific Domes

The future will belong to the Nature-Smart, those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders, who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world; and, who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” 

Richard Louv

For more information about purchasing or renting portable ZenDome geodesic-engineered building systems by Pacific Domes visit with one of our friendly representatives today!

5 Great Yoga Community Escapes: Yoga Retreats and Travel Spots Around the World

Serving Yoga Communities for a Sustainable World.” Pacific Domes

Bubble Domes: A Unique Private Dining Experience

Dine with a view in the elegance and comfort of a translucent Bubble Dome

Pacific Domes

Future Garden: The UCSC Greenhouse Dome Project

“We are propagating plant ensembles inside three Buckminster Fuller geodesic-engineered greenhouse domes manufactured by Pacific Domes

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

Micro Dome Ecoliving: Build Your Own DIY Micro House

“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” 

Henry David Thoreau

Ecoliving Tiny Dome Micro-Communities: Shelter for a Sustainable World

From Separation to Unity & Thriving  

I would never have become such a joyful human being who is loved and loving,

who is tranquil every moment of my life.  

I reach out of my heart to take a bold step together with you to form a new society.

I believe to build a new reality we ought to drop all the sick concepts – such as, victories over each other; as well as, competition and hierarchy.

Alosha & Zoya, Bio-Veda Academy

Intentional Dome EcoVillage Micro-Communities: Co-Creating a New Paradigm

Nature Smart Self-Sustaining EcoVillages

Vipassana Meditation in a Vaastu Dome

“A 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat in a Vaastu Meditation Dome is a transformative experience.”

Pacific Domes

Geodesic Dome Climbing Gym: The Safe Monkey-Bar for Kids of All Ages

Harness the Power of the Climbing Dome Gym

“Geodesic Climbers help kids develop hand-eye coordination in a fun-filled way.” 

Pacific Domes

Commercial Playground Equipment: Geodome Climbers by Pacific Domes

Inspiring Playgrounds Across America…

Paul Smith Children’s Village, The Peace Garden & The Children’s Workshop Oakland Pre-school

Pacific Domes

Safe Outdoor Education: Repurposing Schools to fit social distancing needs

“Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus, both, on surfaces and in the air.”

William Bryan

Outdoor Greenhouse Classroom at Lila School

The Sentient Plant BioDome at the Los Feliz Campus by Pacific Domes

Plant a Seed Day: March 20th, 2021

Share your Love for the Earth and Earth’s ChildrenPacific Domes

Efficient Wood Burning Stoves for Undercanvas Dome Tents

“Innovation and service is at the core of all we do”

Pacific Domes

Tips on Dome Home Security for Rural & Remote Locations: How to Protect Your Dome

Keeping Your Dome Home Protected

Pacific Domes

Off-Grid Home: How to Live Off-Grid in a Dome

Enjoy the freedom lifestyle

Design your off-grid dome home

Pacific Domes

Off-Grid Geodesic Dome House FAQ’S

Celebrating 40+years in geodesic dome manufacturing .”

pacfic Domes

What are Domes? Advantages of Geodesic Dome Homes

Geodesic Domes are known to be the strongest, lightest, most efficient shelter devised by man”.

Pacific Domes, Inc.

The AIA citation reads… “The American Institute of Architects presents the 1970 Gold Medal, the highest honor it can bestow, to Richard Buckminster Fuller, engineer, inventor, mathematician, educator, cartographer, philosopher, poet, author, cosmogonist, industrial designer and architect, whose ideas, once considered visionary, have now received national and international acceptance. A man responsible for the design of the strongest, lightest and most efficient means of enclosing space yet devised by man. A man who has used himself as a laboratory of human response, who has at all times concerned himself with the social implications of his discoveries, who has understood that real wealth is energy, and a man whose objective was humanity’s success in the universe.”

Ultimate Festival Magic: The Show Begins with Illumination Domes

“Illuminate the world with the magic of 360 projection.”

360° Mobile Projection Dome Theaters for Sale or Rent

Pacific Domes, USA

The Interconnected

Leah Neukirchen


Trolley Canal Boats

Most of these systems were at least four times more efficient than diesel powered barges

Life Without Airplanes: from London to New York in 3 Days and 12 Hours

Before mass air travel took off in the 1960s, people crossed the globe in majestic passenger ships.

Ferries take not only passengers on board but also their cars. Since the cars take more space and weigh more than the passengers, this is a very inefficient way of transporting people

Unfortunately, governments and businesses prefer to keep up their faith in larger airports and faster planes as if there is no alternative

Get Wired (Again): Trolleybuses and Trolleytrucks

Cargo traffic and public transport could be electrified in just a few years time.

The capital investment of the 19 kilometre line in Quito was less than 60 million dollar - hardly sufficient to build 4 kilometres of tram line, or about 1 kilometre of metro line.

There are more elegant options than trolleytrucks, like underground freight networks. Cost, however, is a serious obstacle.

The Short History of Early Pedal Powered Machines

The historical importance of pedal powered machines can be easily overlooked by people who grew accustomed to fossil fuels and ubiquitous electricity

Bike Powered Electricity Generators are Not Sustainable

When operating a bicycle generator you are basically pedalling to produce the energy required to manufacture the battery.

You have to pedal 2 to 3 times as hard or as long if you choose to power a device via electricity compared to powering the same device mechanically

Additional energy losses occur when using a racing bike or a mountain bike

On a stationary bicycle without a flywheel, the natural pedalling rhythm results in jerky motion, limiting the energy output of the rider

A pedal powered generator might cost more energy than it delivers

The solar envelope: how to heat and cool cities without fossil fuels

The Barcelona Eixample can be considered the largest solar planned neighbourhood in existence today

In an east-west street the surface of the street receives no sunlight at all during six months of the year

The grid layout best suited for both maximum solar access and maximum building density is one with rectangular blocks running long in the east-west direction

Electric Velomobiles: as Fast and Comfortable as Automobiles, but 80 times more Efficient (Part Two)

Within the limits of the law, the electric motor and battery are a disadvantage rather than a help

A car with a top speed of 270 km/h can be driven anywhere on Earth, while an electric velomobile with an electric assistance of up to 50 km/h is illegal is most countries

The electric velomobile calls into question the validity of the existing vehicle categories

Electric velomobiles, being a hybrid between a velomobile and an automobile, can be designed in many different ways.

Because the eWAW is 80 times more efficient than an electric car, there is quite some room for pimping up a velomobile.

How to Make Everything Ourselves: Open Modular Hardware

Consumer products based on an open modular system can foster rapid innovation, without the drawback of wasting energy and materials

Open modular construction does not mean that everyone should make their own consumer products

An open modular construction system offers economic opportunities for everybody

Burning the Bones of the Earth: Lime Kilns

Limestone is mainly coral and shells of long-extinct sea creatures, squeezed over aeons into a solid mass of calcium carbonate

Email in the 18th Century: The Optical Telegraph

Every tower had a telegrapher, looking through the telescope at the previous tower in the chain.

Satellite Navigation in the 18th Century

Should anything go wrong with the GPS-satellites, we would be catapulted back in time: not to the eighteenth century, but to antiquity.

Some centuries ago, it was possible to achieve a determination of your position on Earth which was almost as accurate as with GPS – but only with time, craftsmanship and significantly more complexity.

The invention of the marine chronometer around 1760 was the missing link in the navigation system.

Who Killed the Electric Grid? Fast-charging Electric Cars

Manufacturers of electric cars and batteries are pushing faster recharging times

Electric motors are more efficient than gasoline engines, but the problem is not total energy consumption, it is peak load

You cannot solve this issue with better batteries - in fact, you can only make it worse

Electric cars are not refrigerators - but many calculations of their energy requirements treat them as if they were

How (Not) To Resolve the Energy Crisis

In spite of the impressive development of wind power, Spain is now 3 times more dependent on fossil fuels for electricity generation than a decade ago

The Spanish would have obtained the same results if they would not have built one wind turbine, but had chosen to limit the rise of energy consumption to 85 TWh instead of the recorded 112 TWh

The embodied energy of wind turbines and solar panels is not a problem if they replace non-renewable energy plants. However, this is not the case. We are piling up energy sources.

All policy objectives are expressed in relative terms - a fruitless approach as long as total energy consumption is on the rise.

Much more important than what we do, is what we don’t do.

If we put an absolute limit to energy use, all other efforts (renewable energy sources, energy-efficient technology) suddenly make sense

How Sustainable is Digital Fabrication?

We’ll create even more stuff, and each product will cost much more energy than if produced with conventional methods.

Wind- and water-powered mills from pre-industrial times fit the modern definition of machine tools

Until the 1980s, most machine tools were controlled by humans. The tool itself was powered by electricity, but workers shaped the workpiece

A computer-controlled milling machine requires 2.5 to 60 times more power than a hand-controlled milling machine

Up to 85% of the power used by a CNC machine is constant, even when no action takes place

The incentives to improve the energy efficiency of machine tools are rather small, especially when energy saving measures hamper productivity

Increasing the production rate of machine tools lowers the specific energy used per produced part. The problem is that it implies an increase in material production, which increases total energy demand.

Laser cutters have become popular for cutting common sheet metal at the expense of more traditional technologies such as punching, blanking, and guillotining

A human-controlled punching machine is 25 to 35 times more efficient than a laser cutter when producing a standard part

Fibre laser cutters are more efficient than CO2-laser cutters, but their power consumption is still 10 times larger than that of a slower but equally powerful human-controlled nibbling machine

Choosing less automated manufacturing technologies should be a part of the solution

The digital maker revolution may be just as unsustainable as the digital fabrication revolution in factories

How to Keep Warm in a Cool House

If we are looking for quick and substantial energy savings for existing buildings, then local heating systems deserve our closest attention

Local heating can save 30-40% of energy compared to air-heating alone, taking into account the energy use of the local heating sources

How much energy can be saved depends on—among other things—the interior volume of a space, the amount of people in it, and how frequently the space is used

People are different, wear different clothes, and perform different activities, while air heating creates a thermal environment that’s for everyone the same

In offices, personalized heating systems can lower energy use and simultaneously improve thermal comfort and working performance.

A steady temperature throughout a space is an intrinsic feature of modern air heating and cooling systems, not a condition for feeling comfortable.

Radiant & Conductive Heating Systems

The high thermal mass of a tile stove makes it best suited for frequently used rooms and for persistently cold weather

Unlike tile stoves, thermally active building surfaces distribute warmth evenly throughout a space.

Radiant heating panels have little or no thermal mass and can produce heat very quickly

Electric longwave infrared heaters are not to be confused with the older and much better known electric shortwave infrared heaters, which produce a glowing red light when in operation

While a ceiling-mounted panel maximizes radiant heat production, a vertically positioned panel maximizes radiant heat reception

Longwave infrared radiation doesn’t penetrate the skin and is harmless. However, excessive use of shortwave infrared heaters or conductive heating systems could lead to a skin condition called Erythema ab igne.

Bring Back the Horses

Replacing tractors with horses does not mean going back to the middle ages, nor does it exclude heavy machinery, high yields or high-tech

Tractors don’t reproduce, and they don’t fertilize the soil

Powering agriculture with tractors requires almost 2.5 times as much (bio)energy than powering agriculture with horses”

Encouraging people to watch a horse’s ass instead of a computer screen might prove difficult”

The Citroen 2CV: Cleantech from the 1940s

If we really want more energy efficient cars, the 2CV shows us that we need not more, but less technology”

If you wanted to know how much gasoline you had left, you had to stop and poke a dipstick into the fuel tank.

The Monster Footprint of Digital Technology

The embodied energy of the memory chip alone already exceeds the energy consumption of a laptop during its life expectancy of 3 years.

Digital technology is a product of cheap energy

The energy savings realised by digital technology will merely absorb its own growing footprint.

The manufacture of nanotubes is as energy-intensive as the manufacture of microchips.

Recycling is not a solution if all your energy use is concentrated in the manufacturing process itself.

Addressing technological obsolescence would be the most powerful approach to lower the ecological footprint of digital technology

Wind Powered Factories: History (and Future) of Industrial Windmills

The Netherlands had 5 times more windmills in 1850 than it has wind turbines today

The total amount of wind powered mills in Europe was estimated to be around 200,000 (at its peak), compared to some 500,000 waterwheels.

Around 1600, many new industrial applications of windmills appeared: saw mills, paper mills, mustard mills, tobacco mills, …

In saw mills, even the crane to haul up the timber was driven by the sails

During the second half of the eighteenth century, several complex but effective techniques were developed that made it possible for a traditional windmill to be left mostly unattended

Windmills with wood gearings had an efficiency of only 39 percent

The maximum power output of a windmill was doubled from 50 to 100 horsepower at the end of the 1920s

Traditional windmills could be improved substantially with today’s knowledge and materials

Rings of Fire: Hoffmann Kilns

The fire is chased around the building in a never ending process that is extremely energy-efficient.

The Sky is the Limit: Human-Powered Cranes and Lifting Devices

The most powerful hand crane in history multiplied the force of its operator 632 times

The only advantage that fossil fuel powered cranes have brought us, is a higher lifting speed

A crane with five pulleys allows you to lift five times more than you are otherwise able to - but the rope has to be pulled over five times the distance

The treadwheel crane remained in use until the end of the 1800s

A large treadwheel gives a mechanical advantage of 14 to 1

The obelisk was raised using a wooden lifting tower 27.3 metres tall, ropes up to 220 metres long, 40 capstans, 800 men and 140 horses

The most powerful harbour cranes had two treadwheels, each walked by 3 to 4 men

A book on crane technology, published in 1904, still devoted half of its pages to manually operated cranes

We prefer lifting things with power machinery and we run (not walk) on a treadmill in the gym to keep in shape

The Status Quo of Electric Cars: Better Batteries, Same Range

The 2010 Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV have exactly the same range as the 1908 Fritchle Model A Victoria: 100 miles (160 kilometres) on a single charge

In fact, the range of the Nissan Leaf or the Mitsubishi i-MiEV may be far worse than that of the 1908 Fritchle

The risks of more powerful electric motors were already recognized in the early 1900s

The low “fuel” costs are only half the story if the “fuel tank” itself is that energy-intensive.

We cannot have it all: range, speed and size. And yet, that’s what we are trying to do.

Recycling Animal and Human Dung is the Key to Sustainable Farming

We have been conditioned to believe that the water closet and the sewer system are the only alternatives to stench and disease

The Liernur system combined the comfort of today’s water carriage sewer network with the ecological and manurial advantages of the earlier scavenging methods

The installation of a vacuum sewer system is twice as cheap as the construction of a traditional sewer system

If we recycle our own waste products, fertilizer production would automatically keep up with population growth

European farmers of the 15th to 17th centuries, both high and low, had one main worry, manure. They dared not neglect any source of supply, however minute, for the success of every crop they grew depended largely on the amount they could accumulate for use. They were willing to undertake the labours of Hercules to build a sufficient dunghill”.

The main problem is not that we produce inorganic fertilizers it’s that we don’t recycle them

Even if livestock is raised on the same continent as where its feed is grown, the scale and geographical concentration of industrial feedstock production causes gross imbalances that hamper manure recycling options. High labour and transport costs often limit the use of manure as organic fertilizer to the direct vicinity of the production facilities.”

If we recycle our own waste products, we have to ship them back from the place of food consumption to the place of food production

Boat Mills: Water Powered, Floating Factories

Boat mills followed the water level, keeping the undershot wheel at a continuously ideal position. The result was a power source that was available 24 hours a day and 365 days per year.

Aerial Ropeways: Automatic Cargo Transport for a Bargain

The 1930s and 1940s saw the construction of the longest ropeways ever built, with lengths of up to 96 kilometres (60 miles).

The RopeCon system in Jamaica saves 1,200 truck journeys per day and generates 1,300 kWh of braking energy per day, which is fed back into the power network.

Insulation: First the Body, Then the Home

Insulation of the body is much more energy efficient than insulation of the space in which this body finds itself.

One “clo” equals the thermal insulation required to keep a couch potato wearing a typical business suit indefinitely comfortable at a temperature of 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit).

One layer of thermal long underwear allows you to turn down the thermostat with at least 4° C, saving up to 40% on space heating energy.

With two layers of thermal underwear, the insulation value more than doubles. It is perfectly possible to maintain thermal comfort at temperatures around or even below 10°C (50°F)

The most significant factor influencing thermal comfort - even more important than air temperature and clothing - is body heat production

Pedal Powered Farms and Factories: The Forgotten Future of the Stationary Bicycle

The design of universal pedal powered units with direct mechanical transmission was extensively researched in the 1970s

Apart from pedals, cranks and chain drives, these human powered machines share nothing with a bicycle

Cable-cultivation is a principle in which the motive power for plowing (or harrowing, cultivating, seeding and hay raking) is stationary and only the tool moves across the field along a cable.

The human powered flywheel motor can deliver much more power than the person who operates it

The Dual-Purpose Bicycle looks very similar to the electricity generators which are sold today, though it is aimed at mechanically driving multiple machines and producing electricity

In the most extreme case, you could skip the voltage regulator, the converter and the battery, which leaves you only with the energy loss of the generator

Pedal powered electricity plants could be a valuable backup solution to intermittent renewable energy sources

The absence of self-produced cooling winds results in possible overheating of the body

The main problem with our approach to pedal powered machines is that we compare them to fossil fuel powered machines and not to the inefficient human powered tools and machines that went before them.

The Bright Future of Solar Thermal Powered Factories

The missing element in our sustainable energy strategy is a renewable source of heat energy

You won’t find any factory manufacturing PV solar panels using energy from their own PV solar panels, because it would be 2 to 3 times more expensive to generate the heat required for producing steel and silicon

If were to use concentrated solar power to generate heat instead of converting this heat into electricity - a process in which two thirds of energy gets lost - the technology would be cost-effective anywhere on Earth

Almost 60 percent of heat demand in Euopean industry could be covered by already available and cost-effective technology using an inexhaustible renewable energy source that has no ecological disadvantages whatsoever.

At low and medium temperatures, solar heat can be applied to industrial processes using already existing machinery and heat distribution pipelines

Solar furnaces can reach temperatures up to 3,500 °C (6,332 °F), enough to produce microchips, solar cells, carbon nanotubes, hydrogen and all metals

The Solar Fire P32 costs 7,500 dollar and can be used to make another Solar Fire P32

Storing heat is much cheaper and more efficient than storing electricity in a battery

Medieval Smokestacks: Fossil Fuels in Pre-industrial Times

Our romantic image of the Middle Ages and Renaissance as a paradise of renewable technologies results largely because of our failure to distinguish between thermal and kinetic energy.

While peat is classified by the IPCC as a renewable fuel, this is highly debatable. It takes at least 3000 years for a peat layer of 3 m to return to its original size.

When the easiest accessible reserves were exhausted, the peat diggers developed new technologies and methods to mine harder-to-reach resources at an ever increasing financial and environmental cost.

In total, peat digging would turn more than 60,000 hectares (600 km2) of land into water in Holland and Utrecht - almost 10 percent of their total surface area.

The peat was mined by urban capitalists from the western cities who judged market conditions sufficiently attractive to buy up vast tracts of uninhabited bog, dig lengthy canals into the bogs, and hire armies of labourers to dig the peat

More than 60 percent of Dutch people lived in cities, compared to about 10 percent in most other European countries at the end of the 17th century.

Land-based transport was extremely slow, labour-intensive and expensive, limiting the practical distance between energy deposits and consumption centres to 20 to 25 km at most.

At the beginning of the 1600s, coal accounted for three quarters of fuel consumption in London, which caused extensive air pollution.

All economic success stories of the past millenium are based on an ample supply of fossil fuels - accompanied by serious ecological damage.

How to Downsize a Transport Network: The Chinese Wheelbarrow

The large central wheel of a Chinese wheelbarrow takes the full weight of the burden with the human operator only guiding the vehicle

A Chinese traveller sits on one side, and thus serves to counter-balance his baggage, which is placed on the other

This description would not be complete without mentioning the squeaking of the unoiled axle, a nightmare to foreigners, which does not bother the Chinese in the least

The Ancient Chinese used their wheelbarrows as a defence against the onslaught of cavalry, a tactical system that remained in use during later times using two-wheeled carts

The use of auxiliary power from animals and wind (the two were sometimes combined) made it possible to design larger wheelbarrows that could take more cargo

While some sails were very simple pieces of cloth, others were perfect miniatures of the ones used on a junk (a Chinese sailboat), easily adjustable by the driver

The importance of the Chinese wheelbarrow can only be understood in the context of the Chinese transportation network

The network of wide roads was gradually replaced by an informal, low-tech infrastructure that was not less ingenious than the wheelbarrows that operated on it

In most European countries, smooth wheeled traffic only made a comeback during the nineteenth century

The Art of Producing Sustainable Consumer Goods: Basketry

Some of the first agriculture might have been to grow basketry crops, not food crops

The coracle’s small size and lightweight construction ensured that, after the occupant had paddled across rivers, lakes or marshes, he could pick up his boat and walk across country with ease

Out of hundreds of traditional crafts, none has so many everyday applications

The Solar Envelope: How to Heat and Cool Cities without Fossil Fuels

The solar envelope offers densities that are up to 20 times higher than the average density of American cities

If we would take the highest densities reached under the solar envelope as an upper limit, we could create cities where the critical functions of buildings can be met without fossil fuels, while still retaining (more than) high enough densities to make public transportation, bicycling and walking attractive

The Solar Envelope: How to Heat and Cool Cities without Fossil Fuels

Passive solar design has been around for thousands of years, and even predates the use of glass windows.

Buildings within the solar envelope do not overshadow neighbouring buildings during critical energy-receiving periods of the day and the year

Cargo Cyclists Replace Truck Drivers on European City Streets

As it currently stands, almost 100 percent of cargo transport in cities is done by motorised vehicles

Because a cargo cycle is as fast as a delivery van in city traffic, and because it can move as much cargo as the van usually does, substituting cargo cycles for delivery vans will not require additional drivers.

In Berlin, it was found that cargo cycles using electric assist can replace up to 85 percent of car trips made by courier services.

The cargo cycle allows service providers to start a business with a much lower investment, and to operate it at considerably lower costs.

During the first half of the twentieth century, tradesmen and artisans made use of cargo cycles which were specially designed to carry the tools of their trade.

Electric Velomobiles: as Fast and Comfortable as Automobiles, but 80 times more Efficient

If rigged with an electric auxiliary motor, the weak points of the velomobile—its slower acceleration and climbing speed—are eliminated

With 250 watts of power, the electric motor of the eWAW gives a person with an average fitness level the power output of an athlete

The engineer’s choice to assist the driver only during acceleration is smart; it increases the range of both the cyclist and the battery spectacularly

If all 300 million Americans replace their car with an electric velomobile, they need only 25 % of the electricity produced by existing American wind turbines

Adding only 6 kg of batteries increases the range of the electric velomobile to 450 km

The capacity of our roads would at least quadruple if we switched from cars to velomobiles

The Mechanical Transmission of Power (2): Jerker Line Systems

Jerker line systems can be used to operate water pumps or sawing machines, to forge iron, to process food or fibres, or to make paper.

The Mechanical Transmission of Power (3): Endless Rope Drives

Contrary to electricity and compressed air, the transmission of power by rope was not a radical departure from traditional methods

Telodynamic transmission was adopted in three of the earliest central power stations in Europe

Most wire rope transmissions were built in France, Switzerland and Germany, but the technology was used all over the world

A wire rope transmission was considerably more efficient than electricity up to distances of about 5 km (3 miles)

A wire rope transmission from 1860 is still more efficient than a moden electric transmission up to a distance of at least 1 km

In executing mechanical work, force can be transformed into velocity and vice versa

The trend towards small-scale, decentralised power production means that rope transmission might have a place in our energy systems

If we could learn how to run ropes fast enough, a ship hawser could transmit the power of an entire nuclear plant

Back to Basics: Direct Hydropower

The hydro power installations in use today are actually less efficient than those of earlier centuries

A direct hydropowered coffee depulper in Nicaragua has been performing flawlessly through five harvests

Because less water is needed to produce a given amount of power, all components of the system are reduced in size and cost

A small storage tank makes it possible to run even more powerful machines

In Nepal, an NGO has upgraded more than 5,000 still operating all wooden water mills to nineteenth-century standards, doubling their efficiency and allowing them to compete with diesel power

Power from the Tap: Water Motors

It became quickly obvious that the potable water sent through the pipelines of the public water supply could also provide motive power.

The efficiency of a Pelton wheel is not dependent on its size, which makes it especially attractive for smaller powers.

At the end of the nineteenth century, water motors were also used to power electrical devices, especially radios and light bulbs

While the use of water motors in the US came to an end early in the twentieth century, the Europeans took hydraulic power transmission one step further

High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network

The Thalys is two to three times as expensive as the Étoile du Nord, while it’s only 25% faster.

You can still travel cheaply by low speed train between Paris and Amsterdam, but the trip takes as long as it did in 1927 and you have to walk half an hour to cross the border between France and Belgium.

As of 2014, a round trip between Barcelona and Amsterdam will set me back at least €580 at standard fare. Before the introduction of the high speed train, the cost was €270.

A trip from Barcelona to Switzerland or Italy now takes longer than before the installation of the high speed train. In spite of this, fares on the route have more than doubled.

With the arrival of high speed trains and low-cost airlines, rich and poor are simply swapping long-distance transport modes.

Well-Tended Fires Outperform Modern Cooking Stoves

Well-constructed three-stone fires protected from wind and tended with care score between 20 and 30% thermal efficiency

A rocket stove can double the thermal efficiency of a well-tended open fire

Improved biomass stoves have double or triple the thermal efficiency of modern electric or gas cooking stoves

Essentially, any electric cooking device is an insult to the science of thermodynamics

Heat transfer loss is not fully accounted for in most testing standards for cooking appliances

Pollution levels in modern kitchens can be similar to those of a well tended three-stone fire inside the house

If electricity is produced by biomass, an electric cooking stove produces much more air pollution and greenhouse gases than a biomass stove

If We Insulate Our Houses, Why Not Our Cooking Pots?

The cooking process is similar to heating an uninsulated building with all the doors and windows open

The fireless cooker is the passive house concept applied to cooking

During the first decades of the twentieth century, the fireless cooker became a permanent fixture of many American and European households

The thermal cooker is a compact, high-tech version of a fireless cooker

The fireless cooker greatly increases the usefulness of a solar cooker

Solar cookers used in developing countries are usually not the most efficient devices. Improving them with more sophisticated materials greatly increases their usability

Increasingly, NGO’s are betting on a combination of solar cookers, fireless cookers and improved biomass stoves

The Revenge of the Circulating Fan

AC electricity use by an American household equals 60% of all electricity used by the average European household

Moving air around requires much less energy than refrigerating it. Moreover, the cooling effect of circulating fans can be applied locally and has immediate effect

Recent studies have shown that people can be comfortable at 30°C (86°F) and 80% relative humidity with an air speed of only 1.6 m/s

An additional benefit of the low energy use of these fans is that they can be easily operated via battery power during blackouts.

AC subjects all people in a space to the same thermal environment, while fans allow the creation of personal microclimates

Restoring the Old Way of Warming: Heating People, not Places

If the share of radiation or conduction in the total heat transfer increases, people can be perfectly comfortable at a lower air temperature during the heating season

It’s not the sun but the earth’s surface that heats the air on our planet

In an air-heated room, it doesn’t matter much where you are. In a room heated by a radiant heating source, location is everything.

To create a comfortable microclimate without radiant assymetry or draft, our forefathers supplemented local heating with local insulation

Personal heating sources allowed people to enjoy the heat from the central fireplace in unheated rooms, or even outside the house

While the old concept of heating is more energy efficient, the same cannot be said of most of the old heating devices.

How Sustainable is PV solar power?

For solar panels manufactured in China, the carbon footprint and the energy payback time are almost doubled

At high growth rates, the energy and CO2 savings made by the cumulative installed capacity of solar PV systems can be cancelled out by the energy use and CO2 emissions from the production of new installed capacity

Between 2009 and 2014, solar PV grew four times too fast to be sustainable

Sustainable growth rates of 300-460% are possible when PV modules are produced in countries with low-carbon energy grids and installed in countries with high insolation and carbon-intensive grids

How Sustainable is Stored Sunlight?

Morgan Stanley expects off-grid solar PV to be commercially viable in some European countries and across most of the USA by 2020

Lead-acid batteries easily double the energy and CO2 payback times of a solar PV system

If solar panels and batteries are produced in China, the CO2-emissions are double those of conventional grid electricity

The total storage capacity to be manufactured over the complete lifetime of a solar PV system is 6 times lower for lithium-ion than for lead-acid

Off-grid solar systems with lithium-ion battery storage can have GHG emissions below 30 gCO2e/kWh if they are produced in countries with clean electricity grids, and installed in countries with high solar insolation and carbon-intensive grids.

Why We Need a Speed Limit for the Internet

The increasing energy consumption of the internet is not so much due to a growing amount of people using the network, as one would assume. Rather, it’s caused by a growing energy consumption per internet user.

We are using our increasingly energy efficient devices for longer hours as we send more and more data over a worldwide infrastructure.

Because the estimates for the energy intensity of the internet vary by four orders of magnitude, it’s easy to engineer the end result you want.

A videoconference can also replace a phone call or an email, and in these cases energy use goes up, not down.

Setting a limit would not stop technological progress. Advances in energy efficiency will continue to give room for new devices and applications to appear.

How to Build a Low-tech Internet

Although the WiFi-standard was developed for short-distance data communication, its reach can be extended to cover distances of more than 100 kilometres.

Long-distance WiFi links require line of sight to make a connection — in this sense, the technology resembles the 18th century optical telegraph.

Long Range WiFi makes use of unlicensed spectrum and offers high bandwidth, low capital costs, easy installation, and low power requirements.

In a community network, the users themselves build, own, power and maintain the infrastructure.

The available bandwidth per user can vary enormously, depending on the bandwidth of the gateway node(s) and the number of users, among other factors

Delay-tolerant networks combine well with renewable energy: solar panels or wind turbines could power network nodes only when the sun shines or the wind blows, eliminating the need for energy storage.

In a data mules network, the local transport infrastructure substitutes for a wireless internet link.

Many internet applications could be adapted to intermittent networks, such as webbrowsing, email, electronic form filling, interaction with e-commerce sites, blogsoftware, large file downloads, or social media.

The internet as we know it in the industrialized world is a product of an abundant energy supply, a robust electricity infrastructure, and sustained economic growth. It cannot survive if these conditions change.

Power Water Networks

The use of water is a curiously neglected subject in the literature of engineering. As a romantic or popular facet of engineering, hydraulic power has never caught the public eye like the steam engine, the locomotive or even the internal combustion engine.” Ian McNeil, Hydraulic Power, 1972

In hydraulics, friction loss is independent of the mechanical advantage, therefore the possibile force multiplication ratio is almost infinite

During the first half of the nineteenth century, cargo handling in harbours, dockyards and railway yards was still done by means of human powered cranes

In comparison with a water tower, a hydraulic accumulator could deliver ten times more power, and maintain an even pressure all over the network

The idea of a truly hydraulic power network — analogous to the electric grid that came a bit later — was already outlined in a 1812 patent by Joseph Bramah, the inventor of the hydraulic press.

In London, five interconnected central power stations pumped high pressure water in a dozen hydraulic accumulators and almost 300 km of supply mains, powering more than 8,000 machines and serving most of the city.

The network in Antwerp was aimed at the combined production of mechanical power and electricity.

If electricity is the most efficient and practical way of transmitting and distributing power, then why did almost all power water networks remain in service for almost a century?

The limitations of hydraulic transmission were very well understood at the end of the nineteenth century. However, engineers also grasped the unique benefits of the technology, which still hold today.

A great advantage of power water networks was that comparatively little power capacity was required to operate a large number of powerful machines over a wide area.

Slow Electricity: The Return of DC Power?

Solar PV panels naturally produce DC power, and a growing share of our electric appliances operate internally on direct current

Fewer solar panels are needed to generate a given amount of electricity

DC power distribution would make devices simpler, cheaper, more reliable, and less energy-intensive to produce

In a net-metered solar powered building, only loads coincident with solar PV output can benefit from a DC grid

Unfortunately, energy storage adds another type of energy loss — the charging and discharging losses of the batteries — and negates the cost advantages of a DC system

In an off-grid DC system, electricity use can be met with a solar system that’s one-fifth to one-third smaller, depending on the type of batteries used.

The relatively high energy losses in the cables limit the use of high power appliances

Setting up independent solar systems per one or two rooms is one way to limit cables losses and increase total power use

One way to solve the problem of high power devices is simply not to use them — this is the approach that’s followed in sailboats, motorhomes and caravans

How to Get Your Apartment Off the Grid

Can you power a home office with 50 watt-peak solar panels and 150 Wh of energy storage?

A PV panel that’s optimally tilted towards the winter sun can triple electricity generation compared to a horizontally placed panel

Adjusting the angle of a window sill solar panel is as simple as watering the plants

The choice for a low voltage DC system raises energy efficiency by 40%

On sunny or partly cloudy days, I have more than enough electricity. On overcast days, I have to reduce energy demand.

There are a surprisingly large number of ways to reduce energy use, without having to revert to a typewriter and candles

For lighting, it’s impossible to fall back on grid power because I had to cut the power cords of all lamps to make them compatible with the 12V DC grid

Progress in energy efficient technology will steadily increase the possibilities of my off-grid system, with no risks of rebound effects

The balcony solar PV system will be totally independent of the window sill solar PV system

If the second experiment succeeds, and of course this remains to be seen, the plan is to stop the contract with our power provider

Vietnam’s Low-tech Food System Takes Advantage of Decay

Fermentation is both low-tech and democratic. It can be a fundamental component of a sustainable food system

If you want a localised food system, you need to be able to store your food for long periods. Fermentation makes that possible.

Food fermentation is a strange thing: it inverts what many regard as waste and turns it into a social, living, edible object.

Fermented food has to be produced locally: transporting it will risk explosions on the high seas

Heat Storage Hypocausts: Air Heating in the Middle Ages

When the firing was complete, the vents in the hot plate were opened and hot air rose from the pile of stones into the room to be heated.

A full six days after the fire was extinguished, the air rising from the vents had a temperature of 46°C

According to the latest estimates, there must have been at least 800-1,000 heat storage hypocausts around the Baltic Sea

Could We Run Modern Society on Human Power Alone?

The potential of human power increases as the human population grows, while all other energy sources need to be shared among an ever-growing amount of people.

Exercise machines for strength training are an interesting addition to stationary cycling machines for human power production.

At the current energy prices in the Netherlands, a human generating electricity would earn only 0.015€ per hour.

A time schedule tells the students when they have to produce elelectricity and heat, and when to perform other services for the community.

How (Not) to Run a Modern Society on Solar and Wind Power Alone

Annual averages of renewable energy production do not address the highly variable and uncertain character of wind and solar energy

In London, a solar panel produces 65 times less energy on a heavy overcast day in December at 10 am than on a sunny day in June at noon.

At any particular moment of the year, wind and solar energy may be weak or absent simultaneously, leaving us with little or no electricity at all.

Installing more solar panels and wind turbines reduces the risk of shortages, but it produces an oversupply of electricity for most of the year.

Even in the UK, which has one of the best renewable energy sources in the world, combining wind, sun, wave and tidal power would still generate electricity shortages for 65 days per year.

If we count on electric cars to store the surplus of renewable electricity, their batteries would need to be 60 times larger than they are today

Calculating only the energy payback times of individual solar panels or wind turbines greatly overestimates the sustainability of a renewable power grid.

If we could manage to adjust all energy demand to variable solar and wind resources, there would no need for energy storage, grid extensions, balancing capacity or overbuilding renewable power plants.

How to Run the Economy on the Weather

Even though it relied on intermittent wind sources, international trade was crucial to many European economies before the Industrial Revolution.

To some extent, our ancestors were counting on technological solutions to match energy supply to energy demand, just as we do today.

Sailors planned their trips according to the seasons, making use of favourable seasonal winds and currents.

The use of favourable winds made travel times of sailboats relatively reliable. The fastest Atlantic crossing was 21 days, the slowest 29 days.

Many production processes are not strongly disadvantaged by an intermittent power supply.

We can apply the same strategy to basic industrial processes that require thermal energy instead of mechanical energy, which was not possible before the Industrial Revolution.

Before the arrival of the steam engine, there was no way of converting biomass into mechanical energy.

It’s much more practical and energy efficient to use wind to power ships directly.

Wind and solar powered trains would be an entirely new application of a centuries-old strategy to deal with variable energy sources.

If I want to buy new shoes, I might have to wait for the right season to get them manufactured and delivered.

It’s not only renewable power plants that are now completely automated. The same goes for factories.

Bedazzled by Energy Efficiency

According to some critics, efficiency policies are “counter-productive” and “part of the problem”.

If viewed in a larger historical context, the concept of energy efficiency completely disintegrates.

Making everything less energy efficient would reverse the growth in energy services and reduce energy demand.

How Much Energy Do We Need?

Bringing the rest of the world up to the living standards and energy use of rich countries is not compatible with the environmental problems we face.

Between the upper boundary set by the carrying capacity of the planet, and a lower boundary set by decent levels of wellbeing for all lies a band of sustainable energy use.

Needs are universal, objective, non-substitutable, cross-generational, and satiable. Wants are subjective, evolving over time, individual, substitutable and insatiable.

These days in the industrial world, even the energy poor are living above the carrying capacity of the planet.

History and Future of the Compressed Air Economy

If the energy stored over the lifetime of a storage device is compared to the amount of primary energy required to build the device, CAES is vastly superior to electrochemical batteries

Progress in metal smelting was in large part driven by improvements in air compressor technology

The French set up a city-wide power distribution network in Paris, which served more than 10,000 customers and remained in use for 100 years

If we would connect a CAES plant directly to a factory that uses pneumatic tools, by piping compressed air from one to the other, there would be no need to convert compressed air into electricity and back.

In the Paris compressed air power network, the cooling provided by the expansion of air was used for refrigeration, freezing, cooling and ventilation

The hydraulic air compressor produced compressed air without any moving parts, which made it an extremely reliable and efficient device

We Can’t Do It Ourselves

Behavioural change policies assume that either individuals take rational decisions based on product price and information, or that behaviours are the outcomes of beliefs, attitudes and values

The fact that most people do eat meat, do drive cars, and are connected to the electric grid is not simply an isolated matter of choice. People are often locked into unsustainable lifestyles.

By placing responsibility – and guilt – squarely on the individuals, attention is deflected away from the many institutions involved in structuring possible courses of action.

By shifting the focus away from individual choice, it becomes clear that individual behaviour change policies only represent incremental, minimal or marginal shifts at the level of a practice.

A systemic approach to sustainability encourages us to imagine what the “new normal” of everyday sustainability might look like.

Could We Dredge the Netherlands Without Fossil Fuels?

For large dredging works, thousands of workers with dredging bags were deployed.

At low tide, the sluice gates of the basin were opened and the scratcher was pushed through the harbour with great force as the iron teeth scraped across the bottom.

How to Build a Low-tech Website?

Running data centers on renewable power sources is not enough to address the growing energy use of the Internet.

Being always online doesn’t combine well with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, which are not always available.

With 36 of roughly 100 articles now online, the average page weight on the solar powered website is roughly five times below that of the previous design.

By dithering, we can make images ten times less resource-intensive, even though they are displayed much larger than on the old website.

With a self-hosted server, there’s no need for third-party tracking and cookies.

We expect to keep the website on-line during one or two days of bad weather, after which it will go off-line.

To help visitors “plan” their visits to Low-tech Magazine, we provide them with several clues.

Ditch the Batteries: Off-Grid Compressed Air Energy Storage

Compared to chemical batteries, a distributed network of compressed air energy storage systems would be much more sustainable and environmentally friendly

System efficiency and storage size are inversely related: improving one factor is often at the expense of the other.

Small-scale, high pressure systems use the dissipated heat of compression for residential heating and hot water production, while the cold expanding air is used for space cooling and refrigeration.

Below air pressures of 10 bar, compression and expansion of air exhibit insignificant temperature changes and the efficiency can be close to 100%.

During expansion the storage reservoir is depleted and therefore the pressure drops.

By discharging modular storage cylinders sequentially, the discharge time can be greatly increased, making the system comparable to lead-acid batteries in terms of energy density.

How Circular is the Circular Economy?

The large-scale use of synthetic materials, microchips, and batteries makes closing the circle impossible.

Growth makes a circular economy impossible, even if all raw materials were recycled and all recycling was 100% efficient.

About a third of all resources are neither recycled, nor incinerated or dumped: they are accumulated in buildings, infrastructure, and consumer goods.

To make a comment, please send an e-mail to solar (at) lowtechmagazine (dot) com.

Keeping Some of the Lights On: Redefining Energy Security

Power grids are needed to run data networks, and data networks are needed to operate power grids.

Renewable energy sources pose fundamental challenges to the current understanding of energy security

Renewable energy sources like wind and sun have advantages that current definitions of energy security don’t capture

Matching supply to demand at all times makes an off-the-grid system very costly and unsustainable, especially in high seasonality climates

Voluntary off-gridders use less electricity overall and routinely adapt their energy demand to the weather and the seasons.

Industrial societies with “reliable” power grids are in fact the weakest and most fragile in the face of supply interruptions

To improve energy security, we need to make infrastructures less reliable.

To make a comment, please send an e-mail to solar (at) lowtechmagazine (dot) com.

Heat your House with a Mechanical Windmill

Almost nobody knows that a windmill can produce heat directly

A heat generator based on this principle is basically a wind-powered mixer or impeller installed into an insulated tank filled with water.

Mechanical windmills are less complex, which makes them more affordable and less resource-intensive to build, and which increases their lifetime

The tower of the LO-FA windmill was filled up with 15 tonnes of water in an insulated tank: hot water could literally be tapped out of the windmill.

A 2013 study using a prototype calculated the efficiency of the system to be 91%

A heat generating windmill can also be combined with a solar boiler, so that both sun and wind can supply direct thermal energy using a smaller water tank.

Directly coupling a mechanical windmill to a mechanical heat pump is cheaper than using a gas boiler or the combination of a wind turbine and an electric heat pump.

Due to the large energy losses for heat transportation, the heat generating windmill is at its best as a decentralised energy source, providing heat to an off-the-grid household or – in the optimal case – a small city.

Low-tech Magazine: The Printed Website

To make a comment, please send an e-mail to solar (at) lowtechmagazine (dot) com.

How to Make Wind Power Sustainable Again

A 5 MW wind turbine contains more than 50 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic in the blades alone.

The rapid growth in wind power over the last two decades will soon be reflected in a delayed but ever increasing and never-ending supply of waste materials.

A look at the history of wind power shows that plastic is not an essential material.

Larger wind turbines with longer blades place ever higher demands on the materials used.

The length of wood blades is no longer limited by the availability of large tree trunks of consistent quality.

A blade largely made from laminated veneer lumber, but reinforced with carbon composite spars, can be built more than 60 metres long.

By sacrificing some efficiency, we could gain a lot in sustainability.

Pour que l’énergie éolienne redevienne durable

Les pales d’une seule éolienne de 5MW contiennent plus de 50 tonnes de plastique non recyclable.

On verra bientôt les conséquences de deux décennie d’utilisation croissante de l’électricité éolienne : l’apparition différée mais exponentielle de déchets non recyclables.

En jetant un œil à l’histoire de l’énergie éolienne, on réalise qu’utiliser du plastique n’est pas une fatalité.

Les grandes éoliennes et leurs pales très longues mettent à rude épreuves leurs matériaux de construction.

La longueur que l’on peut donner aux pales de bois n’est plus déterminée par la disponibilité de grands troncs d’arbre de consistance homogène.

On pourrait améliorer sensiblement la durabilité au prix d’un peu d’efficacité.

High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network (2)

Two-thirds of passengers on the high speed train between Cologne and Frankfurt are either coming from or going to the airport

The high speed train is the latest in a long history of European luxury trains aimed at business travellers, which seem to appear whenever the economy is booming, and disappear when good times are over

EuroCity and EuroNight formed a sustainable, efficient and cheap long-distance transport system that was the best that Europe ever had.

The local and regional rail infrastructure, which carries many more passengers than high speed rail, is greatly underfunded in many European countries with high speed trains.

The top speed of a train is only one of many factors that influences travel time. European high speed trains reach top speeds of 250 to 350 km/h, but their average speed is well within reach of “low speed” trains

Because time flies when you are under the covers, the night train is the ultimate low-tech alternative for the high speed train

Hochgeschwindigkeitszüge zerstören das europäische Bahnnetz

Der relativ moderate Fahrzeitgewinn des Thalys hat einen hohen Preis

Ergebnis: Der Thalys ist zwei bis drei Mal so teuer wie der Étoile du Nord während er nur 25% schneller ist.

Man kann weiterhin günstig mit langsamen Zügen von Paris nach Amsterdam fahren, jedoch dauert die Fahrt so lange wie 1927 und man muss eine halbe Stunde laufen, um die Grenze zwischen Frankreich und Belgien zu überqueren.

Im Jahr 2014 kostet eine Hin- und Rückfahrt (Normalpreis) zwischen Barcelona und Amsterdam mindestens 580 Euro. Vor der Einführung von Hochgeschwindigkeitsverbindungen waren es nur 270 Euro.

Eine Fahrt von Barcelona in die Schweiz oder Italien dauert heute länger als vor Einführung der Hochgeschwindigkeitsverbindungen. Hinzu kommt, dass sich die Fahrtkosten mehr als verdoppelt haben.

Mit dem Aufkommen von Hochgeschwindigkeitszügen und Billigfluggesellschaften wechseln Arme und Reiche einfach das Verkehrsmittel für Fernreisen.

Hochgeschwindigkeitszüge zerstören das europäische Bahnnetz (2)

Zwei Drittel der Fahrgäste auf der Schnellfahrstrecke Köln – Rhein/Main fahren oder kommen vom Flughafen Frankfurt.

Der Hochgeschwindigkeitszug ist das letzte Glied in einer langen Reihe europäischer Luxuszüge, welche auf die Anforderungen von Geschäftskunden zugeschnitten sind und je nach wirtschaftlicher Lage entstehen oder wieder eingestellt werden.

EuroCity und EuroNight schufen ein nachhaltiges, effizientes und günstiges Angebot für Fernfahrten. Das Beste das Europa jemals hatte.

Der Schienenpersonennahverkehr, welcher weitaus mehr Fahrgäste als der Hochgeschwindigkeitsverkehr befördert, ist in vielen europäischen Ländern mit Hochgeschwindigkeitsverkehr unterfinanziert.

Die maximal gefahrene Geschwindigkeit ist nur ein Faktor unter vielen, welcher die Reisezeit beeinflusst. Europäische Hochgeschwindigkeitszüge erreichen Höchstgeschwindigkeiten von 250 – 350 km/h, doch ihre Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit ist oft in Reichweite von “langsamen” Zügen.

Weil die Zeit (wie) im Schlaf vergeht, ist der Nachtzug eine sehr gute Lowtech Alternative zum Hochgeschwindigkeitsverkehr.

Kunnen we windturbines opnieuw uit hout bouwen?

Alleen al de wieken van een windturbine van 5 MW leveren meer dan 50 ton onrecycleerbaar afval op.

De opmars van windenergie tijdens de laatste twee decennia vertaalt zich binnenkort in een alsmaar toenemende en nooit eindigende toevoer van afvalmaterialen.

Een blik op de geschiedenis van windenergie laat zien dat plastic geen essentieel materiaal is.

Grotere windturbines met langere wieken stellen steeds hogere eisen aan de gebruikte materialen

Een met koolstofvezel composiet versterkte houten wiek kan 60 meter lang zijn.

Door efficiëntie in te leveren, kan er heel wat aan duurzaamheid worden gewonnen

De productie van een windturbine met houten wieken en toren is grotendeels onafhankelijk van fossiele brandstoffen.

Mist Showers: Sustainable Decadence?

In many industrial societies it’s now common to shower at least once per day

The emissions of a typical shower equal 3.5 – 7 km of driving

The weekly water and energy use of a daily shower quickly surpasses the water and energy use of a once, twice or even thrice weekly bath

Jonas Görgen developed a kit that converts almost any shower into a mist shower.

With five nozzles, I measured a water flow of two liters per minute, which is five times less than my now obsolete shower head

The energy savings of a mist shower are smaller than its water savings

Three nozzles – with a flow rate of roughly one liter of water per minute – are the minimum for providing the comfort of a hot shower

If more than fifteen nozzles are used, the energy use of a mist shower is higher than that of a conventional shower

Modern water boilers don’t get triggered by a flow rate below 1 liter of water per minute, meaning that only cold mist comes out

Jak ponownie uczynić energię wiatrową zrównoważoną

Turbina wiatrowa o mocy 5 MW zawiera w samych skrzydłach ponad 50 ton tworzywa sztucznego, które nie nadaje się do recyklingu.

Gwałtowny rozwój energetyki wiatrowej w ciągu ostatnich dwóch dekad zostanie wkrótce odzwierciedlony, w opóźnionym w czasie, ale stale rosnącym i nieskończonym strumieniu odpadów.

Rzut oka na historię energetyki wiatrowej pokazuje, że plastik nie jest koniecznym materiałem.

Większe turbiny wiatrowe z dłuższymi skrzydłami stawiają coraz wyższe wymagania materiałowe.

Poświęcając część wydajności, moglibyśmy wiele zyskać w kwestii ochrony środowiska.

Don Jardine

Andy Baio

Fast and Free Music Separation with Deezer’s Machine Learning Library

The team at @Deezer just released #Spleeter, a Python music source separation library with state-of-the-art pre-trained models! 🎶✨

Straight from command line, you can extract voice, piano, drums… from any music track! Uses @TensorFlow and #Keras.https://t.co/e4lyVtT2lR pic.twitter.com/tDsBMSYiJD

👩‍💻 DynamicWebPaige @ #TFWorld 🌍 (@DynamicWebPaige) November 2, 2019

nobody should have this kind of power pic.twitter.com/4vbl2MGK4Z

— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) November 5, 2019

alt.binaries.images.underwater.non-violent.moderated: a deep dive

i need to know the fucking story here pic.twitter.com/7sxT9vfyKA

— dog star (@rats_god) October 16, 2020

The theme or Topic of this newsgroup shall be images portraying “an underwater scene.” Only photographs, paintings, and graphics whose primary subject is shown in an underwater setting are “on topic” in alt.binaries.images.underwater. Its title’s broadness is deliberate, and indicates inclusion of a varied range of UW themes and imagery. Some examples: shipwrecks, non-human sea life (i.e. fish & coral), swimmers & divers (scuba, snorkelers, free-divers, mermaids, pearl-divers, “hard-hat” divers). The setting may be an ocean, river, lake, or swimming pool… as long as the picture’s primary subject is seen underwater, the image is on-topic.

The setting may be an ocean, river, lake, or swimming pool… as long as the picture’s primary subject is seen underwater, the image is on-topic.

Certain “surface scenes” shall be considered acceptable *if* the image’s subject is seen *semi-submerged* (meaning more in-the-water than out of it. Some examples: a surface view of a semi-submerged shipwreck, or divers/snorkelers floating beside their boat or a buoy.

The banned-in-ABIU subjects are:
(1) shark attacks and victims, etc.
(2) portrayals of drownings & drowning victims
(3) portrayals of UW bondage (tied-up/chained, or otherwise “bound” people)
(4) pictures of naked (or clothed) children or legally underage models (US Law)

Its binding original G-rated scuba-oriented Charter rules are being enforced. It is ready for you scuba fans to come and fill it with your G-rated UW photos. As its creator/admin, I’ll actively help you keep the spam and sex stuff out.

Back on Aug. 30th, a new Moderated newsgroup was created for the fans of underwater erotica (nudes & sex), and they have left. ABIU is now the place for family-safe UW pics.

The House on Blue Lick Road

Uh. Found this in a Facebook group; the person who posted said “tour in 3D, try to find the bathtub” …enjoy(?) https://t.co/20wOBjSUZa

— Jenny Jaffe (@jennyjaffe) October 26, 2020

If you've ever wanted to take a shower in a blue baptism tub a few feet from hundreds of Girls Gone Wild videos, now you can. One homeowner walked me through his home that's become known for its unusual features, including urinals and a fat cat named "Loco." @WDRBNews pic.twitter.com/w6C4ip1PO6

— Grace Hayba (@GraceHayba) October 28, 2020


Peter Rukavina

Optimizing for Less

Over time, we were like, we – we could pay, we could work more to get more money so we can repair, to address that issue, or not, and try to live without. And a lot of the situation that we encountered, it turns out it is a lot healthier for both of us to optimize, to need less, than trying to optimize to make more money. And this lifestyle forced us into that mindset.

Unwieldy Things to Give Away

The great wheel was one of the earlier types of spinning wheel. The fibre is held in the left hand and the wheel slowly turned with the right. This wheel is thus good for using the long-draw spinning technique, which requires only one active hand most of the time, thus freeing a hand to turn the wheel. The great wheel is usually used to spin short-staple fibres (this includes both cotton and wool), and can only be used with fibre preparations that are suited to long-draw spinning

The two loops at the end is a boot jack. It used to be on our mud room. Hold the big hoop up right and use the bottom loop to pull your boots off. No messy fingers.

But the levee was dry...

With the announcement this morning from Hon. Antoinette Perry that there will be no New Year’s Levee held at Government House on January 1, 2021, I wanted to let you all know that I will not be maintaining a list of levees for New Year’s Day 2021, as I expect most if not all will be cancelled in the same fashion.

Best wishes for 2021 regardless, and I hope to see you all back on the levee circuit in 2021.

A Map of Pre-Amalgamation Charlottetown

Do you know if there is an online map of the boroughs, neighbourhoods, districts of Charlottetown? There is a Wikipedia page for “Neighbourhoods of Charlottetown”, but I’ve never seen a map that shows these areas.

19 Rooms

In 1953 Jack Kerouac stayed here for part of the spring, but when Sara McEre bought the former 19th-century boarding house in San Luis Obispo (CA), it was rundown. Instead of converting it to apartments for a profit, she turned it into a communal living residence for 19 like-minded individuals. Having lost her 19-year-old son she had lost 3 months prior, she wanted to create the kind of place he would have liked, with the people she liked.

Today, “The Establishment” is one of the country’s longest-running coliving sites. With 4 refrigerators, two stoves, 19 bedrooms (many with private sinks), a living room, a porch, a vegetable garden, 4 bathrooms, and one outdoor bathtub/shower, there is plenty to be shared, including cleanup (the chores board assigns a weekly task to each resident).


Unlike the vast majority of modern commercial produce, the Honeycrisp apple wasn’t bred to grow, store or ship well. It was bred for taste: crisp, with balanced sweetness and acidity. Though it succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, along the way it became a nightmare for some producers, forcing small Northeastern growers to compete with their massive, climatically advantaged counterparts on the West Coast.

Art Houses: Becky Bradbeer

Professional award-winning theatre artists are paired with local area households to create an evening of original theater. Each performance will expand on the concept of family in the era of quarantine and explore the sensational moments that can be found within the familiar every day.

Meet Becky Bradbeer, a fierce lover of theater, as she creates her own performance from home. Exploring ideas of independence, caregiving, and performativity while living in a body with cerebral palsy, Becky opens up the curtains to her vibrant life and the unexpected turns that lead to this moment in the pandemic. 

Ticket holders will also receive a “mystery box” in the mail before the performance with contents chosen by Becky. These boxes will provide a tactile relationship to the performance, and mimic the surprise of a live show.


Micro-pottering is defined as “those moments in the day when you do something that is not strictly necessary but gives you a short break… to readjust your thoughts.”

Enough is Enough

This piece of music has been composed with the express purpose of inviting choirs, street bands and community groups to learn and perform it, and join an exciting, collective musical response to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) which will be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

Annals of Epidemics: Cochrane's 1923 Typhoid Outbreak

Looking Back on the First Forty Years 

Cochrane Town, and the District surrounding it, had its beginning some 40 years ago in an almost unknown part of Ontario—the country lying approximately half way between Quebec and Winnipeg, the Great Lakes and James Bay. In the heart of this territory, at the junction of the Transcontinental (now the CNR) and the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario (now the ONR) railways, the first town sprang up, and almost immediately began to function as the mother of this vast Northland.

Like mothers of those pioneer days, the new community had no easy life. It had to establish itself and provide everything—roads, sidewalks, waterworks, sewers, light and power, municipal organization and buildings, police and fire services, schools, churches—all the services that a modern municipality needs, besides housing for its own citizens and the “corners and goers”.

The infant town was hard hit at many times and in different ways, but its cruelest enemy was fire. It might be said that Cochrane was built on a brush pile, and the ground was never really cleared until the 1911 fire did it. Then the people of the town realized what they were up against and set themselves to guard against recurrence.

Despite their efforts, the business section of the town was nearly all burned out again in 1916. Since then we have had several very close calls as fire crept in on the community from almost all directions. The danger from fire actually increased as clearing progressed, as the ground, stumps and remaining brush dried out. Fire could travel more quickly, and on some occasions became so hard to control that all men of the town had to be called on to help save the buildings.

Then there was the typhoid fever epidemic of twenty-five years ago, to which one of every four residents fell victim.

It is plain that Cochrane did not make her start with a silver spoon in her mouth. But these obstacles only seemed to draw her citizens more closely together, as the necessity for working in harmony created a spirit of friendliness and good will. Through the courage and perseverance of its early pioneers the town has overcome many, if not all, its handicaps, and has played a major part in the peopling and development of the many towns and communities which have sprung up around — Timmins, Noranda, Kapuskasing, Kirkland Lake, Rouyn, Hearst, Iroquois Falls, Moosonee, Smooth Rock Falls, and almost every point between. Its people have both watched and helped in the development of the great Northland in things ma-terial, governmental, educational and spiritual.

Today the town of Cochrane well deserves the descriptive titles which have been given it — the Gem of the North, the Hub of the North, the Key of the North, the Mother of the North. 

Fever Epidemic Now on Decline in Cochrane

Total cases, 476… Eight Deaths, Water Supply Replaced. Board of Health Re-Organized. 

The typhoid fever epidemic in Cochrane is now on the decline, according to an announcement last week by Dr. W. E. George, District Officer of Health, who spent two weeks in Cochrane in charge of the Provincial forces fighting the disease. The number of cases now total 476, there have been eight deaths, and the epidemic has resulted in a general rep!acement of the town’s present water supply. The local Board of Health which previously was in an unorganised state has been completed and consists of the Mayor, Dr. R. Iron, and J. Beeman, A chloration plant has been installed and arrangements made to secure the town’s water from a pure source of supply. The cost of fighting the epidemic, which included the installation of about 80 typhoid beds as well as the services of almost a dozen nurses, will amount to several thousand dollars and means an added burden to the already stringent condition of the municipal finances.

The fight against the epidemic during the recent severe weather was serious work. For many days the temperature was far below zero and on Tuesday last week was 25 below, below, with a bitter gale blowing 50 miles an hour. The work of visiting the various homes with information and supplies for treating contamination preventing further spread of the epidemic was done by four Provincial Health Nurses. Misses Halley, Heeley, MeEwan and Bowman. This is practically the first instance since the introduction of health nurses in the Province that their services have been organized with such effect. Besides these were done nurses recruited from New Liskeard, North Bay and Toronto.

Two weeks have not passed since the installation of the chlorine plant at Spring Lake, the source of the contamination, as as two weeks is the incubation period for germs, the physicians believe that further outbreaks of the disease will only result from infection of existing cases or the cases of exceptionally long incubation. The usual mortality rate in such epidemics is 15 per cent, and even though the death rate may be doubled, the mortal seriousness of the epidemic will have been low in comparison to the number of cases. A notable feature has been that in families of doctors and others where early precautions were taken and vaccine used there is no trace of typhoid. 

A Mile an Hour

A different kind of marathon; running one lap an hour for 24hrs around my perfectly mile long block. The rest of the time I do as much as possible; making things, odd jobs, fixing stuff. It’s about running, doing, and thinking- the potentials of single day.

It’s gonna hurt because it matters.

Maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt because it matters.

The rugged ambiance of bugs, heat, tents, and cots...

Dad they begun the annual transport of stones in December 1905 and been away from home at a distant quarry, Bob Caswell might have tried to shrug off his sore throat and fever and kept working. But it was the slow time before Christmas, and the family insisted he rest while they sent word for a doctor to come up on the train from Ottawa to check his tonsils. Bob was only thirty-seven years old. His death would be formally attributed to typhoid fever presumably due to drinking “dirty water.” But for over a century, a persistent story flowed through the family that tied Bob’s death to the infections resulting from a sloppy, candlelight, kitchen-table surgery performed by the Ottawa doctor, who had stopped at the pub on the way to the farm. Either way, Bob’s death from infection was miserable. It was the days long before antibiotics and sober doctors or not, there was little that could be done in such circumstances but to hope, pray, and wait. the family felt powerless.

At this time in 1913, Ed Caswell was back in Cochrane recovering from typhoid, the disease that had reputedly killed his brother just eight years earlier. Ed picked up the disease trying to make some extra cash working out of town with construction crews on the transcontinental. The diarrhea and fevers of typhoid infection are not helped by the lack of first aid and the rugged ambiance of bugs, heat, tents, and cots out on the rail lines. 

Of course, ed Caswell had special reasons to be sensitive to the threat aside from his official duties as a municipal manager. The typhoid-linked death of his best friend, partner, and brother Bob in 1905 left an enduring mark on Caswell’s soul, and Ed’s personal brush with typhoid led him into his job with the town and ultimately into his role as fire chief. events flowing from typhoid defined almost everything about Ed’s life now. He was, therefore, among the most vigorous voices warning residents of Cochrane against taking drinking water from the small lake north of town, the one deceitfully and enticingly named “Spring Lake”: the one just next to the town’s lake-like sewer pond. People usually drew their water from a chain of springs near the lake. but when the springs ran low or were clogged by ice, it was just too easy to dip a bucket into the open water of Spring Lake. In the early months of 1923, the sewer lake backed up and overflowed, possibly due to blockages of ice or unexpected runoff. Its toxic waters flowed along the ground and dripped into water that too many people were drawing for their homes. The town had been booming and growing, and this meant greater and greater water consumption.

What makes for good audio description?

Yeah.  So let me break that down into some of the components of what I think is good audio description and talk about it in that sense.  

Good audio description or AD has several components.

It’s about being respectful, meaning you don’t try to explain the plot because blind people can figure out the plot by themselves. You don’t over describe the movie. For example, when a phone is ringing, there’s no need to tell me a phone is ringing. I heard the phone. Right?  

So you don’t censor those things you find offensive.  Because if it’s on the screen and if it’s in the story, we should know about it.  Right? Good AD means good audio.  I shouldn’t have to ride the volume control up and down to hear the audio describer and then higher or lower to hear the actual film.  

You take the time to make that audio right.  Good audio description doesn’t step on dialogue.  Right?  

At its core it’s about providing access to the visuals.  Those who see the film learn certain information about a character that can be their color, sometimes ethnicity, or race.  Other indicative information about the person, it can be relevant to how they interpret that film.  

Blind viewers also should have access to that information.

Red, Right, Returning

You may have heard the phrase, “Red, Right, Returning.” This expression refers to the fact that when returning (entering a channel from the open sea or proceeding upstream), a boater must keep the red Aids on the right (starboard) side of the boat.

Region A consists of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, parts of Africa and most of Asia. When entering a harbor in this region, marks to port are red and marks to starboard are green.

Region B consists of North America, Central America and South America, plus the Philippines, Japan and Korea. When entering a harbor in this region, marks to port are green and marks to starboard are red (red, right, return!).

Four Inches to Spare

I wrote to a good friend this afternoon that “It’s sad, in a deep-down-body-sad kind of way. But it’s not only sad.”

And that is true: we laugh together when Oliver makes a joke. We gossip. I pass on kind wishes from near and far. And we sink into the contentment that Catherine radiates.

New horizons for office furniture

I spend so much time on Zoom these days, I would prefer to be bobbing around in a salt-water bath with a virtual reality headset strapped to my face. Like the precogs in Minority Report.

Using Her Marbles

It’s not easy to know how to respond when someone tells you she has breast cancer, but for goodness sake, say something. As hard as it is, and as awkward as you might feel, it is worse to say nothing than to mutter a few heartfelt words.

Apologies for moving so quickly from handcrafted individual emails to a mailing list, but I was beginning to lose track of who I’d told what about Catherine and her progress, and this seems like a way of doing so that’s sustainable, but without the publicness of a blog, which would make Catherine uncomfortable. Catherine has, however, blessed this alternative.

It’s been a month since I last updated you all on Catherine. At the time of my last update Catherine was in hospital; she ended up staying there for a week, primarily to allow her to rest, get re-hydrated, and get herself on an even keel after a challenging recovery from her radiation treatment and the restart of her oral chemotherapy.

I’ve learned in the last 48 hours that I can’t outrun grief through writing, though: it has its own rules and schedules, and, despite my delusions to the contrary, you can’t write an essay and earn an exemption. But I am finding that you can earn some extra credit.

Monthly report: November 2020

I learned long ago that doubling the price on a job, only to have the client accept anyway, actually doubles the misery of a job I don’t want to do in the first place. I need to Just Say No.

Just Say No

I learned long ago that doubling the price on a job, only to have the client accept anyway, actually doubles the misery of a job I don’t want to do in the first place. I need to Just Say No.

Elmine Wijnia (Comments)

Stephanie Booth

The city is here for you to use

Addendum: What is the percentage representation of women on Windsor City Council & ABCs

For many years when I walked into a room I instantly counted the women. It told me a lot about what to expect from that room. One day, having lost my best friend over racial politics out of my control, I began to count people of color. That too was for safety, for understanding how my views would be taken. That too told me a lot I needed to know about the room. But it also hinted to me about a whole realm of experience I wasn’t having.

Count“, Quinn Norton

City Council is seeking interested persons to serve on a task force for updating the Development Charges Background Study and the Development Charges By-law. Terms of reference for the Development Charges Task Force are attached. Deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, August 22, 2019.

This is what I ask: when you walk into a room, count. Count the women. Count the people of color. Count by race. Look for who isn’t there. Look for class signs: the crooked teeth of childhoods without braces, worn-out shoes, someone else who is counting. Look for the queers, the older people, the overweight. Note them, see them, see yourself looking, see yourself reacting. This is how we begin.

Count“, Quinn Norton

A communal response to bike theft

Yes! 529 Garage has already been rolled out in many cities and has a proven track record. Rates of bike theft are substantially reduced, and the likelihood that a stolen bike comes home increases dramatically. In Vancouver, bike thefts dropped by 30% in just 2 years. On Granville Island, when combined with other theft-deterrent measures, bike theft dropped by 70%. Over 2 years, Whistler has seen a 57% drop in rates of bike theft. Bikes are now routinely returned to owners in all cities that have an active 529 Garage system in place.

“529 Garage: End Bike Theft” Bike Ottawa

With new cameras, are we enabling facial recognition in the City of Windsor?

Mayor Drew Dilkens tells CTV News he believes the benefits are two-fold. He notes many of the cameras will be linked to the police communication centre, and it will allow the dispatcher to assess the scene before calling in officers. “If they see that it’s an issue involving 20 people, well then that provides and warrants a different response than if it’s one or two people,” says Dilkens. Dilkens adds the cameras will also allow for better traffic management. He says the initial focus of the new cameras, if approved, would be in the downtown core.

Windsor looking to install more surveillance cameras, Windsor CTV News, Bob Bellacicco, CTV Windsor News Reporter, Published Friday, September 20, 2019.

The federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) is a permanent source of funding provided up front, twice-a-year, to provinces and territories, who in turn flow this funding to their municipalities to support local infrastructure priorities. Municipalities can pool, bank and borrow against this funding, providing significant financial flexibility.

The federal Gas Tax Fund delivers over $2 billion every year to 3600 communities across the country. In recent years the funding has supported approximately 4000 projects each year. Communities select how best to direct the funds with the flexibility to make strategic investments across the following 18 different project categories:

public transit
wastewater infrastructure
drinking water
solid waste management
community energy systems
local roads and bridges
capacity building
local and regional airports
short-line rail
short-sea shipping
disaster mitigation
broadband and connectivity
brownfield redevelopment

THAT City Council RECEIVE FOR INFORMATION the amended 2019 approved Capital Budget inclusive of changes stemming from the formal announcement of the Federal Gas Tax one-time top-up payment and the Disaster Mitigation Adaptation Fund (DMAF) grant announcement….

Security Cameras Downtown:
This funding would be for the installation of cameras, which would enhance security in the downtown area and as well, provide benefits relative to traffic management.

“We have recognized for some time now that new technologies have the potential to eviscerate privacy rights. Government has abdicated its important role to police the police. Almost every new protection has been a result of the courts making rules. That is not an effective way to develop broad-based policy,” says Hasan. Relying on individuals who have had privacy rights infringed, especially those who were not targets of a criminal investigation, is unrealistic, he adds.

“The new surveillance state: Police can capture an astronomical amount of information through new technologies, and privacy lawyers say there is little oversight or accountability”. Canadian Lawyer, By Shannon Kari, 02 Oct 2017

Why have the floodplain maps of Essex Country not been updated since the 1970s?

The City of Windsor released their  2019 Draft Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Climate Change Impacts in Windsor – A Technical Document. These items are tabled for public comment until January 20, 2020, and any comments can be sent to emp@citywindsor.ca.

With flooding remaining widespread across the local area, the Essex Region Conservation Authority has called on the need to update flood mapping throughout Windsor and Essex County.

New modelling and land surveys, potentially at a cost of between $8 million to $15 million, needs to be done to better understand challenges that lie ahead in future years for every local municipality impacted by flooding, said Tim Byrne, ERCA’s director of watershed management services.

Flood mapping would allow areas of concern to properly prepare — including setting municipal budget funds aside — so flooding as it occurs can be properly addressed, he said. It would provide blueprint support for municipal planning, road building, infrastructure construction and residential development.

The last time flood mapping was completed in this region was in the late 1970s, Byrne said.

ERCA extends flood watch, calls for updated data mapping across local region“, Dave Battagello, Windsor Star, July 16, 2019

Doug Ford’s government tabled its first budget last Thursday. The next day, the Ministry of Natural Resources informed conservation authorities about the new funding formula. For ERCA, the change represents the loss of $100,000 annually. In previous years, ERCA received $202,000 from the province for flood management and that amount is matched through municipal funding for a total flood management budget of $404,000.

Ford government slashes ERCA flood management funding“, The Windsor Star, Mary Caton, April 17 2019

The province only funds between two and three per cent of ERCA’s annual $7.8 million budget, but according to Wyma the Ontario government has regulatory control over conservation authorities.

Local municipalities fund about 30 per cent of the budget and the remainder is through federal grants, fees for service and individual sector support.

ERCA faces provincial funding uncertainty“, The Windsor Star, Jennifer La Grassa, September 16, 2019

Restoration efforts on Peche Island trails that became submerged by a rising Detroit River will keep visitors’ feet dry for now, but rising lake levels could flood the paths again.

In an effort to combat the waterlogged walkways, which forced the City of Windsor to delay municipal boat tours to the island by two weeks, city workers have elevated affected trails with gravel by about seven inches (18 cm), said Trese MacNeil, the city’s co-ordinator of community sports services, recreation and culture. Workers also slightly rerouted some trails to keep them dry with “as little impact to the natural environment as possible,” she said.

The trails are now safe to welcome the first shuttle riders of the season on Wednesday, MacNeil said, but there’s “no way of knowing” if water levels forecasted to rise will flood the fixed paths.

City restores flooded Peche Island trails in advance of boat tours“, The Windsor Star, Taylor Campbell, July 2, 2019

No Ring Please

My neighbors — on each side of my house and across the street — all use Amazon’s Ring doorbell. This sometimes raises opportunities to measure my commitment to privacy. For several nights in a row this past summer, some kids (I assume) were egging cars on our block. Eventually it was my “turn,” and I woke up to my neighbor knocking on my door to inform me that my car had been egged. He said he had footage from the incident captured by his Ring, and that, if I wanted, he could send it to the police. I thanked him, but politely declined the offer. I live in Dearborn, Michigan, which has the largest population of Muslims in the United States, and I am certainly not going to involve the police when there’s a strong possibility that it might endanger a Muslim kid over a problem that can be solved with white vinegar. Surveillance often encourages “solutions” that far outstrip the level of the infraction. Without a camera, it’s unlikely that someone would bother to call the police for a car egging, but the existence of footage — the fact that people have potentially actionable evidence they feel compelled to use — turns a minor instance of vandalism into a situation involving law enforcement.

Chris Gilliard, Caught in the Spotlight, Jan 09 2020

The Business Plan, is a Board oversight instrument that provides the Chief of Police with direction regarding priorities and objectives for the Service. It also provides a fiscal projection for the Board and Council beyond the current operating budget.

The Chief is responsible for the implementation of the business plan. In order to provide maximum flexibility and to encourage initiatives, the Chief is free to determine the best means to achieve the plan objectives.

Windsor Police Service – Business Plans

In 2007, David Murakami Wood, currently Canada Research Chair in Surveillance Studies at Queen’s University, helped write a report on the spread of CCTV for Britain’s information commission. Murakami, then at Newcastle University, told the New York Times that, “the idea of CCTV as a deterrent for something like this is no longer accepted.”

CCTV cameras don’t deter crime, so why does Ottawa want them?, Canadian Lawyer, Michael Spratt, 19 Jul 2019

The stories that I would like to see reported on in our community

The overcrowding at a facility opened in 2014 to alleviate serious overcrowding at the former Windsor Jail means that some cells designed to hold a maximum of two inmates now have to accommodate three. “I have (client) inmates who are sleeping on the floor,” said Carroccia. “I’ve heard lawyers say they couldn’t talk to clients because of lockdowns.”

Crowded Windsor jail causing headaches for lawyers, courts, inmates“, Doug Schmidt, Windsor Star, October 3, 2019

Joe Gratton, a 31-year-old Windsor man, died from one overdose Wednesday at the South West Detention Centre, and Blake Carter, 21, also of Windsor, remained in an intensive care unit with a police presence, the Windsor Star confirmed.

Windsor overdoses add to region’s drug toll behind bars, London Free Press, November 1, 2019

An inquest has been announced into the death of a 30-year-old woman in Windsor. Regional supervising coroner Dr. Rick Mann says an inquest will be held for Delilah Blair. She died in hospital on May 22, 2017, following transfer from the Southwest Detention Centre. An inquest is mandatory under the Coroners Act.

Inquest announced into death of woman at Southwest Detention Centre“, CTV Windsor, Friday, May 3, 2019

A former Ontario corrections officer is hoping to organize a panel discussion to talk about alleged harassment, racism and corruption that takes place in the corrections and law enforcement sector. Iosko Assenov resigned from his job in 2016 because of severe depression, which he attributes to working conditions at the South West Detention Centre in Windsor, Ont. where he said he was subjected to bullying and racial slurs.

Ex-corrections officer wants panel discussion on racism and harassment in sector“, CBC News, May 24, 2019

The Ministry of the Solicitor General has confirmed that a person performing maintenance work at the South West Detention Centre has tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson for the Ministry said the person “was not directly involved with the care or custody of inmates.”

South West Detention Centre maintenance worker tests positive for COVID-19″, CBC News · Posted: Mar 20, 2020

Living in a city with no ambition

Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.

The surprising thing is how different these messages can be. New York tells you, above all: you should make more money. There are other messages too, of course. You should be hipper. You should be better looking. But the clearest message is that you should be richer.

What I like about Boston (or rather Cambridge) is that the message there is: you should be smarter. You really should get around to reading all those books you’ve been meaning to.

When you ask what message a city sends, you sometimes get surprising answers.

Cities and Ambition, Paul Graham, May 2008

How much does it matter what message a city sends? Empirically, the answer seems to be: a lot. You might think that if you had enough strength of mind to do great things, you’d be able to transcend your environment. Where you live should make at most a couple percent difference. But if you look at the historical evidence, it seems to matter more than that. Most people who did great things were clumped together in a few places where that sort of thing was done at the time….

No matter how determined you are, it’s hard not to be influenced by the people around you. It’s not so much that you do whatever a city expects of you, but that you get discouraged when no one around you cares about the same things you do.

Law and order vs. Justice and peace

In Canada:

15.1 billion $ on policing in a year (prov/fed)

5 billion $ on prisons in a year

13.4 billion OVER 10 YEARS on federal programs for housing affordability.

— Ameil J. Joseph (@ajesusjoseph) June 3, 2020

Taking Suggestions Instead of Making Change

On June 19, 2020, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and Windsor Police Service Chief Pam Mizuno participated in a virtual roundtable discussion with local Black and African leaders in our community. On the theme of ‘talking with people who make you see the world differently’, the open and honest discussion that followed provided an opportunity for leaders to highlight efforts, causes and communities they champion; explain and discuss local barriers to justice and equality; and identify opportunities Windsor has to become the most inclusive and respectful city possible.

Windsor Black Lives Matter Questionnaire

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens chairs the police services board and says the young men in the photo are entitled to their beliefs.

“You know, I thought through this and certainly the young men in that picture have a perspective. Clearly there’s something that’s on thier mind and I’d appreciate hearing what they think we could do better. What could we do to improve the situation that would make them feel comfortable not to have to take a knee? At the same time, I support our police as well and I think they do a great job.”

He says he doesn’t blame the officer for returning the food.

“If I were the officer driving that car I likely would have handed the bag back as well. I wouldn’t feel comfortable eating what’s in that bag if that’s the perspective of the people who made that food. That would cause me concern as well. So I certainly appreciate the officer’s position and I appreciate the young men in there having an opinion.”

Dilkens believes something good can come from the situation.

“These types of conversations, it’s not wrong to think that there’s some good that could come out of this. What are the perspectives of those young men? They took a knee, what are their beliefs? What do they actually believe? What would they like to see made better in the community? How can we have a conversation and include their voices in that conversation to see how we can make the place we love better together?”

“Windsor Police Launch Internal Investigation After Arby’s Incident”, AM800

03-07 a) The Board agrees that if it becomes necessary to reduce the Service, this shall be accomplished in reverse order of seniority, and further, that any recall from layoff shall be accomplished in reverse order of layoff in that the last member laid off shall be the first member recalled, further that the member’s seniority shall remain intact, if he/she returns within one (1) year, subject to s03-07(c). (revised 2006)

Perhaps those with criminal convictions can be first to be pushed out?

4. d) Currently, officers face no statutory penalty for not complying with an SIU investigation
4. e) Gold-standard reports full of pragmatic improvements and recommendations, including the Tulloch Report[9], have sat on the shelf gathering dust for years
4. f) In 2012 the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, noting that officer misconduct was rarely disciplined, specifically asked the justice system to punish officers for lying, misleading the court, and fabricating evidence[10]

End Police Violence. Invest in Black, Indigenous and Racialized People’s Lives

Read this👇🏾. Reminds me of Rebecca Walker on how we are “constantly being required to use a tremendous amount of our mental energy, our psyhic power, our intellectual spark, to decode, dismantle, deconstruct, demilitarize, demote, denature, all which threatens our extinction.” https://t.co/YGOrtqbMhi

— Keisha-Khan Y. Perry (@drkeishakhan) June 13, 2020

The Inspectors We Have and the Inspectors We Need

The federal government has conducted mostly remote inspections of Ontario farms that employ migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of physically entering the properties to make sure the labourers’ living conditions are safe.Employment and Social Development Canada, the department responsible for the inspections, told CBC News that over the last four months, all the farms it inspected during the initial 14-day mandatory quarantine period complied with the rules as of June 12.

But the department admitted in most cases, inspectors didn’t actually travel to the farms in question.

“For the safety of everyone involved, the majority of inspections are still being conducted remotely,” the department said in a statement. By some accounts, the inspections are done virtually. CBC News has asked for details on how the remote monitoring is conducted, but so far, the department has not provided details.

“Ottawa ‘remotely’ inspected Ontario farms while COVID-19 infected hundreds of migrant workers”, Lisa Xing · CBC News · Posted: Jul 01, 2020 5:00 AM ET | Last Updated: July 1

Unions also raised concerns when a CBC News investigation found the province was doing inspections of long-term care homes by phone before determining no problems existed. So far, about 70 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths have been residents in long-term care, and many say the virus has shed light on a system that has long failed them. 

Notes on The Report of the Ontario Civilian Police Commission: The Windsor Police Service and The Windsor Police Services Board

“Statements made by former and current officers included the following: Officers are more likely to be successful in promotions if they served a rotation in the TAC Unit or in the Investigations Unit. This success is said to reflect the backgrounds of senior management in the TAC Unit or the Investigations Unit… The preference for officers from the TAC Unit has limited the promotion of women as no woman has ever been assigned to the TAC Unit … Women are not encouraged to apply for the TAC Unit while men are encouraged to train and run the course with TAC members.”

“Nevertheless, the Commission recommends the Service examine, in a comprehensive way, the competencies for promotion. As police services move from more traditional, paramilitary models to community-based policing, they must evaluate the emphasis placed on certain competencies in preference to others. Chief Frederick acknowledged this exercise should take place. He believes competencies have not kept up with new approaches in policing. Simply put, policing is changing, and the Service needs to change with it. Very recent events, including George Floyd’s death, the arrest of Minneapolis officers, and the protests that follow, undoubtedly reinforce the timeliness of reexamining competencies in policing. In our view, the Board should play an important role in overseeing how the Service re-evaluates how competencies are weighed and evaluated.

“This Report cannot speak with any precision about the extent to which female officers continue to be regularly exposed to discriminatory, sexist conduct. A police service is only successful if it equally values men and women –indeed, all its officers and employees regardless of sex, gender identity or expression, and other bases for discrimination set out in the Human Rights Code. A police service is only successful if it makes officers accountable, regardless of rank, for discriminatory conduct, whether that conduct involves sexist comments, jokes, inappropriate questions, or other forms of harassment. The Service has yet to prove that officers are truly made accountable for discriminatory conduct.”

The Board Chair has financially settled several human rights complaint files without the knowledge of other Board members. Board members are not provided with regular updates related to matters before the Human Rights Tribunal. Only the Board Chair is regularly aware of what is before the Human Rights Tribunal and the legal costs associated with human rights complaints.

We saw no evidence whatsoever that the Board is corrupt or that its Chair acts improperly. Some questioned whether the Chair played too large a role in decision-making before the Board was consulted. In fairness, no Board member expressed that view directly to us. The current Chair has a strong personality. However, he is respected by his fellow Board members.

The Commission saw evidence that the settlements of human rights complaints are not necessarily approached in a consistent way. It was sometimes difficult to reconcile the approach of the Board and the Service to various human rights complaints. The Board should develop some guidelines on the considerations that should inform its decision-making around human rights settlements. There should be a regular review by the Board of ongoing human rights complaints and the lessons learned in individual cases. When a human rights complaint reveals a larger issue to be addressed, the Service and the Board must be transparent in acknowledging the existence of that issue to the Service’s members as a whole, and in identifying how the Service and/or Board have addressed the issue.

Some of the systemic issues identified in this Report also invite consideration of the Board’s role in providing robust oversight of the Service. For example, the Service’s Accommodation Directive and Workplace Harassment Directive had not been reviewed on an ongoing basis, despite requirements for review in the Directives themselves. The Board did not develop its policy on investigating the Chief or Deputy Chiefs for an extended period of time, and the ultimate development of that policy was prompted, in part, by media scrutiny. The Board appeared, at times, to accept, without sufficient scrutiny, what it was told by the Service.

Windsor is not the 4th most ethnically diverse city in Canada so stop saying it

Ok people, what is the source for this "fact" that Windsor is the "fourth most diverse community in Canada"?

I've seen it for years now, so is it just always true, year after year? And what's the measure for "diversity"? Immigrants? Visible minorities?

I want proof #YQG https://t.co/QIs7UqXI5t

— Kelly Thomas (@kelwinds) May 10, 2020

Windsor attracts many immigrants from around the world. In 2016, in the city 27.7% of the population was foreign-born while in the metropolitan area, 22.9% of the population was foreign-born; this is the fourth-highest proportion for a Canadian metropolitan area.

Wikipedia contributors. Windsor, Ontario [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2020 Aug 12, 20:51 UTC [cited 2020 Aug 16]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Windsor,_Ontario&oldid=972580004.

Visible minorities make up 25.7% of the population, making it the most diverse city in Ontario outside of the Greater Toronto Area.[60][61]

Wikipedia contributors. Windsor, Ontario [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2020 Aug 12, 20:51 UTC [cited 2020 Aug 16]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Windsor,_Ontario&oldid=972580004.

Weeknotes, August 11 – August 17

Here’s the simplest way to visualise the data: a ranking of how many non-white councillors are on each city council: pic.twitter.com/f8Im7uVlgB

— dave meslin (@meslin) August 14, 2020

So, here’s a more interesting approach. This chart looks at the disparity between the actual visible minority representation in the general public (2016 Census) VS their representation on City Council (2018 elections): pic.twitter.com/P4cdwc12UA

— dave meslin (@meslin) August 14, 2020

Weeknotes, August 18 – August 24

Ethnic origin refers to a person’s ‘roots’ and should not be confused with citizenship, nationality, language or place of birth. For example, a person who has Canadian citizenship, speaks Punjabi (Panjabi) and was born in the United States may report Guyanese ethnic origin.

Ethnic Origin Reference Guide, 2006 Census.

On April 23, 2020, CCLA joined with Aboriginal Legal Services, the Black Legal Action Centre and HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario to write to the Ontario Solicitor General outlining our significant concerns with the government’s decision to provide police with access to individuals’ personal health information.

Health Information and Policing, CCLA

The largest operator of private nursing homes in the country received $21 million under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The company, Extendicare, has paid nearly $10.5 million total dividends to shareholders since the beginning of April.https://t.co/wCU85JGuMz

— Hamilton Spectator (@TheSpec) August 15, 2020

Weeknotes, August 25 – August 31

Therefore Be It Resolved that the City of Windsor Council recognizes that a healthy, professional news media is essential to the proper functioning of democracy in our city; urges nearby municipal councils and across Canada to recognize that a robust news media is essential to the proper functioning of democracy in their jurisdictions; endorses legislation and regulations to support and rejuvenate news outlets across Canada; and urges the federal government to move quickly to pass legislation to ensure an ecosystem for a healthy news media to serve all Canadians.And that the resolution be forwarded to the area municipalities, local M.P.s and M.P.P.s and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

Item No. 7.1.6

Weeknotes, Sept 8 – Sept 14 2020

“Every election, after the election, we talk about our disappointment or hope for greater representation of women greater representation of diversity on council,” said Hachem-Fawaz. “Yet four years passes by and no targeted initiative is trying to engage those demographics.”

This grassroots group wants to help Windsor-Essex be more inclusive, CBC News, August 21st

Weeknotes, Sept 15 – Sept 21 2020

The use of ranked ballots in the U.S. jurisdictions was largely repealed after it led to the election of women and people of colour, acccording to FairVote. By 1962, only Cambridge in Massachusetts still used multi-winner ranked choice voting. But it has made a resurgence in the States (where it is known as ranked choice voting, or RCV) in local and regional votes in the last 20 years.

National Observer, What is a ranked ballot anyway? Alastair Sharp, September 17th 2020

In ranked ballots, candidates seek to win the second- and third-choice votes of their competitor’s supporters, which advocates in general — and some participants in London’s 2018 election in particular — say encourages candidates to appeal to a broader set of constituents.

Shawn Lewis, London’s first openly gay city councillor, said ranked ballots “created an interesting dynamic where I feel like candidates across the city were actually talking to each other more about city-wide issues rather than just being bubbled in wards and focused on getting to that 33 per cent of the vote to win the race.

“It took away people’s ability, I feel, to be one-issue candidates, and if they were one issue, they very quickly fell to the bottom of people’s rankings,” he said.

National Observer, What happened when voters in London used ranked ballots?? Alastair Sharp, September 18th 2020

Weeknotes, Sept 22 – Sept 28 2020

That the Diversity Committee as part of the Diversity & Inclusion Plan, REQUESTS to review the hiring practices of the City of Windsor to ensure there are no barriers to employment.

Only days ago, being a player any time soon in making electric vehicles seemed preposterous. Ontario’s manufacturing heartland, despite its proud automaking history, had been passed over for new investments in the cars expected to take over global fleets. There wasn’t much confidence among industry-watchers that the junior partner in a continental market, next to an increasingly protectionist United States, could easily change that.

Then came this week’s announcement that Ford Motor Co. will make a roughly $2-billion investment in converting its Ontario facilities to make EVs, mostly by retooling its Oakville, Ont., plant for five new lines of them.

Courtesy of Ford, Canada’s EV moment has suddenly arrived. Are governments ready for it?, The Globe and Mail, September 26 2020

Electric vehicle (EV) adoption is starting slowly in Ontario. Approximately 5,650 EVs are currently registered in the province, and as of 2014 only account for 0.05 per cent of Ontario’s overall passenger vehicle population. In Windsor, the number of electric vehicles is even lower at 0.01 per cent of all passenger vehicles. The Ontario Climate Action Plan sets a target of having 5 per cent of all passenger vehicles on the road in 2020 be electric.

Weeknotes, Sept 29 – Oct 5 2020

“Don’t forget, you’re electing someone to sit around the table and spend your tax dollars,” he says. “This is an $850-million corporation, this is not a student council at a high school.”

To accommodate pandemic guidelines and maximize resident outreach, a series of five telephone town halls will occur in early and mid-October. Residents in each ward will have an opportunity to hear a presentation from the Mayor and Ward Councillors and participate in a question period regarding constituent and city-wide issues.

These unique telephone town hall sessions are technologically enabled and will automatically allow ward residents with a home telephone/landline to participate without requiring any action on their part: At 6:30 p.m. on the date of each teleconference, landlines will receive a call and residents can automatically join the meeting just by answering. Those residents who do not maintain a home telephone but have a mobile phone are asked to pre-register their mobile no later than two days prior to their ward town hall date via on-line registration:

That seemed to be the case at Friday’s provincial COVID-19 news conference, when reporters repeatedly asked if families should gather for Thanksgiving next weekend.

The press conference came just as the province issued a news release saying that it is “pausing social circles” and advising Ontarians to “allow close contact only with people living in their own household.”

Instead of echoing that advice, Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and other health officials all gave responses that seemed to contradict it.

Ontario’s ‘dog’s breakfast of guidance’ around COVID-19 sowing confusion, distrust, some experts say: Friday’s news conference contradicted earlier directive to restrict contact to own household, Adam Carter – CBC News, October 02, 2020

Weeknotes, Oct 6 – Oct 12 2020

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When over 80% of voters cast their ballots for someone else, how can an incoming councillor act as if they have a mandate? Ranked ballots help give legitimacy to candidates in a crowded field.

A post shared by Windsor123 (@rankedballotswindsor) on

If you've never heard a concise summary of what the problem in Ontario long-term care has been and continues to be, this is a must-watch. Vivian nails every issue in 4 minutes. https://t.co/Uh3NPoikAa

— Nora Loreto (@NoLore) October 7, 2020

Maybe this one is just me, but on my computer(s) Google maps has updated to have a green default colour on maps when zoomed out…

To a degree this is almost greenwashing the map face. When you zoom in it does remove the “greenery” to more accurate satellite determine greenspaces at a glance it make things greener than they are.

Weeknotes, Oct 13 – Oct 19 2020

Found the 4 year strategic plan. More of a to-do list, but never the less, a plan: https://t.co/8Myfe6mlZzhttps://t.co/6OaejyduLJ

— Raymond Hoang (@ray_hoang30) October 14, 2020

Which neighbourhoods have amenities (such as swimming pools — public and private — golf courses, tennis courts, libraries, science centres, art galleries, playgrounds, parks, green spaces, sidewalks, streetscaping, street lighting, bus stops, bus shelters, etc.) and which do not?

Amenity mapping, as Pitter calls it, looks at the type and number of amenities that exist in a certain area. In talks, she encourages residents to explore their own neighbourhood as well as two other neighbourhoods they may be unfamiliar with to compare and contrast the differences.

Amenities should be studied to eliminate inequities among local neighbourhoods, Sarah Mushtaq, The Windsor Star, Oct 17, 2020

Weeknote Oct 20 – Oct 26 2020

Maybe this one is just me, but on my computer(s) Google maps has updated to have a green default colour on maps when zoomed out…

Green Dragon Woods is a 32.8-ha site located along the Canard River, upstream of Canard River Scout Camp. The significance of this site is that it contains a number of rare species, including the rare Green Dragon, which grows on the floodplain. There is also hydrologic significance associated with this site. The site is composed of the channel and floodplain of the Canard River. The floodplain is approximately 200 m wide and contains oxbows and braided flood channels that provide flood storage capacity and reduce main channel velocity

Town of Amherstburg Water Master Plan Update & Environmental Assessment Final Phase 2 Report

Housing policy should be based on three important principles. First, we should value housing for its use-value, not its exchange-value. Second, housing policy should be part of community and neighbourhood building. Third, housing policy should promote social mixing and sharing, rather than stratification.

Let’s unpack the guiding  principles that  should apply to both house ownership and rental?

The first is that we should regard housing for its use-value. Too often we value housing for its exchange-value. We need to decommodify housing. We must build houses to provide ourselves and others with shelter, comfort, a place where we can grow as individuals and a base from which we can develop as full members of society. We must avoid regarding houses as instruments of exchange as is so often the case today with taxation incentives for investment in housing for short-term capital gain. Housing policy should not be influenced by the quest for wealth accumulation. Older people like me have benefitted from increased property values through no particular virtue on our part. But in the process we have frozen new home buyers out of the market. A fall in property values would  be socially very desirable. But the media keeps us focussed on how we must protect our unearned property gains.

Houses are becoming commodities to buy and sell and not homes. By John Menadue, Pearls and Irritations, 25 September 2020

If we really wanted housing to be profitable and plentiful, we’d tax owners on the annual rise in value of their property – a Land Value Tax. This has two benefits: First, you’re taxing a non-productive source of wealth, whereas income and corporate taxes can stifle innovation and risk-taking.

Second, because buyers and sellers know the tax exists, property values stop rising quickly. This makes it easier for newcomers to enter the property market, and for homeowners to buy and sell based on the desirability of housing.

It also means that investors make their profits from land not by pocketing its increase, but by improving its income value – collecting rent, increasing the quantity or quality of housing on it, pressuring government to allow better or more intensive use of the land.

When people can live fairly well, in large numbers, close to their places of work, the economy functions far better. When a few of us are making useless paper profits from our homes and the rest are stuck outside the market, it hurts everyone.

“A housing crisis of global proportions”, by Doug Saunders, The Globe and Mail, April 28, 2012

Weeknote Oct 27 – Nov 2 2020

Halifax’s striking central library was cited again and again Tuesday, as Windsor Public Library board members envisioned what a new central library for Windsor should look like…. Dilkens joined the board Tuesday. The first item on the agenda was electing a chairman to replace departing chair Peter Frise. Dilkens ran for the job because, he said, “I want to be a part of what happens with the central library and make sure we build something the community will be proud of, something that is iconic and something that is a modern library.” … “I want them to say ‘Wow, this is Windsor, this is community, this is inclusive,’” said member Margaret Payne, who also cited the Halifax library as the kind of library she’d like to see. It has a plaza-like atmosphere outside with chairs and tables. Its coffee shop on the fifth floor with expansive city views has been called Halifax’s living room. The inside is open concept with multiple activities on offer, from free yoga to puppet shows to musical performances. “There was everybody there — little kids, old people, everyone in between,” said Payne. “The vibe from that place was amazing.” Coun. Irek Kusmierczyk told the consultant he envisions a place where residents from all walks of life can access innovative technologies. It should be a source of pride for the city, he said.

Mayor envisions ‘iconic’ new central library for Windsor, The Windsor Star, Brian Cross, Jun 21, 2017

“It’s actually kind of exciting,” Drew Dilkens said of the early response to the city’s Library Central Branch Catalyst Project. The idea is that instead of the city going on its own and building a $39-million-plus standalone library, it could dangle the library out as a carrot to spur a much larger development project that would include the library as a tenant. According to Dilkens, there’s been a big mix of ideas from investors. The due date to make submissions is Nov. 27, with the expectation that council could be starting to choose among the best applicants in the first quarter of next year. …He said the successful project could combine the library with residential units, a hotel, commercial space, retail, restaurant, cultural space, commercial, or mixed uses involving classrooms for students at St. Clair College or University of Windsor, which both have downtown campuses but no downtown library….

The city is looking for at least a $15 million investment and a 30 per cent increase in municipal assessment from the project, with the expectation it will spur additional investment in the surrounding area. City solicitor Shelby Askin Hager said the city wants the central branch to be designed and located in such a way as “to acknowledge it’s an important piece of civic life and an important part of the vibrancy of the downtown core.” It also wants one or more complementary uses to increase the catalyst effect, and architecture that enhances the public realm and supports the people who live, work and visit downtown. The request from the city also talks about the importance of increasing the residential units downtown and reusing vacant buildings.

City seeks proposals for library-anchored downtown development, The Windsor Star, Brian Cross, Oct 28, 2020

Over the past two years, Sidewalk Toronto has brought some important questions about cities – and our collective futures – into sharp focus. Some of those questions are new; others we’ve been asking for a long time. This is a collection of ideas to help build on and continue these discussions.

We asked contributors for a short, standalone description of an idea, policy, strategy, or best practice that might expand this conversation about cities. The people we asked met three basic criteria: a) people that have shown an interest in contributing to the discussion b) people that have a history of participating in public discourse and c) people with an explicit mission of inclusivity in their work. This list of contributors is not comprehensive or complete.

Within the collection there are conflicting ideas and world-views, which is exactly the point: to open up dialogue and create the largest possible tent to discuss what we want to see in our cities and spaces and how we might make those things happen. Our hope is that this convening will make space for more collaboration and conversation in the future.

Three years ago, my family had the pleasure of staying in the coastal city of Aarhus, Denmark for several days. At the time my children were ten and eight and while we were in Aarhus, we were joined by my cousin and her four year old son. It was a rainy Sunday when we all met up. As the day passed, the children became more and more restless in our hotel room. So we opted to brave the rain and walk to the nearby DOKK1 – the world famous Aarhus Public Library. The library was our salvation. It was filled with generous spaces where the children could play while the adults could linger or sit and talk nearby.

This is how CityLab describes DOKK1: “The spaceship-like structure houses the library, a municipal service center for residents and newcomers where citizens can pick up their identification card, renew their passports, and register with the municipality; a cafe, ample space for families, public computers, three playgrounds and lecture halls.”¹ A library doesn’t have to be as magnificent as DOKK1 to be a refuge for a family who just needs a place and a reason to spend time together. It can simply be there — in the neighbourhood, open to the community and open to discovery as indoor public space. But a library can be so much more than a family friendly and affordable third place in a community.

Most of us understand that the public library has books, story time, and computers with printers. But only some of us know that the library also houses the librarians who can help answer questions beyond whether a particular book is available. What if your local branch library started to market themselves until they were known in the community as the source of information about, by, and for the neighbourhood? What if the local branch library became the resident’s interface for the city and a resource centre for local community activists? “It would be a place where you could drop in, tell a librarian your idea and be directed towards resources, experts, case studies, maybe even professors at universities who are into just that stuff. Wouldn’t that be great?”²

What if the neighbourhood library was the place to collect, preserve and share neighbourhood data? Many city residents don’t have the data literacy skills to manipulate and interpret data, and as this stands, most of the city’s open datasets are useless to them. Libraries could step in and teach those skills including those involved in the protection of privacy. It could be a fitting role for libraries “whose mission has always been to ‘collect and make accessible to the public information that the public has rights to read.’” ³

The public library could be more than indoor public space. It could be the home of public data that the neighbourhood both generates and understands.

[2] Catherine Porter, “The Boxer: a guide to getting in the ring with City bureaucracy” in “Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto”, Coach House Press, 2010.

Weeknote Nov 3 – 9 2020

“Their extreme concern for the physical condition of WRH’s buildings ignores nearly $200M in capital investments and expansions in the past two decades. It also flies in the face of the “Accreditation with Exemplary Standingawarded to WRH on December 30, 2019 for 99.8% compliance with national standards for patient quality and safety.”

More than that…they’re providing LESS LTC funding than they provided to LTC LAST YEAR. This is very, very troubling. https://t.co/ETZ3nyTWz9

— Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos (@DrVivianS) November 5, 2020

Not one cent in the budget to Protect public education, Not one cent to Support public education, and Not one cent to help public education Recover! #Shame #onpoli #onted @ETFOeducators https://t.co/uKbWQgE7n1

— Sam Hammond (@etfopresident) November 6, 2020

Breaking: @fordnation using budget to ensure destruction of the Lower Duffins Creek Wetland: "Authorize the MNRF to issue an order to take over and decide an application for a permit under sect. 28 of the Cons. Authorities Act in place of the Cons. Auth." #onpoli #yourstoprotect

— Timothy Gray (@CanadaGray) November 6, 2020

Can you tell us why there was no live-stream for the public (during a pandemic) and why Ontarians from across the province were not allowed to speak to the committee re #rankedballots? Do you support your govt’s #localchoice ban?#ONpoli @meslin https://t.co/pX0mE866vn

— Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto (RaBIT) (@TorontoRaBIT) November 6, 2020

Ontario's new benchmark of #COVID19 case numbers for moving into the Red Zone is set so high that only 2 public health units have ever exceeded it at any point in the pandemic, points out smart data journalist @EdTubb #COVID19Ontario https://t.co/PeBBGOrlrT

— Mike Crawley (@CBCQueensPark) November 3, 2020

Weeknote Nov.10-16 2020

Astonishing to hear CEO MacKenzie tell city council that @weecdev spent $270,000 – more than 8% of its 2019 budget – on a political influence campaign advocating for the County Road 42 hospital location while spending $0 on discerning the economic impact of the location.

— Doug Sartori (@doug_sartori) November 9, 2020

Between 2010 and 2014, Paul Bonwick earned more than $1 million for his involvement in deals made by Collingwood city council — almost half of what the town of about 22,000 paid in salaries in 2012 for its full-time staff.

The problem? Bonwick is the brother of then-mayor Sandra Cooper.

That’s just one of the issues covered in a report, released last week, that was produced by a judicial inquiry into business dealings in the town. The 20-month-long inquiry focused on two transactions — the sale of a 50 per cent share of the town’s electrical utility and a decision to award a contract to expand recreational facilities to one builder without considering other bids — and identified the lack of transparency about lobbying as a key issue.

Of the 306 inquiry recommendations from Justice Frank Marrocco, 29 relate to establishing and operating a lobbyist registry — something the town introduced this July, making it only the seventh of Ontario’s 444 municipalities to have done so. “There’s nothing wrong with [lobbying],” says Collingwood mayor Brian Saunderson. “But we need to understand who these people are and whose interests they are advancing.”

‘A cautionary tale’: What this Ontario town can teach us about lobbyists, Mary Baxter, Nov 12, TVO

Two things. First, the cabinet of @fordnation are overriding public health experts and have been caught lying about it.

Second, the Conservatives are sitting on $9.3 billion in COVID19 funding. https://t.co/FMEUtWIKqx pic.twitter.com/MGhu8uvSh3

— Mita Williams (@copystar) November 12, 2020

Weeknote Nov 17-23 2020

In 1975, the beaver [the animal, not figure] became an emblem of Canada as a symbol of its sovereignty, because the first Europeans in Indigenous territories saw the Beaver not as a relative, but as a money making attraction to supply the continent with nifty felt hats. 

Two hundred years of making beavers into accessories led to their near extinction. And now beavers are mostly known to us as a nuisance and an inconvenience. But this Indigenous land, this Indigenous water, these Indigenous bodies have centuries of oral literature and an embodied practice that know different… Beavers — Amikwag — represent the practice of wisdom. 

I want to think about that for a moment. Out of all of the beings that make up life on this planet, to my ancestors, Amikwag embody the politics and the ethical practices of wisdom.

Amikwag build dams, dams that create deep pools and channels that don’t freeze, creating winter worlds for their fish relatives, deep pools and channels that drought proof the landscape, dams that make wetlands full of moose, deer and elk, food cooling stations, places to hide, and muck to keep the flies away. Dams that open spaces in the canopy so sunlight increases, making warm and shallow aquatic habitat around the edges of ponds for amphibians and insects. Dams that create plunge pools on the downstream side for juvenile fish, gravel for spawning, and homes and food for birds.

And who is the first back after a fire to start the regeneration makework? Amik is a world builder. Amik is the one that brings the water. Amik is the one that brings forth more life. Amik is the one that works continuously with water and land and plant and animal nations and consent and diplomacy to create worlds. To create shared worlds. 

Prior to contact with white people, it is estimated that (North America) was home to between 60 and 400 million beavers. That’s three to five beavers for every kilometre of stream, a beaver in nearly every headwater stream in North America. Biologists call the beaver a keystone species.

CBC Ideas: The Brilliance of the Beaver: Learning from an Anishnaabe World

This means that urban wilding must be more than just improving access to nature: it involves redesigning our urban infrastructures to account for our non-human neighbours, so that we don’t just co-exist, but, more, that we are mutually supportive and generative. Cities globally have started experimenting and organisations like Wild Cities are helping chart a path, demonstrating how cities can become happier and healthier, and societies more resilient and adaptive.

Urban wilding, however, has many socio-cultural complexities that differ from rural rewilding (which is a whole separate topic that I’m not focusing on here). Dr Bridget Snaith has shown how people of different race, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds have quite different perspectives on urban landscaping.

You might think that everyone loves green cities, but in actual fact there is no cross-cultural consensus on how, why and when to use green urban spaces, or how to care for them — one person’s lovely ‘wild’ meadow, is another person’s unkempt park suffering for lack of maintenance. Urban wilding — involving social, cultural, environmental and technical infrastructures — needs to account for this diversity of perspective, both in designing wild processes as well as in delivering them.

Making Wild Cities — Notes on Participatory Urban (Re)Wilding, Usman Haque

On the invisibility of carework

Mental heath teams were brought in to support military staff. (Imagine then how bad it must have been in those Ontario LTC homes)

— Cynthia Mulligan (@CityCynthia) November 12, 2020

Weeknote Dec 1 – 7 2020

That report, and the ones released this week, outline years of neglect. It would be one thing if Lysyk had said that Ontario isn’t meeting best practices, but she demonstrates that the province has been failing at the basics, like keeping emergency plans up to date. Astonishingly, the province had not one but four plans relevant to COVID-19, but two of them hadn’t been updated since 2013 — and made references to defunct positions and ministries that had since been renamed. The government was supposed to review and update its emergency plans annually; the Liberals set that benchmark, but both they and Tories failed to meet it.

The fact that Ontario’s emergency planning was so out of date led the government (wisely or not) to sign a contract with a private consultant to create a brand-new command structure to handle the pandemic. According to Lysyk, it quickly became bloated and unwieldly. And Ontario’s 444 municipalities had all trained for their own emergency personnel to interact with the province in a clear, structured format through EMO; the creation of a new separate system of “command tables” and “health tables” threw a wrench in basic communications — an avoidable own-goal.

This isn’t about both-sides-ing. It’s about trying to identify a deeper syndrome in Ontario that sees governments consistently under-invest in basic, core functions of government — whether that’s quality data collection or emergency preparedness — while they lavish billions of dollars on higher-profile priorities. The solution isn’t clear, unfortunately: voters tend not to punish governments for failing to invest in the basics.

Weeknote Dec 8 – 14 2020

As I’ve said before, Windsor leads the Province when it comes to an EVIDENCE-BASED approach to school transmission.

Contrast this to @TOPublicHealth and their nonsense about schools being a “fortress”. https://t.co/GrSQm74Qxr pic.twitter.com/gCNjIwsk2V

— Ryan Imgrund (@imgrund) December 10, 2020

Windsor leads the province with the most police officers per capita in Southwestern Ontario, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.

According to the report, Windsor has 205 officers per 100,000 citizens. That compares to the next-closest Southwestern Ontario municipality, St. Thomas, with 175.6.

The Windsor force employs about 500 sworn officers, 150 civilian staff and expenses close to $110 million in 2020. Expenses were offset by $17.4 million in revenue.

“Report points to high per-capita rate of cops in Windsor”, by Postmedia News, Windsor Star, Dec 12, 2020

Weeknote 1, 2021

As for the blame-shifting, Ford (along with a couple of other premiers) are howling that they’re running out of vaccines, after the slow roll-out – so slow that Ontario is already starting to give people their second doses. But, running out of vaccines is a good thing, because it means they’re going into arms. And more to the point, he knows that there are thousands of more Pfizer doses coming next week, the week after, and then again, the week after that, plus another bulk shipment of Moderna vaccines – and deliveries are expected to scale up further in February. They know this. This has been communicated for a while now, but he’s trying to deflect the attention to Trudeau once again to divert away from his own incompetence. (And apparently there were some hurt feelings among the premiers during Thursday’s first ministers meeting because Trudeau dared to criticize the provinces for their role in the slow roll-out. The poor dears).

“I am disturbed by the fact that with the limited supply of vaccine, we are throwing away the prioritization and are completely ignoring the ethical framework that is provided to all of us,” Ahmed said during the local health unit’s morning news conference.

Some local health-care workers have complained to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit that some individuals receiving the vaccine do not work with patients at all, or work with patients very minimally, he said. He’s also heard that some “executives” and “leadership team members” have already received the vaccine, though he wouldn’t provide names.

Windsor-Essex hospitals facing backlash for offering vaccine to managers and executives, CBC News, January 8, 2021

After being criticized for a slow #CovidVaccine rollout, the province emptied its freezers, and are now blaming the Feds for insufficient supply.

For #Ontario to save the most lives and respect its ethical framework, ALL #LTC and retirement homes must be vaccinated IMMEDIATELY. pic.twitter.com/uM4Tmd8aG4

— Nathan Stall (@NathanStall) January 10, 2021

I'd really like to understand the rationale behind immunizing hospital administrators and third or fourth line clinical staff, while thousand of rural Ontario emergency physicians and nurses are stonewalled. https://t.co/ZBU3Ywn3yP

— alan drummond (@alandrummond2) January 9, 2021

The correct way to respond to a low-trust environment is not to double down on proceduralism, but to commit yourself to the “it does exactly what it says on the tin” principle and implement policies that have the following characteristics:

– It’s easy for everyone, whether they agree with you or disagree with you, to understand what it is you say you are doing.

– It’s easy for everyone to see whether or not you are, in fact, doing what you said you would do.

– It’s easy for you and your team to meet the goal of doing the thing that you said you would do.

Making policy for a low-trust world, January 6, 2021, Slow Boring

We in Windsor-Essex have been exceedingly fortunate to have a health unit who has repeatedly gone beyond provincial directives to keep us safer.

Free market: *decides*
Conservatives: this is outRAGEOUS

— Nathalie Baptiste (@nhbaptiste) January 9, 2021

Looking forward to putting ‘needles in arms’ on Sunday. All hands on deck folks even nurse CEO’s😀

Will have company with some community docs including @AndreaSteen4, team members from @HDGHWindsor and our colleagues at @TheWECHU

It takes a village to support The Village at SC https://t.co/rdd89Poe8I

— Janice kaffer (@KafferJkaffer) January 9, 2021

It has always been so

6+ years as a CEO & every year that I renew my license as an RN I ask myself if I am ready to be a ‘former nurse’ and every year I answer NOPE and send in the renewal

Glad I did as this year – more than any other in recent memory – my nursing matters 😷👍https://t.co/7oxbQs3e8v

— Janice kaffer (@KafferJkaffer) January 8, 2021

An all Ontario approach

This is where we are

It is absolutely not where we want to be as hospitals (even those of us who are not in the acute care business are impacted)

It did NOT have to be like this but it is what it is & we have to focus on what we have not what we want https://t.co/A5SHBIdDpd

— Janice kaffer (@KafferJkaffer) January 7, 2021

Gene absolutely, positively did not believe that Obama was born in Kenya. But he would continue to say he believed it, no matter who asked, to the end of his life.

Because he thought saying he believed it *absolved him of responsibility*.

— Lili Saintcrow (@lilithsaintcrow) January 7, 2021

Weeknote 2, 2021

Dilkens said he is concerned about the ability of the health unit, already stretched as it deals with a tsunami of cases, to take on mass vaccination.

“Dr. Ahmed and the health unit can not do this alone, not successfully,” he said. “It just makes sense to bring in more horsepower. It’s about making sure we have all the resources that are needed.

“We have a shared goal,” he said. “We all have to take ownership here. It’s going to take many hands to get us across the finish line.”

But there is also concern that the health unit doesn’t appear to have a plan yet for mass vaccination.

Dilkens called Premier Doug Ford last week after the health unit received its first shipment of Moderna vaccine for long-term care and retirement homes and expressed concern that there didn’t seem to be a plan for administering vaccine.

Local vaccination task force warned to ‘ramp this up‘, Anne Jarvis • Windsor Star, Jan 07, 2021.

Nick Kouvalis, a veteran conservative operative and principal at Campaign Research Inc. and Campaign Support Ltd., tweeted and subsequently retracted a false claim last week that anti-fascists and Black Lives Matter activists ⁠— not supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump ⁠— were responsible for the Capitol riots.

“These BLM/Antifa dudes get around like they’re Forest Gump (sic),” Kouvalis said in a since-deleted tweet from Jan. 6 that was accompanied by a photo of the Washington, D.C. rioters.

Top Tory adviser under fire for tweeting U.S. election misinformation, Emma McIntosh, National Post, January 13th 2021

What this stance O’Toole is making demonstrates is what I talked about in my weekend column – that his party is still happy to turn a blind eye to racists and white supremacists when they think they can use them to score goals against Trudeau. It also brings to mind Andrew Scheer’s farewell speech as leader, when he told party followers to trust outlets like True North and the Post Millennial for their news rather than mainstream sources, which is alarming because of the fact that much of their “reporting” is not actually that, and has been a driver of misinformation. Also of note is that the Post Millennial is in part controlled by the professional shitposters on O’Toole’s payroll – so that gives you an idea about what they are actually looking to promote and gain accreditation for. That O’Toole says they won’t respond to Rebel inquiries in the future is not comforting, because this demonstrates that they still considered this an audience worth engaging with until they got caught.

Roundup: O’Toole’s Rebel problem, Dale Smith, January 12, 2021

OTTAWA – The federal government has awarded international accounting firm Deloitte a $16-million contract to build a national computer system to manage the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The contract was recently posted to the federal procurement department’s website after Ottawa called on a select number of companies to submit proposals for developing the system in December.

The new vaccine management system “will help manage vaccine rollout, administration and reporting on a go-forward basis, as the volume of deliveries increases,” according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Ottawa gives accounting firm Deloitte $16M contract to track COVID-19 vaccinations, Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press, Jan. 11, 202

CQ1-2020:Asks Administration to prepare a report on policy and/or bylaw changes that require new construction projects in the City of Windsor to prepare for electric vehicle infrastructure including, at a minimum, the rough-in necessary to facilitate future transition to electric vehicles. In addition, report back on best practices or policies that would benefit existing buildings to convert as needed. SW/13715 18.1(January 20, 2020)

Presently, the City of Windsor only has one City-owned EV charging station. It is located at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre and is free for the public to use. However, through funding made available through the Government of Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP), the City has been able to expand the number of charging stations available for public use by twenty-two (22) additional electric vehicle spaces. The City will be installing eleven (11) Level 2 dual connector electric vehicle charging stations for public use at nine (9) different locations throughout the City. In addition, a charging station will be installed in Assumption Park North as part of the Celestial Beacon project which will house the newly-renovated Streetcar No. 351.The location and number of additional proposed (ZEVIP funded) charging stations are listed below. These sites will also be free to use at first, with the option to charge for use later.

It is important that we recognize and acknowledge the historic and systemic nature of racism and discrimination in our country and our City. We understand that to move forward and promote equity and eliminate anti-racism requires reaching out to and hearing from the voices of those in our community and Corporation most impacted by discrimination and racism. In this pursuit, it is also essential that we work towards having a Corporation that is representative of the people it serves and that everyone is treated with respect. As such, I am seeking the input and recommendations of Administration and our Diversity Advisory Committee on the viability of:

1. Including community-led consultations on systemic racism, under Phase 2 of the City of Windsor Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.

2. Seeking the input of those in our Corporation and related entities and our community most affected by racism and discrimination, regarding barriers to hiring and advancement in our Corporation and related entities as part of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative.

3. Including recommendations and input regarding providing historical information and educational materials for City owned statues, buildings and streets named with racist histories as part of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, and further developing a plan for inclusive street and property naming practices in the future. APM2020 (July 13, 2020)

Weeknote 3, 2021

– Facilitation of three pilot Sector Network Community Conversations consisting of 81 participants. Pilot community conversations were held with the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership (WE LIP); We Care for Youth Committee (WCFY); and the Seniors Advisory Committee (SAC)….

Facilitation of three additional Sector Network Community Conversations consisting of 23 participants. Community conversations were held with the Downtown Windsor Safety and Security Roundtable (DWSSRT); the Ford City Safety Committee (FCSC); and the Enforcement and Justice Pillar of the Windsor Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS – E&J).

Episode 134 – Canadian Media Whites Again

Safety Insights, Data Privacy, and Spatial Justice

5. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following: I have a right to know if federal government departments or agencies are using artificial intelligence to make a decision that affects me.

6. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following: I should have a right to request human involvement in a decision-making process about me that relies on computerized automated processes, such as artificial intelligence.

7. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following: A federal government department or agency should be free to collect, use and share personal information that is readily available to the public, including information on a social media website.

8. How comfortable are you with a federal government department or agency sharing your personal information without your explicit permission with the following entities in circumstances where doing so would help carry out the same purpose the information was originally collected for? D) With a private sector for-profit business.

9. How comfortable are you with federal government departments and agencies sharing your personal information without your explicit permission with the following entities to achieve a purpose that is different from what the information was originally collected for? D) With a private sector for-profit business.

The City of Windsor is the first municipality in Canada to sign an agreement with Ford Smart Mobility Canada Company to access Ford Mobility’s Safety Insights platform. Ford Mobility is a business line within the Ford Motor Company that works with cities to better understand their unique challenges and then design targeted solutions that help improve the quality of life for residents.

Ford Mobility’s award-winning Safety Insights tool enables cities like Windsor to streamline what can be a costly and time-consuming process of accessing and analyzing transportation data. By integrating this data into Safety Insights and supplementing it with simulations and solutions based on industry-standard best practices, cities can spend fewer resources on crunching data and focus on helping to improve the safety of their streets.

Windsor the First Canadian City with Ford Safety Insights Platform, January 21, 2021

Given that the platform is really just an online dashboard it certainly seems like the WEEDC is paying a lot for insights that they could be or already are being generated. I am curious how many man hours will be saved by this investment of $30,000 for 1 year.

In 2018 the City released a report on the most accident prone intersections. This 2020 report on potential red light camera locations at the most dangerous intersections in the City.

A Few Thoughts on Week 45, January 24, 2021.

Combining data provided by the city, FSIP uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning as well as industry-standard algorithms to reveal crash-reduction predictions. The results, said the FSIP reps, are actionable.

Smart city: Windsor is first Canadian city to launch Ford Safety Insights Platform to reduce crashes, N.F. Mendoza, Tech Republic, January 21, 2021,

In her subsequent analysis, Warren uses this map as a jumping off point to discuss spatial justice more generally for the Black community. For example, most African-Americans work in the factories which are situated several hours from their community so they leave for work at 3 or 4AM because the buses only run once an hour. Those coming from the black community who do have cars are unable to get on the expressway between the hours of 3-5pm due to the timing of the stoplights. She uses these examples and others to unequivocally demonstrate that Detroit’s urban planning and transportation is inadequate and unjust for the Black community and calls for the DGEI to establish “Black planning” for the city of Detroit

Where Commuters Run Over Black Children, Detroit 1968, June 12, 2013, Alex B. Hill

Weeknote 5, 2021

It may sound harsh, but with respect to the Canadian response to COVID19, I find it difficult to think of any greater moral wrong that has been so obviously committed in such a short period of time in living memory in this country. Certainly there have been individual and collective acts of decency that are worthy of admiration. But following Camus’ thought experiment, I cannot imagine any clear argument in favour of the overall decency in any of this (or I would love to hear it, anyways). If ethical action in a pandemic is common decency, then we have failed.

A failure of common decency: Pandemic exposes our ugly side, Jon Parsons, Ricochet, February 3, 2021

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Chief Administrative Officer Onorio Colucci and Chief Financial Officer Joe Mancina today unveiled the draft 2021 municipal budget, which keeps the overall property tax levy increase at 0% while continuing to invest in services, amenities and infrastructure. (See video of the budget preview on Facebook and our budget presentation slides.)

City of Windsor, February 5 2021

A young program that puts troubled nonviolent people in the hands of health care workers instead of police officers has proven successful in its first six months, according to a progress report.

Since June 1, 2020, a mental health clinician and a paramedic have traveled around the city in a white van handling low-level incidents, like trespassing and mental health episodes, that would have otherwise fallen to patrol officers with badges and guns. In its first six months, the Support Team Assisted Response program, or STAR, has responded to 748 incidents. None required police or led to arrests or jail time.

In the first six months of health care professionals replacing police officers, no one they encountered was arrested, The Denverite, David Sachs, Feb. 02, 2021

A moment of clarity came when I realized I would much rather spend Election Day serving as a poll worker than as a journalist. I am grateful to all journalists who cover elections with rigor and context, but working the Pennsylvania polls and helping swing-state voters to participate in a free and fair election was the right decision for me.

I never grew up wanting to work in news, so in a strange way, it wasn’t too difficult to leave. It would have been a much harder decision had that not been the case, and I suspect the source of so much problematic behavior in this industry is a predatory response to those steadfast young dreams.

“You might not like it,” they preached, “but it’s smart politics.” 

People like Chris Cillizza and Mark Halperin built lucrative careers on that kind of statement. And in putting forward their proposition — it might be ugly, but it’s good politics — they lost sight of what drew them into journalism in the first place, which was to even the scales between insiders and outsiders.

Weeknote 6, 2021

These complaints are all, on some level, about something ineffable. They refer to a feeling—the feeling that a term that once stood for an important and radical idea has become an empty buzzword, or even a deceitful one. You can see the evidence to back up this impression in a related and subtly unsettling linguistic trend toward using “diverse” to describe individuals.

In the press release announcing changes in response to the outcry over the fact that all 20 Oscar-nominated actors were white for the second year in a row, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences said that its board was committed to “doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.” Doubling the number of diverse members. The Academy didn’t say in that sentence that it wanted its membership to be more diverse. It said it wanted a higher number of diverse members. Which implies that a sole human can be “diverse.”

A Person Can’t Be ‘Diverse’: Why advocates are backing away from a theoretically helpful term that’s being misused in ways big and small, Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, January 26, 2016

Weeknote 7 2021

You may read the comments above and wonder how I can support adding two outreach workers, a new transit line and money for climate change mitigation while not increasing taxes? The expenses noted above equate to roughly $500k. Keep in mind that the Mayor used the term “nice to haves” when describing why he couldn’t support the new transit line implementation. While these are considered ‘nice to haves’ the following items were included and funded in the budget and approved by administration:

– Windsor Police budget increase of $1.7M
– Windsor Works Ec Dev funding to be situated in the Mayor’s office of $550k
– Roseland Golf – New Clubhouse – $4.3M
– Previously approved Celestial Beacon Project – $7M
– Bright Lights Operating Budget – $600k

There are more examples of course but these are more than enough to illustrate the point I made in the opening paragraph. This budget isn’t about the final number, it’s about charting our priorities

Weeknote 8 2021

My colleague Ross Douthat — you may know him — he’s argued that we live in a decadent age. And decadence here is this pathology that comes from a mixture of affluence — so things are pretty good for a lot of people — and lack of purpose, a lack of grand ideological goals and ambitions. And when you put those together in a society, you stagnate. You’re not driving in any particular direction, and there’s a lot of force behind the status quo that shuts down anybody who wants to really change things. I’ve been thinking about this politically quite a bit. We are still running, here in this country, on the fumes of political ideas from the 18th century.

Ezra Klein, “A Radical Proposal for True Democracy“, New York Times, February 23 2021

Since introducing the GC Notify tool in 2019, we’ve helped government departments send over 8.8 million notifications. After developing a first version of the service and improving the ways it meets people’s needs, we’d like to announce that GC Notify has officially moved from the Alpha to Beta phase, meaning its more stable, reliable and secure than ever before. 

We’re grateful to the government teams that adopted and tested GC Notify to help us improve the service in our journey towards Beta. With their help, we’ve supported departments like Health Canada in sending COVID-19 related updates to Canadians, and Service Canada in sending email confirmations to improve people’s experiences with Canada.ca. Most recently, we had the honour of working with the Government of Nova Scotia, helping their team send text updates to Nova Scotians about their appointment statuses to manage physical distancing during COVID-19. 

Our hope is that the added features and improvements that come with Beta will encourage more teams, at the provincial and federal levels of government, to join Health Canada, Service Canada, and the Government of Nova Scotia, in incorporating GC Notify into their services.

As the book attempts to expose the myth of solutions, it learns from James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Scott argues that “imperialist” high modernist planning schemes around the world—from those of Le Corbusier to Vladimir Lenin—failed in part because they did not incorporate mêtis, the practical flexible systems of knowledge that stand in contrast to “formal deductive, epistemic” knowledge. Scott endorses “mutualism” as expressed by anarchist writers like Peter Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin, Errico Malatesta, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon [1]. Kropotkin’s essay of 1902 and book of 1914, both titled Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, studied forms of cooperation and reciprocity among communities of humans and animals—from tribes, clans, guilds and unions to elephant societies and swarming bees or butterflies. 

Maybe Medium Design should have taken the opportunity to imagine an alternative history in which the temperament of Mutual Aid was more influential than the organizations and temperaments of political moves on both sides of the political spectrum—movements often squaring off in a competitive binary of enemies and innocents that is doomed to reproduce the worst and most violent defaults of the modern Enlightenment mind. (Try gently suggesting this possibility to any ultra-orthodox political thinker. Their response will help to make the point.)

The following Council Question was asked at the February 25, 2019 meeting of City Council: “CQ4-2019: Asks that administration consider options to streamline the process to help with street closures looking at all options including efficiencies that can lead to lowering administrative time and costs while still allowing timely processing of applications. Please consider fees in the schedule as well as barricade rentals and Fire Department fees.”

Weeknote 9 2021

Arielle Aaronson, an American expat in Quebec, wrote, “I deeply believe the system is working here in Quebec. Universal child care has allowed women to retain careers that might have been derailed by the arrival of children and increases their financial independence. It doesn’t impose day care on any mother, but offers the possibility for families to envision a weekday life that doesn’t revolve around their children.”

Weeknote 10 2021

Weaponizing Reform

Abolitionists have regularly pointed out the pitfalls of reforms, and how reforms are recouped and distorted by governments to buttress and expand policing. On March 26, 2019, the Conservative government in Ontario passed the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019.  The new legislation replaced Bill 175, which had been introduced by the previous Liberal government. That bill had somewhat strengthened the mandates of Ontario’s existing oversight agencies, including the SIU, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC). The new law scraps the OCPC and turns the OIPRD into the Law Enforcement Complaints Agency (LECA), which now receives and screens public complaints involving police officers….

…This is the weaponizing of reform against communities. And like policing itself, this weaponized reform disproportionately targets and harms Black and Indigenous people and communities. While the SIU only began keeping race-based data at the end of 2020, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has been examining SIU data and released an in 2018. Examining racial profiling and interactions between police and Toronto residents who are Black, the Commission found that while 8.8 percent of residents are Black, the SIU data showed “Black people were overrepresented in use-of-force cases (28.8 per cent), shootings (36 per cent), deadly encounters (61.5 per cent) and fatal shootings (70 per cent).” This is what weaponized oversight reforms are protecting.

Up Against the Blue Wall: Police “Oversight” and the Weaponizing of Reform, The Media Co-Op, Jeff Shantz, March 9 2021

Weeknote 11 2021

As pandemic restrictions loosened for restaurants in several Ontario regions Saturday, at least one infectious disease expert warned that allowing more people to dine indoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s third wave could lead to so-called super-spreader events.

Dr. Andrew Morris, medical director of the Sinai Health System-University Health Network’s antimicrobial stewardship program, said the Ontario government’s decision to significantly increase restaurants’ indoor capacity in two zones of its colour-coded pandemic response system at this time is “baffling.”

The risk of transmission grows when more people are indoors without masks, particularly given the presence of more contagious variants of the virus, said Morris, who also teaches medicine at the University of Toronto.

Allowing more people to eat indoors could spur super-spreader events, Ontario doctor warns
By Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press, March 20, 2021

John Gruber

‘The Secret Lives of Facebook Moderators in America’

The video depicts a man being murdered. Someone is stabbing him, dozens of times, while he screams and begs for his life. Chloe’s job is to tell the room whether this post should be removed. She knows that section 13 of the Facebook community standards prohibits videos that depict the murder of one or more people. When Chloe explains this to the class, she hears her voice shaking.

Returning to her seat, Chloe feels an overpowering urge to sob. Another trainee has gone up to review the next post, but Chloe cannot concentrate. She leaves the room, and begins to cry so hard that she has trouble breathing.

No one tries to comfort her. This is the job she was hired to do. And for the 1,000 people like Chloe moderating content for Facebook at the Phoenix site, and for 15,000 content reviewers around the world, today is just another day at the office.

The fourth source is perhaps the most problematic: Facebook’s own internal tools for distributing information. While official policy changes typically arrive every other Wednesday, incremental guidance about developing issues is distributed on a near-daily basis. Often, this guidance is posted to Workplace, the enterprise version of Facebook that the company introduced in 2016. Like Facebook itself, Workplace has an algorithmic News Feed that displays posts based on engagement. During a breaking news event, such as a mass shooting, managers will often post conflicting information about how to moderate individual pieces of content, which then appear out of chronological order on Workplace. Six current and former employees told me that they had made moderation mistakes based on seeing an outdated post at the top of their feed. At times, it feels as if Facebook’s own product is working against them. The irony is not lost on the moderators.

★ The New iPad Mini

If the Mini had a retina display, I’d switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. As it stands, I’m going to switch anyway. Going non-retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad Mini’s size and weight so much that I’m going to swallow it.

Typing is interesting. In portrait, I actually find it easier to type on the Mini than a full-size iPad. All thumbs, with less distance to travel between keys, it feels more like typing on an iPhone. In landscape, though, typing is decidedly worse. The keyboard in landscape is only a tad wider than a full-size iPad keyboard in portrait. That’s too small to use all eight of my fingers, so I wind up using a four-finger hunt-and-peck style with my index and middle fingers.

‘Heaven or High Water’

“Sunny day flooding” is flooding where water comes right up from the ground, hence the name, and yes, it can certainly rain during sunny day flooding, and yes, that makes it worse. Sunny day flooding happens in many parts of Miami, but it is especially bad in Sunset Harbour, the low-lying area on Miami Beach’s west side.

The sea level in Miami has risen ten inches since 1900; in the 2000 years prior, it did not really change. The consensus among informed observers is that the sea will rise in Miami Beach somewhere between 13 and 34 inches by 2050. By 2100, it is extremely likely to be closer to six feet, which means, unless you own a yacht and a helicopter, sayonara. Sunset Harbour is expected to fare slightly worse, and to do so more quickly.

Thus, I felt the Sunset Harbour area was a good place to start pretending to buy a home here. Amazingly, in the face of these incontrovertible facts about the climate the business of luxury real estate is chugging along just fine, and I wanted to see the cognitive dissonance up close.

Vice News: Inside Huawei-Land

“We wanted to invite U.S. media to come ask any questions on behalf of American customers,” said Catherine Chen, Huawei’s corporate senior vice president and director of the board.

VICE News took Huawei up on its offer and found out we were the only news organization that showed up.

It’s Hard to Believe But Maybe Trump Neither Understands the Law Nor Has Thought This Twitter Thing Through, Not Even Sort of a Little

But the logic of Mr. Trump’s order is intriguing because it attacks the very legal provision that has allowed him such latitude to publish with impunity a whole host of inflammatory, harassing and factually distorted messages that a media provider might feel compelled to take down if it were forced into the role of a publisher that faced the risk of legal liability rather than a distributor that does not.

Excellent MacOS Catalina Fonts You Probably Didn’t Know You Had Access To

Apple has recently licensed fonts from type foundries such as Commercial Type, Klim Type Foundry and Mark Simonson Studio to be used as system fonts on Mac OS Catalina. But since these fonts are an optional download, many users of Mac OS X are not even aware they have access to them for free.

To see and install these optional fonts, open the FontBook application and switch to “All Fonts”. Browse the font list and you will see lots of font families that are greyed out — either because they were deactivated or they weren’t downloaded yet. If you right-click on a font or font family that wasn’t downloaded yet, you see an option to download the individual font or entire family.

‘Did You Write Mine?’

Because I no longer covered the Mets, as I had done for decades, he lost track of me. So when our paths crossed at the Otesaga, the hotel headquarters for Hall of Fame weekend, he asked what had become of me.

“I can’t find you on the box [the computer] anymore,” he said.

“Well, I have different assignments now,” I said. “Columns and features and I do a lot of obituaries of baseball people.”

“Jeez, how many guys die?” he said.

I explained that parts of obituaries are written well before deaths occur so that stories can be posted quickly when needed. “Newspapers have many obits done for famous people,” I said. “The [New York] Times updates the president’s almost every day.”

After a moment’s thought, Whitey looked at me quizzically and asked, “So, did you write mine?”

I said, “Yeah, as a matter of fact, I did.”

“How’d it turn out?” he asked.

White House Science Office Lists ‘Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic’ as Trump’s Top Accomplishment

The White House science office listed “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as the top accomplishment of President Trump’s first term, even as the U.S. has set records for new daily infections and numerous hospitals across the country are stretched to their breaking points.

According to a press release intending to highlight the administration’s science accomplishments, the Trump administration said it “has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

This Is the Coronavirus Election

And yet, the pandemic is not impossible to control, contrary to what White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows recently suggested. Many other nations have successfully controlled it, some more than once. Masks can stop people from transmitting the virus. Shutting down nonessential indoor venues and improving ventilation can limit the number of super-spreading events. Rapid tests and contact tracing can identify clusters of infection, which can be contained if people have the space and financial security to isolate themselves. Social interventions such as paid sick leave can give vulnerable people the option of protecting their lives without risking their livelihoods.

The playbook is clear, but it demands something that has thus far been missing — federal coordination. Only the federal government can fund and orchestrate public-health measures at a scale necessary to corral the coronavirus. But Trump has abdicated responsibility, leaving states to fend for themselves. In May, I asked several health experts whether governors and mayors could hold the line on their own. Most were doubtful, and the ensuing months have substantiated their fears.

Study Shows Republicans Closely Resemble Autocratic Parties in Hungary and Turkey

The Republican party has become dramatically more illiberal in the past two decades and now more closely resembles ruling parties in autocratic societies than its former centre-right equivalents in Europe, according to a new international study.

In a significant shift since 2000, the GOP has taken to demonising and encouraging violence against its opponents, adopting attitudes and tactics comparable to ruling nationalist parties in Hungary, India, Poland and Turkey.

The shift has both led to and been driven by the rise of Donald Trump.

By contrast the Democratic party has changed little in its attachment to democratic norms, and in that regard has remained similar to centre-right and centre-left parties in western Europe.

Jon Stewart Returns With a ‘Current Events’ Series for Apple TV+

Mr. Stewart, the former anchor of “The Daily Show,” has reached a deal to host a current-affairs series for Apple TV+, the company announced on Tuesday. Apple TV+ said it had ordered the series for multiple seasons. It will feature one-hour episodes, each dedicated to a single topic. Apple did not describe the format — whether it would be an interview series or something closer to John Oliver’s weekly HBO series — or specify how many episodes it would have per season. Apple did not set a premiere date, either.

The Apple TV+ show will be produced by Mr. Stewart’s Busboy Productions and Richard Plepler’s Eden Productions. Mr. Plepler, who was chief executive of HBO when the network made Mr. Stewart’s deal, has had a production deal with Apple TV+ since late last year.

Motivated by the mission to put things into the world that enrich people’s lives, and believing deeply that the way we do that is by making the best not the most, Apple has produced many revolutionary products, not least of which is the iPhone.

MacOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta 1 Is Out, Despite Big Sur 11.0 Not Being Out

MacOS Big Sur 11.0.1 Beta 1 was released on October 28th, 2020. The release comes about 2 weeks after Beta 10. We were expecting Beta 11 or a GM seed, so it’s strange that we are getting 11.0.1 Beta. It’s possible that Apple Silicon Macs (currently in active production) will have 11.0 installed on them. When they arrive they will see 11.0.1 as an available update.

Reuters: ‘Apple Supplier Luxshare Unnerves Foxconn as U.S.-China Feud Speeds Supply Chain Shift’

Apple’s top iPhone assembler, Taiwan-based Foxconn, has set up a task force to fend off the growing clout of Chinese electronics manufacturer Luxshare, which it believes poses a serious threat to its dominance, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The project was initiated by Foxconn’s founder Terry Gou, according to one of the sources, to target Dongguan-based Luxshare, which is little-known internationally but is poised to become the first mainland China-headquartered firm to assemble iPhones — a turf until now dominated by Taiwanese manufacturers.

The task force, which the sources say was created last year, has been looking into Luxshare’s technology, expansion plan, hiring strategy and whether the company — which currently makes only 5% of Foxconn’s revenue — is supported by any Chinese government entity.

The Verge: ‘Inside Foxconn’s Empty Buildings, Empty Factories, and Empty Promises in Wisconsin’

In 2017, President Donald Trump and the Wisconsin GOP struck a deal with Foxconn that promised to turn Southeastern Wisconsin into a tech manufacturing powerhouse.

In exchange for billions in tax subsidies, Foxconn was supposed to build an enormous LCD factory in the tiny village of Mount Pleasant, creating 13,000 jobs.

Three years later, the factory — and the jobs — don’t exist, and they probably never will. Inside the empty promises and empty buildings of Wisconn Valley.

That illusion has had real costs. State and local governments spent at least $400 million, largely on land and infrastructure Foxconn will likely never need. Residents were pushed from their homes under threat of eminent domain and dozens of houses bulldozed to clear property Foxconn doesn’t know what to do with. And a recurring cycle of new recruits joined the project, eager to help it succeed, only to become trapped in a mirage.

“All people see is the eighth wonder of the world,” said an employee. “I was there and it’s not real. I mean, it’s not. This is something I can’t talk about ever again, because people think you’re crazy, like none of this could ever happen. How could this happen in the US?”

Jared Kushner Bragged in April That Trump Was Taking the Country ’Back From the Doctors’

In a taped interview on April 18, Kushner told legendary journalist Bob Woodward that Trump was “getting the country back from the doctors” in what he called a “negotiated settlement.” Kushner also proclaimed that the US was moving swiftly through the “panic phase” and “pain phase” of the pandemic and that the country was at the “beginning of the comeback phase.”

“That doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot of pain and there won’t be pain for a while, but that basically was, we’ve now put out rules to get back to work,” Kushner said. “Trump’s now back in charge. It’s not the doctors.”

Daily reports of coronavirus cases in the United States have surged to previously unseen heights, averaging more than 75,000 a day over the last week, and the country is rapidly closing in on nine million known infections over the course of the pandemic — a threshold it will probably cross on Thursday.

Major League Baseball’s Bad Example

I can certainly understand Turner not wanting to miss a moment he’d worked his entire life for. The desire to celebrate with the rest of his team was a natural one. I hope there are no further cases among the Dodger organization, and that no other players, coaches, or family members get sick. Perhaps this incident can quietly die down to a mere footnote.

But even if that happens, it will be by sheer luck. There is a deadly virus going around and around the globe, and we can’t simply ignore it. We can’t pretend our way out of this thing. The picture above is emblematic of the fact that collectively, we Americans still haven’t learned that sacrificing for others is essential in getting past this pandemic. That’s not something to celebrate.

Joanna Stern on the Best 20W USB-C Charging Adapters

If you loved Apple’s 5-watt charger for its cute design that didn’t block multiple power outlets, get ready to be happy: You can now get four times the power in the same size brick.

The Apple 5-watt took nearly two hours to charge my iPhone 11’s battery to 50%. The 20-watt $20 Aukey Omnia Mini and Anker Nano took just 30 minutes. (Apple’s just released $19 20-watt charger should be just as fast, but I haven’t tested it yet.)

Gallium Nitride (GaN) — the Technology Behind Smaller, Better Chargers

GaN chargers are physically smaller than current chargers. This is because gallium nitride chargers don’t require as many components as silicon chargers. The material is able to conduct far higher voltages over time than silicon.

GaN chargers are not only more efficient at transferring current, but this also means less energy is lost to heat. So, more energy goes to whatever you’re trying to charge. When components are more efficient at passing energy to your devices, you generally require less of them.

This article originally stated that the new Anker Nano was a gallium nitride (GaN) adapter, but Anker has since clarified that this is not the case.

Anker’s exclusive highly-integrated technology uses a stacked design with custom magnetic components to reduce size, boost efficiency, and improve heat dissipation. This allows Anker Nano to support an 20W max output, while being just as small as a 5W iPhone charger.

Apple Q4 2020 Results: Record Mac Revenue, iPhone Down

Despite the tough iPhone quarter, revenue was a record for the company’s fourth fiscal quarter, at $64.7B. iPhone revenue was $26.8B, down 20% year over year. Mac revenue was $9B, up 29%. iPad revenue was $6.8B, up 46%. Services revenue was $14.5B, up 16%. And Wearables revenue was $7.9B, up 20.8%.

Tim Cook on Apple’s — and Our — 2020

Work can’t solve for all the things we’re missing right now, but a shared sense of purpose goes a long way. A belief that we can do more together than we can alone, that people of good will, driven by creativity and passion and that certain itch of a big idea, can still do things that help other people in our own small way to teach, to learn, to create, or just to relax at a time like this. Even as the things we make require us to operate at the very cutting edge of technology, in materials, products, and ideas that didn’t exist just a few years ago, this year has forced us to face plainly the things that make us human — disease, resilience, and hope.

★ Sean Connery

Sean Connery, the irascible Scot from the slums of Edinburgh who found international fame as Hollywood’s original James Bond, dismayed his fans by walking away from the Bond franchise and went on to have a long and fruitful career as a respected actor and an always bankable star, died on Saturday in Nassau, the Bahamas. He was 90. […]

“Nonprofessionals just didn’t realize what superb high-comedy acting that Bond role was,” Mr. Lumet once said. “It was like what they used to say about Cary Grant. ‘Oh,’ they’d say, ‘he’s just got charm.’ Well, first of all, charm is actually not all that easy a quality to come by. And what they overlooked in both Cary Grant and Sean was their enormous skill.”

Mr. Connery taught himself to understand that character — Jim Malone, a cynical, streetwise police officer whose only goal is to be alive at the end of his shift — by noting the other characters’ attitudes toward him. After reading Malone’s scenes, he told The Times in 1987, he read the scenes in which his character did not appear. “That way,” he said, “I get to know what the character is aware of and, more importantly, what he is not aware of. The trap that bad actors fall into is playing information they don’t have.”

One More AR Easter Egg

Just after officially announcing the November special event, the new Easter egg started showing up from iPhone and iPad when visiting the special events page here and tapping on the Apple logo of the event artwork at the top.

This time around Apple is including a much more subtle AR Easter egg that shows the Apple logo lying flat, starts glowing with a variety of colors, then rises up like it’s on the lid of a MacBook. Spotted by 9to5Mac reader Barja, if you rotate the AR Apple logo, or walk around to the back, you can see the event date 11.10.

AirPods Pro Service Program for Sound Issues

Apple has determined that a small percentage of AirPods Pro may experience sound issues. Affected units were manufactured before October 2020. An affected AirPods Pro may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will service the affected AirPods Pro (left, right or both), free of charge.

Apple TV Will Be on Xbox Starting November 10

Just as we’re bringing forward all the games that play on Xbox One today, we’re excited to announce that your favorite entertainment apps you enjoy today on Xbox One will be available on Xbox Series X and Series S. That means your favorite streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Spotify, YouTube, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, NBC Peacock, Vudu, FandangoNow, Twitch, Sky Go, NOW TV, Sky Ticket and more, will be waiting for you when you boot your new Xbox console on November 10.

When our all-new Xbox family of consoles launch worldwide on November 10, you’ll have more than just the entertainment apps you enjoy today on Xbox One. We’re excited to share that the Apple TV app is coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S on November 10.

The Apple TV app gives you access to thousands of shows and movies from one convenient location, allowing you to enjoy Apple TV+, Apple TV channels, brand-new and popular movies, and personalized entertainment recommendations.

Raspberry Pi 400: $70 Desktop PC Built Into a Keyboard

Raspberry Pi has always been a PC company. Inspired by the home computers of the 1980s, our mission is to put affordable, high-performance, programmable computers into the hands of people all over the world. And inspired by these classic PCs, here is Raspberry Pi 400: a complete personal computer, built into a compact keyboard.

iOS 14.2 Includes New AR-Enhanced ‘People Detection’ Accessibility Feature

The purpose of People Detection is to aid blind and low vision users in navigation; this type of application is particularly well-suited for the LiDAR sensor in iPhone 12 Pro. The goal is to help the visually impaired understand their surroundings — examples include knowing how many people there are in the checkout line at the grocery store, how close one is standing to the end of the platform at the subway station, and finding an empty seat at a table. Another use case is in this era of social distancing; the software can tell you if you’re within six feet of another person in order to maintain courtesy and safety.

Users can set a minimum distance for alerts — say, six feet for the aforementioned social distancing — as well as having an option to use haptic feedback to deliver those notifications. There also is audible feedback; if a person is wearing one AirPod, they will be notified when they’re in close proximity of a person or whatnot. People Detection is fully compatible with VoiceOver, Apple’s screen-reader technology.

‘Let’s Have a Shit, Shave, and Shower and Back at It.’

We do what we can and then get the call. He’s coming at 9AM the next morning. So we do what you’d have done — we get a sliced fruit platter and put it out with some paper plates.

9AM on the damn button, a knock at the door. And there he is, wearing a hat similar to the one from The Untouchables. “I’m Sean. Throw a Sir on that and watch me walk out the door.”

“Yes, sir, I mean Mr. Connery, I mean … would you like some fruit? A slice of pineapple maybe?”

A smile comes to his face. He sees what this means to us. “I’d love some fruit. That’s kind of you.” He sits down and we go to work. He has incredibly smart notes on every page. These are not notes from our draft. They are from the prior draft. He’s telling us the movie he wants.

Should we get the studio or director on the speaker phone? “No. Youse’ll tell em what we’re gonna do.”

We spend the day working. He then says one of our favorite lines ever. “That’s about half the thing. Let’s have a shit, shave and shower and back at it.”

‘Why Joe Biden Is Going to Win’

We’re three days from the election, and Joe Biden is going to win. I can hedge and say “Well, we could have a catastrophic polling error,” or “Trump is going to steal the election.” I don’t see either happening. Biden has led since March, and before most of you wake up on November 4th, Biden will be president-elect.

Trump faces too devastating a situation to win. If he wins, the entire polling industry, and quite possibly empiricism itself, would be in a nearly unfathomable crisis.

The easiest explanation is that Trump barely beat a terrible candidate in 2016. Trump is less popular than he was in 2016, Biden is more popular than Clinton, and the electorate is less hospitable to Trump than it was in 2016.

Trump, on the Eve of Election Day

The president, his associates say, has drawn encouragement from his larger audiences and from a stream of relatively upbeat polling information that advisers have curated for him, typically filtering out the bleakest numbers.

On a trip to Florida last week, several aides told the president that winning the Electoral College was a certainty, a prognosis not supported by Republican or Democratic polling, according to people familiar with the conversation. And Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, has responded with chipper enthusiasm when Mr. Trump has raised the idea of making a late bid for solidly Democratic states like New Mexico, an option other aides have told the president is flatly unrealistic.

The president himself has done little to strengthen his chances in the final days of the race. On Friday, Mr. Trump used a rally in Michigan to float a baseless theory that doctors are classifying patients’ deaths as related to the coronavirus in order to make more money, drawing fierce condemnation from medical groups, as well as Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama.

And on Saturday, in Pennsylvania at the site where George Washington mapped out his Delaware crossing during the Revolution, aides wrote out a sober speech for the president to deliver. Midway through, he seemed to get bored and began to riff about the size of Mr. Biden’s sunglasses.

David Letterman on Trump and 2020 Election

I believe he will lose it big, and it will be a relief to every living being in this country, whether they realize it now or not. It certainly will be a relief to me and my family, and I think generally the population. I’m more confident now than I was then, and I was pretty confident then. I was wrong. I don’t think I’ll be wrong this time.

‘A Large Portion of the Electorate Chose the Sociopath’

Sadly, the voters who said in 2016 that they chose Trump because they thought he was “just like them” turned out to be right. Now, by picking him again, those voters are showing that they are just like him: angry, spoiled, racially resentful, aggrieved, and willing to die rather than ever admit that they were wrong.

‘Rupert Murdoch-Owned US Outlets Turn on Trump, Urging Him to Act With “Grace”’

Multiple Rupert Murdoch-owned conservative media outlets in the United States have shifted their messaging in a seeming effort to warn readers and viewers that Donald Trump may well have lost the presidential election.

The new messaging appears to be closely coordinated, and it includes an appeal to Trump to preserve his “legacy” by showing grace in defeat. The message is being carried on Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post – all outlets avidly consumed by Trump himself, especially Fox.

Biden Beats Trump

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, promising to restore political normalcy and a spirit of national unity to confront raging health and economic crises, and making Donald J. Trump a one-term president after four years of tumult in the White House. […]

The result also provided a history-making moment for Mr. Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, who will become the first woman to serve as vice president.

Twitter and Facebook Assert Biden’s Victory

Facebook put a notification atop its apps that said that Joe Biden was projected as the winner. It will appear for hundreds of millions of Americans on Facebook and Instagram.

Twitter has added an announcement in its “Explore” tab that Biden has been projected as the winner of the election, pointing to news outlets.

From the Annals of Perfect Symbolism: An Architecture Critic Looks at Four Seasons Total Landscaping

Four Seasons Total Landscaping joins the slabs of forlorn border wall and the graffiti-encrusted bathroom in Lafayette Square as the real monuments of an administration intent on ugliness and pathetic façades. Maybe the choice of venue was a not-at-all understandable mix-up. Perhaps it was sabotage on the part of a minion who had had enough. There’s speculation on Twitter that Trump announced an event at the Four Seasons (hotel) before it had been booked, and aides had to scramble to find any venue that made his words true. None of these explanations makes sense, because the site was simultaneously too perfect to be accidental and too elaborate to be intentional. An administration marked by episodes of sordid sex, wishful thinking, and mass death took place next door to a dildo-and-porn store named Fantasy Island and across the street from a crematorium. If you were hunting for such a symbolically rich stage, how would you even Google it?

Sketch on the Joys of Native Mac Apps

Best of all, native Mac apps like ours are designed to fit with the rest of the operating system. It’s hard to quantify, but if you use Apple’s built-in apps you immediately get a ‘feel’ for how things should work in native apps. When an app ‘fits in’ with the rest of the OS, it doesn’t just look and feel more at home on your Mac — it lowers the learning curve when you first open it. That’s why we (and plenty of other great macOS developers) work hard to follow the conventions set out in Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, so that our Mac app has that same, familiar feel. And you can start using it instantly, from the first click.

★ Sketch, and the Joy of Mac-App Mac Apps

Best of all, native Mac apps like ours are designed to fit with the rest of the operating system. It’s hard to quantify, but if you use Apple’s built-in apps you immediately get a “feel” for how things should work in native apps. When an app “fits in” with the rest of the OS, it doesn’t just look and feel more at home on your Mac — it lowers the learning curve when you first open it. That’s why we (and plenty of other great macOS developers) work hard to follow the conventions set out in Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, so that our Mac app has that same, familiar feel. And you can start using it instantly, from the first click.

★ The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max

The best way to learn to trust your swing is by practicing your swing with a club you trust. A high handicapper who learns to hit a good 7-iron can build his or her game around that shot. […]

Some teachers have their students practice with a 3-iron on the theory that if the student can learn to hit a 3-iron, the rest of the clubs will seem easy. This is certainly true, but it seems backward to me. It is much easier to learn to hit a good 7-iron, and that in turn will make the 3-iron easier to hit if you just use your good 7-iron swing on it.

MacOS 11 Big Sur Is Officially Licensed for Colocation Leasing

All of this is big news, but for me personally, there was some even more massive news. Apple has updated the macOS software license agreement for Big Sur. This doesn’t happen very often. It went from 15 sections to 16 sections. The last significant change I can remember was in 2012 when they confirmed that you could buy a Mac OS X upgrade and install it on all the Macs you own. (Yes, we used to pay for OS updates.)

More significant than a simple agreement change is that the whole section is so directly pointed at what I care deeply about with my work.

I have been working with Macs in data centers for sixteen years now. I’ve pushed through many of the “Mac mini/Xserve/Mac Pro is dead” comments and “why would you want macOS in a data center” insults. I’ve had Apple account reps very eager to introduce me to their large clients only to have Apple system engineers shoot down the whole idea as a “gray area.” Well, this new section of “Leasing for Permitted Developer Services” feels like a massive pat on the back and I’m so happy for all my friends at Apple who saw the need and have been pushing for this update.

FTC Claims Zoom Lied to Users About End-to-End Encryption for Years, Yet Lets Company Off the Hook for Compensation

Zoom has agreed to upgrade its security practices in a tentative settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which alleges that Zoom lied to users for years by claiming it offered end-to-end encryption.

“[S]ince at least 2016, Zoom misled users by touting that it offered ‘end-to-end, 256-bit encryption’ to secure users’ communications, when in fact it provided a lower level of security,” the FTC said today in the announcement of its complaint against Zoom and the tentative settlement. Despite promising end-to-end encryption, the FTC said that “Zoom maintained the cryptographic keys that could allow Zoom to access the content of its customers’ meetings, and secured its Zoom Meetings, in part, with a lower level of encryption than promised.”

The FTC complaint says that Zoom claimed it offers end-to-end encryption in its June 2016 and July 2017 HIPAA compliance guides, which were intended for health-care industry users of the video conferencing service. Zoom also claimed it offered end-to-end encryption in a January 2019 white paper, in an April 2017 blog post, and in direct responses to inquiries from customers and potential customers, the complaint said.

★ One More Thing: The M1 Macs

M1 also features our unified memory architecture, or UMA. M1 unifies its high‑bandwidth, low‑latency memory into a single pool within a custom package. As a result, all of the technologies in the SoC can access the same data without copying it between multiple pools of memory. This dramatically improves performance and power efficiency. Video apps are snappier. Games are richer and more detailed. Image processing is lightning fast. And your entire system is more responsive.

AnandTech’s Deep Dive on the A14 and What It Means for the M1

We currently do not have Apple Silicon devices and likely won’t get our hands on them for another few weeks, but we do have the A14, and expect the new Mac chips to be strongly based on the microarchitecture we’re seeing employed in the iPhone designs. Of course, we’re still comparing a phone chip versus a high-end laptop and even a high-end desktop chip, but given the performance numbers, that’s also exactly the point we’re trying to make here, setting the stage as the bare minimum of what Apple could achieve with their new Apple Silicon Mac chips.

Guido van Rossum Un-Retires to Join Microsoft

I decided that retirement was boring and have joined the Developer Division at Microsoft. To do what? Too many options to say! But it’ll make using Python better for sure (and not just on Windows :-). There’s lots of open source here. Watch this space.

The Omni Group’s Apps Are All Now Available for M1 and MacOS Big Sur

The Omni Group creates productivity tools that are as powerful as you — designed for Mac, iPhone, and iPad — and we love the Mac! We’ve been developing for the Mac since 1989 (via its NeXT lineage), and over the years we’ve gone through many CPU transitions — from the Motorola 68030 to the PowerPC to 64-bit to Intel. […]

We’re very pleased to share that our app transition has been smooth and seamless. All our apps — including our free apps OmniDiskSweeper, OmniPresence, and OmniWeb — are now available as native Universal apps on M1-powered Macs, and can be either downloaded from our website or found on the Mac App Store.

Axios: ‘Trump Eyes Starting His Own Digital Media Empire to Take on Fox News’

President Trump has told friends he wants to start a digital media company to clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network, sources tell Axios. […] “He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it,” said a source with detailed knowledge of Trump’s intentions.

Apple’s M1 Compared to 1985’s ARM1

With Apple’s recent announcement of the ARM-based M1 processor, I figured it would be interesting to compare it to the first ARM processor, created by Acorn Computers in 1985 for the BBC Micro computer. Designers were Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber.

Here are the two dies at the same scale. The M1 is over twice as large physically as the ARM1. It has 16 billion transistors vs 25,000 for the ARM1. If you built the ARM1 using the same technology, it would be a pixel-sized speck.

Super-Spreader Wedding Party Shows COVID Holiday Dangers

If you want to know why public health officials are so nervous about how much worse the COVID-19 pandemic will get as the holiday season unfolds, consider what happened after a single, smallish wedding reception that took place this summer in rural Maine.

Only 55 people attended the Aug. 7 reception at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket. But one of those guests arrived with a coronavirus infection. Over the next 38 days, the virus spread to 176 other people. Seven of them died.

None of the victims who lost their lives had attended the party.

Petulant Wingnuts Push Parler

But Mr. Levin, Ms. Bartiromo and others did not stop there. They directed their followers to other social media apps and news sites that have positioned themselves as alternatives to Facebook and Twitter. The beneficiaries are Parler, a Twitter-like app that describes itself as the world’s “premier free speech social network,” the right-wing media app Newsmax, and other social sites like MeWe and Rumble, which have purposely welcomed conservatives.

Over the weekend, Parler shot to the top of Apple’s App Store in downloads. As of Monday, it had eight million members, nearly double the 4.5 million it had last week. Rumble said it projected 75 million to 90 million people will watch a video on its site this month, up from 60.5 million last month. And Newsmax said more than 3 million people watched its election night coverage and that its app has recently been in the top-10 daily apps downloaded from Apple’s App Store.

This is the same group who abused power in 2016. I will be leaving soon and going to Parler. Please open an account on @parler right away.

Al Qaeda’s No. 2, Accused in U.S. Embassy Attacks, Is Secretly Killed in Iran

American intelligence officials say that Mr. al-Masri had been in Iran’s “custody” since 2003, but that he had been living freely in the Pasdaran district of Tehran, an upscale suburb, since at least 2015. Around 9:00 on a warm summer night, he was driving his white Renault L90 sedan with his daughter near his home when two gunmen on a motorcycle drew up beside him. Five shots were fired from a pistol fitted with a silencer. Four bullets entered the car through the driver’s side and a fifth hit a nearby car.

As news of the shooting broke, Iran’s official news media identified the victims as Habib Daoud, a Lebanese history professor, and his 27-year-old daughter Maryam. The Lebanese news channel MTV and social media accounts affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps reported that Mr. Daoud was a member of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant organization in Lebanon.

It seemed plausible. […]

In fact, there was no Habib Daoud.

Joz, Federighi, and Ternus on the M1 Macs — and Cold Water on Big Sur Being Designed for Touch

This has led to ideas including the theory that Apple had redesigned its new macOS to make way for touch screen Macs. The Big Sur aesthetic borrows from the iPhone and iPad – buttons are bigger, with more space, which numerous commentators pointed out would make them perfect for manipulating with your fingers – but not because of some secret plan to change the way the Mac works, Federighi says.

“I gotta tell you when we released Big Sur, and these articles started coming out saying, ‘Oh my God, look, Apple is preparing for touch’. I was thinking like, ‘Whoa, why?’

“We had designed and evolved the look for macOS in a way that felt most comfortable and natural to us, not remotely considering something about touch.”

MacOS Big Sur Launch Overwhelmed Apple’s CDN, Which in Turn Triggered a Bug in ‘trustd’ That Ground App Launching to a Halt

Mac users today began experiencing unexpected issues that included apps taking minutes to launch, stuttering and non-responsiveness throughout macOS, and other problems. The issues seemed to begin close to the time when Apple began rolling out the new version of macOS, Big Sur — but it affected users of other versions of macOS, like Catalina and Mojave. […]

It didn’t take long for some Mac users to note that trustd — a macOS process responsible for checking with Apple’s servers to confirm that an app is notarized — was attempting to contact a host named ocsp.apple.com but failing repeatedly. This resulted in systemwide slowdowns as apps attempted to launch, among other things.

Intel’s Disruption

He might not have realized it at the time, but when Grove was reading Christensen’s work, he wasn’t just reading about how Intel would go on to conquer the personal computer market. He was also reading about what would eventually befall the company he co-founded, 25 years before it happened.

A Technical Look at the Privacy Implications of MacOS’s OCSP

No, macOS does not send Apple a hash of your apps each time you run them.

You should be aware that macOS might transmit some opaque information about the developer certificate of the apps you run. This information is sent out in clear text on your network.

You shouldn’t probably block ocsp.apple.com with Little Snitch or in your hosts file.

Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Appears to Be 95 Percent Effective

“These are obviously very exciting results,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor. “It’s just as good as it gets — 94.5% is truly outstanding.”

Moderna heard its results on a call Sunday afternoon with members of the Data Safety and Monitoring Board, an independent panel analyzing Moderna’s clinical trial data. Vaccinations could begin in the second half of December, Fauci said. Vaccinations are expected to begin with high-risk groups and to be available for the rest of the population next spring.

In Moderna’s trial, 15,000 study participants were given a placebo, which is a shot of saline that has no effect. Over several months, 90 of them developed Covid-19, with 11 developing severe forms of the disease. Another 15,000 participants were given the vaccine, and only five of them developed Covid-19. None of the five became severely ill. The company says its vaccine did not have any serious side effects. A small percentage of those who received it experienced symptoms such as body aches and headaches.

Parler’s Lead Investor Is Rebekah Mercer

After The Wall Street Journal reported on the Mercers’ ties with Parler, Chief Executive John Matze confirmed that Ms. Mercer was the lead investor in the company at its outset and said that her backing was dependent on the platform allowing users to control what they see.

Some of the people familiar with the matter said Parler was a Mercer family investment. Ms. Mercer, in a post on Parler after a version of this article was published, said that her father had no involvement or ownership of the company. Mr. Mercer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Ms. Mercer said in a separate post that she and Mr. Matze “started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended.” She said the effort is an answer to what she called the “ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords.”

Moderna’s Vaccine Efficacy Readout

The second press release from the company today is also significant: Moderna says that new stability testing shows that their vaccine remains stable for up to six months under standard freezer conditions, up to 30 days under standard refrigeration conditions, and up to 12 hours at room temperature. There’s no dilution or further handling at the point of administration. This is much more like what you want to see, as compared to the more demanding storage conditions that seem to be needed for the Pfizer candidate. This is how a lot of medicine (and food, for that matter) is already distributed and stored — our infrastructure is a lot more prepared for this.

GitHub Reinstates ‘youtube-dl’ Project After Concluding DMCA Takedown Request From RIAA Was Bullshit

Today we reinstated youtube-dl, a popular project on GitHub, after we received additional information about the project that enabled us to reverse a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown.

ViDL: Free Mac Utility Based on ‘youtube-dl’

ViDL is a free Mac app that allows you to easily download videos from YouTube and hundreds of other websites for offline viewing.

It is based on the popular youtube-dl command line tool, but much easier to use, especially with videos/playlists that require a login (like your personal “Watch Later” list).

Apple Addresses Last Week’s OCSP Server Failure and Related Privacy Concerns

We have never combined data from these checks with information about Apple users or their devices. We do not use data from these checks to learn what individual users are launching or running on their devices. These security checks have never included the user’s Apple ID or the identity of their device. To further protect privacy, we have stopped logging IP addresses associated with Developer ID certificate checks, and we will ensure that any collected IP addresses are removed from logs.

In addition, over the the next year we will introduce several changes to our security checks:

Google Photos Is Ending ‘Free Unlimited Storage’ in June

After five years of offering unlimited free photo backups at “high quality,” Google Photos will start charging for storage once more than 15 gigs on the account have been used. The change will happen on June 1st, 2021, and it comes with other Google Drive policy changes like counting Google Workspace documents and spreadsheets against the same cap. Google is also introducing a new policy of deleting data from inactive accounts that haven’t been logged in to for at least two years.

Google earned $11.2 billion in profits last quarter and uses all your uploaded photos to train its ML algorithms, which offers it other enormous competitive benefits.

Also seems notable that free Google photo storage helped to drive tons of startups out of this market — Everpix, Loom, Ever, Picturelife. Now that they’re gone, and Google is tired of losing money on Photos, the revenue switch flips.

Instant Claim Chowder: Gordon Mah Ung on Apple’s M1 Performance Claims

Let me just say it out loud, OK? Apple is full of it. I’m referring to Apple’s claim that its fanless, Arm-based MacBook Air is “faster than 98 percent of PC laptops.” Yes, you read that correctly: Apple officials literally claimed that the new MacBook Air using Apple’s custom M1 chip is faster than 98 percent of all PC laptops sold this year. […]

Does that mean the new fanless MacBook Air is faster than, say, Asus’ stupidly fast Ryzen 4000 based, GeForce RTX 2060-based Zephyrus G14? Does it mean the MacBook Air is faster than Alienware’s updated Area 51M? The answer, I’m going to guess is “no.” Not at all. Is it faster than the miniLED-based MSI Creator 17? Probably not, either.

★ The M1 Macs

Fun fact: retaining and releasing an NSObject takes ~30 nanoseconds on current gen Intel, and ~6.5 nanoseconds on an M1

… and ~14 nanoseconds on an M1 emulating an Intel.

Thanks to M1, the FaceTime HD camera can now take full advantage of our latest image signal processor — improving image quality in video conferences and pulling out more details in both shadows and highlights.

App Store Small Business Program Will Reduce Commission to 15 Percent for Developers Earning up to $1 Million Per Year

While the comprehensive details will be released in early December, the essentials of the program’s participation criteria are easy and streamlined:

The App Store’s standard commission rate of 30 percent remains in place for apps selling digital goods and services and making more than $1 million in proceeds, defined as a developer’s post-commission earnings.

NYT Report on Apple’s New 15 Percent App Store Commission for Smaller Developers

The move, which will have little impact on Apple’s bottom line, is an abrupt change from the company’s public intransigence over its fees. For 12 years, the App Store has helped fuel Apple’s remarkable growth, and the company has appeared reluctant to do anything to tamper with it.

The change will affect roughly 98 percent of the companies that pay Apple a commission, according to estimates from Sensor Tower, an app analytics firm. But those developers accounted for less than 5 percent of App Store revenues last year, Sensor Tower said. Apple said the new rate would affect the “vast majority” of its developers, but declined to offer specific numbers.

Apple said in a statement that it had made the change because 2020 was a difficult year for many small companies.

Pixelmator Pro 2.0 Updated for Big Sur and Apple Silicon

The Pixelmator Pro editing engine is powered by high-performance Metal code, so we can take advantage of the unified memory architecture of the M1 chip to bring you much speedier and much more responsive image editing. Machine learning tasks like ML Super Resolution are now up to a staggering 15 times faster on the new Macs. And, as a Universal app, Pixelmator Pro 2.0 runs natively on both M1 and Intel-based devices, so we’re completely ready for the new era of Mac.

Google Chrome Updated for Apple Silicon, in the Most Confusing Way

Google presents Chrome for download as either an x86_64 package or an M1 native option — which comes across as a little odd, since the M1 native version is actually a universal binary, which works on either M1 or traditional Intel Macs. Presumably, Google is pushing separate downloads due to the much smaller file size necessary for the x86_64-only package — the universal binary contains both x86_64 and ARM applications, and weighs in at 165MiB to the Intel-only package’s 96MiB.

Briar Press - Classified

Jeremy Cherfas

Punter? Or professional?

The average punter goes to the races with $5 and expects to win $1000.
The experienced punter goes with $1000 and hopes to win $5.
The average podcaster does a little bit of distribution work and expects to gain 1000 listeners.
The experienced podcaster does a stack of distribution and hopes to gain five listeners.

Death by bigotry

Beware of all palliative cures, and especially of that known as Jesuits' Powder … for I have seen most dangerous effects following the taking of that medicine.

On eating and etymology

— poussin, coquelet: chicken of less than 650 g carcase weight (expressed without giblets, head and feet); chicken of 650 g to 750 g may be called ‘poussin’ if the age at slaughter does not exceed 28 days.

Still looking for a fever

[T]he parasite that causes malaria was not originally present in the New World; notwithstanding the fact that [quinine] appears to target Plasmodium’s metabolism, what is it doing in the tree, and what indigenous fevers did it cure, and how?

My independent drop box

I don’t really need to write much here; just enough to make sure that there is something to receive when I go out and try to logon from outside.

Squeezed by anaconda

Me: Progress! Now there's something else it can't find, which is fine. I'll just keep iterating until I succeed or get a different error.
My friend: yep, that's exactly what everyone does when there are missing libraries 😊

Too much about pallets, and yet …

[M]any experts consider the pallet to be the most important materials-handling innovation of the twentieth century. Studies have estimated that pallets consume 12 to 15 percent of all lumber produced in the US, more than any other industry except home construction.

The truth about farro

Systematics and the nomenclature of cultivated and wild wheats is a constant and lasting problem.1

Contrary to popular belief, the Egyptians did not grow spelt wheat (Triticum spelta). Reference to this is found throughout the literature and may stem from the use of the German term Spelzen or Splezweizen to refer to hulled wheats as a whole (Hillman 1984b: 146; Nesbitt and Samuel 1996: 77).5

TIL: Asparagus Bismarck

I’m not really sure how this simple dish got this fancy name. But is it one of my favorite things to order in old fashioned restaurants all over Italy. Or, these days, to make at home.

The name of this pizza hides an interesting story, since Bismark is not an Italian name or word. In 1862, the Prussian Prime Minister Otto Von Bismarck delivered a speech in Italy where he said it would take “blood and iron” to effect change. The phrase was mistranslated as “blood and eggs”, and Otto got a pizza named after him.

Jessica Spengler

A Journal of the Plague Week 10

“I realized that the [restaurant] meal would not be a respite from daily life, but a reminder of its many anxieties. So we fired up some leftovers. I relaxed a little. I felt a deep gratitude and even some pride in realizing that, over the past few months, we’ve managed to recreate some of the little comforts we used to seek out in public in our little quarantine life.”

A Journal of the Plague Week 21

Even at the age of 10, playing music could make me feel ecstatic. I couldn’t have put that name to that feeling, but I knew that it was pure joy. It’s a feeling that remains with me to this day and comes welling up inside of me when I’m playing in the middle of a really good Irish session, or when everything comes together in the band. It’s when I realize that the music that is being created has suddenly taken on a life of its own and become something greater than just the sum of its parts. It’s a feeling of losing myself entirely and at the same time being acutely aware of existing as an integral part of something much bigger. It’s one of the most fantastic feelings in the world.

A Journal of the Plague Week 25

Some people will tell how they have seen it coming towards them down a street, but, as they walked boldly to meet it, it would grow smaller and smaller, like an ordinary figure will do as it moves away from you, and finally disappear completely.

Just as, in thundery weather, the electric tension in the atmosphere will increase to a point past endurance, and eventually give birth to the lightning, may it not be that the whole mass of stagnant thought infecting the air of the Ghetto needs clearing from time to time by some kind of mysterious explosion, something potent in its workings. Something forces the dreams of the subconscious up and into the light of day […].

And, just as Nature has her own happenings that foreshadow the advent of the lightning, so do certain forbidding signs portend the arrival of this phantom within our world of fact. The plaster peeling from an old wall will adopt the shape of a running human form; and stony faces stare from the ice-flowers formed by the frost upon the window panes. Sand from the roof-tops falls in a different way from usual, filling the apprehensive passer-by with the impression it has been thrown by some invisible spirit, trying to form, from the hiding-place wherein it lurks, all kinds of unfamiliar outlines. No matter what the object one beholds—be it wicker work, all one colour, or the uneven surface of a human skin—we are still obsessed with this disconcerting gift of finding everywhere these ominous, significant shapes, that assume in our dreams the proportions of giants. And always, through these ghostly strivings of these troops of thoughts, endeavoring to gnaw their way through the wall of actuality, runs, like a scarlet thread, a torturing certitude that our own mental consciousness, strive as we may, is being sucked dry, deliberately, that the phantom may attain to concrete form.

A Journal of the Plague Week 26

I have a lot of patience with Nolan’s high-priest-of-cinema routine […]. I also wish that, in a life-or-death situation, he and Warner Bros. weren’t thrusting “Tenet” and its theaters-only release strategy so insistently into the spotlight.

A Journal of the Plague Week 39

“All the trees and the string lights and the decorated windows on my block are speaking mutely to one another, pieces of a larger project, acknowledging that we are in at least some small way not alone, and that who we are is created as much by our proximities as by any choices we more consciously or deliberately might make.”

A Journal of the Plague Week 40

“The act of literary translation may be the closest reading one can offer a text and its author. For a translator to bring prose from one language into another, nothing can remain ambiguous. Every semantic and orthographic element must be weighed; even punctuation takes on maddening importance. You can’t get into the author’s head, but almost. And for the best translation—finding not the most precise, most equivalent words, but the emotional resonance of a text—you have to feel it. And sometimes you don’t want to.”

The Jab

“We’d get up and have coffee and breakfast, get dressed and grab our instruments to catch the bus to our Saturday tune-learning workshop at the Jolly Brewer. We’d play Irish music for an hour and a half, then walk up to Barfields Butchers to grab something tasty to throw on the grill. We might pick up some wine and beer at Quaff down the street, then cross the road to Fiveways Fruits to get veggies for the weekend. If we timed it right, we could catch a bus back down the hill and go to the Open Market for lunch—maybe tacos from Casa Azul, maybe Greek food from Kouzina, maybe a stuffed Turkish flatbread from the lady whose stand is always thronged with customers. We might need to get some bread from the Real Patisserie, and maybe we’d buy some cheese at ridiculously bargain prices from Ovetts (“The BACON KING of Brighton!”). And by then we would be laden with shopping and tired of people, so we’d hop on a crowded bus to go home. It would be such a relief to walk in the front door and close it behind us, knowing we could just relax and be alone for the rest of the weekend. We’d put away our shopping, put on our comfy clothes, make some tea and chill out.”

Henriette Weber

Donec ut Gravida

Suspendisse blandit ligula turpis, ac convallis risus fermentum non. Duis vestibulum quis quam vel accumsan. Nunc a vulputate lectus. Vestibulum eleifend nisl sed massa sagittis vestibulum.

Cras tristique

Suspendisse blandit ligula turpis, ac convallis risus fermentum non. Duis vestibulum quis quam vel accumsan. Nunc a vulputate lectus. Vestibulum eleifend nisl sed massa sagittis vestibulum.

Turpis Justo,

Suspendisse blandit ligula turpis, ac convallis risus fermentum non. Duis vestibulum quis quam vel accumsan. Nunc a vulputate lectus. Vestibulum eleifend nisl sed massa sagittis vestibulum.

Bibendum Metus

Suspendisse blandit ligula turpis, ac convallis risus fermentum non. Duis vestibulum quis quam vel accumsan. Nunc a vulputate lectus. Vestibulum eleifend nisl sed massa sagittis vestibulum.

Nunc a vulputate lectus

Suspendisse blandit ligula turpis, ac convallis risus fermentum non. Duis vestibulum quis quam vel accumsan. Nunc a vulputate lectus. Vestibulum eleifend nisl sed massa sagittis vestibulum.

Fringilla Dui Gravida

Suspendisse blandit ligula turpis, ac convallis risus fermentum non. Duis vestibulum quis quam vel accumsan. Nunc a vulputate lectus. Vestibulum eleifend nisl sed massa sagittis vestibulum.

Luctus Volutpat

Suspendisse blandit ligula turpis, ac convallis risus fermentum non. Duis vestibulum quis quam vel accumsan. Nunc a vulputate lectus. Vestibulum eleifend nisl sed massa sagittis vestibulum.

Halfway into the decade of action:​ what’s your strategy?

Are we willing to do what we can for the decade of action?

Question posed by Henriette Weber

Karine Polwart

Ryan Katz-Rosene

1Password Blog

Introducing Travel Mode: Protect your data when crossing borders

International travel while maintaining your privacy (and dignity!) has become increasingly tough. We need better tools to help protect ourselves against unwarranted searches and the leakage of business and personal secrets. 1Password is taking a great step in that direction with their new Travel Mode. Bravo.

Terraforming 1Password

By “recreating” you mean building out a whole new VPC with Terraform? Couldn’t you build it then switch existing DNS over for much less down time?1

Couldn’t you’ve imported all online resources? Just wondering.2

1Password is for Families

I created a Texas Trip vault [and] added our passports, contact info, and a credit card for emergencies (new headphones are not an emergency). In went the flights, insurance policies, consent forms, and all the rest. Finally, I added passwords for all the ways he could reach us, from Skype to FaceTime to Zoom; although, trying to get a 15-year-old to actually talk to his parents was another matter.

It was really quite reassuring to know that all of that information was there for him to easily access on either his Mac or his iPhone.

MyFitnessPal Shows How to Handle a Breach

The affected data did not include government-issued identifiers (such as Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers) because we don’t collect that information from users. Payment card data was not affected because it is collected and processed separately.

Hi Dave,

I know you get hundreds of emails but I can’t help but send this email. I received an email from MyFitnessPal today and of course the news-breaking headlines.

In reading the email, I simply smiled. Headed to my 1password vault and checked the password.

Sure enough, there was a 40 character, numbers + symbols password. I smiled smugly and thought of you.

Your amazing product keeps my data safe every single day. I have not one single duplicated password. Back about 4 years ago I spent the entire weekend updating 200 plus sites with a unique password ( MyFitnessPal being one of them ).

I have recommended so many people to your platform knowing that you have an amazing product and just as importantly, a fantastic support team.

Take care my friend and I send you a warm-hearted thanks from Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia!

Keep doing what you’re doing!
Benjamin Fox.

WWDC18: Presents from Apple

System Integrity Protection is a security technology in OS X El Capitan and later that’s designed to help prevent potentially malicious software from modifying protected files and folders on your Mac.

Introducing 1Password for Democracy

“We founded 1Password with the goal of protecting peoples’ right to privacy - the right to have their personal information kept away from those that would seek to do harm with it.

I am proud that 1Password can be there for those fighting for democratic rights, and that we can help to mitigate some of the risk that comes with protecting privileged information.” — Roustem Karimov - Founder of 1Password

Developers: How we use SRP, and you can too

Donkey: Oh, you both have layers. Oh. You know, not everybody likes onions. Cake! Everybody loves cake! Cakes have layers!

Shrek: I don’t care what everyone likes! Ogres are not like cakes.

Donkey: You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious!

Good password security: the perfect New Year’s resolution for your business and employees

With your 1Password Business account, every employee gets a free 1Password Families membership.

773 million records added to Watchtower after Collection #1 data breach

1Password’s integration with Have I Been Pwned makes it simple for people to check to see if they are at risk. — Jeff Shiner, CEO

World Press Freedom Day: 1Password for Journalism

With website data breaches and leaks containing users’ passwords happening regularly to even the largest tech companies in the world, it’s more important than ever to have strong, unique passwords per website. Usernames and passwords are being sold between hackers and are used for social engineering. While this is catastrophic for anyone, it is especially critical for journalists, to protect their sources and do their work in a safe environment. – Arne Grauls, European Journalism Centre

Introducing support for U2F security keys

“WebAuthn brings to life the concept of using an external security key across multiple devices and platforms, with no shared secrets among services. It’s exciting to see 1Password implement WebAuthn support to enable YubiKey hardware-backed authentication for their users”. – Derek Hanson, VP, Solutions Architecture and Alliances at Yubico

Introducing the 1Password SCIM bridge

“At Okta, we securely connect our customers to the technologies they need for their businesses. We’re excited to partner with 1Password to do just that for our joint customers. With the 1Password SCIM bridge, 1Password customers leverage Okta’s full provisioning capabilities and can automate many common administrative tasks, enabling them to increase efficiency throughout their organizations.” — Chuck Fontana, VP, Okta Integrations & Strategic Partnerships

CJ Chilvers

Get Your Ass Kicked

“If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback. There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their own lives, but will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgement at those of us trying to dare greatly.”

Seth Godin on Why You Should Start a Podcast

“The middlemen have not yet come along that make it financially feasible for the typical person to have a podcast. That’s not why you should do it. You shouldn’t do it because you want to sell ads, because you won’t. You should do it because the craft of talking to that smallest viable audience will enrich your life and may help other areas of your business life go forward.”

“If you were to create a podcast — and you only have 200 people listening, for example — imagine a room full of 200 people, that you’re standing in front of, and they’ve come there to see you and listen you and listen to your message. And this happens every single week. That really puts that 200 people in perspective."

How to Get the 3 Things You Want Most

“There is a wonderful, almost mystical, law of nature that says three of the things we want most — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained when we give them to others. Give it away to get it back.” — Basketball Coach John Wooden in Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court via James Clear

Trust Without Metrics

“Our inboxes are a sacred place. As someone who’s purchased several digital products before, I buy from people I trust. Being thrown into an automated sales sequence is the last thing that builds trust.“

“Email marketing in the creator economy has become toxic.”

How does it make you feel?

“It’s not how it looks, it’s how it makes you feel.”

Ghost Resurrects, Haunts Substack

“Nobody needs to know what Ghost is. I want people to know the creators that we power, instead.”

Put relationships first.

“If I was going to give advice to young people...If they haven’t already, bad things are going to happen that you can’t control. So, what’s the plan?...How do you live life when life is hard in ways that are unfair and unpredictable? Relationships is the buffer for all of that...It’s all we’re wired to do. It’s like ALL of our brain is for this...It’s at the core of human thriving. I worry that social media is reducing strong relationships. Strong relationships, where you’re sacrificing non-trivial time, attention, resources, whatever — on behalf of other people — that’s the net that’s going to allow you to get through anything. THEN, what do you want to do with the surplus that remains?”

Algorithm vs. Audience

“Replace ‘algorithm’ with ‘audience’ and it’s 900x better for your mental health. From powerless to empowered. You’re the one at bat, picking the swings. You won’t connect every time. Weather can suck. Other players can/will swing better. But you’re the one picking the swings.”

Generosity Comes from People

“No one wants a newsletter from a company, but lots of people would like a newsletter from a smart person who works for that company.”

Tom Critchlow

Grant Hutchins

Festival of Maintenance

The Economist piece on the Festival of Maintenance

Maintenance is often dismissed as mere drudgery. But in fact repairing things is often trickier than making them.

David Edgerton – King’s College London
Speaker at the Festival of Maintenance 2018

Why is maintenance so difficult to talk about?

“Like discovering an entire other hemisphere of the world”

(2018 event audience feedback)

Caroline Mandell

Printing Damp

You’ll Heal Tacoma from Jessica Spring on Vimeo.With a nod...

With a nod to the “You’ll Like Tacoma” signage featured at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Exposition, “You’ll Heal Tacoma” is literally a sign for our pandemic times. Both an urgent call to action and a future prediction, more than 300 posters are rolled up to collectively spell the healing message in four foot letters. Tacomans are encouraged to remove a poster to take home, then replace it with their own message of healing in response to the “How Will You Heal?” prompt. The prints are Tacoma through-and-through: letterpress printed at Springtide Press with antique wood type recovered from a Browns Point boathouse, and printed on Rite in the Rain, an all-weather paper manufactured here. While the historic Tacoma sign was powered with electric bulbs, this current version glows with hope and healing for our city.

You’ll Heal Tacoma from Jessica Spring on Vimeo.With a nod...

With a nod to the “You’ll Like Tacoma” signage, “You’ll Heal Tacoma” is literally a sign for our pandemic times. Both an urgent call to action and a future prediction, more than 300 posters are rolled up to collectively spell the healing message in four foot letters. Tacomans are encouraged to take a poster, then replace it with their own message of healing in response to “How Will You Heal?”

Thanks to @rchamlee and @svcletterpress for a fantastic class...

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A post shared by Jessica Spring (@springtidepress)

How to say caləłali (Tacoma) from SpringtidePress on...

Puyallup Tribal Language Program Director Amber Hayward shows us how to pronounce caləłali (Tacoma).

ƛ̓ububƛ̓ub, kʷaxʷalikʷ, ʔabalikʷ BE KIND, BE HELPFUL, BE SHARING...

Learn how to pronounce ƛ̓ububƛ̓ub, kʷaxʷalikʷ, ʔabalikʷ BE KIND, BE HELPFUL, BE SHARING with Puyallup Tribal Program Director Amber Hayward

Daredevil Demo from SpringtidePress on Vimeo.A demonstration of...

A demonstration of Daredevil Furniture setting 18 point type in a circle, available for purchase at daredevilletterpress.com.

A little chromatic...

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A post shared by Jessica Spring (@springtidepress)

Elmine Wijnia

Leer weer langzaam denken

leer weer langzaam te denken.

Margriet Sitskoorn tijdens Brave New World

On biased data sets & AI

I am a machine learning designer/user researcher, artist, and digital anthropologist obsessed with language, culture and images.

Caroline Sinders

I’m a generative musician and researcher based in NYC. My work generally falls along the lines of music generation, composing, machine learning, and natural language processing.

Hannah Davis

Cats’ reasoning (31)

Cats are not allowed on the dinner table in any way. Not to take a short cut, not for taking a nap, and especially not for left-over snooping.

Human interpretation of the no cats on dinner table rule.

Cats are not allowed on the dinner table when humans are watching.

Cat interpretation of the no cats on the dinner table rule

Not content, yet (36)

“I feel content,” she said, “which surprises me. I didn’t expect to feel content. But I’ve done most of the things I set out to do in this life.”

Watching the planets (not) turn (62)

On May 8, 1774, a special constellation of planets formed. In the early morning, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the moon were positioned closely in the sky. It was claimed that the mutual forces of these celestial bodies would knock the earth off its path and cause it to be burned up by the sun.

From the website of Koninklijk Eise Eisinga Planetarium

The story we tell ourselves

Depressed people have lost their positive illusions; they rate their personal qualities much more plausibly than average. They are able to see, with terrible clarity, that they are not all that special.

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human (p.174)

Because, as the philosopher William Hirstein puts it, positive illusions keep us from yielding to despair:
“The truth is depressing. We are going to die, most likely after illness; all our friends will likewise die; we are tiny insignificant dots on a tiny planet. Perhaps with the advent of broad intelligence and foresight comes the need for…self-deception to keep depression and its consequent lethargy at bay. There needs to be a basic denial of our finitude and insignificance in the larger scene. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah just to get out of bed in the morning.”

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human (p.174)

A psychotherapist can therefore be seen as a kind of script doctor who helps patients revise their life stories so that they can play the role of protagonist again – suffering and flawed protagonists, to be sure, but protagonists who are moving toward the light.

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human (p.175)

The (bad) design of city flags (309)

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.

On brains (311)

In this episode, we sit down with neuroscientist David Eagleman to learn how brains turn noise into signal, chaos into order, electrical spikes into meaning, and how new technology can expand subjective reality in ways never before possible.

Johanna Koljonen

PEI Social Development and Housing

Community organizations get more support

“Now more than ever, the supports that these organizations provide are critical for Islanders. We know there is an added strain for these organizations to operate during COVID-19, and I am very pleased that this money will support new projects and program development that will continue to meet the diverse needs of Islanders.”

-  Social Development and Housing Minister Ernie Hudson

Applications being accepted for Women’s Secretariat Grants

Girls interests and achievements are often shaped by their environments. This grant funding will support the work of community groups to ensure women and girls have opportunities in leadership roles and areas of our society where they have traditionally been underrepresented. 

Grant funding doubled for community based seniors programs

“In 2020 the Secretariat had a record number of applications for funding from community organizations, despite the pandemic. This tells us that Islanders are continuing to show up for one another and their communities and we want to support them in doing so.”

Stories from Pangheya

Perpendicular Angel Design

Nine Yards Studio


Off the Mat

Joi Ito

Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto

Those who uphold the idea of progress as an ethical principle regard this unlimited and quasi-spontaneous process of change as a Good Thing, and as the basis on which they guarantee to future generations a Heaven on Earth. It is possible to believe in progress as a fact without believing in progress as an ethical principle; but in the catechism of many Americans, the one goes with the other.6

Reducing Reduction Essay Competition

The MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab announce a call for essays on the topic of resisting reduction, broadly defined, for the Journal of Design and Science. Essays should be in conversation with Joi Ito's manifesto, "Resisting Reduction," and the articles, also on this theme, published in the third issue of JoDS.

In support of open access scholarship and the free exchange of ideas, JoDS will award up to ten authors $10,000 each for chosen essays. Selections will run in JoDS under a Creative Commons license and will be published in an MIT Press volume. Proceeds from the publication of this volume will support open access publishing at MIT.

This is an open competition and everyone is encouraged to submit a proposal.

The submission deadline for essay proposals of no longer than 300 words is 2 March 2018. Semi-finalists will be notified on 2 April 2018 and invited to submit essays of 3,000 to 5,000 words. All selections will be made by the JoDS editorial board and winners will be announced on 16 July 2018.

To submit a proposal, please complete this Google form.



2 March 2018: Proposal submission deadline (<300 words)

2 April 2018: Semi-finalists notified and invited to proceed to the next round

1 June 2018: Essay submission deadline for semi-finalists (3,000 to 5,000 words)

16 July 2018: Contest winners announced

August 2018: Essays published in JoDS

2019: MIT Press volume published

Citing Blogs

I may sound a bit naive, but as I read more academic papers in fields that I work in, I realize that they tend to cite academic papers more than blog posts even if there are better blog posts than the cited papers. It makes sense, but just noticing more specifically first hand.

— Joi Ito (@Joi) May 13, 2018

Here is some sad news about it from my own work https://t.co/aYjhjUZkVm - but maybe it's optimal?

— Karim R. Lakhani (@klakhani) May 13, 2018

Blog DOI enabled

I may sound a bit naive, but as I read more academic papers in fields that I work in, I realize that they tend to cite academic papers more than blog posts even if there are better blog posts than the cited papers. It makes sense, but just noticing more specifically first hand.

— Joi Ito (@Joi) May 13, 2018

Fake Meat, Served Six Ways

1 Disclosure: After meeting Isha, I recruited her to be a Director’s Fellow at the Media Lab where she is inspiring us with her work and her vision.

It's OK That Amazon Will (Likely) Get the .amazon Domain

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
--Winston Churchill

Morgan Roderick

HWC Berlin, 2020-01-15

Ring eye/o GmbH doorbell which is located in Zimmerstr. 69, between ishin and Viet bowl. The door on the street is always open, the next one isn’t, and the office is at the first floor on the left

Link: Putting devs before users: how frameworks destroyed web performance

A well built, performant website can be created with any framework or type of technology in existence. It may be harder with some than others, but it can be done.

The issue is the developer and designer mindset in many companies.

With said mindset being that web development and design should be ‘fun’. I fully believe a lot of developers and software enginers put their job satisfaction above their users or customers.

HWC Berlin, 2020-01-29

Ring eye/o GmbH doorbell which is located in Zimmerstr. 69, between ishin and Viet bowl. The door on the street is always open, the next one isn’t, and the office is at the first floor on the left

Tips for joyful video calls

Flutter echoes result from repeated sound reflections between parallel walls with insufficient absorption; they are mostly perceived as disturbing and can noticeably impair speech intelligibility.

Link: Teams Solve Problems Faster When They’re More Cognitively Diverse

If cognitive diversity is what we need to succeed in dealing with new, uncertain, and complex situations, we need to encourage people to reveal and deploy their different modes of thinking. We need to make it safe to try things multiple ways. This means leaders will have to get much better at building their team’s sense of psychological safety.

The (extremely) loud minority

It’s understandable to think that JavaScript frameworks and their communities are eating the web because places like Twitter are awash with very loud voices from said communities. Always remember that although a subset of the JavaScript community can be very loud, they represent a paltry portion of the web as a whole. This means that when they say something like “CSS sucks” — what they mean is “CSS sucks for a small subset of less than 1 percent of the web”.

Being glue

Stop interviewing, stop organising the off-sites, stop onboarding, stop fielding requests from users, stop anything that sounds like team building. Stop helping other people with their work. Archive mail. Quit slack channels. Do not curate the team roadmap.

Crucially: don’t catch things that are about to drop. That’s incredibly hard for a lot of us, but remember that the rest of the team already does this.

Stop being the unofficial lead. (If you’re in the same situation and you’re the official lead, consider stopping that too!)

trapped in the technologist factory

This means startups don’t adopt new technologies despite their immaturity, they adopt them because of that immaturity. This drives a constant churn of novelty and obsolescence, which amplifies the importance of a technologist’s skillset, which drives startups to adopt new technologies.

Public Alerts of the Government of Prince Edward Island

Olle Jonsson

An Amsterdam Sunday

Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal’s syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.

The Stones of Venice

The Stones of Venice is a three-volume treatise on Venetian art and architecture by English art historian John Ruskin, first published from 1851 to 1853.



When was the Red Baron?

Allow Leslie Lamport to explain to you what TLA+ is

a formal specification language developed by Leslie Lamport. It is used to design, model, document, and verify concurrent systems.

the TLA+ wikipedia article

A link

Some advice for journalists writing about artificial intelligence

First off, I understand. You’re writing about an extremely fast-moving field full of jargon and enthusiastic people with grand visions. Given all this excitement, there must be plenty to write about, but you don’t know much (or even anything) about the field. You probably know as little about AI as I know about, say, tannery. But where tannery evolves only very slowly and involves very concrete materials and mechanics, AI moves at breakneck speed and few of those words that get thrown around seem to refer to anything you can touch or see. There’s a feeling that you need to write about the latest developments NOW before they are superseded, but it’s hard to see where to even begin to decipher the strange things those AI researchers say. And of course you want to write something readable, and clickable, and you don’t have much time. It can’t be easy.

Link: TLA+ experience report

Experiences using @tlaplus to understand Xen's vchan protocol: https://t.co/ueNzjIX2gu @OpenMirage @QubesOS

— Thomas Leonard (@talex5) January 1, 2019

Link: FPGA paper, wild

this paper is WILD

they set up a 10×10 set of cells in an FPGA with a genetic algorithm, set to optimize for a given target behavior. the results were……… bizarre and amazinghttps://t.co/m1vvbasUm2

— Fiora Esoterica (@fioraesoterica) December 29, 2018

Link: on TLA+ command-line support

In which I make a small, very humble contribution to the TLA+ community by publishing my notes on things I had to learn the hard way: Introduction to TLA+ Model Checking in the Command Line https://t.co/vMxOfUkc58

— Marianne (@bellmar) January 18, 2019

Retro games

Invaders game in 512 bytes, whoa https://t.co/XZQiee1eyf

— jessie frazelle ???? (@jessfraz) June 5, 2019

Rosie Le Faive

Rainy Weekend Comic Reviews

Every ninety years twelve gods return as young people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead. It’s happening now. It’s happening again.

Back cover, Vol. 1

“We don’t get to change anything. We get to change you, and then you choose what to do with it.”

page not numbered


I have been a happy customer of Spotify for several years now, after flirting back and forth with Apple Music, Google Play Music and the late Rdio for several years before that. We have a family subscription, which we all three use extensively, no more so than Oliver who, for many months now has bee...


My only memories of my grandfather on my mother’s side are probably not really my own memories at all. I know he was universally beloved. A kind, hardworking man who’d had the first of his 11 children at 50 years old; he owned a farm in northern New Brunswick and lived to the ripe old age of 91 ...


On July 11, 2019 there was an exchange between the Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker and Hon. Darlene Compton in the Legislative Assembly surrounding a question by Bevan-Baker about government investment from fossil fuels: Government funds divest from fossil fuels A question to the minister: Will the minister ...

A lot to unpack

Glaciers are strange beasts. They are fossilized snow. They calve, they break, they melt and retreat but they are renewed as the ice forms and flows downwards. A solid fluid at this massive scale. What is the Reynold’s Number of a glacier? [I can google this now, it’s 10^-11] They exfoliate mountains, but to the mountains they must seem like mayflies. They are so blue. They creak and groan. They look like you could reach out and touch them when they’re kilometers away. They devour people. The  awe I felt, of something so otherworldly, rivaled the best science fiction. Glaciers. They store water at the top of the earth so it can flow slowly into the oceans. But they exist in such a delicate thermal balance – growing in winter, shrinking in summer. And they’ve been shrinking, overall, for decades now. What rivers will be dry when the glaciers vanish? Can we unfuck our planet?

do almost nothing because I’m exhausted of feeling like I’m failing? Try to forget about work? Try to figure out why I am the way I am. And maybe solve capitalism.

The Past is a Foreign Country

Understanding people in the past by their own standards means that we need to contextualize the information and try to shift perspectives.

There is a challenge to understand the past as a “foreign country,” a place where language and concepts as well as context differ in fundamental ways from our contemporary world.

Things On A Screen

Approximately half of media studies is just reminding people – over and over – that a screen is not a window.

— Dominic Pettman (@DominicPettman) April 10, 2019

I've been giving a talk lately that I'm going to go ahead and share with you here, because we need to have these discussions. I call it "Law For the Apocalypse: Kinship out of Fracture."

The alternative subtitle I've rejected is "Order out of Chaos". pic.twitter.com/qHzOs2jbse

— âpihtawikosisân (@apihtawikosisan) September 23, 2019

Me: Why am I alive?

Old Woman: Because everything else is.

Me: No. I mean the purpose.

Old Woman: That is the purpose. To learn about your relatives.

Me: My family?

Old Woman: Yes. The moon, stars, rocks, trees, plants, water, insects, birds, mammals. Your whole family. Learn about that relationship. How you’re moving through time and space together. That is why you’re alive.


“But that’s politics!” One of the other participants in our group discussing progress in tech said this to me during our work as the Copenhagen 150. “You sound like a politician”. I was making a second attempt summarising our discussion, trying to formulate our key points, after a first su...


Conservative Party candidate Robert Campbell, in The Guardian/UPEISU debate on Tuesday: I’ve been talking to students. You talk to these young ladies right over here that I talked to last week. And the young lady is, I think is, from Egypt. And she told me what was going on. So do I believe this l...


Dark matter permeates the universe. In fact it does more than permeate. It is the universe. 85% percent of everything that exists is actually dark matter. We can't detect it, we can't see it. But it's there. In fact, the universe that we actually perceive, what you and I are made of, is the so-calle...


From the introduction to Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life: And finally, in Chapter 9, I describe the single most important thing you can do to improve your sex life. But I’ll give it away right now: It turns out what matters most is not the parts you ar...


I. The First Time I Woke Up


A Poem by Artemis Gannon The chill carries ghostsAnd idle boastsof pain I can’t outlastForced to rememberA lost NovemberThat I can not move past. Thank you to all my patrons! Who have deemed …

Farrell Boyce


On This Day

A Signal of the New World (2005)

Me: I wonder if we should maybe just all calm down a little bit… ah, not us here specifically, but society in general…
Gzowski: Ah, the voice of Prince Edward Island… calm down!
Me: Yes, indeed… I just… I’m thinking about the fact that I’m sitting here in a field on the campus of UPEI talking into a little metal thing talking to someone in Toronto and someone in Ottawa, that seems pretty amazing to me in the greater context of technology… radio’s been around for 100, 150 years and I still think it’s amazing, and I don’t think we’ve explored the boundaries of it at all yet.

13 months (2005)

Instead of taking a honeymoon, we decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and travel the world for a year (13 months, actually). We started slowly saving soon after we met, and with the proper planning, it all turned out to be more affordable than we originally anticipated (let us know if you’d like more info on this). With a few exceptions, we have opted to stay in each place for about a month. We think this approach allows us time to immerse ourselves in the culture and experience how different people live. We’ve also found it to be less stressful (not to mention cheaper) than traveling constantly for a year. We hope that it also allows some of our friends and family to visit.

“Social networks exist to sell you crap” (2011)

Social networks exist to sell you crap. The icky feeling you get when your friend starts to talk to you about Amway, or when you spot someone passing out business cards at a birthday party, is the entire driving force behind a site like Facebook.

Because their collection methods are kind of primitive, these sites have to coax you into doing as much of your social interaction as possible while logged in, so they can see it. It’s as if an ad agency built a nationwide chain of pubs and night clubs in the hopes that people would spend all their time there, rigging the place with microphones and cameras to keep abreast of the latest trends (and staffing it, of course, with that Mormon bartender).

PEI Autism Resource Libraries (2016)

If additional materials are required, the parent is encouraged to borrow materials from the Autism Lending Library. The library can be accessed by calling 368-6513 or the Autism Consultant at the school board. Non-consumable materials must be returned to the library once the child has finished with them to be available for other children

Wearing a Poppy (2018)

The red poppy was not chosen as a symbol of remembrance because of its beauty. It’s because it grew around the graves of soldiers killed in Europe during the world wars. The deep red colour of the poppy reminds us of the blood that poured from the wounds of people killed in battle.

We place a symbol of the poppy on our lapels, near our hearts, to remind ourselves of one essential fact, that war is ugly. The poppy in no way falsely glorifies war. Its intention is the exact opposite, it reminds us of the utter and complete horror of the violence perpetrated on soldiers and civilians in war. The poppy is a stark symbol of the need for us and our political leaders to do all in their power to achieve an everlasting peace.

Just a few lines to let you know I am alright. Hoping this will find you all the same. Well, I am still in Blighty and I am tired of writing and getting no answer. I have not had a letter from you since I had the registered one with the dollar in it. It seems to be the same with all us Canadians here, as there is about a hundred in the hospital here and they don’t get any letters from Canada. I would like to know where in hell they are going to. That is why I am having mine sent to a private address. I do stand more chance of getting them.

Well, I had a Medical Board two weeks ago and they marked me B I for B II, so I am expecting to be on the next draft and it is for Siberia, but you leave that to me. I do not want to go there. It is too far away and too cold. I would rather go to France. I think I can kick off it. Well, I am not fit for it anyhow, but I am getting better every day. I am getting stronger. It takes quite a little time to get over gas, but this is a dead place here. I do not like it.

Susan Orlean on Travel in Dark Times (2008)

Should anyone write about — or read about — what it’s like to snowshoe through Alaska or raft in Costa Rica when the world seemed to be falling apart? Would anyone in his or her right mind have any interest in leaving home when the universe seemed so threatening? What I said then, and still believe, is that human beings are stubbornly and persistently curious and that I can’t imagine we will ever lose our desire to know about what lies beyond our immediate horizon. At a time when the world feels chaotic and frightening, writers who go out to see it and describe it seem more important, not less. Even fluffy, expository stories about pretty places matter if people are less inclined to travel, since then the writer acts as the reader’s proxy, bringing back the world that most people might be reluctant to go out and see for themselves. At the most elemental level, the world’s troubles are the result of people turning inward and turning away from whatever and whoever is different and unfamiliar. If a writer can make even one reader feel more open to someone or someplace new, I think he or she has accomplished something well worth doing. /blockquote pI think the same thing could be said about the version of trying times we seem to be entering now./p

Starbucks Fun (2017)

Clerk: If you make that cappuccino a Christmas drink, you can get it for free.

Me: Like what?

Clerk: How about a Holiday Spice Flat White?

Me: Can I have that, but without the holiday spice?

Clerk: I’m afraid I can’t make the till do that.

"Textile artists aren’t often thought of as creating fine art..." (2018)

I’m proud they have chosen a piece of mine,” says Miller, pointing to “Making Lists”. Fashioned from silk and thread, the installation resembles a mobile with pieces fluttering through the air, from a canopy overhead.

Each silk panel contains a written list.

Lists provide a picture of our everyday life, whether I have to go pick up my son, pick up an onion on the way home or phone my mother.”

Miller says having “Making Lists” picked for the show (and the collection) came as a pleasant surprise to her.

Textile artists aren’t often thought of as (creating) fine art. But, I think those rules might be breaking down over the last few years. In the past, textile art and people who work with textiles, which in North America are mostly women, weren’t perceived the same way as those who did oil on canvas.”

Earth to Doctors: Wake Up! (2004)

What we’re seeing is that this is taking business, if you will, away from the regular family doctors, and the folks who are out there practising family medicine recognize that what makes the quality of their care especially good is continuity of care and I think they find it really alarming to think that folks are going to be choosing what some consider the equivalent of fast food medicine over their regular family doctor.

No Opportunity Wasted (2004)

In dramatic narrative form, Keoghan transports the reader from Yucatan Jungle to the African Congo, from the depths of an underwater cave to the top of an erupting volcano. But this is no armchair traveler book. It is an urgent call to action, inspiring and enabling people to overcome fear and seek out memorable experiences of their own. With his fresh and compelling N.O.W. philosophy, this is a book that will help us all dream more freely and live more fully.

Jane Siberry's Amazing Music Store (2005)

What Should I Pay? — It’s up to you. Really. Although they’re not meant as guidelines, you can see two prices for each download. One is the “standard” price, which is just the old catalogue price before we instituted Pay What You Want. The other is the average price recently paid by customers, which is displayed when you make a menu choice. But they’re not guidelines, just fun statistics, just like the percentages of customers who have chosen each style of payment.

A User's Guide to the Future (2005)

When you hear people talking about actually using the information highway today, what they’re usually talking about is using something call the Internet. The Internet is an experimental information highway that you use with a computer.

"A Short Sugar Rush of Superiority" (2013)

I’m often sarcastic about, well, anything. I frequently err on the critical side of critique in my design career. I smugly make comments about other people’s attire when I’m in the safety of my car. Heck, I’ve tweeted plenty and as we all know Twitter is greased with the bile of cynicism. And when I consciously stop and think about it, it’s almost always totally unnecessary.

I guess I get a short sugar rush of superiority by belittling someone else and cynicism masquerades as cleverness. Also, there’s nothing wrong with criticism when you’re critiquing someone’s work, but it’s so easy and encouraging to point out the positives too. More often than not, sarcasm, criticism, cynicism, and snarkiness stem from either knee-jerk habit or come from a truly destructive place that most of us forget is hiding inside us.

Ringing Phones Decade Coincidence (2002)

I am assisting a novice theatre director in staging a play. We need to make a stand-alone, not-connected-to-phone line phone ring. I assume this involved a battery, switch and some wires. Which ones and what voltage battery?

Renting Our Children to Multinational Corporations (2006)

While the AMVESCAP office will consist of people taking phone calls and answering questions, Taylor said the operation would be a lot more sophisticated than what Atlantic Canadians have come to think of when they think of call centres… “This is really a client relations operation. So we would be dealing with sophisticated financial advisers, or our end clients, or the back office admin groups of our corporate clients, like, let’s say, RBC Dominion here in Canada.”
The Global Enterprise Centre will not be a call centre, said Taylor. It will provide client relations with financial advisers, as well as act as a backup to its Toronto headquarters in the event of a weather or terrorism-related crisis.
…decrease our operating expenses by approximately $120 million… [w]e expect 50% of the expense reduction to be realized in Compensation costs, with the remainder of the savings from decreases in Property and Office, Technology/telecommunications, and General and Administrative costs.
Underscoring the extended bear market, mutual fund manager AIM Investments will slash its Austin staff by about 200 positions this year. AIM, a Houston-based unit of London financial services giant Amvescap PLC, plans to make the cuts when it shuts down an Austin call center operation by the end of this year, says AIM spokesman Ivy McLemore.
At its peak in 2000, Invesco Funds Group was flush with 860 employees and $56 billion in assets under management. The company built a new headquarters in Denver for up to 2,000 workers. The next year, Invesco Funds was confident enough in its future to pay $120 million for naming and advertising rights at Denver’s new football stadium, Invesco Field at Mile High. “We’ve just begun our work,” Invesco Funds chief executive Mark Williamson said at the time. It turned out to be the beginning of the end… Invesco Funds Group operations here are now managed by an executive out of Louisville, Ky.
…originally, ownership of land by proprietors who did not reside on the land or cultivate it themselves but enjoyed income from it. The term absentee ownership has assumed a derogatory social connotation not inherent in its literal meaning, based on the assumption that absentee owners lack personal interest in and knowledge of their lands and tenants.

Why OpenStreetMap when there's Google Maps? (2008)

I don’t understand the point of this project. What would you contribute that isn’t already available in Google Maps?
Most hackers around the world are familiar with the difference between “free as in beer” and “free as in speech”. Google Maps are free as in beer, not as in speech.
If your project’s mapping needs can be served simply by using the Google Maps API, all to the good. But that’s not true of every project. We need a free dataset which will enable programmers, social activists, cartographers and the like to fulfil their plans without being limited either by Google’s API or by their Terms of Service.

New Charlottetown Project

Transportation Master Plan: Make your voice heard!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

West Royalty Traffic Plan and proposed Sherwood Crossing development

“Good or bad we want to hear about what everyone’s concerned about.”

And moving forward, Adams said the plan will be brought to city council and hopefully put in place for when developments begin. 

CBC “Charlottetown seeking input on new roads in West Royalty” (March 16, 2021)

Nancy White

Peter Rukavina (comments)

Green Party of PEI

Spoon & Tamago

Robin Sloan

William Denton

Tasker problem on Android: alarm on lock screen when no alarm is set

For me it was Tasker, I just found it. Use the 3 dots in the top right for Preferences>Monitor>Use Reliable Alarms under the “General” section (it’s the 4th one there) and then change it to “Never.” If you change it to “When Off” then it will show the alarm on your lockscreen for a split second while your display turns on.

Radio Aporee Maps

[I]t is a global soundmap dedicated to field recording, phonography and the art of listening. it connects sound recordings to its places of origin, in order to create a sonic cartography, publicly accessible as a collaborative project. It contains recordings from numerous urban, rural and natural environments, disclosing their complex shape and sonic conditions, as well as the different perceptions, practices and artistic perspectives of its many contributors. this makes it a valuable resource for art, education and research projects, and for your personal pleasure.

Recamán's Sequence

a(0) = 0;

for n > 0,

a(n) = a(n-1) - n if nonnegative and not already in the sequence,

otherwise a(n) = a(n-1) + n.


In August 2019 the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced final rates that companies like TekSavvy are charged by the large telecom carriers. In some cases, those new rates were a reduction of more than 43%. TekSavvy took steps to pass on those savings on by reducing rates for the vast majority of our customers. We saw it as simply the right thing to do.

However, the large carriers petitioned Federal Cabinet to overturn the CRTC’s decision and impose higher rates. In their recent August 15, 2020 statement, the Federal Cabinet effectively directed the CRTC to increase these wholesale rates. Ultimately, in announcing its verdict on the petitions, Cabinet caved to pressure from the large carriers, who threatened to hold back investments in rural Canada unless they were protected from competition. The decision is a reversal from Cabinet’s previous direction that the CRTC place affordability, competition and consumer interests at the forefront.

After 5 years of cost uncertainty, inflated interim rates, and anti-competitive behaviour by the large carriers, TekSavvy is left with no choice but to interpret this announcement as an expectation from the government that retail prices should be raised, specifically to protect Incumbent investments. We are therefore making a difficult decision in order to continue providing you with the service you have come to expect.

We’re writing to notify you about changes to the pricing of the services that you have with TekSavvy. Starting with your first billing cycle with an effective date of service on or after October 1, 2020 there will be a change to your current package with us for OID2xxxxx. Your current package 150 Mbps with Unlimited GB of usage at a monthly cost of $67.95 will be invoiced at $77.95. Your package speed and monthly usage will not change.

Terry Pratchett on shades of grey

“And that’s what your holy men discuss, is it?”

“Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example.”

“And what do they think? Against it, are they?”

“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of grey.”



“There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”

“It’s a lot more complicated than that—”

“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”

“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes—”

“But they starts with thinking about people as things.”

Donna Summer and the Dance

Donna’s next record was called Love Trilogy, and this was because I’d been reading Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast Trilogy. The third album, I’d been reading Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell, and we turned that into Four Seasons of Love. Then the next album, I’d been reading Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell, which is twelve volumes, and it gave me the idea of taking songs from the fifties, going through Tamla, funk, coming up to today, and then ending on a futuristic song, and that was how “I Feel Love” came about.

The House on the Borderland

The book you have bought is unique in English literature. Its blend of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mind expansion and spiritual dread, was called “a classic of the first water” by H.P. Lovecraft, this century’s greatest American weird fiction writer. Yet, as Lovecraft admitted, its imaginative power is sadly impaired by bad writing.

Another, a troubled, memory came to me—of the Formless Thing that had haunted the shores of the Sea of Sleep. The guardian of that silent, echoless place. These, and other, details, I remembered, and knew, without doubt that I was looking out upon that same sea. With the assurance, I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of surprise, and joy, and shaken expectancy, conceiving it possible that I was about to see my Love, again. Intently, I gazed around; but could catch no sight of her. At that, for a little, I felt hopeless. Fervently, I prayed, and ever peered, anxiously…. How still was the sea!

Down, far beneath me, I could see the many trails of changeful fire, that had drawn my attention, formerly. Vaguely, I wondered what caused them; also, I remembered that I had intended to ask my dear One about them, as well as many other matters—and I had been forced to leave her, before the half that I had wished to say, was said.

Hawkwind and Rush

This is Hawkwind in all their scuzzy, interstellar glory, the underground’s biggest band promoting their new single – less than a year later, and with a million copies of it sold, they’ll be headlining Wembley. It tends to be forgotten just how big this band of west London renegades were in the 1970s, playing to audiences of thousands wherever they went. They’re misremembered now, and were often misrepresented at the time, but as I discovered when writing a book about them, Hawkwind’s story amounts to an alternative narrative for 70s music culture – very different to the one that’s lazily trotted out by scene historians….

With their mood of anarchic possibility, Hawkwind gigs were a breeding ground for young punks everywhere, those “dedicated teenagers” coming of age and striking out on their own. John Lydon was a regular presence at their gigs in the early 70s, and was taken under Calvert’s wing at the height of Sex Pistols mania, with the self-proclaimed antichrist attending the singer’s wedding reception. Coming out of the same Ladbroke Grove milieu, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of the Clash had grown up in Hawkwind’s world, while Brian James and Captain Sensible of the Damned were also fans.

Bands including Van Der Graaf Generator, Genesis, Ramases, Black Sabbath and Rush also leaned in an SF direction, while the pop charts featured such songs as the Carpenters’ Klaatu cover ‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft’ and Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip’s ‘I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper,’ the latter inspired by Star Wars and perhaps the best known song from the late 70s sci-fi disco boom (risqué lyrics include ‘Take me, make me feel the Force’—plus a reference to 1977’s other big SF film: ‘What my body needs is close encounters three’).

David Partridge in the Daily Telegraph

A casual conversation last Christmas at Ellingham Mill, Suffolk, which was derelict when bought by Lucy Halford, the industrial designer, and her husband, the artist, Chester Williams, will result in a five-man exhibition of paintings and sculptures there from Monday.

André Dzierzynski, the artist who had decorated the mill, had suggested that the Williamses should hold their first joint exhibition in London. Mrs. Williams went one better, putting forward the idea of a larger exhibition at the mill, to run concurrently with the Aldeburgh Festival.

Aldeburgh, whose festival opens on Friday, is 25 miles away. The five artists are David Partridge and John Piper, in my pictures, Elena Gaputyte, André Dzierzynski and Chester Williams.

The Nero Wolfe Cookbook

Business is taboo at the dinner table, but crime and criminals aren’t, and the Rosenberg case hogged the conversation all through the anchovy fritters, partridge in casserole with no olives in the sauce, cucumber mousse, and Creole curds and cream.

Preheat the broiler. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in each of the 2 shirred egg dishes and add the eggs, yolks unbroken, 2 to a dish. Cook over medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes until the egg white is set. Spoon the butter over the eggs. Put the dishes under the hot broiler for another minute until the eggs have filmed over. Remove from the oven and let stand in a warm place. In a skillet melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When white waxy particles have settled to the bottom pour the clear liquid off into a bowl. Return the clarified butter to the pan and continue to cook until it has turned a deep golden brown. Watch it carefully to be sure the butter does not burn. Add the sherry and stir until blended. Pour the butter sauce over the eggs and serve immediately. (Serves 2.)

Remove from the oven and let stand in a warm place. In a skillet melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When white waxy particles have settled to the bottom pour the clear liquid off into a bowl. Return the clarified butter to the pan …

Remove them from the oven and let them stand in a warm place. Next, you will want to clarify the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. To clarify, heat the butter up in a skillet at medium-low temperature until the butter has melted and you notice a white foam forming at the top. The clarification process separates the water and dairy that has turned into foam from the pure butter fat, so you’ll want to skim the white foam off of the top of the butter and discard it in order to clarify the butter. Next, pour the butter into a small bowl. This will leave any additional white particles that may have floated to the bottom in the skillet. Wipe the pan out, and then return the clarified butter to the pan.

Desert Island Discworld

Polly was watching the officers. They looked nervous …

… except for the one at the back. She’d thought all the guards had gone and, while this man was dressed like a guard—dressed, that is, like a badly dressed guard—he wasn’t acting like one. He was leaning against the wall by the door, smoking half a cigar, and grinning. He looked like a man enjoying a show.

Behind the officers, the man with the cigar winked a Polly. His uniform was very old-fashioned—an ancient helmet, a breastplate, some slightly rusted chain mail, and big boots. He wore it like a workman wears his overalls. Unlike the braid and brilliance in front of her, the only statement his clothes made was that he didn’t intend to get hurt.

Miriam Lahrsow's data set of self-annotated literary works

This collection was created in the context of my PhD thesis titled The Author as Annotator: Ambiguities of Self-Annotation in Pope and Byron (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, 2021, GRK 1808 “Ambiguität”, DFG- Projektnummer: 198647426). It lists more than 1100 literary works published between 1300 and 1900 that feature self-annotations, i.e. marginal notes, footnotes, or endnotes written by the author of the work. Self- annotations here only refer to notes that were published in a work, not private, handwritten comments in the author’s own copy.

The aim of this collection is threefold. First of all, it shows the prevalence and variety of literary self-annotation before 1900. While authorial notes in post-1900 literature have received a considerable amount of critical attention, the number and ‘experimentality’ of earlier self-annotations is often underestimated among literary scholars. The present collection strives to correct this view. Secondly, the collection reveals general tendencies in the field of literary self-annotation, providing tentative answers to questions like ‘when did it become popular to use both footnotes and endnotes in the same work?’. Thirdly and most importantly, this collection is meant to provide an incentive and starting point for further research by laying the (albeit yet insufficient) groundwork for quantitative research, by including a multitude of now-forgotten works, and by citing relevant secondary literature on as many titles as possible.


[I]t might be worrying to learn that Gibson’s latest novel, Agency, is largely a credible account of a coming apocalypse. His characters call it “the Jackpot.” “It’s multi-causal, and it’s of extremely long duration,” he explains. Over many decades, climate change, pollution, drug-resistant diseases and other factors – “I’ve never really had the heart to make up a full list, else I’ll depress myself” – deplete the human race by 80 per cent.

The Jackpot is the mundane cataclysm of modernity itself. It is hundreds of millions of people driving to the supermarket in their SUVs, flying six times a year, and eating medicated animals for dinner. “If the Jackpot is going to happen,” Gibson says, “it’s already happening. It’s been happening for at least 100 years.”

The Long Now Blog

The Cataclysm Sentence

One day in 1961, the famous physicist Richard Feynman stepped in front of a Caltech lecture hall and posed this question to a group of undergraduate students: “If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence was passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?” Now, Feynman had an answer to his own question – a good one. But his question got the entire team at Radiolab wondering, what did his sentence leave out? So we posed Feynman’s cataclysm question to some of our favorite writers, artists, historians, futurists – all kinds of great thinkers. We asked them, “What’s the one sentence you would want to pass on to the next generation that would contain the most information in the fewest words?” What came back was an explosive collage of what it means to be alive right here and now, and what we want to say before we go.

Discovery in Mexican Cave May Drastically Change the Known Timeline of Humans’ Arrival to the Americas

“This site alone can’t be considered a definitive conclusion. But with other sites in North America like Gault (Texas), Bluefish Caves (Yukon), maybe Cactus Hill (Virginia)—it’s strong enough to favor a valid hypothesis that there were humans here probably before and almost surely during the Last Glacial Maximum.”

The Unexpected Influence of Cosmic Rays on DNA

Our spirals might all trace back to an unexpected influence from cosmic rays. Cosmic ray showers, like DNA strands, have handedness. Physical events typically break right as often as they break left, but some of the particles in cosmic ray showers tap into one of nature’s rare exceptions. When the high energy protons in cosmic rays slam into the atmosphere, they produce particles called pions, and the rapid decay of pions is governed by the weak force — the only fundamental force with a known mirror asymmetry.

Millions if not billions of cosmic ray strikes could be required to yield one additional free electron in a [right-handed] strand, depending on the event’s energy. But if those electrons changed letters in the organisms’ genetic codes, those tweaks may have added up. Over perhaps a million years…cosmic rays might have accelerated the evolution of our earliest ancestors, letting them out-compete their [left-handed] rivals.

The Digital Librarian as Essential Worker

With public library buildings closed due to the global pandemic, teachers, students, and lovers of books everywhere have increasingly turned to online resources for access to information. But as anyone who has ever turned up 2.3 million (mostly unrelated) results from a Google search knows, skillfully navigating the Internet is not as easy as it seems. This is especially true when conducting serious research that requires finding and reviewing older books, journals and other sources that may be out of print or otherwise inaccessible.

Enter the digital librarian.

Michelle Swanson, “Digital Librarians – Now More Essential Than Ever” from the Internet Archive.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Traditional Ecological Knowledge gets embedded in the choices that people make when they consume, and how TEK can provide stability of an ecosystem. Among Martu, the use of fire for hunting and the knowledge of the habits of animals are enshrined in the Dreamtime stories passed inter-generationally; these Dreamtime stories have material effects on the food web, which were detected in our simulations. The ecosystem thrived with Martu; it was only through their removal that extinctions began to cascade through the system.

Childhood as a solution to explore–exploit tensions

“I argue that the evolution of our life history, with its distinctively long, protected human childhood, allows an early period of broad hypothesis search and exploration, before the demands of goal-directed exploitation set in. This cognitive profile is also found in other animals and is associated with early behaviours such as neophilia and play. I relate this developmental pattern to computational ideas about explore–exploit trade-offs, search and sampling, and to neuroscience findings. I also present several lines of empirical evidence suggesting that young human learners are highly exploratory, both in terms of their search for external information and their search through hypothesis spaces. In fact, they are sometimes more exploratory than older learners and adults.”

Alison Gopnik, “Childhood as a solution to explore-exploit tensions” in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

How to Be in Time

“We already have timepieces that show us how to be on time. These are timepieces that show us how to be in time.”

– Scott Thrift

“Right now we’re living in the long-term effects of short-term thinking. I don’t think it’s possible really for us to commonly think long term if the way that we tell time is with a short-term device that just shows the seconds, minutes, and hours. We’re precluded to seeing things in the short term.”

-Scott Thrift

Michael McElligott, A Staple of San Francisco Art and Culture, Dies at 50

“This moment is really both an end and a beginning. And like the name The Interval, which is a measure of time, and a place out of time, this is that interval.”

Michael McElligott

Puzzling artifacts found at Europe’s oldest battlefield

Among the stash are also three bronze cylinders that may have been fittings for bags or boxes designed to hold personal gear—unusual objects that until now have only been discovered hundreds of miles away in southern Germany and eastern France.

‘This was puzzling for us,’ says Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist at the University of Göttingen in Germany who helped launch the excavation at Tollense and co-authored the paper. To Terberger and his team, that lends credence to their theory that the battle wasn’t just a northern affair.

Anthony Harding, an archaeologist and Bronze Age specialist who was not involved with the research: ‘Why would a warrior be going round with a lot of scrap metal?’ he asks. To interpret the cache—which includes distinctly un-warlike metalworking gear—as belonging to warriors is ‘a bit far-fetched to me,’ he says.

Scientists Have a Powerful New Tool to Investigate Triassic Dark Ages

By determining the age of the rock core, researchers were able to piece together a continuous, unbroken stretch of Earth’s history from 225 million to 209 million years ago. The timeline offers insight into what has been a geologic dark age and will help scientists investigate abrupt environmental changes from the peak of the Late Triassic and how they affected the plants and animals of the time.

People slept on comfy grass beds 200,000 years ago

Most of the artifacts that survive from more than a few thousand years ago are made of stone and bone; even wooden tools are rare. That means we tend to think of the Paleolithic in terms of hard, sharp stone tools and the bones of butchered animals. Through that lens, life looks very harsh—perhaps even harsher than it really was. Most of the human experience is missing from the archaeological record, including creature comforts like soft, clean beds.

Besides being much softer than the cave floor, these ancient beds were probably surprisingly clean. Burning dirty bedding would have helped cut down on problems with bedbugs, lice, and fleas, not to mention unpleasant smells. [Paleoanthropologist Lyn] Wadley and her colleagues suggest that people at Border Cave may even have raked some extra ashes in from nearby hearths ‘to create a clean, odor-controlled base for bedding.’

And charcoal found in the bedding layers includes bits of an aromatic camphor bush; some modern African cultures use another closely related camphor bush in their plant bedding as an insect repellent. The ash may have helped, too; Wadley and her colleagues note that ‘several ethnographies report that ash repels crawling insects, which cannot easily move through the fine powder because it blocks their breathing and biting apparatus and eventually leaves them dehydrated.’

Imagine that you’ve just burned your old, stale bedding and laid down a fresh layer of grass sheaves. They’re still springy and soft, and the ash beneath is still warm. You curl up and breathe in the tingly scent of camphor, reassured that the mosquitoes will let you sleep in peace. Nearby, a hearth fire crackles and pops, and you stretch your feet toward it to warm your toes. You nudge aside a sharp flake of flint from the blade you were making earlier in the day, then drift off to sleep.

The Alchemical Brothers: Brian Eno & Roger Eno Interviewed

If a Martian came to Earth and you played her a late Beethoven String Quartet and then another written by a first-year music student, it is unlikely that she would a) understand what the point of listening to them was at all, and b) be able to distinguish between them.

What this makes clear is that most of the listening experience is constructed in our heads. The ‘beauty’ we hear in a piece of music isn’t something intrinsic and immutable – like, say, the atomic weight of a metal is intrinsic – but is a product of our perception interacting with that group of sounds in a particular historical context. You hear the music in relation to all the other experiences you’ve had of listening to music, not in a vacuum. This piece you are listening to right now is the latest sentence in a lifelong conversation you’ve been having. What you are hearing is the way it differs from, or conforms to, the rest of that experience. The magic is in our alertness to novelty, our attraction to familiarity, and the alchemy between the two.

The idea that music is somehow eternal, outside of our interaction with it, is easily disproven. When I lived for a few months in Bangkok I went to the Chinese Opera, just because it was such a mystery to me. I had no idea what the other people in the audience were getting excited by. Sometimes they’d all leap up from their chairs and cheer and clap at a point that, to me, was effectively identical to every other point in the performance. I didn’t understand the language, and didn’t know what the conversation had been up to that point. There could be no magic other than the cheap thrill of exoticism.

So those poor deluded missionaries who dragged gramophones into darkest Africa because they thought the experience of listening to Bach would somehow ‘civilise the natives’ were wrong in just about every way possible: in thinking that ‘the natives’ were uncivilised, in not recognising that they had their own music, and in assuming that our Western music was culturally detachable and transplantable – that it somehow carried within it the seeds of civilisation. This cultural arrogance has been attached to classical music ever since it lost its primacy as the popular centre of the Western musical universe, as though the soundtrack of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th Century was somehow automatically universal and superior.

Study Group for Progress Launches with Discount for Long Now Members

The Study Group for Progress is a weekly discussion + Q&A on the history, economics and philosophy of progress. Long Now members can get 50% off registration using the link below.

Each week will feature a special guest for Q&A. Confirmed speakers so far include top economists and historians such as Robert J. Gordon (Northwestern, The Rise & Fall of American Growth), Margaret Jacob (UCLA), Richard Nelson (Columbia), Patrick Collison, and Anton Howes. Readings from each author will be given out ahead of time. Participants will also receive a set of readings originally created for the online learning program Progress Studies for Young Scholars: a summary of the history of technology, including advances in materials and manufacturing, agriculture, energy, transportation, communication, and disease.

The group will meet weekly on Sundays at 4:00–6:30pm Pacific, from September 13 through December 13 (recordings available privately afterwards). See the full announcement here and register for 50% off with this link

Time-Binding and The Music History Survey

Perhaps paradoxically, the rate of cultural change increases in proportional measure to the increase in cultural memory. Writing and its successor media of prosthetic memory enact a contradiction: the easy preservation of cultural memory enables us to break with the past, to unbind time. At its furthest extremes, this is manifested in the familiar and dismal spectacle of fascist and communist regimes, impelled by intellectual notions permitted by the intensified time-binding of literacy, imagining utopias that will ‘wipe the slate clean’ and trying to force people to live in a world entirely divorced from the bound time of social/cultural tradition.

Modernity is (among other things) the condition in which time-binding is threatened by its own exponential expansion, and yet where it’s not clear exactly how we are to slow its growth.  Very modern people are reflexively opposed to anything that would slow down the acceleration: for them, the essence of the human is change. Reactionaries are reflexively opposed to anything that will speed up acceleration: for them, the essence of the human is continuity. Both are right!  Each side, given the opportunity to realize its imagined utopia of change or continuity, would make a world no sensible person would be caught dead in.

The best argument for keeping Sederunt in the classroom is that it is one of the nearly-infinite forms of music that the human mind has contrived, and the memory of those forms — time-binding — is crucial not only to the craft of musicians but to our continued sense of what it is to be a human being.

To tell the story of who we are is to engage in the scholar’s highest mission. It is the gift that shamans give their tribe.

Stunning New Universe Fly-Through Really Puts Things Into Perspective

“Vast as this slice of the universe seems, its most distant reach is to redshift 0.1, corresponding to roughly 1.3 billion light years from Earth. SDSS Data Release 9 from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), led by Berkeley Lab scientists, includes spectroscopic data for well over half a million galaxies at redshifts up to 0.8 — roughly 7 billion light years distant — and over a hundred thousand quasars to redshift 3.0 and beyond.”

Time’s Arrow Flies through 500 Years of Classical Music, Physicists Say

Noise can sound the same played forwards or backward in time, but composed music sounds dramatically different in those two time directions.

Compared with systems made of millions of particles, a typical musical composition consisting of thousands of notes is relatively short. Counterintuitively, that brevity makes statistically studying most music much harder, akin to determining the precise trajectory of a massive landslide based solely on the motions of a few tumbling grains of sand. For this study, however, [Lucas Lacasa, a physicist at Queen Mary University of London] and his co-authors exploited and enhanced novel methods particularly successful at extracting patterns from small samples. By translating sequences of sounds from any given composition into a specific type of diagrams or graphs, the researchers were able to marshal the power of graph theory to calculate time irreversibility.

In a time-irreversible music piece, the sense of directionality in time may help the listener generate expectations. The most compelling compositions, then, would be those that balance between breaking those expectations and fulfilling them—a sentiment with which anyone anticipating a catchy tune’s ‘hook’ would agree.

The Language Keepers Podcast

“Two centuries ago, as many as ninety languages and three hundred dialects were spoken in California; today, only half of these languages remain. In Episode One, we are introduced to the language revitalization efforts of these four Indigenous communities. Through their experiences, we examine the colonizing histories that brought Indigenous languages to the brink of disappearance and the struggle for Indigenous cultural survival in America today.”

How Long-term Thinking Can Help Earth Now

What sort of scientific ethos, I wondered, do Safety Case experts adopt in their daily dealings with seemingly unimaginable spans of time? Has their work affected how they understand the world and humanity’s place within it? If so, how? If not, why not?

“There is some irony in studying Finns as exemplars of future thinkers: as Ialenti points out, the Finnish language has no future tense. Instead, either present tense or conditional mode verbs are used, which seems a rather oblique way of speaking of times to come. But this linguistic treatment of the future may reflect a deep wisdom in Finnish culture that informs the philosophy of the Safety Case. Making declarative pronouncements about the future is imprudent; the best that can be done is to envisage a spectrum of possible futures and develop a sense for how likely each is to unfold.”

Explorers Discover Pinnacle of Coral Taller Than Empire State Building in Great Barrier Reef

Explorers of the Great Barrier Reef have discovered a giant pinnacle of coral taller than the Empire State Building.

Mariners long ago charted seven pinnacle reefs off the cape that, by definition, lie apart from the main barrier system. Bathed in clear waters, the detached reefs swarm with sponges, corals and brightly colored fish — as well as sharks — and are oases for migrating sea life. Their remoteness makes the pinnacles little-studied, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has assigned them its highest levels of protection, which limit such activities as commercial fishing. One detached reef at Raine Island is the world’s most important nesting area for green sea turtles.

The new pinnacle was found a mile and a half from a known detached reef. Dr. Beaman, who formerly served in the Royal Australian Navy as a hydrographic surveyor, said he and his team were certain it was previously unknown. Its seven relatives, he added, were all charted in the 1880s, more than 120 years ago.

How “Forest Floors” in Finland’s Daycares Changed Children’s Immune Systems

When daycare workers in Finland rolled out a lawn, planted forest undergrowth such as dwarf heather and blueberries, and allowed children to care for crops in planter boxes, the diversity of microbes in the guts and on the skin of young kids appeared healthier in a very short space of time.

Compared to other city kids who play in standard urban daycares with yards of pavement, tile and gravel, 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds at these greened-up daycare centres in Finland showed increased T-cells and other important immune markers in their blood within 28 days.

“We also found that the intestinal microbiota of children who received greenery was similar to the intestinal microbiota of children visiting the forest every day,” says environmental scientist Marja Roslund from the University of Helsinki.

Daycares in Finland Built a ‘Forest Floor’, And It Changed Children’s Immune Systems in Science Alert

What was the biggest empire in history?

That’s without getting into the pros and cons of the other ways to measure size: largest land mass; largest contiguous land mass; largest army; largest gross domestic product; and so on.

“I think that to be classed as an empire, you need to have a period of peace to bring prosperity,” Bommas added. “If you look at it through years lasted, the Romans won this competition hands down.”

The Role of Geology in US Presidential Elections

The same region that had once been covered in ocean water, leading to the fertile Black Belt, was almost an exact replica of the districts that had voted for Clinton.

The rich coal fields in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland formed as a result of two continents colliding some 300 million years ago. The coal fueled the economic growth of cities like Pittsburg, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland.

The Driftless Area is a region west to the Great Lakes that escaped glaciation during the last ice-age. Farming is more difficult here. The election map shows that most countries in the Driftless Area voted Democrats in 2012. It seems that more liberal politics, combined with financial hardship experienced by the local farmers and accentuated by the poor soils, convinced them to vote for Barack Obama.

“Lockdown Gardening” Is The New Archaeological Frontier in Britain

In 2017, 1,267 pieces went through the process in which a [UK] committee determines whether an item should be considered a treasure, up from 79 pieces in 1997.

Nils Gilman Wins 12-Year Long Bet About Women in Sports, But It Was Closer Than The Final Score Suggests

While there may be a rational basis for arranging competitive sporting events by gender when the competition is one-on-one, such as track, skiing, or tennis, that rationale starts to break down with respect to team sports, where gender physical differences may not have the same impact and women may not be viewed as being disadvantaged (or advantaged) by competing against men. Participation by women in all areas of sports has increased, with many entering areas previously occupied only by men. However, to my knowledge, no woman has been selected as a player with a major US professional football, soccer, hockey, basketball, or baseball team. My prediction is based on the belief that by 02020, a woman athlete will emerge as a member of such a team, based not only on her skill but also on the greater available pool of women playing such sports, the incentive of the greater talent compensation available to players on the major sports teams (as opposed to the compensation paid to current women-only sports teams), and the changing overall societal view of the role of gender that will make a team’s decision to add a woman player to a previously all-male team more compelling.

In many sports, men and women are able to compete at nearly equal levels. Sports that are primarily about eye-hand coordination, reflexes, and rapid decision making are ripe for gender integration. However, there are many sports for which strength — in terms of explosiveness, endurance, and sheer force — are predominant factors in determining excellence. At the elite, professional level, male athletes in these sports exceed the conceivable strength of all females. This applies to football, soccer, hockey, basketball and baseball. Genetic or chemical modification could conceivably change this, and if such technologies were to become available, they would presumably also be used by male athletes, thus leveling the playing field.

Smithsonian acquires artwork based on Stewart Brand epigram

While I was completing this book, the poet Gary Snyder sent me an epigram that had come to him:

This present moment

That lives on to become

Long ago.

I felt it was The Clock of the Long Now that responded to him:

This present moment

Used to be

The unimaginable future.

Stewart Brand, The Clock of the Long Now (01999), 163-4.

The Time Machine

The big task of the museum sector is not only to inform publics on the science of climate change but also to equip citizens with tactical knowledges that enable participation in actions and debates on climate change that affect their futures.

museums and science centers can engage a future-oriented, forward thinking frame, as places to link the past to the far future through projections of what might happen as places to offer practical governance options and as places to present long-term temporal trajectories. They offer an antidote to short-term thinking and the failure of governments to act, by presenting the variable dispositions, ideologies, and governance options, thereby constructing a mediated view of the future as a series of creative pathways (Cameron et al. 2013: 11; see also Cameron and Neilson 2015).

heritage is not a passive process of simply preserving things from the past that we choose to hold up as a mirror to the present, associated with a particular set of values that we wish to take with us into the future. Thinking of heritage as a creative engagement with the past in the present focuses our attention on our ability to take an active and informed role in the production of our own ‘tomorrow’ (Harrison 2013: 4).

I cannot imagine the future, but I care about it. I know I am a part of a story that starts long before I can remember and continues long beyond when anyone will remember me. I sense that I am alive at a time of important change, and I feel a responsibility to make sure that the change comes out well. I plant my acorns knowing that I will never live to harvest the oaks. I have hope for the future.⁵

something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality (Foucault 1986: 24).

…there are heterotopias of indefinitely accumulating time, for example museums and libraries. Museums and libraries have become heterotopias in which time never stops building up and topping its own summit, whereas in the seventeenth century, even at the end of the century, museums and libraries were the expression of an individual choice. By contrast, the idea of accumulating everything, of establishing a sort of general archive, the will to enclose in one place all times, all epochs, all forms, all tastes, the idea of constituting a place of all times that is itself outside of time and inaccessible to its ravages, the project of organizing in this way a sort of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in an immobile place, this whole idea belongs to our modernity. The museum and the library are heterotopias that are proper to western culture of the nineteenth century (Foucault 1986: 26).

The museum is the space in which the difference inherent in its content is experienced. It is the difference between things and words, or between objects and conceptual structures: what Foucault calls the ‘space of representation’ (1970: 130)… the space of representation is the heterotopia (Lord 2006: 4–5).

Evan “Skytree” Snyder on Atomic Priests and Crystal Synthesizers

“This is for the humans living ten thousand years from now
With radioactive capsules, thousands of feet underground
Grabbin’ the mic to warn you of these hazardous sites
For those who lack in the sight in the black of the night
The least good that we could do is form an Atomic Priesthood
To keep the future species from going where no one should
We’ve buried the mistakes of past nuclear waste
Hidden underground for future races to face
It’s our task to leave signs for civilization to trace
But who’s to say what language these generations will embrace?
Basic symbols up for vast interpretation
Disasters resulting from grave mistranslation
This is not a place of honor and glory
This is a deep geological nuclear repository
Reaching through millennia to give some education
And preserve the evolution of beings and vegetation.”

In Real Time

My friends,

Only the stones

Stay on Earth forever

Use your best ability¹²

Touching the Future

In this moment, we need to be reminded that stories of the future – about AI, or any kind – are never just about technology; they are about people and they are about the places those people find themselves, the places they might call home and the systems that bind them all together.

Genevieve Bell, “Touching the Future” in Griffith Review.

Meet Ty Caudle, The Interval’s New Beverage Director

I walked over with my shakers and spoons and jigger, hands trembling, and she asked if I wouldn’t mind making drinks with their tools instead. I said, “Sure,” as I walked into the other room to set my things down. Inside I was completely freaking out. It took every bit of my strength to emerge from that space. I already felt in over my head and this amplified it. For the next hour or so I welcomed guests and set down menus and poured water. Every time a drink order came in Jennifer would stand over my shoulder and recite the recipe to me while correcting a litany of technical mistakes that I was making. The torture finally relented and we went upstairs and had a good conversation. But I remember leaving that night thinking there was just no way in hell I was going to get that job. 

Play inspired by Long Now premieres this month

Tudor is the finest clockmaker of all time. She knows her cogs from her clogs but will she be able to finish fixing her town’s ancient clock before time runs out? She is distracted by the beast that twists her dreams into nightmares and the wonder of the outside world. In search for the right tools in her trusty pile of things, will she finally finish the job she started…or will she just have another cup of tea?



Oliver Rukavina

HSTM2020: My Unconference on May 15, 2020

What have you learned from the pandemic that you want to keep for the future?

What do you like about the place where you live?

Jamie Zawinski

My Head Is Being Cleaned

As time went on, they got to be more visually elaborate, with CG animations and music/sfx. You have to admit, there's something kind of haunting but exciting about them, as if dangerous things you cannot comprehend are currently underway inside your VCR.

An Illustrated Guide to SF's Most Unusual Statues

Slacking on security

In the subsequent days and weeks, I reset all of my passwords, threw away all my computers, bought new computers, factory-reset my phone, rotated all of my Keybase devices (i.e., rotated my "keys"), and reestablished everything from the ground up. It cost Keybase and me a lot of time, money and stress. In the end, I was pretty sure but not 100% convinced that if I had been "rooted", that the attackers couldn't follow me to my new setup. But with these things, you can never know for sure. It's a really scary thing to go through. [...]

Also, Slack's announcement seems to say 1% of accounts were still compromised (after 4 years), but we are wondering: how many were compromised then? And what percentage of messages did the compromised accounts have access to? 10%? 50%? Only the hackers know, but it's likely much more than 1%.

And finally, we know the original compromise was in 2015, but I was only notified of a suspicious login in 2019. Were our Dutch friends sifting through our messages for four years before Slack notified us of a suspicious login? [...]

Keybase messages are end-to-end encrypted, and only our users control their decryption keys. A break-in our of our servers, even one injecting code, cannot yield unencrypted messages or jeopardize message integrity.

How the Internet Archive is Digitizing LPs to Preserve Generations of Audio

The recordings exist in a variety of historical formats, including wax cylinders, 78 rpms, and LPs. They span musical genres including classical, pop, rock, and jazz, and contain obscure recordings like this album of music for baton twirlers, and this record of radio's all-time greatest bloopers. [...]

Once cataloged, the LP's are then digitized. The Internet Archive partners with Innodata Knowledge Services, an organization focused on machine learning and digital data transformation, to complete the digitization process at their facilities in Cebu, Philippines. An Innodata worker digitizes 12 LPs at a time, setting turntables to play and record by hand, then turning each record over to the next side. Since each LP is digitized in real time, it takes a full 20 minutes to record an average LP side. By operating 12 turntables simultaneously, the team expects to be able to digitize ten LPs per hour.

Inside the Ferry Building clock tower

Using a combination of blocks, pulleys, ropes, and a far greater understanding of physics than pretty much everyone, Phelan has used the "old-fashioned way" of reaching the precipice of everything [...]

That includes the Ferry Building's clock tower, a 121-year-old building that has only two people inside of it during the year: the clockmaster, who goes in twice a year to change the time, by hand, for daylight-saving time, and Phelan, who spends a day inside the postcard-worthy edifice twice a month on average.

Outside of them, only a handful of people have been inside of the clock tower ever, and -- as I find out as we make our way through the "Clock Tower Access" door -- all of them have signed their names inside of its walls.

DNA Lounge: Wherein Uber bought Postmates, and so we have closed our Postmates account.

I think that government said that they made a mistake. It's a serious mistake. We've made mistakes too, right, with self-driving... So I think that people make mistakes. It doesn't mean that they can never be forgiven.
In a document filed with the SEC, Uber reports that it seeks, as part of its growth strategy, not just to get people out of private cars but to get them off public buses and trains. Those public services would be replaced by Uber Buses [...]

Uber is telling Wall Street that its future as a company may depend on its ability to convince people to take private cars and buses instead of public transit, starving transit and ultimately forcing everyone to pay Uber to get around.

Arkham Board of Health Feedback On Miskatonic University's Draft Plan for a Safe Campus Reopening

To the Dean and Board of Trustees:

Thank you for submitting Miskatonic University's proposed COVID safety plan. We have a few brief comments and questions.

Social distancing in classrooms:

You write that "through queer and monstrous perversions of geometrical laws, students will be seated at blasphemous angles outside the curves of our dimensions, thus remaining safely six feet apart." Please clarify whether safe distancing could be achieved without resort to "loathsome horrors beyond human conception."


Keyboard.h: warning: Using legacy HID core (non pluggable)
error: 'Keyboard' not found. Does your sketch include the line '#include <Keyboard.h>'?

Bellevue WA bans all weapons except firearms

All persons are prohibited from possessing any weapon (with the exception of firearms), including but not limited to, rocks, bottles, pipes, bats, clubs, chains, sharpened objects, shields, gas, flares, torches, paint balls, light bulbs, any incendiary devices, pry-bars, skateboards, liquid filled balloons, lumber, or any other objects which can be used for infliction of bodily harm or damage to property, if possessed with the intent to cause harm to persons or property. With respect to firearms, all persons are prohibited from discharging any firearms in the restricted area.

Murder Hornet Vacuum Couture

Despite their nickname and the hype that has stirred fears in an already bleak year, the world's largest hornets kill at most a few dozen people a year in Asian countries, and experts say it is probably far less. Meanwhile, hornets, wasps and bees typically found in the United States kill an average of 62 people a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

The real threat from Asian giant hornets -- which are 2 inches (5 centimeters) long -- is their devastating attacks on honeybees, which are already under siege from problems like mites, diseases, pesticides and loss of food.

Winter Is Coming for Bars. Here's How to Save Them. And Us.

That may sound radical, but it makes scientific sense and even has a political precedent. We pay farmers not to cultivate some fields (in theory, at least, to protect the environment), so why not pay bars that cannot operate safely to shut down (to protect public health)? [...]

Back when we knew little about the novel coronavirus, the government responded with a hammer. The Paycheck Protection Program treated all small businesses equally, providing them with loans to shut down so long as they paid their employees. Now we can use more delicate instruments. [...]

Some states have allowed restaurants to open indoors at 25 percent or 50 percent capacity [but] "No bar or restaurant can make it at that capacity -- on the best days in normal years, our profit margin is 10 percent."

Bars and other venues that depend on drinks are not essential services. We want them to survive so that in the future we can enjoy them. So why not pay owners who cannot keep their businesses afloat safely during the pandemic an average of their normal monthly income to shut down for some months? They would keep paying their employees and help break the chain of coronavirus transmission.

Biden Beastie Boys Campaign Ad Removed After Club Owner Doxxed

He says that he's been struggling to run the bar -- which has hosted everyone from Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon to Nirvana over the years -- in the midst of the pandemic. "This the reality of Trump's COVID response," Malcoun says in the ad. "We don't know how much longer we can survive not having any revenue... This is Donald Trump's economy: There is no plan and you don't know how to go forward. It makes me so angry. My only hope for my family and for this business and my community is that Joe Biden wins this election."

The ad was pulled from all of Biden's channels on Wednesday after the campaign said he was attacked and threatened by Trump supporters. "The price for having a voice in our political process cannot be endless harassment," said campaign spokesperson Bill Russo. "And yet, that is what Joe Malcoun and his family currently face as he was doxxed, harassed and threatened after the Trump campaign has sought to smear a community leader who dared to speak out against Trump's failed response to the Covid crisis. It is shameful." [...]

In the meantime, as the clock is running out on the last best opportunity to pass a much-needed economic relief package, hundreds of venues across the country are on the precipice of permanently turning off the lights. That dire prospect has led to the push by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) for a $10 billion "Save Our Stages" bill, which is currently stalled in Congress after Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell urged the White House not to seek an agreement with Democrats for the desperately needed relief for American businesses before the Nov. 3 election for fear that it might derail their efforts to fast-track Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the high court.

Billboard Liberated

Now normally I have a visceral, knee-jerk allergy to advertising in pretty much any form (and I don't even drink Coke, see sidebar), but I have to admit that I have some love for that Coke sign.

It was so old and janky and never worked right! Half of the lights seemed to run on Lucas three-position switch technology (off, dim and flicker) and it was a different half almost every night. I have long had this fantasy that the reason the sign always looked like that is that there is only one guy left in the world who knows how to fix the mechanical relays that drive its pattern logic, and that guy is 95 and has trouble getting up and down the ladder to sweep the birdshit out of the contacts with his vintage Nineteenth-century wire brush.

That's how it is in my head, anyway. If the reality is not actually like that, then I don't want to know.

But anyway, replacing it with a slick, modern LED facimile? Feh! I shake an angry fist.

Is this Cyberpunk? I guess it might be: ubiquitous technology that doesn't work. This giant TV screen on the side of Moscone has been running a halfassed implementation of "Mismunch" since about a month after it went up. Why do they even leave it powered up? Maybe nobody remembers how to turn it off.

When it first went up, they played this panoramic movie on it that was timed so that as the sign crawled its way around the building, it looked like the video was a stationary window into a room full of giants. Stock-photo-model-businessman giants. It was kind of cool.

Ever since then: ten years of Munching Squares.

A new life awaits you in the Moscone Colonies! Press any key to continue.

We spoke with a representative of the sign's maker at YESCO Bay Area, who confirmed that the sign is being removed permanently, when asked what would become of the sign, he said, "Coca-cola's contract stipulates that it be destroyed after removal."

It is not clear why Coca-cola is removing its famous, neon billboard, one that has stood 112ft above San Francisco since 1937. Perhaps it's because commuter traffic is down in the Bay Area by 20% due to the pandemic, or maybe it's because of San Francisco's very vocal, anti-soda stance and 2016 Soda Tax, which charged everyone an extra tax for buying sugary drinks. This tax raised millions of dollars over the last 4 years by the way, $1.65 million of those soda tax funds are currently being used to provide emergency food for people affected by COVID-19).

Uber drivers sue over 'coercive' Prop. 22 messages

The complaint alleges that Uber's messaging implies that drivers must support Prop 22 or risk possible termination, should the ballot proposition not pass on November 3. [...]

"The language of the statute doesn't require the company to come out and say explicitly 'you're gonna be fired', it says that you can't use the threat of a loss of employment, which is exactly what Uber is doing," said Lowe. "Uber is saying 'if Prop 22 fails, 70 to 80 percent of you are going to lose your jobs'. [California] Labor Code section 1102 says you can't use the threat of a loss of employment as an attempt to coerce someone to engage in a particular political course of action."

Lowe also said that Uber's messages to drivers through its app, which he says solicit drivers' support for Prop 22, are a clear violation of state labor laws because those messages are a policy which is intended to influence how drivers will vote on Prop 22.

"[Labor Code] section 1101 says you can't have a policy that 'tends to direct' political activity of workers. And Uber is putting very coercive messages on the app that the drivers are required to access on a regular basis throughout the day and including in those messages requests to provide support for Prop 22, misleading information about the benefits of Prop 22, all of this is part of a policy intended to direct the employees to do what they are requesting them to do, which is to support Prop 22," said Lowe.

Prop 22 FAQ

More importantly, this is the ugliest version of money in politics. Gig platforms lobbied hard last summer to keep AB-5 from passing or to see that their industries were exempt from the law. They were unsuccessful. Now, they are spending $200 million-plus in marketing a proposition they wrote themselves. They are literally writing their own rules. When you have corporations writing their own regulations on how to treat a low-wage, largely people of color workforce, Californians cannot tolerate this blatant abuse of power.

Second, the proposition sets thresholds to qualify for wage guarantees and benefits so high, that the industry wouldn't need to change much at all. If it were to pass, these companies would also be able to act this way in perpetuity, given that any passed proposition takes a ⅞ supermajority to overturn.

1. If the proposition fails, will my fares go up?

Gig platforms may decide to do that. But they definitely don't have to. Companies could just reduce their commission from 40% to ~15% to comply with all labor/employment laws and keep prices the same. Check the math here.

2. But I heard drivers want Prop 22 to pass. Is that not true?!

Firstly, gig platforms have been extremely manipulative in getting workers to express support for Prop 22/against AB-5. Some tactics I have seen firsthand include offering free tacos, forcing drivers to accept that they support the proposition before being able to enter the app, and paying drivers $1,000 to appear in commercials. So right off the bat, I don't trust a lot of their "survey data." But yes -- some drivers are scared they'll lose their jobs if this were to fail, and many fear losing flexibility of hours.

On the number of drivers, for sure, platforms will try some shady tactics. For instance, in New York, Uber started locking drivers out of the app to comply with minimum wage requirements, rather than just paying a minimum wage. But if the platforms have to reduce the number of workers on their platforms, this is an admission that these workers are in fact not making minimum wage. [...]

9. If Prop 22 doesn't pass, won't Uber and Lyft pull out of California?

California is home to two major cities for ride-hailing and food delivery platforms: San Francisco and Los Angeles. Platforms that don't require workers to be in the same place as customers (for example, UpWork, translation platforms, etc.) may choose to not operate in California. But the largest platforms, and those spending on passing Prop 22, require workers and customers to be in the same place, and California accounts for ~40% of their U.S. business, so... extremely unlikely they'll pull out.

2020 D20

Sides include:

When Was Popeye Radicalized?

Invisible Sky Fairy unavailable for comment.

County officials say $350,000 in fines have not stopped Calvary Chapel San Jose from holding services with hundreds of people.

Officials said Friday the county filed for an injunction Tuesday against the church and Pastor Mike McClure.

It says the church has been hosting weekly indoor church services with about 600 people who are not wearing masks or social distancing.

Weatherization Assistance Program

From 1976 until just quite recently, there was nothing funny about the Weatherization Assistance Program. But for this year's National Weatherization Day on October 30th, those initials "WAP" got Ryan Clancy's juices flowing. The Milwaukee County Supervisor promoted the program on his personal Facebook page with an image of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. That meme, along with a press release describing W.A.P.'s benefits, caused a public backlash. Now, at the bequest of the weatherization staff, Clancy has issued an apology.

The news was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. With all the grace of Old Media, it described "WAP" as "a song so vivid and explicit in its description of female sexual fantasies that we can't even explain the title." [...]

From his Facebook post, the chief complaint seems to be the same as always: that Cardi B and Megan are too dang sexy. The Journal Sentinel also noted comments such as, "White male politician... using sexualized Black women's bodies to get attention." However, it's worth noting that this complaint came from a white person offended on Black women's behalf.

Others expressed support. One person said, "Ryan I as a Black woman found this to be witty and awesome. I'm sorry that boomer Whyte ladies thought it best to tell you how to market a program that benefits all! It's a cool program, and a Milwaukee County Supervisor thought he had a a cool way to promote it." Another woman wrote, "As a retired hoe who lives with holes in my house I think this is witty and on trend."

Working desktop Stargate and DHD!

DNA Lounge: Wherein the vile prohibitionists at ABC are up to their usual skullfuckery.

Restaurant, GrubHub driver in trouble after undercover operation:

"I guess there was an order picked up by Grubhub that contained alcohol that was actually meant for an ABC sting," said Shigeyoshi.

The California ABC confirms the order was placed by an undercover decoy and that the Grubhub delivery driver delivered the alcohol from Shiro Kuma Sushi to a minor without carding that minor. [...]

"We received a complaint that delivery services were not checking identifications and as a result alcohol deliveries were going to places where there were minors," said California ABC Spokesperson John Carr.
The restaurant was given the option of a one year probation or hearing to determine the validity of the claim. Shigeyoshi says he agreed to the one year probation. "If something happens within one year we face a 15-day suspension and potentially fines," said Shigeyoshi.

"For ABC to conduct a sting like that not just targeting myself but targeting other restaurants especially during the pandemic is wrong," he continued. [...]

Subsequently, he says, "We took all the alcohol off any third party delivery service." "I can't trust that every single delivery driver will ID the customer," Shigeyoshi continued. [...]

While both the delivery driver and restaurant face consequences in a California ABC delivery decoy operation, the delivery app does not.

"We don't license the delivery services if we did they would be the ones held responsible but they don't have an alcoholic beverage license to sell," said Carr.
The California ABC says it prefers education over enforcement and posted industry advisories to its website in April and June. Also that it had conference calls with delivery companies.

TicketBastard wants your medical records

Once the test was complete, the fan would instruct the lab to deliver the results to their health pass company, like CLEAR or IBM. If the tests were negative, or the fan was vaccinated, the health pass company would verify the attendee's COVID-19 status to Ticketmaster, which would then issue the fan the credentials needed to access the event.
For Ticketmaster, two new technologies at the companies will help its clients scale the program. The first is digital ticketing that's linked to a fan's identity, eliminates paper tickets and can be restricted from being transferred or resold.

Zuckerberg says Bannon has not violated enough policies for suspension

Zuckerberg told an all-staff meeting on Thursday that former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon had not violated enough of the company's policies to justify his suspension, according to a recording heard by Reuters. [...]

Bannon suggested in a video last week that FBI Director Christopher Wray and government infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci should be beheaded, saying they had been disloyal to U.S. President Donald Trump, who last week lost his re-election bid.

Facebook removed the video but left up Bannon's page. The company had not previously answered questions about those actions. [...]

Arrested in August, Bannon has pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to the $25 million "We Build the Wall" campaign. As Trump's chief White House strategist, Bannon helped articulate Trump's "America First" policy.

Lest We Forget the Horrors


Sexual Misconduct, Harassment, & Bullying
White Supremacy, Racism, Homophobia, Transphobia, & Xenophobia
Public Statements / Tweets
Collusion with Russia & Obstruction of Justice
Trump Staff & Administration
Trump Family Business Dealings

Exploding Whale 50th Anniversary Remaster!

"We were running away when we heard a second tremendous explosion in front of us. A piece of blubber the size of a coffee table hit the top of an Oldsmobile and completely flattened the roof." [...]

KATU donated the original 16mm footage to the Oregon Historical Society in the late 1980s. The footage has been transferred over the years to various video formats, but this is the first time it has been scanned at 4K resolution. It is now available to view online on OHS Digital Collections.

Nazi Poop Discipline

[Fred Koch] was enamored enough of the German way of life and thinking that he employed a German governess for his first two sons, Freddie and Charles. At the time, Freddie was a small boy, and Charles still in diapers. The nanny's iron rule terrified the little boys, according to a family acquaintance. In addition to being overbearing, she was a fervent Nazi sympathizer, who frequently touted Hitler's virtues. Dressed in a starched white uniform and pointed nurse's hat, she arrived with a stash of gruesome German children's books, including the Victorian classic Der Struwwelpeter, that featured sadistic consequences for misbehavior ranging from cutting off one child's thumbs to burning another to death. The acquaintance recalled that the nurse had a commensurately harsh and dictatorial approach to child rearing. She enforced a rigid toilet-training regimen requiring the boys to produce morning bowel movements precisely on schedule or be force-fed castor oil and subjected to enemas. [...]

It wasn't until 1940, the year the twins were born, when Freddie was seven and Charles five, that back in Wichita the German governess finally left the Koch family, apparently at her own initiative. Her reason for giving notice was that she was so overcome with joy when Hitler invaded France she felt she had to go back to the fatherland in order to join the führer in celebration.

Public Pressure And Lawsuits Kept USPS From Handing Trump The Election

Alarmed by all this, the court required the post office to provide daily data and updates on how quickly ballots were being delivered in the week leading up to Election Day. It was that level of oversight, Duraiswamy believes, that forced the USPS to follow through on its "extraordinary measures" with the intensity needed.

"It's not just a matter of, do you put the right words on a piece of paper and send out the memo? It's, do you have the commitment and oversight that translates those nice words into action?" Duraiswamy said. "It's safe to say the litigation pressure made a real and meaningful difference in pushing them to get through as many ballots as possible." [...]

One group of people who did right by voters, many agreed, were postal workers.

"Everything we hear is that the individual postal workers have been working hard and working overtime, doing everything they could to follow their instructions and do everything they could to deliver ballots on time," Zieve said.

After Big Thanksgiving Dinners, Plan Small Christmas Funerals, Health Experts Warn

"It's going to happen. You're going to say hi at Thanksgiving, it's so nice to see you, and you're either going to be visiting her by Facetime in the ICU or planning a small funeral by Christmas," the MSMA president said. [...]

Hospital capacity to accept new patients is crumbling, Dobbs said. He cited a conversation last week with a physician who had decided to send a Mississippi patient to a hospital in Pensacola, Fla., after failing to get them in a bed anywhere in Mississippi.

That doctor, Dobbs said, settled on Pensacola after also trying and failing to find beds for the patient in the Alabama cities of Birmingham and Mobile. He urged Mississippians to exercise caution, not just when it comes to avoiding the virus, but more generally.

"Be careful, because there's nowhere for you to go if you have a car wreck," the state health officer said. "Unfortunately, we're not having a collective appreciation for how serious this is. Please protect yourself, protect your family, and please protect the vulnerable. Because it's going to be a rough few weeks." [....]

Despite a surge that could soon overwhelm hospitals statewide, Gov. Reeves has not signaled plans to reinstate a statewide mask mandate.

The return of Bobby Tables, LLC

He now says he didn't realise that Companies House was actually vulnerable to the extremely simple technique he used, known as "cross-site scripting", which allows an attacker to run code from one website on another.

The original name of the company was ""><SCRIPT SRC=HTTPS://MJT.XSS.HT> LTD". By beginning the name with a quotation mark and chevron, any site which failed to properly handle the HTML code would have mistakenly thought the company name was blank, and then loaded and executed a script from the site XSS Hunter, which helps developers find cross-site scripting errors.

Similar names have been registered in the past, such as "; DROP TABLE "COMPANIES";-- LTD", a wry attempt to carry out an attack known as SQL injection, inspired by a famous XKCD webcomic, but this was the first such name to have prompted a response. Companies House has retroactively removed the original name from its data feeds, and all documentation referring to its original moniker now reads simply "Company name available on request". [...]

He did not realise it would be an issue, he said, because characters including > and " are explicitly allowed as company names, which suggested that the agency had put security measures in place to prevent such attacks.

A Companies House spokesperson [lied]: "A company was registered using characters that could have presented a security risk to a small number of our customers, if published on unprotected external websites."

Leap Second news

Leap seconds exist because the Earth takes (very roughly) about a millisecond more than 24 * 60 * 60 seconds to rotate each day; when we have accumulated enough extra milliseconds, a leap second is inserted into UTC to keep it in sync with the Earth. At the moment the Earth is rotating faster than in recent decades: these shorter days, with a lower length-of-day, means the milliseconds accumulate more slowly, and we get fewer leap seconds. [...]

Michael Deckers said in his LEAPSECS message that we haven't seen a rate difference as low as zero since 1961! This implies that unless something wild happens, we are very unlikely to have a leap second in the next few years. [...]

The absence of leap seconds has the advantage that leap second bugs don't get tickled, but it has the disadvantage that timekeeping code might rot and new bugs or regressions can be introduced without anyone noticing. Even worse is the risk of the length of day getting shorter which could in theory mean we might need a negative leap second. There has never been a negative leap second, and if there is one, everyone who deals with NTP or kernel timekeeping code expects that it will be an appalling shitshow.

Tyson managers bet money on how many workers would contract COVID-19

In mid-April, around the time Black Hawk County Sherriff Tony Thompson visited the plant and reported the working conditions there "shook [him] to the core," plant manager Tom Hart organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive for COVID-19. [...]

On one occasion, Casey intercepted a sick supervisor who was on his way to be tested and ordered him to get back to work, saying, "We all have symptoms -- you have a job to do." After one employee vomited on the production line, managers reportedly allowed the man to continue working and then return to work the next day. [...]

The lawsuit claims that while Tyson has repeatedly claimed that its operations needed to remain open to feed America, the company increased its exports to China by 600% during the first quarter of 2020.

Church patriarch dies from Covid-19 after leading open-casket funeral of bishop killed by the virus

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, died in a Belgrade hospital on Friday after contracting coronavirus, according to a statement from the church.

Irinej, who was 90, led an open-casket funeral service for the church's top cleric in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije Radović, on November 1. Three days later, Irinej was admitted to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

Amfilohije's body had been displayed in an open casket during the service before being interred in the crypt of the church in Podgorica, Montenegro.

A large crowd had gathered in front of the crowded church, with only a few of the attendees inside the building wearing face coverings. Video of the service showed mourners kissing the deceased cleric's hands and forehead, as is custom.

Vatican Investigating Pope Francis Liking Instagram Photo of Woman's Butt

Last week, the Pope's Instagram account liked a photo of a woman in a miniature schoolgirl outfit sticking her butt out.

According to Catholic News Agency, "the Vatican is investigating usage of the papal Instagram account" now and started by making sure the Instagram account "unliked" the photo on November 14th.

In the meantime, the model whose picture was deemed favorable by the papal Instagram account, Natalia Garibotto, is taking it as a good omen. "At least I'm going to heaven," she tweeted.


"TV14. This program is a purely fictional thriller. The characters and situations are not based on fact. This program does not suggest or imply that any of these events could actually occur."


On November 14, Road to Ultra took place in Taiwan. No social distancing was needed, or any precautions. It sounds extremely unlikely and unreal for that to be the case in 2020, where most of the world is still battling against the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus, but its true. How?

Taiwan has been Covid-free for over seven months now. With only seven deaths and 550 cases in total between a population of 23 million people who inhabit the island, the way that the government handled the virus is truly admirable. Closing borders early, restricting public transport, evenly distributing masks to everyone and having a strict pandemic protocol is what made the island recover so quickly, and this meant that large-scale events were deemed safe again.

A note from abroad: Realizing now that I've been 5 days out of US that many folks back home don't realize how other countries might be living with the 'Rona. Here is what it was like to come to Taiwan. I think we could maybe learn a coupla things...

Upon our plane touching down in TPE, we were immediately placed in two lines: one for folks with a working intl cell phone, one for the rest of us (to buy a very affordable local SIM card.) The government is then able to track us while we are in the country

Once through immigration and baggage, we are required to take govt-approved covid-safe cars to our quarantine hotels. (If you are a local, you can self-isolate at home.) No leaving your room (or home) for 15 days. Not for walks- nothing.

At the hotel: meals are left outside your door three times a day. There is no contact with anyone. Every day, you get a call from the health department asking if you have any symptoms. If so, they will immediately rush you to the hospital for care.

As a sidebar, I have discovered that I am weirdly okay having all my daily living decisions made for me. Have not yet gone crazy confined within four walls. Perhaps I would have made a good housepet.

Never mind about domesticity, after 15 days, you are free to go. For 7 more days, you are required to check your temperature every morning (they actually gift you a thermometer) and someone calls every day to make sure you're okay.

Because most local citizens have voluntarily signed up for contact tracing (and all of us foreigners are required to opt-in) should a case break out, anyone who was in significant contact would be notified, then required to self-isolate for a number of days.

At any point, if you break quarantine - which they can tell by the movements of your phone - you could be fined 10-30k. They are quite serious on this point. Then again, they haven't had a case in 200 days. And everyone has been living their lives freely since February.

A note on contact tracing: I'm no expert, and historically a proponent of privacy, but if you have a credit card, or downloaded any number of apps, it seems "they" already have your info. So in a gosh-darn pandemic: sign up for contact tracing!

Again, not an expert. But again: EVERYONE IN TAIWAN HAS BEEN LIVING THEIR LIVES FREELY SINCE FEBRUARY! I mean yes, people voluntarily wear masks in public places, but otherwise, restaurants, subways, etc are packed. So....

I guess this could have been our lives too? Food for thought...

Guatemalans set Congress on fire, bring guillotine

Guatemala's Congress passed the budget bill Tuesday night, increasing lawmakers' own stipends for meals and other expenses and cutting funding for human rights programmes and the judiciary. They also axed $25m destined to combat malnutrition, igniting nationwide outrage. [...]

Four blocks away, a university student-led march on its way to the plaza had stopped and set up a guillotine outside the Congress building.

A few dozen police in regular uniforms stood by and watched as young men climbed the building, kicked in windows, and threw in incendiary devices.

Flames and smoke shot out of the windows for several minutes as protesters destroyed framed photographs of politicians. Riot police showed up, tear gassing the crowd, and then firefighters arrived to put out the blaze.

Gotham Girls

Gotham Girls is an American Flash animated web television series focusing on several of the female characters of Gotham City, created and produced jointly by Warner Bros. Animation and Noodle Soup Productions. The webseries, which ran from 2000 to 2002, starred Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Catwoman, Renee Montoya and Zatanna in short stories of varying length about the daily lives of the characters (from the DC Comics universe).

XScreenSaver 5.45

"Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?" -- Ellen Ripley
5.45 Binary Rejected
Guideline 1.1 - Safety - Objectionable Content

We found that your app includes content or concepts that some users may find upsetting, offensive, or otherwise objectionable.

Specifically, your entertainment or gaming app inappropriately references the COVID-19 pandemic in the metadata or binary. Entertainment or gaming apps that directly or indirectly reference the COVID-19 pandemic in any way are not appropriate for the App Store.

Next Steps

While your app's current content or concept is not appropriate for the App Store, we would welcome a new app from you in alignment with our App Store Review Guidelines that is not focused on or related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Parker Higgins

“A Mind At Play” and Claude Shannon’s grave

What’s concealed, however, is a message on the reverse: covered by a bush, the open section of the marble on the back of the tombstone holds Shannon’s entropy formula.Shannon’s children had hoped the formula would grace the front of the stone; their mother thought it more modest to engrave it on the back.

And so Claude Shannon’s resting place is marked by a kind of code: a message hidden from view, invisible except to those looking for it.

There it is! pic.twitter.com/wjz7PqxVeN

— Space User 583 (@User583) August 12, 2017

Archiving threatened outlets for the Freedom of the Press Foundation

Those efforts help individual journalists. But another important thing we can do to reduce the effectiveness of this kind of attack on press freedom is to commit ourselves to the wholesale preservation of threatened sites.

In this case, we seek to reduce the “upside” for wealthy individuals and organizations who would eliminate embarrassing or unflattering coverage by purchasing outlets outright. In other words, we hope that sites that can’t simply be made to disappear will show some immunity to the billionaire problem.

Twitter should allow users to “hide” old tweets: my correct opinion

One of my favorite things things to do on twitter is search my friends’ old tweets for their reactions over the years to whatever film or book I just finished

— joanne mcneil (@jomc) August 2, 2018

Black Ink

City of Charlottetown

Jeroen Sangers


Every single thing that we really value as humans is terribly inefficient.


Serena Williams tells senior writer Nicole LaPorte that she uses the app Toggl to help track her time with her daughter, Olympia. Victory, for this athlete-entrepreneur-investor, is when she overindexes on parenting.


There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.


In any given moment, an urgency that feels like an emergency gives us the permission to abandon our systems and simply dive in and fix it, as only we can. And this permission is precisely why we get stuck, precisely why the next urgency is likely to appear tomorrow.


Although he/she wouldn’t be so bold as to proclaim it, the good gardener has stumbled upon a brilliant approach for business, parenting and life.


So more than the bells and whistles, ask yourself which app feels useful to you. Which one helps you get to what you want? Which one do you feel inspired to write in? Which one feels enjoyable to write in? Which one feels like the initial seeds of a system can be enjoyable to maintain?


Discussions of ‘time management’ and ‘productivity’ often hide the real issue. Soul management.


You know the characteristics of Important and Ugh: not urgent but so distasteful that an extra effort will be required to trick/nudge/cajole you into tackling it.


To reduce conflict in our lives, we need to fully accept the truth that other people are not meant to think the same way as we do, since we all have fundamentally different thinking systems, informed by our past experiences, upbringing, education, the things we read, etc.


Publish. Consistently. With patience. Own your assets. Don’t let a middleman be your landlord. Yell at Google for blocking your emails and hope it’ll work eventually. Continually push for RSS and an open web. With patience.


The personal website seems to making a comeback.


I’m so confused right now. 😳😬🤯 pic.twitter.com/gnAExj9bin

— Fred Schultz (@fred035schultz) February 6, 2021


The Netherlands looks like an old master’s painting today 🖼⛸ pic.twitter.com/n6MWI8iAwX

— Dirk Janssen🇳🇱🇺🇸 (@NLinSF) February 13, 2021


90% of running a business is making a bunch of tiny improvements that nobody notices but end up being transformative over time.


When I write a certain kind of email — aka a blog post — why do I have to address it to someone? Why can’t I just address my thoughts to the world? Direct to the web for anyone and everyone? Rather than define the recipients, I just write and let the recipients find me.


The brain is the organ that named itself and created all that we are discussing but it is a odd thing. It takes over 20 years of education before it is even remotely useful to an employer or society. To attribute ‘intelligence’ to he organ is to forge that, compared to machines, it can’t pay attention for long, forgets most of what you teach it, is sexist, racist, full of cognitive biases, sleeps 8 hours a day, can’t network, can’t upload, can’t download and, here’s the fatal objection -  it dies. This should not be the gold standard for intelligence, as it is an idiosyncratic organ that evolved for circumstances other than those we find ourselves in.


Looking back, there was one chore that I should have put on every list and saved time for every day.

That missing item was “Thinking.” 


“Mierenneuken” Literally translated as: “ant fucking.” This should be a common term in productivity. Nitpicking things that don’t matter, especially within projects that should not exist, is a daily frustration.


All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Archdeacon John Clarke

Circumnavigators Blog

Jonathan Gray

New Project: MiniVAN for the Visual Analysis of Networks

MiniVAN will be an easy-to-use tool that will support non-specialist social scientists in the visual analysis of their networks and in the online publication of their results.

Networks are becoming increasingly popular in the social sciences as interfaces for exploratory data analysis. The “Visual Analysis of Networks” (VAN) allows academics to explore large relational datasets without having to deal with the full complexity of graph mathematics. A key barrier remains, however, for the adoption of this approach: current VAN tools are either too complicated or unable handle the growing size of the datasets that are typical in the digital social sciences.

MiniVAN aims to solve this problem by providing a tool for the visual analysis of networks that is accessible to academics with little knowledge of mathematics or coding and yet able to scale up to output graphs containing hundreds of thousands of nodes.

MiniVAN is being developed by Tommaso VenturiniJonathan Gray and Guillaume Pique from the Public Data Lab (PDL), a European network of researchers which seeks to facilitate research, democratic engagement and public debate around the future of the data society. SAGE Publishing partnered with the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath to support the establishment of the Public Data Lab in 2017.

The MiniVAN project will draw on the team’s previous open source projects, including GephiSigmajs and Graphology – and will form part of this ecosystem of tools. In line with the Public Data Lab’s spirit of openness, the PDL is seeking to develop MiniVAN in collaboration with the digital social science community. If you have any ideas or needs for this tool, please get in touch via contact@publicdatalab.org

New Article: “Three Aspects of Data Worlds”, Krisis: Journal for Contemporary Philosophy

Three Aspects of Data Worlds

This article introduces the concept of “data worlds”. Drawing on previous literatures and theories of worlds, worlding and world-making, it outlines three closely related aspects of data worlds – as (i) horizons of intelligibility, (ii) collective accomplishments, and (iii) transnational coordination – illustrated with ongoing empirical work. It concludes by discussing how this kind of analysis might inform and enrich research, reflection and intervention around the politics of data.

New Article: “A Reality Check(list) for Digital Methods”, New Media & Society

A reality check(list) for digital methods

Tommaso Venturini, Liliana Bounegru, Jonathan Gray, Richard Rogers

Digital Methods can be defined as the repurposing of the inscriptions generated by digital media for the study of collective phenomena. The strength of these methods comes from their capacity to take advantage of the data and computational capacities of online platforms; their weakness comes from the difficulty to separate the phenomena that they investigate from the features of the media in which they manifest (‘the medium is the message’, according to McLuhan’s 1964 dictum). In this article, we discuss various methodological difficulties deriving from the lack of separation between medium and message and propose eight practical precautions to deal with it.

Japanese Translation of “A Field Guide to ‘Fake News’ and Other Information Disorders”

We’re delighted to see the Japanese translation of the Field Guide to ‘Fake News’ and Other Information Disorders”. Through its various recipes we hope to inspire investigations and experiments not only around misleading content, but also the platforms, infrastructures and algorithms through which they are shared, quantified, monetised and through which they gain their viral character. Recent events serve as a reminder that this remains a vital area for research, reporting, public debate and public policy – and we look forward to seeing how the guide is used in Japan.

The “Field Guide to ‘Fake News’ and Other Information Disorders” is now available in Japanese. 👇✨😍https://t.co/fkZgUXC0kl

— Public Data Lab (@PublicDataLab) April 28, 2018

New Project: “Save Our Air”

How can data be used to attend to and assemble publics around different aspects of air pollution?

Pleased to see the launch of @PublicDataLab's "Save Our Air" project, exploring different situating techniques and data practices: ☁🚚🚲🌁📱🎏📈📢https://t.co/CQ7MVjOsso

— Jonathan Gray 🐼 (@jwyg) June 26, 2018

New Article: “Data Infrastructure Literacy”, Big Data & Society

Data infrastructure literacy

Jonathan Gray, Carolin Gerlitz, Liliana Bounegru

A recent report from the UN makes the case for “global data literacy” in order to realise the opportunities afforded by the “data revolution”. Here and in many other contexts, data literacy is characterised in terms of a combination of numerical, statistical and technical capacities. In this article, we argue for an expansion of the concept to include not just competencies in reading and working with datasets but also the ability to account for, intervene around and participate in the wider socio-technical infrastructures through which data is created, stored and analysed – which we call “data infrastructure literacy”. We illustrate this notion with examples of “inventive data practice” from previous and ongoing research on open data, online platforms, data journalism and data activism. Drawing on these perspectives, we argue that data literacy initiatives might cultivate sensibilities not only for data science but also for data sociology, data politics as well as wider public engagement with digital data infrastructures. The proposed notion of data infrastructure literacy is intended to make space for collective inquiry, experimentation, imagination and intervention around data in educational programmes and beyond, including how data infrastructures can be challenged, contested, reshaped and repurposed to align with interests and publics other than those originally intended.

Article on “data infrastructure literacy” by @bb_liliana @cgrltz and I has just been published with @BigDataSoc: https://t.co/Mxy9HhiTXL #criticaldatastudies #datainfrastructure #opendata

— Jonathan Gray 🐼 (@jwyg) July 11, 2018

New Essay: “The Data City as Public Experiment?”

Cities have long been imagined as “machines for living”, and today’s data technologies carry the promise of making them more “intelligent” – more attuned to the lives of citizens; better able to ensure feedback and the re-adjustment of relations between people, environments, and institutions. How might data, and data culture, play a role in reshaping city life, for whom, and to what end?

New project: What can citizen-generated data do? Research collaboration around UN Sustainable Development Goals

What can citizen-generated data do? New research project with @kingsdh @PublicDataLab @OKFN @Data4SDGs: https://t.co/MlvYXVfl1t #opendata #citizendata pic.twitter.com/Qa2TaJGf6O

— Jonathan Gray 🐼 (@jwyg) August 13, 2018

New Project: MiniVAN for the Visual Analysis of Networks

MiniVAN will be an easy-to-use tool that will support non-specialist social scientists in the visual analysis of their networks and in the online publication of their results.

Networks are becoming increasingly popular in the social sciences as interfaces for exploratory data analysis. The “Visual Analysis of Networks” (VAN) allows academics to explore large relational datasets without having to deal with the full complexity of graph mathematics. A key barrier remains, however, for the adoption of this approach: current VAN tools are either too complicated or unable handle the growing size of the datasets that are typical in the digital social sciences.

MiniVAN aims to solve this problem by providing a tool for the visual analysis of networks that is accessible to academics with little knowledge of mathematics or coding and yet able to scale up to output graphs containing hundreds of thousands of nodes.

MiniVAN is being developed by Tommaso VenturiniJonathan Gray and Guillaume Pique from the Public Data Lab (PDL), a European network of researchers which seeks to facilitate research, democratic engagement and public debate around the future of the data society. SAGE Publishing partnered with the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath to support the establishment of the Public Data Lab in 2017.

The MiniVAN project will draw on the team’s previous open source projects, including GephiSigmajs and Graphology – and will form part of this ecosystem of tools. In line with the Public Data Lab’s spirit of openness, the PDL is seeking to develop MiniVAN in collaboration with the digital social science community. If you have any ideas or needs for this tool, please get in touch via contact@publicdatalab.org

New Article: “Three Aspects of Data Worlds”, Krisis: Journal for Contemporary Philosophy

Three Aspects of Data Worlds

This article introduces the concept of “data worlds”. Drawing on previous literatures and theories of worlds, worlding and world-making, it outlines three closely related aspects of data worlds – as (i) horizons of intelligibility, (ii) collective accomplishments, and (iii) transnational coordination – illustrated with ongoing empirical work. It concludes by discussing how this kind of analysis might inform and enrich research, reflection and intervention around the politics of data.

New Article: “A Reality Check(list) for Digital Methods”, New Media & Society

A reality check(list) for digital methods

Tommaso Venturini, Liliana Bounegru, Jonathan Gray, Richard Rogers

Digital Methods can be defined as the repurposing of the inscriptions generated by digital media for the study of collective phenomena. The strength of these methods comes from their capacity to take advantage of the data and computational capacities of online platforms; their weakness comes from the difficulty to separate the phenomena that they investigate from the features of the media in which they manifest (‘the medium is the message’, according to McLuhan’s 1964 dictum). In this article, we discuss various methodological difficulties deriving from the lack of separation between medium and message and propose eight practical precautions to deal with it.

Japanese Translation of “A Field Guide to ‘Fake News’ and Other Information Disorders”

We’re delighted to see the Japanese translation of the Field Guide to ‘Fake News’ and Other Information Disorders”. Through its various recipes we hope to inspire investigations and experiments not only around misleading content, but also the platforms, infrastructures and algorithms through which they are shared, quantified, monetised and through which they gain their viral character. Recent events serve as a reminder that this remains a vital area for research, reporting, public debate and public policy – and we look forward to seeing how the guide is used in Japan.

The “Field Guide to ‘Fake News’ and Other Information Disorders” is now available in Japanese. 👇✨😍https://t.co/fkZgUXC0kl

— Public Data Lab (@PublicDataLab) April 28, 2018

New Project: “Save Our Air”

How can data be used to attend to and assemble publics around different aspects of air pollution?

Pleased to see the launch of @PublicDataLab's "Save Our Air" project, exploring different situating techniques and data practices: ☁🚚🚲🌁📱🎏📈📢https://t.co/CQ7MVjOsso

— Jonathan Gray 🐼 (@jwyg) June 26, 2018

New Article: “Data Infrastructure Literacy”, Big Data & Society

Data infrastructure literacy

Jonathan Gray, Carolin Gerlitz, Liliana Bounegru

A recent report from the UN makes the case for “global data literacy” in order to realise the opportunities afforded by the “data revolution”. Here and in many other contexts, data literacy is characterised in terms of a combination of numerical, statistical and technical capacities. In this article, we argue for an expansion of the concept to include not just competencies in reading and working with datasets but also the ability to account for, intervene around and participate in the wider socio-technical infrastructures through which data is created, stored and analysed – which we call “data infrastructure literacy”. We illustrate this notion with examples of “inventive data practice” from previous and ongoing research on open data, online platforms, data journalism and data activism. Drawing on these perspectives, we argue that data literacy initiatives might cultivate sensibilities not only for data science but also for data sociology, data politics as well as wider public engagement with digital data infrastructures. The proposed notion of data infrastructure literacy is intended to make space for collective inquiry, experimentation, imagination and intervention around data in educational programmes and beyond, including how data infrastructures can be challenged, contested, reshaped and repurposed to align with interests and publics other than those originally intended.

Article on “data infrastructure literacy” by @bb_liliana @cgrltz and I has just been published with @BigDataSoc: https://t.co/Mxy9HhiTXL #criticaldatastudies #datainfrastructure #opendata

— Jonathan Gray 🐼 (@jwyg) July 11, 2018

New Essay: “The Data City as Public Experiment?”

Cities have long been imagined as “machines for living”, and today’s data technologies carry the promise of making them more “intelligent” – more attuned to the lives of citizens; better able to ensure feedback and the re-adjustment of relations between people, environments, and institutions. How might data, and data culture, play a role in reshaping city life, for whom, and to what end?

New project: What can citizen-generated data do? Research collaboration around UN Sustainable Development Goals

What can citizen-generated data do? New research project with @kingsdh @PublicDataLab @OKFN @Data4SDGs: https://t.co/MlvYXVfl1t #opendata #citizendata pic.twitter.com/Qa2TaJGf6O

— Jonathan Gray 🐼 (@jwyg) August 13, 2018

Table of contents and chapter previews for “The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice”

The collection of chapters gathered in the book aim to provide a richer story about what data journalism does, with and for whom. Through our editorial work we have encouraged both reflection and a kind of modesty in articulating what data journalism projects can do, and the conditions under which they can succeed. This entails the cultivation of a different kind of precision in accounting for data journalism practice: specifying the situations in which it develops and operates. Such precision requires broadening the scope of the book to include not just the ways in which data is analysed, created and used in the context of journalism but also more about the social, cultural, political and economic circumstances in which such practices are embedded.


The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice provides a rich and panoramic introduction to data journalism, combining both critical reflection and practical insight. It offers a diverse collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world and the broader consequences of datafication in the news, serving as both a textbook and a sourcebook for this emerging field. With more than 70 chapters from leading researchers and leading practitioners of data journalism, it explores the work needed to render technologies and data productive for the purposes of journalism. It also gives a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the social lives of datasets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organisations, startups, civil society organisations and beyond. The book includes sections on ‘doing issues with data’, ”assembling data’, ‘working with data’, ‘experiencing data’, ‘investigating data’, ‘platforms and algorithms’, ‘organising data journalism’, ‘training data journalists’ and ‘situating data journalism’.

New Book Chapter: “Making Data Public? The Open Data Index as Participatory Device” in Good Data (Amsterdam, Institute of Network Cultures: 2019)

The Open Data Index is a ‘civil society audit’ which strives to shape the availability and openness of public sector data from around the world. In this chapter we examine the social life of this project, including how it evolved, the changing visions and practices associated with it, and how it serves to assemble and involve different publics in the assessment of institutional practices and forms of datafication. Drawing on recent work on statactivism, data activism and the performative effects of numbers, rankings and indices, we look at how the index organises participation and data politics in specific ways, raising questions about not only making data public but also the making of public data. It plays two roles which are sometimes in tension: (i) conventionalising assessment to facilitate comparability, and (ii) reflecting the diversity of different interests, issues and settings involved in opening up public sector data. It also facilitates the creation of ‘enumerated entities’ as objects of concern in open data advocacy and policy. The Open Data Index may thus be viewed as a site where participation is both configured and contested, and where practices of valuation and enumeration are both conventionalised and brought into question.

New paper: “Data witnessing: attending to injustice with data in Amnesty International’s Decoders project” in Information, Communication & Society

Data witnessing: attending to injustice with data in Amnesty International’s Decoders project

The concept of witnessing has been used to explore the construction of evidence and experience in settings of law, religion, atrocity, media, history and science. Recent research has examined how digital technologies may multiply the involvement of remote, non-present and unanticipated actors in the witnessing of events. This paper examines what digital data practices at Amnesty International’s Decoders initiative can add to the understanding of witnessing. It introduces the notion of ‘data witnessing’ with reference to four projects on (i) witnessing historical abuses with structured data from digitised documents; (ii) witnessing the destruction of villages with satellite imagery and machine learning; (iii) witnessing environmental injustice with company reports and photographs; and (iv) witnessing online abuse through the classification of Twitter data. These projects illustrate the configuration of experimental apparatuses for witnessing injustices with data. In contrast to accounts which emphasise the presence of an individual human witness at the scene, Amnesty’s data practices are conspicuously collective and distributed, rendering the systemic scale of injustices at a distance, across space and time. Such practices may contribute to research on both (new) media witnessing and data politics, suggesting ways in which care, concern and solidarity may be constructed, structured, extended and delimited by means of digital data.

New Article: “‘Fake News’ as Infrastructural Uncanny”, New Media & Society

‘Fake news’ as infrastructural uncanny

Jonathan Gray, Liliana Bounegru, Tommaso Venturini

In this article, we examine how the social disturbance precipitated by ‘fake news’ can be viewed as a kind of infrastructural uncanny. We suggest that the threat of problematic and viral junk news can raise existential questions about the routine circulation, engagement and monetisation of content through the Web and social media. Prompted by the unsettling effects associated with the ‘fake news’ scandal, we propose methodological tactics for exploring (1) the link economy and the ranking of content, (2) the like economy and the metrification of engagement and (3) the tracker economy and the commodification of attention. Rather than focusing on the misleading content of junk news, such tactics surface the infrastructural conditions of their circulation, enabling public interventions and experiments to interrogate, challenge and change their role in reconfiguring relations between different aspects of social, cultural, economic and political life.

Book Chapter “The Data Epic: Visualisation Practices for Narrating Life and Death at a Distance” in Data Visualization in Society (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press)

Today we are witnessing an increased use of data visualization in society. Across domains such as work, education and the news, various forms of graphs, charts and maps are used to explain, convince and tell stories. In an era in which more and more data are produced and circulated digitally, and digital tools make visualization production increasingly accessible, it is important to study the conditions under which such visual texts are generated, disseminated and thought to be of societal benefit. This book is a contribution to the multi-disciplined and multi-faceted conversation concerning the forms, uses and roles of data visualization in society. Do data visualizations do ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Do they promote understanding and engagement, or do they do ideological work, privileging certain views of the world over others? The contributions in the book engage with these core questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

This chapter proposes the notion of the ‘data epic’, which is examined through two works of ‘cinematic data visualization’: The Fallen of World War II and The Shadow Peace: The Nuclear Threat. These pieces mobilize an aesthetics of distance to narrate life and death at scale, in past and possible global conflicts. While previous studies of quantification emphasize the function of distance in relation to aspirations of objectivity, this chapter explores other narrative and affective capacities of distance in the context of ‘public data culture’. The data epic can thus enrich understanding of how data are rendered meaningful for various publics, as well as the entanglement of data aesthetics and data politics involved in visualization practices for picturing collective life.

Keywords: Data politics; Data aesthetics; Data practices; Sociology of quantification; Distance; Scale.

“The chapters in this expertly edited volume make a crucial contribution to critical studies in the area of data visualization. Focused on a broad range of topics including activism, literacy, accessibility, social disparity, gender politics, and professional practices, the papers demonstrate in case after case the rhetorical power of visualizations and the need to engage critically with that power.” – Johanna Drucker, Breslauer Professor and Distinguished Professor of Information Studies, UCLA

“This book offers unique and much needed perspectives on data visualization culture. While most books still approach the subject in a practical “how to” way, Data Visualization in Society offers a range of critical reflections on key social and culture dimensions of visualization culture. This is the book we have been waiting for.” – Lev Manovich, Professor of Computer Science, The Graduate Center, City University of New York & Director, Cultural Analytics Lab

Interview in New Internationalist on air pollution data practices

Jonathan Gray is lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at King’s College London. He researches the politics of sensor data and its role in activism, including people using their own, lower-cost air-pollution monitors. Although the reliability of such monitors can be questioned, Gray says they are a useful tool for pointing out to authorities where there is a problem, as well as bringing the issue to life for a wider range of people. “Sensing devices can play many different roles in helping to bring the environment into social and political life. This is relevant not just from the point of view of noxious emissions from cars, but also climate change. The massive problem is trying to make a very intangible issue relatable.”

Air pollution may be ‘one of the most important contributors’ to deaths from #COVID19. During a usual year, dirty air is linked to 7 million premature deaths. The latest issue of @newint calls for urgent action. Get your hands on a copy here https://t.co/D3m7PaOrGp pic.twitter.com/d2WClgVnHC

— Amy Hall (@amyrhall) April 20, 2020

An open letter and open questions about the COVID19 datastore

May 18, 2020, London

Dear Matt Hancock,

We are civil society organisations, privacy advocates and academic researchers writing to express concerns about the NHS’s plans to build a COVID-19 datastore. We share the common goal of preserving public confidence in systems that can help make us all safer. Therefore, before the NHS continues its plans, we urge you to provide the public with more information and take appropriate measures to reduce risk of data sharing and keep the aggregated data under democratic control.

In March, the NHS announced a new plan to build a datastore that aggregates COVID-19 health data. Microsoft, Google, Palantir, Faculty and Amazon will assist in the development of the datastore and the processing of the data.

In the announcement, NHS promises to provide transparency around the plans, to protect sensitive data and to not give its private partners control over the data. However, a recent report by the Guardian suggests these promises are not upheld. Furthermore, a legal opinion by Ryder, Craven, Sarathy and Naik concludes that the plan ‘does not comply, thus far, with data protection principles’. Transparency has been lacking as well: attempts by journalism platform openDemocracy and tech-justice non-profit Foxglove to obtain more information through FOIA requests and legal letters have produced no substantive response. Questions sent to Palantir, seeking clarification about their work on the project offered some assurances but failed to clarify the extent of the project and what protections exist.

Emergencies require rapid responses, but these responses should also be appropriate, lawful and just. It’s unlikely that the NHS’s current plan to build a large-scale Covid-19 datastore meets those principles. We understand the need for better health information, but maintain that the public should be consulted throughout the development of the datastore and be able to obtain adequate information about the data sharing agreements in place.

We urge the NHS to provide answers to all of the questions below and to not proceed with the development of the datastore until the public has had a chance to have their say.

Is there a real need for this solution?
We need to understand what problems the NHS is hoping to solve and whether this is the best way to solve them.
– What problems does the NHS aim to solve by building the datastore?
– What alternatives have been explored? Alternative data governance models, like data trusts, have previously been explored for similar public-private data sharing agreements and could be useful here as well.

What are we not doing while we are doing this?
With limited resources we need to prioritise needs. While public money is directed towards the building of datastores other needs may go ignored. Understanding the opportunity costs of new policies is vital.
– How is the datastore financed?
– Has the NHS considered the trade-offs? What trade-offs specifically?
– What do these considerations look like?

What agreements are in place with private companies?
The partners the NHS has chosen to work with on the datastore are not without their problems. The public has a right to know what they have been promised (now and in the future), both financially and in terms of data access.
– What agreements are in place with each private partner?
– What is the value of the contract with each private partner?
– Will the private companies be able to use the product trained under the agreement with NHS to improve the future products provided by private companies? If yes, what applications will product(s) trained by NHS data have and for what purposes will it be used.
– Will any additional agreements, or amendments and changes to existing agreements be shared with the public?

How does this proposal shift the balance of power from the public to the private sector?
The public has a right to know whether outsourcing large parts of the datastore’s development shifts the balance of power away from the public sector to the private sector and in what way.
– Will the NHS be able to easily switch development partners if needed?
– Will the datastore make use of software controlled by one of its private partners? What software?
– What intellectual property may be created throughout the development of the datastore? Who will hold these rights?

Who has control over the data in these public private partnerships ?
Closely related to the question of power, is the question of who is in control over the data aggregated in the datastore.
– What specific data will each party have access to?
– What are the terms governing these parties’ usage of the data?
– To what extent will data access by these parties be audited?
– Has a Data Protection Impact Assessment been made for each of these partnerships? When will such an assessment be made public? If they are not made public what is the reason for not disclosing them?

Who is most at risk and how do we protect them?
When estimating the risk of data sharing efforts, it’s not enough to rely on individual consent alone, nor can we rely on de-identification as a sufficient strategy for anonymizing data. We need to take account of the negative externalities of data sharing.
– What data sources will be pooled together in the datastore and who will have access?
– Who does this put at risk and in what way?
– What measures are in place to protect the most vulnerable?
– Have these measures been reviewed?
– Who is actually doing the risk assessment? And when?

What is the exit strategy?
In the announcement the NHS promises to destroy (most of) the data once the pandemic is over. However, it provides no criteria for determining when that will be.
– For what duration is the data collected and what happens when that period ends?
– If the exit strategy depends on the pandemic ending, then what criteria are used to determine when the pandemic is indeed over? (i.e. when is the promised destruction of the datastore triggered?)

Are the measures transparent? Who is accountable?
So far information about the datastore has been scarce. We need to understand what information will be made available and who the public can hold accountable.
– What public facing documentation do you intend to provide describing this datastore and the various data sources?
– Will further use of the datastore by the Department of Health Care Services, or its partners, outside the scope as currently defined, be communicated with the public?
– What party do you intend to use for privacy compliance and security auditing of the system

While we understand that resources are limited, these questions are fundamental to maintaining public trust in the NHS and to help keep high-risk personal data about UK citizens safe at a time when we need that the most. Lack of transparency and opacity in which these agreements are made do not help building this trust.

We’d appreciate a response as soon as you’re able.

Signed (in alphabetical order),

Big Brother Watch
Echo Chamber Club
Fair Vote UK
Open Knowledge Foundation
Open Rights Group
Privacy International
WebRoots Democracy

Dr. Alon Lischinsky, School of History, Philosophy & Culture, Oxford Brookes University
Dr. Andres Guadamuz, School of Law, Politics and Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr. Angela Daly, Co-Director of the Strathclyde Centre for Internet Law & Policy
Anouk Ruhaak, Mozilla Fellow embedded with AlgorithmWatch
Dr. Arne Hintz, Data Justice Lab, Cardiff University
Brett Scott, author
Prof. Chris Marsden, University of Sussex
Dr Cory Doctorow, Visiting Professor of Computer Science, Open
University; Co-founder of the Open Rights Group; Author of Little Brother.
Dr. Dana Naomy Mills, lecturer politics and international relations, Oxford Brookes
Dr. Elinor Carmi, Postdoc Research Associate — Digital Media & Society
Frederike Kaltheuner, Tech Policy Fellow, Mozilla
Assoc Prof Guido Noto La Diega, PhD — University of Stirling
Dr. Harry Dyer, Lecturer in Education at the University of East Anglia
Javier Ruiz, independent policy consultant
Dr. Jonathan Gray, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London
Jonnie Penn, University of Cambridge
Dr. Lina Dencik, Cardiff University/Data Justice Lab
Dr. Mark Coté, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London
Prof. Mark Graham, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
Dr. Michael Veale, University College London
Dr Michele Paule, Senior Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University
Councillor Mike Rowley (Labour)
Prof Niall Winters, University of Oxford
Dr. Nick Srnicek, Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London
Prof. Noortje Marres, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick
Rachel Coldicutt, independent technology strategist
Srujana Katta, researcher at Oxford Internet Institute
Dr. Zarinah Agnew, Social Observatory

Online launch of “Critical Zones” exhibition at ZKM

How can data and networked digital technologies be used to cultivate collective sensibilities towards the presence of trees? How can the datafication of forests build on or depart from other ways of relating to trees, whether through mythology, mapping, camping, conservation, literature, logging, painting, planting, film, food, art installations, activist occupations, imperial expansion, indigenous stewardship, botany, birthing, or bathing (shinrin-yoku)? This piece briefly explores some of the emerging practices, infrastructures, and devices that are used to render trees experiencable, sensible, and relatable through digital data.

Artists and writers portray the disorientation of a world facing climate change.

This monumental volume, drawn from a 2020 exhibition at the ZKM Center for Art and Media, portrays the disorientation of life in a world facing climate change. It traces this disorientation to the disconnection between two different definitions of the land on which modern humans live: the sovereign nation from which they derive their rights, and another one, hidden, from which they gain their wealth—the land they live on, and the land they live from. Charting the land they will inhabit, they find not a globe, not the iconic “blue marble,” but a series of critical zones—patchy, heterogenous, discontinuous.

With short texts, longer essays, and more than 500 illustrations, the contributors explore the new landscape on which it may be possible for humans to land—what it means to be “on Earth,” whether the critical zone, the Gaia, or the terrestrial. They consider geopolitical conflicts and tools redesigned for the new “geopolitics of life forms.” The “thought exhibition” described in this book opens a fictional space to explore the new climate regime; the rest of the story is unknown.

Contributors include

Dipesh Chakrabarty, Pierre Charbonnier, Emanuele Coccia, Vinciane Despret, Jerôme Gaillarde, Donna Haraway, Joseph Leo Koerner, Timothy Lenton, Richard Powers, Simon Schaffer, Isabelle Stengers, Bronislaw Szerszynski, Jan A. Zalasiewicz, Siegfried Zielinski.

Over a period of several months ZKM will host an exhibition conceived as a scale model to simulate the spatial novelty of this new land as well as the diversity of relations between the life forms inhabiting it. It will serve as an OBSERVATORY OF CRITICAL ZONES allowing visitors to familiarize themselves with the new situation. This special combination of thought experiment and exhibition was developed by Peter Weibel and Bruno Latour in their previous collaborations at ZKM. »Iconoclash« in 2002, »Making Things Public« in 2005, and »Reset Modernity!« in 2016 constitute the three former »thought exhibitions« (Gedankenausstellungen) that resulted from their intensive working relationship which now spans twenty years.For a long time the reactions of Earth to our human actions remained unnoticed, but in recent times with the protest movement Fridays for Future climate crisis has moved into public consciousness. The thought exhibition »CRITICAL ZONES« invites us to deal with the CRITICAL situation of the Earth in various ways and to explore new modes of coexistence between all forms of life.

By now everybody knows that there is an existential threat to our collective conditions of existence, but very few people have any idea of how to cope with this new CRITICAL situation. The citizens of many developed countries appear disoriented; it is as if they were asked to land on a new territory – a new Earth – whose reactions they have ignored for a long time.

The Earth as a network of CRITICAL ZONES

The hypothesis we want to propose is that the best way to map this new Earth is to see it as a network of CRITICAL ZONES. Generated over eons of time by various life forms, these CRITICAL ZONES form a surface only a few kilometers thin. Those life forms had completely transformed the original geology of the Earth, before humanity transformed it yet again over the last centuries.

Over the years, scientists have installed multiple OBSERVATORIES to study these CRITICAL ZONES and have made us aware of the complex composition and extreme fragility of this thin layer inside which all life forms, humans included, have to cohabit. They have renewed Earth science in a thousand ways and very much in a way that Alexander von Humboldt would have approved.

A new turn towards the EARTHLY

Increasingly, scientists, artists, activists, politicians, and citizens are realizing that society is not centered solely on humanity, but it has to become EARTHLY again if it wishes to land without crashing. The modern project has been in flight, unconcerned by planetary limits. Suddenly, there is a general movement toward the soil and new attention to the ways people might inhabit it. POLITICS is no longer about humans making decisions on their own and for themselves only, but has become an immensely more complex undertaking. New forms of citizenship and new types of attention and care for life forms are required to generate a common ground.


Over a period of several months ZKM will host an exhibition conceived as a scale model to simulate the spatial novelty of this new land as well as the diversity of relations between the life forms inhabiting it. It will serve as an OBSERVATORY OF CRITICAL ZONES allowing visitors to familiarize themselves with the new situation. This special combination of thought experiment and exhibition was developed by Peter Weibel and Bruno Latour in their previous collaborations at ZKM. »Iconoclash« in 2002, »Making Things Public« in 2005, and »Reset Modernity!« in 2016 constitute the three former »thought exhibitions« (Gedankenausstellungen) that resulted from their intensive working relationship which now spans twenty years.

Twelve Challenges for Critical Data Practice

Twelve Challenges for Critical Data Practice

Drawing on the time that we have spent exploring data journalism practices through the development of this book, we would like to conclude this introduction to the book with twelve challenges for “critical data practice.” These consider data journalism in terms of its capacities to shape relations between different actors as well as to produce representations about the world. Having been tested in the context of our research and teaching collaborations at King’s College London, they are intended as a prompt for aspiring data journalists, student group projects and investigations, researcher-journalist collaborations and other activities which aspire to organise collective inquiry with data without taking for granted the infrastructures, environments and practices through which it is produced.

1. How can data journalism projects tell stories both with and about data including the various actors, processes, institutions, infrastructures and forms of knowledge through which data is made?

2. How can data journalism projects tell stories about big issues at scale (e.g., climate change, inequality, multinational taxation, migration) while also affirming the provisionality and acknowledging the models, assumptions and uncertainty involved in the production of numbers?

3. How can data journalism projects account for the collective character of digital data, platforms, algorithms and online devices, including the interplay between digital technologies and digital cultures?

4. How can data journalism projects cultivate their own ways of making things intelligible, meaningful and relatable through data, without simply uncritically advancing the ways of knowing “baked into” data from dominant institutions, infrastructures and practices?

5. How can data journalism projects acknowledge and experiment with the visual cultures and aesthetics that they draw on, including through combinations of data visualisations and other visual materials?

6. How can data journalism projects make space for public participation and intervention in interrogating established data sources and re-imagining which issues are accounted for through data, and how?

7. How might data journalists cultivate and consciously affirm their own styles of working with data, which may draw on, yet remain distinct from areas such as statistics, data science and social media analytics?

8. How can the field of data journalism develop memory practices to archive and preserve their work, as well as situating it in relation to practices and cultures that they draw on?

9. How can data journalism projects collaborate around transnational issues in ways which avoid the logic of the platform and the colony, and affirm innovations at the periphery?

10. How can data journalism support marginalised communities to use data to tell their own stories on their own terms, rather than telling their stories for them?

11. How can data journalism projects develop their own alternative and inventive ways of accounting for their value and impact in the world, beyond social media metrics and impact methodologies established in other fields?

12. How might data journalism develop a style of objectivity which affirms, rather than minimises, its own role in intervening in the world and in shaping relations between different actors in collective life?

New Book: “Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access” (MIT Press, 2020)

New book 📖✨ on “Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access” edited with @martin_eve now #openaccess on @mitpress for #OpenAccessWeek #OAWeek #openaccessweek2020 #OA https://t.co/1xgj16lzeShttps://t.co/iywQCyRy48

— Jonathan Gray 🐼 (@jwyg) October 20, 2020

“Critical Zones” featured in New York Times “Best Art Books of 2020”

‘CRITICAL ZONES: THE SCIENCE AND POLITICS OF LANDING ON EARTH’ Edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (MIT/ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe). Climate change should furnish to art what Galileo delivered to theology: a definitive rupture of where we think we stand. The giant catalog for this German exhibition unites philosophers, scientists, historians and artists (from Caspar David Friedrich to Sarah Sze) to re-anchor art inside a constantly transforming ecosystem. The old “Blue Marble” won’t cut it; we need new methods of depicting Earth and its landscapes that account for our codependency with all species. After all, as the editors write, aesthetics is “what renders one sensitive to the existence of other ways of life.”

Call for Papers: “Critical Technical Practice(s) in Digital Research”, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

CFP: “Critical Technical Practice(s) in Digital Research”
Deadline for abstracts: 7 March 2021 / Expected date of publication: April 2022

Special Issue of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

Guest editors: Daniela van Geenen (University of Siegen), Dr. Karin van Es (Utrecht University) and Dr. Jonathan Gray (King’s College London)

The criticism of knowledge technologies has a long tradition in science and technology studies (STS), feminist studies and media studies approaches often addressing the ways in which technologies frame epistemic processes in scientific and technical settings (e.g. Latour, 1987; Latour and Woolgar, 1979; Haraway, 1988 and 1997; Chun, 2011; Galloway, 2012; Manovich, 2013). Knowledge technologies are not just the preserve of natural scientists and engineers, but also present in a wide variety of everyday and professional settings – including social and cultural research, in particular, in critical approaches to ‘Big Data’ and algorithmic systems. Importantly, these tools frame how we approach our objects and sites of study; they are not neutral, but active mediators impacting the ways knowledge is produced and disseminated.

This special issue explores the contemporary relevance of the notion of ‘critical technical practice’ (Agre, 1997a) to digital research in the humanities and social sciences including internet studies, critical data studies (e.g. Iliadis and Russo, 2016), critical algorithm studies (Gillespie and Seaver, 2016), and software studies (e.g. Rieder, 2020). Philip Agre (1997a and b) coined the notion of critical technical practice (CTP) in his work on artificial intelligence, proposing the challenge of having ‘one foot planted in the craft work of design and the other foot planted in the reflexive work of critique’ (Agre, 1997b: p. 155). The issue aims to bring together, advance, and reflect on recent work on the relevance of critical technical practice(s) for scholarship, pedagogy, and public engagement around digital devices and computational tools in the context of social and cultural research. It takes up recent calls advocating the relevance of such approaches to tool development, research, and education in cultural and social studies in order to approach digital media as both objects and instruments of investigation (e.g. Dieter, 2014; Gray, Bounegru, Milan, and Ciuccarelli, 2016; Gray and Bounegru, forthcoming; Rieder & Röhle, 2012 and 2017; Van Es, Wieringa, Schäfer, 2018; Van Geenen, 2018
and 2020).

The editors welcome contributions from a range of disciplinary perspectives that explore questions such as:
– How can researchers organise critical inquiry with and about digital tools, methods, and data collections?
– How can devices such as network graphs, spreadsheets, scrapers, APIs, machine-learning tools, and code libraries be repurposed in cultural and social research, with a critical sensibility towards their genealogies and sociocultural lives?
– How can methods be taken as sites of experimentation around the composition of collective life, between research and other areas of practice (e.g. activism, education, journalism, or policy)?

Deadline abstracts: 7 March 2021

Please send a 500-word abstract and a 100-word bio to the guest editors.

Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to send full contributions by 2 August 2021.

Happy 10th Birthday Public Domain Review!

Ten years ago today — on 1st January 2011 — we launched The Public Domain Review! Since this auspicious day we’ve published 272 essays, 935 collection posts, featured 134 cultural archives and institutions, and welcomed a whopping 17 million of you to the site. We will be marking this momentous milestone of our tenth birthday with a number of exciting things, to be revealed over the next weeks and months. But for now, on the day itself, we thought it’d be fitting to treat you to a year-by-year glance back over the last decade of the project.

“Data Worlds” under contract with MIT Press

Data Worlds: The Politics of Open and Public Data in the Digital Age

How are digital technologies changing the social life and politics of public data? How are different actors making, making sense with and changing things with public data? How can we rethink public participation and democratic politics in relation to data infrastructures and “datafication”? Data Worlds explores the visions, practices and technologies associated with open and public data over the past decade, and their broader implications for the future of the “data society”. Drawing on a combination of interviews, content analysis and digital methods research, the book provides empirical engagements with a wide variety of public data projects, theoretical perspectives on their world-making capacities, as well as an agenda for research and intervention around digital public data practices. This includes examining what can be learned through the work by “data activists” to compose alternative public data infrastructures, as well as the prospect of “critical data practice”, modifying data practices in light of critical research on datafication.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Making Data Public, Making Public Data
1. Origin Stories and Conventions of Open Data
2. Ways of Seeing, Knowing and Being with Data
3. Doing Participation with Data
4. Coordinating Data Collectives and Transnational Data Worldmaking
5. Missing Data and Making Data: Data Infrastructural Interventions
6. Doing Data Differently? Towards a Critical Data Practice
Conclusion: Recomposing Data Worlds

New Digital Studies book series on Amsterdam University Press

The Digital Studies book series aims to provide a space for social and cultural research with and about the digital. In particular, it focuses on ambitious and experimental works which explore and critically engage with the roles of digital data, methods, devices and infrastructures in collective life as well as the issues, challenges and troubles that accompany them.

The series invites proposals for monographs and edited collections which attend to the dynamics, politics, economics and social lives of digital technologies and techniques, informed by and in conversation with fields such as science and technology studies and new media studies.

The series welcomes works which conceptualize, rethink and/or intervene around digitally mediated practices and cultures. It is open to a range of contributions including thoughtful interpretive work, analytical artefacts, creative code, speculative design and/or inventive repurposing of digital objects and methods of the medium.

Series editors
Tobias Blanke, University of Amsterdam
Liliana Bounegru, King’s College London
Carolin Gerlitz, University of Siegen
Jonathan Gray, King’s College London
Sabine Niederer, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Richard Rogers, University of Amsterdam

Editorial Board
Claudia Aradau, King’s College London
Payal Arora, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Taina Bucher, University of Oslo
Jean Burgess, Queensland University of Technology
Anita Say Chan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Wendy Chun, Simon Fraser University
Gabriella Coleman, McGill University
Jennifer Gabrys, University of Cambridge
Evelyn Ruppert, Goldsmiths, University of London

“The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice” now published on Amsterdam University Press

The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice provides a rich and panoramic introduction to data journalism, combining both critical reflection and practical insight. It offers a diverse collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world and the broader consequences of datafication in the news, serving as both a textbook and a sourcebook for this emerging field. With more than 50 chapters from leading researchers and practitioners of data journalism, it explores the work needed to render technologies and data productive for journalistic purposes. It also gives a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the social lives of datasets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organizations, startups, civil society organizations and beyond. The book includes sections on ‘doing issues with data’, ‘assembling data’, ‘working with data’, ‘experiencing data’, ‘investigating data, platforms and algorithms’, ‘organizing data journalism’, ‘learning data journalism together’ and ‘situating data journalism’.

While it might not seem an obvious choice to put a work of sculpture on the cover of a book about journalism, we thought this image might encourage a relational perspective on data journalism as a kind of curatorial craft, assembling and working with diverse materials, communities and infrastructures to generate different ways of knowing, narrating and seeing the world at different scales and temporalities. Rather than focusing on the outputs of data journalism (e.g., with screenshots of visualizations or interactives), we wanted to reflect the different kinds of processes and collectives involved in doing journalism with data. Having both serendipitously encountered and been deeply absorbed by Sze’s exhibitions at the Mudam, Venice Biennale, ZKM, the Tate and beyond, we thought her work could provide a different (and hopefully less familiar) vantage point on the practice of data journalism which would resonate with relational perspectives on information infrastructures and “data assemblages.” Her installations embody a precise and playful sensibility towards repurposing found materials that visually paralleled what we were hoping to emphasize with our editorial of different accounts of data journalism for the book. Bruno Latour recently wrote that Sze’s approach to assembling materials can be considered to affirm “compositional discontinuities” (Latour, 2020) —which sits well with our hopes to encourage “critical data practice” and to tell stories both with and about the diverse materials and actors involved in data journalism, as we discuss further below, as well as with our editorial approach in supporting the different styles, voices, vernaculars and interests of the chapters in this book.

Lady Baker's Tea - Blog

I Didn't Say Thank you


What is your Passion?

As of that year, 4 yarn shop owners had turned their establishments into havens for knitters who love tea. Here are a few quotes from the shop owners:

“Knitting and tea just seem to go together…I’m drawn to Aran knitting and Fair Isle knitting and I grew up having tea in china tea cups.”

(Her knitting classes are always accompanied by a cup of tea from a china cup and saucer!)

 “Knitting and drinking tea were such Victorian activities…Tea is such a natural fit with knitting…it’s another one of those activities that is warm and cozy…it’s a nice relaxing thing to do.”

My creative mind starts working.”

“Whenever I would sit down with my friends to knit, we’d always have a pot of tea.”

I wanted to create a place for everyday tea…our tea isn’t fancy…it’s more ‘let’s have a cuppa’…That fits really nicely with ‘let’s sit down and knit for an hour’.”


A company on the verge of adulthood

“Irony doesn’t scale…” — Paul Ford
We should be nicer to each other!

silverorange avatars

One of our founders, @dburka, drew 51 Slice-of-the-Month illustrations between 2000 &amp; 2004. From Amelie to @zeldman: https://t.co/cHDFiTIrPM

 — @silverorangeinc

Mug for the camera

When Dan left, I decided I wanted to use his Garfield mug and have become attached to it — I use it on the days I’m sluggish and NEED my coffee, because on the inside rim it is written : ”Face It….” to which it reminds me to drink that damn coffee and face whatever large tasks I have to do that day! Kick in the Pants Coffee Mug! It also doesn’t turn into a scalding hot vessel when microwaved (I’m looking at you, plain white mugs).
With only a minor customization to this otherwise understated mug, I can enjoy the thrill of Tim Hortons’ Roll-Up-The-Rim-To-Win™ season all year round.
It’s a good, solid mug. Solid heft, but not too heavy. A lip that’s thin, but not too thin. I guess I like a goldilocks mug. But not with goldilocks on it or in the shape of a bear or something. That breaks my “no novelty mugs in my kitchen” rule (in your kitchen it’s fine).
I have a soft spot for all things grey, sharky and handmade. So of course I bought mini Chomp, brazenly assuming I could be an espresso person. As it turns out, Aeropresses are daunting when you’re uncaffeinated! Who knew? Enter mega mug, the perfect-sized shark to hold large volumes of hastily-brewed, comparatively-dilute caffeine.
Who doesn’t want to start the day with a little Bowie? Especially a Bowie drawn by Canadian Hero™ Kate Beaton! A cup of black in this miraculous mug will raise you like Lazarus, transforming you from a Space Oddity to a Pretty Thing who’s thinking “Let’s Dance!” (Okay, I’ll stop.)
This is a cheap, mass-produced espresso mug. Do you like coffee but don’t like the time it takes to make a latte? Espresso may be for you. Also pictured: vintage 1999 veneer desk surface.
Dropped the production database? With Bob Ross by your side that’s just another happy little accident.
Have to represent Receiver Coffee Co, best local roaster and coffee shop. You know you spend too much time at your local when they know your birthday and hand you a mug.
This mug was handmade by Michael Stanley, a pal of mine who produces some really beautiful pottery in his Victoria, Prince Edward Island studio. I was growing a gnarly mustache for Movember a few years back when my girlfriend spotted this mug at Michael’s studio and promptly bought it for me.

silverorange retreat 2018

Employee of the Year 2017" for @silverorangeinc is "The Team Growth Spurt" (as per tradition, actual employees are ineligible)! 6 new FT and 2 PT team members have helped make our team the best it's ever been. @slackHQ was a graceful runner-up for the 3rd year in a row.

 — @silverorangeinc

Usability for Promotion Codes and Access Codes

In govt we have a moral responsibility to design for the edge cases &gt; "Edge cases define the boundaries of who [and] what you care about. They demarcate the border between the people you're willing to help and the ones you're comfortable marginalising" https://t.co/1OMNeQN0Fz

 — @kyliehavelock

Making it “accessible” for everyone also makes it better for everyone, regardless of your abilities or proficiencies.

Being Charitable

The first installment of our “20 years of silverorange” series.
Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.
By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival, for others it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition.
100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes to funding loans. Kiva covers costs primarily through optional donations, as well as through support from grants and sponsors.

How to receive feedback more better

“Someone already thought about it. Trust me.”
“It’s a long story. Do you have a minute?”

The Web is ready for your fingerprint, almost…

Update: it looks like Safari is getting WebAuthn very soon. Thanks for the heads-up Stuart!
Update 2: And they’ve done it in the Tech Preview release (May 29)
Use your fingerprint to verify your identity
You’ll be able to sign into webauthn.org using your fingerprint. This information is sent securely and is unique for each website so there’s no risk of your information being shared.
Or use a different verification method…

silverorange & Pride

In the end, I think it’s important to celebrate how we have all grown and who we have become. Queer identity is wrapped up in struggle, but it is also joyous and worth celebrating.

Be kind.

Let’s face it, kindness doesn’t neatly track to an OKR and it’s much harder to codify “be kind” than “maximize profits” when making a business model.
Be Kind: The Short Version
Silverorange is an inclusive company, based on treating all individuals respectfully, regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or career path. We value respectful behaviour above individual opinions. Our team is an intentionally supportive group that recognizes and celebrates the creativity and collaboration of independent members and the diversity of skills, talents, experiences, cultures, and opinions that they bring to our company. Everyone at silverorange has the right to be treated fairly and with respect by everyone, and has a responsibility to treat others with the same consideration. Being kind toward your colleagues is key, but we also extend this to our clients and other external contacts, even (or especially) when we’re annoyed or stressed out by them.

2020 Remote Remote Week

For our Queen photoshoot, we had to take photos in dark rooms/closets. Jenn noticed everything was shoved out of the way in our closet yesterday and asked: “What were you doing in the closet!?” I told her I was taking a picture for work. — Steven Garrity
As an experienced roast-host, it’s better to watch a dumb movie together so you can make fun of it. — Jacky Gilbertson
Thanks for the movie night organizing- it was fun to pick apart Back to the Future with you all. — Isa Grant
I put my food on a square plate because square plates are fancy! — Clara Campos
Who came up with that game of categorizing music? It was super neat! — Kendra Kohler
That was great, @malena and @charles! Thanks for organizing our remote remote week! — Keith Burgoyne

silverorange office wins 2016 Heritage Award

The Robertson House at 84 Fitzroy became the office of silverorange, a software company, in 2003. Over a six year period from April 2010 to October 2015 we completed a comprehensive heritage renovation of both the exterior and interior of the building.

Previous additions were removed and the front porch roof line was changed to be more complementary to the original structure. All windows were replaced with new custom wood windows. Rotten siding was removed and all paint was removed from trim work being preserved. Great care was taken to create exact matches of siding and molding profiles. The original gingerbread work in the front gables was carefully removed to be restored and then re-installed. Much of the sheathing was removed with the siding which allowed for rewiring and repair of framing in the exterior walls. Old insulation was removed and replaced with spray foam insulation and modern house wrap. Everything was painted with exterior solid stains that will avoid peeling paint in the future. Porches and decks were rebuilt with custom railings and balusters to complement the building.

Inside, the original plaster, trim, and floors were saved where possible. Earlier renovations that divided the main staircase were removed and the original servant stairs were rebuilt. Hardwood floors were uncovered, repaired, and refinished. New hardwood was installed in other areas to match. Where new trim was required, exact matches were made and much of it was faux-grained in a style to match original graining. All plumbing and electrical was replaced throughout. Lighting was greatly improved with LED pot lights and reproduction brass fixtures. Three bathrooms and a kitchenette were rebuilt in styles that complemented the existing interior.

How we retreat

We’d be interested to hear how other companies address the issue of isolation versus inclusion of family.

While we do have a lot of fun at the retreats, most of our days are taken up with fairly intensive meetings. In the past, we’ve had two or three long days (9am-7pm) of solid meetings. This year we improved the balance to keep from burning out. Still, our retreat isn’t a vacation. It’s a time to reflect and plan.

How the credit card industry is helping the adoption of modern web standards

That’s right. If you are accepting credit card payments, you can be fined for supporting old versions of Internet Explorer.

The side-effects of this are clear. Out-of-date web browsers that have been holding back the adoption of modern web standards, including CSS 3, are getting an extra push into obsolescence.

silverorange is looking to hire another excellent back-end web developer (Update: position filled)

UPDATE: THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED Future job openings will be posted here on our blog and via @silverorangeinc on Twitter.

Running a design sprint in a healthcare organization

Sprint Stories: Running a design sprint in a healthcare organization

Neon: Quickly review stuff and share with your friends

The goal of Neon is to allow you to quickly review stuff and share the reviews with your friends.

silverorange is looking to hire a project manager (update: applications closed)

Future job openings will be posted here on our blog and via @silverorangeinc on Twitter.

silverorange is looking to hire a back-end web developer (Update: position filled)

UPDATE: THIS POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED Future job openings will be posted here on our blog and via @silverorangeinc on Twitter.

Ownership, Control, Access, & Possession

“There is no law or concept in Western society that recognizes community rights and interests in their information, which is in large part why OCAP® was created. OCAP® ensures that First Nations own their information and respects the fact that they are stewards of their information, much in the same way that they are stewards over their own lands.” [source]

The OCAP established a baseline for standards across Canada, but there are specific protocols, ethics and review boards that must be considered in health research that individual First Nations may also require.

The IWK Health Centre acknowledges and adheres to tribal or regional ethics processes. This includes working directly with each First Nations community as well as tribal and/or regional organizations. All ACHH research is generated in coordination with First Nations, which will then go through a community protocol process. In Nova Scotia, this is followed by approval by Miꞌkmaw Ethics Watch (MEW). MEW was created “to establish a set of principles and protocols that will protect the integrity and cultural knowledge of the Miꞌkmaw people.” ACHH research conducted in PEI requires the approval from the Miꞌkmaq Confederacy of PEI (MCPEI).

Similar processes and protocols are being developed across the region and in other Canadian First Nations communities. Therefore, ACHH or any health research must adhere to the OCAP and territorial practices from other First Nations and Indigenous groups altogether. Success to any research with Indigenous community is through continuous community engagement and relationship building between all parties involved in health research, but most importantly when First Nations are equal partners and leaders of health research from their perspectives.

ACHH represents IWK Health Centre in leading this mandate and building on to that capacity for knowledge sharing for Indigenous health research in coordination with First Nations.

A company on the verge of adulthood

“Irony doesn’t scale...” — Paul Ford

We should be nicer to each other!

silverorange avatars

One of our founders, @dburka, drew 51 Slice-of-the-Month illustrations between 2000 & 2004. From Amelie to @zeldman: silverorange.com/a/slices/

— silverorange (@silverorangeinc) September 19, 2017

Mug for the camera

When Dan left, I decided I wanted to use his Garfield mug and have become attached to it—I use it on the days I’m sluggish and NEED my coffee, because on the inside rim it is written : “Face It....” to which it reminds me to drink that damn coffee and face whatever large tasks I have to do that day! Kick in the Pants Coffee Mug! It also doesn’t turn into a scalding hot vessel when microwaved (I’m looking at you, plain white mugs).

With only a minor customization to this otherwise understated mug, I can enjoy the thrill of Tim Hortons’ Roll-Up-The-Rim-To-Win™ season all year round.

It’s a good, solid mug. Solid heft, but not too heavy. A lip that’s thin, but not too thin. I guess I like a goldilocks mug. But not with goldilocks on it or in the shape of a bear or something. That breaks my “no novelty mugs in my kitchen” rule (in your kitchen it’s fine).

I have a soft spot for all things grey, sharky and handmade. So of course I bought mini Chomp, brazenly assuming I could be an espresso person. As it turns out, Aeropresses are daunting when you’re uncaffeinated! Who knew? Enter mega mug, the perfect-sized shark to hold large volumes of hastily-brewed, comparatively-dilute caffeine.

Who doesn’t want to start the day with a little Bowie? Especially a Bowie drawn by Canadian Hero™ Kate Beaton! A cup of black in this miraculous mug will raise you like Lazarus, transforming you from a Space Oddity to a Pretty Thing who’s thinking “Let’s Dance!” (Okay, I’ll stop.)

This is a cheap, mass-produced espresso mug. Do you like coffee but don’t like the time it takes to make a latte? Espresso may be for you. Also pictured: vintage 1999 veneer desk surface.

Dropped the production database? With Bob Ross by your side that’s just another happy little accident.

Have to represent Receiver Coffee Co, best local roaster and coffee shop. You know you spend too much time at your local when they know your birthday and hand you a mug.

This mug was handmade by Michael Stanley, a pal of mine who produces some really beautiful pottery in his Victoria, Prince Edward Island studio. I was growing a gnarly mustache for Movember a few years back when my girlfriend spotted this mug at Michael’s studio and promptly bought it for me.

silverorange retreat 2018

“Employee of the Year 2017” for @silverorangeinc is “The Team Growth Spurt” (as per tradition, actual employees are ineligible)! 6 new FT and 2 PT team members have helped make our team the best it’s ever been.@slackHQ was a graceful runner-up for the 3rd year in a row.

— silverorange (@silverorangeinc) February 6, 2018

Usability for Promotion Codes and Access Codes

In govt we have a moral responsibility to design for the edge cases > "Edge cases define the boundaries of who [and] what you care about. They demarcate the border between the people you're willing to help and the ones you're comfortable marginalising" https://t.co/1OMNeQN0Fz

— Kylie Havelock 🏳️‍🌈 (@kyliehavelock) April 10, 2018

Making it “accessible” for everyone also makes it better for everyone, regardless of your abilities or proficiencies.

Being Charitable

The first installment of our “20 years of silverorange” series.

Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

By lending as little as \$25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival, for others it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition.

100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes to funding loans. Kiva covers costs primarily through optional donations, as well as through support from grants and sponsors.

How to receive feedback more better

“Someone already thought about it. Trust me.”

“It’s a long story. Do you have a minute?”

The Web is ready for your fingerprint, almost…

Update: it looks like Safari is getting WebAuthn very soon. Thanks for the heads-up Stuart

Update 2: And they’ve done it in the Tech Preview release (May 29)

Use your fingerprint to verify your identity

You’ll be able to sign into webauthn.org using your fingerprint. This information is sent securely and is unique for each website so there’s no risk of your information being shared.

Or use a different verification method…

Connecting Families

Usability for Promotion Codes and Access Codes

silverorange & Pride

A year ago I very publicly claimed my trans identity.

One year on I’m still figuring out exactly what that means.

What I am certain of is that it includes being very visible and a very proud version of being trans. I won’t have it any other way.

Happy #TransDayOfVisbility all pic.twitter.com/oTLKln5oHH

— Isa Grant (they⚡️them) (@isa__grant) April 1, 2019

In the end, I think it’s important to celebrate how we have all grown and who we have become. Queer identity is wrapped up in struggle, but it is also joyous and worth celebrating.

Be kind.

Let’s face it, kindness doesn’t neatly track to an OKR and it’s much harder to codify “be kind” than “maximize profits” when making a business model.

Be Kind: The Short Version

Silverorange is an inclusive company, based on treating all individuals respectfully, regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or career path. We value respectful behaviour above individual opinions. Our team is an intentionally supportive group that recognizes and celebrates the creativity and collaboration of independent members and the diversity of skills, talents, experiences, cultures, and opinions that they bring to our company. Everyone at silverorange has the right to be treated fairly and with respect by everyone, and has a responsibility to treat others with the same consideration. Being kind toward your colleagues is key, but we also extend this to our clients and other external contacts, even (or especially) when we’re annoyed or stressed out by them.

2020 Remote Remote Week

For our Queen photoshoot, we had to take photos in dark rooms/closets. Jenn noticed everything was shoved out of the way in our closet yesterday and asked: “What were you doing in the closet!?” I told her I was taking a picture for work. — Steven Garrity

As an experienced roast-host, it’s better to watch a dumb movie together so you can make fun of it. — Jacky Gilbertson

Thanks for the movie night organizing- it was fun to pick apart Back to the Future with you all. — Isa Grant

I put my food on a square plate because square plates are fancy! — Clara Campos

Who came up with that game of categorizing music? It was super neat! — Kendra Kohler

That was great, @malena and @charles! Thanks for organizing our remote remote week! — Keith Burgoyne


This Girl Unravelled

Edward Hasbrouck

Another demonstration of CRS/GDS insecurity

The privacy and data protection provisions of the CRS Code of Conduct.... Should be retained [and] should be enforced... including by requiring CRSs to replace "record locators" with user-selectable, user-changeable passwords.

In the absence of support by the CRSs for password controls on PNR access, numerous public-facing systems that rely on CRSs for data storage and functionality, including self-service check-in and itinerary viewing systems operated by airlines and travel agencies (or operated by CRSs in the names of airlines or travel agencies), rely on inherently insecure, fixed, CRS-assigned "record locators" in place of passwords. These record locators are printed on boarding passes, baggage tags, and itineraries. Travellers are never told that they need to treat record locators as unchangeable passwords....

Airlines accept this lack of security because it facilitates automation through self-service systems that reduce airline labor costs. More secure systems that require a unique or user-selectable password for access to each PNR would require more airline and/or airport staff to deal with lost or forgotten passwords, and might reduce or slow adoption of self-service check-in, flight change, or other labor-saving systems. In the absence of data protection enforcement, airlines have a financial interest in prioritizing their own business process automation over the security of travellers' personal data.

Airlines and other CRS users will implement more secure, but more costly, PNR access controls only if they are forced to do so through enforcement of data protection requirements, or if passwords are implemented by CRSs as requirements for all users. [emphasis added]

Interim Report of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

Edward Hasbrouck... was jailed for four months in the 1980s for refusing to register for the draft.

The prosecutor in that case: Robert Mueller, who became FBI director and is the special counsel investigating Donald Trump's presidential campaign....

Hasbrouck is one of more than 25,000 people who signed a petition urging the commission to end the draft.

"I think any objective serious examination of the last 40 years of draft registration would conclude that draft registration has failed," he said."It cannot be enforced. There's no reason to think it can be salvaged by expanding it to women."

"A modern-day draft, if marketed carefully and cleverly,..."

"A modern-day draft, if marketed carefully and cleverly, could foster patriotism via the investment of every family in the nation. A greater involvement of the population to include National (nonmilitary) Service could reach every social demographic within the U.S."

Historically, involuntary induction into the Armed Forces has been controversial, has initiated public dissent and protest.... Although many factors can influence fluctuation of registration rates, low registration compliance rates may reflect elements of society that do not have a incentive to serve, or exposure to the value of National or public service. Although many young men fail to register because they are unaware of the requirement (high school dropouts, immigrants, isolated communities), some populations and communities may be averse to service by religious conviction, moral perspective, or social pressures.

In order to ensure a fair and equitable draft in a national emergency, it is imperative that as close to 100% of eligible men are in fact registered for Selective Service. One change that would be productive could be a widely expanded, interagency-driven national outreach that addresses all of society (registrants and influencers) with particular attention on a broad array of 'At risk' youth, undocumented persons, and elements of society that are not impacted or influenced by automatic registration processes (Drivers License Legislation, Alaska Permanent fund, federal employment etc.) A fair and equitable induction process through a lottery system requires full participation by the nation's eligible citizens.... Registration is the law; the nation should back this up by investing in citizenship activities, to include registration for Selective Service. There should be a consequence, other than loss of some federal benefits, for failure to register. That requires an investment in outreach.

"An appeal to readers and librarians..."

I'm a vocal advocate for funding for digital libraries: funding for the librarians, funding for the people who would build and manage the server farms, and, yes, funding to acquire the digital contents of those libraries. I don't think that a digital library should be created by confiscating the fruits of writers' labors any more than it should be built by conscripting the labor of computer programmers or librarians or bricklayers or any other workers.

Librarians, like teachers, do work that serves the public interest. We don't pay librarians or teachers as much as we should, but we don't expect them to work for free. Why should we expect writers to fill a digital library with their work for free? Opposing expropriation and unpaid forced labor is, I think, a moderate position that shouldn't be controversial.

Unfortunately, librarians and public interest advocates are often unaware of freelance writers' new and entrepreneurial business models -- most of which don't show up in library catalogs, which have failed to keep pace with crowdsourcing and peer-to-peer indexing and distribution systems -- or the ways that writers' livelihoods would be affected by well-meaning but unfunded digital library schemes.

What's wrong with automated facial recognition in airports?

For Hasbrouck, the big takeaway is that the broad surveillance of people in airports amounts to a kind of "individualized control of citizenry" -- not unlike what's already happening with the social credit scoring system in China. "There are already people who aren't allowed on, say, a high-speed train because their social credit scores are too low," he said, pointing out that China's program is significantly based in "identifying individual people and tracking their movements in public spaces though automated facial recognition."

"This is opening the door to an extraordinarily more intrusive and granular level of government control, starting with where we can go and our ability to move freely about the country," Hasbrouck said. "And then potentially, once the system is proved out in that way, it can literally extend to a vast number of controls in other parts of our lives."

Former Director of Selective Service says it's time to end draft registration

As I have argued in my recent paper the current system of registration does not provide a comprehensive and nor an accurate data base upon which to implement conscription. It systematically lacks large segments of the eligible male population and for those that are included, the currency of information contained is questionable....

The most recent district court ruling finding the unconstitutionality of a male only draft also is not an endorsement for registering or conscripting women.... I cannot think of a more divisive issue than the conscription of women, an issue that clearly does not need to be addressed at this time given that a return to a draft is so unlikely. This is a "fight" we really don't need to have. It is a "fight" that can and should be put off.... If this means that at this time the MSSA [Military Selective Service Act] needs to be repealed, so be it....

Anti-war activists meet with members of the National Commission on Military Service

It should be obvious that one of the main reasons for opposition to military conscription is opposition to war, and that many Americans oppose military conscription and Selective Service registration not because they think the draft "unnecessary" for waging war, but because they oppose some or all of the wars that Americans might be conscripted to fight.

It should be equally obvious that whether continuation, enforcement, or expansion to women of Selective Service registration, a draft, or compulsory national service would be "feasible" would depend not only on whether those subject to such a requirement would submit, or how and in what numbers they would resist, but on the response of a larger anti-war and anti-draft movement of women and men of all ages who would support, assist, and join them in acts of resistance -- individual and collective, legal and illegal -- to conscription and war. Understanding of anti-war and anti-draft sentiment and likely resistance to any draft is therefore essential to your task of assessing the feasibility of these policy options.

Will the DHS require mug shots of U.S. citizen travellers?

Edward Hasbrouck, a privacy advocate who pointed out the proposal, said the matter might not be settled.

"Was this a trial balloon to find out whether the DHS had finally reached the limits of our willingness to be treated like criminals whenever we fly?" he said. "And if so, has the DHS partially backed off, at least for now? Maybe."

National Commission recommends extending draft registration to women

Any proposal that includes a compulsory element is a naïve fantasy unless it includes a credible enforcement plan and budget.... How much are you prepared to spend, and how much of a police state are you prepared to set up, to round up the millions of current draft registration law violators or enforce a draft?

As for women, is there any reason to think that they will be more willing to provide the government with the information needed to conscript them than men have been? No, just the reverse. Both feminist and anti-feminist women will be more likely to resist being forced into the military than men have been, and more people will support them in their resistance.

The issue is not whether women should have to register for the draft, but whether the government should be planning or preparing to draft anyone.

Congress should end draft registration for all, not try to expand it to young women as well as young men.

H.R. 5492 would end the current contingency planning for a future draft as well as draft registration, and would end all sanctions against those who didn't register. That's the appropriate choice for Congress and the American public.

The NCMNPS was directed by Congress to consider the "feasibility" of any draft. But registering or drafting women would not be feasible in the face of the likely widespread noncompliance. Women and men will join in resistance to any attempt to expand draft registration, or plans for a draft, to women.

Draft registration for men failed: criminal enforcement had to be abandoned decades ago in the face of pervasive noncompliance. Even the former Director of the Selective Service System testified to the NCMNPS that the current Selective Service System database is "less than useless" as the basis for a draft. Trying to draft women or get them to register to be drafted would be even more of a fiasco.

Making contingency plans for a draft that would include women would be an exercise in self-delusion by the Selective Service System and military planners. Even more women than men would resist if the government tried to draft them.

Who owns the records of your travel?

The issue of whether data about me is "my data", or is actually owned by commercial entities that have collected or obtained it, is most important when such a company goes bankrupt.

No consumer actually intends to agree, when they provide personal information to a business, that if the company goes bankrupt, that personal information not only can but should and must be sold to the highest bidder for the sole benefit of the company's creditors, not the individuals to whom that data pertains. In assuming this, the bankruptcy laws flagrantly violate any reasonable or likely understanding of consumers' actual expectations.

The possibility of a bankruptcy auction of a personal data archive about consumers is not limited, of course, to the possibility of bankruptcy of a travel company. But there are few, if any, industries that combine the frequency of bankruptcies of even the largest companies with the volume and sensitivity of personal information and consumer profiles that are held by travel companies such as airlines and hotels. Airlines are routinely in and out of bankruptcy, and in the last year large numbers of hotel owners have gone bankrupt.

Luckily, most recently bankrupt airlines have been reorganized or have had their assets including their data archives bought by other airlines. There is no guarantee that this luck will hold. It is only a matter of time before a major airline or hotel chain is a liquidated, and the bankruptcy court is required by current law to auction its records of years or decades of consumers' travels to the highest bidder. Based on discussions of this issue with travel database marketing professionals, we think it highly unlikely that in such an auction any other airline could match the bids of data brokers, data aggregators, data miners, and direct marketers.

Reform of the bankruptcy laws is urgently needed to protect personal information about consumers, which they provided to a particular company for a particular purpose, from being sold at bankruptcy auction to an unrelated third party, most likely a data mining or direct marketing company, without the consent of the individuals to whom this data pertains. And the potential bankruptcy liquidation of a travel company is clearly the paradigmatic case of the danger posed by the current lack of protection in bankruptcy law for personal information.

Rule 30 Consent to use of Personal Data

Upon booking a ticket for transportation, purchasing other services, or participating in any UA program or service such as MileagePlus or the United Club, you hereby authorize UA and its affiliates and authorized agents to (i) collect, process, retain and use, and (ii) transfer to third parties, including, but not limited to, subcontractors, agents, affiliates, marketing partners, other carriers, and government agencies, for their use, processing and retention, any and all personal data you provide when UA believes in good faith that ... disclosure is otherwise ... advisable or as UA deems necessary to carry out any and all business purposes related to the program or services being requested and/or in the promotion of other information, goods, and services that may be of interest to you, including, but not limited to, the following purposes: ... promotions for UA and/ or its affiliates goods and services and third party goods and services; statistical analysis; [or] developing and tailoring current and future services....

If a passenger wants to learn more about UA's Privacy Policy, it may be viewed at www.united.com. This policy is merely a statement of administrative protocol; it is not a contract, nor is it made, or intended to be made, a part of this Contract of Carriage, nor does it create any contractual or legal rights.

Open letter to the President and Provost of the U. of Chicago

- Enlist our community to understand their experiences with our police department (UCPD) as well as our campus security, considering a range of approaches to ensure the well-being of our campus and the broader community, and continue to strive to make our own practices a model for higher education.

Court of Appeals overturns ruling that male-only draft registration requirement is unconstitutional

Plaintiffs-Appellees James Lesmeister, Anthony Davis, and the National Coalition for Men sued Defendant-Appellants the Selective Service System and its director... alleging that the male-only military draft is unlawful sex discrimination. The district court granted Plaintiffs-Appellees declaratory judgment, holding that requiring only men to register for the draft violated their Fifth Amendment rights.

Because that judgment directly contradicts the Supreme Court's holding in Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57, 78-79 (1981), and only the Supreme Court may revise its precedent, we REVERSE.

[T]he district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs-Appellees declaring that male-only registration was unlawful... The court reasoned that Rostker no longer controlled because women may now serve in combat. The Government appeals, asserting that Rostker does control and that, regardless of Rostker, male-only registration is still constitutional....

Plaintiffs-Appellees point to no case in which a court of appeals has done what they ask of us, that is, to disregard a Supreme Court decision as to the constitutionality of the exact statute at issue here because some key facts implicated in the Supreme Court's decision have changed. That we will not do. Rostker forecloses Plaintiffs-Appellees' claims, so the judgment of the district court is REVERSED and the case DISMISSED.

Another "record locator as password" scandal

Airlines accept this lack of security because it facilitates automation through self-service systems that reduce airline labor costs. More secure systems that require a unique or user-selectable password for access to each PNR would require more airline and/or airport staff to deal with lost or forgotten passwords, and might reduce or slow adoption of self-service check-in, flight change, or other labor-saving systems. In the absence of data protection enforcement, airlines have a financial interest in prioritizing their own business process automation over the security of travellers' personal data.

Airlines and other CRS users will implement more secure, but more costly, PNR access controls only if they are forced to do so through enforcement of data protection requirements, or if passwords are implemented by CRSs as requirements for all users.

"Tariffs? We ain't got no tariffs. We don't need no tariffs. I don't have to show you any stinkin' tariffs!"

The simple way to enforce transparency and protect consumers is to enforce the existing law that requires tickets to be sold according to a published tariff available at each place tickets are sold -- which for online ticket sales means making the full tariff available online. I made this point in the comments I filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation in their latest, still ongoing, rulemaking on enhancing airline consumer protections. It remains to be seen if the DOT will act to enforce the law. [A decade later, the DOT still has not done so.]

At the PhoCusWright conference in November 2010, I asked a panel of executives from airlines including AA, "What do you really want? Do you want to repeal the requirement for tickets to be sold in accordance with a published tariff? Do you want to enforce the tariff requirement? Or do you really prefer the current system, under which the tariff and tariff publication requirement is on the books but universally ignored?"

None of them even tried to answer the question. They laughed at me, then moved on. But the issue won't go away.... Consumers need the full airline ticket price transparency that can best be ensured through enforcement of existing laws requiring them to publish all their fares and adhere to that published tariff.

For list of participating carriers, see IPGT-1, DOT:581, CTA:373. This tariff is governed, except as otherwise provided herein, by Maximum Permitted Mileage Tariff No. MPM-1, DOT:424, CTA:239; Aircraft Type Seating Configuration Tariff No. TS-2, DOT:220, CTA:111; and International Passenger Governing Tariff No. IPGT-1, DOT:581, CTA:373 issued by Airline Tariff Publishing Company, Agent, supplements thereto and reissues thereof.

The Amazing Race 32, Episode 7

The annual ‘migration’ of people from major cities in China at the Lunar New Year numbers in the hundreds of millions, and it is almost all VFR-motivated. Although this catches international media attention, mostly showing overcrowded railway stations and trains, there is never a mention of the VFR travel motivation that causes the mass urban exodus (and return journey)…. [T]his is more proof of the lack of sufficient status being afforded to VFR travel, with Chinese scholars tending to eschew these travellers in favour of more ‘high-profile’ tourists who are assumed to have more economic impact.

The Amazing Race 32, Episode 10

“Vaccines… must not be a requirement to travel as this will further delay the revival of the already ailing Travel & Tourism sector, which needs to restart now to save itself, millions of jobs in the sector and beyond, and the global economy. Getting people back to work will also provide enormous health benefits to those around the world, whose livelihoods have been affected by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.”

Would a "vaccine passport" app make flying safer? No.

The best Yellow Card may be the Yellow Card, also called the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. It might be the leading candidate for an international coronavirus vaccine passport. It’s already recognized internationally. If you are vaccinated for any travel illness, like yellow fever, the provider will send you a Carte Jaune. When you get a coronavirus vaccine, just ask your health-care provider to note your vaccination on your Yellow Card.