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Posts

2019-10-17: Matt Gemmell is wrong about permalinks. I’d never seen this post before but it came up in the Slack community for Micro.blog. Gemmell thinks that permalinks which include a blog post’s date are inelegant cruft, but they aren’t. Sure, the text of a blog post …

2019-10-17: Indeed, city critics should write about everything: their subject is a nexus of subjects. Ada Louise Huxtable concerned herself with not just her official beat of architecture at the New York Times and later the Wall Street Journal, but also development economics and the policy …

2019-10-17: I’d never really thought about it, but this look at “Walkabout” by Rafael Motamayor (via Digg Editions) makes a good argument that it was the early episode of Lost which established the framework for the entire series to come.

2019-10-17: Nick Pickles, director of Twitter’s public policy strategy, says that today’s speech by Mark Zuckerberg “will rightly be recognised as a landmark point in the debate”, which I suppose is true if we are building landmarks noting the obfuscation of that …

2019-10-17: The underlying layer consists of “open protocols,” which were “defined and maintained by academic researchers and international-standards bodies, owned by no one.” Websites and emails still operate on these protocols; they are a commons. The World Wide Web, on which you are …

2019-10-17: Discussing “getting to done”, Leah Cunningham defines outputs as “the things we build” and outcomes as “the difference that our things make” and mostly I find myself wondering how that fits into my favorite Oxford English Dictionary definition …

2019-10-17: Daniel Fienberg looks askance at all the women in refrigerators this fall television season, whether missing mom, lost Lenore, or general disposable woman: “[O]f the 15 new broadcast shows that premiered since the Emmys, five gain heat from the funeral pyre for a dead …

2019-10-17: Despite having just rolled my eyes at The Cluetrain Manifesto (which even I’d signed back when I’d been describing myself as a “guerilla techno-fetishist”), one of their 95 thesis still rings true: “Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.” They remain …

2019-10-17: The bar I’m at for breakfast had “Sweet Jane” playing and I can’t hear it without hearing the Tom Vick Trio version about a Shaker, “Sweet Chair”, from a Sunday night Coffeehouse performance at SUNY Purchase thirty years ago. I might still own the …

2019-10-16: The Cluetrain Manifesto is two decades old and while I’m sure I drank the Kool-Aid at the time, I can’t help but notice now that while markets might still be conversations they mostly seem to be dominated by franchise brands joking around on Twitter.

2019-10-16: While I tuned into Nautilus Live too late to watch during the astonishing whalefall and had to catch up after it happened, I’ve tuned in just in time for them all to be full of chocolate cake and terrible sea exploration puns.

2019-10-16: Jill Filipovic has the best wrap-up of last night’s Democratc debate (“Tom Steyer wore a notable tie.”), and a look at, among other things, how the latest line of attack on Elizabeth Warren boils down to “she’s too competent”.

2019-10-16: I live in mortal terror of experiencing heart attack or stroke, so I almost didn’t read Jonathan M. Katz on suffering the latter, but kudos to him for writing about it while also acknowledging the privilege inherent in his access to health care.

2019-10-16: Currently reading: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine; and The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall by Mark W. Moffett. Both books are borrowed from the Multnomah County Library through OverDrive. (Somehow, I’ve read 52 books so far this year.) …

2019-10-16: Online maps not only let you watch towns disappear, and perhaps are replacing our mental ones, but also, as reported by Isaac Shultz for Atlas Obscura (via Digg Editions), sometimes might create places that never existed.

2019-10-16: David Byrne (not that one) writing for Reasons to Be Cheerful explores different strategies for reducing urban car use: banning cars from city centers; partial and incremental bans; and congestion pricing. Where such things are working, says Byrne, there is “less pollution, …

2019-10-15: Perhaps my greatest failing as a mediocre white man (via Andrea González-Ramírez) is not having been born into a life “whose birthright allows [me] to fuck up and fail up at the same time”. I’ve got the “fuck up” part down cold, but as to the other …

2019-10-15: Because the truth is that phrenology has never really been discredited. Granted people don’t typically go around measuring the bumps on people’s skulls any more, although who knows how the Quillette lads are currently planning to find genetically optimal brides. But when …

2019-10-15: But the praise is not without harm. The idea that these qualities point to something deeper, something mystic, is far from new: It often takes on the form of the “disability superpower,” a classic cliché of “blind seers” and the like that goes back to Greek mythology and beyond. …

2019-10-15: Houston, I have to say, it takes some sizeable gonads to decide that the black neighborhoods you fucked over for highways are going to to get fucked over a second time (via Andrew Small) for more highways.

2019-10-15: Sometimes when I can’t find a series rewatch I want to do, I try to find an existing show I never watched to use as a sort of casual background thing. Apparently there are six seasons of The Blacklist on Netflix. Watchable, or no?

2019-10-14: For always and ever, I will agree with my bastardized Leslie Knope that “influencers is nothing” but Allegra Hobbs has an interesting meditation (via Delia Cai) on the (possibly required?) commodification of writers’ personas in the age of social media.

2019-10-14: ‘There a huge amount of whether you want to describe it as hostility, unconscious bias or racism. Not just in the countryside, but in the environmental field. There’s a very condescending and controlling attitude that this is a white space,’ says Collier. ‘They might be gracious …

2019-10-14: Zombieland: Double Tap drops this weekend, and I honestly and sincerely hope it apes the terrific original and not Amazon’s objectively terrible television pilot from six years ago. At the time, I’d described it as “akin to watching the cast of Seinfeld trying …

2019-10-14: Portrait of the author after getting his flu shot because he’s immunologically able to and understands herd immunity.

2019-10-14: While I’m somewhat loathe to do anything that will provide additional metrics proving no one really reads my blog, there’s now a full-text daily email digest for those of you not reading, say, via RSS.

2019-10-13: Om Malik wants you to know that the life of a global jetsetter actually is some sort of technology dystopia, but the thing I want to take issue with is the idea that all humans “desire to … get ahead”. I’m not sure most humans have any real conception, …

2019-10-13: I don’t know anything about Oklahoma City or its “series of limited-time, one-cent sales taxes” to fund capital projects, but Scissortail Park sure seems like one hell of an urban park.

2019-10-13: As mentioned the other day, for my fiction read I’ve started in on A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. Once you get to “Thirty-Six All-Terrain Tundra Vehicle”, you probably are hooked for the duration.

2019-10-13: While I am not going to write about Joker again, since I’m still spotting people on Twitter accepting at face value Todd Phillips’ problematic premise regarding mental illness and violence, I am going to pass along this National Health Law Program piece about how …

2019-10-13: “When we think of information technology we forget about postal systems, the telegraph, the telephone, radio, and television,” writes Edgerton. “When we celebrate on-line shopping, the mail order catalogue goes missing.” To read, for instance, that the film The Net boldly …

2019-10-13: A partial sidewalk sun peeks up on the path to a Sunday brunch somewhere in downtown St. Johns, Oregon.

2019-10-12: So where does that leave us? I am struck by a comment Jon Udell once made – context is a service that we provide to others. Perhaps that is the form our libraries take on the web. Not of 10th century manuscripts but of contexts of thought. So a blog I consistently read is from an …

2019-10-12: Thanks to the folks at Unpaywall (“an open database of 24,420,070 free scholarly articles”), I’ve finally been able to read an article from the Journal of Clinical Psychology called, “The impact of accommodating client preference in psychotherapy: A …

2019-10-11: I find Mark Bessoudo’s argument that “a plant-based diet is anti-human: it is a denial of the fact that we are creatures embedded within a complex (and messy) social and environmental ecosystem” pretty weird, in that there are all sorts of ways in which humans are creatures …

2019-10-11: Neil deGrasse Tyson, known asshole and sexual abuser, apparently is conducting a redemption tour by enabling Ben Shapiro, which isn’t so much redemption as recruiting other assholes to his self-promotional cause. I hope Fox shitcans Cosmos: Possible Worlds.

2019-10-11: Currently my full rewatch of The Magicians is reminding me just how amazing is the conversation between Eliot and Margo in the season three premiere where they speak entirely in pop culture references. It’s essentially, “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” and it’s so glorious.

2019-10-11: Currently reading: The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future by Jon Gertner (yes, still; it’s taking me awhile); and A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. Both books are borrowed from the Multnomah County …

2019-10-11: For those of you who inexplicably do not use RSS for your blog-reading, I’m in the process of setting up a daily email digest. It’s not quite ready yet, as I am still trying to decide which service I’m going to use. Mailchimp is the standard but the emails …

2019-10-11: Apparently even all those antivax sociopaths couldn’t keep the U.S. from maintaining its measles elimination status, although by this account we just barely made it. If you’re old like me, you might not have gotten the booster, so get tested.

2019-10-11: Public safety protects the public—a collectivity worth shielding. It is a shared effort that begets a shared benefit. Some technological innovations, such as automobiles with lane-departure warnings or automatic emergency braking, help owners of the equipment along with those who …

2019-10-11: Continuing the look at what online maps might be doing to our mental ones, Naomi Day writes for OneZero, “Before I started using Google Maps, I was really good at space.” Day considers the differences in hometown experiences, comparing a years-ago childhood to a more …

2019-10-10: After the piss-poor start to my World Mental Health Day, I managed to go try the new breakfast sandwich at Chop and then head out to the Oregon Zoo, where I got to spend an hour with the goats at the Family Farm (not pictured here). Recently, the Oregon Zoo put on exhibit some …

2019-10-10: Jeremy Gordon becomes just the latest critic whose list of Joker controversies—“whether the film will serve as an incel rallying cry, require in-theater security, run the table at the Oscars, set up a future confrontation with Robert Pattinson, merit justified …

2019-10-10: My tired and activity-addled brain just can’t handle longform right now, so I admit that so far I’ve only skimmed this John Seabrook piece for The New Yorker (via Mark Isero) about a machine learning to write, specifically to read the passages that said machine wrote …

2019-10-10: This creature saw me off this morning as I pushed to get myself across town to the Oregon Zoo for World Mental Health Day rather than stay in bed.

2019-10-10: Apparently it is World Mental Health Day or some such and since I’ve already been flooding the blog with posts about how my big midlife birthmonth is just going swimmingly, today decided to be a wash from the very first, as I awoke at 7:22am peeing my pants.

2019-10-09: Dave Winer once got tone-deafness in the political context completely wrong, and I thought about this today because someone at Twitter was complaining about governments in the Bay Area being unable to provide basic services, and we’ve already established that the tech …

2019-10-09: Laura Bradley, writing for Vanity Fair, essentially gets at why Ellen DeGeneres can be friends with George W. Bush despite his being, among other inhumane things, a war criminal. It’s not “kindness” despite “different beliefs”. It’s class …

2019-10-09: ‪My primary care physician replied to my having looped her in on my decision to put on indefinite hold my lymph biopsy by asking if I thought I’d be able to think of January. All I could do was explain that right now I can’t think really or plan past the next day, and attached …

2019-10-09: The other day I finally deleted my Facebook account, although of course it doesn’t actually delete for thirty days. As a precaution, I’ve also deleted cookies and passwords, but is there a way for me to block a URL in Safari outright, so I simply can’t visit Facebook at all?

2019-10-09: The event recognizes that to meet the challenges of the future (climate change, widening inequality, an atrophied public realm), architecture can no longer serve the traditional development apparatus that, in many cases, has been complicit in these fissures. In its search for a …

2019-10-09: “The crisis has raised fundamental questions about whether PG&E can deliver power safely to its customers amid a warming climate,” reports San Francisco Chronicle (via Andrew Small) as the power company cuts off 800,000 customers to prevent wildfires.

2019-10-09: Brian Merchant is all kinds of right when he calls “on background” journalism a scourge, identifying it as “a toxic arrangement” which “shields” the company or government in question from accountability. I appreciate the cited instances in which The Verge’s Nilay Pate …

2019-10-09: This is no good. I have breakfast at John Street Cafe twice a week: Sunday, when it’s busy and loud, and Wednesday, when it‘s the opposite. My regular table, my regular meal. Yet I am having a strong anxiety reaction to something, possibly just the fact of being out.

2019-10-09: So when Derek Sivers says that he will “do the domestic life for a while — with a house, car, dog, furniture, stocked kitchen, and stuff [then] give it all away”, is that artistic license or is he literally saying he treats dogs like disposable furniture?

2019-10-09: Technologists’ desire to make a parallel to evolution is flawed at its very foundation. Evolution is driven by random mutation — mistakes, not plans. (And while some inventions may indeed be the result of mishaps, the decision of a company to patent, produce, and market those …

2019-10-08: Why is Melissa Lemieux of Newsweek referring to three plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Portland as “counterfascist”, let alone as “self-described counterfascist” in the article’s meta tags? Just as a counterprotest doesn’t mean “against …

2019-10-08: There still is a part of me that believes that what Whiterose showed to Angela was proof that while their world is real to them, it’s only a fiction to us (something Elliot instinctively understands, hence us being his “friend”), and fictions can be rewritten to …

2019-10-08: Meru joins the author as the daily fatigue sets in, accompanied by the weight of a midlife birthmonth general depression.

2019-10-08: Why, Justice Gorsuch, in a textually “close” court case, is it judicial “modesty” to reward bigots who might be offended at codifying reality? That’s neither modest nor neutral, but extremist. What about the “upheaval” of sanctioning erasure?

2019-10-08: Why would anyone anticipate, covet, eat, or brag about anticipating, coveting, or eating candy corn, which is the dregs of the candy world, when the fields of the Earth contain so much delicious real corn, which is the candy of the vegetable world?

2019-10-08: How depressing is Bianca Bosker’s profile of noise (via Andrew Small)? As someone with autistic sensory sensitivities, I can’t begin to explain. “It is a violation we can’t control and to which, because of our anatomy, we cannot close ourselves off.”

2019-10-08: It was just the other day that Hanlon’s razor—“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”—came up, so my brain was primed to notice (in Daniel Harvey’s must-read email on racist algorithms) a reference to Grey’s …

2019-10-08: The California Sunday Magazine has a quietly-remarkable photo essay (via Delia Cai) about how twenty different residents of São Paulo, Shanghai, and Los Angeles think about “their idea of escape”.

2019-10-08: The psychodiagnostic evaluation paperwork which three years ago established me as autistic was given to me in mid-November, but was dated just one day before my forty-seventh birthday. It’s taken me nearly three years of both acceptance and struggle to find that I am a …

2019-10-08: Of course, this strategy only really works if you can afford to pay to attend conferences all the time to begin with, let alone then afford to skip them entirely. I’m never not fascinated by successful people giving advice like it’s somehow universal.

2019-10-07: Many early social-media entrepreneurs went to college to study computer science or business, receiving a respect for free-speech principles via cultural osmosis. Others didn’t finish college at all. One of the few who has read widely in the humanities is Chris Hughes, who was …

2019-10-07: In the world according to Dershowitz, he is a victim. But how can he be a victim when he has the power and the money and the platform. Media outlets cover his every tweet. He has a book which will be out on November 19, proclaiming his innocence and blaming instead the #MeToo …

2019-10-07: ‪Look, I might not read any myself but I am all for fanfiction, except that when the President of the United States is making both foreign and domestic policy decisions entirely based upon the fanfic that’s running his brain we have a very real problem.‬

2019-10-07: An accidental photographic misfire expresses the long, unshakeable, autumnal shadow of a major midlife birthmonth.

2019-10-07: At long last, Mr. Robot has returned, but god damn it, first six minutes. This season, I’m expecting someone else to notice that we, the audience, exist. Also, I don’t know what Briarpatch is, exactly, but after last night’s ad I’m in just for the cast.

2019-10-07: Serena Chen is worried about becoming a writer in an age of content and capital that “compels people to obsess over volume and consistency and audience retention”. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, in a sense, is worried about not becoming a writer due to a “sense of …

2019-10-07: When do we browse, when we do surf, when do we curate? We will browse bookstores and libraries. We might even browse grocery stores, although typically we’ve curated at least a mental list beforehand. (Then again, we’ll do that for bookstores and libraries, too.) Do …

2019-10-06: Self-portrait of the author on a Sunday in his apartment with all the blinds drawn, not yet even one full week into his fiftieth birthday month.

2019-10-06: Writing recently in The Guardian, Ellen E Jones stated that the award-winning television series Fleabag (BBC) was ‘a work of undeniable genius. But it is for posh girls.’ The series’ creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, replied that ‘to criticise a story on the basis of where the …

2019-10-06: Meanwhile, I have just sent messages to both the general surgeon and my primary care physician putting my lymph biopsy surgery on indefinite hold, because two surgeries in a six-month period (my bladder surgery was in July) just isn’t an idea I can handle right now.

2019-10-06: While I recognize almost everything in this Pete Wharmby thread about late-diagnosis, masking, and identity–I’ve written, in fact, about diagnosis as retcon–it ended up being the last straw for me in terms of autism Twitter. Today I shunted my autism follows …

2019-10-06: What is the point of this, exactly (via Richard MacManus), other than to swagger about one’s parents’ author-laden dinner parties? People do still judge value even as they judge values. The latter is just far more important to fight about.

2019-10-06: “Somehow, photography makes the madness manageable.” Yeah, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that being able to hop a plane to Iceland, Svalbard, or Alaska entirely at whim also might be part of it.

2019-10-05: Sometimes I can’t brain sufficiently for any of the shows I want to watch, so I try to find something new that I don’t have to engage with too much. Tonight I tried out Another Life from Netflix, and maybe someone can let me know if it gets any less tiresome after the …

2019-10-05: Small but major moment this evening, as after Meru casually sniffed the tail of the passing Willow, Willow casually sniffed the tail of the passing Meru. I suspect the fixed meal times that came with the end of free-feeding is making Willow feel a bit more commonality?

2019-10-05: I’m guarded about Picard, but maybe they can keep the nostalgia to the premiere? I’m definitely into Discovery bringing Andromeda’s premise into Trek where it belongs. More important is the Short Treks trapping Number One and Spock in a turbo lift.

2019-10-05: I don’t think Ryan Moulton necessarily wanted the bulk of his explainer on content moderation to read like an apologia for Twitter, so I’m mostly going to skip to some stuff at the end, which addresses that part of the problem with modern, mainstream social media …

2019-10-05: On the one hand I understand this paean to nooks and crannies but the examples mostly make me feel claustrophobic and unsafe. There are things to dislike in modern architecture but is a lack of narrow alleys with no escape routes one of them?

2019-10-05: Every rare now and then I wonder what my late father would have said or thought about my autism diagnosis, which didn’t come until almost a decade after he was gone. I don’t think it would have been like the psychological pummeling I took overnight from the dream in …

2019-10-04: Colin Walker’s thoughts about identity, spurred by Bethany Gladhill’s concerns that she might be “losing all the pieces of what has made me me over the years” reminds me of thinking about derailment, curated identity, and the strangers we are in the past.

2019-10-03: “Treat other people as you would like to be treated.” The Golden Rule is a backwards way to treat other people, and it harms us. It harmed me. I don’t want another autistic child or adult to be harmed because of this ridiculous rule on how to treat others. Treat others with …

2019-10-03: Om Malik is right that photography is, or can be, an act of patience, as this ring-tailed lemur, this chimpanzee, and this red panda can attest.

2019-10-03: While we’re on the subject of public spaces (MacDouell even cited public libraries, where “you are a citizen who contributes to the animation of the space”), today I learned that the ballyhooed Hunters Point LIbrary has a serious accessibility flaw. Bachner, …

2019-10-03: There’s something weird about the idea that to “innoculate” your kids against bullying you should mildly bully them yourself first. What if your kid is autistic and this sort of do-it-yourself exposure therapy is wrong for their brains?

2019-10-03: Well, I accidentally found the review of Joker that to date has disturbed me the most, and unfortunately it’s local: Suzette Smith for Portland Mercury. I sort of wish I had been scrolling too fast through Twitter to catch it. At the risk of hyperbole, Joker might …

2019-10-03: Steve MacDouell, who I last linked regarding micro-neighborliness, today is defending public spaces. His observation that “unlike other spaces, public spaces are not partial to people with money to spend” makes me think about “pop-up public places” (what I …

2019-10-03: I don’t hate this part of the job. In fact, I like it. I ask to call up the letter writers who hate me. I think a lot about my cheery voice, “Hello, this is Lyz Lenz calling from the Gazette” and how it must feel to have the person you hate so much that you’d write a letter, a …

2019-10-02: Self-portrait of the author reflected in what in retrospect might have been some sort of scrying mirror at John Street Cafe in St. Johns, Oregon.

2019-10-02: The best part of this Amber Case piece on “design solutions to the monotony of non-places” is the observation on how different types of people suggest very different types of solutions. Groups comprised entirely of software engineers immediately come up with lots of …

2019-10-02: The removal of the bike lane seen as a real affront to the cycling community, so a group of “do it yourselfers” went out in the night to try to re-stripe the bike lane. They were apprehended by the Shomrim, the informal police force that works for the Hasidic community, who held …

2019-10-02: An entire article on the Mandela Effect yet somehow Riz Verk: doesn’t mention that in the referenced episode of The X-Files the effect included the name of the effect itself, as some characters knew it as the Mengele Effect; incompletely references the Kazaam/Shazaam issue …

2019-10-02: I’ve slightly tweaked the design of category links on blog posts, and conformed the design of the categories list on the archives page. Unfortunately, I still cannot get categories on posts to sort alphabetically because apparently Hugo won’t do that.

2019-10-02: Kona, the last of the old-guard goats at the Oregon Zoo at around a decade, was put to sleep last week due to a thymoma, the most common tumor in goats.

2019-10-02: It’s worth noting that the more the Democrats follow the path of bringing politics back to normal, the more this president and his allies follow the path of inflaming politics, which is to say the path of flat-out fascism in some cases. Some of Trump’s authoritarian followers are …

2019-10-01: Joker reviews are piling up at Rotten Tomatoes, and I’ve taken a tour of reviews from their “top critics” page. I needed to find out if the thing I feared about the eventual reviews was coming to pass. It is, and so here we go again. I want to start with Anthony …

2019-10-01: Meru and Willow, the women of the house, who at the most tolerate each other. Both were adopted from the Oregon Humane Society.

2019-10-01: By casting genuine political movements emerging from the real, lived experiences of millions of people as mere demographic difference, Brooks again obscures power relations by making both sides in struggles for social and economic justice appear parochial and cut off from what is …

2019-10-01: The vintage street clock which stands in downtown St. Johns, Oregon, recently underwent some mechanical or electric repairs so that it no longer is stuck on 11:30.

2019-10-01: I’ve already written a lot about the damned Joker movie, and how at this point is really does seem to be “about Todd Phillips himself: a sad, pathetic, mediocre white man who feels society has not given him his rightful due”. As if to remove all doubt, as if his …

2019-09-30: Dan Sinker has launched “a quick snapshot of what’s happening now in impeachment news” you can get on the web and via email, if you’ve been having trouble keeping up, or just want to avoid constantly refreshing the news and checking your social feeds.

2019-09-30: I suddenly remembered another blog I used to have: PIE SPOILERS!!! (warning: Internet Archive link that’s missing the CSS), where I only wrote about television. It was named for a WHEDONesque thread about Joss’ favorite pie.

2019-09-30: Dan Kaminsky wants you to believe that Richard Stallman merely is “weird” (read: “on the spectrum”), wondering why you won’t think of the children who fear that because Stallman is “weird” like them, theirs is destined to be a future of …

2019-09-30: If two-hundred or so people were to buy me a coffee for my 50th birthday, I could take great iPhone 11 Pro photos like the rest of you instead of fighting the single-camera XR I cant afford to upgrade because my Sprint lease has another year on it.

2019-09-30: For those of you on Mastodon, you can’t follow my blog there yet. Back when I was testing out various blogging platforms, I had an earlier domain tied to my Micro.blog account, and it still has that domain, not this one, as part of its ActivityPub username.

2019-09-30: Companies are beginning to use facial recognition technology in job interviews and for god’s sake can we stop “disrupting” things with technology that don’t need to be disrupted? As pointed out on Twitter this effectively is a new phrenology. In a world …

2019-09-30: On the matter of references, my “highlights” posts now include a “via” in the citation if I found the link in question through a third-party rather than, say, a source’s own website or newsletter or social feed; the places where I find some of these …

2019-09-30: CJ Eller poses an interesting set of questions about “notifications and whether they are needed all of the time”. To what degree should we desire that the software notify us that someone’s replied to us, or referenced something we wrote, versus to what degree …

2019-09-30: Fulton Mall’s success offers clues as to why only two dozen of 200 pedestrian malls remain from the boom a half century ago. The future of the pedestrian mall is not in trying to save downtown merchants by bringing new shoppers in, but in improving the experience for the shoppers …

2019-09-29: “People who read their books often discover they don’t like the main character, and are rarely happy with how it ends.” — The Magicians, “Homecoming”

2019-09-29: It’s very confusing that this Journal of Communication study (via Tim Chambers) on the effect of Twitter’s expansion from 140 characters to 280 claims both that the change “increased the prevalence of less uncivil, more formal and more constructive …

2019-09-29: It’s interesting that a study four years ago which found that most healthcare professionals “don’t have the training needed to care for adults with autism” was a survey of Kaiser Permanente “doctors, nurses and social workers”, given that my current …

2019-09-29: The more I think about this, the more I don’t think it’s an accident that nearly every approving response on Twitter is from another white man. Sivers’ argument, that any idea he comes across and agrees with becomes his, essentially is an appropriative one.

2019-09-29: I feel like this advice from Derek Sivers makes sense in conversation but not, say, when writing, which makes it all the weirder that he specifically cites being annoyed when books do it. We reference sources because Sivers’ suggestion that “if I hear an idea, have …

2019-09-29: It’s safe to say that Om Malik has a very different view of midlife birthdays than I do, spending them as “a day being reminded … of what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t”. That’s probably easier with a reported net worth of $50 …

2019-09-29: Let’s stand back and look at what’s going on. The problem is the absence of an infrastructure that gives bikers, pedestrians, and even delivery trucks what they need so they don’t go to war against each other for the rat-infested crumbs of asphalt the city has them fighting over. …

2019-09-29: “When I hear that someone over the age of 80 has taken his last breath,” writes J. E. LaCaze, “I usually respond with something along the lines of, That’s a good run.” Meanwhile, when I hear that anyone of any age beyond my own has taken their last …

2019-09-28: Sometimes I accidentally stumble into topics that I don’t realize until later I’ve been revisiting over time without noticing. Today’s post about micro-neighborliness said that “just as the built physical environment can limit or inspire the ways in which …

2019-09-28: Sometimes I think about how you can customize your Buy Me a Coffee page to swap out “coffee” for something else and I wonder if I changed mine to “decent day” or “meaningful life” would it be just a bit too much like daring Rod Serling to come and get me.

2019-09-28: Having today finally caught up on all of She-Ra, it’s time to binge my way through the rest of Undone (I’m through two episodes) so that I then can start in on the latest season of Glitch. (Meanwhile, The Magicians rewatch continues.)

2019-09-28: Twitter was chattering about Kickstarter and I’d no idea why. This is why: days after its PR flack told Current Affairs they weren’t anti-union, its CEO officially declared all-out war against efforts to unionize. Sign the petition.

2019-09-28: In the about page which has followed me around from site to site over the years, I say that because I view cynicism just as a kind of frustrated optimism, I believe the small, everyday courtesies matter. Think about things like thanking a bus driver when you disembark, or holding …

2019-09-28: On the one hand, I dislike being sick (now with whatever cold bug this is) because it robs me of control, restricts my choices; this morning I had to sleep in rather than go have bar breakfast. On the other hand, there are things worse than midday coffee, oatmeal, and She-Ra.

2019-09-27: CJ Eller is committing to an experiment in using a form of “letters to the editor” as a means of response to blog posts, and a system with the “flexibility to make the conversation public or private” is something I think the indieweb should pursue.

2019-09-27: Currently reading: The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future by Jon Gertner; and Triangulum by Masande Ntshanga. As always, you can browse my highlights over on Goodreads.

2019-09-27: Thanks to Micro.blog I’ve rediscovered Matthew Bogart’s comic, Incredible Doom, which somehow I’d previously discovered and then lost track of, and so I’ve finished up reading season one. Now to read his other stuff.

2019-09-27: Jason Kottke once said (via Stefan Grund) that “looking at the site through the lens of tags, it becomes apparent that kottke.org is actually a collection of hundreds of small blogs”; thus my anticipation of being able to import mine here.

2019-09-27: Narrative medicine might be understood then, as an acknowledgment that, as with our writing projects, a doctor’s relationship with their patient should be open to rephrasing, to a changing of the basic language used in order to describe the expressed symptoms of the body, and the …

2019-09-27: Bear in mind that Trump himself linked Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe to the “favor” Trump asked of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (i.e., to “investigate” Joe Biden and his son). Also bear in mind that the whistleblower complaint illustrates just how far …

2019-09-27: Dave Winer has said some weird stuff but this argument that “Trump ran on a pretty far-left plan if you took his words at face value” is pretty neptunian. Trump ran as a racist, nationalist, fascist.

2019-09-26: Todd Phillips is out there blaming “the far left” and outrage culture for criticisms of Joker (and also being generally a smug, pretentious dick with statements like “look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic …

2019-09-26: Tyler Elliot Bettilyon gives a decent overview of Section 230 (it’s taken me days to find a way to read this since it’s behind the Medium paywall) but the only real recommendation for how to solve abuse on the web seems to be to ape laws in other countries requiring …

2019-09-26: As I check out the premiere of Evil, I wonder if there’s ever been a television show about demonic possession that didn’t involve the Catholic Church, especially as represented by a lead character. Shouldn’t this premise be more interesting than that by now? …

2019-09-26: Finally watched “The Selection” before watching The Good Place season premiere and there’s a pretty great joke establishing comicsgaters as Bad Place people. Shawn’s delayed reaction as he realizes what was just said is like a bonus punchline.

2019-09-26: The critics of cancel culture are plainly threatened not by a new and uniquely powerful kind of public criticism but by a new set of critics: young progressives, including many minorities and women who, largely through social media, have obtained a seat at the table where matters …

2019-09-26: I’ve used Micro.blog’s new filtering tool to get some categories restored to my imported posts. I’ll still need, eventually, a way to import all my old Write.as tags onto posts as categories here, but this will calm my nerves a little.

2019-09-26: This is as a huge victory for countless supporters across the league who risked suspensions and fines for fighting the ban. This serves as another reminder that consistent anti-fascist working-class solidarity rooted in our cultural spaces can have huge impacts. Supporters …

2019-09-26: Some people do not possess the particular skillset required to effectively conduct a live interview. It’s why, when I was writing Portland Communique, I didn’t do them. I know that I could not keep up with or keep track of all that’s required. Later, I realized …

2019-09-26: And just like that, as so many have been arguing for months, official impeachment inquiries can move the poll numbers significantly, as they did during Watergate, with two polls this week already showing movement toward impeachment support. It will be interesting to see how polls …

2019-09-26: Following up on my own thoughts about audiobooks and why I can’t “read” that way, it turns out a post by Patrick Rhone I’ve had sitting in my Safari reading list for days helps me pin down the whys and wherefores. So, in an effort to be more gentle with myself …

2019-09-26: “It is impossible that the whistle-blower is a hero and I’m not. And I will be the hero! These morons—when this is over, I will be the hero.” These, the words of Rudy Giuliani to The Atlantic staff writer Elaina Plott, might be the funniest words I’ve ever read in my entire …

2019-09-26: Most of the template customizations I’ve applied to the Marfa theme seem to be working, except that I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get the categories on each post to list alphabetically. If anyone knows the right Hugo code incantation for this, please …

2019-09-26: Richard MacManus has some thoughts on the rise of audiobooks and podcasts and I was just going to say that while he says he doesn’t think “written books will ever be replaced by audiobooks, because some types of books are clearly more suited to printed words”, …

2019-09-26: Sorry, anti-vaxxers, but there continues to be nothing in the data to suggest that the increase in the numbers of autistic people is due to anything other than more people having access to better information and/or getting more accurate diagnoses.

2019-09-25: Trump didn’t orchestrate this all on his own. All of this shit didn’t just magically happen. America was waiting to become this. The table was already set. All Trump did was give Republicans a permission slip to fully unleash their conservative id, which was always rotten in its …

2019-09-25: Portrait of the author as reflected in the black-wrapped window of the former home of St. Johns Opportunity in St. Johns, Oregon. Also frequently reflects the author's state of body and mind.

2019-09-25: A blue-green International Harvester Travelall parked on North Lombard in St. Johns, Oregon. Travelalls were, according to Wikipedia, "manufactured ... in four generations from 1953 to 1975".

2019-09-25: While exploring the history of street trees, I came upon a law passed by the United States Congress on April 6, 1870, authorizing the city of Washington, D.C., to set aside up to 50 per- cent of the width of a street for the creation of “parks for trees and walks.” At that time, …

2019-09-25: The single worst thing about Micro.blog appears to be having to suffer through seemingly literally everyone’s new iPhone cameras while I remain tethered for more than another year to my Sprint-leased XR and its inability even to take a simple portrait photo of my cats.

2019-09-25: One of the best things Netflix has done is pickup a steady stream of international shows (sometimes leading to co-production deals), and today I am faced with whether or not to start in on the much-awaited season three of Glitch or wait until I’ve finished Undone over on …

2019-09-25: Who the hell am I, now that I am getting set up on Micro.blog and you might be wondering? I’ve got a plan, I mean a page for that, in case you haven’t visited my blog and clicked that link.

2019-09-25: You’ll want to watch the video of an octopus changing colors while dreaming (via Digg), which alerted me to the upcoming “Octopus: Making Contact” episode of Nature on PBS, which presumably is not about Old Night but definitely worth having just set my DVR to …

2019-09-25: CityLab decided they’d map the Midwest using a “simple two-question survey” that’s of course not entirely scientific but interesting nonetheless.

2019-09-25: After collaborative discussions with its fans, supporter groups, and clubs, Major League Soccer, the Independent Supporters Council, the 107 Independent Supporters Trust / Timbers Army, Emerald City Supporters, and Gorilla FC jointly announce the formation of a working group by …

2019-09-25: You might have received email from Vailey Oehlke, director of libraries for Multnomah County Library, asking you to sign a petition from #eBooksForAll, a campaign of the American Library Association, about MacMillan’s forthcoming two-month delay on releasing ebooks to …

2019-09-25: Patrick Rhone shares someone’s Tumblr thoughts on posting, politics, and disagreement, in which a reader throws up their hands because they “regret that of late you have turned a social and cultural forum into a political one”. The thing is, the blog’s …

2019-09-25: The problem (well, one of them) with days like yesterday where I was crushed under a pretty severe fatigue and depletion of physical and psychological resources is that everything is hard the day after. Even just eating breakfast without feeling winded is impossible.

2019-09-24: Frank Chimero’s observations on “small and vague positivity vs. big and specific negativity” (via Khaled Abou Alfa) are spot-on in a way I’m surprised I haven’t run into before, and in a way that makes you wish we’d been discussing things this …

2019-09-24: I’ve mentioned before that whatever new television I’m watching, I’ve always got a full series rewatch going. Next up: The Magicians (really, I started yesterday), which along with The Expanse that same year revitalized Syfy for me.

2019-09-24: Thanks to the folks at Knock Knock WHOIS There, a subsidiary of Automattic, for working around a major system migration to provide me with this “reserved” domain as part of their dotBlogger program.

2019-09-24: The problem, of course, is that mainstream social media platforms are designed precisely to create very specific externally-reinforced “habit loops”, ones that arguably come with significant drawbacks. Blogging, in my experience, comes with its own habit loops but …

2019-09-24: Trying to catch up on things I’d usually post while also dealing with fatigue and also dealing with migration-to-Micro.blog issues. Current problem: categories on posts are not displaying alphabetically, and I’ve yet to find the solution. This will be nagging my OCD …

2019-09-24: But we’re not going to be able to rethink those fundamental stories, interactions, platforms, or business models if the same people and perspectives are leading the conversation. We’re not going to solve the problems that rich white Californian tech bros have heaped on us all …

2019-09-24: The fatigue, exhaustion, and malaise tends to hit most days between three and four in the afternoon, so of course today’s office visit to have a nurse go over post-op information for the forthcoming, unscheduled lymph node biopsy was scheduled for 3:00pm. It takes me at least …

2019-09-24: Migration to Micro.blog is underway. My posts from Write.as are populating, and placeholder pages are waiting for me. Older, imported posts are uncategorized, since categories and tags aren’t yet imported, but new posts will have categories. Lots still to do, but here we go.

2019-09-23: It is within Democrats’ power to hold Trump officials in contempt and detain them as they testify before Congress until the whistleblower materials they’ve subpoenaed are delivered. They can pledge to freeze the director of national intelligence and attorney general office …

2019-09-23: Squirrels are what Keith Tarvin, a biologist at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio who led the study, calls “public information exploiters,” meaning they often take cues from other prey animals nearby. They’re not the only ones that do this. Early animal behavior studies …

2019-09-22: My .blog domain should come through this week, but I’m hitting some snags on migrating from Write.as to Micro.blog in that there is no direct route to getting the former’s export file imported into the latter and all my most-recent tests have failed. It’s bad …

2019-09-22: Completely missing from this Joe Pinsker piece (via Om Malik) on what makes people into readers is the idea of letting your kid read what they want. You know how I learned to read for my own enjoyment and so learned that reading is enjoyable? Comic books. Which is not to say that …

2019-09-21: Over the course of 2015, I’d finally gotten around to watching The Legend of Korra as each book began dropping on Prime Video. By early November, I’d finished Book Three, with the fourth nowhere to be found. Within two years, the first three books were dropped from …

2019-09-20: Despite all the harm off-street parking requirements cause, they are almost an established religion in city planning. Without a theory or data to support them, planners set parking requirements for hundreds of land uses in hundreds of cities—the ten thousand commandments of …

2019-09-20: Well, now I know that your basic influencer “rented two rooms in an old house, smoked two packs a day, and wore baggy clothes… except on Instagram, where she lived in a van, cooked her own, healthy, meals, and wore the kind of clothes that left little to …

2019-09-20: Currently reading: The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future by Jon Gertner; and Zero Bomb by M.T. Hill, which I can’t even remember how I found. As always, you can browse my highlights over on Goodreads.

2019-09-20: We simply don’t know if anything qualifies anymore as a “game changer.” For crying out loud, the Russians helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton! Robert Mueller spent two years investigating. He came up with 10 different ways Trump broke the law. Yet the Republican Party said all …

2019-09-20: In response to Tobias Van Schneider’s love letter to personal websites, in which he is right that they are the “place where we can express, on our terms, who we are and what we offer” but a bit annoying in how he focuses on how it’s about presenting your …

2019-09-20: David O’Hara’s thoughts on whether an artificial intelligence could have a mystical experience (be it real or imagined) is sort of the plot of Battlestar Galactica. The question of whether or not AI in fact could perceive something real through its consciousness that …

2019-09-20: While I don’t entirely disagree that psychotherapy could use some disruption, any such disruption should be prompted by and focused on addressing, say, that idea that methods and approaches designed for neurotypical minds aren’t necessarily apt, appropriate, or …

2019-09-20: Manton Reece is right. Matt Mullenweg wanting WordPress “to become the operating system for the open web” with “every website, whether it’s e-commerce or anything to be powered by WordPress” is basically the opposite of a web that “can go back to …

2019-09-19: Netflix’s upcoming Criminal had me with the premise that, in the words of Matt Zoller Seitz (via Dan Barrett), “the action is focused on a single floor of a police station, with the interrogation room as the focal point, creating an effect somewhat like the legendary …

2019-09-19: Of all academic disciplines, evolutionary psychology has the most to do with pussy. In the last half of the 20th century, biologists and psychologists working in the related fields of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology claimed that natural selection could explain much, …

2019-09-18: I’d already made plans to attend this Saturday’s sneak peek of the St. Johns Museum but I only just noticed thanks to St. Johns Boosters that there’s going to be a presentation by Dan Haneckow on The Great Light Way, the series of illuminated archways that once …

2019-09-18: I struggle a lot with what it means to be a part of music fandom and stan culture more broadly during this cultural moment. Celebrities are often viewed as more than just idols—they’re valorized as both representatives and defenders of marginalized identities, and pop culture is …

2019-09-17: How do we attain justice when we are deciding to throw up our hands and wait for the president to “self-impeach?” These women know that, while Pelosi’s wealth and Whiteness can act as her shield against Trump’s most egregious executive orders and policy maneuvers, they and their …

2019-09-17: Earlier this evening, David Gasca, product manager at Twitter, announced that next week is “hack week” at the company. “What would you build,” he asked, “to improve conversations on Twitter?” I’ve been following Gasca, and a number of …

2019-09-17: Richard MacManus, of ReadWriteWeb fame, has an interesting analysis of email newsletter subscribers that gets into the question of whether or not people are willing to pony up for paid subscriptions, and if so to what are those willing customers subscribing, exactly. He talks a …

2019-09-17: It feels insane to write this down, but let the record show that “pedo guy” is not a common insult used in South Africa. When you are in South Africa and you call someone a “pedo guy,” what you are doing is suggesting that they are a pedophile. From “Sorry pedo guy, you …

2019-09-17: U.S. Forest Service fire lookout Philip Connors is right that “[e]very culture should have a couple of outsiders bringing a message from outside of the dominant culture” but I’m not sure an old white guy sitting atop a tower in a forest is really outside the …

2019-09-17: Socialists of the kind Chait and Goldberg imagine existing in the Democratic Party, which is to say Stalinists or Maoists (for God’s sake!), do not believe in the democratic process. They do not respect republican principles. They do not value representative government, majority …

2019-09-17: Why am I unsurprised that Dave Winer is defending both Shane Gillis and Richard Stallman despite the former’s racist “comedy” and the latter’s Jeffrey Epstein apologia? Winer himself has this weird history where despite how much credit he’s gotten …

2019-09-16: Not for nothing, these interview tips from Katherine Breward for dealing with autistic applicants mostly also are good advice for any interaction you might have with someone you know is an actually-autistic person.

2019-09-16: Preparations are underway for my move from Write.as to Micro.blog. I’ve been going back and forth, mentally, for the entire time, and having finally gotten to tinker with customizations over there, it’s going to happen. It could still be a couple of weeks out, as …

2019-09-16: There’s so many people rethinking blogging lately, whether they’ve been doing it since the golden age, were around back then but stopped somewhere along the way since, or are relatively new to it, and almost all of them are talking about consideration and context. …

2019-09-16: “Limited urban street and sidewalk space play a role as well,” writes David Zipper of antipathy toward “e-scooters”, and setting aside opposition by car people I think this actually might be the primary motivator. City sidewalks are becoming increasingly …

2019-09-16: I won’t try to answer this in his “braintrust” thread, since I’ll respect the fact that he blocked me on Twitter, but Winer definitely should push back against a reporter rewriting his quotes. I’ve had this happen but only learned of it in the …

2019-09-15: Currently reading: A Spectral Hue by Craig Laurance Gidney; and The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future by Jon Gertner, having finished How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi which was more autobiographical …

2019-09-15: On September 8, 2019, Austrian’s largest public art installation to date opened to the public. Titled FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature, the artwork transforms the Wörthersee Football Stadium in Klagenfurt into a native central European forest. Designed by Swiss …

2019-09-15: In a weird bit of coincidence, Warren Ellis republished an item in which he describes dystopia as “one of those parts of speculative fiction that function as early-warning systems for bad sociocultural weather” on the same day that Danah Boyd published her speech to …

2019-09-14: “One of the things about being an early adopter to the social web means that people noticed you, back when there were fewer people to notice,” writes Sameer Vasta. “Having a blog twenty years ago meant people read what I wrote, and wanted me to write …

2019-09-14: There are things I’ve meant to post but I’ve been lost in the wilds of Micro.blog again, and this time my various testings and tinkerings might have led to a final decision on where this blog will end up. I’ve gotten a lot figured out over there in both custom …

2019-09-13: Let’s talk about what’s going to happen in the library. Large systems with a single copy of a popular new release are going to have some explaining to do as their holds queues, which many libraries try to keep to single digits per item, stretch into years before they’re allowed …

2019-09-13: Patreon is overkill, and Cash App no longer works on the web, so now you can hit me up on Buy Me a Coffee. (I know most people use Ko-fi but I find the design on Buy Me a Coffee both simpler and more soothing.) Coffee is set at $5, with one-time and monthly options, and I pay all …

2019-09-13: So here we are… I’m receiving this award, named after Barlow less than a week after Joi resigned from an institution that nearly destroyed me after he socialized with and took money from a known pedophile. Let me be clear — this is deeply destabilizing for me. I am here today …

2019-09-12: Apparently I was wrong in predicting that in response to Andrew Yang’s announcement of his “freedom dividend” raffle gambit during tonight’s Democratic debate, Beto O’Rourke would counter by auctioning off three Jesus Christs, six Shits, two Fucks, …

2019-09-12: Reading The Outline’s profile of Lower Duck Pond, I found myself wondering how CityLab would cover this, or what would happen if The New York Times sent an economist to study its urban planning, or whether there’s any conscious sense of race within the town’s …

2019-09-12: Finally, I have remembered why the idea of blogchains sounded so familiar to me. Once upon a time in the mid-1990s, HotWired (and then Wired, I guess) had a feature called Brain Tennis, in which “[e]very two weeks we serve a controversial topic to two opposing experts and …

2019-09-12: Everyone has a bit of “Tumblr teen” in them, self-reflexively announcing their social positions as a buffer against the now-cartoonish refrain to “check your privilege.” But while plenty of white people will flag their own whiteness, eagerly so in some cases, these admissions are …

2019-09-12: For the time being, I’ve got a search solution on Glitch thanks to CJ Eller. It works sufficiently well for me to mention it, and it’s now linked on the Archives page. Eventually, once I’m moved over to my custom domain, it will be linked in the navigation bar. …

2019-09-12: But a copyright loophole means that up to 75 percent of books published between 1923 to 1964 are secretly in the public domain, meaning they are free to read and copy. The problem is determining which books these are, due to archaic copyright registration systems and convoluted …

2019-09-11: For the life of me I can’t remember where I came across it, and apparently I forgot to make a note of it, but there’s all sorts of great stuff in this epic post about the indieweb and fandom spaces. You don’t have to care about fandom, specifically, to find this …

2019-09-11: Several times a week, I find myself asking what we’re up to in “First they came…”. The most-recent population targeted had been the mentally ill, threatened with institutionalization and electronic surveillance, but now the Trump administration is …

2019-09-11: Not sure whether I saw it in the CityLab, Digg, or the Guardian’s Cityscape newsletters, but this week I learned about an eye-opening idea from a New York Times article about jaywalking and autonomous vehicles: “One solution, suggested by an automotive industry …

2019-09-11: On this day at 12:34:34 in the afternoon my blogging moved to what would come to be named for the words of 6-year-old Gabrielle Thornton, who asked her glued-to-the-television parents, “What planet is that?”. Days later, I made a terrible gallows-humor Match Game …

2019-09-11: “So, a very very small number of children lose their diagnosis and appear to function normally,” writes Sandra Jones. “But these small-scale studies don’t have the capacity to differentiate between ‘growing out of’ and ‘learning to mask’ …

2019-09-11: In school I probably resisted properly learning any formal constraints for various kinds of writing, but over the decades since I’ve more or less mastered one form: the letter to the editor. In this case The Oregonian version of what I’d posted here about the Oregon …

2019-09-11: In time, however, the site began to espouse the worst of the internet—Urban Dictionary became something much uglier than perhaps what Peckham set out to create. It transformed into a harbor for hate speech. By allowing anyone to post definitions (users can up or down vote their …

2019-09-11: Over in Micro.blog’s “discover” feed (parenthetically, I’m again wondering if I should be over there instead of here on Write.as) I found these pretty great thoughts by Ton Zijlstra on technology, scaling, and community, in which he laments technologists …

2019-09-11: Reading this CityLab interview with Aaron Greiner of CultureHouse about “physically occupying vacant storefronts and turning them into pop-up public places” with the direct assistance of property owners (or, in the words of CultureHouse itself, “facilitating the …

2019-09-10: One of the issues Brendan Schlagel is encountering in his “networked communities” blogchain with Tom Critchlow is that approaches to “positive gatekeeping” likely won’t be the same across different types of communities. The sorts of communities that …

2019-09-10: That there are critics at the Toronto International Film Festival calling Joker an “exploration” of or a “commentary” on mental illness scares the shit out of me. Let me remind you that people struggling with mental illness are far more likely to be the …

2019-09-10: Put into action, the “third culture” is a safe haven for breathless bullshit, a place where the ultra-rich might fantasize about, say, administering a eugenics scheme in New Mexico with the semen of a convicted serial sexual predator. Whether or not “third culture” progenitors …

2019-09-10: Today was my surgical consult in advance of needing to biopsy a lymph node because the CT scan earlier this year for my bladder stones and diverticulum showed enlarged lymph nodes. Mostly, either it will be lymph nodes in the vicinity of my bladder having been activated because …

2019-09-09: Safe to say that I much prefer Barcelona’s definition of a “superblock”, where you essentially curtail vehicular traffic on an existing grid of streets, to Portland’s definition, where you merely have to provide a certain amount of pedestrian access …

2019-09-09: Colin Walker has thought quite a bit more than me about being middle-aged. Mostly, I think I just feel like it means I’m already dying, and since the first half of my life amounted to nothing the second half is sure to as well, although I imagine that perspective could be …

2019-09-09: As near as I can tell, this position by Dave Winer mostly just exposes his complete lack of understanding of abuse on social media platforms. Users block other users in large part as a barrier to abuse. This is an over-simplification, but blocking abusive users, trolls, or bots …

2019-09-08: Meanwhile, here in Portland, the front office of the Portland Timbers looked at Abram Goldman-Armstrong, the antifascist owner of a local pub which was in the not-to-distant past targeted for violence by Proud Boys and their fellow fascist travelers, and decided to ban him for …

2019-09-08: Here in the U.S., we have children in concentration camps, pregnant migrants being drugged to stop their contractions and sent back, federal agencies lying to protect a president’s weather forecasts, and the military going out of its way to stay at the president’s …

2019-09-08: Paul Bausch likes Micro.blog’s “discover” feed for its lack of engagement numbers or solicitations. Possibly worth noting as well is that it’s human-curated, not algorithmic. Write.as’ public feed is neither algorithmic nor human-curated, an aspect I …

2019-09-08: Lawrence Lessig is a very good writer if we are discussing the ability to write long, discursive apologias for Joi Ito taking Jeffrey Epstein’s money, wrapped in a superficial gauze of responsibility-taking that we clearly cannot take seriously. The piece is terrible, …

2019-09-08: To Matthew Stewart, a researcher and designer at the University of Westminster, co-living led by developers cannot be a radical alternative because it lacks the social intent of collective living. He points to bolder suggestions proposed by modernists almost a century ago to …

2019-09-07: Not for nothing, but if after Joi Ito’s confession to an “error in judgment” you went ahead and signed this statement of support (for fuck’s sake, was that the Peter Gabriel?), you’ve got some questionable judgment of your own. It doesn’t …

2019-09-07: The response to the death of Alec Holowka throws this double standard into razor-sharp relief. The harassment of Quinn and others has nothing to do with concern for Holowka and his family and everything to do with making examples of women and queer people who dare to speak out. …

2019-09-07: “There must be a underlying reason,” responds Colin Walker, “why someone writes a blog rather than senselessly throwing the literary equivalent of faeces at social networks.” Length, context, and an internal compulsion that would bring more psychic …

2019-09-07: Jill Filipovic wants to talk about Marianne Williamson and, no, I hear you, I don’t want to talk about Marianne Williamson anymore, either, but she does it mostly to point out, quite correctly, that there’s not much daylight between Williamson’s …

2019-09-07: Nothing I could possibly say can condemn Joker more deeply or more cuttingly than the fact that the Venice Film Festival which awarded the film its top prize also gave its second prize to a film by child-rapist Roman Polanski.

2019-09-06: Yes, I am one of the people who have been asking about iCloud sync for NetNewsWire, and Brent Simmons’ gives some perspective on the pros and cons of where and when in the list of development priorities such a feature would make sense.

2019-09-06: Can someone please help me decode this Brad Enslen post in which he says that “Independent Web can be shortened to ‘Indie Web’ or ‘Indieweb” and says that “Indieweb is a subset of the Independent Web” and says that “Indieweb can be …

2019-09-06: The work intimacy coordinators do is complex and multifaceted. It requires a few skill sets that don’t necessarily always coincide in a single professional—including choreography, contract negotiation, and emotional intelligence. Ita O’Brien, who has worked as an actor, dancer, …

2019-09-06: Can a movie about a sad, pathetic, mediocre white man who turns to cruelty and violence because he is mentally ill really be “not political”? Finding excuses for the cruelty and violence of sad, pathetic, mediocre white men sure seems like it has political …

2019-09-06: Over the past month, when I’ve been feeling panicky and I’m able to take action before a full attack, Cleo has come to find me, wherever I am lying down, and has climbed on to my chest. There, she curls up, gets comfortable, stares directly into my face, and begins to purr, …

2019-09-06: Interestingly, given the local push to limit use of self-checkout, The New York Times’ morning briefing newsletter today brings mention of a related anniversary in the history of grocery shopping. When Piggly Wiggly opened its doors on this day in 1916, grocery shopping …

2019-09-06: I’m going to be stuck and irritated for awhile on the fact that Om Malik references Yancey Strickler’s “dark forest of the internet” theory, because as I’ve noted before Strickler himself gets the “dark forest” metaphor, drawn from the …

2019-09-06: Tim Chambers links an article by Marcus Wermuth about “active listening” and while I can’t judge the worth of the advice it’s hard for me not to note how many of the tasks required for active listening often are unsurmountable hurdles for my …

2019-09-06: Andy Sylvester, building a daily writing habit (via Colin Devroe), mentions having expressly to make blogging a priority. No issues with that here, as evidenced by my desire for Write.as to have a way for me to not send my posts to the public feed, so that I don’t feel like …

2019-09-06: Will Oremus for some reason agrees with Twitter itself that one of Twitter’s “problems” was that the chronological timeline made users not follow many people, and that following as many people as possible apparently is an important metric. It might be an …

2019-09-05: Today I blogged in truly old-school fashion: I sent The Oregonian a letter to the editor, slightly redrafted from my post about the Oregon AFL-CIO ballot push to limit use of self-checkout, which ignores the needs of people with invisible disabilities even while using the …

2019-09-05: But the issue wasn’t so much that Ngo had finally been “exposed” as a right-wing provocateur as opposed to a journalist. It was that he’d managed to successfully convince so many ostensibly reasonable people otherwise, despite significant evidence to the contrary — and, in so …

2019-09-05: “A message doesn’t have to be long but it should have meaning and be passed on with passion,” writes Colin Walker (via Manton Reece), pondering bloggers as apostles, evangelists, or missionaries. “Too many words are wasted on the internet, shared just for …

2019-09-05: There’s an interesting but small study published last month on whether or not the eating differences which often can be seen in autistic children persist into adulthood, and mostly I just wanted to comment about what in the article is offered as sort of an aside. …

2019-09-04: I’ve talked about how I just can’t worry about whether or not I am being read (not that I can do this at all perfectly or consistently), but CJ Eller makes the point that what we can worry about, and maybe what we should worry about, is whether or not, and how, we are …

2019-09-04: Why erode, undermine, and compromise the meaning, value and ideal of citizenship when it’s only going to affect a few? For that matter, why attack other normal things, like free speech and a free press? My suggestion is that we try to understand what the Republican Party has …

2019-09-04: Meanwhile the Oregon AFL-CIO is pushing a law to limit self-checkout lanes in grocery stores to two active lanes at any one time, and in part they are making an overt disability services argument. Beyond the threat self-checkout machines pose for grocery store employees, they …

2019-09-04: Literally I only use Goodreads to track what I’m reading, host my highlights, and follow authors. For reasons of cognitive overload, not site design, I stopped having a friends list there ages ago. I don’t even get recommendations from Goodreads, because it recommends …

2019-09-04: I’ve mentioned it a couple of times already but in some pretty peculiar circumstances and I wanted to return to Brendan Schlagel on “weaving a public web” for one particular part of what he says. Of course this looseness and fragmentary nature makes some things …

2019-09-04: So I made my pitch for a Joker movie that potentially would be truly daring or dangerous in a way the one that got made is just pretending to be, but get a load of how the character is offered up in the Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass graphic novel (via Claire Napier) and imagine …

2019-09-04: But the grind of non-places on the less advantaged populace is rarely improved to any great extent. For them, a whole lifetime in non-places often awaits — living within rows upon rows of low-rent, prefab, identical condos/housing projects; working in regimented spaces, waiting …

2019-09-04: Carrying a gun in public has been coded as a white privilege. Advertisers have literally used words like “restoring your manly privilege” as a way of selling assault weapons to white men. In colonial America, landowners could carry guns, and they bestowed that right on to poor …

2019-09-03: Whenever I read a researcher or academic talk about “improving attention and social communication and reducing repetitive behavior” in actually-autistic people, I take it to mean “conforming autistic behavior to neurotypical standards” and I wish that …

2019-09-03: Currently reading: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (it’s not unusual for my nonfiction reads to take me longer than my fiction reads); and A Spectral Hue by Craig Laurance Gidney, which I can’t remember how I stumbled upon. As always, you can browse my …

2019-09-03: In much the same vein as Brendan Schlagel’s three “flavors of epistemic uncertainty for the blogger” linked yesterday comes Colin Devoe’s list of six bad reasons not to blog. Someone already wrote about this. I don’t understand this as much as others. I’m not a good …

2019-09-03: Survival of the fittest, which is what social Darwinism is, is surely what motivated the administration’s recent decision to deport immigrants, some of them children, with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. (About a thousand people a year are given “deferred action” as a …

2019-09-03: It’s weird that among the various good ideas Daniel Harvey offers for combatting propaganda—among them “algorithmic literacy” and “new networks with new business models”—the idea of relying less on code and more on humans to police content …

2019-09-03: “More and more,” writes Dave Winer, “I use Twitter to write the first drafts of posts that I then write more fully here on my blog.” You’re not the only one, Dave. For me, I think it’s because when something sets me off, I tend to react to it …

2019-09-03: Lost in my ongoing crisis of existence, I didn’t notice that there are some pretty close thematic connections between yesterday’s Kathleen Fitzgerald and Brendan Schlagel links, in that Fitzpatrick is examining if even the IndieWeb is pushing to counteract “a …

2019-09-02: The project has as its working title We Have Never Been Social: Rethinking the Internet. It revisits the history of the Internet’s development and, in particular, the rise of the social media structures that have come to dominate so much of our experience of networked …

2019-09-02: If ever I worried about any of Brendan Schlagel’s three “flavors of epistemic uncertainty for the blogger” (via Tom Critchlow)—uncertainty of purpose, uncertainty of effort, and uncertainty of reception–I would never get anything posted, especially given …

2019-09-02: The new policy was announced on July 11, 2017. Called “limitation of parking spaces in the city construction code,” it reoriented the city’s previous approach by 180 degrees. Before, developers were required to include a minimum number of parking spaces in any new development, a …

2019-09-02: My disappointment in learning that Pattie’s Home Plate Cafe soon will be closing up shop for good didn’t last long, as today on a very busy Labor Day, despite my asking permission to grab a booth that hadn’t yet been cleared off from the previous customer and …

2019-09-01: Currently reading: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America; and The Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang, book four in The Tensorate Series. As always, you can browse my highlights over on …

2019-09-01: While I get what Kathleen Fitzpatrick was going for here, mostly what I see is people discussing these shootings as white supremacist terrorism or violent white supremacy, not merely “white supremacy”. We surely can’t not call it white supremacist just because …

2019-09-01: Sorry, I’m not yet quite done with Joker. In my first post I went off a bit about the irresponsibility of making a movie which reinforces the false belief of a link between mental illness and violence, especially “[g]iven the moment we are in where the President of …

2019-09-01: So I don’t actually believe any of the woo-woo rhetoric about trying to bend reality or whatever it is the randonauts of the Fatum Project think they are doing, but on a lark and for a laugh today I messaged their Telegram bot and made my way to an attractor about a mile …

2019-09-01: On the way back from a failed Randonaut excursion a mile away, a chair from the infant section of The Black Lodge awaited on the sidewalk barely a block and a half from home.

2019-09-01: There was a truly daring Joker movie out there to make, but it’s not this. Imagine, instead, it was a story set in our world, where DC Comics exists, where Batman comics exist, where the Joker exists fictionally as a comic book character. Imagine it was the story of a sad, …

2019-09-01: Fast Company wants you to think that China’s weird and draconian social credit system is coming to the U.S. just because companies like Uber and Airbnb have ways of rating customers based upon their behavior. But being banned from Uber and Airbnb is not going to result in …

2019-08-31: Jessica Kiang reports that after the Venice screening of Joker, director Todd Phillips “asserted his belief that while movies mirror society, they do not mold it”. But since in society the mentally ill are not the cause of violence, and are in fact more likely to be …

2019-08-31: On the other hand, perhaps Atlas’ physical fade from the ledgers of cartographic relevance is fitting. Atlas has always set the precedent for navigability, as it should: one intersection, two highways, straight lines all forming a nearly perfect “X” here near the navel of the …

2019-08-31: Mark Hughes misconstrues, I think, the concerns over whether or not something about Joker is toxic. Or, at least, he doesn’t seem to recognize that there are different kinds of concerns about this, not all of them about whether the film somehow glamorizes the character. …

2019-08-31: “People from the blogging world of the 00s are now in positions of great prestige, wealth and authority,” writes Dave Winer, and then there’s those of us on SNAP and Medicaid and depleting their family’s financial resources as we painfully try to pivot …

2019-08-31: Trump is reviving an earlier, more white-supremacist era of American imperialism, one that cost countless lives, led to a horrific global conflict, and almost undid itself. He and his crew are doing that because, deep down, they are dedicated to conquest for its own sake—because …

2019-08-30: A black bear at the Oregon Zoo sleeps a sound sleep in the enclosure’s viewing window, having slept right through a recent rain shower.

2019-08-30: This is going to be sloppy but I also can tell that if I try to clean it up, I’ll never get around to it. Earlier today on Twitter, Matthew Dowd pointed out that “the goal of the press should be the truth, not balance”, and it sparked a thought, which I’ll …

2019-08-30: Daniel Harvey examines the tools of propagandists and says something at the end that I think might dovetail into the ongoing discussion here about the sorts of engagement social media platforms are coded to encourage if not enforce. Everything we’ve talked about is signal …

2019-08-30: The Trump administration this month decided it would no longer protect from deportation adults and children who have come to this country seeking life-saving medical treatment. About a thousand people a year are given “deferred action” as a form of humanitarian relief. Well, that …

2019-08-30: This week saw an Ask MetaFilter thread about “old-school bloggers” who still are active, and today old-school blogger Paul Bausch (who used to run a fantastic directory of Oregon weblogs) scraped all the links for easy browsing, adding: “The personal web is a …

2019-08-30: Karin Wulf takes to The Washington Post to crew the barricades of the war on disinformation, extolling the footnote—or really the power of citation in general, of which the footnote is centrally emblematic. But nothing could be further from the truth. More than ever, we need …

2019-08-30: Brendan O’Connor’s look at “the antifascist question” for The Baffler is full of lots of good stuff but it’s also more than a little bit weird that O’Connor goes out of his way more than once to credit the Proud Boys for their “unusual …

2019-08-30: However, if the dynamic of autistic burnout really is related to spending more resources coping than one has, I’m not sure the real leverage in avoiding burnout resides with the autistic person alone. Especially because a number of the strategies people have to avoid or …

2019-08-29: Democracy allows you to test those ideas in the public forum. If you want to submit your beliefs to the American people and get their reaction, please be my guest. Keep this in mind, though. Thousands and thousands of young Americans already voted with their lives to ensure that …

2019-08-29: And I’m done. Not with blogging, but with engaging Inquiry any further. I knew it was a risk, since I’ve written before (as early as June) about the disturbing degree to which they see other human beings as “lesser”, but since we’ve reached the point …

2019-08-29: As opposed to the groups who went far into America’s interior to settle isolated communes, these were, in a paradoxical-sounding phrase, practical utopians. Staying close to the city let them try out new ways of living with a financial lifeline and emergency exit. Now, at a time …

2019-08-29: Modern Atlanta may bear little resemblance to the cities of past millennia, but its current residents share something fundamental with urbanites of the distant past: The average one-way commute time in American metropolitan areas today is about 26 minutes. That figure varies from …

2019-08-29: Joanna Mang’s postmortem of Shakesville over at The Outline is a great read but I’m not sure it’s also the corrective history of the golden age of blogging it purports to be. One blog’s sordid, complicated, and all-too-human history doesn’t somehow …

2019-08-29: Currently reading: The Survival of Molly Southbourne, a short by Tade Thompson, author of Rosewater; and How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which I jumped to the head of the line on …

2019-08-29: I’m going to come back to other matters in Inquiry’s post but for the moment I just need to address one part, the part all the way at the bottom, because it’s probably more important than the other stuff in that what I’m pretty tired of is people trying to …

2019-08-29: Following up on my post about (in the words of Mark Bessoudo) “the effect that the built environment has on our brains” and the ways in which our inner “cognitive machinery” interfaces with and is impacted by that environment, and how that can speak to …

2019-08-29: Emperial Young is on a hunger strike to convince Netflix to save The OA–and to “[protest] the capitalist forces that killed the show, general lack of societal support resources, and to raise awareness about properly teaching AI”? Her protest consists of five …

2019-08-29: Not that you need validation from a straight, middle-aged, mediocre white guy, Mara Cavanaugh, but your concerns about Mastodon ring true, especially this: “It feels like when you get on the fediverse, you must have an opinion on all these things. And if you don’t …

2019-08-29: However, this isn’t even the worst way that autism has been twisted to explain or excuse bigotry or cruelty. In 2017, James Damore made claims that it was due to him being autistic that he wrote and published a 10-page document arguing that men should be working in the tech …

2019-08-29: The latest global happiness survey (via Tim Chambers) includes data on people for whom social media is their greatest source of happiness and, really, who the hell are those people? Apparently they live in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and India.

2019-08-29: “Maybe archive.org is the permanent version of the web,” muses Dave Winer. “And then of course the next question is why not just publish originally to archive.org?” Interestingly, Micro.blog used to have a feature which automatically saved your posts to …

2019-08-28: Not for nothing, but while Bret Stephens would never mass shoot anyone, flagging David Karpf’s university provost over a tweet no one had even seen (and which he had to ego-surf just to find) nonetheless sits comfortably on the lower end of the selfsame spectrum of toxic …

2019-08-28: CJ Eller takes issue with an old Doc Searls metaphor of blogging as “rolling snowballs downhill”, and honestly it’s a metaphor I don’t especially understand, since eventually a snowball becomes so massive that it will, as Eller says, “hurtle down the …

2019-08-28: More and more skateboarders are arguing for the wider benefits of mixed-use public spaces. Michael Barker, a New York skater and architect, advocates soft-edged spaces “seamlessly integrated into the life of a city” (as opposed to the “hard edges” of traditional skateparks), to …

2019-08-28: Over on Micro.blog (where I almost went instead of Write.as, and still might someday, depending on the comparative development trajectories), Walter Tyree wondered about the lack of “likes” over there, and asked about getting some sort of quick-reply emoji action to …

2019-08-28: Take the concentration of tech into Big Tech: the theorists who insisted that unfettered markets and doctrinal selfishness would produce competitive and vibrant markets find themselves scrambling to explain the conversion of the internet from a crazy bazaar into five big services …

2019-08-28: Guy Tal (via Om Malik) is concerned about potentially collapsing (he says “consolidating”) a panoply of different terms for experts, celebrities, and other well-known or well-respected kinds of folks into a single, all-encompassing umbrella term: influencer. What …

2019-08-28: Time for a bit of housekeeping. This blog has moved over to Write.as proper, as the Write House instance is not moving forward. Whether this is because the timing isn’t right for me, or because I’m no longer capable of projects meant to serve other people, only time …

2019-08-27: It’s a sad truth that most of our lives are pretty boring, geographically speaking. Live in one place long enough and you will develop routines, walking the same streets and patronizing the same coffee shops and generally making it easy for a simulation, should one exist, to …

2019-08-27: Toward the end of Robert Macfarlane’s Underland: A Deep Time Journey there is a discussion of life in the Anthropocene under the threat of the climate crisis that features a paragraph which surprised me for reasons unrelated to any of the Anthropocene, climate crisis, or …

2019-08-27: Most of us are familiar with the story of the Democratic Leadership Council and its successful push to bring the party to “the center” in order to reclaim voters in thrall to Ronald Reagan. This was a fizzy period in Washington in which wonks debated terms like “centrism” and …

2019-08-27: “You’ve likely read me whining about the relative absence of bloggers referring to each other in these parts,” notes Inquiry. “But while typing the above bit expressing my tmo-presence-happiness, it suddenly hit me that such commenting potentially …

2019-08-27: “The final season of Mr. Robot starts airing Oct 6,” writes Dan Barrett. “This means that if you’re planning on rewatching the show in the lead-up to the new season, you’re advised to start now.” Way ahead of you, there, Dan: I started my full Mr. Robot …

2019-08-27: There are so many terrific bits in this Slate interview with David Karpf, the professor of media and public affairs on whom New York Times columnist Bret Stephens called the manager, but the best might be when Karpf describes his reaction as, “Oh my God, this guy’s never heard of …

2019-08-27: Writing for Spectrum, Connie Kasari discusses just how much Applied Behavioral Therapy an autistic child needs, and I think perhaps the more important questions might be: does ABA even work, and just how are we defining “evidence-based” to begin with?

2019-08-27: “Much of what constituted blogging in the early days has now become commonplace on the social web,” writes Om Malik. “However, what has not been replicated is the ability to create a map of one’s thoughts.” What he’s talking about as he tries …

2019-08-27: While I get where Dave is coming from, I can’t imagine you could call yourself a news operation if you’re running around flatly stating, “For example, it’s obvious that Trump is a Russian oligarch.” He’d have better luck starting an opinion …

2019-08-26: Likely the best thing that happened today was that Alex Zielinski reported for Portland Mercury that fascist propagandist and provocateur Andy Ngo had witnessed preparations by Patriot Prayer to commit premeditated criminal acts of violence against antifa and did nothing (other …

2019-08-26: After months of gaffes on the 2020 campaign trail prompting even his brain surgeon to chime in and defend his mind, Biden made a pointed comment about the state of his brain over the weekend. “I want to be clear, I’m not going nuts,” Biden said during a campaign rally …

2019-08-26: It’s somewhat inexplicable to me that in Bryan Walsh’s warning against letting any potential extraterrestrials know we are here, there’s not a single reference to Liu Cixin’s The Dark Forest, whose take on this question gave me the existential …

2019-08-26: Thomas O’Leary says, “I was on a WordPress blog w/ 350K visits a month and making $150 per week.” Back when I was doing the widely-read Portland Communique, which ran from 2002 to 2005, I never made anything like that from reader contributions. There was no …

2019-08-25: Since the tweet that led me there used the phrase “mediocre men”, I was hoping that this Harvard Business Review article on incompetent men becoming leaders would show me precisely how I’ve utterly failed to capitalize on my own mediocrity quite so profoundly. …

2019-08-25: Blogs are journals, not sites. They are written, not built. The best ones have a heart that beats daily or faster. The writing itself is more conversational than homiletic (which is how I’m behaving here, in a print publication with a monthly heartbeat). That means its …

2019-08-25: Here’s another problem with the context-free instant indication of social media engagement through likes and retweets: unless you’re liking or retweeting something posted by someone you know, you could be boosting something by an abuser, asshole, or racist. …

2019-08-25: It seems perfectly consistent to me that someone who disdains caring and supports suffering would disagree with the contention that absolute power corrupts because “that’s only true if you aren’t capable of wielding and respecting that power” and, really, …

2019-08-25: Geoffrey Cain’s deconstruction of fascism for The New Republic is frustrating because he argues that circumstances today are more merely fascistic than outright fascism but the only thing from his own elemental lists that he seems to think is missing are paramilitary …

2019-08-25: Dave Winer wants an E-ZPass for news sites (why the hell is it E-ZPass rather than EZ-Pass?) to make navigating multiple paywalls easier: “Collect the money if I decide to read a New Yorker or LA Times piece, even though I have’t got a subscription with either.” …

2019-08-25: “People are coming into urban areas and they cannot be stopped,” says Chandana Mitra, an associate professor of geosciences at Auburn University, who studies the impact of heat on cities. Mitra has experienced the impact of climate change in her hometown of Kolkata, India, and is …

2019-08-25: In words and pictures for The Guardian, Gabriel Liston tells the story of the polluted Willamette past, Bull Run present, and climate crisis future of Portland’s water supply, featuring the inevitable cameo by Benson Bubblers.

2019-08-24: Lots of corporations (mostly Google) have competed with Facebook for the social media colonies, and their attempts aren’t missed; but Facebook’s monopoly also beat out the divey-er venues and communal spaces which elevated their members to five minutes of fame and triple platinum …

2019-08-24: Elly Belle has a brief, useful primer on how “fellow white people can and should use their white privilege to educate other white people” which explicates four “necessary steps we should all take to fight racism and spread positive change”. Trust black …

2019-08-24: For the last eight months, though, Twitter has largely checked out, according to some council members. In a year that has seen the company embark on a major redesign, Holmes said Twitter hasn’t solicited much advice from the very experts it asked for help. Nor was the Trust and …

2019-08-24: A metastasizing swath of media is controlled by private-equity vultures and capricious billionaires and other people who genuinely believe that they are rich because they are smart and that they are smart because they are rich, and that anyone less rich is by definition less …

2019-08-24: As I become more and more sour on social media engagement indicators versus ways to increase interaction or context, I keep coming back to something I’ve thought should have existed awhile ago when it comes to thinks like retweets on Twitter: automatic “via” …

2019-08-24: The reality is that there’s no actual connection between the Dayton shooter and antifascist organizing, other than the possibility that the shooter went to a protest and expressed progressive views on Twitter — something millions of people have done since Trump’s election. At the …

2019-08-24: In a sense I want to go back to the early 90s, when blogging was still a twinkle in the eye, an intuition that if we created easy ways to publish, people would do it. The power of tech is that it becomes invisible and the message of the writer, the artist comes to the front. I …

2019-08-24: Not a soccer person? Not even a sports person? You should read Abe Asher’s dispatch from last night’s Timbers game and its 33-minute protest against Major League Soccer’s ban on the Iron Front anyway. I’m not a big reader of sports reporting, either, but …

2019-08-23: Andy Baio reminds us that today is Blogger’s twentieth birthday, per the announcement by Ev (via the Wayback Machine because Ev’s security certificate expired last year) on August 23, 1999, at 3:45pm. We just launched a cool new tool at Pyra. It’s called …

2019-08-23: Nate worries about not noticing the absence of a “first-rate friend” because large social networks bury us in “third-tier friends”, and wonders if the answer simply is smaller social media (although I do wonder if any platform has toyed with algorithms …

2019-08-23: We maybe need to be talking more about how the Portland Police urged people to visit OMSI instead of going anywhere near a popular mobilization against fascism and then failed to protect OMSI after escorting the Proud Boys and their fellow fascist travelers across the closed …

2019-08-23: I’d never heard of the “land value tax”, in which the land itself is taxed at a high rate while buildings are taxed at a much lower rate or not at all, until this J. Brian Charles piece for Governing, and why the hell aren’t we all doing this? Tax lands …

2019-08-23: For what it’s worth, CJ Eller, you, of course, can follow my blog wherever it ends up; just fire up ye olde RSS reader. As for where it will be moving, I’m still torn, although as I talked about last night on Twitter, it’s not clear to me whether I’m …

2019-08-23: A Supermajority/PerryUndem survey released this week divides respondents by their position on abortion, and then tracks their answers to 10 questions on gender equality more generally. On every question, anti-abortion voters were significantly more hostile to gender equity than …

2019-08-23: The only way in which “in hating on influencers” am I “hating on ourselves” is in the acknowledgment that I, too, am utterly mediocre but haven’t yet figured out a way to monetize that at the expense of fools. To quote the Leslie Knope paraphase I …

2019-08-23: Ward added, “I’ve been in many a protest. I’ve been in some amazing community mobilizations against bigotry. I’ve not in my 30 years seen such an organic alignment, that was so celebratory, as Saturday. People felt empowered and not disempowered. And the fact that Joey Gibson and …

2019-08-22: As I wait to see if Knock Knock WHOIS There is going to let me register a reserved domain for my (triumphant?) return to blogging like it’s 1999, I’ve been doing due diligence again on IndieWeb blogging platforms. The presumption is that I’ll simply move from my …

2019-08-22: Casey Newton has some pushback to a study in Nature on the “global online hate ecology”, but I’m mostly wondering if anyone covering this study has bothered, oh, I don’t know, talking to any actual community managers about its conceptions of dealing with …

2019-08-22: So what’s behind the “historic” defense? “Neighborhood change can be frightening to longtime residents,” CityLab’s Laura Bliss writes. But saying “I find change scary” isn’t likely to get you very far in city halls. Instead, pleading the cause of historic preservation can become …

2019-08-22: Not content with founding Autism Speaks, known for its history of eliminationist rhetoric, Bob Wright now wants a president who’s already established concentration camps and wants to reestablish mental institutions to go all Minority Report on the mentally ill.

2019-08-22: I find this frustrating. It’s true that Trump’s fascism, racism, and sadism aren’t themselves mental illness or due to mental illness, just as Nick Starr-Street’s autism wasn’t a shield for his racism. However, that doesn’t preclude mental …

2019-08-22: The actual psychic toll on our mental health is crippling. The lost sleep, the grinding anxiety, the escalating fears don’t just represent squandered time. They start to chip away at your health and at your soul. The healthy response would be to tune it out altogether, but since …

2019-08-22: “Oregon has a history of white supremacy. We were born from a — as a white homeland. That’s how Oregon got started. And so, we have our own homegrown white supremacists. But when we have people on a national stage encouraging people to come and create violence in our …

2019-08-22: As near as I can tell, the argument here is that tradition and upbringing and I guess probably just plain being old is an iron-clad defense of hating fairness, equality, “lesser” people, and believing the presence of those people is the same as war?

2019-08-22: Trump shouldn’t be living rent-free in progressives’ heads any more than he should be living rent free in the White House. When there’s so much work to be done, cooking up schemes to “drive Trump crazy” doesn’t seem like a great use of energy. What will we do with a Trump that …

2019-08-21: Mei Mei, the Oregon Zoo’s red panda, pauses during a Wednesday afternoon snack to try to lick some stray food from her nose.

2019-08-20: Because I’m nothing if not completely incapable of making good self-care decisions when I am having another of my crises of identity, tonight I rewatched Eighth Grade, and managed somehow to come out the other side more or less psychologically intact. When I previously …

2019-08-20: The coalition’s goal of inclusion, combined with the strategies commonly associated with “antifa,” gave the groups a unique toolkit that allowed the coalition to build bridges and increase the number of participants. The success of this method could be a game changer for …

2019-08-20: It’s also not an issue of UI. If there’s any way, implicit or explicit or both, of signaling engagement, it will tend toward rewarding outrage and anger. And this gets even worse, not better, if you add data from what your friends and peers like. From No Algorithms Follow-Up by …

2019-08-20: This breakdown isn’t included in the poll results as released (and I don’t have access to The Wall Street Journal story) but according to John Harwood only 24% of Republicans, 27% of non-college white men, and 37% of rural residents are worried “that the United …

2019-08-20: While searching for why Lilly Wachowski isn’t involved in The Matrix Repetitious or whatever it’s going to be called, I remembered that she also wasn’t involved in the end of Sense8, and somehow I ended up finding this Naveen Andrews interview in which he calls …

2019-08-20: A useful example was given to us in June when a group of 30 “gender-critical” (read: anti-trans) academics, led by the philosopher Kathleen Stock, published an open letter in The Times about how having to respect the pronouns of their trans students and colleagues was somehow …

2019-08-20: “No one is suggesting that the Timbers support fascism,” writes Abe Asher for Portland Mercury. “What they are suggesting is that by supporting the Iron Front ban, they are creating space for a political movement that physically endangers a great number of their …

2019-08-20: FogCam’s 25-year run has meant that it outlasted another of the web’s earliest webcams. Cambridge University’s coffee pot cam came online a year earlier in 1993, after one scientist who worked at the university wanted a way to check the status of a coffee pot remotely, rather …

2019-08-20: There’s a myth about autism out there. It’s not any of the ones you’ve probably heard of, because it’s a myth promulgated by actually autistic people themselves. It’s the myth of autistic morality, or, more broadly, the myth of Autistic …

2019-08-19: The somewhat disheveled-looking side of the Hallock & McMillan building on SW Naito Parkway and SW Oak Street in downtown, Portland.

2019-08-19: I dare you to read Andrew Marantz’s willing descent into Silicon Valley’s awkward try at mindfulness and not just come away having found the entire tech sector even more insufferable than you’d previously thought possible.

2019-08-19: When it comes to anything Timbers, I’m on the outside looking in. But since there’s an ongoing battle between Major League Soccer and antifascists, I’m briefly going to weigh in on the team’s front office statement today. For obvious reasons banners and …

2019-08-19: When I talked about the built environment and the brain my interest in urban architecture’s direct impact upon being autistic was keeping me from recognizing other analogous areas of obvious interest to me, such as online conversations. I am fascinated by the fact that the …

2019-08-19: Eillie Anzilotti’s examination of housing-debate Twitter is, as the piece itself says, “a good microcosm for examining Twitter as a platform for any debate”. I’ve been talking here about the need for context, not just “content”, and as one …

2019-08-19: Whatever, if any, overt political motivations of the three would-be mass shooters thwarted over the weekend, they have three things in common: whiteness, and toxic masculinity.

2019-08-19: I wish I understood enough about the science to consider the connection between “too little inhibitory activity” in our autistic brains (“Autistic people’s brains switch between the images more slowly than those of neurotypical people do, the study …

2019-08-19: Why Portland? The city presents a unique mix of past and present white nationalism; policing that enables the far right; weak political leaders; and a legacy of antifascist organizing. Combined, these elements allow the far right to stage violent spectacles with few legal …

2019-08-18: The point is that there is not and cannot be any legitimate debate over whether it is a moral position or not. Once you’ve taken a stand against a symbol that promotes human rights and antifascism, you’re both in the wrong and sending an extremely dangerous message. …

2019-08-18: The next step is to embed smart technologies in the urban environment to collect information about how well a place is performing against human metrics and, more ambitiously, enable it to reconfigure itself to perform better. That might mean dialling down visual stimuli such as …

2019-08-18: So, basically, Proud Boys has confessed to extortion under the provisions of ORS 164.075 by openly announcing their intent to be “financially crippling” to the City of Portland “until they take action against Antifa”.

2019-08-18: Unpresidented Brass Band leads the everyday antifascist Banana Bloc on a march around Waterfront Park, as Portlanders were urged to 'be the spectacle' to counter a fascist rally.

2019-08-18: “The effect that the built environment has on our brains is the subject of a growing field of study,” writes Mark Bessoudo for The Possible, “combining insights from disciplines such as neuroscience, psychology, architecture and philosophy.” So why is this …

2019-08-18: It looks like Dean Baquet is going to have to call another “town hall” meeting of staffers at The New York Times, this time to discuss how and why the head of white supremacist policy at the White House got massaged on the front page into a “young …

2019-08-18: As near as I can tell, what they are saying by that last is that they don’t want webmentions because looking for posts about themselves is the only reason they browse the public Write.as feed?

2019-08-18: Popular Mobilization (or PopMob), a coalition of leftist groups that organized the counterprotest, distributed flyers in Portland this week that stated: “If you oppose racism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and the xenophobic, …

2019-08-17: Urged to 'be the spectacle' to counter the fascist rally at Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon, today, Banana Bloc (aka Unpresidented Brass Band) gives a shit.

2019-08-17: Unbeknownst to me until tonight, there is a coffee place in my neighborhood that’s open into the evening: Affogato. For the nine and a half months I’ve lived in St. Johns, I could have been getting the hell out of my apartment in the evenings if restless to have a …

2019-08-17: Two unicorns dance at the Battleship Oregon Memorial in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, having been urged to "be the spectacle" as a counter to today’s fascist rally in Portland, Oregon.

2019-08-17: So I am tired and angry and exhausted and autistic and mostly just feel that effectively the world told me today to stop leaving my apartment because everything is too hard and not worth it.

2019-08-17: Captain America was a recruiting poster, battling against the real Nazi super-villains while Superman was still fighting cheap gunsels, strike breakers, greedy landlords and Lex Luthor – and America was still equivocating about entering the conflict at all. No wonder Simon and …

2019-08-17: “And that brings up a question,” writes CJ Eller, “is there a need for notifications?” These exist, of course, and have for a very long time, in the form of trackback (and later pingback), and these days the attention and work seems to be going into …

2019-08-16: My ongoing poking of the ideas of friction and context is a case of everything old being new again, as so much of old-school blogging in fact was exactly this: context-making. What made that this work so simply, so elegantly, and effectively, of course, was the simple inline …

2019-08-16: My brain has a difficult time with longer-read pieces and collections on computer or tablet displays, so I haven’t yet been able to delve into The 1619 Project from The New York Times Magazine, but that’s no reason you shouldn’t get started. On August of 1619, …

2019-08-16: No matter how many communities of both choice or chance I find myself a part of, I always seem also to find myself standing apart in my own little corner within them. It was true for my fandom communities of choice and it’s been true for my chance community of autistics. …

2019-08-16: In a OneZero piece that highlights the hateful through-line “that’s been hanging around since the days of Waco, that found its home on Breitbart, that was mainstreamed by the Tea Party movement, and that was weaponized during Gamergate”, Colin Horgan makes a revealing …

2019-08-16: There’s something in one of Nate’s Thoughts that speaks to the idea of introducing friction into social media, especially the sort which produces context in a way that, e.g., reflexive hitting a like button (or obsessively checking one’s likes count) …

2019-08-16: There is too much television. Outside of whatever I’m watching live during the week (e.g., tonight, Killjoys), my Netflix backlog is beginning to pile up with Leila and Street Food, which I’ve started, new seasons of Glow and Mindhunter, new international shows Green …

2019-08-16: Today’s morning briefing newsletter from The New York Times has what I’ll just say by way of introduction is an “interesting” take on why during the 2008 presidential campaign Barack Obama back chose Joe Biden to be his running mate. When he was running …

2019-08-16: Beto O’Rourke apparently thinks it will pass legal muster to “require large internet platforms to adopt terms of service to ban hateful activities” and “remove legal immunity from lawsuits for large social media platforms that fail” to do so. …

2019-08-15: For all intents and purposes my Patreon page now is pointless, although I can’t yet quite bring myself to take it down. The era where I could bring things to the world other than myself clearly is gone.

2019-08-15: Not sure where to begin. The parents of the Dayton shooter published two obituaries: one for the shooter, which doesn’t mention the shooting and praises him as a “funny, articulate and intelligent man”, and one of the shooter’s brother, whom he shot and …

2019-08-15: Natasha Stovall’s beautiful, difficult, and leisurely stroll through whiteness flirts a little too often with psychopathologizing racism for my comfort, but all of its other discomforts should be willingly endured, much in the way you’ve hopefully endured the …

2019-08-15: Jay Rosen shows me that Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, really loves that line about the paper not being part of the resistance. It’s not clear if he is the editor who used it in that recent company meeting but he did use it in an interview with CNN. …

2019-08-15: Over the transom from Write.as development today comes news of Submit.as, a workflow for accepting writing submissions to your Write.as blog, and I am reminded of CJ Eller’s discussion of letters-to-the-editor as an alternative to blog comments, and I’m here for it. …

2019-08-15: Over the past three years, I’ve been researching our conceptualizations of free speech — why we afford it to Nazis, how its been influenced by billionaires, and how it can exist in a system in which some people have immense power and influence, and most people have almost none. …

2019-08-15: Joe Biden’s allies admit he’s not prepared to be President of the United States. This is the only possible conclusion to draw from their suggestion that he scale back his public events and campaign activities in order to “limit the verbal flubs”. …

2019-08-15: Just days before the event, Twitter’s Trending Topics sidebar—intended to surface the most interesting conversations on the platform—had become flooded with conspiracy theories about the death of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. A month earlier, the president of the United …

2019-08-14: So I’ve been playing catch-up on NOVA’s “The Planets” and it told me an astonishing story about the solar system which somehow I’d never heard before: the gas giant Jupiter once spiraled violently inward through the nascent solar system. Its path …

2019-08-14: Coming back to my thoughts on author-moderated replies, a feature which looks to be coming soon to Twitter, I want to loop in this thread by Derek Powazek, whose seminal Design for Community made me think a lot back in the day. In effect, I am arguing that for author-moderated …

2019-08-14: This cannot, cannot, always be on me alone. That I can do everything right, take every precaution to protect myself, short of just never leaving my room (and then I would doubtless be told that I was “letting my diagnosis limit me” or “using it as an excuse”), and still wind up …

2019-08-14: This morning, I was unprepared for the degree to which my body and brain were going to say, “No.” to today, but then I guess that’s usually how this sort of thing happens. (See “brain foam”.) Which is why it’s so difficult for trying to plan normal life things, …

2019-08-14: I’m not sure about the weird rhetoric that ditching the “like” button “could help bring us back together”, but Darren Loucaides gets into the issues involved in removing the standard public metrics of social media platforms, chief among those issues …

2019-08-14: CJ Eller reveals to me the existence of “blogchains” and mostly I am wondering why they’re called chains instead of, say, threads, since we already understand what Twitter threads are, and this is basically that except for blogs, with the added business of a …

2019-08-14: Normal people, working inside the normal American system, fight hard for something. They see an objective—say, tax cuts or a new law protecting the quality of drinking water—and they work toward that end. White evangelical Christians do not fight for things. They fight against …

2019-08-14: “Efforts to expand the definition of ‘public charge’ through welfare and immigration reforms of the mid-1990s laid the groundwork for the current Trump policies,” writes Alonso-Yoder, “but so too did the original 19th century statutes limiting migrations of poor people. When …

2019-08-14: What does Senator Josh Hawley think people are going to do with all that free time after being freed of their social media addition, read more books?

2019-08-14: There’s an interview with Matt Mullenweg over at The Verge about Automattic’s acquisition of Tumblr, and it’s chock full of nostalgia and hopefulness for the open web and how Tumblr can fit into that—everything from being able to follow non-Tumblr sites via RSS …

2019-08-13: The dam might be breaking when it comes to the press reporting on the fact of Jordan Cofer, brother of the Dayton shooter. Last week I noted that Splinter News broke the story that the Dayton shooter’s sibling in fact was a trans man who reportedly was out only to friends, …

2019-08-13: Arielle Pardes of Wired has been live-tweeting something of an epic, wide-ranging conversation about the future of Twitter and there’s a lot in there that needs to be taken apart and parsed but I wanted to focus on one item in particular. There’s also a new …

2019-08-13: In the spirit of my routine derailment, I’ve once again switched up which domain I’m using for my profile page and therefore my overall “branding”, which is what I have in lieu of a “stable, constant sense of self and identity”.

2019-08-13: The premiere of The Terror: Infamy was better than the five episodes I made it through of The Terror last year, primarily because I couldn’t have cared less about anyone in The Terror but already am interested in the characters of Infamy. In the first season I’d taken …

2019-08-13: We remember the Tea Party as principled rogues committed to the rule of law, rugged individualism, limited government and fiscal responsibility. But we remember these characteristics because that’s what Tea Party apologists said when they rationalized its goals to the Washington …

2019-08-13: Earlier this month, as part of discussing friction online, I posted about friction offline and the suggestion by Richard Sennett that “you move through a space and you dwell in a place”. Now, through Kimberly Hirsh, I learn about Yi-Fu Tuan who “suggests that …

2019-08-13: Yet I can’t help but carry my own disquiet. It comes and goes, but it never fully disappears. It tags along to the movies, and the Stop & Shop where I buy groceries. It’s there when I think about my nephew, who starts kindergarten in September. It’s here now on a stormy …

2019-08-13: In my long-running and long-winded bio, I argue that “the small, every day courtesies matter”, and now there’s research to back that up. That said, while I believe in the strength of “that brief acknowledgment, that brief glance” to improve the flow …

2019-08-12: I feel like geek businesses need fewer geeks and more nerds, else at some point “let’s put on a show!” explodes in everyone’s face. This is not, as anyone who knew me during my years in a particular fandom know, a new take from me, although I probably never put it in just those …

2019-08-12: More neptunian distance from The New York Times comes in this Vanity Fair piece in which an editor says that the “feeling from the top” is that the newspaper is “not gonna be a part of the resistance”. This makes sense in normal political times, but when …

2019-08-12: One thing I forgot to mention about the conspiracy theories surrounding the cancellation of The OA is that I accidentally floated one of them—that they’ve actually already filmed a third season–back in March. It was how I tried to expain why it took them so long to …

2019-08-12: Arguably, the thing to shun when writing a blog post is writing a blog post like this blog post, but I especially dislike Lesko’s last point. Blogging does not require setting drafts aside for hours or even days. Blogging always was meant to be more casual art than …

2019-08-12: What is the slow web? At it’s core it’s the idea that we shouldn’t fill our mind with junk and we should connect with those around us. Social media is fast food for the mind. Consuming it feels in the moment, but when you look back you’re not left with anything memorable. …

2019-08-12: Fashioning an ouroboros of unaccountability (as astutely spotted by Adam Jentleson), The New York Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet today privately told staffers that, in the words of The Daily Beast, “the paper shouldn’t allow itself to be edited by Twitter …

2019-08-12: Continuing, at least roughly, the ongoing conversation about friction, CJ Eller hits upon a useful description of my earlier suggestion that there’s a distinction in value and worth between indication and interaction. An indication is a noun. “How many likes did your post …

2019-08-12: “I get a decent number of readers but not enough for me to feel a burden changing the site name and URL,” blogs Tiffany White. “Like the byline says: this is my little space on the internet, and I quite like it like that.” “I think that if you feel …

2019-08-12: Dmitriy Andreychenko told local authorities that he “wanted to know if that Walmart honored the Second Amendment.” That’s not what he was testing. He was testing whether white people would continue to tolerate open displays of sadism; whether they would continue to rationalize …

2019-08-12: This seems like a big deal for the web. Automattic, the folks behind WordPress, just bought Tumblr from Verizon. On the one hand, consolidation of blogging and social sites is not terrific. On the other hand, Tumblr’s been kicked from itself to Yahoo! to Verizon over the …

2019-08-12: One of my regular Substack newsletter reads has opened up paid subscriptions and it’s made me think about something I think is an innate flaw in Substack’s paid newsletters model. Were I to want to pick up paid memberships, say, in my five most-read Substack …

2019-08-12: We might need new political terminology. Or maybe it already exists and just isn’t used. Once again, this time in a Nature editorial, the argument is made that such-and-such subject matter or so-and-so group of people “must rise above politics.” Except that …

2019-08-12: Like I said. You aren’t going to find “small moments of shared humanity” with someone who simply doesn’t like sharing the internet with humanity and feels that they wouldn’t have to suffer so “had really smart people not made careers of …

2019-08-12: To some, this conjures up dystopian visions of a privacy-less future. But it also echoes something that happened more than one hundred years ago, when many young people were flooding into U.S. cities. Scholar Jeanne Catherine Lawrence describes how philanthropist Ina Robertson …

2019-08-12: Twitter says it suspended 166,513 accounts for promoting terrorism between July and December 2018. When asked for clarification on what constitutes “promotion of terrorism” and what kind of groups would fall under this banner, Twitter pointed to its “Terrorism …

2019-08-11: All recent events considered, now I’m even more interested to see how well the new Ben Lerner novel landing in October handles “a culture of toxic masculinity, … the collapse of public speech, the trolls and tyrants of the New Right, and the ongoing crisis of …

2019-08-11: But most of all, if you allowed yourself to be swept away by *The OA*’s strange, gently bonkers poetry, you were rewarded with an increasingly rare sort of hopefulness. Comparisons are often made between The OA and Twin Peaks — another absolutely unhinged show I adore about time, …

2019-08-11: The inability for even me to find old posts here due to WriteFreely’s lack of pagination on hashtag pages, lack of native search, and the incompleteness of search results via Google or DuckDuckGo is becoming a real problem. The only work-around I can think of is to download …

2019-08-11: I hate to tell you, CJ, but you very much are “writing into the void here” when you respond to that particular poster, given that they believe that most people are “lesser” and those people being present on the internet at all due to “lowering the …

2019-08-11: It’s good that the press is talking about misogyny as it pertains to mass shootings in the U.S., but I can’t help but feel like we need to move beyond that term, especially since it doesn’t appear to apply to the motivations of the El Paso shooter, but the …

2019-08-11: J. E. LaCaze’s look at embracing selfishness has me wondering which parts of my one-time social and romantic lives were “nice guy syndrome” and which were “unknowingly being autistic”, because there’s some fairly evident behavioral, cognitive, …

2019-08-10: Unable to engage or focus, I found myself absently and endlessly scrolling up and down on this blog. I imagine it might have been a sort of virtual analogue to rocking back and forth. It did prompt me to resume my intermittent and continually-frustrated search for a local …

2019-08-10: Has anyone considered the possibility that Joe Biden is so very fond of rail travel because he’s mentally unfit to operate the dangerous, two-ton battering ram that is a motor vehicle? In just one week, he’s said that “poor kids are just as bright and just as …

2019-08-10: But the media’s desire to erase the shooter and his ideology ended up erasing his victims and their community, too. While the news media successfully portrayed this shooting as part of a national epidemic of mass killings, we failed to accurately convey how this one was …

2019-08-10: Whatever new stuff I am watching on television, I always also have some sort of rewatch going. Right now I am rewatching Humans, which easily can be seen as a sort of thematic sequel to Battlestar Galactica. You could consider the “evolution of robots” opening titles …

2019-08-10: Awhile back, I read an interview with archaeologist Jeremy Sabloff about archaeology learning “how to look beyond the temples and palaces” of the 1% and instead to look at the 99% below them, and I’d love to know if there’s a book on that subject, showing …

2019-08-10: Today they blah-blah-something about “tradition” as their latest defense for disdaining an evolution of common decency and fairness in how we treat other human beings. Instead of enjoying the benefits of following traditions born of gosh-knows-how-many-years of …

2019-08-10: Two years ago, British Columbia suffered one of the worst wildfires in the Canadian province’s history, which consumed 1.2 million hectares and displaced 65,000 people. The 2017 blaze was so intense that scientists are using it to model the climate conditions that might be …

2019-08-09: One of my early-warning signs when watching a television show is finding myself almost unconsciously rewriting dialogue. This happened not long into the first episode of Wu Assassins on Netflix. Another sign for me is if one character accuses another of having a small penis as a …

2019-08-09: Lilac, a goat at the Oregon Zoo's "family farm" exhibit, steals Timothy-grass out of the mouth of her son, Bruce Wayne, during petting zoo hours.

2019-08-09: I found this Kimberly Hirsh memo on the evolution of academic thinking about the various features of so-called “affinity spaces” interesting, especially the different ways such spaces can think about things like skill levels, depths of interest, participation routes, …

2019-08-09: It seemed to McMillan as if he was working in virgin territory, designing places for kids with a seriousness of purpose he hadn’t seen before. Watching children use his equipment, often in ways he could never have anticipated, made him more and more certain: play wasn’t a …

2019-08-09: Ayman Mohyeldin just conducted on MSNBC an entire conversation with Tony Romm and Clint Watts about today’s White House meeting with tech companies to address online extremism without once mentioning the draft White House executive order to protect online extremism, …

2019-08-09: Somehow in all the general wow and flutter, I missed that back in April Nancy Pelosi also threatened Section 230, deriding it as “gift” to internet companies that merely established a “privilege”, and threatening that it “could be removed”. …

2019-08-09: That young, white Trumpist who “drove 10 hours to El Paso from Houston to make his statement of support for President Trump” by brandishing a gun outside an immigrant community center reportedly is heading to Portland for next weekend’s Proud Boys event, which …

2019-08-09: It’s confirmed: Trump is coming for Section 230, the sole remnant of the long-overturned Communications Decency Act which protects internet companies from liability when engaging in content moderation and community management. The draft order, a summary of which was …

2019-08-09: It doesn’t get much cable news coverage, but toxic masculinity lurks behind both of last weekend’s mass shootings, and now (well, two days ago, actually, although the mainstream press doesn’t seem to have picked up on it) we learn that the Dayton shooter’s …

2019-08-08: Daniel Jalkut says that in your forties “you feel more competent, and empowered than you’ve ever been, yet also more despondent”. My recollection, as I stare down the barrel of the fifty coming my way in October, is that I’ve had bursts of competency eventually …

2019-08-08: This effort to criminalize dissent doesn’t appear to bother those in the Democratic Party who are happy to use the labor and sacrifice of anti-fascist activists in Charlottesville as launching points for new chapters in their political careers. Democratic presidential …

2019-08-08: We’re going to tax your mega churches so bad Joel Olsteen will need to get a job at Chik Fil A to pay his light bill. Speaking of Chik Fil A, we’re buying all those and giving them to any LGBTQ person your sick cult leaders tortured with conversion therapy. Have fun …

2019-08-08: When you engage in surprise raids, round up hundreds of people, leave their children crying in parking lots, then almost immediately release half of the people you rounded up, there is no point except sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt. This is state-sponsored terrorism. …

2019-08-08: I’ve had a number of posts here arguing for introducing more “friction” into how we interact online, but there’s a parallel discussion happening out there about how we move through life offline that for all intents and purposes is about introducing fiction …

2019-08-07: Sunday night, I began a free week of HBO through Amazon expressly to binge Years and Years, which so much of my Twitter feed had been watching as it aired. I’m not sure why I decided to watch a dystopian drama as my escapism after a weekend of mass shootings, but there you …

2019-08-07: How very convenient for Trump that on the same day he’s duty-bound to go make presidential noises in El Paso in the wake of its white nationalist mass shooting (setting aside that he made those noises badly and unconvincingly), ICE stages massive raids in Mississippi …

2019-08-07: I’ve had the privilege of growing up in a tradition that didn’t believe in the myths and the legends because we had to bear the brunt of them. Either we’re going to change, Nicolle, or we’re going to do this again, and again, and babies are going to have to grow up without …

2019-08-07: In the wake of another mass shooting by a white nationalist whose language apes that of the President of the United States, the White House is preparing an executive order targeting 47 U.S. Code § 230’s protections for moderating online content. I’m expressly tying …

2019-08-07: There are a few very revealing moments in this Lizzie O’Leary interview with Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times that pretty much tell you everything you need to know about what’s wrong with the executive and editorial culture at that newspaper. Faced …

2019-08-07: After Barack Obama’s victory, Republicans suddenly talked less about conservative economic orthodoxy—i.e., being anti-Big Government—and more about who deserves what. Even as they denied the racist roots on their thinking, Tea Party Republicans declared that entitlements were, …

2019-08-07: And then The New York Times publishes on the front of its business section a story with the headline, “Why Hate Speech on the Internet Is a Never-Ending Problem”. The subhead, after including an excerpt from 47 U.S. Code § 230: “Because this law shields …

2019-08-07: That’s what makes this bigger than a question of sloppy reporting. The Times’ error is the type of error made by powerful people who understand politics as a game played by two competing but symmetrical teams, who hardly dare imagine anything could come along that would truly …

2019-08-07: It’s probably time for another health update. Next month is the consult to discuss the lymph node questions mentioned in the last update and decide which ones to biopsy and what exactly those procedures will look like. That also will be the time for lab work to follow-up …

2019-08-06: This evening’s unbidden nostalgia led me to remember another bit of history: Rebecca Blood’s ten tips for blogging, as well as her weblog ethics, which I referenced in the site policies on Portland Communique. In my current return to blogging, I mostly still follow …

2019-08-06: Randomly thought of Cyborganic today, although I only ever had at most a kind of tangential interaction, mostly through Spacebar, I think, but I did attend a single Thursday Night Dinner after I moved to San Francisco. I know that I had a crush on someone I now don’t …

2019-08-06: Much of the press and the political establishment sees Trump’s racism as something he injected into a fundamentally good system, rather than some existent force he merely tapped into—either because they prefer to see it this way, or because they are morally or financially …

2019-08-06: “Mitch McConnell,” I wrote, “will find some way to spin it.” Sure enough, his campaign has boys-will-be-boys’d photos of teenagers choking and groping a cardboard cutout of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This sort of blithe dismissal of toxic masculinity …

2019-08-06: This item from Substack on “how to do something about local news” makes me wonder if I would have done Portland Communique any differently had something like Substack been around in the early 2000s, although probably I posted too frequently for it to have existed as …

2019-08-06: If we don’t make it clear that toxic masculinity and our ongoing, routine dismissal of it (which is how police in Ohio somehow with a straight face can say there’s nothing in the shooter’s history to have precluded him from purchasing a gun despite, you know, …

2019-08-06: Yet on the other hand, leaving the earth feels like the last thing we should be doing. Our planet is in crisis. We’re in the middle of a mass extinction event. There is increasing social and political polarisation and division. It’s hard to feel the same awe and excitement seeing …

2019-08-06: George Conway is a resistance grifter. Neither he nor Kellyanne Conway in reality care about the places they’ve staked out on opposite ends of the Trump spectrum. It’s a third-rate Carville/Matalin grift, and everybody knows it, even—or especially—the media figures …

2019-08-06: Speaking this morning about these mass shootings, President Trump said that mass shootings are carried out by “mentally ill monsters” and claimed that in order to prevent them, we must “reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit …

2019-08-06: By way of “apology” for being an unfeeling jerk, Neil deGrasse Tyson posted five paragraphs, four of which defend his intentions (as if no one understood them), followed by one which addresses his impact in essence by saying, “Sorry for not being a …

2019-08-05: Currently reading: Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane, which is a bit weird to be reading right now because I only just recently read Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt; and Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, …

2019-08-05: Mitch McConnell, et al, will find some way to spin it, but be very clear on this: these Team Mitch boys are displaying a variant of the selfsame toxic masculinity that erupted this weekend in Dayton and, via radicalization into white nationalism, El Paso. We need to tackle …

2019-08-05: I watched the video recording of the rally in Panama City shortly after reading the El Paso killer’s so-called manifesto. It is a document littered with phrases and rhetorical devices injected into mainstream discourse by the president and his supporters—talk of a “Hispanic …

2019-08-05: Netflix is home to two of the boldest things American television has tried, and while I thank them for giving it a go (and while I enjoy many of these international partnership series they’ve been producing lately), if they are getting out of the “unique vision” …

2019-08-05: They themselves warn about this argument, although only vaguely and in passing, but be very, very wary of pushing the “imagine if these had been radical Islamic terrorists” comparison made by The New York Times editorial board, because it carries the danger of …

2019-08-05: This anti-outsider vibe and the erasure of the rightful owners of the land our city occupies are reminiscent of the blatant, glistening white supremacy I grew up around in Australia. In Portland, it’s cool to be pro-immigrant but hate people moving here. It’s hip to protest a …

2019-08-05: Nothing endangers American public space in 2019 as much as mass shootings, says Yale sociologist Vida Bajc, who studies public space and security. In each of the four shootings, fundamental modes of our shared existence — eating, socializing, shopping, partying — gave way to …

2019-08-05: Here’s how switching to Kindle has changed my reading habits: I went from maybe a few books per year to around thirty books per year. So far this year I’ve somehow managed to read forty-three. Most of this is due to being able to carry both a fiction and a nonfiction …

2019-08-05: Along with that D.C.-area soccer player stopping to call for gun control, I forgot to mention that what also needs to continue is the sort of anger on display this weekend by Tim Ryan, Beto O’Rourke and Beto O’Rourke. As reminded by someone I follow on Twitter, …

2019-08-05: But just as important, all of us have to send a clarion call and behave with the values of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy. We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and …

2019-08-05: My primary fandoms have all been week-by-week TV fandoms: Sailor Moon when it aired as an afternoon show in the 90s, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Wonderfalls (yes, Wonderfalls!), The Inside (I’m here for Tim Minear’s most obscure work), Veronica Mars, 30 Rock, New …

2019-08-05: Missing from this “analysis” is that the primary way in which Americans are “raising shitty human beings” is (drum roll) toxic masculinity (cymbal crash) which then itself often is the foundation for being radicalized into white nationalism. Even when not …

2019-08-04: But imputed racism is still racism. … No one was writing in the New York Times to demand that the future of white children be secured; they were just saying that social cohesion might be stronger if white people felt more secure in their white children’s futures. From …

2019-08-04: Don’t let them distract you. The perpetrators of this weekend’s two mass shootings might have held diametrically opposed party political views, but they shared two things: toxic masculinity and access to guns. White supremacy is not an inevitable destination for toxic …

2019-08-04: White supremacy is a far bigger and more pervasive pathology than a single party, or even the entire electoral system. White liberal racism is a thing too, as is left racism, and both are destructive. But in the face of this wave of terror, there are some basic facts we need to …

2019-08-04: Lu & Temple tracked 663 young adults. Their conclusion: “the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. Instead, access to firearms was the primary culprit.” From So let’s talk about mental health. by Caroline Chen

2019-08-04: Neil deGrasse Tyson has been an asshole for awhile, but because he’s tended to restrict his Twitter antics to tamping down fan enthusiasm for pop culture properties it’s mostly been just profoundly annoying. But could he really not stop himself from “well, …

2019-08-04: If we find violence motivated by hate unimaginable from sane people, it is only because we have forgotten the majority of human history. Short of retroactively diagnosing large swaths of past humanity with mental illness, it is difficult to justify the idea that hate requires …

2019-08-04: That nonsense person on Write.as who hates that people lesser than they are allowed on the internet (the one who hates fairness and hates equality) today ratchets up their rhetoric, saying that “lowering the bar of access to hoards of the lesser” is, in fact …

2019-08-04: So this is who we are now. We go to bed still rattled from the day’s mass shooting, and we wake to the new day’s mass shooting. And to another day of the faith without works of the Republican Party doling out their thoughts and prayers while gun control legislation …

2019-08-03: The guy who disdained caring and shrugs at suffering because it’s “a somewhat healthy and fundamental part of being a living being” now wants us to take seriously his lamentation noises over the internet “killing and hurting people”.

2019-08-03: The day after the White House suspends a reporter because he offended one of Trump’s white nationalist guests at a social media summit a few weeks ago, a white nationalist gunman kills more than a dozen people in El Paso. These are threads in a single, ugly tapestry being …

2019-08-03: Gun obsessives are fetishists and idolators who value an unproven right to own semi-automatic rifles, or bump stocks, or any other such nonsense over other people’s actual right to safety, security, and life. Quite the feat for people who on the whole also self-avow a …

2019-08-03: As a disabled person, this kind of unscientific thinking is a red-flag. There is a certain type of person you meet when you are visibly disabled or disclose an invisible illness. This person, usually abled, wants to help you “get well soon” — even if you have a chronic, incurable …

2019-08-02: “Big news organizations often seem to editorially privilege the difficulties and even the feelings of Midwestern whites,” writes Greg Sargent. “I can’t cite a study that proves this. But you see it constantly.” He highlights the asymmetry of how the press …

2019-08-02: Publishing’s ongoing war on libraries over ebooks, as detailed by Jessamyn West, is one reason why I don’t feel guilty about the fact that when I have library loans expiring on my Kindle, I simply leave off the device’s wifi and keep reading at my leisure. On …

2019-08-02: The problem with Write.as allowing anonymous posts is that so far this week there’s been two anonymous posts using “autistic” as a slur, not to mention that anonymous posts are allowed to go out over the public reader feed rather than being limited to people …

2019-08-01: Lotsa, one of three llamas at Naked Acres Farm in Beavercreek, Oregon, becomes a work of hazy abstract art due to an autofocus misfire.

2019-08-01: Are you getting anything out of this blog? Please consider hitting up my Patreon. If you can’t swing monthly support, you can drop me a few dollars through Cash, or gift me a book from my Amazon wishlist.

2019-08-01: This profile by Elizabeth Flock of India’s so-called “Green Gang” in *The California Sunday Magazine*—”thousands of low-caste women have banded together to become vigilantes”–is legit remarkable, but I was not entirely prepared for the somewhat …

2019-08-01: They believe cities are taking advantage of them, because the Republican Party has for decades been telling them we are real Americans while they who live in urban centers are atheist, criminal, lazy, parasitic, or even diseased. Meanwhile, “real Americans” are pure, …

2019-08-01: It’s a little nonsense for someone who lamented idiots “[displaying] their idiocy to the disconcerting annoyance of too many others” to turn around and complain about someone lamenting crazies and their “drug fuelled [sic] manic raving” but then a …

2019-08-01: Immoral or criminal autistic people need to stop blaming their autism for their immoral or criminal acts. Just as Nick Starr-Street didn’t harass black women because of his autism, Jason Berlin didn’t rape a woman because of his autism. Of lesser import but still …

2019-08-01: CJ Eller draws a line from Jorn Barger to Vannevar Bush (or would that be from Vannevar Bush to Jorn Barger?) and, really, I find it interesting that twenty years on, new blogging is talking about old blogging, and at some point I am either going to be suffering from a kind of …

2019-08-01: At this stage of human history, stars have lost their critical role of orienteering signposts and human humility reminder. They are almost invisible to urban dwellers. There is an aesthetic vacuum up there. Since the human race does not like to leave blank spaces, some started to …

2019-08-01: “What’s your problem, Portland?” asks Portland Mercury and mostly I want to call attention to two transit-related matters. First, Suzette Smith nails one issue as a pedestrian: drivers who think they are doing you a favor when they aren’t, because (at …

2019-08-01: Politicians and pundits need to get over the idea that the middle will save us. White supremacist terrorism is going largely unchecked, states are trying to make abortion punishable by prison time, and we are running large-scale baby jails and concentration camps on the border. …

2019-07-31: The few big things I want to flag from the second night of the second round of Democratic debates were served up by Cory Booker, Julián Castro, and then a tag-team of Jay Inslee and Kirsten Gillibrand, but I’ll start by giving the only credit I’m going to give Joe …

2019-07-31: It’s been awhile since I had a good “who the fuck is writing this timeline” moment, but this jaw-dropper of a New York Times piece that no one asked for or ever would ask for likely qualifies as an all-time winner. Revealed by the Times is that Jeffrey Epstein …

2019-07-31: These words are more than a “dog-whistle.” When such violent dehumanizing words come from the President of the United States, they are a clarion call, and give cover, to white supremacists who consider people of color a sub-human “infestation” in America. They serve as a call to …

2019-07-31: It’s a madness, alas, we must take literally and seriously. If we continue to look for a reason why the president attacked Baltimore, we are distracting ourselves from what’s going on. Trump is not attacking one set of policies in order to justify another set of policies. There …

2019-07-31: There are two things I wish were the takeaways from last night’s debate but won’t be, because neither of them fit into the usual narratives: Buttigieg’s admonition against campaigning based upon what the Republicans will say, and Williamson’s (yes, look, I …

2019-07-30: Sarah Kurchak has a good response to critics of Hannah Gadsby, especially the weird idea that Gadbsy somehow might be invoking autism as a kind of criticism shield. It’s an especially strange critique, to be sure, not just given that autistic people often are judged simply …

2019-07-30: ‘I have this plan,’ Merlin [Sheldrake] says, ‘that for each formal scientific paper I ever publish I will also write its dark twin, its underground mirror-piece – the true story of how the data for that cool, tidy hypothesis-evidence-proof paper actually got acquired. I want to …

2019-07-30: Links posts here now are Highlights posts, and I’ve changed the design of them from blockquote-style to highlighting-style, since I’ve been talking so much lately about how highlights are one of the things I miss about how Medium works, and about how I wish …

2019-07-30: Now, there is growing recognition that buildings not only need to be designed to be functional and aesthetically pleasing, but acoustically satisfying as well – leading some architects and engineers to rethink how spaces are shaped and the materials they are made from. Scientific …

2019-07-30: “Where does the ‘log’ in ‘blog’ come from?,” asks CJ Eller, and while, yes, it’s mostly a rhetorical and poetical question, I just felt the need to say for the record that it comes from Jorn Barger.

2019-07-29: “Did you know that fewer than 1% of people on Twitter produce most of the Tweets that break our rules against abuse?” asks a new sitewide message making its way (and making a plea to “support a culture of respect on Twitter”) into users’ feeds today. …

2019-07-29: I don’t have bladder cancer, according to the biopsies. Hilariously, and ironically given my thing about the use of messaging, I missed a message from my urologist last Thursday during my hazy surgery recovery daze telling me this. I could have been relaxing on the cancer …

2019-07-29: One of the disadvantages so far to not finding a therapist covered by my insurance who understands autism, let alone adult autism, that has become achingly clear over the past couple of weeks: my anxiety remains completely unconfronted by medication. Just last Friday, I suffered …

2019-07-29: Todd McCarthy, the 69-year-old film critic at The Hollywood Reporter who dismissed critics of the casting of Tilda Swinton in Dr. Strange as “politically correct … alarmists” and disparaged Diego Luna in Rogue One as not being “a strong and vigorous male …

2019-07-29: CJ Eller’s talking annotations. I’ve been talking highlights. Lots of people are talking about introducing friction into how we interact with the web, or at least context. Eller’s posting their annotations; for all intents and purposes, what my Links hashtag …

2019-07-29: For awhile now I’ve been interested in how trauma gets laid down in the brain, because I’ve wondered if the way sensory and other stimuli hit the autistic brain carries a risk of causing trauma, especially with research suggesting persistent connections in such …

2019-07-28: As a member of the Oregon Trail generation, I came of age alongside the Web. I had access to much of it a little earlier than my peers, because my dad’s work provided home access for him. As an adolescent, I had this sort of constant feeling of the immense potential of my life …

2019-07-27: This person wrote 2,500 words apparently just as an elaborate set up to declare, “It is much, much more productive to not use the word altogether.” The word? “Racist”.

2019-07-27: Compensation might be an adaptive trajectory that can be differentiated from other trajectories in psychiatry, such as resilience, in which a negative outcome is avoided, behaviourally, cognitively, and neurologically, despite exposure to risk. Instead, autistic compensators, …

2019-07-27: When you have “no passionate opinions” and so care about nothing, “advocating the devil … at the whim of a desire to get under the skin of anyone [who] might care about something” is not “playful”. It’s at best cruel, at worst …

2019-07-27: “Well then, my final ‘reason’ for not supporting social justice is a really simple one,” admits Nils Grønkjær, “and that is I think that suffering is actually a somewhat healthy and fundamental part of being a living being.” This after earlier …

2019-07-26: Several things came across the transom today about being autistic as an adult, as I am. One of which I want to highlight. First, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the so-called “Autism CARES Act” which includes an expansion of its …

2019-07-25: Trump does not need a Soviet Politburo. He does not need a Nazi Ministry of Enlightenment and Propaganda. He does not need an army of Russian saboteurs. He doesn’t even need House Republicans repeating conspiracy theories. All this president needs to make war on the truth, break …

2019-07-25: They really do hate the very idea of fairness, to the point where they ridicule that we should even inadequately strive for it, since we are not omnipotent enough to achieve it. (Filed under “politics” because, well, politics is the arena in which we fight for that …

2019-07-25: It’s not clear whether Pelosi even thinks people actually believe this line of reasoning. She just doesn’t seem to think it’s her job to convince them. Voters handed Democrats a meaningful avenue for holding the executive branch accountable in 2018, but Pelosi seems to have no …

2019-07-24: Lucy, one of three llamas at Naked Acres Farm, located in Beavercreek, Oregon. She lives with two others, Lotsa and Mystique, not pictured here.

2019-07-24: The authoritarianism of indifference. That’s what [Free Speech Absolutists] are implementing: an infinite acceptance of toxic speech and malicious ideas, built on the accusation that any criticism or attempt at gatekeeping is a slippery slope toward mass censorship. To make it …

2019-07-24: I haven’t posted anything today because the day began at 5:30am not for the Mueller hearing as planned but for dealing with the urine on my bedroom floor because apparently I had not locked the drain spout on the catheter bag during its previous emptying. Fortunately for …

2019-07-24: Not for nothing, but I think Joe Biden should read this Jane Coaston piece asking the right to imagine for a moment that the left has been correct, all along, on race and on the right’s problem with race, because what she’s describing, in fact, is the “time …

2019-07-23: While I don’t think the retweet is some sort of smoking gun for what’s wrong with social media, I do think there’s a strong argument for discussing how to build more friction–and more context–into actions we can take on social media platforms. …

2019-07-23: So, this whole thing is maddening. There is no going back to a time before Trump, which is the time that led to Trump. There is only going through what Trump outed about America to something better, or something worse. “Even when he was running,” insists Biden, “I …

2019-07-23: It’s not that tricky. Conservative intellectuals have always been, in one way or another, in agreement with overt white supremacists. They just had the good sense of understanding the social liability of being openly racist in Washington, where such “impolitic gestures” might …

2019-07-23: It’s the day after my bladder surgery, and as much as I talked about it beforehand, I don’t really want to talk about it much here. It’s been more suited to short in-the-moment bursts on Twitter than something comprehensive and thought out. Suffice it to say …

2019-07-23: A vintage Farmall tractor undergoing repairs at Naked Acres Farm in Beavercreek, Oregon, serves as shade for chickens. Farmalls were discontinued in the 1970s.

2019-07-23: CJ Eller is talking about friction again, although without using the word. This time it’s about the different cognitive impacts of differing ways to “copy” information. “I wonder,” they ask, “whether the gulf between copying and comprehension …

2019-07-23: It isn’t that Facebook or Twitter aren’t communities but that social media companies self-promotionally call them communities while actually treating them merely as userbases. Social media platforms are, and contain, communities—sometimes singular and solitary, …

2019-07-22: This is Freya, a very good farm dog at Naked Acres Farm in Beavercreek, Oregon. Freya was part of my pre-surgery mental health roadtrip to the farm over the weekend.

2019-07-22: To appreciate the charms of small structures, it is useful to remind ourselves that we primarily interact with architecture from a ground level rather than the god’s-eye view employed in films and renderings. The architecture of day-to-day urban life is driven by utility and …

2019-07-22: Remember this interesting idea by CJ Eller for “letters to the editor” on Write.as via post-by-email to a private blog? Turns out it’s infested by spam, which prompted some interesting thoughts about friction.

2019-07-22: Welcome to bladder surgery day. Today’s agenda: “cystoscopy, bladder/diverticula biopsy, stone evacuation, left retrograde pyelogram, possible ureteroscopy/biopsy, possible stent”. My ride to the hospital, through my insurance’s “non-emergency medical …

2019-07-19: The former home of the Good Samaritan Food Bank of North Portland recently was completely cleared out and given a new, vibrant paint job.

2019-07-19: But more frustrating than pure semantics is that liberalism’s most ardent defenders tend to credit the liberal order for victories won beyond the means of properly liberal politics. More often than not, the march toward justice in liberal societies has been fueled by illegal …

2019-07-19: As the English writer and academic Mark Fisher tells us in Ghosts of My Life, in the 21st century we exist in “a general condition: in which life continues, but time has somehow stopped.” The “general trajectory” of the future has disappeared — and, with it, culture “has lost the …

2019-07-19: Getting mad at McConnell for hypocrisy is like getting mad at your cat for not understanding English. He does not hold values higher than power, so expecting him to respond to charges of hypocrisy is like expecting your cat to talk. The proper response therefore is to stop giving …

2019-07-19: It would be nice if the Beltway press corps for the love of god or whatever would stop aiding and abetting Ivanka Trump’s repeated efforts at rehabilitating her reputation in real-time. Until and unless the story is that she’s renounced her father and his supposed …

2019-07-18: This is the sort of thing that actually makes me glad I don’t blog on Write.as, because I know I’d pick fights with people like this who blame “wokeness” for Donald Trump rather than blaming bigotry. Here’s the thing, though: this performative …

2019-07-18: A lot of people believe that a racist action happens because a person (who is racist in every single encounter) gets up in the morning and says, “I sure do have an irrational hate of X race. How can I be more racist toward that group every day and every way?” And, when that …

2019-07-17: As of this writing, hours after the fact, Trump’s basking in the violent cries of “Send her back!” directed at Representative Ilhan Omar has yet to yield any response from Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, or the Democratic National committee, although the …

2019-07-17: Tipping further entrenched a unique and often racialized class structure in service jobs, in which workers must please both customer and employer to earn anything at all. A journalist quoted in Kerry Segrave’s 2009 book, Tipping: An American Social History of Gratuities, wrote in …

2019-07-17: If you pair this Twitter thread by Lois Beckett with this newsletter issue by Jonathan M. Katz you get a pretty good historical primer and current example of modern journalism’s inability to call “racist” the things and people that are racist.

2019-07-17: My personal position is zoos are important. I think it’s fantastic work, what people there are doing. I think since zoos always have problems with financing, they need to generate money, [and] they only generate money if they have attractions. And this is the weak point: Zoos …

2019-07-17: Trying to scare white people is an effective political strategy, but it is also an effective ratings and traffic strategy. Trump’s ability to manipulate the media through provocation and controversy has been effective precisely because covering those provocations and …

2019-07-17: In it, [Thucydides] says that the motivations for us to go to war are fear, honor and interest. These three are all interpretations of evolutionary themes: fear of predation in order to simply survive to reproduce and rear the bearers of your genes; honor, pride or a sense of …

2019-07-16: Sometime between seasons four and five of Portlandia, after a two-year stint abroad, I moved from the Kingdom of Morocco to the City of Roses. I settled first in rural Oregon. A year later I settled in Portland proper. And a couple enlightening years after that, I settled for the …

2019-07-16: Normally I would find a good pull quote and just post this as a link, but I expressly want to call attention to “Me and Monotropism” by Fergus Murray, because I think the “focus on some key features of autism as seen from the inside” (emphasis mine) is key …

2019-07-16: The press has been covering this as tit for tat. One side hits. The other hits back. On it goes, leaving citizens to wonder what’s what. Or worse: leaving us to wonder if all they want to do in Washington is fight and not get anything done. The news has been lots of heat but no …

2019-07-16: “What’s a TV show that you remember from your childhood,” we were asked, “that no one you know remembers?” Thus began my hours-long, rolling autistic flail on Twitter. I knew, immediately, my answer, except that I didn’t because I could not for the …

2019-07-15: How sick do you have to be to publicly thirst for a concentration camp guard, or to be that concentration camp guard and think, “Oh, gotta go see if I can cash in on this sudden internet fame!” (Not for nothing: leaning on a wall in a way that visually makes for a …

2019-07-15: And I fear that we are collectively making a big mistake. To strip away honest words about a phenomenon like this seems to me an abdication of our post. To turn explicit racism in a demagogic presidential candidate into merely railing against immigration feels like the kind of …

2019-07-15: The convention adopted “high crimes and misdemeanors” with little discussion. Most of the framers knew the phrase well. Since 1386, the English parliament had used “high crimes and misdemeanors” as one of the grounds to impeach officials of the crown. Officials accused of “high …

2019-07-15: BuzzFeed has some pretty peculiar journalistic standards. Earlier today this story included a flat, declaratory statement by its author: “The federal act’s protections are contingent on these companies acting neutrally.” The federal act in question being 47 U.S. Code …

2019-07-15: One thing I miss about writing on Medium is highlighting, and it got me thinking last night and again this morning that blogging platforms should do away with likes, or refrain from implementing them if the platforms are under development, and instead implement reader highlights. …

2019-07-15: There they go again, digging in their heels to defend the idea that if you can’t figure out a little HTML you’ve got no reason sharing your thoughts with the world. It just goes to show: even knowing a little HTML doesn’t turn shit into gold.

2019-07-15: “So we have to ask ourselves how to remember what we read here on the web,” writes CJ Eller, “how to retain what is beneficial and use it in our study and in our lives.” I wonder if we even realize what we are missing out on. The only thing that gets …

2019-07-14: For years I resisted getting a professional evaluation of whether or not I was actually autistic because the family member that had been suggesting it can exhibit sort of a projected hypochondria (e.g. any sniffle means I should go to the doctor because it might be pneumonia), …

2019-07-14: What is maddening to me is that we already have a party in an overt panic over demographic change and it’s the Republican Party, and we don’t need the Democrats engaging in some sort of Lite version through centrism or civility or whatever it is House Democrats have …

2019-07-14: Scarlett Johansson can “clarify” all she wants that her remarks were taken out of context by The Daily Mail for clicks, but if you read the Q&A itself I’m afraid they aren’t. At all. In any way. Are we seeing an acting trend today? Hmm… We live in …

2019-07-14: As human beings, we live by emotions and thoughts. We exchange them when we are in the same place at the same time, talking to each other, looking into each other’s eyes, brushing against each other’s skin. We are nourished by this network of encounters and exchanges. But, in …

2019-07-14: My surgery has been rescheduled, the day has been cleared by my accompanist and babysitter, and I guess we will see if the next seven days bring a repeat of the fatigue, exhaustion, and depression I suffered during the week leading up to the original date.

2019-07-13: The intersection of racism or implicit bias and developmental disability remains largely unexplored. A 2015 National Institute of Health report on the topic says that previous studies on the issue have remained inconclusive. Damian Stanley, who co-authored the report, says …

2019-07-13: It should be noted, when Mike Pence says that people in America’s concentration camps have “access to hygiene”, that when trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act the Republican Party often touted its own support for “access to healthcare”, but it …

2019-07-13: So many interesting things you can do on Write.as that you simply can’t do on a hosted WriteFreely site, like this creative method of receiving “letters to the editor” by giving readers the address for posting-by-email to a private blog that you check for …

2019-07-13: The second issue is the prolonged placement of children in institutional settings. Obviously, the two are linked in this particular situation. From the perspective of what we know about children’s health and well-being, what we know about trauma, abrupt separation is one area …

2019-07-12: Kirsten, a Pygora goat at the Oregon Zoo, passed sometime in the last week and a half. At least fifteen-years-old, she was the last remaining of the oldest old-guard goats at the zoo.

2019-07-12: There’s no good reason to do this. The families who are going to get broken up aren’t any better or worse than those who will watch this happen, or the millions of others who will look away. The people who are going to get rounded up and thrown into concentration camps won’t be …

2019-07-12: I don’t know which office or department has been leaving voicemails last night and today, but even on a good autistic-brain-day, it takes me awhile to get to voicemails I don’t know what they are about ahead of time, and the entire past week (up to and including …

2019-07-12: Mostly this piece on autistic skill sets (“good at some things, bad at other things, and the difference between the two tends to be much greater than it is for most other people”) makes me think that mine is a life of forever being impaled repeatedly upon my own spiky …

2019-07-11: And the first ethical hacker was René Carmille, the comptroller general of the French Army, who headed up the French census before the Germans invaded. The Germans instructed Carmille to input census data into IBM machines and have it analyzed to produce a full list of Jews …

2019-07-11: Tomorrow’s surgery has been thrown into question by a new-to-me set of requirements for the person who will be driving me home and babysitting me afterward. This morning’s scheduling email from Kaiser Permanente suddenly revealed that they expect my helper to be …

2019-07-11: It’s the devout agnostic in me, I’m sure, but I’m not a fan of the idea that people on the left need to call their morality a “religion” just so that the fascist right doesn’t have a monopoly on the term.

2019-07-11: And what do these shows have in common? White guys. Specifically, white guy showrunners. Before we proceed, let’s clarify: The problem is not white guys, per se. It’s that even when “woke” white creators attempt to wade into the waters of feminism, it only goes deep enough to …

2019-07-11: A tiny instance of street graffiti at the very edge of the long expanse of a whitewashed wall somewhere on North Interstate Avenue in Portland, Oregon.

2019-07-11: Someone today seemed surprised that I wasn’t automatically conceding their contention that people should feel guilty for being on Twitter. (This came up on Mastodon during today’s Twitter outage.) If I felt guilty about inhabiting every online or offline space that is …

2019-07-11: Julia Feld of the fascinating idea that is Reading the City herself concedes “that because she handpicks each book, the recommendations are somewhat biased toward her own relationship with a place”, and I do think it’d be a better project if expanded into more …

2019-07-10: Kudos to Willamette Week for sitting down with a department store mannequin and mythbusting the “cementshake” allegation, which the city inexplicably but unsurprisingly continues to defend.

2019-07-10: Sometimes it’s algorithms, sometimes it’s tweets. I’ve read a number histories of the city, so Cities: The First 6,000 Years by Monica L. Smith was an instant addition to my Kindle wishlist.

2019-07-10: Offline, our lives are hemmed in by institutions that force us to engage System 2, even when we are disinclined to. Children are taught to wait their turn before talking; grown-ups are frequently required to wait before marrying, divorcing, buying a gun. No matter how sure they …

2019-07-10: Add to all of this shit an ant infestation, two days before surgery and being laid up at home for five days with a catheter with which I won’t want to go outside. I’m working the problem, step by step, but now there’s even a bigger likelihood of one hell of a …

2019-07-10: It’s no secret that American public policy throughout the 20th century endorsed the car—for instance, by building a massive network of urban and interstate highways at public expense. Less well understood is how the legal framework governing American life enforces dependency on …

2019-07-10: Not for nothing but stim suppression also basically is what a late-diagnosed autistic person most likely unknowingly did for the years or decades prior to diagnosis, along with sensitivities suppression.

2019-07-10: The Republican Party was not always so sadistic, but elements of sadism were always present even when the party was still committed, in word and deed, to the demands of liberal democracy. (You could say William Buckley’s long career was an effort to suppress the GOP’s sadism or …

2019-07-09: Fatigue, exhaustion, and (I guess?) depression continued into their fifth day, having haunted me since Friday. Today it was like a wall fell on me while I was at the zoo, where I was trying to get in a mental health trip in advance of Friday’s surgery and its resulting five …

2019-07-09: “Some scenes have a strobing effect,” warns each episode of the latest season of Stranger Things, “that may affect photosensitive viewers.” Know up front that not all such scenes are created equal; the opening sequence to episode six is much harsher than …

2019-07-09: Things are still quite a ways away from Write House accepting its first invite-only members. In truth, I might have gotten things underway a bit early, given the alpha state of WriteFreely and the number of things that should be in place before bringing other people on board. …

2019-07-08: “What we like contributes to the picture of who we are,” writes Kimberly Hirsh about constructing identity online, “but what we want people to know we like does even more so, I think.” I don’t have anything insightful to say about this at the moment …

2019-07-08: Not all algorithms do me wrong. Following the Amazon engine after pre-ordering the new Molly Southbourne book out tomorrow from Tade Thompson, I stumbled onto a book recommended by both Ann Leckie and Charlie Jane Anders, and so onto the wishlist goes A Memory Called Empire by …

2019-07-08: Watching the Epstein story unfold, you’d almost think our entire society is based on knowing enablement of the violent abuse of marginalized people—mostly young, mostly of color, mostly women, mostly poor—by powerful people—mostly older, mostly white, mostly men, mostly rich. …

2019-07-08: Speaking of management, I remain somewhat disappointed that my pet theory for the identity of Management on the cancelled Counterpart turned out not to be correct. I don’t think I ever posted it, but my idea was that Management would turn out to be the only people who were …

2019-07-08: My default mode is asking what the hell is this superficial nonsense, seeing it’s written by a “management consultant” grifter, and then understanding.

2019-07-08: [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez told me that she treats Republicans like buffoons because that’s how they’ve behaved for as long as she can remember. “Even before I was of voting age, I saw Republicans accuse the Obamas of doing a ‘terrorist fist bump,’ so they’ve been clowns since I …

2019-07-08: This is the suffocatingly grim reality: Even after the peeling off of a layer of the political media’s most prominent interlocutors during # MeToo — including Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, Bill O’Reilly and Matt Lauer —television coverage of the 2020 election is still being led by …

2019-07-08: Even on their own terms, the civility police had missed the point. At that point, when the evidence was clear that this bill would hurt people (and was overwhelmingly rejected by public consensus) and the Senate Republicans were looking to pass it anyway (whether to achieve tax …

2019-07-07: Preemptive surgery and catheter depression ever since Friday’s pre-op telephone appointment and its planning whiplash has left me crushed under exhaustion and fatigue for two days and somehow I still have to get through the week and the surgery and the recovery.

2019-07-06: I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that a lifestyle profile of Nancy Pelosi by Maureen Dowd is not what this particular moment in history required of any us right now.

2019-07-06: Having recently watched Jinn and more recently watched the second season of Dark, my ongoing tour of international Netflix shows continues this weekend with Leila, the first episode of which is sort of a mix of The Handmaid’s Tale and Orange Is the New Black but with more …

2019-07-05: What are we to make of this? Given that we are 99 percent chimpanzee, that we share largely the same DNA, is it really so impossible that they could appreciate something like a sunset? Or is that anthropomorphism? Are we projecting our thoughts and ideas onto another species, …

2019-07-05: A chimpanzee at the Oregon Zoo perches in the indoor part of the chimpanzee exhibit. Starting next year, the chimpanzees will move to Primate Forest, "a new larger and more natural habitat" currently under construction.

2019-07-05: Kaiser Pemanente waited until one week out from my bladder surgery and biopsies to tell me that whoever I arrange to bring me in the morning needs to stay there all day and be the one who takes me back home in the afternoon, thereby scuttling the current lead options for my …

2019-07-05: Until reading this Jonathan M. Katz piece yesterday, I guess that I hadn’t seen the actual reasons for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reportedly becoming visibly angry at border agents during her recent tours of America’s concentration camps. It wasn’t even in the …

2019-07-04: One thing I’ve noticed about building and maintaining real-life relationships is that they are a hundred times more valuable than anything you could do online. Interacting with someone only a handful of times in person will leave an impression much greater than if you were …

2019-07-04: I wish that when I’d posted about mistaking Seattle’s “breathing rooms” as safe places to go when you’re trying to avoid a mental health crisis that I’d yet read the Sarah Holder piece on open-plan offices adding “pods” for privacy, …

2019-07-04: Most people most of the time would note, at the very least, that choosing between one’s God and one’s child is unfair. Others might say God sabotaged Abraham. Other might question Abraham’s mental health. But to the “Christians” we’re talking about, this is not a dilemma. The …

2019-07-04: Multiple things can be true at the same time. In this instance, it’s true that more people wearing backpacks need to be conscious of how much more room their bodies take up because of them, and, yes, there are situations in which, if you can, you should remove them. …

2019-07-03: So, it turns out that in its current state, WriteFreely, the platform Write House runs on, doesn’t paginate hashtag pages, which means currently each of my various archives (including the date archives which currently are just made from hashtags) only go back ten posts. The …

2019-07-03: Tonight I burned through the last three episodes in season two of Dark, so that tomorrow I can binge season three of Stranger Things while our fascist-in-chief is off publicly masturbating to tanks on the National Mall, although with any luck thunderstorms will make his martial …

2019-07-03: Let’s be clear: this is a public admission that he knowingly views these conditions as a deterrent, and that amounts to a confession to committing crimes against humanity, and that is grounds for immediate impeachment. It’s long past time for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck …

2019-07-03: At Ursula, however, the children Sevier examined—like the panting 2-year-old—were “totally fearful, but then entirely subdued,” she told me. She could read the fear in their faces, but they were perfectly submissive to her authority. “I can only explain it by trauma, because that …

2019-07-03: Until these remarks by Gerry Conway condemning the behavior, I had no idea that there were cops and soldiers claiming the Punisher symbol as their own. That’s deeply disturbing but, let’s be honest, sadly unsurprising.

2019-07-03: No. Because timing is an issue. Timing is an issue, and we’ve lost a week at this point. And this isn’t anything against anybody on this call. I’ve been told different things, and it’s becoming increasingly frustrating. If you were Facebook and an attorney …

2019-07-03: So in that episode of Better Off Ted about the racist motion sensors, the company’s solution is to give each black employee a white person to trigger the sensors for them. Naturally, those black employees find other uses for their white people. LEM: Can you believe this? …

2019-07-03: Other than the free loaf of bread here and there, the only thing of value I got out of playing some collect-and-win game at the local Safeway was a Shutterfly discount on a 20”x30” print. Due to arrive while I am in post-op recovery at home after surgery next Friday …

2019-07-03: There’s some stuff here already about “upzoning”, or doing away with zoning laws which exclusively cordon off areas for single-family housing, and here’s another one because I am fascinated by the important racial arguments. (While this post has been …

2019-07-03: Seattle is establishing what I saw referenced as “breathing rooms” and I thought that was a clever term for somewhere for people to pause for a mental health break while they are out around town, but it turns out it’s about protecting people from the smoke of …

2019-07-03: “The term completely disregards the difficulties these individuals have on a day-to-day basis,” says lead investigator Andrew Whitehouse, professor of autism research at the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia. What’s more, …

2019-07-02: Today a Kaiser Permanente nurse tried to make me feel bad for being actually autistic. In the midst of me already beginning to come unraveled because today’s appointment was not what I was told it would be, raising the prospect that I had subjected myself to two 90-minute …

2019-07-02: There is disagreement across party lines about the cause of the crisis at the border. A majority of Democrats consider it a crisis because of the treatment migrants are receiving as they attempt to cross the border (54%), while most Republicans say they think it’s a crisis …

2019-07-02: Nick Starr-Street now is facing charges stemming from his harassment of black women at the apartment complex from which he’s been evicted. Shame on Michael Quander, however, for structuring his story in such a way as to frame autism as an excuse for racism. …

2019-07-02: There’s a bunch of stuff I wanted to write about, or at least link, but today almost entirely is about the 90-minute commute to a nurse consult about catheter care and other post-operative recovery information, the nurse consult about catheter care and other post-operative …

2019-07-01: That last post, it turns out, does not do justice to how angry I’ve suddenly become tonight. There was no time, earlier, as I was off on my weekly mental health trip to the zoo, and I do tend to treat that as a protected environment for self-care. But within minutes of …

2019-07-01: It’s all well and good, and necessary, that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus went on a barnstorming tour of some of America’s concentration camps, but combine what the delegation found even with authorities on their “best” behavior with the massive …

2019-07-01: I keep forgetting that the platform behind Write House is not even beta software, it’s alpha software, and it only just today hit version 0.10. For my purposes here as I slowly (not a critique, just a description) watch WriteFreely come together for an eventual invite-only …

2019-07-01: From the post-modern conservative position, what they believe has no bearing on their rhetoric or argument, which is from the position that truth - objective, material truth - does not exist. Whoever wins the argument decides that the color of the sky or the existence of …

2019-07-01: If you listen to pundits, Democrats remain a party of “coastal elites” who act like the rest of the country doesn’t exist. (And this is setting aside that what they mean is they feel Democrats don’t talk enough about “real Americans”, by which …

2019-07-01: Alex Zielinski of Portland Mercury last night posted a write-up of what she’d found out about the Portland Police Bureau’s dangerous “cementshake” tweet. It’s based on the same info Katie Shepherd got from the Bureau, although Zielinski more …

2019-07-01: Apparently some English towns are installing “chat benches” (really, signs on existing benches, it looks like) for people in the mood to talk to other people. I’d be fine with this happening elsewhere if it was also then implicitly understood that if I’m …

2019-07-01: I’m not going to call them “principled conservatives,” as the *Washington Post*’s Max Boot and others have insisted, because so much of what these pundits do is contrary to any ordinary definition of “principled.” As for “conservative,” truthfully, I’m not sure what that word …

2019-07-01: In animals this is often fatal, because their cells and systems are highly specialised and inflexible. Think of animal biology as an intricate machine in which each cell and organ has a place and purpose, and all parts must work and cooperate for the individual to survive. A …

2019-06-30: Over the last several months, I’ve been getting back to subscribing to things via RSS feeds in Feedly, and getting into subscribing to things via email in Stoop. Ideally, I’d want to be able to do both of these things in a single app. Add “read it later” …

2019-06-30: Two good books are on sale at $2.99 each for Kindle today, which is almost over: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, and Autonomous by Annalee Newitz.

2019-06-30: Katie Shepherd has been continuing to push today and gotten a bit more out of the Portland Police Bureau. We’ve gone from “quick-drying cement” in their tweet yesterday afternoon, to a “substance … similar to a quick drying cement” in their press release …

2019-06-30: Signal Station Pizza operates out of the former St. Johns Signal Tower Gas Station in downtown St. Johns, Oregon. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

2019-06-30: I’ve been focused on the “cementshake” nonsense because it’s important to hold the Portand Police Bureau’s feet to the fire on just casually handing profa an easy propaganda victory that will be impossible to rein back in, even if they later release …

2019-06-30: There’s an even dumber possibility: all of the “cementshake” nonsense could have originated from some hyperbolic profa redcap seeing the coconut flakes in someone’s spilled vegan milkshake and crying “quick-drying cement” to the police. ETA: …

2019-06-29: So here’s a thing we will have to watch unfold over the next several days or weeks here in Portland. First there was a tweet from the Portland Police Bureau just sort of casually mentioning without even the suggestion of evidence that at the “Shake Back The …

2019-06-29: And so as June comes to a close and the year is halfway done, I seem already to have completed my Goodreads challenge of reading 35 books for the year. This was the same goal I’d set for 2018 and 2017, when I read 37 and 36 books, respectively, by the end of December. While …

2019-06-29: News outlets serving as little more than third-party publicists is a longstanding pet peeve of mine, so you’d be unsurprised at my annoyance with Portland Mercury’s story on the new Portland Indie Con for not even referencing in passing originally having invited, and …

2019-06-29: “The discussion in this race today,” Joe Biden told the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, “shouldn’t be about the past. We should be talking about how to do better. How we can move forward.” This in a speech defending his track record, even, I guess, on …

2019-06-29: Rachel Maddow on Friday night had a weirdly contrived premise that every Democratic candidate had at least one moment that went well enough for them to be able to build on. I think there’s a difference between having a good moment in the moment and having a moment that …

2019-06-28: There is no evidence that immigration spreads disease. One recent study in The Lancet found that immigration makes arrival countries healthier. Another review of European studies found that the “risk of transmission” of diseases from refugees and asylum seekers to local …

2019-06-28: Twitter today was buzzing about automatic faucet sensors (and, apparently, soap dispensers) not seeing black people, reminding me of previous stories about the Kinect not seeing black people and about HP webcams not seeing black people. Each of these stories (some since …

2019-06-27: There’s little more important from tonight’s debate than Harris putting Biden in his place. Already so much the doddering tool, it was bad enough that he was lying when he said she’d mischaracterized what he’d said about segregationist colleagues in the …

2019-06-27: We are all complicit now. There’s lots of posturing today on Twitter about how Congress funding safe and sanitary conditions at the camps, or Wayfair providing beds even if they donate the profits elsewhere, is complicity. This posturing is right, of course, but …

2019-06-27: Edition Hyattsville has announced on its Facebook page that Nick Starr-Street and his husband are being evicted at the end of the month, following through on its earlier public statements about looking for a way to deal with Starr-Street’s pool-side harassment of black …

2019-06-27: That feeling when you find yourself in a mid-surgery argument in the operating room over what procedures you did or did not agree to but then you hear booms from outside and realize the bombs finally have started dropping and look outside the window to see mushroom clouds …

2019-06-27: One of three ring-tailed lemurs at the Oregon Zoo relaxes on a log at a viewing window of its habitat, where it lives with two red-ruffed lemurs in the what used to be the zoo's caracal exhibit.

2019-06-26: Warren basically did what she had to, although it’s inexplicable that the moderators gave her question after question during the first half only to all but ignore her for the second. It will be down to whether or not her closing statement reminded everyone of who the …

2019-06-26: Mostly unnoticed until today: the management of The Edition apartments in Hyattsville, Maryland, posted a public statement about resident Nick Starr-Street’s harassment of black women, and he’s in trouble: “In no way does the staff at The Edition condone the …

2019-06-26: This brings us to the larger problem of city rankings in general, issues that reflects the problems of technocracy itself. By using data as a driver, such rankings present themselves as dispassionate and impartial, as if they are simply removing the lid on a machine to reveal …

2019-06-26: And yet, there’s a counterexample that should inspire hope for anyone whose content has been ganked for the lulz. Another cartoonist, KC Green, similarly saw one of his characters meme-ified for political purposes. The figure was initially named Question Hound but has since been …

2019-06-26: There’s a story I’ve told before mostly as an illustration of how certain meltdown situations in which I’ve found myself are kind of due to what I’ve termed the trauma of “undifferentiated emotional time” in my brain. To wit: a trigger in the …

2019-06-25: As a company that helps children become their best selves—curious, creative, caring, and confident—we want kids to understand the importance of having moral courage. Moral courage means standing up for what we believe is right, honest, and ethical—even when it is hard. Our …

2019-06-25: As one autistic white man to another: sorry, Nick Starr-Street, but even autistic people don’t get to go, “I don’t see race. I don’t see gender. I don’t see color. I don’t see any of that.” Or, as Ijeoma Oluo said on Twitter, “Fuck you, …

2019-06-25: The maker of PixelFed, a fediverse-native alternative to Instagram, has taken to Mastodon to argue, “The sooner we can put politics aside, and work to build a real alternative to corporate silos aka social media, the better.” Today, I finally unfollowed both him and …

2019-06-25: If you’re reading this (and haven’t already responded because you saw this call on Twitter and Mastodon), please consider taking this one-question survey about how you get here. Blogs powered by WriteFreely have very minimal stats—and none for RSS use—and I’d …

2019-06-24: Red panda Mei Mei has an evening snack during Twilight Tuesday hours at the Oregon Zoo. Every third Tuesday during the summer, grounds are open late for visitors to see more activity from the crepuscular animals.

2019-06-24: For some reason today I randomly visited MetaFilter for the first time in ages and saw that they bannered a thread on hearing from people of color and it’s a good read whether or not you are on MeFi or specifically care about MeFi or know what a MeFi even is.

2019-06-24: It looks like The Three-Body Problem might be headed for the small screen in China, and I hope that it’s a better adaptation than was the movie of The Wandering Earth, which was fun—in a “the Chinese film industry scoff at Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay” kind …

2019-06-24: Somewhere at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum they have on display a rendition of “First they came…”, a calling-out of “the cowardice of German intellectuals and certain clergy … following the Nazis’ rise to power and subsequent incremental …

2019-06-24: When he first saw Yankee Trump, my neighbor on the train literally said “I feel attacked,” and it’s the unspoken subtext in a lot of other Trump supporter sightings. It does not take a lot of imagination to know that if someone comes up scapegoating you and encouraging followers …

2019-06-23: Origami cranes at Saturday’s "Never Again Is Now" rally in solidarity with protests at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. An old Japanese legend says the gods will grant a wish to anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes.

2019-06-23: It is true that we are not doing that. We are doing this. The two are not morally equivalent. And we probably don’t have reason to fear that this is necessarily going to become that. But, then, we never do. Because that starts as this. Some of the people who study, and some of …

2019-06-23: In quantum mechanics, wave function collapse is said to occur when a wave function—initially in a superposition of several eigenstates—appears to reduce to a single eigenstate due to interaction with the external world; this is called an “observation”. —Wikipedia …

2019-06-23: There was some discussion on Twitter last week arguing that people ease up on Sarah B. Fabian, the government attorney who suggested that soap, toothbrushes, and, you know, beds, aren’t necessarily required to keep immigrant children in safe and sanitary conditions. …

2019-06-23: Then Chuck immediately gives him his exit: “I know you think this is the Democrats’ problem.” When Trump starts to respond, Chuck hits him back with the ultimate Washingtonian question: “Why aren’t you doing something?” This is a gift-wrapped frame for the president. It …

2019-06-22: Today my wave function would not collapse and every available option suspended before me with precisely the same degree of intensity and potentiality and I spent a great deal of time standing at street corners or sitting on benches while staring off into space, completely …

2019-06-22: Three-thousand words on how real men don’t have beards surely wins for being the single stupidest blog post of the modern era, and is weirdly emotionally invested for someone who calls themselves The Stoic.

2019-06-21: It seems that the Jordanian-produced Netflix series Jinn is embroiled in that country’s culture wars—including the inevitable “insults, obscenities, and threats of rape and death” on Twitter that come with any such regressive backlash, as well as some …

2019-06-21: No idea whether or not it’s true, as Forty-Year-Old Grad Student says, that it’s “the apparently least-liked episode of the latest season of Black Mirror”, but anyone who liked “Smithereens” better than “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too” …

2019-06-21: Since I’ve been on something of an intermittent nostalgia kick lately, I thought I’d explain one particular paragraph that’s been on my About page in one form or another through many different websites over the years. Rolling Stone emphasized his “long black …

2019-06-21: Yes, I did indeed, as promised, finish Last Day by Domenica Ruta so that I would not have dropped two fiction reads in a row. Verdict: don’t bother. On the upside, it means I’ve been able to start in on P. Djèlí Clark’s The Black God’s Drums. Also, because …

2019-06-21: Five months after a data breach at the Oregon Department of Human Services, they finally notified me by mail that my information was accessed. In the process, while they managed to mail my current address, they addressed the notification to my birth name, which was legally …

2019-06-21: Robbi Bishop-Taylor has provided a kind of answer in this unique, lovely map of the contiguous U.S. cast in sunset shadows on the Solstice (aka June 20). Bishop-Taylor, a geospatial-science PhD candidate at Australia’s University of New South Wales, used NASA data and a …

2019-06-20: While cities have always done a good job of helping numerical minorities achieve a density sufficiently big to sustain a business (for example, a gay bar) or even a movement (think organized labor in major industrial cities), politically conservative suburbs and rural places have …

2019-06-20: We Jews do not own this term. But in fact, I would argue it is imperative that we Jews use this term whenever these dreadful facilities are imposed on groups of people other than ourselves. History has shown us that the concentration of humanity into forced detention invariably …

2019-06-20: As I’ve resumed much more regular blogging, and more generalist blogging at that, I’ve been going back to examine what I was doing back in the Golden Age, some of which I’ve talked about here already. Today I discovered that the contents of a blog I’d had …

2019-06-20: Yesterday my primary care health provider called to set up four different appointments related to the bladder surgery coming up in three weeks: a pre-operative telephone appointment with my urologist tomorrow, an office appointment with the nurse in a week and a half to go …

2019-06-20: Reading this ode to Universal’s aborted “Dark Universe”, I feel like the premise of making a cinematic universe out of the studio’s classic movie monsters wasn’t the problem. The problem was the argument that it should be a franchise of action …

2019-06-20: But anything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not revolutionary – it just helps people cope. In fact, it could also be making things worse. Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are …

2019-06-20: The worst genre of “spoilers aren’t bad” articles is the recurring “actually, spoilers are good for you” article. Each inevitably points to this paper from eight years ago as proof, but if you look at the results in Figure 1 you’ll notice that …

2019-06-19: I’ve been thinking about the idea of “creeping normality” that I mentioned earlier and the ways in which it could account for how some autistics can go decades without knowing they are autistic due to a process beginning in childhood of being slowly cooked by …

2019-06-19: In addition to the previously-mentioned About and Support pages, I’ve now put up Contact and (makeshift) Archives pages.

2019-06-19: It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that w.tf, the best-ever domain, has vanished into history. The top-level domain’s registry now says, “The domain name ‘w.tf’ is not eligible for registration because it … is composed of an …

2019-06-19: Trump’s concentration camps are leading edge of a pattern of belief and behavior unfolding in plain sight. The comparison to atrocities of the 20th Century—whether the first U.S. concentration camps in the Philippines, the Soviet gulags, or even the Nazi concentration camps that …

2019-06-19: I’m pretty sure this is some sort of mindfulness newsletter that I’d otherwise find annoying but, not for nothing, “creeping normality”, or “landscape amnesia”, is as good as any description of the political dynamic of the long pre-Trump status …

2019-06-19: I’ll be honest (and this is me being on the outside even of my own group yet again): I feel like pieces like this one seem to work really hard to pretend being autistic merely can be difficult but never truly challenging for both the autistics themselves and for the people …

2019-06-19: That research I mentioned mapping a Cretaceous-era shoreline to certain American election results, that I referenced in a piece using quotes from Origins: How Earth’s History Shaped Human History to show that geologic privilege accounts for the success of Western …

2019-06-18: Liberals tend to believe that everyone has the right to the public square no matter how reprehensible a person’s views are. In trying to tolerate the intolerant, American liberals tend to believe they are being good liberals and by extension good Americans. The marketplace of …

2019-06-18: Apartments, the court warned, block the sun and air. They bring noise and traffic. They act as a parasite on single-family neighborhoods — “until, finally, the residential character of the neighborhood and its desirability as a place of detached residences are utterly destroyed.” …

2019-06-18: I find it interesting that a bit of research suggests a connection between autism and mitochondria, given that there’s also been a bit of research suggesting a connection between chronic fatigue syndrome and mitochondria. Many autistic people I’ve run into online also …

2019-06-18: If you are experiencing a sense of déjà vu that we are debating the term “concentration camp”, that’s because exactly one year ago we were having this exact same discussion. It’s a strong indicator of just how badly we have failed to protect immigrants …

2019-06-18: The fortunes of functional families began to shift in the mid-1960s as fears of the family in crisis swept the nation. The rising New Right dovetailed with a generation of politicized post-war homeowners, both of which saw formal-family zoning as a vindication of their values. …

2019-06-17: So this Abraham Riesman piece on Vulture about the rise and fall of Marvel shows on Netflix does mention other networks but somehow fails completely to reference Cloak & Dagger over on Freeform, which quietly has been going about its business as the best Marvel show on …

2019-06-17: Here’s the thing, though: I don’t baby it. Never have. I solved the sleeve problem by wearing the jacket out in rain storm after rain storm, without protecting the leather, and pushing the sleeves up, then letting it dry, until they fit perfectly, with a permanent ripple to them …

2019-06-17: Despite an early chapter’s reference to a possibly-autistic character’s “oblivious grotesqueries”, I’ve decided not to drop Last Day and just do my best to solider through until the end. Sarah Moss, it turns out, is not the only character with some …

2019-06-17: Now available: my overwrought “About” page, as well as a guide to providing “Support”, because no blog can be complete without these things.

2019-06-17: My surgery for “cystoscopy, bladder/diverticula biopsy, stone evacuation, left retrograde pyelogram, possible ureteroscopy/biopsy, possible stent” has been scheduled for Friday, July 12. This gives me three and a half weeks to prepare both my brain and my home for …

2019-06-17: The most stupefying thing came across the Twitter transom recently in response to a New York Times piece on the apparent rise of subscription services for pretty much anything you can think of, including furniture and clothing–although Tom Haverford did the latter years …

2019-06-15: According to a tweet by CNBC, which I found while checking in on the latest Elon Musk dust-up, he has six productivity rules including “walking out of meetings that waste your time”. When I read the article, ultimately sourced to a leaked company email, I had to read …

2019-06-15: The first time Yancey Strickler discussed his “dark forest theory of the internet”, I noted here that he didn’t really have Liu Cixin’s theory correct, since the axioms in Liu’s book don’t translate into what Strickler was trying to …

2019-06-15: The upside of being down at the heels, at least in Wonderland’s case, is that rents have tumbled enough that small businesses now make up most of the mall’s shops. Perhaps because the mall also doubles as a convention space, one that hosts geeky gatherings like …

2019-06-15: I don’t know what the hell The Art of Manliness website is, exactly, but Dino’s Journal led me to their excerpt “from Arthur Murray’s Popularity Book, originally published in 1944”, which is an article by one Gelett Burgess on so-called “vocational …

2019-06-14: I’ve written more than once about how I can get myself into longer-term trouble by deferring to someone in conversation just in order to escape from the short-term stressors which can abound in socially-performative communication. There’s some correlation, as recently …

2019-06-14: Black Americans did not abandon liberal democracy because of slavery, Jim Crow, and the systematic destruction of whatever wealth they managed to accumulate; instead they took up arms in two world wars to defend it. Japanese Americans did not reject liberal democracy because of …

2019-06-14: Western archivy operates from implicit and explicit assumptions of futurity, which become precarious in light of the temporal and scalar distortions which scholars of memory studies have theorized as a critical existential challenge of the Anthropocene. The Society of American …

2019-06-13: Already, I might be dropping another book. Recently, I mentioned lamentably having to drop Liu Cixin’s The Wandering Earth collection because the third story was boring me to tears, and I wasn’t expecting to hit another snag so soon. Sarah Curtis and Sarah Mitzenberg …

2019-06-13: You’re not becoming unstuck in time like Billy Pilgrim, nor am I posting from several hours in the future. WriteFreely, the platform powering Write House, doesn’t (yet?) show datestamps in anything other than, I think, Universal Coordinated Time.

2019-06-13: There’s an edited extract from Angela Saini’s new book Superior: The Return of Race Science over at Wired which details some of the recent history of racist ideas being forced into the conduction of genetics research. His work caused a sensation. What set pulses …

2019-06-12: After getting a second-opinion from a consulting urologist, I’ll be headed for surgery probably sometime next month for, in the words of my urologist, “cystoscopy, bladder/diverticula biopsy, stone evacuation, left retrograde pyelogram, possible ureteroscopy/biopsy, …

2019-06-12: So, it seems that I am probably done with autism-Twitter and shortly will be unfollowing a to-be-determined number of people for the sake of my own well-being, in an act of self-care. First it was an overblown kerfuffle over use of the comparative terms “objective” …

2019-06-12: Likely it’s something to do with my inability to sit still for them without becoming distracted, but podcasts really are not my thing. However, I do listen to two: The Good Place: The Podcast (because, you know, it’s motherforking about The Good Place), and …

2019-06-11: The hour before midnight during a heatwave seems the perfect time for a bit of gentle, low-key identity crisis. I’m overselling it there, as there is no crisis, per se, but tonight I’ve been doing a bit of waybacking to the golden age of blogging. The content of a …

2019-06-11: Over the past few days I’ve spent some time tweaking the CSS here to get away from the default WriteFreely style, and I should give some credit for various bits of inspiration to Micro.blog, Substack, and Svbtle, each of whom, in different ways, informed how I thought about …

2019-06-11: While I only used Write.as as a springboard to starting up Write House, I do still keep an eye on its public feed, and I’m pleased to see that Inquiry finally outed themselves as something a dick. I’m not even sure where to begin, except to disclaim that as their …

2019-06-11: The ridiculous thing about the story I told the other day is that the incident described is a manifestation of something I’d previously established: that when faced with a stressful bit of socially performative communication, I defer to the other–even if it means …

2019-06-11: I’ve been interested for awhile now in the potential relationship between autism and trauma, mostly positing that the various sensitivities peculiar to the autistic brain might make them more susceptible to what are just every day experiences for neurotypicals being …

2019-06-10: It doesn’t happen very often, because I hate the idea, but sometimes I drop whatever book I happen to have started reading. Surprisingly, the latest was The Wandering Earth, a collection of stories by Liu Cixin, whose Three-Body trilogy I loved. Ball Lightning was pretty …

2019-06-10: Decades ago, likely sometime in the 90s, I ran into Mary MacLane in the pages of a book called In the Realms of the Unreal, an anthology of “insane writings”. Not long after, sparked by finding a first edition of her debut, The Story of Mary MacLane—By Herself, in a …

2019-06-09: Several days ago something happened while out for breakfast that I’d made note of at the time, and for some reason today I had a striking thought about the dynamics of it. Today’s accomplishment: speaking up when I didn’t want the middle-of-the-room table the breakfast …

2019-06-09: Over on Twitter, author Anne Ursu noted that her son’s summer reading teacher “doesn’t let students choose what they read because ‘they’d just read graphic novels and fantasy’”, which prompted the expected sort of incredulous replies and …

2019-06-08: I finally got around to finishing Our Planet on Netflix, which I’d been watching one episode of every Saturday morning but somehow fell out of the habit. It’s nowhere near the best of these types of shows, but it worked as Saturday breakfast viewing. I didn’t …

2019-06-06: “They are so sick and tired of being sick and tired of Trump, there’s this almost unconscious feeling they’re going to go with the candidate that is more likely to beat him,” said Ron Lester, a Washington pollster who has spent decades surveying the attitudes of black voters. For …

2019-06-06: I am not saying anything that we don’t already know about the web. But sometimes it is easy to be stuck in the mode of pressing ‘Like’ rather than ‘Publish’. We need to remind ourselves that the act of contributing on the web is not only writing a …

2019-06-06: When we talk about “not pathologizing autism,” we don’t mean “pretending autistic people don’t have impairments.” But we also don’t assume that neurological and behavioral differences are always problems. For example, there’s nothing inherently wrong with disliking social …

2019-06-05: Update on our continued review–we have suspended this channel’s monetization. We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies. —YouTube This, the latest from YouTube after first …

2019-06-04: At some point while working on the “about” page for Write House yesterday, and continuing to think about developing its code of conduct, it suddenly occurred to me that WriteFreely currently does not have any user management tools to handle suspending someone who …

2019-06-03: We move house, change jobs, begin new relationships, yet most of the time, most of us still experience a thread of inner continuity – a constant feeling of me-ness that transcends the various chapters of our lives. Indeed, there’s evidence that having a stable, constant sense of …

2019-06-03: The years are recorded in rings inside the trunk of a tree, but how was time recorded in his own body? Time didn’t spread out gradually, ring after ring, nor was it lined up neatly in a row; could it just be a disorderly pile, like the inside of a drawer no one ever bothers to …

2019-06-03: Democrats apparently mean to spend the month of June refocusing attention on the damning contents of the Mueller report, and certain parties within the party are ready with the preemptive framing to head off any momentum into an official impeachment inquiry. A senior House …

2019-05-30: Poor adaptive skills without adequate supports may explain the dismal higher-education and employment rates among autistic adults. This is particularly true for those without intellectual disabilities, who may be presumed capable of attending college or pursuing competitive …

2019-05-30: “Objective” news reporting is defined not by a lack of assumptions or biases, but by a refusal to acknowledge those assumptions & biases. The kind of reporting Haberman & other US political journos do rests on a giant superstructure of unexamined presumptions. …

2019-05-29: As part of preparing for the eventual public, if invite-only, launch of Write House, I’ve been working on the matter of the necessary Code of Conduct for administrators, writers, and commenters, focusing on a couple of resources I found back when I was considering starting …

2019-05-28: Yancey Strickler, co-founder of Kickstarter, recently presented two theories of the internet (it’s also on Medium), one of which is based upon Liu Cixin’s theory of the universe in The Dark Forest, the second book of his Three-Body trilogy (which gave me a serious, …

2019-05-27: This morning while reading an article on civilians trying to find support for their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (I don’t have PTSD, but have an interest in how trauma gets laid down in the brain), I followed a link to “Where is the Evidence for …

2019-05-23: To make commenting more human, it needs to become conversation rather than commentary. Someone talking at you through a television or lonely comment on a blog isn’t natural and human; a conversation is. If you want to talk to an author, you should be able to do that …

2019-05-21: Astonishingly, the advice in “How a Sensory Diet Can Help Your Child” is to hire a professional occupational therapist to program a rigid “sensory diet” schedule for your child. So, culturally, the advice is to pay good money to torture the autistic behavior out of …

2019-05-21: This clever knowledge drop from Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men is about kinesiology and motion sickness, but I’m going to be stealing this idea of “anticipatory” vs. “compensatory” adjustments and control for future …

Hello. My name is Bix. @bix