The US system of wage labor and corporate person-hood means that work is bullshit and impermanent, but this week a few events made me reflect on how much possibility for other ways of working are still available.
it's nice to know that the dream exists, you know? i sure would love if it were reality, but i'm a realist, I've learned not to hope too much, to assume that imagination can become reality. so i just dream about it, as a distraction. i will still do whatever is necessary to buy food. that's how it works right?
Interacting with ML tools can feel like magic. People with no illustration skills can suddenly have a computer generate images they want just by describing them. Writing large amounts of content is as simple as providing a sentence or two of instructions. But I can't stop wrestling with the question: how will individuals make sense of these new tools, which are powerful in science-fiction ways, but inaccurate in very confusing ways?
This year, 2022, I grew tired of the metaphors and cliches available for me to make sense of life. Everything I would reach for to describe things was the language of war, or domination, or colonialism, or capitalism, and usually so pat as to preclude all possibilities of other ways of thinking or framing.
Everything sucks. Everyone with power wants to keep the power but is terrified to wield it, and so we wake up every morning with new horrors to process, new fears to add to the list, new furies to fuel our helpless rage.
In the first half of this year I read 26 books, and I have a feeling I will at least double that by the end of the year so I don’t want to wait until then to record what I’ve read and call out notable books.
Two years ago next month I became single, although I’ve not felt like that was the truth until a few months ago. Single, after 10 years of being in a monogamous relationship; but I was only single 6 months prior to that and I’d been in a year long toxic relationship before then.
The ideologies of disruption and innovation still reign in most areas of power in the world, so I often am at a loss for hope or optimism. But many people are dismantling and critiquing these ideologies and in doing so weakening their stronghold.
On Thursday, February 16 at 1:52PM I found out that Senator Pat Toomey was holding a town hall at 2:05PM. Virtual only, via phone and web audio means. So I joined. This post consists of the notes I was able to take and links that I think are relevant to the questions he received and answers he gave.
I am reading _A Disability History of the United States_ currently and in it Kim Nielsen, the author, briefly covers the story of Agatha Tiegel. Her story caught my eye so I did a bit further research.
As a history book, _The Master Switch_ is a good examination of how various communications mediums and industries (telephone, cinema, radio, tv, etc) have grown and shrunk in the past 150 years or so. But Wu claims that these histories unlock for us principles that we can use to understand these patterns; a claim I felt unsupported after finishing the book.
Solnit wonderfully explores the concept of hope by centering it in many civil rights fights from the past few decades. Hope, she argues, must be cultivated and is not something we have because we expect to win, rather it is something we fight to retain even if victory is unclear. The book is relevant, fierce, and helpful for anyone seeking a framework for staying inspired as we look forward to the next few years.
This small guide is an attempt to help readers see the physical infrastructure that underpins the internet. Burrington helps us step away from the strange metaphors and simplistic descriptions we use when talking about the internet to get a sense of how it functions and where all the tubes live.
Last night (January 25, 2017) I attended the first Philadelphia area meeting to end Gerrymandering, put on by Fair Districts PA. There were easily 300+ people in attendance. Fair Districts PA is a volunteer led organization attempting to start a citizens movement for reforming the way district maps are drawn up in Pennsylvania. This post has my notes from the fantastic presentation given by Carol Kuniholm about the topic of Gerrymandering and how Pennsylvania's system currently works.
In the history of the world – as far as scientists have discovered – there have been five mass extinction events on earth. All have seemed to relate to sudden climate shifts. In this compelling and clearly-written book, Kolbert presents the evidence that we are in the midst of the sixth such event, and furthermore, the evidence implicates humans as the motivating force behind the event.
This short, straightforward book tells the story of America since the end of the civil war, the story of injustice after injustice being perpetrated against the black community in America by white people in America.
A small, incredibly informative book that gives you a simple education on the importance of typography, the language of typography, and then a great deal of practical advice for choosing and using typefaces. Jason knows his shit and knows how to teach you what he knows.
A fantastic collection of essays meditating on our humanity and the ways that we relate to others. Jamison is interested in what exactly empathy is; how we are constantly being shaped by it; how we delude ourselves into faking empathy.
The 2004 presidential election was the first presidential election I was eligible to vote in. I proudly voted for President George W. Bush's second term. I did not vote in 2008 because I had gotten married a few weeks prior and neglected to register. If I had voted, it would have timidly been for Barack Obama. In 2012 I did register and vote and I proudly did so for President Obama's second term. Since November 9, 2016, I've been trying to remember what exactly changed my beliefs over those 8 years. Clearly there were some big shifts; what caused them?
Recently I worked with some coworkers to write documentation on building accessibile web content (which we have since [open-sourced as the Accessibility Guidelines](http://accessibility.voxmedia.com)) and then, building on that work, I gave a talk about accessibility as a practice rather than task or checklist. This post is a written version of that talk.
A book that helps one recenter the consequences of our product design decisions by building empathy and imagination for the myriad contexts people may use the things we build. A must-read for anyone creating things that other humans will use.
An enjoyably written book covering the depressing and yet somehow simultaneously inspiring ways that humans have worked to preserve endangered species. A meditation on the the vast ways we impact the earth and how hard it is to change course once the scope of our impact becomes obvious.
What if the most controversial scientific issues in public policy in the past half century weren't actually controversial? This book lays out a well-documented case that specific scientists conspired to influence issues ranging from the danger of smoking, the influence of CFC's on the Ozone, to the ongoing denial of climate change.
Everything is coming alive and breaking out of hibernation and I want to write. I have nothing to say. I want this site to be filled with thoughts, references, ideas. Instead it sits. I guess this is ok.
I got a new job! Starting Feb 9 I'll be working at Vox Media as a front-end engineer. Since I'm thinking about employment and jobs today here are some essays that have shaped my thinking on the topic in the past few years.
I've been fighting a head cold or something this weekend and because of that I've been extremely bored. So I decided to see how much I could improve this website's loading performance. In a few hours of hacking I got it from a Speed Index of 2000+ to consistently between 600 and 800. Pretty good! Here's notes on everything I did.
Stewart Brand researches and extensively documents what happens to buildings after they are built. His research reveals patterns based on what the initial architecture enables, what building users commonly need, and ideas for embracing the unknown future with our buildings.
I'm working on building some maps to record the routes we took on our cross country road trip. In order to accomplish this, I needed geoJSON data of all the roads we drove, so I used Node and Google Maps to build the data pretty easily.
I like working on things that already exist, as opposed to building new things. I think this is really strange? I have no clue. But it's a truth for me, perhaps, at least for where I am now in my career.
We've moved into a little house in Chattanooga for at least a year. No more things in storage. We're looking for furniture, putting dishes in cabinets, and yes, connecting things to the internet. The concept of home is now very concrete.
This past week Facebook released (proudly!) a peer-reviewed paper about a study they conducted in 2012. This study has been covered a great deal because it's kind of creepy. What did they study? Whether or not they can manipulate the emotional state of their users!