The personal web.

There is one alternative to social media sites and publishing platforms that has been around since the early, innocent days of the web. It is an alternative that provides immense freedom and control: The personal website. It’s a place to write, create, and share whatever you like, without the need to ask for anyone’s permission. It is also the perfect place to explore and try new things, because, as Seth Godin likes to say, we now live in a world of “unlimited bowling”. It is totally up to you what you create and because you have unlimited shots on the Web, you can try out different formats, different styles, different topics. Regardless of what other people might think and although it might not work. Creation is free.

Matthias Ott on home.

Obviously I’m biased but, honestly, if you’ve never experienced the quiet freedom of developing your own personal websites, I’d strongly recommend trying it (and Ott gives a bunch of places to start if you’re curious, to boot).

2019-08-27T15:05:21+10:0015th December, 2019|Tags: tech|

Adults in the room.

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 smart. They know what they know, and they don’t need to know anything else.

Megan Greenwell says goodbye.

Greenwell is the now-former editor-in-chief of Deadspin, and this is basically her goodbye-and-fuck-you letter to the private equity company that bought it out… and proceeded to try and institute a “stop writing all these silly politics stories and just focus on sports clickbait!” editorial policy.

2019-08-26T14:29:51+10:0013th December, 2019|Tags: media|

Democracy’s end.

Here’s a reflection: the value proposition of democracy is that it provides for a peaceful transfer of power, once an incumbent regime loses its political legitimacy. If you have a working democracy you don’t need revolutions to get rid of incompetent leadership. As Enoch Powell said, “every politician’s career ends in failure” (unless they die unexpectedly): in a democracy they agree to step down, and life goes on.

But when you get a faction, party, or regime that no longer subscribes to the idea of democracy and refuses to back down gracefully, you get back the old problems: pressure for change builds up and when it erupts the effects can be devastating and unpleasant–especially, as we’ve had a crash-course reminder in recent years, when the tools of communication make it really easy for dangerous demagogues to draw a following.

Charles Stross on political vampires.

2019-08-22T19:11:50+10:0012th December, 2019|Tags: politics|

Over-tonnes.

While we’re on the subject of graphs, American political parties on a left-right spectrum, as compared to similar parties in other countries.

Probably no huge surprises here—the GOP is fa-aa-ar further to the right than most other “mainstream” conservative parties, ditto historically the Democrats, though this has shifted since 2016—and probably some room to question the methodology. But interested to see on a graph, either way,

2019-08-08T08:47:11+10:0011th December, 2019|Tags: politics, usa|

Voidstars.

I never learnt how to make these things as a kid and always regretted it.

And because it’s Never Too Late, I decided being stuck all day in a boring totally engaging planning meeting was a great opportunity to tear up an agenda print out, do some Googling, and learn. And then color in the results with a black Collaboration Sharpie because, y’know. Goth.

Anyway I am super-pleased with how these came out and will definitely be wasting time in this way in the future. A++ do recommend.

2019-12-12T11:25:26+11:0011th December, 2019|Tags: pop culture|

Sexism: the Graph.

Let’s look at the difference between the experience of men and women. It’s pretty stark.

The luckiest man receives zero sexist remarks.  But in fact he doesn’t need to be very lucky, because most men receive no remarks.  There is an unlucky guy (bottom right) who receives three sexist remarks, as it happens from the same woman. That is not acceptable, and she should stop. But that’s the unluckiest guy out of 40.

The luckiest woman receives four sexist remarks.  So let’s get this straight: the luckiest woman out of 10 experiences worse sexism than the unluckiest man out of 40.

Of course it gets worse. The unluckiest woman experiences nine incidents.  On average? The mean number of sexist remarks per man is 0.35, while for women it is 5.6.  There’s a gender disparity of 4:1 but the disparity in experience is 16:1.

Men are no more sexist than women in this thought experiment, but women’s experience is sixteen times worse than the men’s.

Ian Gent on the Petrie Multiplier.

This is basically using Maths and Graphs™ to do the 101 explaining about how, even if women are “just a sexist as men” (a big if), then the net result of sexist behavior still overwhelmingly negatively impacts them in situations with unequal gender representation.

Mostly a post to whip out the next time you get techbros trying to mansplain “equality” to you…

2019-08-08T08:36:37+10:0010th December, 2019|Tags: culture|

They’re more of a species, really.

Long-but-interesting look at the racist-ass history of orcs, specifically their Original Flavor Tolkien coding as being pretty specifically referencing western European fears and stereotypes of the Mongols and other west/central Asian nomadic peoples.

Also, as someone who is of literal Caucasian descent, i.e. my ancestors came from the Caucasus Mountains, I am always here for even the tiniest bit of deconstruction of how the term “Caucasian” still gets used as a term for “white people” when the people of the literal Caucasus are, at best, “provisionally” white—as is is the case of my own ancestors, who are largely ethnic slavs who’ve really only been considered “white”, both legally and socially,1 within at-most my parents’ lifetimes—and, mostly, not “white” at all.

  1. And where that “promotion” was, in itself, racist. []
2019-08-07T11:02:28+10:009th December, 2019|Tags: culture, pop culture, sff|