Feb 25, 2017

Interesting thought experiment:

So instead of looking at homes as investments, what if we regarded them like a TV or a car or any other consumer good? People might expect home prices to go down instead of up. Homebuilders would probably spend more time talking about technology and design than financing options. Politicians might start talking about their plans to lower home prices further, as they often do with fuel prices.

Would never happen, but as someone who would like to own a home one day, I’d very much like to see home prices come back down to realistic levels.

Feb 24, 2017

This is the kind of racist who, in a better world, was never given a voice in a major publication:

Sheehan, 26, says he voted for Obama twice, but as Obama’s presidency progressed, he came to feel like minorities had become emboldened at his expense. He realized, he said, “This actually isn’t in my best interest, and I can do better for myself.” Eventually, Sheehan came to see his whiteness as a source of meaning. “The thing about racial identity and ethnic heritage is that it’s like your shadow,” he said. “It’s going to be with you everywhere you go, but it reminds you that the sun is shining on you. People think the alt-right is just simply about being mean to other people. It’s really not. The alt-right is simply identity politics for white people.”

Sure, be proud of your Irish, German, English, whatever heritage. That’s fine. The second you think that that heritage earns you more rights than someone different is the moment you’ve become a white-supremacist and un-American. I fully reject this bigotry.

Feb 22, 2017

White nationalism is a problem everywhere in America, including Bloomington, Indiana, where I went to school.

But for a nation lurching rightward, Bloomington, Indiana, is a bellwether. The current narrative of the blue-red divide in the US holds that big cities and college towns are oases of liberalism, hemmed in by conservative towns and rural areas where the economic troubles of the white working class have given rise to racism, xenophobia, and other forms of bigotry. In this formulation, Bloomington is a Democratic idyll, and those posters plastered on campus are unwanted imports from the surrounding sea of red. But the careful, coordinated targeting of faculty of color at Indiana University suggests otherwise. The truth is that white nationalism courses through every city, town, and county in the US—and so, too, does its burgeoning resistance.

Feb 10, 2017

Today is the 20th anniversary of the release of Blur, Blur’s fifth album. 1997. I’m not kidding when I say this record changed the trajectory of my life. It means a lot to me. It speaks to me deeply, in a way no other art had done before. Even today, when I listen to it I feel centered in myself, like it’s some kind of emotional mirror soothing to peer into. I hope everyone has a record they can say the same thing about.

Jan 22, 2017

George Lakoff has written a long update to his book Moral Politics in the form of a blog post: A Minority President: Why the Polls Failed, And What the Majority Can Do. If you haven’t read Moral Politics, or it’s been over a decade (as it was for me) since you last picked it up, I’d place this in your Must Read list.

Yesterday, between 3 and 4 million people gathered for the Women’s March protests all over the country and the world. It felt like Lakoff’s theory given life. We’re reframing the narrative. The march was about inclusion and equality — with female empowerment as a base. America is about inclusion and equality. Let’s keep this the story of America.

Jan 19, 2017

Yes, Science is Political

[S]cience and politics are plainly related: science is the pursuit of knowledge, knowledge is power, and power is politics.
The scientific method consists of generating a hypothesis, attempting to disprove the hypothesis through testing, and accumulating those tests to come up with shared knowledge. And that method also contains ideology: our observed, shared world is the real world. This ideology even has a name: empiricism. An incoming president who clearly picks and chooses facts to suit his own version of the world changes the relationship between science and culture, in potentially destructive ways.

Another way of stating Stephen Colbert’s joke, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

It never ceases to amaze me that so many people ignore reality for political points. It’s perfectly childish.

Jan 18, 2017

Why is Mid-Century Modern Furniture So Damn Popular?

Kelsey Campbell-Dologhan, writing for Co.Design, suggested that mid-century furniture has become so ubiquitous as to be synonymous with design itself: “All of this suggests that mid-century design is less a ‘style’ or era of design as it is a byword for ‘design’ itself, as opposed to spaces and products that were not ‘designed’ at all.”

If you’ve studied the work of Henry Dreyfuss or Charles and Ray Eames, you shouldn’t be surpised at the longevity of midcentury modern design. They, and hundreds of others, went to great lengths to design and construct objects which were as well-suited to human beings as possible. Size, shape, weight, color. These are all qualities which can have objectively correct (-ish) attributes for their purspose — at the very least, correct for the general person. Midcentury modern design will last as long as human beings remain shaped the way we are. In other words, it’s never going away. It may fall out of style for some people for some time. But it’s here to stay.

Jan 18, 2017

I’ve never been a fan of American football. The game never made sense to me, neither aesthetically nor intellectually. I’ve given it many chances, though. It’s hard to be an American and avoid ever seeing a game. Many of my friends are real fans, and I respect that. But this article in GQ about a young man who suffered the effects of CTE which he developed while playing high school football — not even in college, or the NFL, but in high school — makes me hope that sport quietly fades away. Why should we continue to support a game which can too often result in the death for those who play it.

Jan 18, 2017

There is a new note app, Standard Notes, which looks remarkably similar to the notes app I’ve designed. The biggest difference is that the note list only shows note titles. It needs to display the full note, like a blog, untruncated. But this app also allows for extentions, which means it’s theoretically possible to build an add-on which could alter the look of the app to do what I want.

Going to keep an eye on this.

Jan 16, 2017

My take on the meme-of-the-day: Top Ten Records of your Teen Years.

  • Blur - Blur
  • Suede - Suede
  • Belle & Sebastian - If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • Luna - Penthouse
  • David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • Pulp - Different Class
  • The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
  • Radiohead - The Bends
  • Fountains of Wayne - Fountains of Wayne
  • The Beatles - The Blue Album

I’m not sure if that last one is supposed to count, but I listened to those two Beatles compilation records, the red and the blue, for a long long time before I got my hands on the original albums.

I believe I discovered 6 out of the 10 of these after my 16th birthday, a few years after I first started buying records. Before these albums, I was listening to Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Matchbox 20, and not at all inspired by the music. My music tastes had been dictated by time, place, and peer pressure. Everything changed when I heard Blur’s album Blur in the spring of 1997. I even remember where I was when I first heard it: on a bus, heading to an away track meet, when a friend handed me his cd player and headphones and had me give it a listen. My entire concept of what music could be expanded infinitely outwards, practically instantly. I spent the next ten years of my life either in and out of record stores. Everything changed for me. Everything.