Oct 27, 2017 08:59:53 AM

Ordered the iPhone X this morning, 3am. The preorder process was extremely convenient because of their pre-confirmation with iPhone Upgrade Program. Once the app finally let me in, it probably took less than a minute to order. Where it went wrong was with the feedback loop. There was one confirmation screen that the phone was successfully ordered, but after leaving the page, there was no way to get back to it. The purchase receipt email didn’t come until after 5am, so I had to go back to sleep assuming everything really did work.

It’s just a phone, and not a big deal. But when it makes a huge difference between getting it right at 3am versus 8am — as in delivery on November 3rd or possible after Christmas — these feedback loops are important.

Oct 27, 2017 08:52:09 AM

So much to agree with in this article in the Atlantic, Climate Policy Can Help Avert Modern Liberalism’s “Doom Loop”.

When you talk to people about why they don’t want kids, they don’t always talk about their aversion to children or child-rearing; they often talk about how bleak they think the future will be. Between the breakdown of the global liberal order and the ongoing degradation of the planet’s climate, the next few decades don’t seem like a particularly sociable place, for them or their hypothetical children.


[M]uch of the conservative argument for pronatalist politics respects the fact that cultural changes—and important medical and political advances—have altered childbearing decisions. Isn’t the general anxiety about climate change as a cultural phenomenon—and the lack of political amelioration of it—one of those changes? Potential parents undertake a complex and often spiritual calculus when they plan their families, when they decide to have zero, or one, or five kids. It seems reasonable to me that if you want to coax people back into having larger families, or families at all, you may have to soften that calculus by assuring them the future will be a good place to live.
Because right now, the future does not seem like a very pleasant place to live at all. Economists who study climate change say that, at best, the phenomenon will exact persistent and troubling costs on the poorest parts of the United States; at worst, it will initiate one of several globally destabilizing crises. Global warming will also degrade Earth in plenty of hard-to-calculate ways, wrecking the gentle rhythm of the seasons and strangling the natural biodiversity of every stream and mountain.

Uh huh.

If you want a society that encourages people to have kids, you must first tell them that you are working to make the future modestly more hospitable. Not a perfect place, not a problem-free place, not a place where everything will be okay. Just a modestly better one


Oct 27, 2017 08:50:57 AM

I keep a playlist in iTunes called The Current. It’s a constantly pruned playlist of songs I’m into at the moment. Old songs, new songs, old favorites, new favorites. Whatever I most want to play when I hit the shuffle button. It’s best when it’s less than twenty or so tracks. Sometimes it’s as small as five tracks or so. As soon as I feel I’ve heard a track enough lately, I’ll remove it.

I have it shared online, too, if you’re an Apple Music user.

Oct 25, 2017 09:00:35 AM

While observers tend to agree that there’s a stage at which most children strive for realistic depiction in their drawing, many psychologists argue that at their earlier stages of drawing, children aren’t thinking about realism. Take, for example, the way kids tend to scatter objects in awkward places in their drawings; they might draw a house on the left corner of the page and then a road that somehow stands above it. But that doesn’t mean they don’t understand how these scenes look in the real world, some experts say; instead, the child is more concerned about achieving a kind of visual balance between the objects.

Reading this was a stark realization. As in, this should have been obvious. When you think about it, it doesn’t make sense that a child, when handed sticks of colored wax, would instinctually attempt to draw realistic figures. The medium — Crayon — does not easily allow for realism. Crayons are blunt artistic instruments. Of course children use them to sketch hard lines and wild scribbles.

I disagree with this line, however:

Their goal, ultimately, is to create something that’ll make sense to the person they show it to.

Their goal is to create something that makes sense to themselves. That it might make sense to someone else is surely secondary.

But this is also right:

For the museum-goers out there who tend to point to a piece of modern art and say, “My kid could have made that!” it’s worth remembering that often, that’s actually just what the artist had in mind.

Aug 27, 2017 12:38:12 PM

This explanation of neoliberalism, from the Guardian, is highly recommended reading.

[T]he public sphere – the space where we offer up reasons, and contest the reasons of others – ceases to be a space for deliberation, and becomes a market in clicks, likes and retweets. The internet is personal preference magnified by algorithm; a pseudo-public space that echoes the voice already inside our head. Rather than a space of debate in which we make our way, as a society, toward consensus, now there is a mutual-affirmation apparatus banally referred to as a “marketplace of ideas”. What looks like something public and lucid is only an extension of our own pre-existing opinions, prejudices and beliefs, while the authority of institutions and experts has been displaced by the aggregative logic of big data.

Aug 27, 2017 12:34:08 PM

From the Atlantic:

Teachers pay is 17 percent lower than other professionals with similar training.

This is one of the major reasons our schools struggle to satisfy our expectations. Our brightest and most capable college graduates will never turn to careers in education if the pay continues to hang at 83% of what they’d earn elsewhere. I have the utmost respect for those with the passion and drive to become teachers anyway, despite the low pay. Teachers are heros, and they should be financially rewarded for their service.

Apr 6, 2017 02:56:44 PM

Albarn revealed today that he has around 40 to 45 Gorillaz tracks in various states of completion, tracks which aren’t on Humanz. And also that he hopes to continue releasing these songs over the next 18 months or so. To this Albarn fan, the idea of a new Gorillaz track nearly every week is amazing. Please let this happen. Gorillaz, more than most any other project out there, is perfectly suitable for this kind of release cycle.

Apr 4, 2017 08:50:53 AM

Upcoming.org has relaunched. Congrats to Andy Baio on bringing it back to life. I was a backer of the Kickstarter though I barely used the original site, if at all. When Upcoming.org was in its first life, I was in Bloomington, IN, and if I’m remembering right, there wasn’t much being shared in that small town. Now that I’m in NYC, I’m hoping to find new stuff to attend.

Mar 7, 2017 08:41:37 AM

People are trying to come up with a nickname for the new Republican health care plan, the American Health Care Act. Trumpcare? Ryancare? How about a portmanteau: Tryancare. Of course, a quick search reveals I’m not the first to think of it.