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Phil Hawksworth: Emcee Tips for a Conference or Meetup (CSS Tricks)
Phil Hawksworth: Emcee Tips for a Conference or Meetup (CSS Tricks)
• Enjoy yourself • To err is human • Technical difficulties • Practice all the names • Know more than the speaker’s bio • Avoid in-jokes • Don't assume or rely on speaker’s fame • Announce and thank people with vigor • Let the speakers give the talks • Prep speakers for questions and answers • Housekeeping is a good boilerplate • Ask the organizers what they need
·css-tricks.com·
Phil Hawksworth: Emcee Tips for a Conference or Meetup (CSS Tricks)
Kaitlyn Tiffany: How to Make a Website (The Atlantic)
Kaitlyn Tiffany: How to Make a Website (The Atlantic)
wikiHow embodies an alternative history of the internet, and an interesting possibility for its future. --- “The web offers us an opportunity to build whatever we want. We’ve chosen, by the way we’ve put the incentives, and the way users behaved, to spend all of our time in four big web properties,” Herrick tells me. “We didn’t have to do that, and we still don’t have to do that. We can build this web of small towns. You can get your information from small providers that have your best interests at heart and aren’t trying to just mine you for data. The web could be a totally different place.”
·theatlantic.com·
Kaitlyn Tiffany: How to Make a Website (The Atlantic)
David Gelles: How to Meditate (NYT)
David Gelles: How to Meditate (NYT)
Meditation is a simple practice available to all, which can reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness. Learning how to meditate is straightforward, and the benefits can come quickly. […] Remember, the purpose of meditation isn’t to achieve perfect control over your mind or stop thinking altogether. The intention should be to bring a more compassionate, calm and accepting approach to whatever happens.
·nytimes.com·
David Gelles: How to Meditate (NYT)
Christine Smallwood: Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty (New Yorker)
Christine Smallwood: Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty (New Yorker)
Millennials who see no contradiction between using astrology and believing in science are fueling a resurgence of the practice. --- It’s easy to name our own opaque and inscrutable systems—surveillance capitalism, a byzantine health-insurance system—but to say that we are no longer the self-determining subjects of our fate is also to recognize the many ways that our lives are governed by circumstances outside our control. […] It’s a commonplace to say that in uncertain times people crave certainty. But what astrology offers isn’t certainty—it’s distance. Just as a person may find it easier to accept things about herself when she decides she was born that way, astrology makes it possible to see world events from a less reactive position. It posits that history is not a linear story of upward progress but instead moves in cycles, and that historical actors—the ones running amok all around us—are archetypes. Alarming, yes; villainous, perhaps; but familiar, legible.
·newyorker.com·
Christine Smallwood: Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty (New Yorker)
Maria Bustillos: The failures of Ayn Rand (Popula)
Maria Bustillos: The failures of Ayn Rand (Popula)
For those who are inclined to find such ideas ludicrous, the book will fail, and utterly; its premises betray a bottomless ignorance of the deep interconnectedness of humankind, the needs — economic, social, emotional, intellectual — of human beings for one another, and of the ultimate inalienable reality of life on Earth as a whole, the totality of which each is a part, and our need to live in this wholeness. Rand is 100% pro-inequality; she preaches the intellectual and moral superiority of wealth, and scorn and hatred of those who have “less.” Objectivism actively praises inequality. But nobody has “less,” because all have the same, of the only thing that matters—life, for a moment, and then?—something, nothing, nobody knows. Equality is not a fantasy, nor even a goal; it is just a fact. […] Rand’s books have sold nonstop from the moment they were published because people love hearing how not only can they get away with being totally selfish, it’s absolutely the right way to be. The best way to be, as in, morally the best. […] The real looters, it increasingly appears, are the self-styled Objectivist “elites,” rabidly pursuing their own “happiness” at the cost of our social safety net, the prosperity and well-being of the world’s people and even, quite possibly, of this planet’s capacity to sustain life. So much for the triumph of individualism.
·popula.com·
Maria Bustillos: The failures of Ayn Rand (Popula)
Will Meyer: Naomi Klein on Climate Chaos: “I Don’t Think Baby Boomers Did This. I Think Capitalism Did.” (In These Times)
Will Meyer: Naomi Klein on Climate Chaos: “I Don’t Think Baby Boomers Did This. I Think Capitalism Did.” (In These Times)
I don’t think Baby Boomers did this. I think capitalism did, and there’s something both depoliticizing and isolating about the generational frame. There are people in every generation who tried so hard to stop this from happening, who raised the alarm, and people who died in the struggle. I think movements that are just of young people tend to be short lived. On the other hand, indigenous movements, and many other movements that have been fighting for hundreds of years, have a role for every generation to play, and that’s part of how we protect these young people with so much courage.
·inthesetimes.com·
Will Meyer: Naomi Klein on Climate Chaos: “I Don’t Think Baby Boomers Did This. I Think Capitalism Did.” (In These Times)
Tara Isabella Burton: The prosperity gospel, explained: Why Joel Osteen believes that prayer can make you rich (Vox)
Tara Isabella Burton: The prosperity gospel, explained: Why Joel Osteen believes that prayer can make you rich (Vox)
It’s difficult to say that the prosperity gospel itself led to Donald Trump’s inauguration. Again, only 17 percent of American Christians identify with it explicitly. It’s far more true, however, to say that the same cultural forces that led to the prosperity gospel’s proliferation in America — individualism, an affinity for ostentatious and charismatic leaders, the Protestant work ethic, and a cultural obsession with the power of “positive thinking” — shape how we, as a nation, approach politics. What is our collective approach to health care, after all, if not rooted in a visceral sense that the unlucky are responsible for their own misfortune? What is our willingness to vote a man like Trump into office but a collective cultural reward for those who brand themselves as successful?
·vox.com·
Tara Isabella Burton: The prosperity gospel, explained: Why Joel Osteen believes that prayer can make you rich (Vox)
Liza Featherstone: The Failure of the Adults (The New Republic)
Liza Featherstone: The Failure of the Adults (The New Republic)
Of course, children have a rich tradition of taking political action on their own behalf. Just as kids have sexuality (whether adults like it or not), they also have politics (whether adults like it or not). During the early twentieth century, American children organized against their own labor exploitation. During the civil rights movement, black kids brave enough to integrate white schools drew admiration and sympathy, often far more than the adults putting their bodies on the line to integrate lunch counters and public transit. On television, the sight of these children, facing extreme racism, dressed in their Sunday best, with such serious faces, explaining to reporters, in a matter-of-fact way, their intention to attend school, had a profound effect on white American consciousness. We admire such children, at least when we support their cause. Yet we greet their political involvement with a sense of unease. The more we sympathize, the more we see their activism as a sign of how bad things are. It makes us feel, as adults, that we’ve failed. Kids shouldn’t have to take political action to stop mass human extinction or keep armed madmen out of their schools. Those who do are like the children of alcoholics who have to care for the parents, get dinner on the stove, and put the little brother to bed. Western societies—though it is not only the West that clings to this construct—believe that childhood is supposed to be a separate, playful, safe realm, protected from sordid grown-up business. Kids are supposed to be kids, doing kid things. […] One reason to fight for a better world is to allow all kids a real childhood, free not only from climate change and gun violence, but also from poverty and war—so that they can do profoundly inconsequential stuff.
·newrepublic.com·
Liza Featherstone: The Failure of the Adults (The New Republic)
Vanessa Marin: How to Actually Follow Through on the Relationship Advice You Get (NYT)
Vanessa Marin: How to Actually Follow Through on the Relationship Advice You Get (NYT)
Not feeling particularly motivated to take action? In his book, Mr. Manson argues that we have motivation all wrong. Most people look to feel motivated before taking action. We bemoan our lack of desire, claiming that without that desire, we can’t do anything. Instead, Mr. Manson advocates his “do something” principle: take some sort of action first. You’ll feel good for having done so and will feel inspired to take even more action. In this way, we create our own motivation, instead of relying on it to strike us. In case you still feel stuck or lazy, Mr. Manson added: “I would actually say it’s impossible to NOT work on your relationship. Your inaction is itself a form of action that affects the relationship. Every relationship is always either getting stronger or weaker, and to do nothing contributes to the weakening of the relationship.”
·nytimes.com·
Vanessa Marin: How to Actually Follow Through on the Relationship Advice You Get (NYT)
Mark Bittman and David L. Katz: The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right (Grub Street)
Mark Bittman and David L. Katz: The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right (Grub Street)
Mark Bittman and Dr. David L. Katz patiently answer pretty much every question we could think of about healthy food. --- In fact, the basic theme of optimal eating — a diet made up mostly of whole, wholesome plant foods — has been clear to nutrition experts for generations. What does change all the time is the fads, fashions, marketing gimmicks, and hucksterism. How do you avoid the pitfalls of all that? Focus on foods, not nutrients. A diet may be higher or lower in total fat, or total carbohydrate, or total protein, and still be optimal. But a diet cannot be optimal if it is not made up mostly of some balanced combination of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and water. If you get the foods right, the nutrients sort themselves out. But if you focus on nutrients rather than foods, you quickly learn that there is more than one way to eat badly, and we Americans seem all too eager to try them all.
·grubstreet.com·
Mark Bittman and David L. Katz: The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right (Grub Street)
Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley: The Calorie Is Broken (The New Republic)
Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley: The Calorie Is Broken (The New Republic)
It’s a simple formula for weight loss: burn more calories than you consume. How come that often doesn't work? --- The discrepancies between the number on the label and the calories that are actually available in our food, combined with individual variations in how we metabolize that food, can add up to much more than the 200 calories a day that nutritionists often advise cutting in order to lose weight. Nash and Haelle can do everything right and still not lose weight. None of this means that the calorie is a useless concept. Inaccurate as they are, calorie counts remain a helpful guide to relative energy values: standing burns more calories than sitting; cookies contain more calories than spinach. But the calorie is broken in many ways, and there’s a strong case to be made for moving our food accounting system away from that one particular number. It’s time to take a more holistic look at what we eat. […] It increasingly seems that there are significant variations in the way each one of us metabolizes food, based on the tens of thousands—perhaps millions—of chemicals that make up each of our metabolomes. This, in combination with the individuality of each person’s gut microbiome, could lead to the development of personalized dietary recommendations. […] Or maybe the focus will shift to tweaking your microbial community: If you’re trying to lose weight, perhaps you will curate your gut microbiome so as to extract fewer calories without harming your overall health. […] None of these alternatives is ready to replace the calorie tomorrow. Yet the need for a new system of food accounting is clear. Just ask Haelle. “I’m kind of pissed at the scientific community for not coming up with something better for us,” she confesses, recalling a recent meltdown at TGI Friday’s as she navigated a confusing datasheet to find a low-calorie dish she could eat. There should be a better metric for people like her and Nash—people who know the health risks that come with being overweight and work hard to counter them. And it’s likely there will be. Science has already shown that the calorie is broken. Now it has to find a replacement.
·newrepublic.com·
Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley: The Calorie Is Broken (The New Republic)
Bill McKibben: Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns (New Yorker)
Bill McKibben: Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns (New Yorker)
Bill McKibben on what would happen if the banking, asset-management, and insurance industries decided to move away from fossil fuels, and on how the financial sector affects climate change. --- Persuading giant financial firms to give up even small parts of their business would be close to unprecedented. And inertia is a powerful force—there are whole teams of people in each of these firms who have spent years learning the fossil-fuel industry inside and out, so that they can lend, trade, and underwrite efficiently and profitably. Those people would have to learn about solar power, or electric cars. That would be hard, in the same way that it’s hard for coal miners to retrain to become solar-panel installers. But we’re all going to have to change—that’s the point. Farmers around the world are leaving their land because the sea is rising; droughts are already creating refugees by the millions. On the spectrum of shifts that the climate crisis will require, bankers and investors and insurers have it easy. A manageably small part of their business needs to disappear, to be replaced by what comes next. No one should actually be a master of the universe. But, for the moment, the financial giants are the masters of our planet. Perhaps we can make them put that power to use. Fast.
·newyorker.com·
Bill McKibben: Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns (New Yorker)
Shanita Hubbard: Russell Simmons, R. Kelly, and Why Black Women Can’t Say #MeToo (NYT)
Shanita Hubbard: Russell Simmons, R. Kelly, and Why Black Women Can’t Say #MeToo (NYT)
When your community fights for the people who terrorized you, it means your pain is not a priority. --- #MeToo is triggering memories of that corner that I’ve tucked away for 20 years because I’ve been taught there are greater needs in the community. Perhaps this is part of the reason studies indicate only one in 15 African-American women report being raped. We’ve seen the unchecked power of white men ravish our communities, and we carry the message of “not right now” when it comes to addressing our pain if the offender is black.
·nytimes.com·
Shanita Hubbard: Russell Simmons, R. Kelly, and Why Black Women Can’t Say #MeToo (NYT)
Stephanie Stimac: Location, Privilege and Performant Websites
Stephanie Stimac: Location, Privilege and Performant Websites
Unconscious privilege hides in delivering so much unused code to customers. In not taking the time to understand what the implications are of using the code you choose to use and how large those files are, we assume that all of our customers are in the same situation with the same access to resources. NPR smartly chose to build a text-only website so that people with limited internet connectivity during Hurricane Irma could receive up-to-date news. If you do assess your code and for whatever reasons find that you cannot reduce the size of your website, be it time or staffing propose adding a text-only website, especially if you provide a service that is essential to most of the population in your area. […] Assuming all of your customers are living the same life, with the same privilege, with the same access to fast internet and data is the quickest way to ensure you’re excluding some of them and not providing the same level of service the rest get. It’s most likely not even happening intentionally, bias is inherent in us all in some way or another. Bias based on location is something I hadn’t considered before my experience on a subpar network due to where I live. […] Testing on a
·blog.stephaniestimac.com·
Stephanie Stimac: Location, Privilege and Performant Websites
Justin Tadlock: Beyond Prefixing: A WordPress Developer’s Guide to PHP Namespaces (WP Tavern)
Justin Tadlock: Beyond Prefixing: A WordPress Developer’s Guide to PHP Namespaces (WP Tavern)
Prefixing is one form of “namespacing,” which is just a fancy way of saying that names in this space belong to a specific project. However, prefixing (and suffixing, which is less common) is a hack from a time when no solution existed for the PHP language. PHP 5.3 introduced an official method of namespacing, so the standard has existed for years. Because WordPress 5.2 bumped the minimum PHP requirement to 5.6, it is time for developers to shed their old habits and catch up to the rest of the PHP world.
·wptavern.com·
Justin Tadlock: Beyond Prefixing: A WordPress Developer’s Guide to PHP Namespaces (WP Tavern)
Melanie Pinola: Get your digital accounts ready in case of death (NYT)
Melanie Pinola: Get your digital accounts ready in case of death (NYT)
Preparing for your eventual demise is a gift your loved ones will appreciate even as they mourn your loss — and it will give you peace of mind in the present, too. Most people have thought about setting up a will and doing other estate planning, but you should also arm your family with the most essential information they’ll need in the immediate days and weeks after you’re gone, preferably in one easy-to-access place. Here’s how to set up a digital version of Myrna’s “little black book” for simple and secure information sharing with family members and trusted friends.
·messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com·
Melanie Pinola: Get your digital accounts ready in case of death (NYT)
NerdWallet: How to Decide It’s Time to Buy a Home
NerdWallet: How to Decide It’s Time to Buy a Home
Deciding whether to rent or buy is a big decision that requires serious “Where am I now?” and “Where am I going?” sorts of questions. It might be best to keep renting if you want to maintain maximum flexibility for personal or professional reasons, or if jumping into more debt right now takes you out of your comfort zone. Maybe you’re just not ready to face the responsibilities of homeownership: repairs, upgrades, maintenance, yard work and all the rest. Even thinking about the difference between cleaning an 800-square-foot apartment and a 2,400-square-foot house can make you want to take a seat and a deep breath. Your local housing market could be working against you, as well. If you live in a hot market with eager house hunters chasing too few properties, it might be best to bide your time until a better buying opportunity presents itself.
·nerdwallet.com·
NerdWallet: How to Decide It’s Time to Buy a Home
Tony Tulathimutte: The Feminist (n+1 Magazine)
Tony Tulathimutte: The Feminist (n+1 Magazine)
This is absolutely brutal. His friends, mostly female, told him he was refreshingly attentive and trustworthy for a boy. Meanwhile he is grateful for the knowledge that female was best used as an adjective, that sexism harms men too (though not nearly to the extent that it harms women), and that certain men pretend to be feminists just to get laid.
·nplusonemag.com·
Tony Tulathimutte: The Feminist (n+1 Magazine)
‘April’ by Sandra Simonds
‘April’ by Sandra Simonds
The red bird falls from the tree, lands on its head, rolls right back up on its feet. Hello, spring. Hello, sanity. Hello, trashfire century. Hello, wilted leaves and gothic vines. How are you doing today? I will water the thyme. I will make miniature succulents out of clay. I will bake you the most beautiful loaf of bread, eat half of it, and give the other half to whatever nothing I can find, pretend you are mine. Oh, how are you doing?
·newyorker.com·
‘April’ by Sandra Simonds
Nathan J. Robinson: The Difference Between Liberalism and Leftism (Current Affairs)
Nathan J. Robinson: The Difference Between Liberalism and Leftism (Current Affairs)
The core divergence in these worldviews is in their beliefs about the nature of contemporary political and economic institutions. The difference here is not “how quickly these institutions should change,” but whether changes to them should be fundamental structural changes or not. The leftist sees capitalism as a horror, and believes that so long as money and profit rule the earth, human beings will be made miserable and will destroy themselves. The liberal does not actually believe this. Rather, the liberal believes that while there are problems with capitalism, it can be salvaged if given a few tweaks here and there. As Nancy Pelosi said of the present Democratic party: “We’re capitalist.” When Bernie Sanders is asked if he is a capitalist, he answers flatly: “No.” Sanders is a socialist, and socialism is not capitalism, and there is no possibility of healing the ideological rift between the two. Liberals believe that the economic and political system is a machine that has broken down and needs fixing. Leftists believe that the machine is not “broken.” Rather, it is working perfectly well; the problem is that it is a death machine designed to chew up human lives. You don’t fix the death machine, you smash it to bits. […] The liberal sees the conservative patriot wearing a flag pin and says: “A flag pin isn’t what makes you a patriot.” The leftist says: “Patriotism is an incoherent and chauvinistic notion.” The liberal says, “We’re the real ones who love America,” while the leftist says, “What is America?” or “I don’t see what it would mean to love or hate a meaningless conceptual entity.” […] Does this mean that anti-Trump forces are doomed to political infighting on everything? No, I don’t think so. Because even if you ultimately cannot reconcile your values with someone else’s, you can still forge temporary alliances for the purposes of achieving common political goals. Pelosi and Sanders share the goal of ridding the world of Trump, and it is possible to collaborate based on what we do have in common. That’s why Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton and told his followers to vote for her. The fact that, at the end of the day, the liberal/left conflict is real and intractable does not preclude a liberal/left coalition in undermining the Trump agenda. It just means that this coalition is ultimately destined to be temporary.
·currentaffairs.org·
Nathan J. Robinson: The Difference Between Liberalism and Leftism (Current Affairs)
Mychal Denzel Smith: Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” Is Not the Capitalist Anthem You Think It Is (Pitchfork)
Mychal Denzel Smith: Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” Is Not the Capitalist Anthem You Think It Is (Pitchfork)
Twenty-five years after its release, the iconic rap group’s biggest hit remains deeply misunderstood. --- If Deck’s life, at the ripe old age of 22, felt no different inside or outside of prison, Meth’s cries to “get the money” are utterly meaningless. They sound less like a rallying call and more like desperate pleas of escape shouted into a void. Chasing cash, by whatever means available, is the only option for survival, as it rules everything around us—but should it? Should a lack of money make one’s life indistinguishable from prison? These are questions that arise if we’re listening to the song as a whole, but pop success alters the way music is heard. As such, “C.R.E.A.M.” has been stripped for parts: The only aspects of real interest to a mass audience are the use of “cream” as slang for money and the repetition of the hook as an admonishment to work harder, longer, and more ruthlessly in the pursuit of it. The song has become a tool of the unscrupulous system it was meant to expose. By 2014, Drake and JAY-Z were interpolating the hook into their opulent collaboration “Pound Cake” without any semblance of the struggle Wu was rapping about, while Financial Times was using “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” as a headline for a story detailing a select few rappers’ immense wealth. At this point, there’s even a nerdy YouTube tutorial that borrows the acronym to extol the virtues of Google Instant Buy. In this way, “C.R.E.A.M.” has become something like the hip-hop equivalent of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Right out the gate, Springsteen’s hit was being co-opted into a bland patriotism. After attending one of his concerts in 1984, the conservative columnist George Will wrote: “I have not got a clue about Springsteen’s politics, if any, but flags get waved at his concerts while he sings songs about hard times. He is no whiner, and the recitation of closed factories and other problems always seems punctuated by a grand, cheerful affirmation: ‘Born in the U.S.A.!’”
·pitchfork.com·
Mychal Denzel Smith: Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” Is Not the Capitalist Anthem You Think It Is (Pitchfork)
Kaitlyn Tiffany: Tumblr’s First Year Without Porn (The Atlantic)
Kaitlyn Tiffany: Tumblr’s First Year Without Porn (The Atlantic)
The engine of internet culture is chugging along, changed. ​​​​ --- While porn creators belonged to tightly connected subgroups, they were linked to the rest of Tumblr’s network “with a very high number of ties,” and their productions “spread widely across the whole social graph.” In other words, they weren’t quarantined in some illicit corner of the site—they were woven into its basic fabric: The average Tumblr user in the sample followed 51 blogs, two or three of which tended to be specifically pornographic, and another two of which tended to be “bridge” blogs, run by users who were particularly likely to reblog porn. […] Plenty of new, younger fandoms sprung up on Tumblr this year, according to Brennan, but it’s notable how much of what showed up on the year-end list for what has always been the most creative and arguably the most important platform on the web was regurgitated from other sites—or bland continuations of aesthetically unchallenging trends that have been popular for years. (Like the biggest pop star in the world.) Tumblr can still be funny and strange, and there is still no better place on the internet to be a fan of something, explore a social or sexual identity, or reblog a convoluted joke about being young and online.
·theatlantic.com·
Kaitlyn Tiffany: Tumblr’s First Year Without Porn (The Atlantic)
Jia Tolentino: The Creepiest Pictures on the Internet (The New Yorker)
Jia Tolentino: The Creepiest Pictures on the Internet (The New Yorker)
Jia Tolentino speaks with the mysterious administrator of the Cursed Images Twitter account, and considers what makes the images there so creepy. --- Knowing the stories behind the cursed images does not always make them less creepy. “Cursed image 1783,” showing a woman encased in medical equipment with balloons wreathing her face, is from an Associated Press story about a woman in Memphis who died after a power failure shut off the iron lung she’d lived inside for almost sixty years. “Cursed image 1627,” showing a terrible plasticine figure in a waste-green pool, is from a Daily Beast story about a seventy-year-old man named Robert whose pastime is dressing up as a life-size doll. These images hew to the Freudian description of the uncanny: a sense that something once familiar has become terribly strange. Seeing a flock of flamingos crammed into a dirty public bathroom is uncomfortable, whether you know that the photo was taken at the Miami Zoo during Hurricane Andrew or not.
·newyorker.com·
Jia Tolentino: The Creepiest Pictures on the Internet (The New Yorker)