mma González: A Young Activist’s Advice: Vote, Shave Your Head and Cry Whenever You Need To (NYT)
People say, “I don’t play the politics game, I don’t pay attention to politics” — well, the environment is getting poisoned, families are getting pulled apart and deported, prisons are privatized, real-life Nazis live happily among us, Native Americans are so disenfranchised our country is basically still colonizing them, Puerto Rico has been abandoned, the American education system has been turned into a business, and every day 96 people get shot and killed.
You might not be a big fan of politics, but you can still participate. All you need to do is vote for people you believe will work on these issues, and if they don’t work the way they should, then it is your responsibility to call them, organize a town hall and demand that they show up — hold them accountable. It’s their job to make our world better.
The left’s rallying cry is a repudiation of Trump’s immigration policy — and a challenge to Democrats.
Objectively, the Trump immigration agenda — “unshackling” ICE agents and reiterating that every unauthorized immigrant “should be worried” about getting deported — is a reinstatement of the status quo during Obama’s first term. But because it’s a change from a period of relative safety — deportations did go down in the final years of the Obama administration — and because of Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, it feels like something new.
Trump sees rank-and-file law enforcement officers as his natural allies in a culture war. Progressives have responded in kind: by targeting not just the Trump administration officials appointed to run immigration enforcement but ICE agents themselves, whom they have cast as moral monsters whose power needs to be drastically curtailed or destroyed.
Viewed from one angle, the rise of get-girls-to-code initiatives is progressive and feminist. Many people involved in the movement are certainly progressive feminists themselves, and many women have benefited from these initiatives. But there are other ways to look at it too. Women are generally cheaper, to other workers’ dismay. “Introducing women into a discipline can be seen as empowerment for women,” says Ensmenger. “But it is often seen by men as a reduction of their status. Because, historically speaking, the more women in a profession, the lower-paid it is.”
Hicks, the computing historian, can’t stand it when people tout coding camps as a solution to technology’s gender problem. “I think these initiatives are well-meaning, but they totally misunderstand the problem. The pipeline is not the problem; the meritocracy is the problem. The idea that we’ll just stuff people into the pipeline assumes a meritocracy that does not exist.”
Ironically, says Hicks, these coding initiatives are, consciously or not, betting on their graduates’ failure. If boot camp graduates succeed, they’ll flood the market, devaluing the entire profession. “If you can be the exception who becomes successful, then you can take advantage of all the gatekeeping mechanisms,” says Hicks. “But if you aren’t the exception, and the gatekeeping starts to fall away, then the profession becomes less prestigious.”
Sophie Haigney: Meet the man behind the music at Logan Airport (The Boston Globe)
What’s played over the speakers at Logan originates in a room in a yellow house in North Providence.
This question of how to please everyone is something that many large public spaces — and small private spaces — deal with on a daily basis. This desire to please the largest crowd — or not to offend — drove the popularity of “elevator music.” On some level, this challenge continues to drive companies like Spotify to create better and better algorithms. And it drives Dalzell to continually add and delete, listen and select.
Amelia Bonow: Don’t Depoliticize Abortion (The New Republic)
Abortion is health care, of course. But attempting to depoliticize abortion or insist that the procedure is categorically identical to other health care procedures downplays the implications of abortion in a way that removes it from any honest analysis of its political salience. Because the anti-abortion movement has long dominated the conversation with the assertion that abortion is murder, the impulse to remove abortion from a murky moral debate and frame it as a simple matter of health is understandable. But it is not simply a medical choice with no repercussions beyond the realm of the personal; abortion affects everyone. One in four women will have at least one abortion in their lives. Our communities have been shaped in a million invisible ways by people having abortions—abortions that allowed them to build their lives and careers and families with intention. Abortion has shaped families who live comfortably at the top, and lack of access to abortion has denied many poor families the ability to shape their own futures.
Deciding whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is a personal choice. But suggesting that abortion is a private matter between doctor and patient mistakenly characterizes it as an individual issue, as opposed to a fundamental human rights issue and a matter of justice. Abortion bans are one of many strategies the right is employing in a much larger project to disenfranchise poor people and people of color. This is also about controlling women and their bodies, of course, though ultimately wealthy women will always be able to buy their freedom.
The question of when life begins is deeply personal, and there will never be anything approaching consensus on the matter. But the abortion debate isn’t about when life begins: It’s about how much money a pregnant person needs in order to purchase their own self-determination, and about who our society deems worthy of freedom. The people fighting to ban abortion aren’t trying to eliminate abortion—if they were, they’d be advocating for medically accurate sex education, insurance plans that cover birth control, and widely accessible emergency contraception. If abortion opponents truly believed that abortions become increasingly evil as pregnancy progresses, they wouldn’t be trying to ban abortions at six weeks and implement waiting periods designed to make it impossible for those without means to terminate their pregnancies as soon as possible.
The most compelling argument that abortion is health care is the fact that the lack of abortion access is a rapidly escalating public health crisis, one that will only continue to deepen existing contours of inequality. Maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are the highest in the developed world, and in some places that rate is four times higher for black women. Abortion is health care, but we do not live in a country that frames health care as an inalienable human right. The fight for abortion rights is a structural power struggle, with clear winners and losers.
Chris Coyier: CSS Animation Libraries (CSS-Tricks)
There are an awful lot of libraries that want to help you animate things on the web. These aren't really libraries that help you with the syntax or the technology of animations, but rather are grab-and-use as-is libraries. Want to apply a class like "animate-flip-up" and watch an element, uhhh, flip up? These are the kind of libraries to look at.
I wholeheartedly think you should both 1) learn how to animate things in CSS by learning the syntax yourself and 2) customize animations to tailor the feel to your site. Still, poking around libraries like this helps foster ideas, gets you started with code examples, and might form a foundation for your own projects.
Robert H. Frank: Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money (NYT)
Total costs are lower under single-payer systems for several reasons. One is that administrative costs average only about 2 percent of total expenses under a single-payer program like Medicare, less than one-sixth the corresponding percentage for many private insurers. Single-payer systems also spend virtually nothing on competitive advertising, which can account for more than 15 percent of total expenses for private insurers.
The most important source of cost savings under single-payer is that large government entities are able to negotiate much more favorable terms with service providers. In 2012, for example, the average cost of coronary bypass surgery was more than $73,000 in the United States but less than $23,000 in France.
Kelsey McKinney: The Tater Tot Is American Ingenuity at Its Finest (Eater)
F. Nephi and Golden Grigg were two determined young Mormon entrepreneurs, willing to do anything to get their shot of the American Dream. Born in 1914, Nephi came of age during the Great Depression and was the leader of the two. He was a high school dropout prone to hyperbolic business proverbs. “Bite off more than you can chew,” he wrote, “then chew it.” “You can never go broke by taking a profit,” he relentlessly repeats in his letters to colleagues and his own “History of the Tot,” all found in his personal archive, currently housed at the J. Willard Marriot Library at the University of Utah. (In 1989, an employee of Ore-Ida foods reached out to Nephi Grigg desperate for the story of Tater Tots, noting there was no historical record of how the item came to be. Griggs responded with a five-and-a-half-page personal account that starts with the line, “The Tater Tot is the hero in the history of the saga of Ore-Idea Foods, Inc.” Since his death in 1995, Nephi’s response has
Lauren Michele Jackson: Who Really Owns the ‘Blaccent’? (Vulture)
On the controversy over Awkwafina’s blaccent in Crazy Rich Asians. While Awkwafina successfully imitates something in the film, it’s not black language.
What can explain the ease with which the knowledge and creations of close-knit communities become circulated as profitable products in the arms of others, if not a deliberate and concentrated pickpocketing from one person to another to another? The flow of money and celebrity and canonicity supports the deduction, which is why the true observation that “everybody appropriates” can never and will never hold water (until, like, the end of white capitalism, a.k.a. the world). It is not by accident that people in power acquire cachet and adoration (and more power) when they don facsimile costumes of the people kept from power. And yet, power doesn’t often propagate itself so plainly in popular culture. We see its influence in what ends up valued and not valued, but more often, appropriation goes undetected. A white person may be just as likely to learn black lexicon from another white person who learned it from a Twitter user who often retweets Rihanna-related content. In the year 2018, it’s hardly, if ever, a straightforward route from A to B.
Is a “blaccent” an evocation of blackness, or of something else — power, imperialism, commerce, the digital age? Maybe blaccent shouldn’t function so metonymically, and maybe it shouldn’t imply blackness at all (blackness has enough to contend with), but that something else instead, indicting not an individual instance of theft but a global phenomenon that makes it impossible to know whether a nonblack millennial from Forest Hills studied black culture like a textbook or grew up with the same media as most of us, where blaccents in the mouths of white, snappy performers has been autonomous and apart from the actual speech patterns of black people since America had a theater tradition to call its own.
Consider the many adolescents, now men, who’ve forged a personality around Pineapple Express and adore Post Malone, the way some young women have developed a shtick around Broad City’s fictional “Yas Kween” Ilana — there are blaccents built from blaccents, but maybe not from blackness itself. A certain millennial cool-kid identity is already predicated on basic appropriations that get overlooked when every case becomes exemplary, instead of evidentiary. It’s all very messy, and power makes it messy, but treating the blaccent as something authentically black and stolen doesn’t make it any clearer.
Heidi Grant: How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To (Harvard Business Review)
This article offers three reasons and three solutions: “thinking about the consequences of failure, ignoring your feelings, and engaging in detailed planning.” Summarized in edited excerpts here:
Reason: You are putting something off because you are afraid you will screw it up.
Solution: Adopt a “prevention focus.” Instead of thinking about how you can end up better off, you see the task as a way to hang on to what you’ve already got—to avoid loss.
Reason: You are putting something off because you don’t “feel” like doing it.
Solution: Ignore your feelings. They’re getting in your way. If you are sitting there, putting something off because you don’t feel like it, remember that you don’t actually need to feel like it. There is nothing stopping you.
Reason: You are putting something off because it’s hard, boring, or otherwise unpleasant.
Solution: Use if-then planning. Making an if-then plan is more than just deciding what specific steps you need to take to complete a project – it’s also deciding where and when you will take them. By deciding in advance exactly what you’re going to do, and when and where you’re going to do it, there’s no deliberating when the time comes. It’s when we deliberate that willpower becomes necessary to make the tough choice. But if-then plans dramatically reduce the demands placed on your willpower, by ensuring that you’ve made the right decision way ahead of the critical moment. In fact, if-then planning has been shown in over 200 studies to increase rates of goal attainment and productivity by 200%-300% on average.
What I miss about my "90s internet" wasn't it specifically, with its slow data links, tiny JPEGs, buffering RealPlayer, or the tag. It did not have the tiniest fraction of the wonderful content the internet has today.
What I miss is that I could "go on the internet" and be in a creative corner of the human experience. Today if you "go on the internet", that means you pulled your phone out of your pocket, dismissed some notification spam and start reading click-bait shared by people you have met on social media.
Today you have to choke your way through the money-making miasma to find the joy.
I wish the internet of creative people and their works had a front page and a search engine. Something that made finding the blog about the search for planet 9 easy to find, and the New Yorker article on it hard to find.
What is not clear to me yet is how those tools should work. How do we build a search engine that penalizes media outlets and promotes blogs and podcasts? How do we distinguish between a research paper or an article written by someone about their daily life aboard ISS on nasa.gov from their useless press releases?
We know that the state will not protect you -- especially not when the head of state promises to target populations vulnerable to its violence, and sanctions citizens to do the same. For these reasons, we collect here resources for bystander intervention and deescalation for those who wish to protect one other.
Be aware that bystander intervention and deescalation strategies do not necessarily require physical force. Intervention and deescalation are first and foremost about securing a targeted person's safety as well as your own.
Jes Skolnik: A Practical Web Tutorial to Bystander Intervention and De-escalation Tactics
• Be alert.
• Be attuned to body language and how it changes.
• Trust your gut.
• Act confident, and try to react with your head, not your heart.
If you come up assertive (but not mutually aggressive), confident, and as calm as you can, that’s the first step toward defusing a situation. Practice saying “No,” calmly and firmly, alone, to a mirror in your house, or to a helpful friend (you can practice together). Staying centered and calm, focusing on your intake and exhalation of breath for five counts if you feel yourself getting too emotionally carried away, will help you act rather than react.
• Take a self-defense class.
• Don’t white-knight.
I cannot count the number of times I’ve walked up to someone who looked like they were in trouble in a club, or at a train station, and pretended cheerfully that I knew them. “Hey! It’s so good to see you! How are you doing?” If the person needed my help, they’d be able to respond in kind, and I could say “Excuse me, I haven’t seen my friend in a while here,” to the aggressor, and we could walk off together. That works far more often than you’d think it would. If the person didn’t need my help, they’d be able to stare at me blankly, and I could say, “Sorry, thought you were someone else. Excuse me for interrupting!” and walk off.
• There are all kinds of different situations, and all kinds of different situations call for all kinds of different solutions.
The basic four strategies come down to Direct (respond directly to the aggressor, as in the street harassment example in this paragraph; this works best when you’re working from a known and trusted position, and it does not generally work well when drugs or alcohol are involved), Distract (as in the stranger harassment club/train platform example above—distracting either person in the situation, really), Delegate (bringing in another person or people to help get a person in trouble to safety, pulling one party to one side and the other to another and thus defusing the situation), and Delay (use a distraction technique—whether it be in-person or via text/another messaging service—to pull a person who appears to be in trouble to the side to ask if they’re ok and they need any other assistance from you). You’ll mix and match and alter these strategies as necessary.
In a lot of situations, when you notice something is wrong, just sticking around and serving as a witness can keep something worse from happening.
Alex Kotch: These Nonprofits and Businesses Are Making Millions From Detaining Immigrant Children (Sludge)
When migrant children manage to survive days and sometimes weeks in CBP holding cells, their nightmares are far from over. CBP hands processed children over to the Department of Health and Human Services, which either places them with relatives in the U.S. or sends them to one of many privately operated child shelters. In 2018, the Trump administration instituted new, strict qualification requirements for adults seeking to sponsor immigrant kids, causing the shelters to burst at the seams. After months of public pressure, the administration returned to the previous rules for sponsorship, but many shelters are still too crowded.
A Sludge review of contract data as of June 30 has found that the federal government has spent nearly $3.8 billion on ongoing grants and on contracts initiated since Donald Trump became president related to “unaccompanied alien children” (UACs), or undocumented immigrant kids who crossed into the U.S. alone or were separated from adults—family or otherwise—after entering the country.
Alex Kotch & Josefa Velasquez: Who Is Making Money from ICE in Your State? (Sludge)
Hundreds of for-profit and nonprofit corporations have pulled in billions of dollars worth of ICE contracts in recent years. See where these ICE operations take place and where the corporations are headquartered.
When to get up if you go to bed now and need to wake up not groggy.
Sleepyti.me bedtime calculator helps you wake up refreshed by finding the best time to go to sleep.
Please keep in mind that you should be *falling asleep* at these times.
The average human takes fourteen minutes to fall asleep, so plan accordingly!
sleepyti.me works by counting backwards in sleep cycles. Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle leaves you feeling tired and groggy, but waking up in between cycles wakes you up feeling refreshed and alert!
Jeremy Gordon: A Completely Subjective Do’s and Don'ts Guide to Freelancing
This is from a freelancer writer, not a web developer, but most of the principles still apply.
• DO: Wake up early
• DO: Cultivate multiple interests so you are widely hirable
• DO: Build a good network of friends doing the same thing as you
• DO: Read the comments and grow a thick skin (I don't know about this one…)
• DO: Respect your editor
• DO: Stand up for yourself; the people who hire you are not right by default
• DO: Ask for your money
• DO: Buy business cards
• DO: Be positive and supportive
• DON'T: Push yourself to do too much or something you're not ready for
• DON'T: Read the comments (enough to build confidence, then never again)
• DON'T: Pitch stories to your friends who are editors, it'll make it weird
• DON'T: Be jealous
Adam Coti: Twenty Years as a Freelance Web Developer: Wisdom Gained and Lessons Learned (CSS-Tricks)
• Be reliable
• Communicate when things are going wrong
• Be ‘a generalist who specializes’
• Don’t diversify—you can't handle that much work at once
• Build a network from home: talk yourself up, have a website, use LinkedIn
• Don’t be afraid to ask for a lot of money and negotiate down from there
• Save *at least* six months of reserve funds
• Take breaks and leave the house
• Create projects that are rewarding and challenging to teach yourself things and stay motivated
The encampment isn’t marked on any maps, but even on Google’s Street View, if you zoom in you will find a human being on a corner nearby standing next to a plastic crate and holding a cardboard sign. If you are here, or in almost any city, it takes effort to avoid seeing this: people doing what they can to survive in a place that is actively hostile to them. Sometimes the divide between who gets to camp as a vacation and who has to do it because they have nowhere else to go is as literal as a wall of spikes.
Jia Tolentino: The Worst Year Ever, Until Next Year (The New Yorker)
Hope is elusive, but it will return eventually. What I’m afraid of, this December, are the conditions that allow hope to take hold. I’m worried that the “worst year ever” feeling is half a condition of the Internet, of the way we experience the news as delivered through social media. Everything feels too intimate, too aggressive; the interfaces that were intended to cheerfully connect us to the world have instead spawned fear and alienation. I’m worried that this sense of relentless emotional bombardment will escalate no matter what’s in the news.
Sam Haselby: Muslims lived in America before Protestantism even existed (Aeon)
Muslims thus arrived in America more than a century before the Virginia Company founded the Jamestown colony in 1607. Muslims came to America more than a century before the Puritans founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Muslims were living in America not only before Protestants, but before Protestantism existed. After Catholicism, Islam was the second monotheistic religion in the Americas.
The popular misunderstanding, even among educated people, that Islam and Muslims are recent additions to America tells us important things about how American history has been written. In particular, it reveals how historians have justified and celebrated the emergence of the modern nation-state. One way to valorise the United States of America has been to minimise the heterogeneity and scale – the cosmopolitanism, diversity and mutual co-existence of peoples – in America during the first 300 years of European presence.
If there is any religious group who represents the best version of religious freedom in America, it is Muslims such as Zemourri and al-Rahman. They came to America under conditions of genuine oppression, and struggled for the recognition of their religion and the freedom to practise it. In contrast to Anglo-Protestants, Muslims in America have demurred the impulse to tyrannise others, including Native Americans.
The most persistent consequence of the Puritan effect has been a continuing commitment to producing a past focused on how the actions, usually courageous and principled, of Anglo-Protestants (almost always in New England and the Chesapeake) led to the United States of America, its government and its institutions. The truth is that the history of America is not primarily an Anglo-Protestant story, any more than the history of the West more broadly. It might not be a straightforward or self-evident matter what, exactly, constitutes ‘the West’. But the more global era in history inaugurated by the European colonisation of the Western hemisphere must be a significant part of it.
If the West means, in part, the Western hemisphere or North America, Muslims have been part of its societies from the very beginning. Conflicts over what the American nation is and who belongs to it are perennial. Answers remain open to a range of possibilities and are vitally important. Historically, Muslims are Americans, as originally American as Anglo-Protestants. In many ways, America’s early Muslims are exemplars of the best practices and ideals of American religion. Any statement or suggestion to the contrary, no matter how well-meaning, derives from either intended or inherited chauvinism.
Jeremy Gordon: Multiracial in America: Who gets to be "white"? (Hopes & Fears)
The rise of a multiracial identity dovetails with an utopian ideal of a pan-ethnic, post-racial America—one where everyone is a little something. But that post-racial space doesn’t yet exist, with one of the effects being that multiracial people are often pulled between identities. Whether someone identifies more with one race or the other is strongly attributable to their upbringing, their family history, their surroundings, and their physical appearance, making no two multiracial experiences totally alike.
That hard work and a high salary helped turn Asians into a model minority clues us into how whiteness works. Being “white” doesn’t just refer to skin tone. It means you’re industrious and rich, that you believe in meritocracy and respect the status quo. Be respectable and diligent like a white person, and you’ll succeed. Whiteness, at its most pernicious, is an unquestioned belief in the American dream without acknowledging that America has historically denied the rewards of meritocracy to hard workers who didn’t look the right way. And if playing by the rules means you’re still on the outside, what minority would see assimilation as a worthwhile goal in 2015?
If Republicans can get away with only a cursory examination of modern racial relations—to say nothing of the frequency with which they appeal to outmoded stereotypes—then what does it say about our progress toward that supposedly glorious post-racial future? This is the dark side of the post-racial, which was supposed to be within sight after Obama’s election. To presume that race is over without resolving any of its conflicts is obviously no solution at all—a limited view of the post-racial that David Theo Goldberg, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, defined to me as “whiteness in fear of its loss of its own power and its own status, and its own standing. It reaches for the post-racial as a way of entrenching the given racial distributions as they stand.”
No one should be surprised that the eccentricities of “the English” never became a thing, of course. We do not tend to confuse “The English” with “speakers of English” for the same reason that there is no common-sense idiom about how their many words for water are derived from centuries as a seagoing empire based on a rainy island. They do not become a they because they are us.
One interesting thing is how boring the answer to the underlying question is. On the one hand, people who live in the Arctic—and whose languages developed in that environment—will naturally have more sophisticated and nuanced and complex language for describing their environment, exactly as you’d expect them to. No one really denies that they tend to, even if this fact isn’t easily grasped by counting words. But exoticizing Eskimos is also a function of ignorance, conjecture, and projection. “Eskimos Have Fifty Words for Snow” is an amazing phrase, because every word in it is wrong. But reversing it—announcing proudly that they don’t—only replicates that wrongness; you can’t say no to a bad question and be right.
What’s fascinating to me about actually reading Whorf’s work—after working my way debunkers who gesture at his ignorance as disqualifying—is how simple the point he was trying to make actually was: that ignorance is, itself, a pathway towards new knowledge. Precisely because other languages show us things we didn’t know—and didn’t know we didn’t know—we can learn new things by engaging with that ignorance. What, for example, might an Inuktitut know about a world that distinguishes between aput, qana, piqsirpoq, or qimuqsuq that an America won’t know about “snow”? To translate “aput” into “snow on the ground” doesn’t solve the problem, it only buries it under the illusion of comprehension; better to ask, he says, what it is that isn’t being translated.
Robin Sloan: Thread by robin on Rosegarden, archived six hours ago
What we hear from companies like T and F and Y is that monitoring communication at this scale, preventing that harm, is an unprecedented technical challenge.
That’s correct. However… no one asked for communication at this scale!
To be clear, it’s a challenge these companies designed for themselves; a challenge they enlarged through relentless, ingenious growth; a challenge they now invoke as if it’s some longstanding problem in fundamental physics.
Social media platforms should run small, and slow, and cool to the touch.