Wednesday, July 14 2021

Quote of the Day

If you think letting [spoiler] die is a failure–but all the times you supported him are meaningless–then no wonder it always hurts. Instead, if you think of how lucky you both were to be able to help each other when you were together, well, it looks a lot nicer, doesn’t it?

Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War

Information Sminformation

Facts Don’t Win Fights: Here’s How to Cut Through Confirmation Bias | Tali Sharot | Big Think

I’m working on an essay inspired by starting to research my novel and having a number of ideas come together. This subject is one of the main points in it, so when YouTube randomly surfed it up to me (seriously, does their algorithm log my keystrokes somehow?!) I thought it would be a good watch.

Information doesn’t take into account what makes us human, which is our emotions, our desires, our motives, and our prior beliefs.

Tali Sharot

So this is a study that was conducted at UCLA where what they wanted to do was convince parents to vaccinate their kids. And some of the parents didn’t want to vaccinate their kids because they were afraid of the link with autism. So they had two approaches. First they said, “Well, the link with autism is actually not real. Here’s all the data suggesting there isn’t a link between vaccines and autism.” And it didn’t really work that well. But instead they used another approach. So instead of going that way they used another approach, which was: let’s not talk about autism. We don’t necessarily need to talk about autism to convince you to vaccinate your kids. Instead they said, “Well, look, these vaccines protect kids from deadly diseases, from the measles.” And they showed them pictures of what the measles are. Because in this argument about vaccines, people actually forgot what the vaccines are for, what are they protecting us from. And they highlighted that and didn’t necessarily go on to talk about autism. And that had a much better outcome…So the lesson here is we need to find the common motive.

Tali Sharot

And just for contrast, the far less scientific but just as truthful observation about confirmation bias: Trust in media is a matter of ‘factpinion’

To that end, allow me to state unequivocally that the level of trust the American people have in the news media has never been higher. In fact, a vast majority of people believe journalists are both smart and exceptionally attractive.

The lyin’ AP’s alleged study also found that people are more likely to rely on news that “cites expert sources or documents.” No problem.

According to a survey I just wrote in crayon on the inside cover of a book next to the chair I’m sitting in, a full 97 percent of Americans describe the news media as “Most. Trustworthy. Ever.” Equally impressive, a full 103 percent of respondents say this survey was the most accurate they have ever taken and “you should believe it because it’s really, really true — seriously.”

(The survey had a margin of error of “+/- kiss my butt.”)

So there you have it — the lyin’ AP’s egregious act of yellow journalism has been fully debunked, at least in my factpinion.

So go ahead and trust the news media.

Or don’t trust the news media.

The truth is that in a world replete with information, people are finding whatever truths they want to believe.

And that renders trust a bygone emotion. At least according to my survey.

Rex Huppke, Chicago Tribune

Gaming is a thing you can do for fun

Microsoft Calls For An End To ‘Git Gud’

It was probably about four years ago that one of gaming’s most tiresome, festering corners was at its peak. The “Git Gud” crowd furiously policed the internet, looking for any and all signs of gaming weakness, and swifty punished it with pile-ons and abhorrently personal abuse. As Dark Souls III was at its peak of popularity, and every other game was attempting to ride in FromSoftware’s wake, along came Cuphead, and we entered a perfect storm of gamer douchebaggery.

I experienced the frankly baffling force of this fury on plenty of occasions, but never more than when I published an article on jaunty Kotaku tribute site Rock Paper ShotgunCalling for a button that allowed players to skip boss fights, this rather innocent suggestion that the whole of a game should be accessible to those who’d bought it was met with all manner of suggestions of how I should kill myself, how I was proof of the demise of games journalism, and of course how I must “git gud.” In other words, it was a coordinated torrent of panic from scared little boys whose only source of pride was being threatened by my suggestion.

John Walker, Kotaku

I don’t know that Microsoft deciding to take what sounds like a completely uncontroversial stance is exactly news, but as a person that loves games way more for the stories and way less for how fast I can press buttons in the right order, it’s at least a refreshing angle. There’re plenty of games I would have liked to finish to see where the story went that I simply can’t. BattleBlock Theater was a hilarious game I was fully enjoying until the levels just got too twitchy and my old person hand-eye coordination just wasn’t up to snuff after a good 20 levels, so I never got to learn what happened. Cheat codes for all!

Also the fact that this game exists is both amazing and ridiculous. It looks so satisfying I might need to buy it: PowerWash Simulator

I told you so

I hate lawns. Not necessarily in some park settings, but in yards I think they are the worst. Very few people get out a blanket and sit on the lawn behind (or in front of) their house. Why would you do that when for a bazillion times less water, lawn equipment, and upkeep you could make a lovely patio in-between some trees and/or under a canopy or pergola with nice comfy lounge chairs, tables for holding drinks and snacks, and even some raised beds or potted plants if you are feeling ambitious. Then you could enjoy your outdoors, instead of alternating between staring at it from inside the house, mowing it, or forgetting it even exists (until it’s time to mow it again). You could grow fragrant herb gardens instead, or even vegetable gardens! Plant a million native wildflowers and attract all the pollinators (of the insect and bird varieties). Plant amazingly beautiful decorative grasses. Plant trees to give you shade and birds and squirrels and the sound of the wind rustling through their leaves in spring and summer. Trellis vines of jasmine and morning glories and passion vines and make arches of colorful, wonderful smelling joy. Plant fucking anything other than a boring useless ugly time-and-money sucking lawn.

Seriously, lawns are the worst.

And I am vindicated! Yards with less grass and more plants help fight climate change

Hostetler said manicured lawns are “better than cement . . .(but) ecologically horrible.” Cutting the grass, he explained, rereleases the carbon that was stored in the clippings and halts the growth of other plants that may be coming in. The emissions from mowers, fertilizers, water and other types of lawn care further offset environmental gains.


Is me.

Tuesday, June 29 2021

Quote of the Day

“I like being by myself,” Kaladin said.

“Great. Sounds awful. Today, you’re coming with me. No more excuses. I let you blow me away last week and the week before.”

“Maybe,” Kaladin snapped, “I just don’t want to be around you, Adolin.”

The high prince hesitated, then leaned forward, narrowing his eyes and putting his face up close to Kaladin’s…

“Tell me honestly,” Adolin said. “With an oath, Kaladin. Tell me that you should be left alone tonight. Swear it to me.”

Adolin held his gaze. Kaladin tried to form the words, and felt of the ten fools when he couldn’t get them out.

He definitely shouldn’t be alone right now.

“Storm you,” Kaladin said.

“Ha,” Adolin said, tugging him by the arm. “Come on, Brightlord Master Highmarshal Stormface. Change your coat to one that doesn’t smell like smoke, then come with me. You don’t have to smile. You don’t have to talk. But if you’re going to be miserable, you might as well do it with friends.”

Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War

There are a number of characters in this series that have serious mental illnesses, and not only are the portrayals well and carefully researched and done, the examples of how to help–and not help–people struggling are fantastic. Scripts I really don’t want to forget, for when I might need them.

Long live the Moletariate!

While I was brainstorming for the novel yesterday, I thought about house design (no, really). Our massive heatwave has broken somewhat, and I’m back at home. But I have some friends who managed to brave the heat with one little portable AC unit. They way they did it was to move downstairs and block off the upstairs stairway with a heavy drape. The downstairs of the house is a half-underground basement. With some fan strategery, they kept it under 80 degrees.

This made me think about why don’t we build more underground, since the temperatures are so much more stable and the insulating earth works about a million times better than that nasty pink fiberglass stuff? Might that be a good solution for the (climate change hellscape that is our inevitable) future?

Which THEN made me think about one question on a questionnaire the city I live in sent out a couple months ago, polling residents for their preferences about local development. It asked if We Residents would mind the look of buildings that are raised up to have parking at the ground level instead of underground. The problem, apparently, is that all the underground digging is f*ing with the natural water table, and could cause some serious environmental problems down the road.

So good on my city for not wanting to develop us into ecological disaster. But where does that leave me with my build underground theory? Imma do a fast Google search to get some articles to read later:


In the South Australian town of Coober Pedy, it’s extremely hot above the ground. So building underground keeps things nice and cool. In fact, many of their underground buildings started off as opal mines, so the hard engineering was already done.


Will we ever… live in underground homes?

Why We Don’t Like Our Underground House (has positives too)

Efficient Earth-Sheltered Homes

7 Amazing Facts About Underground Houses That Will Blow Your Mind (great pics and examples)

Underground Construction

Humans could survive underground, but it would take a lot more than shovels

Earthscrapers: we may be living underground a few decades from now and not even miss the sun (this whole site is really interesting)

I can’t touch type

And I really wish someone would create a keyboard that helps me and my neck and my hands and wrists with that. Some options, ranging from eh to interesting idea to ludicrous:

OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard

TAP Wearable Keyboard and Mouse

Kinesis Advantage 2

Safetype Ergonomic Keyboard


Azeron Keypad

Ooooookay….need to research more, I think.

Christmas in June

An Honest 2020 Christmas

In case we forgot why our anxiety level was so high last year. Very clever, and an emphasis on appreciating small things / wins that at once annoys me and also is a good reminder. Also her voice is amazing.

A Mobius strip of anxiety!

Forward head posture and anxiety

While contemplating the thought that anxiety makes you do this unhealthy head posture thing that in and of itself increases yet more anxiety is…..anxiety-inducing, the info about the mind-body connection is really important. And I should try to do the exercise she recommends to correct the posture. Because I get my head stuck in the position basically whenI am doing anything other than taking a walk.

I need to watch a lot more of her content. I’ve bought her book and classes and haven’t done anything with them yet.

Consumer technology is hard

My five-year-old iPad Pro is acting jenky, so it is time for a replacement. I thought–I really really thought–that I wanted an iPad to replace it, but after working for a day on it in my hotel room, making a blog entry on it was the worst experience ever. I need windows and an real OS for ease of what I am doing now–namely researching, idea generation and gathering, and reflecting instead of just opening up a document and slinging words on the page in the hopes that everything will come out ok. New process, new workflow, new laptop soon I hope!

But……MacBook Air or Pro? Why are choices never clear cut?

DON’T DO IT!!!! M1 MacBook Pro Vs the MacBook Air

MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Which Mac Should You Buy in 2021?

The problem always seems to be: which product fails least spectacularly to meet my use case? Sigh.