Monday, August 30 2021

Quote of the Day

Mouth, meet brain. Brain, meet mouth. You guys should get to know each other a little better.

Lauren Shippen, The Infinite Noise

If you live in Washington

It’s the perfect time to go to Bow Hill and get strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I can’t tell you what to do, but it seems to me like acquiring tasty berries is always a good thing.

A little more keyboards in my life

After getting my husband to watch me fumble my sad way through some online typing tests, we started to realize the problem with my typing pain was less with my fingers striking the keys and more with the ways I was bending my wrists to reach the keyboard.

(If you are curious, we figured out that if I type like I am on a laptop and trying to avoid a non-existent touchpad, my wrists are beautifully unbent.)

It’s looking like a split keyboard is the way to go for me. Which is hilarious, because I’ve been trying to learn how to touch type since 1986 and it’s still a work in progress. I love this Dygma Raise keyboard but the price is….abhorrent? outrageous? logic-defying? Not good.

The End.

That’s all I have for today. I’m finding that reading The Uninhabitable Earth for novel research is maxing my brain out for learning and pondering new things.

It’s also really fucking depressing, so I need a very big mental well to contain all that in without just being a nihilistic mess. So that’s fun.

Monday, July 9 2021

Quote of the Day

Charlotte was coming to believe that arrogance was a quality not just correlated with but a manifestation of stupidity, a result of stupidity.

Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140

I’m trying an experiment today, one where instead of trying to stuff a whole bunch of things in my day and only getting to some of them, I’m going to Work. I sat down at my desk at 9, and I’m going to keep working on my novel until 5–with a short break here for this blog. I guess we’ll see how that goes…..



Those are amazing. Of course I use a chiclet keyboard and they won’t fit. But if I didn’t, these would be for me.


Lately I’ve been finding that when I read my phone for 20 minutes or more, my eyes start to sting and water. It’s not great. But this happens mostly in bed, in the mornings when I wake up. I had a suspicion, and I think the problem is actually that I haven’t been drinking enough. Back to making sure I drink like 6 bottles of water or more a day.

Working in the reality of today

Can we save the planet by shrinking the economy? The “degrowth” movement to fight the climate crisis offers a romantic, utopian vision. But it’s not a policy agenda.

This is a really great article and it’s a really, really great point. They point out that degrowth is very first world centered–if we stop buying a ton of things manufactured in developing economies, we gut those economies and their citizens start having very bad outcomes.

Even if emissions in rich countries go to zero very soon, climate change is set to worsen as poorer countries increase their own emissions.

That will, of course, have deeply negative climate impacts. But the alternative is a nonstarter — should the world really prioritize curbing emissions and economic growth if it meant suppressing the growth of those countries?

Degrowthers see no dilemma here. What Hickel envisions is global movement in two directions: Poor countries could develop up to a certain level of prosperity and then stop; rich countries could develop down to that level and then stop. Thus, climate catastrophe could be averted, all while making the world’s poor more prosperous.

“Rich countries urgently need to reduce their excess energy and resource use to sustainable levels so our sisters and brothers in the global South can live well too,” Hickel put it. “We live on an abundant planet and we can all flourish on it together, but to do so we have to share it more fairly, and build economies that are designed around meeting human needs rather than around perpetual growth.”

From a climate change perspective, though, there’s a problem. First, it means that degrowth would do nothing about the bulk of emissions, which are occurring in developing countries.

Second, the global economy is more interconnected than Hickel implies. When Covid-19 hit, poor countries were devastated not just by the virus but by the aftershocks of virus-induced slowdowns in consumption in rich countries

There’s some genuine appeal to the idea of an end to “consumerism,” but the pandemic offered a taste of how a sudden drop in rich-world consumption would actually affect the developing world. Covid-19 dramatically curtailed Western imports and tourism for a time. The consequences in poor countries were devastating. Hunger rose, and child mortality followed.

They also talk about how degrowth didn’t really start out as a climate solution, but a holistic proposal.

I have lemons

So I might try this delicious looking recipe: The Pasta Queen’s “Lemon Temptress Pasta”

I am builder of worlds!

I am looking for world building resources, and I found this interesting worksheet and resource list from M. D. Presley.

Worldbuilding Resources

New ContraPoints video!

Hurray Natalie! Envy is great. I really enjoyed it, thinking about how we cloak simple envy in justice and morality to assuage our own guilt or uncomfortableness over having the feeling, and use those to justify truly awful actions.

As a general rule, the more radical a political community claims to be, the more likely it is to be a community of resentment. Self-styled radicals will tell you, “Superficial surface reforms do not interest us. The problem must be critiqued at its root.” And the root turns out to be this universal, all-encompassing evil, right? Society itself, the system, the machine.

A resentment ideologue always imagines himself engaged in a kind of Satanic revolt against an omnipotent, omnipresent enemy…And nothing short of total revolution counts as any sort of victory whatsoever. “We have to dismantle the entire system! Burn it all down!”

I guess it’s pedestrian to point out that this is the revolutionary utopian equivalent of Christians awaiting the Last Judgement. Our Kingdom is coming comrades!

Often the appeal of utopian ideology is similar to religion. It’s not about health care, higher wages, relief from police violence: these are actual goals that could be demanded, worked for, and achieved. Utopian ideology instead promises relief from some general malaise, “alienation.” And so ironically it can have the same opiate effect that Marx ascribed to religion. But release from the general anguish of human existence is not a political goal. There’s been many revolutions in the last few centuries and so far zero utopias.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Quote of the Day

Speaker loved the weave of grammar. Tracker found solace in the march of numbers. Where Speaker treasured nuance, semantics, word roots, double meanings, Tracker feasted on riddles of calculus and the satisfaction of solution. The end to their respective means were the same: finding the most elegant way of expressing a desire. They were two components of the same tool, in that respect.

Beck Chambers, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

This living in a body ridiculousness

I got a “piece” tailored today. I haven’t gotten anything altered since…….1998? And I have really unusual (guessing by the general shape of clothes) measurements on an overweight body. While making my clothing into a masterpiece, my tailor kept saying how she needed to do this and that to the piece to properly show off my beautiful curves.

In the car on the way home I ruminated on whether she could possibly have been speaking a subjective truth to me or if she was being nice to a paying client. I also ruminated on how I immediately assumed option B was the correct option, and flirted with the idea that she actually meant what she said.

Then this article came up in a list recommended for me, and I decided that I better pay attention:

How to love your body

Most of it is ideas I have heard / seen / tried before, but this at the end is interesting

Some body image scholars and activists have suggested that aiming for a positive body image can keep you overly focused on your appearance. In other words, for some people, trying to feel good about how they look might involve too much thinking about their appearance. If this resonates with you, then you might want to aim for ‘body neutrality’. Whereas the goal of body positivity is to feel good about your body, the goal of body neutrality is to just not really think about your body. For some people, body neutrality might be a stop on the way to a positive body image. For others, body neutrality is a satisfactory endpoint.

A body-neutral perspective allows for any and all people to be beautiful because the focus is on inner beauty and not physical beauty. It reduces the pressure to try to feel positively about or love aspects of your body that you currently might not. Instead of trying to convince yourself that you love your entire physical self, you can make a decision to not care as much about every aspect of your physical appearance.

Body neutrality can be comparable to not caring that you’re not a gifted musician, nor a talented athlete, nor a charismatic public speaker. If you don’t expect these things of yourself and don’t care that you don’t possess these qualities, you’ll spend less time and energy thinking about them. For example, aside from sometimes saying: ‘I wish I had learned to play an instrument as a child,’ I don’t ever yearn to be more musically inclined or able.

Charlotte H Markey

Don’t do as I say

This is fascinating to me.

How PepsiCo uses AI to create products consumers don’t know they want

When it comes to consumer research, Gans likes to say that “seeing is the new asking.” Historically, this stage of product development has always been based on asking people questions: Do you like this? Why don’t you like this? What would you like? But participants’ answers aren’t as telling as we’d like to think. They might not really care because they’re paid to be there, or they might just be trying to be nice. They might also be sincere in the moment, but it doesn’t mean they’ll still be excited about the product three years after launch.

“People will give you all sorts of answers,” Gans said. “It’s just not very close to what is ultimately driving their buying behavior.” …

By collecting data from all these different sources — which represent what people are voluntarily talking about, searching for, and ordering in their daily lives — Gans says his team “can get a really good idea as to what people are more and more interested in.” …

“If you would’ve asked consumers, ‘tell me what your favorite flavors are and let us know what you think would be a great flavor for this brand,’ nobody would have ever come up with seaweed. People don’t associate that typically with a specialty snack from a brand. But because of the kind of listening and the outside-in work that we did, we were able to figure that out through the AI that’s embedded in that tool,” he said.

Sage Lazzaro

What does it say about society that we can’t have a direct conversation about what we want to people who are eager to provide exactly that? Lying about what we eat due to huge societal and interpersonal pressure to eat in specific ways that no one actually eats in is more normal than being honest. Or / and is the problem that we are often so completely disconnected from our desires that articulating them isn’t even possible?

There’s also something tickling my brain about how PepsiCo could attempt to make food that is made from real food and is nourishing and tastes good that is addictive as potato chips and they wouldn’t need a complicated AI solution to help them Frankenstein another food-like product into being, but that’s probably a different article.

That’s great

MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule.

Study author Gaya Herrington told Motherboard that in the MIT World3 models, collapse “does not mean that humanity will cease to exist,” but rather that “economic and industrial growth will stop, and then decline, which will hurt food production and standards of living… In terms of timing, the BAU2 scenario shows a steep decline to set in around 2040.” …

While focusing on the pursuit of continued economic growth for its own sake will be futile, the study finds that technological progress and increased investments in public services could not just avoid the risk of collapse, but lead to a new stable and prosperous civilization operating safely within planetary boundaries. But we really have only the next decade to change course. 

“At this point therefore, the data most aligns with the CT and BAU2 scenarios which indicate a slowdown and eventual halt in growth within the next decade or so, but World3 leaves open whether the subsequent decline will constitute a collapse,” the study concludes. Although the ‘stabilized world’ scenario “tracks least closely, a deliberate trajectory change brought about by society turning toward another goal than growth is still possible. The LtG work implies that this window of opportunity is closing fast.” 

 Nafeez Ahmed

If there’s only a decade during which to make any serious dent in not living in a dystopian future without showers or cupcakes or electricity or clean air or any water at all or a society that doesn’t resemble Mad Max movies, am I doing the right thing with my life writing little stories? Seriously? I don’t honestly know.

I’ve had thoughts about collating resources around actual useful actions concerned individuals can take that aren’t performative, and maybe that needs to become a real thing. I dunno. 10 years isn’t very long, is it.

On that note

I’m going to try making these. I suggest you do too.

Triple Chocolate Scones