Mar 02

tired but not like those other times i was tired

Tonight was the production night for my school’s newspaper, as a consequence of which I am seriously, intensely exhausted. (You know what would be really cool? If mental labor burned calories in proportion to the degree to which I feel totally drained by the end. I mean, mental labor does increase calorie usage — I remember reading once that chess grandmasters’ vital signs match that of professional athletes right after games, during matches.)

Tonight’s a pretty good exhausted, though. I got a lot done today. I didn’t blog, obviously, until now, but I did some very important paperwork at school. (Very important paperwork just sounds like the sort of sentence that should only occur in a bureaucratic dystopia parody novel.)

Now, a lot of the letters in this post are starting to look to me like they’re upside-down, and for a second I wasn’t sure if I just wrote “Dystopia” or “Topiary.” So I think I’m gonna sleep now.

Good night.

Feb 27

long week behind

I’ve made it to the other end of a very heavy week of work. So much so that this evening, when I came home, I sat down and just had a headache. Like, that’s what I did. That was my activity. Sitting and being in pain in my head, because it was as if my brain had been waiting to have the time to do that since Tuesday.

I don’t have anything poignant to say about this week. Sometimes I am busy. That is an unfortunate fact of an imperfect universe. Sad face.

Feb 26

The final arrangements are made (for graduating) (nothing sinister)

I intend to graduate this semester, but apart from the classes I’m enrolled in I also have to get two courses worth of math credits. My plan is to test out of them with the College Mathematics CLEP test, which I have just finally purchased.

I’ll be taking it right after spring break. So the panic over spring break that might emerge will be that. Probably.

Feb 25

Signal boost: Charlie’s axioms

Charles Stross posted an ad hoc list of axioms for contemporary politics, and since my brain is so blugh right now I don’t even think I could call it fried (it feels like an egg that somebody tried to fry on a pan with no flame under it) I’m just gonna boost that instead of writing today. (I already did this on my solarpunk blog, with a short explanation about relevance)

A different cluetrain

  1. We’re living in an era of increasing automation. And it’s trivially clear that the adoption of automation privileges capital over labour (because capital can be substituted for labour, and the profit from its deployment thereby accrues to capital rather than being shared evenly across society).
  2. A side-effect of the rise of capital is the financialization of everything—capital flows towards profit centres and if there aren’t enough of them profits accrue to whoever can invent some more (even if the products or the items they’re guaranteed against are essentially imaginary: futures, derivatives, CDOs, student loans).
  3. Since the collapse of the USSR and the rise of post-Tiananmen China it has become glaringly obvious that capitalism does not require democracy. Or even benefit from it. Capitalism as a system may well work best in the absence of democracy.

Feb 24

pre-thoughts on ampersands

A friend and I were talking about ampersands earlier today — these things: “&” — and we were trying to figure out what makes them … I don’t know, tick?

Because they look so different in so many places. Sometimes they look like a cursive G, or a treble clef, sometimes they look like a backwards E, and sometimes then there’s a line through it — what makes them recognizable? What makes them functional as a symbol?

This post isn’t an answer, it’s just a public record that I’ve been wondering. I doubt I’m going to actively research it, but having written this blog post if the information ever floats past me I’ll almost definitely retain it; in which case, I will report back.

Feb 23

long week ahead

sometimes i find it kind of impossible to do things… like, things just come crashing down because i just can’t compel myself to get started. and sometimes things pile up so much, or so much becomes necessary to do at once, that the stopping part of me just sort of shuts off and i kind of space out and pass through it, and it’s hard and painful and exhausting but at the end the things that i care about in my life that relied on doing that stuff still exist.

i’m very tired right now. this blog post is kind of an example of the latter thing. my head feels fuzzy and i’m not thinking more than a couple words ahead, but doing this is going to mean my blog is still here tomorrow. i can’t even muster the energy to hold down the shift key for capital letters right now, actually. that sentence would have been a parenthetical if parentheses were non-shift keys.

it’s time for laying down quietly then sleep now. good night. talk to you tomorrow.

Feb 20

Getting your education from Tumblr

I saw a kind of post tonight on Tumblr that annoys me, and I responded — and my response was pretty long and I can’t think of something else to blog about today, so I’m reposting it here. Here’s a link for full context.

The post was about not taking information on Tumblr too seriously, and discouraging people from treating Tumblr like it’s a legitimate source the way school is.

I responded:

ok but that’s not what the “learning more from tumblr than school” thing really means? It’s not about any given individual point of information. It’s that the collective experience of spending time on Tumblr leads to a more sophisticated and more accurate education than school for a lot of people. Like, lots of high school teachers did have to get higher degrees to do their jobs — and they still show up and teach absolute bullshit like it’s the final word on a topic. Lots of teachers who know better are required to teach bullshit because it’s on the curriculum.

And comments like this one are part of that benefit — which is why it’s so frustrating when they’re posted in this ‘um actually’ tone — the experience of realizing that a source was wrong is an educational experience people don’t get very often in school. Pointers on how to double-check or verify information is a valuable part of a Tumblr education, and it’s a huge benefit, not a drawback, that the environment of Tumblr can help you to hone your bullshit sense and figure out when you should be googling to make sure something’s true before you reblog it. That’s not really a thing in school, but it’s one of the most important things about being informed. You learn that on social media, exactly because it’s not a platform with any institutional authority.

You shouldn’t treat Tumblr the way you treat Wikipedia, because it’s not a highly regulated, systematic project. You should treat Tumblr the way you treat the internet — by understanding that anyone can post here, and paying attention to who’s doing the talking. Because, even though it’s not required, some people are definitely bringing their Ph.D.’s to the conversation, and their posts may well be worth treating like a primary source. Or not Ph.Ds but feet on the ground at actual events that are really happening. Or valuable perspective and experience. That stuff gets posted straight to Tumblr all the time, and it’s not less legitimate because nobody got paid to put it here.

Tumblr doesn’t have to be flawless to be doing a better job than, or serving as an extremely valuable supplement to, institutional education.

Feb 19

finger find the button marked erase

They Might Be Giants are holding a music video contest for their recently released single, Erase. I’m thinking about entering it, and because of that I’ve been listening to it a whole bunch.

I asked a friend if they wanted to help me, and ironically TMBG’s YouTube account was suspended for a couple hours at exactly the chunk of time they tried to watch the video.

Coming up with music video ideas is hard! I had one — a stop motion video made of newspaper clippings of a sailor throwing all his ex husband’s old stuff into the ocean — but that would be just, like, absurdly outside my skill set.

Updates will come if I decide to do it.

Feb 18

Solarpunk Occupy

A mental image of a specific solarpunk narrative is starting to come together in my mind, and I think now’s about the right time to share a little of it. (No, not just because my last several blog posts have been incredibly banal. .. Okay, yes, because of that.)

I’m imagining Occupy Wall Street, or something like it, taking over Zucotti Park, or someplace like it, again in the summer of 2015. The story takes place about two years later, when New York authorities have sort of given up on trying to uproot the encampment: with the rapid installation of new infrastructure the encampment can withstand a literal siege, and so far the government has stopped short of literal massacre.

mini-encampments form around tentpole locations: the library, the tech tent, the aquaponics lab; these encampments are adhocracies, and fluidly engage with the other encampments and with groups who take a collective interest in residents who are not part of an adhocracy.

They get all their power from solar. They get a surprising share of their food from aquaponics and high-density farming.

And that’s about where my thoughts have run out so far. I still need an actual story before I can start writing, but I’m pretty happy about this vision of a setting.

Feb 17

Delete results from chrome autocomplete

Hover over the result and press Shift+Delete. Works with URLs in the Omnibar and at least some autofilling forms elsewhere.

Still feeling pretty crummy, so I figured some useful advice would be better than another post that just says “I can’t think of anything to say.”

I realize everyone immediately thinks porn results, but I had to teach my mother this the other day so she could delete the incorrect email addresses she had saved in her Facebook login autocomplete, and I used it at the end of the semester to delete the autocomplete URL that took me directly to the Blackboard page for one of my classes last semester, so I could quickly get to the main page of Blackboard instead.

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