A year in Stardew Valley: life, labour and love
This made me both teary-eyed and wanting to play Stardew Valley.
The follow up to the previous share for prospective allies is *even more* enlightening.
This was extremely useful and enlightening for me as a prospective ally. Excellent read, and do check out the follow up too.
A bit of laugh-crying: "Perhaps the American people are not ready for democracy after all."
Excellent, inspiring, valuable longread on Progress, and whether it actually exists.
Highly recommended. Reading the writings of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius in the past 2 years, and recently also Epictetus, has helped me get through both 2015 and 2016.
Some backstory on the Syrian tragedy.
(Trigger warning for torture descriptions and war)
Τεράστιο άρθρο, το διαβάζω σε δόσεις, αλλά πέτυχα αυτό το κομμάτι και μου άρεσε -κι είναι κάτι που νομίζω ότι κάνουμε σωστά :)
"People who had been through divorces and/or had only been with their partners for 10-15 years almost always talked about communication being the most important part of making things work. Talk frequently. Talk openly. Talk about everything, even if it hurts.
But we noticed that the thing people with marriages going on 20, 30, or even 40 years talked about most was respect.
My sense is that these people, through sheer quantity of experience, have learned that communication, no matter how open, transparent and disciplined, will always break down at some point. Conflicts are ultimately unavoidable, and feelings will always be hurt.
And the only thing that can save you and your partner, that can cushion you both to the hard landing of human fallibility, is an unerring respect for one another, the fact that you hold each other in high esteem, believe in one another — often more than you each believe in yourselves — and trust that your partner is doing his/her best with what they’ve got.
Without that bedrock of respect underneath you, you will doubt each other’s intentions. You will judge their choices and encroach on their independence. You will feel the need to hide things from one another for fear of criticism. And this is when the cracks in the edifice begin to appear."
And THIS is terrifying, but also important.
THIS. This is important.
As developers, we are often one of the last lines of defense against potentially dangerous and unethical practices.
"So, no more of this nonsense. I’m done. I am done pretending that the good intentions of white patriarchy are more important than the consequences enacted on the bodies of others. "
It’s common to hear how the 19th-century telegraph was the equivalent of today’s internet. In fact, there’s a bestseller about it, The Victorian Internet (1998) by Tom Standage. Except this isn’t true. Sending telegrams 100 years ago was too expensive for most people. For decades, the telegraph was a pricey, elite technology. However, what was innovative for the majority of people c1900 was cheap postage. So, during the heyday of the so-called Victorian internet, transoceanic postal systems made communication cheap, reliable and fast. The flow of information grew significantly more accessible and democratic. Although hard to imagine today, bureaucrats and business leaders alike spoke about cheap postage in laudatory terms that resemble what we hear for many emerging technologies today.
Complexity leads to slower development, which leads to tech debt, which leads to the dark side.
"It's difficult," say Facebook […] "to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others."
To which I say: NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.
Look, here's the problem […]:
Facebook - and, more or less, Silicon Valley, […]- is built on and prides itself in solving Difficult Problems. At least, they are now. Facebook is a multi-billion dollar public company where *some* things are difficult and worth doing (e.g. Internet access to 1bn people using custom-built drones, but other things are, by implication, *TOO HARD* and don't warrant the effort.
Adorno (and Popova) on how leisure is co-opted for productivity in modern culture, and specifically in tech & startup culture.
Interesting (though *very* simplified) read on the capitalist construction of working class masculinity, and its disruption in the new economy.
Spoiler warning για το Cursed Child, αλλά μου άρεσε πολύ αυτό της Laurie Penny, για το Harry Potter και τις πολιτικές αναγνώσεις που του κάνει ο κόσμος.
2016 Hugo award novelette. Like all good sci-fi, it tells us of today by describing our tomorrow.
"Trump’s success has raised among liberals a fear that the far right has made itself respectable. [...T]he bigger fear should be that the far right might make itself cool."
The radical magazine Salvage on the Brexit referendum, calls it what it is several months before it happened: the Right taking over the discussion.
"The problem with the left-Brexit position is that, however pertinent its critique of the EU and radical its aspirations, it has no prospect of relevance at this stage, in this referendum. [...] The campaigns and their platforms have already been developed in the Left’s overwhelming absence. On neither side is the Left making any significant impression [...] The debate already exists, and in Britain it is firmly structured by a fight between two wings of the Right, in which the Left has proved and is proving utterly unable to impart any radical or progressive content."
This as an answer to all saying this was a vote against austerity and human rights abuse. For many it likely was, but with the way it played out the only winners are the immigrant-bashing nationalist right.
"So what caused Muslim societies to go from coolly reading homoerotic poetry to outlawing and stigmatising same-sex love? It’s tough to nail down an exact reason but here’s an interesting coincidence: there are five Muslims countries where being gay isn’t a crime. All that the five – Mali, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey and Albania – share in common is that they were never colonised by the British."
On Zaha Hadid, starchitects, and designing for the 1% vs the 99%.
"A few years ago, Frank Gehry blew off a Spanish journalist who questioned the utility of his buildings by telling him, “In the world we live in, 98 percent of what gets built and designed today is pure shit.”
That pure shit is where roughly 98 percent of us are fated to live our lives. Gehry and Hadid and other starchitects create architecture for the other two percent.
That’s who gets to live in the multi-million dollar apartments; that’s who gets to see the inside of the opera house; that’s who gets to experience the office suites of elite institutions, or jet set to the next global cultural hot-spot in search of architectural thrills."
This was a blessing to read, and makes clear that it's perfectly normal if you have no idea what you're doing in your life.
Insightful (and long) treatise on what makes San Fransisco and its startups different, and lessons learnt.
Incredibly important. On fear and how it turns people into jerks on the internet (and elsewhere), and empathy. Powerful.
Very insightful on Trump and demagogues, populists and liars and how they rise. Not convinced about the solution proposed (calling these people out won't shift opinions on then, as has repeatedly been proven), but insight into their modus operandi is still useful: there is indeed a vacuum on emotional appeal and romanticism in political discourse, as most leaders rely on rational appeal and reason, and it is this vacuum that such people fill. Alternatives should be provided if they are to be battled.
Marjorie Liu talks Monstress (READ IT!), being a woman in comics and in the USA, and being biracial in comics and in the USA. Very personal, very thought provoking.
Fascinating story on the beginning of the beginning of modern computer science and the tragic tales of the people behind it.
The conclusions might seem obvious, but somehow they seem more insightful when backed with data. Very good read.
Eloquently puts a finger on what I hated about Paul Grahams (self-centered and self serving) essay on inequality: he willingly ignores the many contributions towards technological advancement made by non-super magnates and moguls. Not too keen on the rest of the essay, but for this part it's worth reading.
"The unlikely and awesome rise of punk, anarchist, and hacker Birgitta Jónsdóttir in the land of Vikings"
This is what I'm talking about. This is how you do social commentary in a short story in a creepy and enticing way. Kudos, Laurie Penny.
"Everyone knew broken builds should be fixed quickly. No one did it. Introduction of a *completely irrelevant* stimulus/challenge caused people to behave correctly."
Tech and culture debt are a real and present threat to all startups: shortcuts taken for growth too often become pitfalls when growth arrives and you try to stabilise your platform.
"The infamous November 2014 Azure outage happened for just that reason. At around the same time, a dev at one of Azure’s competitors overrode the rule that you shouldn’t push a config that fails tests because they knew that the config couldn’t possibly be bad. When that caused the canary deploy to start failing, they overrode the rule that you can’t deploy from canary into staging with a failure because they knew their config couldn’t possibly be bad and so the failure must be from something else. That postmortem revealed that the config was technically correct, but exposed a bug in the underlying software; it was pure luck that the latent bug the config revealed wasn’t as severe as the Azure bug."
Insightful, eye-opening and liberating read.
We should all strive to have as efficient a deployment process as Github does. I am flabbergasted.
" In roughly 5 days of part-time work, we've replaced one of GitHub's more critical code paths with no user-visible effects. As part of this process, we've fixed 2 serious merge-related bugs in the original Git implementation which had gone undetected for years, and 3 major performance issues in the new implementation. "