Introducing AltPlatform & our manifesto for the Open Web | AltPlatform

Introducing AltPlatform & our manifesto for the Open Web by Richard MacManus (AltPlatform.org)
Welcome everyone to AltPlatform, a non-profit tech blog devoted to Open Web technologies. What do we mean by “Open Web”? Firstly, we want to experiment with open source (like this WordPress.org blog) and open standards (like RSS). We’re also using the word open to signify a wider, boundary-less view of the Web. In other words, we want to look for opportunities beyond the Walled Gardens – proprietary platforms like Facebook and Twitter where you don’t own your own data, you have little control over your news feeds, and you have to live by certain rules.

This looks like a must-read blog for Indieweb proponents.​​

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👓 The Future is Meow! A Bakery in Japan Makes Cat-Shaped Bread | Nerdist

The Future is Meow! A Bakery in Japan Makes Cat-Shaped Bread by Blake Rodgers (Nerdist)
There’s just no limit to the wonderfully weird pieces of cuisine that Japan comes up with. They’ve made cream puff desserts into drinks, put Kit Kats on sushi, turned meat into cakes, and even made it possible to bathe in maple syrup! And their latest foray in overtaking internet searches and Twitter trends might be their cutest yet. Yes, we’re talking about cat bread.

Just what the world needs!

Continue reading “👓 The Future is Meow! A Bakery in Japan Makes Cat-Shaped Bread | Nerdist”

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📺 House of Cards, Season 5 Episodes 1-6

House of Cards, Season 5 Episodes 1-6 from Netflix

House of Cards, Season 5 logo It’s been so long that I’m almost struggling to remember portions of the prior season’s plot, but this season definitely seems to be stronger than the last. In the past I’ve always rewatched either the entire series or at least the prior season before starting back into the new season. I was relatively disappointed in season 4, so I didn’t bother this time around.

This season is at least off to a good start, so I’m burning through them so quickly that I’ll wish I’d watched them more slowly and methodically.

I do wish there was more of Hammerschmidt and his protege. Boris McGiver’s performance really made season one and honestly we can’t get enough of him. Conway is an interesting foil for Frank and he’s becoming a more interesting character, but I’m wishing he was stronger still. The Yates character arc so far isn’t nearly as interesting as it had been in the prior season. Durant is apparently sidelined but at least still has a role while characters like Remy Danton and Jackie Sharp have only been tangentially mentioned, but have been unseen (so far.)

Seth Grayson is doing his typical low-boil as always but isn’t as present here as in prior seasons. Neve Campbell is excellent, but her character Leann Harvey needs more to do so far.

Doug Stamper is still one of the most intriguing characters in this installment, much like he has been for the entire series. I’d keep watching just for his storyline and Michael Kelly’s stunning performance.

Frank and even Claire to some extent had really driven prior seasons, but somehow things have flattened out a lot to make a far more ensemble piece. I think the series does better when we’re more focused on one or the other. I feel like we’re not getting as much of the evil Frank Underwood fourth wall commentary as in the past, or in the awesome original British and it’s not giving the series the sharpness that it previously had. I’m hoping the second half of season 5 comes to a full boil quickly before things close out. I really hate waiting a year and a half for ensuing installments.

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📖 Read pages 100-115 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 100-115 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

His storytelling style is truly delicious. His sentence structure creates quite a bit of surprise, even when you know what’s coming.

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🎧 Containers Episode 5: The America-First Ships

Containers Episode 5: The America-First Ships by Alexis C. Madrigal from Containers
American companies pioneered container shipping, but now the ocean freight business is dominated by foreign firms. Thanks to the Jones Act, a 1920 law, all cargo between American ports must be carried on American-made ships, so we do still have a fleet. But the ships are old and outdated. In episode five, we explore the tragic consequences of this "America-first" trade policy, beginning with the El Faro, which sank in October 2015.

For those who want to learn about poorly done America First policies, this seems to be a great example. Studying what the Jones Act has done to the US shipping business is an excellent case study. There is obviously a gaping hole in the market forces at work here and the Jones Act only seems to be making things worse.

I find it an odd thing to say about a podcast concerning containerized shipping, but this episode is just heart-breaking on so many levels.

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📺 Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: Russia Revelations, May 28, 2017

Meet the Press: Russia Revelations, May 28, 2017 by Chuck Todd from NBC
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly; Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.); New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; roundtable discussion with Joy Reid, Kimberley Strassel, Charlie Sykes and Amy Walter.

Corker didn’t do or say anything to make me think that he has a clue of what is going on, has any influence of any sort, or any desire to do or act on any of the topics which came up. He didn’t seem to have any useful opinions of any sort. I learned nothing other than that he seemed to be filling time. It was a waste of 5 minutes of interview.

I keep hearing the word “backchanneling”, but it seems like the two sides have wildly different versions of what it means.

Great little roundtable this week. This was certainly the most interesting portion of the show, but ultimately I don’t think it moves the needle in America much. Joy-Ann Reid was solid, poised and made some strong points–I’d like to see more of her on shows like this.

📺 PBS NewsHour full episode May 29, 2017

NewsHour full episode May 29, 2017 from PBS
Monday on the NewsHour, the White House downplays reports that senior advisor Jared Kushner wanted to create a secret backchannel to talk with the Russians. Also: The president's first foreign trip and more on Politics Monday, Norway spearheads an electric car revolution, questions about organ transplants in China and new books you won't want to put down.

📖 Read pages 51-68 of Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur

📖 Read pages 51-68 of Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur

Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur

An interesting reference to the origin of life and some related research actually pops up in the discussion!