👓 Life Without a Destiny | Susan J. Fowler

Life Without a Destiny by Susan J. Fowler
I have no singular destiny, no one true passion, no goal. I flutter from one thing to the next. I want to be a physicist and a mathematician and a novelist and write a sitcom and write a symphony and design buildings and be a mother. I want to run a magazine and understand the lives of ants and be a philosopher and be a computer scientist and write an epic poem and understand every ancient language. I don't just want one thing. I want it all.
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👓 Five Things Tech Companies Can Do Better | Susan J. Fowler

Five Things Tech Companies Can Do Better by Susan J. Fowler
I believe that tech companies should make a commitment to their employees, a commitment that they will act ethically, legally, responsibly, and transparently with regard to harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other unlawful behavior. In my opinion, this commitment requires five things: ending forced arbitration, ending the practice of buying employees' silence, ending unnecessarily strict confidentiality agreements, instituting helpful harassment and discrimination training, and enforcing zero-tolerance policies toward unlawful and/or inappropriate behavior. Without further ado, here is a list of those five things, the reasons they're important, and how companies can implement them.

This sounds like for solid advice for all companies, not just those in the tech sector.

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👓 We tracked the Trump scandals on right-wing news sites. Here’s how they covered it. | Vox

We tracked the Trump scandals on right-wing news sites. Here’s how they covered it. by Alvin Chang (Vox)
We’re experiencing these historical events very differently.
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👓 I worked in a video store for 25 years. Here’s what I learned as my industry died. | Vox

I worked in a video store for 25 years. Here’s what I learned as my industry died. by Dennis Perkins (Vox)

Some interesting analysis of what we’re loosing with the death of video stores. In particular, we’re losing some of the same type of recommendations and serendipity we’re loosing with the rise of e-books and less use of libraries/librarians. In particular, loosing well-curated collections is a big issue as we replace them with streaming services which don’t seem to have the same curatorial business models.

I particularly enjoyed this quote:

A great video store’s library of films is like a little bubble outside the march of technology or economics, preserving the fringes, the forgotten, the noncommercial, or the straight-up weird. Championed by a store’s small army of film geeks, such movies get more traffic than they did in their first life in the theater, or any time since. Not everything that was on VHS made the transition to DVD, and not every movie on DVD is available to stream. The decision to leave a movie behind on the next technological leap is market-driven, which makes video stores the last safety net for things our corporate overlords discard.

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📖 Read loc 1440-2080 of 12932 (16.08%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

📖 Read loc 1440-2080 of 12932 (16.08%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

Examples and discussion of how markets can manage to fail and why we need good government to fill in the (gaping) holes.

There’s also some good discussion of rent seeking behavior here too. The more I read, the more I think this should be required reading for everyone. I could see a need for taking just the first three chapters and expanding them out into their own book.

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📖 Read pages 58-73 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 58-73 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

The big day finally arrives and the children enter the chocolate factory with Mr. Willy Wonka. We see the chocolate waterfall and river and see the first Oompa-Loompas.

I’m not quite sure how Mr. Wonka (and interestingly he’s always called Mr.), managed to get sunlight down into his underground chocolate room–I’m presuming all the edible plants grow somehow.

 

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📖 Read pages 40-58 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 40-58 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

 

Circumstances for our poor hero Charlie become far more desperate before they begin to turn for the better.

Except that we’ve just read how horrifically poor and physically starving the family was, I’m surprised that he took two candy bars. Though I suspect his family would easily have given him the who dollar’s worth of food.

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📖 Read loc 962-1440 of 12932 (11.13%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

📖 Read loc 962-1440 of 12932 (11.13%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

This continues to be intriguing with lots of examples (and footnotes, which I’ve been skipping over presently, but will circle back upon later). It continues to make a strong argument for a mixed economy and even bolsters with evidence that the richest countries are usually the ones with the most government–something which flies in the face of traditional Republican values. There’s also some good discussion of what markets are and aren’t capable of, a point which is often missed in the bigger public, potentially because of the decades of chanting that capitalism is best while we fought a cold war with Russia.

More people should really be concerned with externalities in the markets.

In general this seems to be a sweeping meta-analysis of lots of other sources and material, most of which is footnoted. I do sometimes wish they went into greater detail on many of their points, but I suspect that no one else would be reading the book because of its length. Their arguments are fairly quick and to the point however.

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📖 Read pages 32-40 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 32-40 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I suspect at the time this was written many of these horrid children were hyperbole. It now seems like people accidentally read this as a model for how children should be and they totally missed the fact that Charlie was the hero.

Donald Trump was 18 years old when this book was released. Sadly, I strongly suspect he never read or benefited from it.

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📖 Read pages 18-32 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📖 Read pages 18-32 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I love how delicate, yet emotive Joseph Schindelman’s illustrations are in this edition.

I’m trying to stop reading after short sections at points which might be mini-cliffhangers.

I’m so used to watching the Gene Wilder version of the movie the book version is quite refreshing in comparison.

📗 Read pages 1-18 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

📗 Read pages 1-18 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I managed to pick up a revised hardcover copy (1973) of this classic from 1964 and thought I’d give it another read.

👓 Developers of the MP3 Have Officially Killed It | Gizmodo

Developers of the MP3 Have Officially Killed It by Rhett Jones (Gizmodo)
MP3, the digital audio coding format, changed the way we listen to music and drove the adoption of countless new devices over the last couple of decades. And now, it’s dead. The developer of the format announced this week that it has officially terminated its licensing program.

The reporter on this one failed massively!

The IP on the mp3 has expired and so the group that owned it isn’t charging for it anymore. Sure they’d like to have everyone think it’s dead and use more “modern” things like AAC, which they can still charge for! My guess is that you’ll actually see a resurgence in mp3 format now that it’s free.

Next they’ll be saying that RSS is dead…

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👓 Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador | Washington Post

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador by Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe (The Washington Post)
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said. The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

For someone who always insists he doesn’t want to tell the “bad guys” what he intends to do, this is just sounds painfully inept.

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👓 Can Darwinian Evolution Explain Lamarckism? | Quanta Magazine

Can Darwinian Evolution Explain Lamarckism? by Pradeep Mutalik (Quanta Magazine)
Answering three questions can help reveal how the “inheritance of acquired characteristic” fits into modern evolutionary theory.
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👓 The New Familiar Quanta | Quanta Magazine

The New Familiar Quanta by Thomas Lin ( Quanta Magazine)
Today Quanta unveils a completely re-engineered and redesigned site to better serve our readers and the journalism we produce.

I’m not quite sure I’m a big fan of the new site either. The other one was a bit crisper in look and feel. The typography and readability has improved a bit though. I think it’s almost a travesty that they’ve begun using Disqus.

While nice for some, I don’t think the bookmarking functionality is worth it for me; I’ll continue to bookmark articles on my own website to read for later. Other than gaining people’s email addresses, I’m not sure what Quanta gets out of the functionality. Readers have to be regulars to even consider bothering with the functionality.

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