👓 We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change. | The Patreon Blog

We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change. by Jack Conte (Patreon)
We’ve heard you loud and clear. We’re not going to rollout the changes to our payments system that we announced last week. We still have to fix the problems that those changes addressed, but we’re going to fix them in a different way, and we’re going to work with you to come up with the specifics, as we should have done the first time around. Many of you lost patrons, and you lost income. No apology will make up for that, but nevertheless, I’m sorry.

It is our core belief that you should own the relationships with your fans. These are your businesses, and they are your fans.

I almost want to continue reading this as: “Yet, you’re all still stuck on our silo and we intend to keep taking a percentage for keeping you in business…”

If they were really all-in on helping the way they’re signaling here, they would be building it in a decentralized way that allows creators to take their patrons with them to another platform. They would also be expanding on features, which they don’t seem to be doing much of. I get the need to watch the bottom line and work on scaling, but they should also continue innovating and experimenting, particularly for the smaller fish who could become bigger fish.

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📗 Started reading The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life by Nick Lane

📗 Started reading pages 1-18 Introduction: Why is Life the Way it is in The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life by Nick Lane

A quick, but interesting peek into where he intends to go. He lays out some quick background here in the opening. He’s generally a very lucid writer so far. Can’t wait to get in further.

Some may feel like some of the terminology is a hurdle in the opening, so I hope he circles around to define some of his terms a bit better for the audience I suspect he’s trying to reach.

book cover of Nick Lane's The Vital Question
The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution and the Origins of Complex Life by Nick Lane
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📕 Read pages 381-461 of Origin by Dan Brown

📕 Read pages 381-461 to finish reading Origin: A Novel by Dan Brown

This last section got pretty heavy into evolution and touched on ideas of information theory applied to biology and complexity, but didn’t actually mention them. Surprisingly he mentioned Jeremy England by name! He nibbled around the edges of the field to tie up the plot, but there’s some reasonable philosophical questions hiding here in the end of the book that I’ll have to pull into a more lengthy review.

👓 No one makes a living on Patreon | The Outline

No one makes a living on Patreon by Brent Knepper (The Outline)
Who is really benefiting from the crowdfunding site for artists?

This makes me want to find alternate and more direct means of donating money to people I want to support.

This could be a use case for people to have payment pages on their own websites to make the process more direct. This would also mean that they could post their update content on their own website and use either feeds and/or email to update their patrons.

I haven’t seen a “Patreon” concept on someone’s website in the wild yet, but I have seen examples like Tantek Çelik’s payment page, that do provide a start to the process. Many CMSs already have many of the other moving parts already built in for things like following/subscribing.

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👓 Former Mass. lawmaker accused of taking hundreds of pounds of free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee | The Hill

Former Mass. lawmaker accused of taking hundreds of pounds of free Dunkin' Donuts coffee by Jacqueline Thomsen (TheHill)
A former Massachusetts state senator was charged Friday with using his position to collect $1 million in bribes, as well as hundreds of pounds of free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

If you’re going to put your career at risk, hundreds of pounds of free coffee is a good reason, right?

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👓 Senate GOP Accidentally Killed All Corporate Tax Deductions | NY Magazine

Senate Republicans Accidentally Killed Some of Their Donors’ Favorite Tax Breaks by Eric Levitz (Daily Intelligencer)
Passing a tax bill that you wrote over lunch — and never actually read — appears to have some downsides.

Rush the pudding and you end up with crappy pudding.

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👓 Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Charles Bennett shares $3M Breakthrough Prize | Hub

Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Charles Bennett shares $3M Breakthrough Prize by Arthur Hirsch (The Hub)
He and his team are recognized for groundbreaking WMAP space mission, which established the Standard Model of Cosmology
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👓 Introducing the New Owners of L.A. Weekly | L.A. Weekly

And the New Owners Are ... by Brian Calle (L.A. Weekly)
The L.A. Weekly group is made up of several investors including Brian Calle, formerly of the Southern California News Group; David Welch, an L.A.-based attorney; Kevin Xu, a philanthropist and investor; Steve Mehr, an attorney and investor; Paul Makarechian, a boutique hotel developer; Mike Mugel, a real estate redeveloper; and Andy Bequer, a Southern California–based investor. And Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley’s law school, also plans to invest.

I wonder if the original post asking who the new owners of the L.A. Weekly were was simply a PR stunt now? If so, it was a well planned stunt.

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👓 Access Denied | The Awl

Access Denied by John Herrman (The Awl)
Photos are a major feature of celebrity magazines, online or off. They’re worth paying for. They’re worth arranging at great cost. They’re worth concessions and compromises. They’re it, for a certain kind of publication. But the sudden glut of Instagram photos of celebrities and by celebrities, often with newsworthy text attached, destroys a set of common arrangements. Let’s say a celebrity couple is having a child (congratulations). A few years ago, they might have given this news to the tabloid willing to pay top dollar, or to the only celeb magazine that had refused to print a previous divorce rumor. The celebrity had power, but the magazine did as well. Aside from cash, they offered access to a large and distinct audience. Publication in one magazine might result in coverage on TV, in interview requests, etc. It would result, less visibly, in people thinking and talking about Celeb Couple. This was, in the abstract, powerful parties trading power and making money. With Instagram, the power shifts dramatically.

Jay Rosen recommended this article two years ago, and it’s just as solid today as it was then. It’s definitely got some intriguing thoughts about the state of journalism.

Contained in every worried story about a celebrity publication losing access to celebrities, or a sports channel losing access to athletes, or a political press losing access to candidates, is the insinuation that something is lost; likewise, these stories tend to lack any information about what happens now. This is not a coincidence! The sports magazine losing an exclusive career announcement may signal the end of that particular kind of media object, which will be replaced with an Instagram post and a Facebook update. The competitor taking this away doesn’t look anything like the publication it’s replacing; it doesn’t think of itself as a publication at all.

The opposite of this seems to be cable news that will take a miniscule event and attempt to inject a dramatic story upon it until something else actually happens.
Most stories are very simple things, like the celebrity having a baby. Most of the coverage around it is just adding some additional context. This is fine for things that aren’t very complicated like celebrity gossip, games, and sporting events that don’t matter too much. However on more complex things like government and international relations or perhaps even ramifications of business moves, they can be far more complicated and require more thought and analysis than the casual observer of a singly released raw fact would require. For example, in the case of Trump, his tweets may provide one narrative to those blindly following him, but in aggregate, particularly when most of them are not true or highly biased, what story do they embody? Which direction is he really going in and what are those long term consequences that the casual observer of his tweets is not going to spend the time thinking about?

You don’t need access to celebrate things, or to join and amplify fandoms. You don’t need to interview a famous person to say how great they are. You don’t need to talk to a politician to celebrate something they’ve done. You also don’t need access to reflexively declare, “that’s garbage.” In a feed, where every story is shared in the context of the poster’s performed identity, stories that simply articulate support or disdain go far.

The superfans and the haters gradually crowd toward some sort of middle, bumping up against the subjects that have colonized it: corporations, brands, leagues, celebrities, politicians, movements, causes, and endless forms of entertainment with their attendant publicity machines (if this seems like a weird or disparate set of things to compare, they kind of are: but such is the unifying effect of a platform).

aka regression toward the mean…

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👓 Where is the remotest spot in the United States? | BBC

Where is the remotest spot in the United States? by Owen Amos (BBC News)
One couple - and their eight-year-old daughter - are visiting the remotest spot in every state.

What a fun and generally uplifting story. Makes me want to travel.

I do wonder what the statistical drop off is from the largest distance to the second largest and so on…

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👓 Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2018 | CFR

Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2018 by James M. Lindsay (Council on Foreign Relations)
Anniversaries mark the passage of time, recall our triumphs, and honor our losses. Two thousand seventeen witnessed many significant historically anniversaries: the centennial of the U.S. entry into World War I, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War, to name a few. Two thousand eighteen will also see anniversaries of many significant events in world history. Here are ten to note:

Some great reminders of history hiding in this article.

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