👓 The #2018Liberation List | Ellen K. Pao – Medium

Read The #2018Liberation List by Ellen K. Pao (Medium)
Yesterday morning I tweeted about letting go in 2018. Then Cate Huston and Jean Hsu told me about this project on 2018 liberation. And I agreed to join and wrote this post. It’s less well-formulated than I’d like, but it’s really how I’m feeling and thinking about all the things I want to let go of in 2018.

I’ve now read a few of these lists and it’s interesting how seemingly insecure so many people, many of which I look up to, are often in spite of their tremendous influence and success.

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👓 2018 New Year’s Liberations | Jean Hsu – Medium

Read 2018 New Year’s Liberations by Jean Hsu (Medium)
Thanks to Cate Huston for starting us off with her New Year’s Liberations. We need to be explicit about what we say no to, to make time and room and mental energy for what it is we want.
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👓 My #2018Liberations | Ben Werdmuller – Medium

Read My #2018Liberations by Ben Werdmuller (Medium)
In lieu of resolutions this year, Cate Huston wrote a set of liberations, starting a movement. My friend Jean Hsu also wrote a liberating, personal list, which is where I discovered it, and Ellen K. Pao has a characteristically thoughtful entry. I like the framing a lot: rather than creating a set of requirements for my new year, which is what a resolution does, I’m freeing myself from a set. So here’s my list of things I’m liberating myself from in 2018:

 

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👓 15 Things You Should Know About Michelangelo’s Pietà | Mental Floss

Read 15 Things You Should Know About Michelangelo's Pietà by Kristy Puchko (mentalfloss.com)
Since its creation in 1499, Michelangelo's Pietà has inspired emotion, faith, and imitation through its elegant depiction of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. Yet few know the secrets that are still being uncovered about this centuries-old statue.
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👓 We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change. | The Patreon Blog

Read We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change. (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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👓 No one makes a living on Patreon | The Outline

Read No one makes a living on Patreon (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

Read Former Mass. lawmaker accused of taking hundreds of pounds of free Dunkin' Donuts coffee (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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👓 Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving’s Story Explains Why | NRP

Read Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving's Story Explains Why (NPR.org)
Black women are three times more likely to die from complications of childbirth than white women in the U.S. Racism, and the stress it causes, can play a leading role in that disparity.

What a painful story…

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

Read 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

Read Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Charles Bennett shares $3M Breakthrough Prize (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

Read 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

Read Access Denied (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

Read Where is the remotest spot in the United States? (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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