👓 I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous | The Star

Read I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous (The Star)
A former UofT colleague examines the bestselling author’s increasingly controversial positions and concludes in an opinion piece that Jordan Peterson is using fear to unleash ‘dark desires’

👓 As He Heads Back To Prison, A Nashville Man Says 'Goodbye' To The New Life He Hoped To Build | Nashville Public Radio

Read As He Heads Back To Prison, A Nashville Man Says 'Goodbye' To The New Life He Hoped To Build (nashvillepublicradio.org)
When a Nashville man named Matthew Charles was released from prison early in 2016 after a sentence reduction, he’d spent almost half his life behind bars.

👓 Why Do Americans Stay When Their Town Has No Future? | Bloomberg

Read Why Do Americans Stay When Their Town Has No Future? by Alec MacGillis (Bloomberg.com | ProPublica)
Family and community are the only things left in Adams County, Ohio, as the coal-fired power plants abandon ship and the government shrugs.
A stunning long read here. The problems presented in this story are multi-faceted and are a good microcosm of some of the major complex issues that America is facing. There’s economic, cultural, and political.

I particularly find it interesting how very little that any politician was able to generally offer here. Unmentioned generally is the Trump administration which during the campaign promised to do more for the coal industry, but apparently those cries here have gone unheeded. I suspect that those who have been pulled into Trumpism will be generally left unsupported and will end up needing to change camps again. The real question is to where will they go for help? The divisiveness of the two party system will have to have some sort of change for things to get any better, particularly as the inevitable changes of globalization continue apace.

Also addressed here in part is the subtle changes in the “American Spirit” which don’t seem to be widely written about or reported on.

👓 Facebook and Google hit with $8.8 billion in lawsuits on day one of GDPR | The Verge

Read Facebook and Google hit with $8.8 billion in lawsuits on day one of GDPR by Russell Brandom (The Verge)
Time to regulate

👓 How Social Media Became a Pink Collar Job | Wired

Read How Social Media Became a Pink Collar Job (WIRED)
When companies ask for sociable, flexible, compassionate workers, they’re silently signaling women to sign-on to an undervalued job that powers the digital economy.
As a country we’re killing ourselves and our economy by devaluing women like this.

👓 Understanding How WordPress Outputs Code From Child Themes | WPMU DEV Blog

Read Understanding How WordPress Outputs Code From Child Themes (WPMU DEV Blog)
If you’ve ever needed to make tweaks to a third party theme, or you’re using a theme framework, you’ll be familiar with child themes. They’re a powerful feature of WordPress, giving you the flexibility to make customizations to any parent theme without losing them when the theme is updated. I use them to make edits to third party themes, or with the framework theme I’ve developed myself.

👓 Invisible Labor and Digital Utopias | HackedEducation

Read Invisible Labor and Digital Utopias by Audrey WattersAudrey Watters (Hack Education)
This is the transcript of the talk I gave this afternoon at a CUNY event on "The Labor of Open"
Interesting to hear that Audrey has now also removed the Creative Commons license from her website now as well as having disabled comments and the ability to annotate using Genius and Hypothes.is. I’m all for this and happy to support her decision despite the fact that it means that it’s potentially more difficult and circuitous to share and comment on some of her excellent work. I’m sad that we’re in a place that people on the web would attack, target, and otherwise bully people into needing to take such steps, but I’m glad that there are ways, means, and tools for blocking out these bad actors. While I might have otherwise reposted and annotated her piece directly, I’ll respect her wishes and her digital sovereignty and just quote a few interesting phrases instead. This being said, you’re far better off reading the original directly anyway.

While reading this I was initially worried that it was a general rehash of some of her earlier work and thoughts which I’ve read several times in various incarnations. However, the end provided a fantastic thesis about unseen labor which should be more widely disseminated.

almost all the illustrations in this series – and there are 50 of these in all – involve “work” (or the outsourcing and obscuring of work). Let’s look at a few of these (and as we do so, think about how work is depicted – whose labor is valued, whose labor is mechanized, who works for whom, and so on.

What do machines free us from? Not drudgery – not everyone’s drudgery, at least. Not war. Not imperialism. Not gendered expectations of beauty. Not gendered expectations of heroism. Not gendered divisions of labor. Not class-based expectations of servitude. Not class-based expectations of leisure.

And so similarly, what is the digital supposed to liberate us from? What is rendered (further) invisible when we move from the mechanical to the digital, when we cannot see the levers and the wires and the pulleys.

As I look back upon the massive wealth compiled by digital social companies for what is generally a middling sort of job that they’re not paying nearly as much attention to as they ought (Facebook, Twitter, et al.) and the recent mad rush to comply with GDPR, I’m even more struck by what she’s saying here. All this value they have “created” isn’t really created by them directly, it’s done by the “invisible labor” of billions of people and then merely captured by their systems, which they’re using to actively disadvantage us in myriad ways.

I suppose a lot of it all boils down to the fact that we’re all slowly losing our humanity when we fail to exercise it and see the humanity and value in others.

The bigger problem Watters doesn’t address is that with the advent of this digital revolution, we’re sadly able to more easily and quickly marginalize, devalue, and shut out others than we were before. If we don’t wake up to our reality, our old prejudices are going to destroy us. Digital gives us the ability to scale these problems up at a staggering pace compared with the early 1900’s.

A simple and solid example can be seen in the way Facebook has been misused and abused in Sri Lanka lately. Rumors and innuendo have been able to be spread in a country unchecked by Facebook (primarily through apathy) resulting in the deaths of countless people. Facebook doesn’t even have a handle on their own scale problems to prevent these issues which are akin to allowing invading conquistadores from Spain the ability to bring guns, germs, and steel into the New World to decimate untold millions of innocent indigenous peoples. Haven’t we learned our lessons from history? Or are we so intent on bringing them into the digital domain? Cathy O’Neil and others would certainly say we’re doing exactly this with “weapons of math destruction.”

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Liked a tweet by Elizabeth HernandezElizabeth Hernandez (Twitter)

👓 Roger Stone to Associate: “Prepare to Die” | Mother Jones

Read Roger Stone to Associate: “Prepare to Die” by Dan Friedman (Mother Jones)
The radio host who claims Stone used him as a false alibi says Stone threatened him.

👓 FAW+ | Velemobile USA

Read FAW+ | Velemobile USA (pedalyourselfhealthy.org)
Our Flevo Alleweder+ is a much-updated and improved model of the famous Flevo Alleweder built as kits in the Netherlands in the 1990's. Alleweder is Dutch for all-weather. About 500 FAW's are still in use in Europe, mostly in the Netherlands. It is a tadpole trike - two 20" wheels in front, one 20" wheel in the rear of monocoque structure with full suspension, front wheel steering, and drum brakes. Using all aluminum construction similar to an aircraft fuselage, with stainless steel hardware, the FAW+ is expected to last for many years. They are a well-proven design for a versatile human-powered transportation vehicle. They are great for doing errands, shopping trips, commuting, recreational rides, or camping tours.

👓 So, Was Agatha Christie Anti-Semitic? |The Art of Words

Read So, Was Agatha Christie Anti-Semitic? by Lucy R. Fisher (wordcount-richmonde.blogspot.com)
In the Daily Telegraph 20 March 2013, Matthew Sweet reviews Perspectives, a programme by David Suchet on Agatha Christie’s disappearance in 1926. Did differing responses to the affair reflect attitudes to Christie’s (conservative) politics as expressed in her books? It’s an interesting question, but Sweet uses it as an opportunity to wheel out the old accusation that Christie was anti-Semitic:
Some throw away comments in one of her books I was looking at the other day made me want to look this up.

👓 Jason Bateman Showed How “Family” Is Used To Excuse The Inexcusable | Buzzfeed

Read Jason Bateman Showed How “Family” Is Used To Excuse The Inexcusable by Anne Helen Petersen (BuzzFeed)
When Bateman dismissed Jeffrey Tambor’s outburst at Arrested Development costar Jessica Walter by saying “this is a family,” he reminded us how often that word is used to paper over serious problems.
There’s an interesting new viewpoint hiding in here. We’re going to need to redefine how we view families and their power structures as a result of the painful things they can hide. I’m reminded of some of the toxicity of the way that children can be indoctrinated within their families as well as ideas like “quiverfull” which are generally creepy conceptual ways of living.