A New Microblog on Mastodon.social

Manually POSSEing my first post from my own site to Mastodon.social, a GNU social alternative. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy the increased character count of 500 before being truncated on a microblog. #firstToot

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López

Wished for The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science (amazon.com)
The New York Times bestselling winner of the 2016 James Beard Award for General Cooking and the IACP Cookbook of the Year Award. A grand tour of the science of cooking explored through popular American dishes, illustrated in full color. Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac 'n' cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)―and use a foolproof method that works every time? As Serious Eats's culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new―but simple―techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.

🔖 The New Minority by Justin Gest (OUP, 2016)

Bookmarked The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality (global.oup.com)
It wasn't so long ago that the white working class occupied the middle of British and American societies. But today members of the same demographic, feeling silenced and ignored by mainstream parties, have moved to the political margins.
Suggested reference in several Foreign Affairs articles recently.

Chris Aldrich is reading “How Donald Trump is changing the rules for American business”

Read The president and corporations: How Donald Trump is changing the rules for American business (The Economist)
HIS inauguration is still six weeks away but Donald Trump has already sent shock waves through American business. Chief executives—and their companies’ shareholders—are giddy at the president-elect’s promises to slash burdensome regulation, cut taxes and boost the economy with infrastructure spending.
This article takes much the same view of Trump’s economic policies as I (and I’m sure many) do. I’ve been hoping every day for more than a year and a half that more politicians would take Cesar Hidalgo’s book Why Information Grows as the basis for their economic policies. Alas…

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

American capitalism has flourished thanks to the predictable application of rules. If, at the margin, that rules-based system is superseded by an ad hoc approach in which businessmen must take heed and pay homage to the whim of King Donald, the long-term damage to America’s economy will be grave.

Such tariffs would be hugely disruptive. They would make goods more expensive for American consumers. By preventing American firms from maximising their efficiency using complex supply chains, they would reduce their competitiveness, deter new investment and, eventually, hurt workers’ wages across the economy. They would also encourage a tit-for-tat response.

The role of lobbyists will grow—an irony given that Mr Trump promised to drain the Washington swamp of special interests.

Nonetheless, Mr Trump’s approach is worrying. Unlike the Depression, when Hoover and then Roosevelt got companies to act in what they (often wrongly) saw as the national interest; or 2009, when Mr Obama corralled the banks and bailed out Detroit, America today is not in crisis. Mr Trump’s meddling is thus likely to be the new normal. Worse, his penchant for unpredictable and often vindictive bullying is likely to be more corrosive than the handouts most politicians favour.

Mr Trump’s mercantilism is long-held and could prove fierce, particularly if the strong dollar pushes America’s trade deficit higher (see article). Congress would have only limited powers to restrain the president’s urge to impose tariffs. More important, even if rash protectionism is avoided, a strategy based on bribing and bullying individual companies will itself be a problem.

But over time the damage will accumulate: misallocated capital, lower competitiveness and reduced faith in America’s institutions. Those who will suffer most are the very workers Mr Trump is promising to help. That is why, if he really wants to make America great again, Mr Trump should lay off the protectionism and steer clear of the bullying right now.

📺 Charlie Rose episode from 12-06-16 featuring Fareed Zakaria and Viet Thanh Nguyen

Watched Charlie Rose faturing Fareed Zakaria and Viet Thanh Nguyen by Charlie Rose from Charlie Rose
Fareed Zakaria shares some excellent insight on world affairs, particularly as it relates to the growth of populism in the West. His arguments are underlined by Viet Thanh Nguyen who talks about his experiences as a Vietnamese-American while discussing his 2016 Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Sympathizer on Charlie Rose.
Fareed Zakaria may be one of my favorite guests on Charlie Rose. Their discussions are fantastic.

In this particular installment, Zakaria has some razor sharp analysis on world events. In particular he takes a look at the growing trend of populism and anti-immigration which is occurring in the world. He briefly dissects it and posits that while there are many variables potentially at play, the countries that are most effected have only one in common: migration and immigration.

While many politicians, pundits, and others indicate that the problem is economics (Sweden, Finland, and Denmark have excellent economies yet face growing populism), loss of manufacturing (Germany has a robust manufacturing sector), or even governments abandoning their workers (France goes to great length to protect its workers), none of these variables is common to all of the Western countries. Yet Japan has many of these same issues (and in particular a very poor economy for almost 20 years), but it isn’t suffering a populist movement because it isn’t dealing with the one issue that confronts all of the others: migration and immigration.

Charlie Rose indicates that there’s more detail in Zakaria’s recent Foreign Affairs article Populism on the March: Why the West Is in Trouble, [1] which I can’t wait to read.

Zakaria’s argument is underlined by Rose’s final guest Viet Thanh Nguyen, who discusses his debut novel, The Sympathizer, [2] which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. At the end of the interview, Rose asks (almost as a complete afterthought) Nguyen about his experiences with immigration with respect to the Vietnamese in America. Nguyen indicates that the United States had similar painful immigration issues and distaste for the Vietnamese moving into America in the 1970s and early 1980s, yet 40 years on, no one seems to be as up-in-arms and these immigrants have not only assimilated well, but are generally doing very well in American society and culture.

References

[1]
F. Zakaria, “Populism on the March,” Foreign Affairs, 28-Oct-2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2016-10-17/populism-march. [Accessed: 07-Dec-2016]
[2]
V. Nguyen Thanh, The Sympathizer. Grove Press, 2015.

Chris Aldrich is reading “Bob Dole Worked Behind the Scenes on Trump-Taiwan Call”

Read Bob Dole Worked Behind the Scenes on Trump-Taiwan Call (nytimes.com)
The former senator turned lobbyist worked to establish the high-level contacts that led the president-elect to call the president of Taiwan last week.

Chris Aldrich is reading “Maybe the Internet Isn’t a Fantastic Tool for Democracy After All”

Read Maybe the Internet Isn’t a Fantastic Tool for Democracy After All by Max Read (Select All)
Fake news is the easiest of the problems to fix.

…a new set of ways to report and share news could arise: a social network where the sources of articles were highlighted rather than the users sharing them. A platform that makes it easier to read a full story than to share one unread. A news feed that provides alternative sources and analysis beneath every shared article.

This sounds like the kind of platforms I’d like to have. Reminiscent of some of the discussion at the beginning of This Week in Google: episode 379 Ixnay on the Eet-tway.

I suspect that some of the recent coverage of “fake news” and how it’s being shared on social media has prompted me to begin using Reading.am, a bookmarking-esqe service that commands that users to:

Share what you’re reading. Not what you like. Not what you find interesting. Just what you’re reading.

Naturally, in IndieWeb fashion, I’m also posting these read articles to my site. While bookmarks are things that I would implicitly like to read in the near future (rather than “Christmas ornaments” I want to impress people with on my “social media Christmas tree”), there’s a big difference between them and things that I’ve actually read through and thought about.

I always feel like many of my family, friends, and the general public click “like” or “share” on articles in social media without actually having read them from top to bottom. Research would generally suggest that I’m not wrong. [1] [2] Some argue that the research needs to be more subtle too. [3] I generally refuse to participate in this type of behavior if I can avoid it.

Some portion of what I physically read isn’t shared, but at least those things marked as “read” here on my site are things that I’ve actually gone through the trouble to read from start to finish. When I can, I try to post a few highlights I found interesting along with any notes/marginalia (lately I’m loving the service Hypothes.is for doing this) on the piece to give some indication of its interest. I’ll also often try to post some of my thoughts on it, as I’m doing here.

Gauging Intent of Social Signals

I feel compelled to mention here that on some platforms like Twitter, that I don’t generally use the “like” functionality there to indicate that I’ve actually liked a tweet itself or any content that’s linked to in it. In fact, I’ve often not read anything related to the tweet but the simple headline presented in the tweet itself.

The majority of the time I’m liking/favoriting something on Twitter, it’s because I’m using an IFTTT.com applet which takes the tweets I “like” and saves them to my Pocket account where I come back to them later to read. It’s not the case that I actually read everything in my pocket queue, but those that I do read will generally appear on my site.

There are however, some extreme cases in which pieces of content are a bit beyond the pale for indicating a like on, and in those cases I won’t do so, but will manually add them to my reading queue. For some this may create some grey area about my intent when viewing things like my Twitter likes. Generally I’d recommend people view that feed as a generic linkblog of sorts. On Twitter, I far more preferred the nebulous star indicator over the current heart for indicating how I used and continue to use that bit of functionality.

I’ll also mention that I sometimes use the like/favorite functionality on some platforms to indicate to respondents that I’ve seen their post/reply. This type of usage could also be viewed as a digital “Thank You”, “hello”, or even “read receipt” of sorts since I know that the “like” intent is pushed into their notifications feed. I suspect that most recipients receive these intents as I intend them though the Twitter platform isn’t designed for this specifically.

I wish that there was a better way for platforms and their readers to better know exactly what the intent of the users’ was rather than trying to intuit them. It would be great if Twitter had the ability to allow users multiple options under each tweet to better indicate whether their intent was to bookmark, like, or favorite it, or to indicate that they actually read/watched the content on the other end of the link in the tweet.

In true IndieWeb fashion, because I can put these posts on my own site, I can directly control not only what I post, but I can be far more clear about why I’m posting it and give a better idea about what it means to me. I can also provide footnotes to allow readers to better see my underlying sources and judge for themselves their authenticity and actual gravitas. As a result, hopefully you’ll find no fake news here.

Of course some of the ensuing question is: “How does one scale this type of behaviour up?”

References

[1]
M. Gabielkov, A. Ramachandran, A. Chaintreau, and A. Legout, “Social Clicks: What and Who Gets Read on Twitter?,” SIGMETRICS Perform. Eval. Rev., vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 179–192, Jun. 2016 [Online]. Available: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2964791.2901462
[2]
C. Dewey, “6 in 10 of you will share this link without reading it, a new, depressing study says,” Washington Post, 16-Jun-2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/06/16/six-in-10-of-you-will-share-this-link-without-reading-it-according-to-a-new-and-depressing-study/. [Accessed: 06-Dec-2016]
[3]
T. Cigelske  , “Why It’s OK to Share This Story Without Reading It ,” MediaShift, 24-Jun-2016. [Online]. Available: http://mediashift.org/2016/06/why-its-ok-to-share-this-story-without-reading-it/. [Accessed: 06-Dec-2016]

Chris Aldrich is reading “Decentralisation considered harmful”

Read Decentralisation considered harmful by Amy Guy (rhiaro.co.uk)
How are the decentralised technologies we're working on going to make people more vulnerable?

Chris Aldrich is reading “Trump’s Breezy Calls to World Leaders Leave Diplomats Aghast”

Read Trump’s Breezy Calls to World Leaders Leave Diplomats Aghast (nytimes.com)
The president-elect’s unfiltered exchanges prompted the White House to urge him to seek the State Department’s expertise in his encounters with foreign leaders.

Chris Aldrich is reading “Trump and Carrier: How a Modern Economy Is Like a Parking Garage”

Read Trump and Carrier: How a Modern Economy Is Like a Parking Garage (nytimes.com)
It’s a constant state of flux, with jobs being created or lost. The challenge is to have a business climate in which you have more of the former.

Chris Aldrich is reading “Twitter has a new head of product who barely uses the product”

Read Twitter has a new head of product who barely uses the product (theverge.com)
Twitter’s ceaseless search for someone to tell the social network where to go and how to get there has come to a momentary pause. The company announced today, on Twitter of course, that it has hired startup founder Keith Coleman as vice president of product. Coleman, according to his Twitter bio, is the CEO of Yes Inc., a relatively unknown Bay Area startup responsible for two social apps called Frenzy and WZD. Frenzy offers a way to make quick plans with friends, while WZD is a blend Facebook and Snapchat that lets you share what you’re doing with friends by posting photos and videos layered with emoji and text. Because Yes is joining Twitter alongside Coleman, both apps are being shut down, according to a note posted to Yes’ website. Prior to Yes, Coleman was a product lead at Google overseeing services like Gmail and its chat companion.