The days are short — how is it getting dark at 3:30?? — and the holidays are starting to kick in. Here’s some of my favorite things from the week.
First, I really enjoyed Ann Helen Peterson’s newsletter this week where she discussed the hagiography around George HW Bush and the challenges of talking about a public figure when they die. The money quote: “The problem with eulogies and remembrances is that they are history absent historical training.”
Next, There’s been so much bleak and rightfully critical reporting on the tech world that it was nice to read this piece in the New Yorker about the close relationship of the two most senior programmers at Google. On its face it’s a story of the power of collaboration and pair programming and I liked it for that. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel this was also whitewashing all of the terrible stuff Google has done as a result of the machines these guys have built.
Maybe it’s because he once faved one of my tweets about the Tigers, but I loved this piece by John Dingell about how to fix Congress that specifically calls for publicly financed elections and abolishing the Senate. It’s amazing to say, but this 92 year old white former Congressman from Michigan is impressively with it and easily a top 10 Twitter follow. In a week when some folks of the old order wrote wistfully about the good old days, it’s nice to see some other members of that same old order imagine a radically different and better future. And yes, we should abolish the Senate.
Last, I always love to read John Gruber’s (very rare) teardowns of some bit of Apple UX, and this post on how iOS has completely failed on “undo” / “redo” is excellent. The man is an unrepentant Apple defender which makes these sorts of critiques all the better. I had no appreciation for how badly they’ve bungled this fundamental bit of UX until I read this. It’s very bad!
- Apparently Ammon Bundy is roundly criticizing Trump for being anti-immigrant and he’s getting shunned from the far right movement. Fascinating story out of Buzzfeed
- Building shared understanding is hard: This cuts to the core of what makes my day job difficult (but also what I love doing).
- Sooo many think pieces about what Tumblr’s porn ban means, but I think this one from Kate Notopoulous gets it right when it comes to internet culture.
- The latest riots in France were caused in part by a change to Facebook’s algorithm.
I recently came across one of Tyler the Creator’s song’s for the new Grinch movie and it’s so dope.
I started listening to the 2038 podcast which features conversations with experts of various fields on what they think the world will be like in 2038. The discussions are grounded in theory and research and I appreciate how after the interview, the hosts will talk about if they actually buy it or not. If you like / are terrified of thinking about the future, it’s worth checking out. I listened to episodes about the future of sex, climate change, fake news and China’s dominance.
This episode of Why is this Happening was another favorite. Chris Hayes and Dave Roberts go deep on the current crisis break we’re going through.
Watching & playing
I’m not really watching anything intentionally these days. I’ve taken to putting old episodes of Curb on in the background while I do things around the house or putter around on my iPad, and I’ll continue to love that show so much.
Larry: You know I learned a valuable lesson today.
Jeff: What is it?
Larry: Meh, I’m gonna keep it to myself.
And other than that, what little game time I’ve had has gone into Read Dead Redemption 2. Still fun to be a cowboy, but I gotta say, as games become more realistic, it’s harder and harder to stomach the casual violence. It’s an engrossing game for so many other reasons — and actually the combat is a fairly small part of the appeal — so that’s good. It’s made me realize how much I really do just love the pure fun gameplay of a game like Towerfall or Mario.
Life odds & ends
I made a big batch of this stir-fry. Got back to the rock gym for the first time in over a month. Started, but mostly failed, to begin Christmas shopping. I like this new iPhone app called Sofa which is a dead simple app for keeping lists of books, podcasts and movies you want to read/listen to/watch.