Links of Interest: November 2022

Reading time: about 2 min.
links  tech  capitalism 

I’m going to try something new–I mean, a resurrection. I can’t do a links post weekly like I used to, but I can certainly do something monthly. I think. 😄

So here’s a handful of things I read last month that I found interesting, thought-provoking, or that I just plain liked:

  • Peanuts and the Quiet Pain of Childhood: How Charles M. Schulz Made an Art of Difficult Emotions Maria Popova reposted a couple of links a few days ago on Mastodon in celebration of the centenary of Schulz’s birth and this passage really hit me.

    Undoubtedly a great many people suffer daily the untimely and traumatic death of a beloved parent, and yet there is no other Peanuts; there are, however, countless people for whom such trauma turns into a lifetime of self-destructive anguish rather than one of tireless creation. That, perhaps, is the true gift of genius — to bring something meaningful to life despite how meaningless one’s own life may seem; to give some warmth to the world despite what the world may have coldly taken away.

  • Stay soft I found this essay to be really touching and helpful with some things I’ve been working on internally.

    Softening isn’t always easy. It means choosing to remain open in a wounded world. It means looking at the most tender of feelings and not turning away. It means allowing ourselves to be affected by life, by our own hearts, by those around us. It means feeling what arises, feeling what we might not want to feel, feeling into the truth. Softening is anything but weak, anything but flimsy, anything but frail. It requires our bones, our guts and our whole selves, because to soften is to stop cutting ourselves off from the world and our own humanity.

  • Programming Portals A really interesting essay about the interfaces we use on our computers and how GUIs can obscure and complicate how users relate to their computers.

    When we confined end users to the GUIs and hid the command line away from them, we took away access to powerful primitives and the flexibility to write custom code the way programmers can. Their experience of how a computer works and what it can do diverged dramatically. They have no control over how the system works or what functions are available (outside of emailing customer support or stacking one more feature requests onto the overstuffed list). There is very little opportunity to built novel, customised systems.

  • Everything Is Silicon Valley Now Starts out about baseball and the algorithmically driven management and turns into a larger story about capital.

    It is not just a feeling but a fact that this moment is increasingly governed by the fatuity of the richest and most powerful people in the culture, and warped everywhere to reflect and serve their antic relentlessness and idle sadism and zealously anhedonic overall mindset. These powerful people are boring and smug and greedy, but also so uninterested in anything but their dorky feuds and faddish self-flattering worldview that they mostly tend to just reproduce all that. Because these people have bought so much, not just like “politics” and “the news media” but things that people actually enjoy and use all the time, the consequences of that small-mindedness rush downhill daily.

  • How to fold an origami heart bookmark I’ve been making these for myself and I find it extremely satisfying and a way to make something useful out of craft supplies and stickers.