Uncommon good.

Americans, you must remember, grew up in the shadow of endless war. With two “sides” who championed atomic individualism, lionized competition and brutality, and despised weakness and fragility. And thus, America forgot — or maybe never evolved — the notion of a public interest. Each man for himself, everyone against everyone himself. So all there is left in America is extreme capitalism now. Few championed a more balanced, saner, healthier way of life, about a common good, about virtue, about a higher purpose. And in that way, America has become something like, ironically enough, a mirror image of its great enemy, the Soviet Union. It is a totalist society, run by and for one end — only a slightly different one: money.

Umair Haque on American exceptionalism.

There but for the grace of a comprehensive public liberal arts education go we…

Also, do Americans really not give up their seats on public transport? Like… really? I thought everyone did that.

2018-06-26T13:50:11+00:0010th December, 2018|Tags: culture|

Reretro.

I live in a city with quite a lot of Brutalist architecture and I passionately hate it.1 So is it, like, hypocritical or whatever that I actually really kinda like the Brutalist trend in webdesign? Or is that just a sign that I’m old and nostalgic for the heyday of Geocities aesthetic?

Probably the latter, let’s be real.

For the record, my Tumblr layout is Brutalist-inspired (monospaced fonts!). But, like. More pastel. Pastel Brutalist. Pastelist!

  1. It’s ugly! It’s alienating! Why does anyone think this sort of thing is acceptable? ^
2018-09-05T13:04:13+00:009th December, 2018|Tags: design, webdesign|

All the benefits of civilisation, none of the work.

Duty, very often, isn’t even particularly moral. Mostly it’s about doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people, most of the time.

You tell me there’s no difference between one side and the other, that it’s only a choice between the lesser of evils.

But I’m here to tell you that there is an enormous difference between those who want power only to benefit themselves and those who seek power for the betterment of us all.

There’s an enormous difference between those who labor in the trenches, working every day to make the world a better place, little by little, inch by inch, and those who want to jump ahead via magic.

There’s a huge difference between doing your duty and self gratification

Stonekettle on showing up.

2018-06-21T10:06:14+00:007th December, 2018|Tags: culture, politics|

Fascist creep.

Supposedly, conservatism, libertarianism and liberalism all accept the principle of natural human rights i.e. that individuals have rights that exist not because the government or government structures grant those rights but because a person has those rights regardless. However, this supposed core belief is so fragile that it is easily ignored for expedient policy. Fascism is never warded off by compromising with it. There isn’t a safe way for a liberal government to be a bit fascist in one arena in the hope of keeping extremism at bay.

Camestros Felapton on compromises.

2018-06-19T09:12:43+00:006th December, 2018|Tags: politics|

Own it.

To reiterate the point I and others have repeatedly made, if you don’t own your online presence you’re just [one] malprogrammed bot or one bogus DMCA notice away from being shut down. It doesn’t matter if your content is on WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Flickr, Youtube, etc, if it is someone else’s platform then you’re still at risk.

Nate Hoffelder on platforms.

While I (obviously) do agree with this, I will note “owning your own platform” is not actually a panacea in the sense that, online, we’re always beholden to someone else, whether it’s our website host, datacenter operator, CDN provider, domain registrar, or whatever. These relationships are complex. I won’t host a website in the US any more, for example, after EA slapped my old videogame fan blog with a DMCA over Star Wars: The Old Republic screenshots. I could’ve counter-claimed, but doing so would’ve forced me to renounce any potential protection under Australian law (DMCA notices are deceptively vicious if you’re not American). It was such a trivial fucking thing, and I nearly lost my entire website because of it.

On the other hand, my old host did lose a customer. So… y’know. There’s that.

That being said: hosting all your content with a massive third-party aggregation company that considers you to be a product, not a customer? Yeah, nah. Not a great idea, huh.

2018-12-05T10:19:49+00:005th December, 2018|Tags: internet, law, tech|

Oh no not even Rothko is safe!

Relatedly: to this day, my mother has a framed Rothko exhibition poster she stole from a wall in a random room in the Venice Guggenheim museum when she was a teenager. So I guess I’ve always subconsciously associated Rothko paintings with crime? Which is… kind of inappropriate, I guess? But really, really specific and probably not what The Algorithm is flagging for…

2018-12-06T07:42:10+00:005th December, 2018|Tags: social media, tumblr|

HTTPS is still bullshit, part one million.

In this episode: HTTPS is still bullshit because it does not enforce single origin. That is, a website can appear as “valid HTTPS” while serving up to you malicious third-party JavaScrpit and cookies and iframes and all sorts of attendant garbage.1 Worse, because of the way the Modern Internet™ works (i.e. being monetized by third-party adtech), there is no way of changing this without either, a) breaking every major website, or b) creating a multi-tier internet based around which websites can afford to shell out hundreds of dollars a year for EV certs.

  1. So long as they’re being served from a site that also uses HTTPS. Which pretty much everyone does nowadays, even malware vendors, largely thanks to Google pushing the technology to sell more analytics products. ^
2018-06-15T07:06:03+00:005th December, 2018|Tags: infosec, ssl, tech|

fandom.ink

So to any fandom people looking for a new home in the post-Tumblr world, I’ve set up fandom.ink as a fandom-friendly and fan-run Mastodon instance.

I’m still setting up some things like the terms of service (and the all-important custom emoji), but general policies will include:

  • moderation for harassing or abusive content
  • allowed adult content (with content warnings in public timelines)
  • no ads, tracking, or user monetization.

For those unclear on Mastodon, it’s a Twitter-like social network, a primer on which may be found here. Any other questions, feel free to ping me. Otherwise, um… enjoy?

2018-12-04T20:21:18+00:004th December, 2018|Tags: fandom, mastodon, social media, tumblr|