Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

More election views

Various looks at the recent election from a satire track:

Other views

More academic approaches

Political-bizarro land

Never mind the cabinet picks, the business conflicts of interest, and the complete disinterest on uniting an obviously divided country.  Now, aggressive moves to interfere with an election are being ignored.  I'd call it exciting if it wasn't so totally insane.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Pain now, pain later?

Two interesting articles that try to address concerns around the (at the time of this writing) president-elect both now and in the future.  Here's hoping this turns some kind of corner.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Rave tragedy

I was heartbroken when I learned about the deaths out in Oakland at a Rave.  Although most people I've spoken to think of raves as embracing drugs and debauchery, I cannot say enough in the other direction.  Raves were instrumental in getting me out into the world, in getting active (this is "dance" music), and finding an identity and a real love of a form of music that's huge outside of the US.

I've both lived through a house fire and spent a fair amount of time in old warehouses that were undoubtedly not up to code.  This pain feels especially close.  My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rise of the demagogue in American elections

Vox presents a look at the current Republican political landscape, the media that feeds on itself, and why it may be out of scope with what the founding fathers established.  Note that this was produced before the election and supposes (wrongly) that Trump would lose, making it that much more pointed.

Most crucial is that this is not the last we'll see if this phenomenon where a small minority of the electorate determines course for everyone else.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Windows 10 problems

Windows remains the dominant laptop operating system so it's important to pay attention when the Kapersky folks give a breakdown on a host of serious issues.  Windows will now uninstall apps, nag you about using Microsoft programs, and quietly replace apps with it's own preferred tools.

I greatly dislike the idea of having to wake up to a different computer every day and as a result will probably be avoiding Microsoft products for the foreseeable future.

The world and the US

In what is a very grim and ugly time here in the states, I was please to see this from Denmark and this from Canada.

Thanks to both of them.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Interesting climate change items

Monday, October 31, 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bury the Gays and the Fallen Woman

An interesting analysis of the recent trend in popular media surrounding the over-frequent death of gay characters.  The video touches on notions around it's history and why it's a concern, but I found some parallels going back much further with the idea of the Fallen Woman in art and literature.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Translation splits

A fascinating look at all the different biblical translations around what is a fairly simple benign quote from Jesus.  I'd like to see what they were originally translated from to see if that affected the difference.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fabled Cassandra joins Yelp

I present the exclusively one star Yelp reviewer.  The reviews are amusing to read in that kind of slow-motion train wreck format.  Best line: "I pray the members question these acts [instrumental services] before they have to give their account to God."

In her defense, I've also seen exclusively 5 star reviewers but, unlike them, I really want to see more failures detailed by this author .

Before someone asks: yes, Yelp reviewing churches is weird and could be a post all on it's own.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Political overcorrection

An interesting analysis of the current extremely bizarre election coverage: the media desperately wants to be seen as objective but at the expense of simple fact-checking.

Equally illuminating is a Guardian article suggesting a possible interpretation of the current landscape was very welcome, seeing it as a larger GOP over-response to Obama.

(Note that this post was formerly two separate posts.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Extreme weather and false ignorance

One of the best looks at the topic I've seen in quite a while from Seth Meyers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

They went down to the crossroads

In my struggle to understand the political events of the 2016 Republican convention (and everything else going on) I found this interpretation

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

White people responsible for all of civilization?

While a piece of what we understand as civilization as a whole certainly came from the Greeks, let's just say not everyone there looked like all the Irish guys from the movie 300.  I don't expect Steve King's understanding of history is much better than that.

It's amusing to think of the general lack of contributions by Europeans to the world at large during the 400 years often called the "Dark Ages", but even that is too dull a statement.  Instead, let's just note a few things civilization could have done without:
  • 100 Years War
  • Hitler
  • Destruction of the Library of Alexandria
  • European Imperialism
  • Fanta and Mentos

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Don't sign on the dotted line

I'm a big fan of this woman's work so it's important that I echo her words about talent and contracts in a new age of entertainment.

Friday, July 01, 2016

A different kind of horror movie

A few years ago I saw maybe the most disturbing horror movie that actually changed the way I watched movies.  "Funny Games" basically tried to turn the whole genre on it's head, focusing almost entirely on the plight of the victims rather than the violence of the evildoers.  I found it exceedingly difficult to watch and ultimately had to skip past large chunks of the movie.

I can't figure out how to directly link to it but a review that put it in perspective for me:
"... It is interesting to note that this film is not that bloody, with almost all of the violence occurring off-screen, the camera focusing on the witnesses reactions instead. Funnily enough, this annoyed a few reviewers on this site, which kind of proves the director's point. We are hungry for violence in our films, we want to see it all. (source)"

Recording phone calls with available tools.

So a friend of mine was at work a few months back and started running into some abusive crap with her boss.  As it was over the phone, I suggested recording it but didn't know how to make that happen quick and easy.  She wasn't super tech-savvy and didn't have much on hand so I put together something of a howto for that process.

Hopefully someone will get some use out of it.


The first thing to do is get something to attach the recording device to your phone. I recommend rubber bands but this is what I had on hand:

Essentially they are thin Velcro strips

Then just put your hands on anything that has a long, thin mic:
So essentially this:

And do your best to attach it to the phone. Wrap it around so that the tip of the recorder points at the headset:

Just get it right next to it. Your voice should be roughly the same volume as whomever you’re talking to.

It looks weird but you’re good to go. There’s a program built into every version of Windows that’ll let you record voice audio. Just type Sound into the start menu and it should pop up:

If you have problems, make sure you go through the sound tools inside Control Panel to make sure it’s not muted and is turned up as loud as possible.

[Ignore Speech Recognition.]

That should be all you need.

Even better is one of these things but you have to mess with either your phone or Bluetooth:
Still it’s crazy easy and way simpler to hold it: