Pinned oot

Friends, I'm a terribly incompetent social medialyte—I don't see many toots since I follow almost no one, don't check local or federated timelines, don't get follow/fave/boost notifications—just at some point I lost the taste for being plugged in.

But! I'm more than happy to read, learn, discuss, answer, and mentor:

or whatever 🤗!

(I'll pin this toot, so don't link to it!)

Pinned oot

Ideas I frequently invoke:

- Philip Guo on silent technical privilege

- Bryn Hammond on silenced history

- Duncan Watts on cumulative advantage, or, MusicLab, in the top ten scientific experiments ever

- AnimeFeminist for their critiques and season guides

(Don't link to this toot, it'll be edited+deleted, but it'll be pinned to my profile on

I listened to Secret History of the Future ’s episode, “Fork fashions and toilet trends” with glee:

They use Google Glass and toilets to explain why it took the fork centuries to catch on.

We came home from Japan and immediately ordered our S300e Washlet. A friend, same story.

It’s barbaric to use dry paper. To sit on a cold surface. I go home, instead of using the uncivilized machine at work. Indispensable for young kids—my 2 year old used it.

“If these out-of-date beliefs [wrong things like as Aristotelian dynamics/phlogistic chemistry/caloric thermodynamics] are to be called myths, then myths can be produced by the same sorts of methods and held for the same sorts of reasons that now lead to scientific knowledge.”

I have finally bought an audiobook of ’s *Structure of Scientific Revolutions*!!! This is why. It’s so interesting and important to realize that the techniques that lead to scientific breakthroughs also lead to junk.

I don't often use WebDriver but when I do, I drive it using the wrapper.

I made a small course to help the adults in the house practice verb conjugations:

It includes audio in both Japanese voices AWS supports and is fabulous on their iOS app.

The source code to generate the underlying spreadsheet is included in the description because nobody knows when Memrise is going to disappear and we'll all switch to an isomorphic-git-powered serverless client-side app instead.

And before you ask: .


- *Fleet* by Dr Andrew Thayler is set after the collapse (GPS and nanomeds are lost lore)

- *Hawaii* by James Michener: the first several chapters are also —of the best kind, describing how the mighty seafarers from Bora Bora sailed to Hawai'i. (I stopped reading when the story jumped to the 1800s.)

New life, new profile photo, via (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial) who geotagged it to Piazza Navona—though I don't remember this particular gentleman from my visit there.

I registered my support for the crowdfunding project:

They need some cash to redo their website (which in true engineering fashion was thrown together in a couple of days by a non-professional) and transcribe their podcasts, and do both with the transparent payment of ethical wages that we've come to know and love.

They're preparing to kick off the campaign later this week, but the link above will let you register your interest, by sharing your email.

I was looking for a source of interesting and varied information and knowledge, to supplement or replace Mastodon, Stack Overflow, and/or The Atlantic, and I think I may have found it.

Public companies' SEC filings.

Currently reading Toys R Us' 2006 10-K annual report:

(Via this Naked Capitalism post about that company's awful experience with private equity looting:

Learning all kinds of interesting things, about toys, kids, finance, etc.

I felt 500 characters in English is much less than of in Japanese...

Kids to feed: the people at the investment banks wanting to help your firm IPO have them, as do the people managing your money for long-term growth.

I personally love seeing the hustles and the schemes people come up with that are just inside the boundaries of the law (finished *The Big Short* on the 2008 financial meltdown a few weeks ago, loved it, highly recommended—very Terry , very ).

And it’s fun to see people first realizing that that army of schemers exist 🥳.

Regarding last boost, I appreciated this piece:

Where the Doctorow excoriates Ford and other manufacturers for buying the vapid lies of finance mavens who’ve talked them into transforming their products-and-consumer-credit businesses into data/advertisement businesses.

There’s a good bit to that argument. The people selling you life insurance or mutual funds do want to help you out but they’ve kids to feed too.

.@bob makes a really important point here:

We are not tech companies' customers.

Advertisers/databrokers are tech companies' customers, because it's advertisers who are the tech companies source of income.

Even traditional manufacturers like Ford are moving in this direction:

The only way to fix big tech like Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc is to change their business model and/or have extremely strict penalties for data misuse.

Regarding last boost, my favorite part was:

“Laws are being created to try to tame the big tech companies, but by being exclusively designed for that they may also squash the open web”

@sullybiker @switchingsocial Regulation with financial penalties are the other route, but I think regulation is a double edged sword and we're already beginning to see the consequences of that in the EU with the link tax and centralized content filter. Laws are being created to try to tame the big tech companies, but by being exclusively designed for that they may also squash the open web, which has no lobbyists or powerful financiers.

Facebook was recently fined the maximum possible penalty for the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, but it's a tiny fraction of their profits. Even that they're appealing against and could get the penalty reduced.

Having a Linux computer is like being a gearhead with a car in the garage that you love to tinker with. The radio's busted and you've never been able to fix it, but you've built the engine exactly to your specifications and you can endlessly swap tips with other gearheads.

On the other hand, if you're not the type who likes to pop open the hood and get your hands dirty, and you just want something that won't crap out on you when you need a working vehicle, then you should probably buy a Mac.

A number of people have told me, "Ahmed, don't do the - thing of publishing single-function packages on Central".

Gonna do it anyway.

Why? What’s the obstacle to creating a grab bag containing various semi-unrelated functions?

I wouldn’t know what to name it. Other than MathUtils or some super-dorky.

Apache Commons Math is undergoing significant long-term changes and it doesn’t look like I’d be able to get these into there anytime soon.

So. Let’s npm Java.

“I’ll be making book editions of those sites available for free to anyone who cares to request a copy. This is a win for both sides. The reader gets a permanent, well-designed copy of something they have enjoyed. And I get the satisfaction of knowing those books are out there, being held in various places by people who (at least somewhat) care about them. The point is not to make money selling books, but to sow the writing as far as it can go”
—Joel Dueck,

Rather 👩‍🎤👩‍🚀.

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Octodon is a nice general purpose instance. more