09 June 2020

Fine consumer products

If you want to buy things, I like these resources for finding good things to buy:

  • Wirecutter has exceedingly in-depth reviews explaining what the best version is of numerous key products — especially electronics — including why that thing is the best and what difference it makes if you go for the best cheap or best spendy alternative
  • The Strategist is a bit lifestyle-magazine-ish, but I forgive it because it has pretty darned good taste in a range of products.
  • The Sweet Setup is a guide to applications for Apple devices, including not just the best solutions but a lot of advice about using them well
  • The MacRumours Buyers' Guide will help you guess where an Apple product is in its release cycle, to reduce the odds that you buy something and then discover a few weeks later that a major upgrade was released right afterward
  • Cool Tools is a huge collection of quirky, interesting reviews of a vast range of useful things
  • The Ones is a site maintained by some hip but (mostly) practical industrial designers listing their favorite, rock-solid products
  • Some things that are really quite good: “it’s just amazing how good the quality end of manufactured goods is, particularly compared to the landfill-fodder which is the norm”
  • Buy Me Once is a web store for very well-made stuff
  • What life-changing item can you buy for less that $100? is a wooly but fun and helpful Reddit discussion

Ender's Game is bad

People often ask how such a warmongering asshole as Orson Scott Card could write a beautiful, humane, anti-war novel like Ender's Game. I have come to believe that he did not. Which is not to say that Card did not write the book; rather, it is not the beautiful, humane, anti-war novel which people think they have read.

The book people experience when they read Ender's Game is very different from what the book contains, because the book which Card intended is so morally disgusting that it simply does not occur to most readers that it could possibly mean what it does. People cannot help but radically misread it.

John Kessel's Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality makes the horrible truth clear.

We see the effects of displaced, righteous rage everywhere around us, written in violence and justified as moral action, even compassion. Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean.  Nothing is his fault. Stilson already lies defeated on the ground, yet Ender can kick him in the face until he dies, and still remain the good guy. Ender can drive bone fragments into Bonzo’s brain and then kick his dying body in the crotch, yet the entire focus is on Ender’s suffering.

The Rock, for President

An uncanny thought experiment:

Proposal for a book
to be adapted into a movie
starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson

Here is the meager gift tucked into the disaster that is Donald Trump: now, anyone can be elected president, so anyone will be elected president. We might never have another lawyer in that office again. Donald Trump broke the seal, but Dwayne Johnson will fulfill the prophecy.

If he runs, he will win, and he will run, so the question isn't, will Dwayne Johnson be president; rather, it's: what kind of president will Dwayne Johnson be?

"Give me the place to stand, and I shall move the earth," said Archimedes, maybe. With this book, we'll set our feet and push.

Street activism index

The quick and dirty tear gas primer
What's in the Bag? — A Guide To Packing A Protest First Aid Kit

Again, just getting started assembling an index

Social justice index index

An index of resources

Antiracism resources
This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.

Antiracism resource guide
Focused on action, from funds to contribute to through grand projects

Split a donation between 70+ community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers

Transform Harm
TransformHarm.org is a resource hub about ending violence. It offers an introduction to transformative justice. Created by Mariame Kaba and designed by Lu Design Studio, the site includes selected articles, audio-visual resources, curricula, and more. You can use what is here, and submit recommendations to be added to the focus areas listed here. We hope you will use these materials to foster your own education and also share them with your communities to build something new. Only together can we transform our relationships to each other and society. We hope that this site helps in this effort.

Reclaim The Block
Reclaim the Block began in 2018 and organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety. We believe health, safety and resiliency exist without police of any kind. We organize around policies that strengthen community-led safety initiatives and reduce reliance on police departments. We do not believe that increased regulation of or public engagement with the police will lead to safer communities, as community testimony and documented police conduct suggest otherwise.

A Running List Of Hoaxes And Misleading Posts About The Nationwide Police Brutality Protests

Mutual Aid, Trauma, and Resiliency