Want to join in? Respond to our weekly writing prompts, open to everyone.
Want to join in? Respond to our weekly writing prompts, open to everyone.
”Hundo: Die Szene, wo die Bulldogge bellt, lässt mich ein wenig angstlich fühlen, aber ich kann nichts tun. Was ist dies Gefühl” [sic]
Ok, komischer Einstieg, aber irgendwo musste ich den Dogo-Pullover ja verwursten. Hat eigentlich nichts mit dem nun Folgenden zu tun, denn es ging raus in die Natur und zwar mit der Alishan Forest Railway. Der Nationalpark, zu dem diese alte, von den Japanern während der Besatzungszeit gebaute Eisenbahn führt, ist eh schon eine der Top-Touristen-Ziele Taiwans, leider aber noch mehr, wenn gerade Kirschblüte ist. Dann sind nämlich nicht nur sämtliche Rentner-Reisegruppen aus Taiwan, Japan, China und Korea am Start, sondern zusätzlich auch alle Insta-Mädels, die sich in der “Ich-habe-solche-Zahnschmerzen”-Pose vor diversen Bäumen fotografieren lassen. Glücklicherweise ist man die alle wie auch überall sonst auf der Welt relativ schnell wieder los, wenn man sich weiter als 200 Meter von Parkplatz und Visitor Center entfernt. Ursprünglich hatte ich bereits Ende letzten Jahres mit viel Mühe einen Permit zur Besteigung des Yu Shans, der mit 3,952 Metern der höchste Berg Taiwans ist organisiert, aber Kitschblüte und einige logistisch Probleme haben das leider unmöglich gemacht. Naja, es war auch so nett da oben!
In Chiayi steigt man in die Schmalspurbahn und fährt von dort bis nach Shitzulu. Dort muss man in den Bus bis Alishan umsteigen, da ein Taifun vor ein paar Jahren die Strecke ruiniert hat und die Sanierung noch nicht abgeschlossen ist.
Da es nichts all zu viel Spannendes zu erzählen gibt, einfach nur ein paar Bilder von da oben, 100% Kirschblüten-frei.
Nach 2 Tagen in Alishan haben wir uns in den Bus gesetzt und sind weiter zum Sun-Moon-Lake. Der heißt so, weil er aussieht, wie 日und 月, was die Schriftzeichen für Sonne und Mond sind. Mit dieser Logik können wir den Chiemsee in Wurstsee umbenennen, weil er doch eigentlich auch genau wie 肉und 腸 aussieht, oder? Egal, die Geschichte ist ja nett.
Wie überall auf der Welt ist auch hier das Klima vom Menschen kaputt gemacht worden. Es hat den ganzen Winter nicht geregnet, was dazu führt, dass Taiwans größter See viel zu wenig Wasser hat, was man wiederum an den schicken Ufer-Streifen auf meinen Bildern sieht. Auch hier haben wir 2 Tage verbracht, Tag 1 haben wir uns Fahrräder geliehen, weil man das da so macht da und am 2. Tag sind wir auf den Great Mount Shuishe geklettert, was mit 8 Stunden und 1300 Höhenmeter eine ordentliche Tour war. Leider hat uns niemand vorher verraten, dass der Gipfel mitten im Wald liegt und so hatten wir zwar eine wunderschöne Wanderung durch Bambuswälder ohne viele Menschen (dafür aber mit Affen) aber leider keinen Ausblick am Gipfel.
Eigentlich keine Essens-Bilder! Aber wenn es Pommes zum Frühstück gibt, mache ich gerne eine Ausnahme. So stellt man sich in Taiwan übrigens “Western Breakfast” vor.
Unsere Eisenpferde, wie Google Translate sie liebevoll nannte.
Geht sowohl als Eingang für einen Golfplatz als auch für einen taoistischen Tempel in Ordnung.
Die haben einen blauen-LED-Buddha! Der leuchtet im Dunkeln!
Lyrics: Air – Cherry Blossom Girl
from Zéro Janvier
Beautiful Trouble est un livre dirigé par Andrew Boyd et Dave Oswald Mitchell et publié en 2012 par OR Books.
Beautiful Trouble brings together dozens of seasoned artists and activists from around the world to distill their best practices into a toolbox for creative action. Sophisticated enough for veteran activists, accessible enough for newbies, this compendium of troublemaking wisdom is a must-have for aspiring changemakers. Showcasing the synergies between artistic imagination and shrewd political strategy, Beautiful Trouble is for everyone who longs for a more beautiful, more just, more livable world – and wants to know how to get there.
Le livre est présenté comme une boîte à outils pour la révolution et je dois dire que le résultat est plutôt convaincant. Au programme :
Ces quatre parties constituent le coeur de l’ouvrage, qui s’achève une présentation sommaire de quelques organisations activistes, des ressources documentaires, et la biographie succincte des auteurs des différents articles.
Tout au long du livre, on est à mi-chemin entre l’encyclopédie et le guide pratique et j’ai bien aimé cet équilibre. Cela rend la lecture plaisante et enrichissante.
Si je devais exprimer un bémol, ce serait sur l’aspect très américano-centré du texte. On sent que les articles ont été écrit par des activistes qui oeuvrent aux Etats-Unis, et ils ont parfois tendance à s’exprimer comme si c’était également le cas de tous leurs lecteurs.
Ce n’est toutefois qu’un petit bémol pour un ouvrage à la fois agréable à lire et inspirant quand on a envie de s’engager.
Although I despise cutouts and holes in smartphone screens I bought a Google Pixel 7 Pro Obsidian Black to replace my old Pixel 4 XL.
I hoped the Google Store would send me a discount but it never happened, I should have taken advantage of the Black Friday promotion just after the device's release. Anyway, I've been using the Pixel 7 Pro for the past week or so and these are my initial impressions.
For my daily driver smartphone I've always wanted a high-specced, supported, Google-made flagship featuring the Google experience, so the Pixel 7 Pro was an obvious replacement for my end of life Pixel 4 XL.
I could have waited a few months for the upcoming Pixel 8 Pro but the early rumors hinted at a smaller screen. My ageing eyesight strongly prefers large screens, which made a difference in favor of the Pixel 7 Pro.
Another reason not to delay the purchase is that, much as I despise screen cutouts and holes, this design fad is likely here to stay for at least one product generation or two. Getting the Pixel 7 Pro minimizes screen defacement while letting me weather the storm and wait for more tasteful design trends.
Finally, I wanted the Pixel 7 Pro because I was eager to try astrophotography with better optical zoom, 5X versus 2X of the Pixel 4 XL.
After several days the screen hole isn't bothering me as much as I expected. A related feature the reviewers of the Pixel 7 Pro frowned upon but I don't mind is the curved screen. It's not much noticeable to me and the thin bezel is enough to prevent most of the inadvertent screen touches.
The cheap, plastic touch of the screen is unusual but I guess this is the kind of tactile experience the material of curved panels is supposed to give. Still, it contrasts with the thicker glass feel of the Pixel 4 XL screen.
Speaking of the screen, the integrated fingerprint reader is okay but not as accurate and fast as I hoped. I'll miss the lightning fast and accurate screen unlock of the Pixel 4 XL. I think I won't turn on face unlock on the Pixel 7 Pro as it's not supported for biometric authentication, so it may not help much.
Another love or hate design feature is the sensor pod. So far I'm in the don't mind camp.
While optical zoom is important to me, I'm liking the 0.5 X wide angle lens too which, until last year, I didn't have a use for. Then I did a dream trip to the Space Coast and a wide angle lens would have come in handy for photographing space technology subjects.
In ordinary use the Pixel 7 Pro doesn't seem much faster than the Pixel 4 XL, but the former makes a difference for resource-intensive apps and runs them more smoothly, with less lag and jankiness.
On the Pixel 4 XL I was already using Android 13, the same version currently on the Pixel 7 Pro, so there are no significant differences.
The experience of setting up the Pixel 7 Pro, configuring the apps, and performing system updates was similar too. It took 6-8 hours most of which spent migrating banking and credential management apps, each with its own complicated, idiosyncratic, and poorly documented migration procedure.
The Android system updates were excruciatingly slow when setting up the Pixel 7 Pro, most likely because they were large and highly I/O bound.
Aside from these issues, I like Google's Android skin.
from Looking at the other side
I woke up 30 minutes before the alarm clock went off, but got up an hour after. The first hour of the day was completely wasted on the phone, which is the worst way to spent it. Even looking at the ceiling for an hour would have been better.
After getting up and going through the flow of the usual morning rituals, I felt better. I avoided reading on my phone with the morning coffee and picked up a physical book instead, time slowed down for a few minutes. I went out to the garden and got some sunlight into my eyes before sitting in front of the screen.
The best I can do now is to stay away from my phone as much as possible. Mindlessly scrolling will keep me trapped in the loop of circular thinking and endless rumination; I can't afford to go down that road any more.
The plan was to start practising BJJ this month, but that will be postponed until I'm back from the Summer trip. Before that, I will focus on adjusting my diet, figuring out a sustainable stretching routine and restarting weight training—all that will help with the useless overthinking as well.
Regarding all the feelings stuck into my chest, I won't do anything—neither push them away or cling to them—trying anything now will make things even worse. What's truthful will remain, and the rest will fade away without any intervention on my side; there is no substitute for time.
Stella arrivò alla centrale elettrica con un senso di eccitazione, ma anche di timore. Le scanalature frastagliate delle pareti di cemento si innalzavano sopra di lei in un intreccio di arabeschi, fino a raggiungere una struttura centrale composta da travi metalliche argentate che si perdevano nel cielo del mattino.
Era il suo turno annuale e Alex l'aveva salutata dall'interfono con una voce metallica e gracchiante il giorno prima, quando era in piena decontaminazione. Fortunato bastardo. Un anno lì dentro e poi libero. Sarebbe toccato presto anche a lei. Stella non sapeva cosa avrebbe trovato una volta superato il massiccio cancello di contenimento finale, ma si era preparata bene e conosceva a memoria il manuale operativo.
L'aria era densa di odore di olio e di metallo bruciato, e l'unico suono era il tonfo costante dei macchinari in movimento. Si chiese come mai “quelli di prima” avessero pensato a una cosa del genere, considerando che a quel tempo le religioni esistevano ancora.
Seguì i cartelli direzionali, inoltrandosi nell'impianto. Passò accanto a camere buie, alcune piene di grandi turbine che giravano scintillando e altre contenenti grandi serbatoi di vetro pieni di uno strano liquido radiante.
Raggiunse infine la sua destinazione: la sala di controllo. Questa era una grande camera triangolare piena di monitor spenti, pulsanti e leve. Al centro della stanza spiccava un grande cilindro pieno di gas luminescente. Le era stato detto che qui si trovavano “le ombre”.
I fantasmi erano la fonte di energia dell'impianto. Erano le anime di coloro che erano stati esseri umani come lei. Una volta passati a “miglior vita” la loro energia era stata risucchiata automaticamente dall’impianto e immagazzinata nelle vasche. Stella era ancora stupita: nonostante tutto, non era stato facile digerire “il segreto”. Non che avesse avuto scelta. L’avevano selezionata, le avevano svelato il miracolo dell’energia infinita... a quel punto le avevano concesso solamente se accettare il turno annuale o finire nelle vasche prima del tempo. Tutti coloro che avevano prestato servizio alla centrale per un anno potevano andarsene dal pianeta e lasciare che la loro essenza si disperdesse nel cosmo invece di alimentare le megalopoli sulla superficie.
Il compito di un operatore con un corpo era sempre stato solo quello di risiedere all'interno dell'impianto. E se i pulsanti e le leve, se premuti, non avessero funzionato? E se alcuni monitor non si fossero attivati? Questo era tutto ciò che veniva spiegato nel manuale. Un gioco da ragazzi.
Stella si avvicinò al cilindro al centro della camera e contemplò i vortici di figure eteree che si mescolavano l'una nell'altra. Sembrava esserci una consapevolezza nello sguardo dei fantasmi, un accenno a qualcosa di “vivo”.
Mentre Stella rimaneva immobile, avvertì una strana sensazione nella sua mente. Era come se i fantasmi cercassero di comunicare con lei, cercando di attirarla più vicino al serbatoio. Sapeva che i fantasmi non erano altro che fonti di energia, incapaci di qualsiasi tipo di comunicazione. Si era preparata bene.
Tuttavia, la sensazione persisteva, rafforzandosi di momento in momento. I fantasmi la stavano chiamando, le loro voci riecheggiavano nella sala di controllo. Stella non riuscì più a resistere all'attrazione. Si avvicinò al serbatoio.
I fantasmi cominciarono a turbinare nei suoi pensieri, implorandola di liberarli dalla prigionia. Per un attimo si convinse che liberarli fosse l'unica opzione possibile. Invece trovò il pulsante rosso lucido sulla console accanto a lei. Era etichettato come “Contenimento di emergenza”. Era stata addestrata a premerlo se ci fosse stata una perdita nel serbatoio o in qualsiasi altro caso di pericolo imminente.
Non appena premette il pulsante, le porte della camera triangolare si chiusero e l'aria cominciò a fuoriuscire. Stella cercò di respirare, ma intorno a lei c'era solo il vuoto e il canto sommesso dei fantasmi che ora si erano acquietati. Cercò di respirare, ma era troppo tardi.
Una parte di quella che era stata Stella cadde a terra, mentre l'altra si fuse con le anime del serbatoio centrale, diventando un tutt'uno con l'energia che alimentava la centrale. Era ormai parte della macchina, una fonte di energia per le megalopoli sovrastanti.
Mentre il sistema continuava a ronzare e a vorticare intorno a lei, Stella si rese conto con sgomento della sua condizione. Era intrappolata nel serbatoio e tutto era già stato pianificato. Alex non se n'era mai andato e quello che aveva sentito nella camera di decontaminazione era solo un messaggio sintetizzato da un'IA. Ne era sicura perché la forma fumosa di Alex era insieme a lei ora. Un anno lì dentro e poi libera. Stella avrebbe aspettato il prossimo essere vivente... un anno intero, ma poi lei... loro... avrebbero convinto l'operatore a liberarli.
L'ultima cosa che udì prima che la sua coscienza si fondesse con le altre fu il ronzio costante delle macchine al di sopra di una sinfonia di pensieri.
Giuliano Olivotto è uno scrittore italiano laureato in sociologia e appassionato di fantascienza e storie strane. È sposato, ha due figli e vive in Italia. Appassionato di idee nuove per rendere la propria vita piacevole, significativa e a volte impegnativa, scrive disegna e crea contenuti digitali che condivide sui propri profili social. Nel 2021 è stato coautore di un romanzo di fantascienza positivo e di crescita personale intitolato “Operazione Farfalla”: Mostra i tuoi veri colori – Investi nel tuo futuro” e questo è diventato lo stimolo per raccogliere i suoi racconti e compilarli nell'antologia soprannaturale piena di personaggi oscuri e incubi ai confini della realtà pubblicata nel 2022 “Il Senza Morte, Il Senza Sogni e gli Altri Oscuri Compagni”.
from Roscoe's Story
Prayers, etc.: • 07:45 – Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel • 10:10 – Hebrews 9:11-15; Gospel of John 8:46-59; – “Love Unto Sacrifice”, a meditation for today from Toward Easter. – Today's Rosary is the Glorious Mysteries because, even in Lent, every Sunday is like a little Easter. • 10:50 – CANCELING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: From Francis to Zelenskyy & Kiev to Chicago – Remnant TV • 19:30 – Fr. Chad Rippberger's Prayer of Command to protect my family, my sons, my daughter and her family, my granddaughters and their families, my great grandchildren, and everyone for whom I have responsibility from any demonic activity. – Followed by the Sun day Prayers of the Association of the Auxilium Christianorum. – And followed by the Hour of Compline for tonight from the Divine Office.
Health Metrics: • Today's health metrics are recorded at 08:15 following a very segmented 7 hour sleep. • bw= 218 lbs. • bs= 90 • bp= 148/81 (61)
Diet: • 09:45 – 1 ham sandwich • 12:00 — BBQ chicken & sausage, ½ pc. white bread • 14:30 – beans and fried rice • 18:00 – bowl of lugau, ice cream
Chores, etc.: • 09:00 – bank accounts activity monitored • 09:50 – The Safety Cult – Bill Whittle's Right Angle • 11:30 – walk over to STM to p/u 2 BBQ dinner plates • 12:00 – eat lunch at home with Sylvia while watching Red Sox vs Twins • 14:30 – now listening to the PRN live broadcast of this afternoon's NASCAR Cup Series Race • 16:30 – yard work, mow and weed the back yard • 18:00 – eat dinner at home with Sylvia and watch old game shows
Chess: • 10:35 – moved in all pending CC games
posted 26/Mar/2023 ~20:06 #DLMAR2023
Meditation and Movement...
The Sangha I'm sitting with now sometimes does Walking Meditation as part of our zoom sits. Sometimes I walk a little. Sometimes I sit in my chair and let my fingers walk slowly across a table. It's not the same, but it is a mindful physical exercise that I can do reasonably comfortably.
I remember doing a three day retreat with an organization in Buffalo where we did sitting meditation for 40 minutes, then walking meditation for 15. We repeated that four or five times and it was an amazing combination of movement and stillness that left my mind feeling very flexible and supple. I don't hang out with that organization anymore because, while they have some excellent teachers their organization system is very rigid and hierarchical and their leaders have proven to be horrible sex crimey abusive types.
The organization that I'm studying with now is far less hierarchical with much greater acceptance for householders who don't want to collect achievement badges or gain status and rank.
The walking hurt me back then, too. There have been changes in my life. For many many years I had my back against a wall and I needed to work through the pain and the stress to survive. I would use the pain to keep myself angry and fighting the world. There were things I Needed to get done. Sometimes for survival, sometimes to maintain my own dignity, sometimes to live by my values.
Recently I realized that pretty much everything that I Needed to get done was done and I could absolutely take the time to take care of myself.
For some reason I expected that this would be LESS work than flogging myself to death for other causes.
Wednesday last I went to see a Physical Therapist. He was amazing. He followed my lead into talking about my issues holistically. Like, yes, bro, I got sent here for knee pain but that was the pain that drove me to go to the E R, it's just part of the series that cycles through. We covered stretching and exercises and what things I should bring up specifically with other specific medical professionals and then we talked about mobility aids.
He grabbed me a pair of forearm crutches and we sized them and he showed me how to use them and I was like, “Dude..... dude. Dude! duuuuuuude.” Having something to give me super firm support on both sides radically changed my experience of straining all of my little muscle groups to hold everything steady around the joints and between the numb bits. Without the crutches I have a very distinctive swagger that is mostly me trying to keep everything balanced by falling in consecutive directions in a controlled way. It keeps me moving, but it's hell on all of the muscles, joints, ligaments, and whatever else kinda parts I have in there.
On Friday I got up and went shopping. I had three stores to go to. The last time I needed things from three stores, I brought Spouse and sent her in to each store with a list. This time I figured I'd do what I could and then if I needed to stop I could come home and drag her out to finish up. Well, I just zoomed right through all three of those stores and when I got home I started making ghee because butter is on sale at Aldi. While the ghee was rendering I picked up the kitchen, consolidated the recycling, and organized a spice cabinet. I stopped myself because I was humming a happy little song.
A happy little song?
Recently, even going to one store has left me resting in the chair or going to bed to stretch out for a while. This is an amazing development.
This weekend I had company. My girlfriend came over for a two day intensive education in opera. We watched Lucia, Ahknaten, Rosenkaviler, and bits of Hoffman, Rhinegold, and Rusalka. Girlfriend has no musical education beyond US public school, but has a MFA in cinematography and a BA in arts education. We had a great time learning from each other and gently teasing one another's tastes.
At one point I got up to take the dog for a walk. I put on my shoes and leashed the pup and then grabbed my forearm crutches and slipped into them. Her face was incredible. She has CP and used forearm crutches when she was little and had both legs in those horrible late 70s leg braces while she was developing the strength and control to walk without assistance.
Her response to seeing me using things that she remembers as horrible things that set her apart from the other kids and marked her weakness and disability was strong and when I saw it on her face I said, “I know. But these reduce my pain by more than 60% and allow me to get shit done without turning into queen bitch destroyer of worlds.”
Then we went out and walked the dog together all around the muddy/snowy/uneven yard in the dark. I zootled along and kept up with the puppy. We bombed back and forth and around the trees and the dog has learned how not to terminally tangle us both up with his lead so it was actually kind of graceful. In the end she said, “Yeah, those were upsetting things in my past, but it makes me happy to see that you're brave enough to use them and that you live better because of them.”
Right now I'm trying to figure out how to modify them so that I'll be able to use them while working in the yard this year. I really want some kind of harness so that I can sling them behind me when I want to use both hands for something or when I need to lift something from the ground to put it on my wheely cart. I think I'll be able to make a slip on handle for my rakes and shovels and use an elbow pad so that I can use those tools one handed. Or maybe I can make rake and shovel attachments for my crutches and just pop them on and off like Hawkeye and his arrows.
I'm feeling like I might be able to get some of the things done in the yard and the gardens that I wanted to do this year. Not, like, hope. More like the potential. Work may be possible and I may not have to resign myself to turning angry and mean to work through the pain. That's pretty awesome.
from Nerd for Hire
In the simplest terms, point of view can be defined as the perspective through which a story is being told. A story’s POV identifies three things:
Who is telling the story
The relationship between the narrator and main character
The distance between the characters and readers
Those things are all critical to how a story comes across to the reader, and shifting the POV—even if it’s just from one 3rd-person close narrator to a different one—can have a huge impact on how the reader interprets the story (and how much they enjoy reading it).
A singificant portion of contemporary short fiction is written in either 1st person or 3rd person close. And with good reason. First person is the most immersive of the POVs. Readers are instantly inclined to both trust and relate to a first-person narrator, and that can be useful for a writer. 3rd-person close, meanwhile, is kind of the Goldilocks of POVs, with the flexibility of a third-person voice and the anchoring and grounding of a single viewpoint character the reader can latch onto.
These aren’t the only options in the writer’s toolbox, though, and even these common perspectives are more complicated than they seem at first glance.
The story told in the “I” voice by a narrator actively involved in the plot, usually as the main character.
Best for: Stories driven by a mix of plot and emotion with a single narrative thread
The story told in the “I” voice by a narrator who is a witness to or minor participant in the story’s events.
Best for: Framing devices; stories driven by plot or character relationships
The story is told in the “we” voice by a community, hive mind, or other group of narrators who share a unified worldview.
Best for: stories exploring themes of identity, belonging, tribalism, and individualism vs. community
The story told in the “you” voice, where the reader occupies the role of the “you.”
Best for: Choose-Your-Own narratives; stories driven by emotion
The story is told in the “you” voice addressed to another character.
Best for: Stories told as letters; stories driven by the emotions within a single relationship
The story is told in the “they” voice, through the lens of a specific character who is actively involved in the events of the story.
Best for: stories driven by plot, imagery, or emotion; stories with complex, multi-thread plots
The story is told in the “they” voice through the lens of a specific character who is telling a story they witnessed, heard, or were a minor participant in.
Best for: frame devices; stories driven by plot, character relationships, or imagery; stories with complex, multi-thread plots
The story is told in the “they” voice by a god-like narrator that can see the inner thoughts and emotions of all characters.
Best for: stories driven by character relationships, emotions, or imagery; stories with complex, multi-thread plots
The story is told in the “they” voice by a detatched narrator who observes all characters from the outside.
Best for: stories driven by character relationships; stories on topics with high inherent emotional intensity
See similar posts:
Quarenta e cinco quilómetros. Rio Tinto, Douro, Afurada.
Queda, joelho magoado. Pele e calças rasgadas. Betadine e recomeço.
from Lastige Gevallen in de Rede
Van Voorbijgaande Aard helpt Mieke Telkamp op haar eerste werkdag
MT – Waar heen leidt de weg die wij moeten gaan Waarvoor zijn wij op aard VVA – Die weg leidt naar een afslag en dan kom je op de rijbaan Voor het volgen van de kaart
MT – Waar ligt het land waar we mogen zijn En wat is de taak die ons wacht VVA – Dat is vlakbij het station dan linksaf bij het rangeerterrein Ik denk een dringende opdracht
MT – Waar staat de poort die ons binnen laat En die ons ook beschermt VVA – Dat is de rechter deur, op no. 7, waar entree boven staat, inklokken als je naar binnen gaat
MT – Waar dan is het licht op ons duistere pad De hand die ons geleidt VVA – Als je de hal in gaat springen de lichten automatisch aan Rechtdoor, bij de wc naar links gaan
VVA – Daarheen leidt vanaf nu de weg die jij zal moeten gaan Daarvoor ben jij bij deze Aard Een afslag, de weg, een niet erg avontuurlijke kantoorbaan en dan om vijf uur weer op huis aan.
from The Monday Kickoff
Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.
Let's get this Monday started with these links:
Maybe You Missed It, but the Internet ‘Died’ Five Years Ago, wherein we're introduced to the internet death theory, which posits that the internet has been almost entirely taken over by artificial intelligence, and the ways in which the theory's proponents try to prove it.
The Beautiful, Brutal World of Bonsai, wherein we learn about how an American named Ryan Neil apprenticed under a top bonsai master in Japan, the hardship he's faced as a professional in that arena, and get a glimpse into the world of bonsai artists.
How centuries-old whaling logs are filling gaps in our climate knowledge, wherein we learn about the vast amounts of weather date held in logbooks from whaling vessels, and how they could be novel guides to understanding the course of climate change.
The Exploited Labor Behind Artificial Intelligence, wherein we learn about the ghost work behind teaching artificial intelligence systems, and about the underpaid and exploited humans performing that work.
On ChatGPT, wherein Paul Taylor looks at the titular AI chat bot, how it does what it does, and where it currently falls flat.
The Hibernator’s Guide to the Galaxy, wherein we're introduced to the latest thinking around putting astronauts into hibernation on long space voyages, and how researchers are looking to the animal kingdom for ideas.
History is in the making, wherein Stephen Davies argues that focusing on key political dates and events isn't enough to understand history, and that we need to know about other dates and events to gain a better understanding of how the past helped shape the present.
The Genealogy of Chinese Cybernetics, wherein we learn about the influence, both good and bad, that engineer Qian Xuesen had on Chinese science and policy through his advocacy and application of cybernetic theory.
The US ski resorts built by WW2 soldiers, wherein we learn about how recreational skiing was popularized in the US not by stereotypical ski bums but by veteran mountain troops who fought in the mountains of Europe.
And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.
Diablo was one of the first games to resonate with me truly. I am still unsure how it came to be in my collection, but I vividly remember owning it for my Playstation. That’s right, I might be the only person who owned Diablo for the original Playstation. After talking with a few friends about how I enjoyed it, I learned quickly that I should be playing it for PC. Diablo was the first game that I purchased a second time, so I could get the whole experience on the PC, and at that moment I was officially converted from a console gamer to a PC game. Diablo was a formative game for me across multiple avenues, not only did it make me a life long lover of Action RPG games, it made me a life long PC gamer. Diablo 2 only deeper ingrained both into my identity. By the time Diablo 3 had come out, I was so deep into my love affair with Path of Exile, it didn’t bother me that Diablo 3 did not live up to expectations. Finally, Diablo Immortal shattered and belief that Blizzard would ever ship a Diablo game that would resonate with me again, I was comfortable with that, as I have Path of Exile releasing expansion-tier content every three months, and Last Epoch on the horizon with a very promising start.
I didn’t take much heed to the announcement and information coming out about Diablo 4, I had already made up my mind, I wasn’t going to play it. Although, there was no avoiding the details about the game, not that I was intentionally avoiding it, I was simply just not seeking it out. Slowly but surely my intent to not play the game had been eroded, and the early access event, which allowed those who pre-ordered the game by paying $100 dollars to play the game over a weekend had wiped away the last bit of resistance I had. The reports coming from many of the Path of Exile content creators, whom I trust, were positive at best and mixed at worst. With the open beta weekend coming, there was no reason why I couldn’t try it. So I did.
Diablo 4 is a fun game, I really have nothing negative to say about my experience in the open beta. Simply put, I enjoyed it. The game absolutely lacks deep systems which both Path of Exile and Last Epoch employ to keep it interesting and engaging, but that’s okay, Diablo 4 doesn’t need to be a replacement for those games, just a supplement to them. Path of Exile has 10 years of content releases to ensure that engaging systems exist in the game, it would be unfair to compare the complexity of a game that has not been released yet to it. Depending on how Blizzard chooses to handle seasonal content, it may have enough systems, to feel as complex and engaging as Path of Exile, and even if it doesn't, that’s still okay, the foundation of the game is still enjoyable. Ultimately, Diablo 4 is good, but not great. There are no glaring problems or issues with the game, but it certainly isn’t a contender for game of the year, in my book.
The open beta had no indication of monetization of the game, we know there is going to be something, but we don’t know in what form it will be. We have two data points to make assumptions from, the first is Diablo Immortal, the worst of the worst, the game that continues to hound you with pop-ups to buy more rewards upon completion of any content. The other is Blizzard’s word that they will not monetize Diablo 4 in the same way. Ultimately, I don’t believe them, there is absolutely no way that Diablo 4 will not have some sort of predatory tactic for monetization in the game, we live in a capitalist world after all. What I am unsure of is at what length they will go to monetize the game, there is no way they go as far as Diablo Immortal after the backlash they received either. How far do they go, and how much will it ruin the game experience for me? I am not against monetization of live server games, you have to pay for the ongoing cost of servers and development somehow, but I just ask that you do it with some semblance of ethics.
Regardless of how the monetization plays out in the short term, I won’t be buying Diablo 4 on release for one simple reason. The game is not worth paying $70 for. I have difficulty justifying paying $70 for any game, justifying it is even harder for a game that is good, but not great. On top of that, it is a game that still has question marks about the state of monetization. Diablo 4 is a game that I would rather miss out on than pay $70 for, simply put. In a world where there are an almost infinite number of games that I could spend my time playing, and the cost of many of them are half of what I would pay for Diablo 4, $70 is a hard sell, and I am not buying.
If Diablo 4 ultimately is the blockbuster that we all hope it is, then I can still buy it later. If the seasonal content provides the complex and engaging system which I love about Path of Exile, there is nothing stopping me from paying the $70 at a later date to play the game. In a world where Diablo 4 can still be a wasteland of exploitative monetization tactics or a bastion of ARPG game design, there is zero risk in simply waiting to see how it plays out. I have zero FOMO with this one, if I am late to the party, I will not regret the time spent playing Last Epoch or other games until I know for certain that Diablo 4 is world $70, let alone playing at all.
Your reading should be messy
After years of treating my books as if they ought to be preserved in a museum, I now believe that you should honor the books by breaking them. Read them all so messily! Fold them, bend them, tear them! Throw them into your backpack or leave them open in Jenga-like towers by the side of your bed. Don’t fret about stains or torn edges or covers left dangling off the spine after years of reading.
That is what a book is. That is what a book is for.
I read on a Kindle Paperwhite these days. But I like this idea.
from Telmina's notes
元々今年の正月に、「NMKD Stable Diffusion GUI」（画像生成AI「Stable Diffusion」のWindows向け実装）を動かすためにゲーミングPCを購入しておりますが、そちらで大量の画像を生成することがあり、それに数時間かかってしまうこともざらです。
This image is created by DiffusionBee.
#2023年 #2023年3月 #2023年3月27日 #Mac #MacBookPro #PC #StableDiffusion #DiffusionBee #NMKDStableDiffusionGUI #AI
In 1930, Henry Miller moved to Paris with two unpublished novels in his suitcase. Soon after he began work on Tropic of Cancer. He wrote to a friend around that time:
I start tomorrow on the Paris book. First person, uncensored, formless—fuck everything.
Four years later, a French publisher (of pornography) began printing Tropic of Cancer. The book came with a warning label: “Must not be taken into Great Britain or USA”. It was widely banned, which of course only made people want to read it.
I admire Miller’s gumption. I think every would-be author needs a little of that fuck everything attitude.
This quote about Miller by George Orwell:
Miller is a writer out of the ordinary, worth more than a single glance; and after all, he is a completely negative, unconstructive, amoral writer, a mere Jonah, a passive acceptor of evil, a sort of Whitman among the corpses.
A sort of Whitman among the corpses—god I love that!
And I could not agree more with Orwell’s assessment. Or course, Miller is a gleeful sinner, completely irredeemable, but that does not mean—at least to me—that he is not still worth reading. Maybe I am risking something saying that.
I won’t make apologies for Miller, for reading Miller. I am guilty of the indecent act of reading books others are inclined to ban, in that I am something of a serial offender.
As a would-be author, I can only hope to write a book worthy enough to be banned one day.
Rest assured, I do make an effort to be a better human than Henry Miller wrote himself to be—
admittedly that is a pretty low bar, not impossible to crawl under, but no one should consider doing so an accomplishment.
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