5 Quick Things: June 2023

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

>Number One<

Trap Cards in Writing

I read a lot about writing these days (probably far more than I do any actual writing these days but I’m not trying to be kind to myself) and this is one of the best pieces I’ve read in a while about getting kicked in the pants and helping you write. In the end, it boils down the fact that you have to do the thing for the thing to be done and doing other things around it will often make you feel like you accomplished something enough that will continue not to do it. That’s inelegant but in a world where you could spend your whole life planning a world and writing a language and writing character sheets, a little bit of inelegance that gets it across it probably better than never saying anything at all. Probably.

>Number Two<

What is Education For?

It feel like lately we’re at the crossroads with education in all forms because there have always been two real big pictures: education is there to train people to get jobs OR education is there to help people expand their minds and come up with creative ideas. The truth is that education (at least higher education) has been dancing on the edge of a bubble since just before I graduated school, trying to say it is both of those things and it is not getting any better at doing that delicate dance. As the graduating population dwindles because Gen Z is a smaller population than Millennials and as it comes out that getting a college degree doesn’t guarantee the job or the mind expansion, but instead a third secret thing (rising price tags which lead to debt, boatloads of debt), small and middle sized colleges have found themselves in the position of a drying up river of applicants and even larger colleges find themselves whittling down programs. Anyway we’re in for interesting times in the education sector.

>Number Three<

Algorithm Timeline

While they’re not always 100% on the money, I do actually really love the 3 kiddos at Answer in Progress who are always busy researching interesting ideas and wondering about the world. This video Taha recaps their channel as they hit 1 million subscribers and then falls down the rabbit hole trying to explain the history and the evolution of the dreaded algorithm. I think that these issues feels so abstract to your everyday person and while this video focuses on YouTube, algorithms in general run so much of our lives that my hope is if you have never considered how algorithms are made, used, tracked, added to, or engineered that this gets your gears going.

>Number Four<

Me and the Devil

Over consumption gets a lot of lip service in the cycles I hang out in but we really need to talk about overproduction as well. In this article it outlines some of the issues with overproduction because the world is full of services and committees which produce more and more no matter how much is consumed often to leading to bubbles, to destroying perfectly good food or clothes or objects and of course, the under-production or ignored production of goods we actually need. Anyway it’s kind of a dour article but the reality is that even though solar has gotten much cheaper than gas in the past few years, there has been no switch to solar because the demands of capitalism mean profit has to be produced so we are over producing gas because solar isn’t as profitable.

>Number Five<

Sword Guys

I’ve never dated a sword guy, but this article gave me some delicious second hand experience. This is an older article but I link it to just about everyone because it’s so good and I recently found that I had stopped telling people about it because I assumed they knew about sword guys. I don’t want you, dear reader, to be out of the loop on this so here is a most excellent piece on it.

That’s all for this month and hopefully I’ll see you back again next month with some more exciting and cool things!

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