Links and Notes - March 19th 2021

Reviving daily posts

I hate typing these posts. I've typed far too many posts already saying something is being revived. But this is just to say that I'm trying to stick to creating daily posts sharing interesting links and notes as I browse around the internets. The only difference since the time I last stopped posting these is that I now use Obsidian as my note taking tool.

How is that relevant? Basically, one of the challenges to actually sticking with this habit was the fact that I couldn't write/add to my draft easily while away from the computer which is when the majority of the link reading and thoughts happen. Unfortunately, Ghost doesn't support editing on mobile and it doesn't have a mobile app either.

Now that I'm using Obsidian, I'm using Dropbox to sync my notes which makes editing while on the go pretty easy. I use iA Writer on the phone to edit notes on the go. This means that I now have a viable option for ensuring that I can edit stuff while I'm away from the computer.

Before restarting though, I had to ask myself why I want to do this. And the answer is that I enjoy writing. I enjoy putting words out into the world. And I have a goal to be prolific. I want to give my space to put out things that aren't fully thought out. At the same time, while creating a habit of creating, I do want to take time to craft bigger pieces of content. I don't want to squeeze myself into dumping poorly thought out pieces which claim to tackle or explain bigger ideas.

The Daily iOS by Jordan

Today I’m happy to announce a little side project I’ve been kicking around for a few weeks:
It tweets one code sample and one technical article daily from Apple’s documentation and comes complete with a link, generated image describing the code or article and alt text.

This feels like a great idea which can be replicated across other types of projects. The daily android. The daily react. The daily JS. And on and on.

Matt Ruby writes on his parents staying married while being political polar opposites

I need to think more deeply on this. In this post, Matt shares the story of his parents and their political beliefs

My father was a Reagan-loving, “tough on crime” prosecutor while my mother was a bohemian hippie poet who put an “All You Need Is Love” bumper sticker on the family car. Despite this baking soda and vinegar combination, their marriage survived for 40+ years until death did them part.

Matt presents this as a possible lesson to today's hyper partisan world where people tend to break friendships over political beliefs. Some parts of this article strike me as going in the right direction, but at first glance it feels like this article fails to address actual issues; it just whooshes over more fundamental issues of politics today.

The element that I find myself most vigorously nodding my head over was this bit

Most importantly, they knew each other. These weren’t anonymous strangers; they’d been connected for decades. They didn’t trade barbs in a comment thread; they had conversations around a kitchen table. Even if there was disagreement, there was empathy. She knew he saw all kinds of heinous crimes at his job and how that shaped his worldview. And he respected her lifelong path as a seeker and her love of language

I really do believe that this extends to other relationships in the modern world. Although I keep an eye on what's happening in online bubbles, I tend to stay away from commentary these days. When it comes to debates, I prefer to actually engage with people I know, in person, challenging their views on transgender people, climate change and minority oppression[1]. I think that people have really lost that. It's much easier to throw 280 character snarks on Twitter and feel like you've "owned" someone. The problem is, I can say from personal experience, the dynamics of these conversations doesn't result in anyone changing their stance. Hell, that doesn't even seem to be the goal; the goal is winning.

That said, I think that the underlying issue of polarization is missed here. At the end of the day, we've come to realise how much politics influences the ability of people to live with dignity.

Women, people of minority origins, people from the LGBT community, the poor and more are consistently denied their right to live thanks to politics. That makes this part feel rather privileged.

Crucially, how they voted wasn’t their identity. Now, political views often represent the totality of a person. And that sucks because politics is boring. If your personality is based on how you vote (or whom you oppose), you’re most likely a numbing human being to talk to.

Politics is boring only when you aren't part of the group that's disenfranchised by it. When politics stops becoming about economic and foreign policy and instead starts getting to decide who gets dignity, you can't be surprised that it eventually turns into a standoff. When a person actively works to increase climate change denial they are condemning other people to death. I find it hard to truly respect that person. When someone's politics say that two people don't get to love each other because it isn't "man and woman", I find it hard to accept that person fully. When a person justifies majority ethnicity vilifying a minority ethnicity it's very difficult to feel comfortable around them. When politics becomes about getting to decide if a gender

And that's because politics isn't boring at that point. It's something to fight for.

I need to think on this more though. I don't think we'll solve the problem by all being angry at each other. But the question isn't how to live with someone else's opposing political view. It's how do we depoliticize the things that should never have had sides in the first place.

I think a recommended watch to balance this is this talk: Computing, Climate Change, and All our Relationships by Nabil Hassein. This has a more burn down the system approach and it shows just how much "boring" politics are inescapable for the people oppressed by it.

  1. Worth noting that where I'm from, many people are still unwilling to accept homosexuality. Attempting to help people to understand the "they" pronoun as normal is a tough but worthy task. ↩︎

Posted on March 19 2021 by Adnan Issadeen