Kirk Israel's commonplace and blog. Quotes and links daily since 2001.
Reading memes about how parents don't understand you can't pause online games (but they should, because you can't pause cable TV either.)

That's kind of funny, because the Atari generation couldn't pause, but it's the Nintendo generation having kids.

(And maybe a later generation grew up with more Tivo than cable TV, where you could pause after all.)
Worthwhile episode of the podcast 99% Invisible: Policing the Open Road. Automobiles really changed how policing was done in the USA - they added a whole bunch of rules everybody had to obey (because roads are a shared resource, and cars have are hugely empowering for people but also dangerous) and the decision was made to add enforcement of these rules to what cops do, beyond classic crime fighting roles like dealing with theft and violence. (Enforcement of vice laws was another issue some thought were below what police should be dealing with.)

So this car-based stuff was the wedge for our 4th Amendment protections getting split open... during prohibition, it was decided that cars were so potentially empowering for "bad guys", they were no longer part of "person, houses, papers, and effects" that were protected and cops didn't need a warrant. And once that precedent was set, that the 4th Amendment wasn't an absolute protection and times change, somehow "Stop and Frisk" seemed ok too. (Funny but I don't recall too many "strict constructionists" bitching about that clear violation of the letter of the law/Constitution?)

The podcasts talks about ideas for trying to treat traffic enforcement more like an administrative task, for example they mention you don't give building inspectors guns just in case they run into some criminal activity over the course of their work. But attempts to de-police-ize traffic enforcement have sometimes failed.

But it is weird. I'm in about the most privileged + protected demographic class the country has got (save for not being stinkin' rich, and having a car that's even shabbier than that) and my pulse goes crazy if I think I may have caught the attention of a police cruiser.

Gotta be a better way.
I was impressed that my half asleep dream brain was thinking about rendering 4D shapes and what not, like maybe using a timer playback to see the 3D shadow of it change over time....
then it got stuck on the old jingle with Rosemary Clooney singing "Extra value is what you get, when you buy Coronet" and was like "ah, that's more like it"
Wow - this 120 year old photo of a cat (from a recently unearthed time capsule) has a strong energy - see the link for another one with a companion kitten...
One big takeaway from Ibram X. Kendi "How to Be an Antiracist" is the idea of segregationist vs assimilationist racism. Both are problematic. I'd say the latter has its heart in a slightly better place. It's sometimes the result of acknowledging the hierarchical judging people generally use to evaluate differences in groups, and so tries to blur everything into a big melting pot any race can participate in.

The book mentions the importance of black (and other group) spaces, enclaves where a given minority is empowered to make the decisions about it - and where a member of that group can be part of a local majority, the default, instead of always being "othered".

In December's Wired (catching up on a backlog) Jason Parham echoes that idea and talks about some important places on the early web that were that.

It's an idea I can get behind but man do I dread the dumbass "but doesn't that make THEM the racists, not letting fine white folk like me in because of the color of my skin?" arguments I'd likely have to get into rebutting. (And I do wonder, how gatekeeping for that kind of thing could/should work - but of course the whole point is that's not for people like me to decide.)

Parham talks about the Blackness of the current web:
Functionally, the web is still very black. Our identities are embedded in Black Twitter-fueled memes and reaction GIFs, from Kermit sipping tea to Real Housewives star NeNe Leakes' virtuoso shade-serving. Black culture is likewise a major artery of platforms like TikTok and our beloved Vine (RIP). Even the very modes of exposure find root in blackness: Black death and its digital-era companion, the police brutality video, became a terrifyingly mundane 21st-century spectacle, recorded, uploaded, and shared with perverse frequency. "Blackness gave virality its teeth. Turned it into trauma," the writer and academic Lauren Michele Jackson has said. In life and in death, black people are the bones and lungs of the web, its very body.
Of course it's interesting- and disturbing- to think of some the toxic whiteness at other parts of the web are fostering, the whole 4chan/QAnon/alt-right shit, which is so very talented at coopting shit.
Sort of on a gaming kick, like playing through this one really fun little game called "What The Golf?" - a bunch of physics puzzle-y microgames, pushing the boundaries of what qualifies as a golf game, lots of neat mechanics and smart little parodies of games like Portal and Superhot.

But mostly, games have become a less taxing way of spending parts of big 4 hour stretches of facetime on a semi-weekly basis with my 6 year old super niece Cora. The majority has been Zelda: Breath of the Wild, because it has detailed horses in and she digs those. We've also dabbled in Mario Odyssey, which has a lot of fun things I can show her.

I picked up Animal Crossing at her prompting (someday we might visit each other's islands, or something?) but man, that just isn't my kind of game. There's no sense of motion, and while I can sort of see the Sims-like build your space charm, I don't dig the tamagotchi chore slash roulette wheel reward aspect of it.

In general I'm up for suggestions for remote fun games. She has access to a Switch and her own iPad (definitely routing for the whole Phonics game thing) but she's pretty content playing witness and telling me what to do while watching.

(I'm half tempted to try Red Dead Redemption 2, and see if you can get to a place where you're just doing horse stuff... though the game itself would be a huge time sink, and I think the ratio of horse fun to cowboy violence might be a bit out of wack for a 6 year old.)

Getting back to the games... it's funny how Animal Crossing has some of the same weirdnesses of Zelda: like crafting, and how stuff wears out and breaks. I'm still knocked over with what a richly developed land Zelda creates in, so much detail it makes Animal Cross look really primitive, but of course it's a very different energy.

Once I finish What The Golf?, I'm trying to figure out if I want to slip into game sessions as a nice way of unwinding in quarantine freetime or if I should stick with coding projects, reading, and a bit of band stuff. I get bummed that I feel more distant from games in general...

Alligators don't even alligate.
just-shower-thoughts

Anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture.
Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts. We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.
Ira Byock, "The Best Care Possible: A Physician's Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life"
It's a cool thought but the podcast I heard it on pointed out that the attribution is suspicious - and also we need to be careful by what we mean by "civilization" - groups considered "wild" or "savages" by "the civilized" were certainly capable of this level of empathetic care and treatment.
Humans just can't fathom a billion dollars. Casually we mix 'billion' and 'million' in the same sentence, but they're apples and Death Stars. And until we get our arms around that, some fundamental stuff about the American economy will elude us.

by HappyToast on b3ta
'God is dead, God is dead' ...Perdition! When God dies, you'll know it.
Confessions of St. Argentine, via Greg Bear's Petra

He was short, stout, with huge hairy arms like the clamps of a vise. He had once killed a spouter with a single squeeze of his fist, and spouters are tough things, since they have no guts like you (I suppose) and I. The hair surrounding his bald pate was white, thick, and unruly, and his eyebrows leaned over his nose with marvelous flexibility. He rutted like a pig, ate hugely, and shat liquidly (I know all). A man for this time, if ever there was one.
"Petra" was my favorite story from Bruce Sterling's "Mirrorshades" anthology of cyberpunk... and the most idiosyncratic and least mirrorshades-y - projecting a future where faith is what underlies the fabric of reality, and where the Death of God isn't just a philosopher's pontification, but a universe-shaking event where only pockets of belief (like around a cathedral) keep things together.

(I think also of the old New Yorker lede "The death of God left the angels in a strange position")
I'd rather be a hypocrite than the same person forever.
Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz of the Beastie Boys, being called out on the anti-sexism message of "Song for the Man" vs the chauvinism of their early work.
That's a challenging statement for someone like me, who doesn't have much of an intuitive belief personal growth.

Watching "The Beastie Boys Story", Ad-Rock and Mike D on stage talking about the band's progression. You know, it's weird that I've liked their stuff for like 32 years and never noticed that two of them were named "Adam".
Unbelievable to be living through this? No, it's believable. I believe it, the way you wake up in the middle of the night on a trans-Atlantic flight and believe: I am 35,000 feet above sea level, moving at tremendous speed through freezing air.