Installing 1Password on FreeBSD

Why I use 1Password on all my machines to synchronize appropriate credentials between them. I have many VMs and utilities like the ssh-agent make managing ssh credentials easier and safer than leaving unencrypted private keys laying around the filesystem. I've used 1Password since it came out, and now use it at work. 1Password has first-class Linux support and has for a while. However, recently I've tried to use Linux as little as possible for boring and predictable reasons. Installing 1Password on FreeBSD full article

Brutal Systems

I wrote this a year ago. Rereading it today made me realize that I still think this is a useful way of reasoning about people, one that doesn’t characterize them as evil. That helps me. I hope it helps you. When humans come together to work together in collaborative systems, there comes a time when values have to be encoded into those systems. This usually comes down to a retreat to commitment if the process has no battle over power, or system for choosing who decides. Brutal Systems full article

Books in Brief: How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens

I wish I had read this as an undergraduate. It breaks apart why the method of note-taking seen in schools is terrible and only reinforces the departmentalized structure that philosophy of education seeks to recapitulate into its students. Basically: take literature notes while reading, translating what you read into your own words. Then take permanent notes on those notes, abstracting out those ideas from their context in the work while trying to connect one atomic idea with another. Books in Brief: How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens full article

Books in Brief: A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

I love this book. The trilogy chronicles the adventures of the author walking from England to Istanbul starting in 1934. This represents his travels up to Hungary. It’s a time capsule of a Europe trying to understand the consequences of the Great War and weary of the rumblings in Germany. There’s not really a narrative, which is kind of the point. It’s more of a suite of adolescent impressions of humanity as filtered through the author looking back at them, someone who has been through the worst humanity has to offer, but only after the events described. Books in Brief: A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor full article

Winamp Skin Museum

I had a madeleine moment last night. The Winamp Skin Museum is a window into a time when you thought of your computer’s interface as an extension of yourself. The affordances many people sought from computers were few: play music, surf the net, manage email, contacts, a calendar, word processing, and spreadsheets. Especially during the reign of Microsoft, the tools with which you could accomplish these things were well-realized and ubiquitous. Winamp Skin Museum full article

Unnecessary Architecture

Had a little epiphany when I went down some stairs in Morrowind. There were two doors next to one another in a room. Both led to the floor below. But they were completely separate, and mirrors of one another. I couldn’t believe it. I had to check three times to make sure I was understanding the topology. I think it’s because that kind of true redundancy almost does not exist, or would never exist so close to one another that a user of a building would have to make an immediate and seemingly arbitrary decision such as which path to take. Unnecessary Architecture full article

Within Our Planetary Means

There’s a bit in Phil Christman’s latest newsletter where he talks about how rising global temperatures mean we will have to in some way come to terms with the fact that in order to live as a species, we will have to live “within our planetary means.” Perhaps the next bit of human history—who knows how long, a hundred years, a thousand years, many thousands—will be figuring out how to live under those constraints. Within Our Planetary Means full article

Doing Philosophy

Doing Philosophy full article

Books in Brief: Ducks, Newburyport

I finished Ducks, Newburyport. I started in September 2019 and finished today, four months later. It’s a singular, unique, and amazing work that shows a whole human being in the right now. Thinking Through the Clutter, a book review by Levi Stahl I’ve never read anything like it. A lot of the time when I began reading it on a given day, I would get overwhelmed in the way the narrator felt overwhelmed, which is why I think it took me four months to read. Books in Brief: Ducks, Newburyport full article

Arvo Pärt – And Then Came the Evening and the Morning

Arvo Pärt This is my favorite film I’ve seen all year. It’s a documentary about Arvo Pärt, the most performed living composer, made in 1990. He has created all kinds of different types of music, but for me he’s most closely associated with the holy minimalist movement, which, if I’m being honest, is my favorite kind of sound, the kind that relaxes my soul, then sends it soaring. The film starts off as though it’s an abstract and artsy music documentary, but it goes to a different and magical place. Arvo Pärt – And Then Came the Evening and the Morning full article

The Scope of the Night

Night time is for narrowing my scope. It’s for closing the horizon, for donning blinders, for setting the limits of my suite of concerns to fit between the walls of my bedroom. That is the only danger the phone poses; it can punch holes through space-time. It’s no different from a wandering thought that nags and scrapes at a sleeping mind. But focus on breath. Focus on the body. It’s here, so you’re here. The Scope of the Night full article

Fiction in the Morning

Something in me has become somewhat cattywampus because I cannot decide between writing or reading in the morning, and am starting to prefer to read, over nonfiction—usually depressing or at least soberly descriptive of the world and currently Surveillance Capitalism—the fiction I usually read before bed, currently Within a Budding Grove. Reading the fiction over the nonfiction starts the day with a dreamy context. I think it goes back to what I wrote above, where what I’m interested in is the removal from time. Fiction in the Morning full article

“We’re the ones you cannot touch because we are too near.”

Preface to James Baldwin’s Unwritten Suicide Note Content warning for suicide. This article is powerful. (Photograph by Allen Warren.) “We’re the ones you cannot touch because we are too near.” full article

Busy Twitter Day

I made a tweet that made its way into a Twitter Moment. This actually went okay, because I muted the thread after 10 retweets. I think people mostly understood what it was saying, even if it was borrowed from Tumblr. Busy Twitter Day full article

MACK Photography Books

This publisher does something I haven’t seen before: they show most of the book. You can read it. You can look at most of the pictures. The value of a book of photography comes from the physicality, the quality of the print, the presence of the artifact in the hand. Flipping through blurry non-retina images is not the same. But it does let potential buyers shop as they would in a bookstore. MACK Photography Books full article

Werner Bonefeld: On Class and the State of Money and Law

This lecture goes into the early philosophy of neoliberalism and how it was used to shape European fiscal policy. I normally don’t like these lectures where the speaker reads something almost prepared word for word, but in this case it works pretty well. (Also, it’s kind of weird that Werner Bonefeld doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry.) Werner Bonefeld: On Class and the State of Money and Law full article

Default Filename TV

Default Filename TV showcases YouTube videos with default filenames. They really do share a certain vibe. Default filenames are a kind of shibboleth for digital honesty. As the author pointed out, this has the added benefit of jamming your YouTube recommendations. Default Filename TV full article

“It is certainly a bumptious one”

Whittaker Chambers 1957 Review of Ayn Rand This is good. While of the evaluative phrases are sexist (e.g, “shrill”), this review cuts to the quick of her project. Thanks to Phil Christman for sharing it. As a teenager I read a lot of Ayn Rand’s work. I agree with The Relentless Picnic’s diagnosis that she appeals, like Strauss’ neoconservatism, to the kind of person: “You feel inferior, told you should be equal, but your emotional response says ‘I’m superior. “It is certainly a bumptious one” full article

Books in Brief: The Nocilla Trilogy

Get the books. The Nocilla trilogy is strange. It feels familiar in the way the internet does. The first two books are told in a similar style: they present about a page of text in the third person about a person struggling with their relationship to something or someone—typically something, manifested through their relationship with someone. I can’t claim to understand them in any overarching or systematic way. They seem like they present a vision of our relationship to allegory and metaphor while playing in a space that feels similar to 2666, in the sense that if we can’t have a coherent narrative or present a singular story we all rally behind we can still have something. Books in Brief: The Nocilla Trilogy full article

Books in Brief: Kafka on the Shore

Get the book. “Magical Realism” is a frustrating category to slot something into, because it’s never clear what that means in the context of the book. Does that mean that our grip on inductive inference and causality slips a little bit and has some slack to flap around in the wind? Or does it mean that descriptions of things are to be taken more as metaphor and less as objective truth? Books in Brief: Kafka on the Shore full article

“To My Fellow White Others”

“To My Fellow White Others” by Chase Strangio This is required reading. This will be in history books. “To My Fellow White Others” full article

A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

This is another entry in what I’ve come to think of as “Craig Mod books,” reflections on walking and what that activity does to thought through the body. I initially read Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust on his recommendation from that essay and loved it. It treated walking as something with a history, with many purposes in time and in different cultures, and treated those purposes with respect and a genuine criticality that reflected the impossibility of covering as broad a concept as “walking” in a book only a couple hundred pages long.

A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros full article

Cloudy Logic

To pass the social system off as an objective artifact determined by (quasi-) scientific processes, forecasting has to scapegoat “irresponsible” individuals for failing to live up to the terms of the forecast. Adorno writes that “the constant appeal of the column to find fault with oneself rather than with given conditions” is evidence of “the implicit but ubiquitous rule that one has to adjust oneself continuously to commands of the stars at a given time. Cloudy Logic full article

This Cup is Broken

I dropped my father’s cup today. My dad died when I was eight. I would get up before him, make a breakfast of bagels or toast and chocolate milk, and watch cartoons. He would come downstairs and go for a run, come back, shower and make coffee. He’d drink it out of one of a few mugs, all of a similar size, and most of which I still have. He had good taste in art, and his mugs were handmade and hand-painted by local potters. This Cup is Broken full article

An Honest Productivity Hack

The world is full of nonsense, but here’s a slice of sanity including something you can buy. I’m writing this note to myself because I used it to finish proof-reading my dissertation, a task I find nigh impossible. Write down all of the things you have to do that aren’t written down in a systematic way. Write them on a piece of paper. Or write them on index cards. Write until your brain feels empty. An Honest Productivity Hack full article

Growth for the Sake of Growth

In a quiet moment in Seattle, Robert Levine, a social psychologist from California, quoted the environmentalist Edward Abbey: “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” From Why Time Management is Ruining Our Lives. Growth for the Sake of Growth full article

Books in Brief: On the Abolition of All Political Parties

Simone Weil’s On the Abolition of All Political Parties talks about how people are pulled either into the light of truth through a sense of unbiased reason, or away into the darkness through the bouts and vicissitudes of passionate desire. But each person’s pull away from the light is in a different direct, and each person’s pull towards it is in the same direction. This is a basic assumption of the goodness of democracy. Books in Brief: On the Abolition of All Political Parties full article

Books in Brief: Authority

I started reading Authority by Nathan Barry. It’s one of those cheap e-books that’s motivational. But it does get at a point I’ve sucked at: I should teach what I know, and teach what I learn. I’m starting to feel selfish keeping knowledge to myself, as though I’m hoarding it, or when I learn something and don’t share it, or specifically when I don’t reinterpret it through my own lens, that’s when I’m most vulnerable to a kind of guild the educated privileged feel when they encounter someone who doesn’t know that what they do even is something one could do, let alone the specifics of what it is that you do. Books in Brief: Authority full article

Writing 250,000 Words

I’ve written over 250,000 words since the middle of 2016 when I started journaling every morning. That doesn’t include the six months I spent writing 150 A5 pages in a physical journal, which I gave up because I wasn’t writing as much, nor accessing the kinds of truths and insights that come from writing near the speed of thought, bucking self-censorship or rewriting in my head, and charging forward to the next thought or feeling and giving it shape and constraint in language. Writing 250,000 Words full article

Is Everyone Lying?

One of the things about that book, Authority, is that makes the case, to me at least, that people are basically lying, or if not lying, misrepresenting themselves as experts, as people worthy of attention. But I’m coming to realize that that’s okay; it’s nearly impossible to fight against anyhow. Not everyone who shares something has to be an expert in their field. Not everyone who writes a tutorial for something has to do it as a retrospective; it’s much easier to write a tutorial while working on the very thing the tutorial is about as a kind of more formalized note-taking that’s just shared with a bit of narrative framing. Is Everyone Lying? full article

The Duplicitous Hamburger

The hamburger menu seems ubiquitous. I think it’s symptomatic of a kind of thinking that we need to exercise from design. It gets used by designers to disempower users, and confusing or frustrating people is not the same thing as increasing engagement. Intentionally confusing those two things in a client’s mind in order to misrepresent them is violent. Developers and companies typically want to increase engagement with whatever they make. It means people have either their application, their brand, or ideas the designing organization wants to perpetuate in the front of their mind, paying them in attention. The Duplicitous Hamburger full article

An oracle of sentence gradients

This is an oracle. Give it two sentences and it will fill the space between them with a sentence gradient, a set of sentences that span the distance in between the two given ones. But along what dimension? Voyages in sentence space. An oracle of sentence gradients full article

R: Set Font Based on Output Device

Ever had a troublesome font in R that doesn’t want to render to ggplot in RStudio, but will render just fine in knitr? Do you use extrafont but sometimes it just doesn’t work? Trying to look like Tufte’s Visual Display of Quantitative Information but ETBembo is being uncooperative? Try setting your font (globally) to this. This sets myfont to serif if the code is being rendered in anything but knitr. If it is being rendered by knitr, say, by pressing the “Knit” button in RStudio, then it sets it to ETBembo. R: Set Font Based on Output Device full article

Warren Ellis on How to See the Future

Let me try this on you: The Olympus Mons mountain on Mars is so tall and yet so gently sloped that, were you suited and supplied correctly, ascending it would allow you to walk most of the way to space. Mars has a big, puffy atmosphere, taller than ours, but there’s barely anything to it at that level. 30 Pascals of pressure, which is what we get in an industrial vacuum furnace here on Earth. Warren Ellis on How to See the Future full article

A Very Important Thing to Remember About Writing

A Very Important Thing to Remember About Writing full article

Minimalist Stuff Mantra

When I find myself wanting something, or holding something, or wanting to get rid of something, this helps. Do I love it? Do I use it? Does it work? If I were to buy the item right now how much would I pay for it? If I sold it now how much would I get for it? (Source. Not sure where that came from, though.) Minimalist Stuff Mantra full article

Books in Brief: The Oresteian Trilogy

Get the book. The Oresteian Trilogy is the foundation of tragedy. You need to read it just like you need to read The Odyssey. This was my first time through even though I was familiar with the tropes and scenes through references from other works. The plays are a lot of things, but at its root it’s a metaphor for the ascension of society’s motivation for good from fear of reprisal as embodied in the Furies, to duty (and fear of its retribution) as embodied by Apollo, to a kind of holy rationality, as embodied by Athene and her counsel. Books in Brief: The Oresteian Trilogy full article

Books in Brief: The Lichtenberg Figures by Ben Lerner

Get the book. The stars will be adjusted for inflation so that the dead can continue living in the manner to which they’ve grown accustomed. – p. 18 Perhaps what remains of innovation is a conservatism at peace with contradiction. as the sky transgresses its frame but obeys the museum. – p. 22 Ben Lerner’s The Lichtenberg Figures is a bit of a tough book of poetry. It’s a sonnet sequence ostensibly about growing up in the midwest, but it’s frustrated, as many of us were in the early 2000s, with the way the world seemed to work. Books in Brief: The Lichtenberg Figures by Ben Lerner full article

Books in Brief: The Peregrine

Read The Peregrine. This book is unique; I have never read anything like it before. The way Baker uses english is beyond poetic. At first it seems like a put-on: is this book really a journal, without plot or direction, and full of this absurd writing? Slowly my requirement for structure fades in his descriptions of the English countryside, until I am with him under every tree, gazing through the same binoculars, sharing the same hill. Books in Brief: The Peregrine full article

Word Transformer Lite released!

For the past few months I’ve been working on designing and shepherding Word Transformer Lite and it’s finally on the App Store! I’ve been working with Theodore Swartz, the co-founder of The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, who wrote the initial design notes based on the works of Caleb Gattegno’s Words in Color curriculum and materials. This is the kind of work I really like. I designed and mocked up the screens and icon, reached out to BendyWorks, who built the app following our design with a wonderful back and forth through daily meetings in Slack and Google Hangouts, and finally submitted the whole package to the App Store. Word Transformer Lite released! full article

New open source project gaborgen-js

I’ve open-sourced my client-side Gabor patch generator, gaborgen-js. I made it because my online experiments expose participants to different distributions of features in stimuli like Gabor patches, and there are a lot of different values those stimuli can hold. Generating them beforehand and uploading and hosting those stimuli to a server can be annoying or restricted by participants’ limited bandwidth. I don’t use this anymore, though. I found that hosting static stimuli on S3 is more efficient for loading times and that 8-bit grayscale Gabor patches are very small in size. New open source project gaborgen-js full article

Make work with Pandoc and tufte.css

Here’s how to get to do all the Pandoc pre-processing for you when previewing documents. It also explains how to use tufte.css as a theme in Marked, which I find to be very pretty. This comes in really handy when you want to see what your document will look like, references and all. Things you’ll need: tufte.css ET-book Pandoc (or brew install pandoc if you have homebrew) First, install the ET-Book fonts locally. Make work with Pandoc and tufte.css full article

How to pay someone on MTurk when things go wrong

In my dissertation research I use Amazon Mechanical Turk to recruit participants for my experiments. Yesterday someone completed my experiment but Amazon would not let them complete the HIT, probably because they tried starting on one and switched to another (still not sure why). This meant that I had their data but couldn’t pay them. Amazon’s thought of this. They have a great guide about how to pay for non-submitted HITs. How to pay someone on MTurk when things go wrong full article

Books in Brief: I Love This Part

Get the book. Like most poems, describing this doesn’t exactly work. Just get it. It’s beautiful and captures very well something very important. This interview is a good place to go after you read the book. Read the book first. Tillie Walden’s other graphic novel, The End of Summer, is on its way to me now. She has another coming out in May. When I first heard about this book on tumblr it was out of stock on Amazon. Books in Brief: I Love This Part full article

Books in Brief: If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

Get the book. Lucy Worsley wrote If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home after doing a television program on the history of what it was like to live in the past in Britain. She’s the chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the caretaker of many castles and relics of noblesse gone by. She covers the history of bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, and the kitchen, starting from the 11th century and ending in the now. Books in Brief: If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home full article

My first open-source project

Yesterday I wrote and published my first open source software, the awfully named jspsi-go-example. It is an experiment module for PsiTurk. PsiTurk makes it easy to run psychology experiments on the web using Amazon Mechanical Turk, where over half a million people do little tasks for a spot of coin. Because I don’t live where my university is, and because my project has a limited budget (as far as payout funding goes for projects with this much programming and set up) I plan on using MTurk this module as the basis of my dissertation experiment. My first open-source project full article

The Light Of The Classroom

I miss the cleanliness of college campuses, especially classrooms. In every classroom in every campus there is a kind of cleanliness that helps learning along its way. It’s like a mental lubrication. At IU this was very prominent, even in old builds where everything in a classroom could be made of wood, that wood was lacquered, and thickly, to be as plastic when cleaned and sprayed with whatever bleach-based thing they coated and wiped off every known surface. The Light Of The Classroom full article

On writing every day, and how spitting out crap first thing in the morning is useful

You wake up and you brush your teeth. You spit and rinse. Why don’t you do the same thing for your mind? Almost everyone I’ve talked to who makes a living by writing (which consists mostly of scientists) cannot praise enough my habit of writing every morning. I try to spit out 500 words in the morning before I go about my other work, no matter what is pressing. It’s a useful time to write for something, or to write about something, or to simply outline in sentence format, or just let ideas slip out. On writing every day, and how spitting out crap first thing in the morning is useful full article

Write down your own thoughts, don’t save others’

Saving a list promotes forgetting it. BPS Research Digest has a nice summary of a paper where merely the act of saving a list in a text editor lowers students’ abillity to recall its contents when tested later. Further details back up this interpretation. When the computer saving process was made unreliable – files kept getting lost – the saving process no longer boosted the students’ performance on the second list. Write down your own thoughts, don’t save others’ full article

You did good, Banditapple

This was a fine pocket notebook from Banditapple that I got as part of their trial program. It’s a little big, even for my massive 6’4″ self, but it held up in the front right pocket of my 501s for half a year. The paper felt great on my TWSBI 580EF and Kaweco Sport F. Very little ghosting, if any. The stitched binding held together great. I don’t think I’ll be ordering another one. You did good, Banditapple full article

How to disable f.lux for specific apps by hand

I use f.lux. But I don’t like the way games look with it on, especially when I’m trying a new one. I wanted to play Gravity Ghost, but I couldn’t minimize it, nor could I use a second screen to use f.lux’s “disable” option from the menubar. So I did it by hand. Located here. Add a line for the desired application. I found the f.lux plist file and added a line with disable- then the reverse URL name of the app I wanted to disable f. How to disable f.lux for specific apps by hand full article

Why we should give free money to everyone

I support the idea of a basic income for all people. This article argues for that. Legend has it that while Henry Ford II was giving a tour around a new, fully automatic factory to union leader Walter Reuther in the 1960s, Ford joked: ‘Walter, how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues?’ Reuther is said to have replied: ‘Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars? Why we should give free money to everyone full article

We don’t make books like we used to

What would these works cost if we made them like we used to? What would that buy us? We don’t make books like we used to full article

Cozy Browsing

One of the best parts of the Internet is how you can return to your past by changing your browsing habits. I just went on a reddit-fueled bender of fountain pens and notebooks and found some sites I’ve never seen, but the experience transported me back a few years to the waning days of the legitimate productivity blogs, when everyone was thinking about going analog again. It was a cozy few hours. Cozy Browsing full article

The harder we work, the more guilt we feel when relaxing

BPS Research Digest: The key finding is that the more depleted people felt after work (agreeing with statements like “I felt like my willpower was gone”), the more they tended to view their TV or gaming as procrastination, the more guilt they felt, and the less likely they were to say they felt restored afterwards. The same findings applied for TV or video games. A sad and vicious cycle. The harder we work, the more guilt we feel when relaxing full article

Quantum Cognition

In contrast to a two-valued (yes/no) logic of classical binary alternatives, where the complement of a proposition is identical with its negation, the complement of a quantum proposition typically deviates from its negation. A nice colloquial example is due to William James (1890b, p. 284): “The true opposites of belief… are doubt and inquiry, not disbelief.” In the Boolean sense, the complement and negation of belief is disbelief; in the quantum non-Boolean sense, doubt and inquiry are complements but not negations of belief. Quantum Cognition full article

Tomer Ullman: The Crying Game

He is, of course, joking. But it could work, right? My cats sound like babies, and they make me want to kill. (h/t The Baby Laughter Project) Sidenote: He’s this funny when he’s giving a “serious” talk, too. I saw him at CDS 2013. Tomer Ullman: The Crying Game full article

I Want a Programming Language

Here’s a list of things I want from a programming language. I know very little about this field. I program as an academic. I want to generate stimuli, design experiments, and write little helpers all in the same language with the same concepts. And I want to share those things. I want a programming language that lets me I can distribute executables after I compile my program. I want a programming language with a development environment that allows documentation to be seen locally, and alongside the program itself. I Want a Programming Language full article

New faculty positions versus new PhDs

This figure haunts me. New faculty positions versus new PhDs full article

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