Cranberry Chutney

My wife’s cranberry chutney recipe that she makes for Thanksgiving. I’ll add a picture after she makes it.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of fresh cranberries, picked over and washed
  • 2 cups of sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 large navel orange
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

Preparation

  1. Combine cranberries, sugar, water in a medium saucepan and turn the heat to medium-low.
  2. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are broken. Roughly 20-30 minutes.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the entire zest (of skin) of the orange.
  4. Cut the orange zest into small pieces and set aside.
  5. Remove the white pith from the outside of the orange.
  6. Separate the orange into sections.
  7. Remove pithy parts from the inside of the orange.
  8. Combine the orange sections, zest and grated ginger in a blender or food processor.
  9. Blend on medium-high for about 1-2 minutes.
  10. Combine the blended mixture from food processor into saucepan with cranberries.
  11. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 15-20 minutes.
  12. Transfer cranberries to a bowl, cool, then chill until ready to serve.

Peaceful Practices: A Guide To Healthy Communication In Conflict

“‘It takes practice and intention to communicate well in the midst of conflict,’ says Jes Stoltzfus Buller, MCC U.S. peace education coordinator and author of the curriculum. ‘If we can learn to embody healthy dialogue habitually in interpersonal interaction, it will ripple out and affect our communities and society.'”

-“Peaceful Practices: A guide to healthy communication in conflict.” Mennonite Central Committee.

The guide comprised of nine sessions is available for download. I think the key idea is that we should try to understand where the other person is coming from, be curious and actually listen to what they have to say. It’s amazing how feeling like you are being heard can change the conversation for everyone.

  • Session 1: Making peace a practice 
  • Session 2: Curiosity—Be curious, inviting diversity of ideas and opinions 
  • Session 3: Discovery—Focus on what matters 
  • Session 4: Engagement—Invite the best in yourself and others 
  • Session 5: Dialogue—Listen together for insights and deeper questions 
  • Session 6: Empathy—Seek to understand rather than persuade 
  • Session 7: Authenticity—Speak from the heart 
  • Session 8: Dignity—Consider power dynamics 
  • Session 9: Transformation—Welcome creativity 

Perhaps the holiday season is an opportunity to learn this kind of communication and practice it.

Documentation As Empathy

…Writing documentation is an exercise in empathy. We’re not describing an objective reality – the source code already does that. Our job is to help shape the relationship between users and the Vue ecosystem. This ever-evolving guide provides some rules and recommendations on how to do that consistently within the Vue ecosystem.

Principles

  • A feature doesn’t exist until it’s well documented.
  • Respect users’ cognitive capacity (i.e. brain power). When a user starts reading, they begin with a certain amount of limited brain power and when they run out, they stop learning.
    • Cognitive capacity is depleted faster by complex sentences, having to learn more than one concept at a time, and abstract examples that don’t directly relate to a user’s work.
    • Cognitive capacity is depleted more slowly when we help them feel consistently smart, powerful, and curious. Breaking things down into digestible pieces and minding the flow of the document can help keep them in this state.
  • Always try to see from the user’s perspective. When we understand something thoroughly, it becomes obvious to us. This is called the curse of knowledge. In order to write good documentation, try to remember what you first needed to know when learning this concept. What jargon did you need to learn? What did you misunderstand? What took a long time to really grasp? Good documentation meets users where they are. It can be helpful to practice explaining the concept to people in person before.
  • Describe the problem first, then the solution. Before showing how a feature works, it’s important to explain why it exists. Otherwise, users won’t have the context to know if this information is important to them (is it a problem they experience?) or what prior knowledge/experience to connect it to.
  • While writing, don’t be afraid to ask questionsespecially if you’re afraid they might be “dumb”. Being vulnerable is hard, but it’s the only way for us to more fully understand what we need to explain.
  • Be involved in feature discussions. The best APIs come from documentation-driven development, where we build features that are easy to explain, rather than trying to figure out how to explain them later. Asking questions (especially “dumb” questions) earlier often helps reveal confusions, inconsistencies, and problematic behavior before a breaking change would be required to fix them.
-Evan You, et al. “Vue Docs Writing Guide.” github.com. Accessed: November 16, 2022.

I have been thinking a lot about this writing guide over the last few days. It takes a lot of caring to produce good documentation, particularly as you learn something so that you can overcome the curse of knowledge. I think much of this can be applied to writing more generally.

Messengers

It seems to me that some messaging app that has the functionality of WeChat is where a lot of this web3 and cryptocurrency is going. The functionality of WeChat is described by Wikipedia as: messaging, public accounts (for famous people or people with an audience), channels for friend groups, digital payments, video, etc.

Right now, messaging is dominated by Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and Discord. I suppose Apple’s Messages is another, but I don’t know the Apple ecosystem.

The main piece will be the incorporation of digital payments. The above aren’t really positioned to deliver on digital payments, and they also have privacy problems.

  1. Signal: good option, people object that it requires ID verification through phone number registration. But, it already has digital payments incorporated through a build-it MobileCoin wallet in the app.
  2. Keybase: It has an Stellar cryptocurrency wallet. It’s more like groupware designed to verify users social media accounts, but it is in this space.
  3. Element: open source with paid tier option, no ID required. Less commonly used than Signal. No digital payments
  4. Threema: one-time payment for a license to use. Bills itself as maximum security. New to me. I don’t think payments are available.

Creative Immiseration

“These tools represent the complete corporate capture of the imagination, that most private and unpredictable part of the human mind. Professional artists aren’t a cause for worry. They’ll likely soon lose interest in a tool that makes all the important decisions for them. The concern is for everyone else. When tinkerers and hobbyists, doodlers and scribblers—not to mention kids just starting to perceive and explore the world—have this kind of instant gratification at their disposal, their curiosity is hijacked and extracted. For all the surrealism of these tools’ outputs, there’s a banal uniformity to the results. When people’s imaginative energy is replaced by the drop-down menu “creativity” of big tech platforms, on a mass scale, we are facing a particularly dire form of immiseration.

By immiseration, I’m thinking of the late philosopher Bernard Stiegler’s coinage, “symbolic misery”—the disaffection produced by a life that has been packaged for, and sold to, us by commercial superpowers. When industrial technology is applied to aesthetics, “conditioning,” as Stiegler writes, “substitutes for experience.” That’s bad not just because of the dulling sameness of a world of infinite but meaningless variety (in shades of teal and orange). It’s bad because a person who lives in the malaise of symbolic misery is, like political philosopher Hannah Arendt’s lonely subject who has forgotten how to think, incapable of forming an inner life. Loneliness, Arendt writes, feels like “not belonging to the world at all, which is among the most radical and desperate experiences of man.” Art should be a bulwark against that loneliness, nourishing and cultivating our connections to each other and to ourselves—both for those who experience it and those who make it.”

-Annie Dorson, “AI is plundering the imagination and replacing it with a slot machine.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. October 27, 2022

Strikes me as another example of the two computing revolutions. One is to make things easy with a touch interface. The other requires having deep knowledge of a complicated topic, such as building machine learning models – not to mention having the resources to do so at the highest level.

The point I would make is that creativity by proxy is still creativity. You may not understand how the A.I. generates its content, but we still can have an aesthetic sense about what is good and what isn’t that the A.I. doesn’t provide.

Questions on Democracy & Ballots

  1. What’s the point of having a ballot with only one option and no write-in? Maybe offer abstain as the option?
  2. Why am I voting on judges and retaining judges?
  3. If you are going to make someone vote whether it is yes/no or no option, can we have a meta vote option where we select no for all judicial candidates and abstain in races where there is no choice?

These questions occurred to me while filling out my ballot today. Problem for No. 3 is the most likely meta option will be a straight-ticket option for partisans.