Eat [and Drink] Less Plastic

Drink water from your tap. Drinking water is one of the biggest contributors to microplastic ingestion, but bottled water has about double the microplastic level of tap water, according to Mason, making it a poor choice for those who want to consume less plastic. Some bottled waters have also been found to have high levels of PFAS chemicals. Mason says that unless you know your tap water is unsafe, you should opt for that over anything in a plastic bottle.”

-Kevin Lorea, “How to Eat Less Plastic.” Consumer Reports. August 13, 2019.
  • Drink water from your tap.
  • Don’t heat food in plastic.
  • Avoid plastic food containers.
  • Eat more fresh food.
  • Minimize household dust.
  • Reducing plastic pollution is going to require government intervention.

Open question: Does microplastic pollution and its effects on hormones and reducing fertility an existentional threat to the human species?

Charisma

“The truth is that charisma is a learned behavior, a skill to be developed in much the same way that we learned to walk or practice vocabulary when studying a new language.”

-Bryan Clark, “What Makes People Charismatic, and How You Can Be, TooThe New York Times. August 15, 2019.

Argues that charisma is presence, power and warmth. When we focus on other people, they tend to notice our attention and the fact that we find them worth noticing. People like to be noticed, and they tend to like people that notice them.

Power seems to be used in the sense of confidence. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. But, most people don’t have too much confidence. They have too little. As a result, the end up doing a lot of complaining: about their lack of agency, about the unsatisfactory things in their lives, etc. No one wants to hear about other people’s problems. Everyone has plenty of their own.

Warmth. In a cold, cruel world, be someone else’s sunshine. Be everyone’s sunshine, if you can. Some people seem like they are born that way. Even if you weren’t, who doesn’t appreciate the effort?

Suggestions for improving your charisma? Learn to tell stories. Our stories make us relatable and telling them to others requires focus, confidence and the vulnerability of sharing ourselves with others, which if it isn’t warmth, it’s in the neighborhood.

How a “Political Astroturfing” App Coordinates Pro-Israel Influence Operations

“…a pro-Israel smartphone app that seeds and amplifies pro-Israel messages
across social media — saw its first major test in May 2019. It offered a glimpse of the novel methods by which future influence campaigns will
be conducted and information wars won…[the app] assigns users a series of ‘missions’ — typically a comment, retweet, or ‘like’ — intended to boost pro-Israel content across multiple platforms. Through these missions, Act.IL claims to have
reached millions of people.”

—Emerson T. Brooking of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, “How a ‘Political Astroturfing’ App Coordinates Pro-Israel Influence Operations.” Medium.com. August 19, 2019.

Also:

“One of the most unique aspects in our activity is our “no-logo”
strategy. The no-logo strategy allows anyone to use our content, [sic]
and makes it easier than ever to reach audiences that aren’t necessarily pro Israel since they look at the content without a bias that is based on who created the content.”

—Act.IL internal documentation quoted in ibid.

Astroturf, pretending to be or hiding behind a third party to obscure identities and sources of information isn’t unique, it’s what defines Astroturf. It’s manipulative, jackass behavior that works only when it isn’t found out. When it is discovered, it reflects poorly both on its origin and the interests they are attempting to promote. Choosing this approach says a lot about someone’s character.

Fans Are Better Than Tech at Organizing Information Online | WIRED

“On [Archive of Our Own, a.k.a.] AO3, users can put in whatever tags they want. (Autocomplete is there to help, but they don’t have to use it.) Then behind the scenes, human volunteers look up any new tags that no one else has used before and match them with any applicable existing tags, a process known as tag wrangling.”

—Samantha Puc, “Fans Are Better Than Tech at Organizing Information Online.” Wired. June 11, 2019.

There’s been lots of discussion of the significance of AO3’s Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

Modest proposal? Use this process on new terms entered in the search box of a library’s online catalog to surface subject headings for users. It’s a logical extension of the catalogers work.

The Fashion Line Designed to Trick Surveillance Cameras | The Guardian

“But to an automatic license plate reader (ALPR) system, the shirt is a collection of license plates, and they will get added to the license plate reader’s database just like any others it sees. The intention is to make deploying that sort of surveillance less effective, more expensive, and harder to use without human oversight, in order to slow down the transition to what Rose calls ‘visual personally identifying data collection’.

‘It’s a highly invasive mass surveillance system that invades every part of our lives, collecting thousands of plates a minute. But if it’s able to be fooled by fabric, then maybe we shouldn’t have a system that hangs
things of great importance on it,’ she said.”

—Alex Hern, “The fashion line designed to trick surveillance cameras.” The Guardian. August 14, 2019.

Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music

“This guide is rated [M] Mature. It is a love letter to underground counter-culture. 90% of the music here is enjoyed by freaks wearing crazy outfits, consuming copious amounts of drugs, and engaging in 3-day sex benders with indeterminate genders. It is not for children. I am not going to sanitize things just so your precious little Jeighden can locate the latest tweenwave ringtone they ripped off Twitch…

Q: What literature did you read to learn all this stuff?

A: I have 30 years of back issues of Electronic Music and Keyboard magazine, with an ungodly number of books also collected over the decades…As for modern literature, a better answer is what I don’t read: For starters, any magazine, blog, website, newsletter, flyer, TV show, podcast, record label, chart, press release or bathroom graffiti that uses the acronym ‘EDM’ is complete donkey balls and should not be relied on as a source for anything…

Q: What makes you the authority on electronic music?

A: You may know some of it more than me, but I know all of it more than you.”

http://music.ishkur.com/#

This guide is not complete donkey balls. Even if you have zero interest in electronic music, the frequently unasked questions page, some of which is quoted above, is hilarious.

h/t Openculture.