Nick Cave’s Three Levels of Friendship

“There seems to me to be three levels of friendship.

First there is the friend who you go out and eat with, or get pissed with, who you go with to the cinema or a gig — you know, have a shared experience with.

The second kind of friend is one who you can ask a favour of, who will look after you in a jam, will lend you money, or drive you to the hospital in the middle of the night, someone who has your back — that kind of friend.

The third level of friendship is one where your friend brings out the best in you, who amplifies the righteous aspects of your nature, who loves you enough to be honest with you, who challenges you, and who makes you a better person.

None of these levels are mutually exclusive and sometimes you find someone who fulfils all of these categories. If you find a friend like that, hang on to him or her. They are rare.”

-Nick Cave, “Is it important to have friends?” TheRedHandFiles.com. November 2021.

Related: Levels of Friendship in Arabic, How To Make Friends as an Adult, A Keltner List for Relationships, and The Happiness of Others.

Two Kinds of People: Pirates and Farmers

“I am going to explain this to you very simply. All human creatures are divided into two groups. There are pirates, and there are farmers. Farmers build fences and control territory. Pirates tear down fences and cross borders. There are good pirates and bad pirates, good farmers and bad farmers, but there are only pirates and farmers.”

– Dave Kickey, “Pirates and Farmers.” London: Ridinghouse, 2013.

h/t Austin Kleon.

Zuihitsu: 2021-11

Collecting these little ideas has become a major focus. Here’s this month’s installment.

1. Give the conversational ball back.
2. Stories from yourself and trusted people are almost the only kind of evidence that’s real.
3. The secret of life is to do something you care about.
4. Listening means willing to be changed. 
5. Brevity is achieved by selection, not compression.
6. Potential isn’t real; it’s a projection.
7. Once we’re thrown off our habitual paths, we think all is lost, but it’s only here that the new and the good begins.—Leo Tolstoy
8. Efficiency is fundamentally opposed to democracy and self-determination.
9. To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.—G. K. Chesterton
10. All killer, no filler.
11. Centralization is quick, both feature and bug.
12. Behind every criticism is a wish.
13. Imagination can be sparked by a change in medium.
14. A basket of options is worth more than an option in a basket.
15. Culture cannot be separated from cult.
16. Good solutions still could have errors.
17. A new thought about what everyone sees is better than seeing something new.—Schopenhauer paraphrased
18. The sensible people are the first to leave.
19. Blaming people increases fear and decreases reporting of problems.—Six Sigma paraphrase
20. You either die a Guitar Hero or live long enough to become Fat Elvis.
21. Keep him nerdy, he won’t do you dirty.
22. Do it for love. Love is often only thing that can turn good enough into great.
23. Write five times more and divide the length by five.
24. Code, clubs and cults win arguments.
25. Before the elevator, the penthouse was for maids.
26. Don’t trust the map; trust the compass.
27. One man’s rancid garbage is another man’s Golden Corral buffet.
28. Remaking the world means you’re going to have to remake yourself.
29. Grind grit down to grease for the gears.
30. There are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
31. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.—Gandalf in the Fellowship.
32. Those who act without regard to the moral and physical limits implicit in the human condition do not become as the gods but rather descend into an inhuman, bestial state.
33. Where there is no room for reflection, there is none either for justice or prudence.
34. Possess power, and you’ll be possessed by it.
35. Big ideas need crazy people, and then outgrow them.
36. Writing heightens consciousness.
37. Love without fear, restraint or obligation.
38. Invent full-time.
39. Completely open minds become dumps.
40. When choice trumps values, everything is for sale.
41. If you fit in, you’re replaceable.
42. No one owes you friendship or love. A relationship can stop at any time. So, cherish it while it lasts.
43. Radical change in a person is often them getting tired of faking it.
44. The true test of goodness is how we treat those who are at our mercy.
45. What you think is the point is only the beginning of sharpness.
46. Explore/exploit is another way to think about fox/hedgehog.
47. The longer it takes, the more the worst aspects are magnified.
48. A deep life is a good life. Concentration and craft are related.
49. There’s no need to repeat the truth.
50. Spend more on things keeping you off the ground, e.g., shoes and beds.
51. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.—Gerald G. Jampolsky
52. All of us have things we can’t do alone.
53. Some things can only be known through experience.
54. Friends are hard to earn, harder still to keep.
55. Live true.
56. Too much love is never good.
57. Loneliness is a darkness of the soul.
58. The more you say no to things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do.
59. Maybe we can’t all change the world. Maybe it’s enough just to do good for the short time that we’re here.—Arcade Gannon
60. What is the value of illuminating the landscape from our darkened past?
61. A game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.—Bernard Suits
62. How much of our behavior is governed by things that are, effectively, a social game?
63. There is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing.—Prometheus quoting Lawrence or Arabia
64. Big things have small beginnings.
65. Never confuse who you are with what you do.
66. Master your inner dialogue.
67. Learn to live in the moment.
68. Find your real family, and clear out toxic people.
69. Crisis is opportunity; look for growth when it gets hard.
70. Be the sort of person who isn’t blandly likable and safe to know, but rather extracts a cost to be close to and then repays that cost with rare and complicated gifts of personality.

Why is Plaintext Better than HTML for Email?

“In short, HTML emails are a security nightmare, are mostly used for advertising to you and tracking you, are less accessible for many users, and don’t offer anything especially great for it.”

https://useplaintext.email/

He buried the lede. I went ahead and put it at the top. For more detail, read the below. Another in my ongoing series advocating for plain text: A Text Only World, OpenBSD & the Command Line, The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Sciences, The Plain Text Accounting Program, etc.

Why is plaintext better than HTML?

HTML emails are mainly used for marketing – that is, emails you probably don’t want to see in the first place. The few advantages they offer for end-users, such as links, inline images, and bold or italic text, aren’t worth the trade-off.

HTML as a vector for phishing

HTML emails allow you to make links which hide the URL behind some user-friendly text. However, this is an extremely common vector for phishing attacks, where a malicious sender makes a misleading link which takes you to a different website than you expect. Often these websites are modeled after the login page of a service you use, and will trick you into entering your account password. In plaintext emails, the URL is always visible, and you can more easily make an informed choice to click it.

Privacy invasion and tracking

Virtually all HTML emails sent by marketers include identifiers in links and inline images which are designed to extract information about you and send it back to the sender. Examine the URLs closely – the strange numbers and letters are unique to you and used to identify you. This information is used to hack your brain, attempting to find advertisements which are more likely to influence your buying habits. HTML emails are good for marketers and bad for you.

Mail client vulnerabilities

HTML is an extremely large and complicated set of specifications designed without emails in mind. It’s designed for browsing the world wide web, on which a huge variety of documents, applications, and more are available. Implementing even a reasonable subset of these standards represents hundreds of thousands of hours of work, or even millions. A large subset (perhaps the majority) of these features are not desirable for emails, and if included can be leveraged to leak information about you, your contacts, your calendar, other emails in your inbox, and so on. However, because of the herculean effort necessary to implement an HTML renderer, no one has built one specialized for emails which is guaranteed to be safe. Instead, general purpose web browsers, with many of their features disabled, are employed in most email clients. This is the number one source of vulnerabilities in email clients which result in information disclosure and even the execution of arbitrary malicious code.

This is a list of 421 remote code execution vulnerabilities in Thunderbird. If you’re bored, try finding one that doesn’t exploit web tech.

HTML emails are less accessible

Browsing the web is a big challenge for users who require a screenreader or other assistive tools to use their computer. The same problems apply to email, only more so – making an accessible HTML email is even more difficult than making an accessible website due to the limitations imposed on HTML emails by most mail clients (which they have no choice but to impose – for the security reasons stated above). Plain text emails are a breeze in comparison for screenreaders to recite, especially for users with specialized email clients designed for this purpose. How do you speak bold text aloud? How about your inline image?

Some clients can’t display HTML emails at all

Some email clients don’t support HTML emails at all. Many email clients are designed to run in text-only environments, like a terminal emulator, where they’re useful to people who spend a lot of time working in these environments. In a text-only interface it’s not possible to render an HTML email, and instead the reader will just see a mess of raw HTML text. A lot of people simply send HTML emails directly to spam for this reason.

Rich text isn’t that great, anyway

Rich text features desirable for end users include things like inline images, bold or italicized text, and so on. However, the tradeoff isn’t worth it. Images can simply be attached to your email, and you can employ things like *asterisks*, /slashes/, _underscores_, or UPPERCASE for emphasis. You can still communicate your point effectively without bringing along all of the bad things HTML emails come with.

-ibid

Zuihitsu: 2021-10

Collecting these little ideas has become a major focus. Here’s this month’s installment.

  1. Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.—Josephine Hart
  2. Life is a perpetual act of self-authorization.
  3. What cannot be summarized can only be experienced.
  4. Attempts to escape the physical world find it stubbornly persists.
  5. Instead of lightening our burdens, make them heavier. You might decide to put it down.
  6. Suffering is believing there is an escape.
  7. Ought implies can. Are you able?
  8. Get on with what counts most and let the other chips fall where they may.
  9. Lower the stakes.
  10. The best work is work we aren’t sure we can do.
  11. Writer’s block is a reluctance to write poorly.
  12. Hoist an unwanted confidence on someone today.
  13. A genius in the one most like himself.—Theolonious Monk
  14. Make a list of what you want to say. What comes first? What’s last?
  15. Write down what you see.
  16. Ask again.
  17. You can close your eyes, but you can’t close your ears.
  18. You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.—Carl Jung
  19. You cannot change people or organizations. They can only be made anew.
  20. Find balance between building capacity vs. getting things done.
  21. Don’t confuse motion with progress.
  22. Little is learned from comfort.
  23. Thinking about anything that is not happening in the moment comes with an emotional cost.
  24. The question is not what you look at, but what you see.—H.D. Thoreau
  25. Nostalgia is slow repetition.
  26. Never stay stationary. Repeat, vary, evolve.
  27. Society evolves one funeral at a time.
  28. Patience and commitment are the keys to perseverance.
  29. All advice is contextual, yet it is rarely delivered with any context.
  30. Everyone is scarred by past experience.
  31. Sharpening is a prelude, not a substitute, for cutting.
  32. Just because someone doesn’t share their opinions doesn’t mean they don’t have any.
  33. Everything that is important is explainable.
  34. Everyone wants you to tell them their $0.02.
  35. Data is computation in a trench coat.
  36. Opacity has its purposes.
  37. Artists are the antenna of civilization.—Ezra Pound
  38. New selves first emerge in simulacrum.
  39. Make things you want to see and put on your own shows.
  40. This world values children, not childhood—Bioshock Infinite, Burial at Sea
  41. There are only personal apocalypses. Nothing is a cliche when it’s happening to you.—Max Payne
  42. I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.—Joshua Graham, Fallout New Vegas
  43. The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.–G-Man, Half Life 2
  44. A man chooses, a slave obeys.
  45. Surviving is winning, Franklin, everything else is bullshit.— Michael from GTA V
  46. [H]uman beings define their reality through suffering and misery.—Agent Smith, The Matrix
  47. The point of travel is to experience things you haven’t.—Freddie deBoer
  48. Resist optimization culture.—Freddie deBoer
  49. Don’t cling to the nurse out of fear of something worse.
  50. Nothing is easier than to become subhuman.
  51. Love for the wrong person will destroy you.
  52. Do you want truth or comfort?
  53. Even tainted knowledge can point the discerning to truth.
  54. Not all families last.
  55. Even gods want mysteries.
  56. Risky odds are better than none.
  57. People that serve everyone can be trusted by no one.
  58. Pleasure is often used as a weapon.
  59. Meaning lies everywhere around us and within us.
  60. We live many lives, die many deaths. But in each of these lives and deaths all the others are present, and we can hear their echo.—paraphrased Roberto Calasso
  61. Always show up and keep showing up.
  62. Nothing is safe but what we put at risk.
  63. Report to the heavens the true features of the human story.
  64. Being early is the same as being wrong.
  65. The desire for consistency is a source for poor decision-making.
  66. Optimize for variance.
  67. Look for unrecognized value.
  68. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.—Oscar Wilde
  69. Put yourself in the path of discovery. Discover something new every day.
  70. Mental models tend to be grounded in experiences in a material world. 
  71. Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.—Frank Herbert, Dune
  72. Everything is more beautiful when you’re doomed.
  73. The purpose of death is release of love.—Laurie Anderson
  74. Create the reality you want to live in.
  75. Are you thinking or rearranging your prejudices?
  76. Mass media homogenizes minds.
  77. Wanting to do it is almost always enough qualification.
  78. All publicity works upon anxiety.—John Berger
  79. It is not a war, but it’s a fight.—Annick Girardin
  80. You are free to do whatever you want. You need only face the consequences.—Sheldon Kopp
  81. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.—Sheldon Kopp
  82. All important decisions must be made with incomplete information, and yet, we are still responsible.
  83. Heroes imply diminishment.
  84. You’re not going to get everything you want.
  85. The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.—Rilke
  86. Disillusion can be positive.
  87. The key to doing anything well is preparation.
  88. Self-discipline, self-control and the ability to work when we’d rather not is more important than intelligence.
  89. The triumph of culture is to overpower nationality.– Ralph Waldo Emerson. Corollary: Nationalism triumphs when culture is weak.
  90. Being known by strangers, and, even more dangerously, seeking their approval, is an existential trap.
  91. Too much money breeds arrogance, bad behavior, and jealousy, and society just loves to take it down.
  92. Sometimes not quitting is avoiding the harder thing, confronting the uncertainty of change.
  93. Everybody’s battling something at the gym, the bigger people are deeper into the struggle.

An Eschatological Laundry List: By Sheldon Kopp (1974)

“10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune…

23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems…

29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps…

41. You are free to do whatever you want. You need only face the consequences.

—Sheldon Kopp, “An Eschatological Laundry list.” The Therapeutic Care Journal. October 1, 2016.

Third Place

“The third place is a concept which identifies places which are not home (first place) or work (second place).

As ‘informal public gathering places’, they are places of refuge, where people can eat, drink, relax, and commune in order to develop a sense of belonging to a place. They are gathering places where community is most alive and people are most themselves.

Third places are important because they act as ‘meditation between individuals and the larger society’ and increase a sense of belonging and community.

-Patricia Mou, “what is the third place (pt.1)” patriciamou.com.

She then talks about characteristics of a third place.

  • Neutral ground or common meeting place
  • Levelers or places that encourage, and are inclusive of, social and cultural diversity
  • Regular patrons
  • Low profile and informal places
  • Places that foster a playful atmosphere
  • A home away from home
  • A place where conversation is the primary activity
  • Places that are easy to access and accommodate various sedentary and active activities