“To examine our inboxes is to examine our lives: our desires and dreams, our families and careers, our status, our networks and our social groupings, our projects, our commerce, our politics, our secrets/lies/fetishes. Inboxes are anthropological goldmines, textual archives, psychological case studies, waiting to be plumbed and probed for the expansive cultural, ethical, epistemological, and ontological insights lurking therein.
On second thought: they are probably not waiting to be probed, but actually being probed, scanned and algorithmatized, by Google, Amazon, the National Security Agency, the Russians, Julian Assange, employers, ex-lovers who remember your password, current lovers who install surveillance software on your laptop to monitor emails to your ex-lover/next lover, hackers who create fake networks on any public wifi you log onto, and/or anyone else who cares to discover whatever “secrets” you are secreting into the tubes.
It makes more sense to assume your email is a public document than to cling to improbable expectations of privacy. The Post Office made a point of delivering our letters sealed, intact. But the email overseers can read through our inboxes at will without us being any the wiser, and they let others look too…”—Randy Malamud, “The Inbox: A Scattered, Ad-Ridden Archive of Our Lives.” Literary Hub. October 9, 2019.
Every time I see something like this I can’t help wondering: does this person not realize that you can pay for email and by doing so, you can eliminate advertising and have a reasonably secure email archive? Off the top of my head, Protonmail, Posteo, Tutanota, and Lavabit are all reasonable choices for an email provider.
“While Democrats pursue the impeachment of President Donald Trump for pressuring foreign countries to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, they are left making an argument that is at once true and electorally and ethically compromising: What Trump did — and continues to do — was an impeachable abuse of power, and it should be considered separately from the question of what Hunter Biden did.—Ryan Grim, “Joe Biden’s Family Has Been Cashing in on His Career for Decades. Democrats Need to Acknowledge That.” The Intercept. October 9, 2019.
The problem for Democrats is that a review of Hunter Biden’s career shows clearly that he, along with Joe Biden’s brother James, has been trading on their family name for decades, cashing in on the implication — and sometimes the explicit argument — that giving money to a member of Joe Biden’s family wins the favor of Joe Biden.”
Trump is corrupt and terrible. But, let’s also acknowledge that this is a problem in U.S. politics that crosses parties and exists at every level of government.
“So make your late-night, five-minute grilled cheese as many times as you’d like. We’re not stopping you. But in the light of day, when you’ve got ten minutes, a jar of mayo, and the desire to treat yourself to a little something extra, this recipe’s here for you.”-Emma Wartzman, “6 Rules for a Perfect Grilled Cheese, Every Time.” Bon Appetit. September 24, 2019
- Be patient
- Use mayo
- Spread the mayo to the edges
- Use a melting cheese: American, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Gruyère, Fontina, Provolone, Taleggio, or Raclette
- Use bread with a tight crumb, i.e., lots and lots of tiny holes like in sandwich bread
- Carefully consider your fillings, i.e., nothing watery or that you wouldn’t eat raw
If you like this kind of thing, you might also consider the perfect omelette.
The important thing to remember is that this basement isn’t packed with treasure. It’s packed with junk. You have to spend the time to sort through the junk to find the treasure. There is no shortcut. There is no algorithm. There is only time, attention, noticing — digging…I like to try to apply this spirit of crate-digging to everyday life. The only way to find the good stuff, the special stuff, the genuine moments and the true inspiration, is to first engage with the everyday, the mundane, the seemingly useless, the things nobody else seems to care about. So engage. There is no shortcut; there is no algorithm. If all you do is track what’s trending, then all you’ll ever know is exactly what everyone else already knew. To discover, you have to dig.”—Rob Walker, “Crate-Dig Reality.” The Art of Noticing. No. 29. September 29, 2019.
This could serve as a mission statement for cafebedouin.org.
“Finally, try to write the best version of your paper: the one that you like. You can’t please an anonymous reader, but you should be able to please yourself. Your paper — you hope — is for posterity. Remember how you first read the papers that inspired you while you enjoy the process of writing your own.”-Van Savage and Pamela Yeh, “Novelist Cormac McCarthy’s tips on how to write a great science paper.” Nature. September 26, 2019.
tl;dr, roughly paraphrased: Cut out everything unnecessary. There should be two or three points the reader takes away from reading your post or paper. Limit each paragraph to a single idea, (Minto, anyone?) Keep your sentences short. Don’t digress. Don’t overdo it, or try to anticipate and defend against every tangential question. Use the grammar of speech. Use questions, informal speech with concrete examples. If you use math, separate it out. Read the finished draft aloud and fix what doesn’t sound right.
“…take a hollow gourd or coconut and drill a small hole in it. Size matters. The hole should be just barely big enough for a monkey to get a hand inside. Place a treat—bananas, rice, etc.—in the gourd and tie it to a tree. Then wait.
Eventually a hungry monkey will come by, stick in their hand, grab the food, and become trapped. The monkey’s hand fits through the hole, but his fist doesn’t fit back out. They will scream and struggle, clinging tightly to their reward, until someone comes to collect them. The irony, of course, is that the monkey could have escaped at any time. All they had to do was let go.”—Frank Chimero, “Monkey Trap.” FrankChimero.com. September 19, 2019.
Love Frank Chimero. See also: “Fuck you, pay me,” “A Modest Guide to Productivity,” and the books and music he’s been reading and listening to.