Linky Friday: Knowing and Not Knowing, Wondering and Wandering

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Linky Friday: Knowing and Not Knowing, Wondering and Wandering


[Kn1] Spiritual leader admits knowing of years of abuse in his faith…not the Pope, the Dalai Lama.

[Kn2] “Knowing the Risks” a horrific story and inquest from our Australian friends: “An inquest has highlighted the importance of careful decisions in drug withdrawal, after a patient died from being administered an excessive amount of buprenorphine”

[Kn3] Would that we all improve on this: “Knowing When to Say Nothing:” “In addition to evidence that people in non-academic and professional contexts don’t ask as many questions as their interlocutors would like them to, there is some evidence that the performance of teams in solving intellectual problems is linked with well-timed talk.”

[Kn4] An argument about infrastructure improvements costs, but from the supply chain side of things: “Team led by WSU researcher highlighting how aging shipping routes hurt economy”.

[Kn5] Interesting study: Peer pressure and environmental awareness, “Giving people information about how much gas or electricity their neighbors use encourages them to use less energy, research shows.”

[Kn6] One of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time: Caring for elderly with memory issues and dementia by designing their facility with a period-authentic feel.

[Kn7] “In many Native American communities, there’s a fear that any knowledge shared with scientists could end up in published reports—which could, in turn, lead to a familiar story of plundering.”

Not Knowing

[Nt1] This hits very close to home, but an all too common story; “What If the Doctors Had Listen to Her” H/T @samwilkinson.

[Nt2] File this under “things that make you feel old,” getting dragged on social media for not knowing how stamps work.

[Nt3] Unknown outcomes can make us put in either too much work or not enough. Here’s how to avoid both.

[Nt4] This years Miss America Pageant was a mystery with the new format and much discussed ditching of the swimsuit portion. This is Miss Utah’s perspective on the events.

[Nt5] Sign O’ the times: Woman falls 50ft from rocks, poses smiling for picture not realizing her neck was broken.

[Nt6] An academic who used to be a soldier does some pushback on misperceptions he sees on the military in the groves of academe.

[Nt7] Male sports fans might be surprised: “it’s becoming increasingly more likely that the person behind your favorite team’s social media account is a woman. Often considered a “pink-collar industry,” social media’s female-dominated workforce has naturally extended to the traditionally male-dominated sports industry, too.”


[Wo1] Meta-analyses were supposed to end scientific debates. Often, they only cause more controversy.

[Wo2] Dark take: “A romantic vision of technology is dangerous. The assumption that it’s an enabler, liberating knowledge and facilitating growth, is fallacious.”

[Wo3] A grandmother notices a difference in the school her grandkids go to compared to their parents, and it is an interesting perspective. “A classroom is no longer a place of silence; thinking can be loud. Students collaborate, bounce their ideas off one another and surprisingly don’t misuse their power when they critique the work of peers.”

[Wo4] You’ve been doing SimCity wrong all these years, and turning an urban planner loose on the classic proves it: “Little did I know that arranging roads on a 6 x 6 grid versus a 4 x 4 grid–in other words, allowing six buildings on each block rather than four– changes the taxable density of a city. As he explains, this slight shift in the grid increases the proportion of buildable land from 64% to 73%.”

[Wo5] “Curators Debate the Pros and Cons of All-Women’s Art Shows

[Wo6] Want to see all 7 Wonders of the World? No problem, just pay your 15K in Pounds Sterling and get in line.

[Wo7] The former Yugoslavia is dotted with massive monuments, but there was a time when they were vital to the quest for national liberation.


[Wa1] Camping out and standing in line was bad enough; these two flew to Australia from Britain to be the first to get the new IPhones.

[Wa2] The ruins of an ancient temple to the Aztec wind god discovered in the middle of a metro station in Mexico.

[Wa3] Germany has a housing crisis that is familiar to many places in the world: too much housing in rural areas, not enough in urban.

[Wa4] Say what? “273 corpses were on wandering truck, Mexican officials say”.

[Wa5] Iceland has famously strict “naming laws,” which has run counter to not only a new generation but also LGBT folks seeking name changes.

[Wa6] Horrid: “The IOM also found that approximately 80 per cent of Nigerian women and girls who arrived by sea in 2016 were “likely to be victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in Italy or in other countries of the European Union.”

[Wa7] All politics in Thailand apparently involve rice to one extent or another.

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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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19 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Knowing and Not Knowing, Wondering and Wandering

  1. [Nt7] This male sports fan realizes that women are running his favorite team sports site, though its a SBN blog and maybe that doesn’t count. I certainly don’t follow any team’s official social media accounts, which I assume would be some sort of sanitized, corporate promotion venue. Kind of the same old story, blogging provides a personal outlet to write what you want to write, but most of the time for no pay. Managing a corporate twitter feed might pay better, but has little or no expressive value.

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  2. More on topic, John Deere does not want you to fix your tractor, and the CA Farm Bureau just agreed with them.

    Some of this, I can see John Deere’s point, especially when it comes to software modification, if someone is selling a modification. If someone is merely instructing a farmer how to modify some values or instructions, that line is a lot harder to justify.

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    • It’s been a simmering issue, and in the long run will be a mistake for John Deere. While their corporate accounts will be fine the smaller businesses and individuals will begin to go elsewhere despite their strong brand loyalty once it’s no longer cost effective to maintain machinary that by nature takes a lot of abuse and needs it.

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      • I admit to a bias here, but I see this as part of a creeping neo-feudalism, where property rights are increasingly expanded to turn owners into renters.

        The way books on e-readers don’t really belong to you, and can be withdrawn at a moment’s notice, or how you no longer own software but only the rights to use it for a term

        And these changes don’t happen in a vacuum, .but in concert with all the other technological changes, we ourselves, our habits, preferences, desires and aspirations become data that is recorded and commodified by the tools we use.

        All leading to what I see as an erosion of control over our lives made all the more insidious by its invisibility and facade of choice.

        For example, notice how the idea of constant upgrade and planned obsolescence is now accepted and uncontroversial.
        No one gets a new phone because the old one broke or wore out. Its just assumed that every two years you buy a new one, then one after that, gain and again and again in perpetuity. Why? Just because, and even if you choose not to, your old phone will be phased out whether you like it or not.

        We have accepted this as the core of high tech electronic items like computers and phones. But increasingly this spreads as software is inserted into farm tractors, automobiles, houses, even clothing.

        What do you really own, that is yours forever? How can wealth be built, when it is constantly evaporating into nothingness?

        *shakes fist at clouds*

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        • I tend to keep my phone until it hurts to keep using it, then I upgrade. The cell companies are flabbergasted by the fact that I don’t want to latest and greatest right now. But why should I? The features in the latest and greatest will be standard in most mid-grade phones in the next two years, then I can spend $200 on a phone, rather that $600+ and all the bugs should be worked out by then.

          I no longer have the patience for bleeding edge tech.

          As to your larger point, yes planned obsolescence has made the subscription model feasible for many. I’m still a tinker, so I will never fully buy into that, but I don’t see an issue with it. However, locking technology such that people are legally (rather than technically) prevented from tinkering, that bugs the hell out of me. I don’t mind companies wanting to try and lock their tech through technical means. If they are good at it, they’ll make bank because only those who really want to unlock it will bother. But putting that legal threat on it is too much. It’s protectionist.

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        • The way books on e-readers don’t really belong to you, and can be withdrawn at a moment’s notice, or how you no longer own software but only the rights to use it for a term

          Not mine. Granted, a lot of the stuff on my ereader isn’t books at all, but the ones that are, are epubs that I stripped the DRM from and uploaded via Calibre Companion to the ereader from Calibre and the only person who can remove them from my ereader is me.

          Same with music, Google Play lets you downloaded purchased music. And I still buy physical media for TV and movies.

          So I generally don’t buy anything ‘permanent’ that I don’t know I can’t strip the DRM off.(1) Temporary, sure, whatever, that’s really a rental, but not permanent.

          It’s not even entirely because I’m worried they’ll take it away, a good portion of it is that I want to use my own devices and software for it. I want to use my mp3 player on my computer and phone, I want to watch TV shows in Kodi, I want to use Moon Reader instead of the builtin ereader app, etc.

          1) Except video games, but that’s because I spent years both pirating games (Which is a crazy stupid hassle.), and then actually buying physical media (Which is almost just as annoying.), and honestly at this point I’m just willing to trust Steam due to easy of use. As far as I know, they’ve literally removed exactly one paid and installed game from users’ libraries, and that was an online game that did not have servers anymore so didn’t work in any manner. And where else am I going to play computer video games except the computer I have for games?

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        • I am inclined to agree. People accuse me of being a Luddite for wanting paper books and CDs of music (I don’t own a turntable or I’d seriously be considering vinyl, at least for my favorite works) but when I read about Apple deleting content people thought they had bought and basically going “What? We’re giving you two whole rentals in exchange?” I’m like, nah, brah.

          I suspect in some ways the “sharing” business (where, for example, you don’t own your own bike but just grab one of the questionably-maintained ones* out of a dock) may be paving the way for more of this.

          (*My brother was in a serious accident where he badly broke a bone when he was a teenager because of a bike that had not been properly assembled at the store. So I wouldn’t trust a “sharing” company to keep bikes up to snuff, even if they were liable. Cheaper to have the insurance and pay off the person, or claim “but you were riding recklessly)

          I also wonder how the “Maker” movement (of people who kit-bash or make their own stuff) looks at this. I would assume serious opposition. I knit and sew and all that kind of stuff, but I’m not really in the Maker community because (a) I live in a remote area and (b) it seems to “privilege” the high tech stuff over the old-skool needle arts.

          (And now I feel the need to re-read Ravelry’s TOS to see if I could ever find a pattern I bought deleted from their online library. I suspect the folks who run Ravelry are too good for that, unless there were some legal issue like copyright violation, but…)

          I’ve also seen academic publishers take down papers they used to have as online .pdfs when they realized (~10 years ago or so) that they could charge $30 for people to read them. EVEN THE PEOPLE WHO DID THE RESEARCH AND WROTE THE PAPER AND WENT THROUGH THE AGONY OF REVIEW AND HAVING IT PUBLISHED but you really don’t want me ranting about how broken academic publishing is right now…

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        • And I shall join the ranks standing in solitary on this with Chip! Seriously, I loathe the subscription model, especially for the programs I use in my business. I don’t want or need to upgrade every year, as once I get a groove going with the program I don’t want to spend time relearning the basic ins and outs of it, I don’t enjoy that aspect of the work and would rather not play around with it, especially if I have a deadline coming up. As for phones, I use Virgin Mobile, with is a buy a phone and pay monthly service, which works well for me as I don’t care about phones, don’t use them for much more than a phone and maps.

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  3. Wo2: Since I live in San Francisco, I am surrounded by a lot of true believer tech-utopians. Most tech workers are probably even keeled and realistic about what they do (especially if they have been in the industry for a while and are more rank and file) but there are plenty of true believers.

    Every now and then, I see someone bemoan how Americans no longer believe in process. The person making the complaint is usually a libertarian and dislikes tech-skeptism and articles that talk about income inequality or the vanishing middle class. Can’t we see how much stuff we have now? Can’t we see how much life is better.

    But who gets to decide what is and what is not progress.

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  4. “In answering for their spending habits, women and people of color often face a particularly stark double standard. Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt to pay for home improvements and Washington Nationals tickets, and as recently as 2016, he owed up to $200,000 between three credit cards and a loan. Few people expected this to impede his nomination. And why would they? The man who chose him has a string of bankruptcies to his name, and his companies owe a reported $315 million to ten different financial institutions. Even Kemp, Abrams’s opponent, is being sued for allegedly failing to repay a $500,000 loan he had used to invest in an agricultural company. For Kemp and Kavanaugh, debt was simply the cost of an intrepid, entrepreneurial spirit; for Abrams, it was a serious offense.”

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  5. Wo4 – Isn’t this _everyone_ has been playing SimCity, with a 6×6 block? Or…even a 6xX block of however long you want? They build up to three away from a road, so having them six across is rather obvious? Who the heck has been building 4×4 blocks?

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  6. Nt6

    They tend to believe the nation spends too much on defense, and that the armed forces are involved in foreign lands doing things they should not be doing

    These aren’t myths – they are differences of opinion that are too little debated (and the author does a weak job of debating his side of the debate)

    #1 – yes the force is much smaller than at the height of the cold war. Yet it is far more expensive in nomimal terms, and almost expensive in real terms, for a much lower threat level.

    #2 – the current force may be ‘cheaper than war’ but it has also been at war for 17 years. So you can’t say deterrence is working on that axis.

    #3 – if we want government funded R&D, we should just do that, instead of the massively cumbersome and indirect process of military procurement.

    #4 yes we need to spend money to recapitalize the gear. But we need to figure out damn quick how to get procurement costs under control, because we’re pricing ourselves out of the fight in a lot of areas.

    #5 – that it is a politically acceptable welfare jobs program is indeed why we have a lot of defense spending, and the absolute worst reason we have it.

    #6 can’t really argue with the US Navy ensuring freedom of the seas, that’s my jam. (But were DDx and LCS the best ways to keep it, instead of Burking it up with some covert Virginia assistance?)

    #7 ‘we do well with everyone freeriding off of us, instead of an arms race with us’ is an argument I don’t entirely disagree with, but is getting long in the tooth.

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  7. [Nt2] Who’s dating themselves in this one, the character or the writer of the piece itself?

    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is based on a 2014 novel, so set presumably in that year or slightly earlier. The USPS apparently only introduced their first ‘forever’ stamps in 2007 and stopped issuing denominated stamps in 2011 – so eliminating the need to use the old 38c stamp along with a top-up 5c stamp to meet the new 43c postage price.

    That’s how I remember postage working – the top right front hall bureau drawer had some stamps sufficient to send a letter on their own, some old ones that needed a top up, and some small-value top up stamps so you could still use the old stamps.

    Now the way postage works is of course that we send letters so seldom we don’t even own a roll of stamps – if we bought a roll of 20, we’d use one the day we bought the stamps, and by the time we needed to send another letter we’d have forgotten where we put the stamps. So we just take the letter to the post office and buy one stamp.

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