Recent Reads 2019: 02.19 – 03.21

How Marie Kondo Helped Me Sort Out My Gender – them.
“Presenting myself now, in a way that’s honest about how I’ve always mentally straddled the gender divide, I also feel the cruelty of gender-segregated spaces more sharply.” So much of myself reflected in this essay.- – – – –

Tyrannosaurus Rex: The Once and Future King – The New York Times
“Dr. Norell said T. rex has helped foster a surge in dinosaur paleontology over the last 20 years, evident in the rising number of researchers and new fossils, and in the increasing sophistication of techniques to study the finds. ‘In the last 30 years, the number of tyrannosaurs has increased threefold,’ he said. In terms of technology, ‘it’s a different world.’ Dr. Erickson added: ‘The golden age of paleontology is right now.'”- – – – –

Leaving Room for the Beautiful Flowers
Nah, I said. “This is enough. It’s enough for us to eat and to have enough to share with our neighbors. This way, it still leaves room for beautiful flowers, and the beautiful yard and the shared food are like insurance payments, in a way. When hard times happen, we will have a bank of goodwill with our neighbors we are counting on to see us through.”- – – – –

The World’s Last Blockbuster Has No Plans to Close – The New York Times
“One possible explanation for the store’s long life: Bend is in a region that the city’s mayor, Sally Russell, describes as having “huge expanses with really small communities” that often do not have easy access to the high-speed internet necessary for content streaming.”

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At Start-Ups, the Free Lunch Is Yours for the Making – The New York Times
Ms. Jennings is known around the office for her kitchenette cooking. Her signature dish? The personal “work pizza,” which makes use of complimentary bread, sriracha and Babybel. Jennings bakes these ingredients in the toaster oven for about four and a half minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.- – – – –

From Mobb Deep Rapper, A Cookbook For Healthy Eating — In Prison : The Salt : NPR
“And perhaps reading Commissary Kitchen and other prison cookbooks can ‘give people more of an understanding of the kind of people that are locked up in jail,’ Prodigy says. ‘You have people there from all walks of life: people who made mistakes and have to deal with the consequences, mothers and fathers. You wouldn’t expect them to be behind bars.’ But there they are, feeding themselves and just trying to get to know each other over a home-cooked meal.”- – – – –

The People Who Eat the Same Lunch Every Day – The Atlantic
“Last year, Loomis retired from his job but not his lunch, which he still eats three or four days a week (now with sliced bananas instead of jelly). ‘I never stopped liking it,’ he says. ‘I still do.'”- – – – –

Central Park Detective Retires With the Horse He Rode In On – The New York Times
“The horseman of Central Park stopped on a grassy plateau to survey the terrain, from the North Meadow to his left, the Great Lawn ahead and Strawberry Fields due south. As cyclists and joggers plied the winding park drives, a nonstop stream of tourists approached the hard-to-miss horseman. They sought directions or a photograph of him and Trooper, his stately horse.”- – – – –

Mercury Is in Retrograde. Don’t Be Alarmed. – The New York Times
“Both Ms. Miller and Ms. Nicholas said that there were positive aspects to Mercury being in retrograde, and that it was a good opportunity to look back, reflect and regroup.”- – – – –

Sexuality, Disability and the Journey to Inner Freedom | The Mighty
“Where does that leave you? These ideals cannot usually be achieved at all, and if they can it is for but a moment in youth. There is a serious disconnect between the media’s image of beauty and actual human biology. If you really think about it, the traditional standard of beauty in this country is a terrible standard by which to measure oneself.”- – – – –

A brief history of when men sold their wives at market, and why some women enthusiastically consented to it – inews.co.uk
“Flogging your wife at a cattle market may seem grotesquely abusive, but the vast majority of these sales were carried out with the full and enthusiastic consent of the wife.”- – – – –

Now, There Is Zero Proof That Alcohol Is What Makes A Great Cocktail : The Salt : NPR
“She was won over, however, when she met Ben Branson, who was inspired to create Seedlip when he came across a 17th-century book, The Art of Distillation. Written by physician John French, the volume contained recipes for distilled nonalcoholic remedies for a variety of maladies — from epilepsy to kidney stones. Branson had other ideas.”

Recent Reads 2019: 01.23 – 02.18

The Tech Revolt — The California Sunday Magazine
“Whether it was protesting projects with ICE and the Chinese government or walking out to demand better treatment of women, political activism 
has entered tech with a force that the industry has never experienced.”

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How to Declutter and Organize Your Personal Tech in a Few Simple Steps – The New York Times
“It takes up so much psychic space and brings up the same negative effect: anxiety,” Ms. Fortin said. “Since we all have our phones in our pockets, we’re toting our clutter around with us.”

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What He Left Behind
“Kira Martin struggles through her connection – both emotional and physical – with her troubled and destructive son.”

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Elderblog Sutra: 1
“The idea is that in a complex game, after most players have finished a first full play-through, the mechanics might still leave interesting things for them to do. An Act 2 game-within-a-game emerges for experienced players who have exhausted the nominal game. A game dominated by such second-order players is an elder game.”

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Why Do So Many Women Who Study Engineering Leave the Field?
“Women’s experience of their education differed along two critical dimensions — they encountered a culture where sexism and stereotypes were left unaddressed, and they saw only lip service offered toward improving society—and both of these disproportionately alienated them.”

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I Blocked Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple
“These companies are unavoidable because they control internet infrastructure, online commerce, and information flows. Many of them specialize in tracking you around the web, whether you use their products or not. These companies started out selling books, offering search results, or showcasing college hotties, but they have expanded enormously and now touch almost every online interaction. These companies look a lot like modern monopolies.”

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Thread by @Foone: “If I was setting up curriculum at a university I’d make an entire semester-long class on The Challenger disaster, and make it required for a […]”
“Your friend is going through a hard time and you’re trying to help, and normally that’s fine, but it happens on the day when you’re getting over a cold and your roommate is yelling at the cat and you get an unexpected bill and your fiancee is out of town Each of these things on their own (or maybe with one or two others) is not a huge problem. You don’t have a breakdown. You don’t have a panic attack. But sometimes the dice come up the wrong way and all of them happen at once.”

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge Will Make You Laugh So Hard It Hurts – The New York Times
“She is so good at making people laugh that her facility for pathos can sneak up on them. While her audiences are distracted by sparkling punch lines, she is secretly messing around in the dark reaches of their psyches.”

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Weekly Reads 2019: 01.01 – 01.22

Okay, so these reading lists are a bit longer than a week between postings. Hopefully that will improve this year. 😀

Things I Don’t Know as of 2018 – Overreacted
“In this post I’ll offer an incomplete list of programming topics that people often wrongly assume that I know. I’m not saying you don’t need to learn them — or that I don’t know other useful things. But since I’m not in a vulnerable position myself right now, I can be honest about this.”

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The Woman With Lapis Lazuli in Her Teeth – The Atlantic
“But art experts were still skeptical. Some dismissed the idea that a woman could have been a painter skilled enough to work with ultramarine. One suggested to Warinner that this woman came into contact with ultramarine because she was simply the cleaning lady.”
The unfortunate part of this article is how readily the experts in the related field dismissed out of hand the idea that a woman was a manuscript illustrator.

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From Pompeii to Victorian erotica, pubic hair was considered sexy, healthy and youthful – inews.co.uk
“Pubic hair is frequently placed on the frontline of feminism and growing a new band member for ZZ Top in your pants is often seen as a fuzzy fuck you to the patriarchy that leaves you literally tearing your hair out, and doubtless, there is some truth to this.”

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The weighted-blankets fad isn’t “appropriation.” It’s good news for autistic people.
“The trajectory for weighted blankets is the best of American capitalism: People figured out that a particular product is enjoyable for people outside my small corner of the disabled universe. They figured out a way to make the product cheaper and easier to access. This is an unequivocally good thing.”
Honestly, I have a lot to unpack with this response. I don’t know that it’s unequivocally a good thing, if I’m honest.

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The internet, but not as we know it: life online in China, Russia, Cuba and India | Technology | The Guardian
“More than half of the world’s population is now online, but that does not mean we all see the same thing. From being filtered by the government to being delivered by post, the internet can vary enormously depending on where you live.”

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It’s 2019 and I Still Make Websites with my Bare Hands
“I just… how… how can you stand building applications without knowing how they work?”

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Using Ruby in 2019 – Jason Charnes
“Can Ruby and (Insert Language Here) coexist? Absolutely. I think too often we approach programming language wars as you have to choose one or the other. I don’t think that is the case.”

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Effective Mental Models for Code and Systems – Cindy Sridharan – Medium
“Reducing the cognitive load on the future reader and helping them build a better mental model of our code minimizes the risk of the introduction of bugs, unlocking the ability for a future generation of maintainers to make progress at a rapid clip. It also helps build a culture of paying it forward with respect to managing complexity, effectively amortizing the maintenance cost of the codebase over time.”

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More Start-Ups Have an Unfamiliar Message for Venture Capitalists: Get Lost – The New York Times
“Now a counter movement, led by entrepreneurs who are jaded by the traditional playbook, is rejecting that model. While still a small part of the start-up community, these founders have become more vocal in the last year as they connect venture capitalists’ insatiable appetite for growth to the tech industry’s myriad crises.”

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Opinion | The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s – The New York Times
“By the time we are 70, we have all had more tragedy and more bliss in our lives than we could have foreseen. If we are wise, we realize that we are but one drop in the great river we call life and that it has been a miracle and a privilege to be alive.”

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Daring Fireball: Pentagram’s ‘Range of Possibilities’ for Slack
“What Pentagram has revealed indicates a total disregard for what Slack is and was — a brand which users have genuine affection for — and their new mark is nothing more than an unmemorable, unpleasant shape.”

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The Great Divide | CSS-Tricks
“Maybe the term front-end developer needs some rethinking. When I started working, front-end was mostly HTML, CSS, and some JavaScript. A good front-end developer needed to be able to translate a Photoshop layout to a pixel perfect website. Front end today is much much more. If you want to learn front-end development, people seem to start learning git, npm, angular, react, vue and all of this is called front-end development.”

Weekly Reads 2018: 12.02-12:30

How To Stop Wasting Time On The Internet – Barking Up The Wrong Tree
I’m not even as bad as some folks are with my social and internet use, but this makes me want to get a little closer to the minimalism discussed here. I have a lot of things I feel like I don’t have time for and that’s probably not as true as it seems.

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When someone dies, these people spring into action. Lessons on death, grief and life – The Washington Post
“We know how to have funerals, burials, cremations and scatter ashes. But grief? It’s not something where there’s a recipe.” This was beautiful, a little sad, but worth the read.

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I read only non-white authors for 12 months. What I learned surprised me | Sunili Govinnage | Opinion | The Guardian
“In addition to the philosophical questions, I had some technical issues with this whole endeavour. The most frustrating were the practical problems, such as how difficult it was to get hold of well-known books by people of colour – even in ebook format.”

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I Read Only Books by Women For a Year: Here’s What Happened
“So, how did it change me as a reader? It’s subtle, but it’s there. I find myself more attuned to characters now, whether they feel like real people or just vessels caught in a narrative tide. I’m more interested in narratives whose conflicts don’t revolve around violence. I’m less willing to suspend disbelief for the rule of cool. To some extent this is just a natural extension of my evolution as a reader and writer, but I can definitely feel the influence of my year of reading women.”

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The Yoda of Silicon Valley – The New York Times
“I am worried that algorithms are getting too prominent in the world,” he added. “It started out that computer scientists were worried nobody was listening to us. Now I’m worried that too many people are listening.”

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Influencers Are Faking Brand Deals – The Atlantic
“Though it may seem like a useful tactic when you’re starting out, more established influencers worry that fake sponcon is creating a race to the bottom. Because brands can piggyback off of waves of unpaid influencer promoters, some have ceased paying influencers completely, or now pay rates far below what they previously spent.” My Gen X, anti-sellout self is wondering what the fuck is going on with these kids. They’re selling out and not even getting paid for the privilege of being fucked over by these companies.

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The internet as television – Blair Reeves
“The promise of the internet was that of a panoply of riches; a nearly limitless tapestry of human potential where geography was no longer a factor. But what we’ve gotten is rather the opposite. The vast audiences of the internet are mostly guarded by gatekeepers who are careful to extract and monetize your identity for access.” And the theme of the day is “damn, remember when the internet used to be cool?”

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The 2018 Good Tech Awards – The New York Times
“I’m continuing that tradition this year, in the spirit of reminding us that although scandals and wrongdoing in tech rightly get a lot of attention, there’s good happening elsewhere.”

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Headspace vs. Calm: The Meditation Battle That’s Anything but Zen – WSJ
I have very very mixed feelings about the commoditization of meditation. One one hand, ew, you can just find a youtube video or read a book. On the other, I understand that for a lot of people the reassurance of having a guide through learning how to meditate and keeping on track with it is beneficial and worth the price of admission.

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Daniel Ortberg: Top surgery was the best $6,250 I ever spent – Vox
“When I woke up in the recovery room, all I could think was, Of course. Oh, thank goodness. Oh, of course. Of course, of course, of course. But I didn’t know it was the best money I’d ever spent until I’d spent it.”

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Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert – Brain Pickings
“Poised and serious at twenty, dressed in black for the sister who had just died in childbirth and who had been her maternal figure since their parents’ death, Susan cast a double enchantment on Emily and Austin Dickinson.”

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Six Years With a Distraction-Free iPhone – Member Feature Stories – Medium
“In short, if you had handed me this device when I was a kid, in the 1980s, I would’ve lost my freaking mind with joy. A distraction-free iPhone is a futuristic tool that I control. It’s what I really wanted all along.”

Weekly Reads 2018: 11.19-12.01

Opinion | Puberty for the Middle-Aged – The New York Times
As someone already in perimenopause I can confirm this stuff is accurate, but also that it’s very frustrating that there isn’t a “What to Expect” style book for the experience. We just don’t know shit about the female reproductive system.

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Guksi – Gastro Obscura
I’ve taken an interest in woodwork and carving of late and will be adding this cup to the list of potential projects.

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This User-Friendly Menstrual Cup Is What Happens When Design Is Inclusive – Motherboard
Great piece. Not just about diversity in product design, but also about diversity in what a startup can look like.

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Front-end development is not a problem to be solved | CSS-Tricks
Hear, hear!!! I heartily agree with everything in this piece.

Weekly Reads 2018: 10.15-10.27

The Architecture No One Needs
Yeah, I’m giving a big yes to this article. SPAs seem to be more trouble than they’re worth.

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Reboot, Resets, and Reasoning | CSS-Tricks
Techie, but it was interesting to read about the mostly current state of css resets for browsers.

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The Whippet #56: Enough to sustain a living hoard
Just go read the “unsolicited advice” section because it’s fabulous. Do your best not to get distracted by the platypus facts.

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How Technochauvinism Derailed the Digital Future – The Atlantic
The only way to make technology that helps a broad array of people is to consult a broad array of people to make that technology. But the computer industry has a multi-decade history of gender discrimination. It is, perhaps, the industry’s original sin.

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The Absinthe Enthusiasts Hiding Bottles in the Swiss Woods – Gastro Obscura
Never tried absinthe and I’m not a fan of anise, but the idea of it all has always held a certain mystique for me.

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The revolutionary strategy hidden in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram feed – The Washington Post
The young women who have come to Congress have come to elevate, praise and admire one another. Not because they’re immature fangirls but because this coalition-building is their best hope for success in what remains, at its core, another mostly male workplace.

Weekly Reads 2018: 10.15-10.27

I didn’t get a lot of time to read interesting things recently. I had surgery and then was doing a lot of studying. Still, the pieces I did read are pretty fab.

I don’t want to get good at gaming, I want to escape the relentless pressure to improve myself | Eleanor Robertson | Opinion | The Guardian
“If I’m going to enjoy the absurd capitalist soma of video games, the last thing I want to do is feel like I’m being badgered by a superior at a dead-end job.” Yes. This. But also this whole article because I don’t want to “git gud” at video games either.

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Love, Kindness, and the Song of the Universe: The Night Jack Kerouac Kept a Young Woman from Taking Her Own Life – Brain Pickings
A beautiful tale. For all the turbulence and other problems in Kerouac’s life, this stands alone almost as a piece of fiction someone dreamed up.

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How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea: George Orwell’s 11 Golden Rules – Brain Pickings
Orwell tells us how a proper cup of tea should be made, including some associated opinions.

Weekly Reads 2018: 9.16-10.15

A bit behind on posting these because of some ongoing health issues. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more reading again soon. 😀
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How One Man Is Recreating Lost Colors – The New York Times
In our ephemeral world, so many things slip quietly away. It always pleases me to find someone is doing this kind of work and research.

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The Rise and Demise of RSS
Fabulous article on the history of my beloved RSS. I still miss Google Reader every single day.

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Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong – The Huffington Post
This is a long read, but no matter what your weight is, it’s worth the time.

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558m-year-old fossils identified as oldest known animal | Science | The Guardian
How on earth these scientists even found these fossils in the first place feels miraculous. The journey from 558m years ago to today, where these fossils exist and show us a picture of an incomprehensibly long ago past? Mind boggling.

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Now Damien Echols Will Teach You the Secrets of Magick – The New York Times
Surprised to see this level of openness in an article about high magick, though in a lot of ways this reminds me of Alan Moore.

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Where in the World Is Larry Page?
Interesting read that gives some insight into what’s going on at Google, and I was really surprised to hear that Page is little more than a phantom at the company.

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How Your Notifications Are Lying to You and How to Make Them Stop
A much healthier approach to dealing with notifications. These things are tools that are supposed to help us, not make us miserable. It is possible to have a more humane relationship with our devices, but it takes a little work.

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The Festival Where Millions of Women Prepare a Feast for a Goddess – Gastro Obscura
It’s unfortunate that for the rest of the year these women’s lives are so restrictive, but even so, this kind of ritual is amazing to learn about.

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Kitchen Soap – On Being A Senior Engineer
As I struggle to find my identity in this field, this piece was helpful in clarifying that my attitudes and approaches are in the right place, even if my technical skills are a mashup.

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The Joy of Cooking for One – The New York Times
I’ve been cooking for myself a lot lately out of necessity and this sums up a lot of what I’ve been feeling about it.

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’M.A.S.H.’ Remains One Of The Most Influential Sitcoms of All Time | Inverse
A piece of writing that sums up so much of what I love about this show. It remains relevant in so many ways and had a huge influence on me.

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We Could All Use a Little Snail Mail Right Now – The New York Times
Love this and would love to get into sending more snail mail. Just tactile, physical things in general seem to be getting more and more important to me.

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How to build rock-solid Ruby on Rails apps with BDD – DEV Community 👩‍💻👨‍💻
Coincidentally part of a book I have queued up to read. This was a nice overview of the flow from scenario to code and back.

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Notes to Myself on Software Engineering – Member Feature Stories – Medium
A great set of reminders for those that build software. Some real gems of wisdom in here.

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A Suggestion on How to Spend a Day at Home
This is just delightful. And full of breakfasts.

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Weekly Reads 2018: 9.9-9.15

Companies worry more about access to software developers than capital
Interesting to read about software developers as a resource from the perspective of the “C suite” set. My work feels simultaneously more respected and objectified at the same time. Probably a good reality check, to be honest.

On Writing Beautiful Tests – CrateDB
This post on testing practices sparked some thought on the discipline of software engineering in general and how I’ve seen people react to the concept. There’s a lot I’m taking away from this one.

MythBusters’ Adam Savage on the tech he carries everywhere – The Verge
Yeah, sometimes I just like reading about what folks carry with them when they go about their days.

How Tor.com went from website to publisher of sci-fi’s most innovative stories – The Verge
I run a small press and magazine myself. I love how Tor.com has embraced shorter fiction and it gives me ideas of what’s possible in the world of publishing.

Who Are the Forgotten Greats of Science Fiction? | Tor.com
Tremendous resource for science fiction by folks who’s work has fallen by the wayside. Looks like there’s a couple gems in here. Leigh Brackett is quietly my personal favorite on the list.

Five Young Women With Prize-Winning Book Collections
A bookstore gives an award for young women who have some awesome book collections. This is the hardcore kind of collecting, not just having a bazillion books like me.

Ugliness Is Underrated: Ugly Design
Fabulous piece on the “ugly design” trend that is slowly growing, and posits that it’s the natural outcome of a reality that has suddenly become more fragile.

Did the Oscars Just Prove That We Are Living in a Computer Simulation? | The New Yorker
Slightly old article that discusses the question we’ve all been asking ourselves since David Bowie died.

A Woman Was Here: An Introduction | Luna Station Quarterly
Outstanding start to a new column on my very own magazine. I can’t wait to see where she takes this.

An Ode to Two Dots, the Game That Eases My Anxious Mind – Tonic
Two Dots is one of my favorite puzzle games. Similar to the author, I find it soothing and a great break for my brain when I need to step away from whatever I’m working on for a few minutes. A perfect example of games as self care.