With almost everything on earth there’s someone that’s dedicated their entire lives to it either through hobby or career and I’m so glad that there’s someone thinking about everything.

I’m glad that there’s people that travel around Tokyo taking pictures of trains and I’m glad that there’s people that design printers and I’m stoked that people like hiking down abandoned trails and reading old scientific texts from 400 bce. It’s cool. I’ve got my own corners of stuff I like. I hope I’m adding to something when I read ancient literature. If nothing else it makes me feel connected to everyone else with really specific interests.


#yes this #the wondrous variety of sapient life



I hate the pivot to video I hate listening to some morons obnoxious voice and watching their stupid face to receive a message that could have been conveyed in 45s and 1kb in 3min and 150mb instead I hate being thrall to the tyranny of linear viewing rather than glancing around the file I hate not being able to copypaste and I hate ppl playing this withering vampiric drain on my finite quantities of attention and patience and capacity for analysis as some heroic blow for the rights of the disabled as though they are not equally being victimised by it

I hate the tacit assumption that I’m supposed to form some sort of parasocial relationship with a goddamned software troubleshooting guide because apparently that’s what conventional wisdom in marketing says brings in the dollars these days

#there does not need to be a theme song for installing a thermostat!! #though if there was it would be uptown funk #too hot (hot damn)


#anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #but also #yes this #that excuse for communication called speech #my past self has good taste

birdblogwhichisforbirds asked: How would you suggest replacing apps that require gps to work? Before smartphones I never went anywhere by myself unless I’d been shown the route multiple times by someone else. (This is due to Brain Problems, which I can explain more if necessary.) “learn to read paper map” is not workable advice for me. Should I get a gps that’s compatible w walking (do those exist)? Or do I just have to accept being spied on if I ever want to go anywhere alone (still better than being dependent real ppl imo)


No need to explain more, brain problems is brain problems and sometimes you need a particular tool to get around them. It’s not your fault for needing the tool and that’s part of why I’m so angry that protecting your privacy falls so heavily on the users instead of the manufacturers (my beef with smart homes: let me show you it – smart home devices are incredible for lots of disability reasons but not a one of them is really secure, so if you require smart home devices to improve your quality of life or make you more independent you’re forced to allow these invasions to your privacy)

So some GPSs do have good routing stuff that works with walking – Garmin comes to mind, and I know there’s stuff that’s a bit more “users shared this” than “google is watching you” out there among sporting/adventure/outdoor users.

But what you’re describing is a legitimate problem with mapping software that has to check back in with cell service or internet service instead of using simple GPS – it’s something that has really irritated me about using google maps over the years: I should be able to load a map then turn off my cell service and have it run along on GPS only (see many trips I’ve taken that have cell service for 98% of the drive then I have to rely on guessing for the last 2% because the gps isn’t updating because I’m out of cell tower range).

I think your best bet if you keep using your phone is probably to do something like disable location on most of your apps and then only enable your mapping app when you’re using it (and make sure that ad locations is off and don’t use the highly specific locations). Strangle the permissions as much as you can.

HOWEVER this ask got me to do some research and it looks like OsmAnd might be a good solution – it has offline maps for drivers and for pedestrians and the description of it includes some of my favorite tech-related words: “robust open-source” – the maps are totally open source though the app is not so keep an eye on those permissions too but at the very least any info collected doesn’t go straight to google.

(navigating offline maps is good though, this is super good, I’m going to install and test this app because I WANT THIS.)


#yes this #OSMAnd is so good #the interface is kind of a Lot sometimes but you can pretty much just ignore bits you don’t want to deal with #and I love having offline maps that *don’t fucking expire WTF Google* #and! if you run into a problem with the map data‚ you can just *go on OpenStreetMap and fix it* and it’ll be in the monthly map updates #I’ve also heard some praise for Organic Maps‚ though I haven’t tried it myself #I used MapFactor’s OSM-based version for a while and it was fine #so if you’re not particularly seeking open-source apps and don’t like the other two maybe try that #recs #Brin owns *two* 2010’s computers now #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #maps


people seem to disagree about the best way to include citations in books but I hope we can agree that the worst way to do it is to use endnotes that are mostly citations but contain 10% interesting and insightful asides hidden in there like fucking lootboxes, so you have to skim ahead in the endnotes to memorize which upcoming number is associated with a comment you actually want to stop and read


#yes this



As it becomes winter again… and as somebody who once popped out his kneecap by slipping on ice, I would like to remind my followers that slip on shoe spikes exist.


You can usually get ones like these for around $10, and they’re really worth it. They’re made of rubber, so you can just fold them up, and I’ve been using mine for a couple of years now.

And if you use a cane, don’t be afraid to get one of these bad boys:


[Image: The bottom of a cane, with an ice grip attachment. The end has several metal spikes for gripping ice and snow.]

The tip is on a hinge. You pinch the white knobs together and the ice tip just sorta flips around and up against the cane, so you can use it on dry floors indoors without removing it entirely! This thing has saved me from so many falls in the winter.


#yes this #clothing #PSA #I bought a couple pairs of these for my delivery-driver parents a couple years back #injury cw?


one of the top 5 things I wish average people had a better grasp of is that the size of a number is contextual. a number’s bigness or smallness is not a fixed property of the number itself, it depends on what that number represents.

when you were a kid, a thousand seemed like a very big number. did you ever count that high? pretty tedious, isn’t it? it’s a massive number of toys to own, or dishes to wash, or people to meet. for most of the countable things you interact with in a normal day, a thousand is a big number. but in other contexts, a thousand can be a small number. It’s a tiny number for the population of a town. it’s a smallish number of dollars – if you only make a thousand dollars a month (in a wealthy country), you’re poor. it’s an utterly minuscule number of bacteria in your body, or dollars in a government budget, or grains of sand on a beach. a thousand of something might be a lot, or might be a little – it depends on what you’re counting, in what context.

most of the time, 0.1% is a pretty small number. if 1 in 1000 eggs has a double yolk, you probably won’t eat very many double-yolk eggs in your lifetime, unless you seek them out deliberately or eat vastly more eggs than the average person. if 1 in 1000 homes in your town have garbage disposals, garbage disposals are very rare where you live. but if a cosmetic surgery had a 0.1% risk of lethal complications, most people would see that surgery as unacceptably dangerous – 0.1% risk of death is a big number.

we’re not very good at thinking at scale. we’re especially bad at thinking about our fellow humans at scale. suppose that 0.1% of the population has some trait X. if you assume that none of the people you meet have trait X, you’ll be right 99.9% of the time. when you crack a joke about trait X at a party, there probably won’t be any X-people around to be offended by it. but 0.1% is 1 in 1000 – how big is that number, really?

it’s about 335,000 people in the US, for starters – the population of a small city. throughout your education, you probably had multiple classmates with trait X. there’s a handful of them at any large school. a medium-sized company will probably have several trait X employees. you might not know someone with trait X personally, but it’s a virtual certainty that someone else you know does. if you have a modest online following, several of your fans have trait X. if trait X were a disease, it would be too common to count as “rare”.

the next time you see a number you think of as “big”, like a million, I want you to stop and consider what’s being counted: does this number represent a large quantity here? compared to what? when you encounter a small proportion, think: how frequent is that, really? what’s the denominator (0.1% of what)? can you think of something comparable that happens about as often? is this number surprising?


#yes this #death tw? #fun with statistics #(”fun” isn’t quite the right word‚ but that’s the category tag)



On a genetic level being tasty to humans is one of the most successful evolutionary strategies ever

if you’re tasty enough to us you literally don’t even need to be capable of unassisted reproduction, we’ll clone you


#yeah I think about this too #proud citizen of The Future #food #this probably deserves some warning tag but I am not sure what




Genuinely can’t stand the new favouritism towards video format. You want me to spend a whole two minutes listening to someone say out loud a paragraph I could read in 20 seconds?

(This is about tiktok. I hate tiktok.)

It’s not just tiktok, it’s everything. I’m tired of clicking on news articles and instead finding it’s a video I have to watch. I’m tired of being sent to a video when I want to learn about a new thing instead of an article I can skim in less than a minute. You mean you want me to sit through an entire video, listening for the one kernel of information that’s buried in there that I’m interested in? Nah, man, life is too short to waste it like that. I don’t know why any of you like videos lmao.

Thank god someone said it holy fuck!!! I hate video formats!! Hate hate hate!

And it is legitimately impossible to find information on certain subjects in non-video format. “Internet lore” subjects are almost exclusively the domain of videos. Minecraft redstone tutorials? Fuck you, here’s a video.

Watching things is for some reason something I cannot get my brain to do. I don’t watch tv or movies because passively looking at a screen is not engaging enough and I get distracted, and I can’t just glance backward like you can with a book.

This is an accessibility issue. I’ve been required to watch films for classes before and had to break them up over multiple days, listen to their audio while playing minecraft or some other activity to occupy my hands, or just straight up bullshit using wikipedia summaries and stuff.

You know how when little kids try to explain something to you, they stop and start their sentences over and take forever to finish the explanation? That’s what video format is like for me. It’s just SO SLOW and takes FOREVER to get to the point compared to reading, and if I miss something or get distracted, I have to rewind the video and try to go back and catch it again.

And I can’t quickly, visually skim a video to see if it will have the information I need. If I hit skip, I might miss something important. I can’t go through the subheadings like I can in a written piece of text. There might BE an outline with subheadings for the video, but skipping forward might make me miss the handful of frames they’re displayed in. I can’t screenshot a sentence in a video so I can look at it later when I need it.

I also just process less when i’m watching a video. If I’m not doing something else while listening to the audio, I’ll miss a LOT. Information in video format just feels more ephemeral in my brain.

Someone sent me a video essay about the history of 2b2t (the minecraft server) but I haven’t watched it yet even though i’m really interested in it.

My heart breaks at the thought of all the information out there that I can’t crack my way into because the only way it’s preserved anywhere is in video format


#yes this #that excuse for communication called speech #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #disappointed permanent resident of The Future


counterintuitive to me that, even with the high rates of immigration and the quality of translation technology, I’m so insulated from the Chinese internet. I don’t know what discourse they have. I read about crazy intense doxxing and harassment incidents in books about China (like Age of Ambition) but that’s like being a Chinese person who kinda knows what Twitter is like from the Justine Sacco incident. I want to… oh, get their jokes, be in some actually good Discord servers, know whatever arbitrary sexual acts or dynamics are taboo in their culture. (There was a really good tumblr thread on Chinese fandom is totally okay with… was it incest? Something that US fandom feels weird about? but is not okay with poly or even multi-shipping? I loved that thread.)

Would be so amazing if there was a blog run by a normal Terminally Online person in China who just happened to speak very good English and was willing to post 1 screenshot a day of something that was on their feed, translating and explaining everything to me. God, I’d fund that Patreon


#yes this #China


Not fucking worth it: the insane shit this guy does to be his own boss and not have a 9-5 sounds way worse than just having a job


#yes this #it’s so weird to me how many people I meet who think that the two kinds of people are #”entrepreneurs” #and ”people who *want* to be entrepreneurs but don’t currently have enough runway/seed-capital” #like yes unalienated labour is more pleasant #and in theory yes it’s true that deviating from your work schedule is its own punishment and #it would be nice not to have the double jeopardy of absences being punished by your boss also #but in practice it seems like most entrepreneurial stuff leaves you *more* trapped by work strictures than having a job does #the owner of the place I work at is on call ~14 hours a day 7 days a week #constantly juggling several different stores #can’t ever gracefully pause or exit #you theoretically *could* pay me enough to take his place #but it would have to be much more than any reasonable estimate of how much he’s actually making #I think that (for me anyway) the real difference here in life satisfaction is not ”employee” versus ”entrepreneur” #it’s about how many obligations you’ve taken on #doesn’t matter whether it’s to your boss or your customers or your workers‚ you’re still trapped #when I play at business-running in MMOs‚ I am always very careful *never* to take long-term contracts #I warn people that I do not promise availability further than 3 days out #some players do! apparently that can be fun for them! but *I’d* be miserable #I love and crave stability‚ which is a big part of why I never promise it if I can avoid it #precommitments aren’t helpful to me here #if future-me deems something important enough to be worth breaking routine for‚ then I trust her judgment #and I want her to have that option for when it’s needed #tag rambles #in which Brin has a job