Category Archives: Monday Musings

Monday Musings–19FEB24

Read two books this week. Both on just about thesame subject. The first Grunch of Giants, was. published in 1981 and is more for historical value, But Bucky got a lot of stuff right, although this book was not about solutions. He alludes to his previous book Critical Path (or for those.

Examines the evolution of multinational corporations, from the military-industrial complex of the postwar period to the present world economic crisis, and evaluates the economic and political impact of such entities on the American and international economic systems

You can get this book at Amazon (Kindle) or as a free download at Archive .org

The other book is Cory Doctorow’s The Internet Con. which you can get at various places:

The platforms locked us into their systems and made us easy pickings, ripe for extraction. Twitter, Facebook and other Big Tech platforms hard to leave by design. They hold hostage the people we love, the communities that matter to us, the audiences and customers we rely on. The impossibility of staying connected to these people after you delete your account has nothing to do with technological limitations: it’s a business strategy in service to commodifying your personal life and relationships.
We can – we must – dismantle the tech platforms. In The Internet Con, Cory Doctorow explains how to seize the means of computation, by forcing Silicon Valley to do the thing it fears most: interoperate. Interoperability will tear down the walls between technologies, allowing users leave platforms, remix their media, and reconfigure their devices without corporate permission.
Interoperability is the only route to the rapid and enduring annihilation of the platforms. The Internet Con is the disassembly manual we need to take back our internet.

Even direct from Cory himself:

Cory has more of a solution to the problem than Fuller, which at this is more historical than something you could use in this era,and the book is highly recommended.

I’ve given you links to 2 versions of the books that you can get as EPubs. Some of you may not know how to read these on a kindle. Well it’s fairly easy, here’s the page on Amazon that explains it.

That’s it for me this week. Don’t forget to put pants on when you go outside.

Monday Musings — 12FEB24

Let’s talk libraries. What are libraries beside book warehouses. They are community hubs that have programs for kids and adults alike, They are used for research, information and quiet studying.

Gen Z seems to love public libraries. A November report from the American Library Association (ALA) drawing from ethnographic research and a 2022 survey found that gen Z and millennials are using public libraries, both in person and digitally, at higher rates than older generations.

More than half of the survey’s 2,075 respondents had visited a physical library within the past 12 months. Not all of them were bookworms: according to the report, 43% of gen Z and millennials don’t identify as readers – but about half of those non-readers still visited their local library in the past year. Black gen Zers and millennials visit libraries at particularly high rates.

To glimpse what he means, one need only dip into Frederick Wiseman’s epic and inspirational three-hour-and-seventeen-minute documentary Ex Libris, a picaresque tour of the grandest people’s palace of all: the New York Public Library system, a collection of ninety-two branches with seventeen million annual patrons (and millions more online). Wiseman trains his lens on the quotidian (people lining up to get into the main branch or poring over books), the obscure (a voice actor recording a book for the blind), and the singular (Khalil Muhammad discussing the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture), and without saying so explicitly (the film is unnarrated), he shows the NYPL to be an exemplar of what a library is and what it can do. Here we see librarians helping students with math homework, hosting job fairs, running literacy and citizenship classes, teaching braille, and sponsoring lectures. We see people using computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, and, of course, books. They are white, black, brown, Asian, young, homeless, not-so-young, deaf, hearing, blind; they are everyone, which is the point. If you want to understand why the Trump administration eliminated federal funding for libraries in its 2018, 2019, and 2020 proposed budgets, it’s on display in this film: public libraries dismantle the walls between us.This is by design. A statement issued by the Public Library Association in 1982 called “The Public Library: Democracy’s Resource” said:
The public library is unique among our American institutions. Only the public library provides an open and nonjudgmental environment in which individuals and their interests are brought together with the universe of ideas and information…. The uses made of the ideas and information are as varied as the individuals who seek them. Public libraries freely offer access to their collections and services to all members of the community without regard to race, citizenship, age, education level, economic status, or any other qualification or condition.
Free access to ideas and information, a prerequisite to the existence of a responsible citizenship, is as fundamental to America as are the principles of freedom, equality and individual rights.

And they have become a place where homeless people can find shelter during the day, and help via in house social workers.

On a bitterly cold Friday this February, the final day of the 2023 event, vendors in the exposition hall upstairs were busy hawking everything from book-moving services to exotic animal visits. Former Toronto mayor David Miller sat alone at the University of Toronto Press booth, surrounded by copies of his latest hardcover, while a buzzy line formed down the aisle for signed copies of a picture book about a giant beet. Downstairs, in the corporately neutral confines of meeting room 202D, a full house had gathered to talk about one of the burning issues at the heart of the modern public library.

Rahma Hashi, a social worker with a bright smile and a beige head scarf, began the session. Over the past decade or so, in response to the waves of vulnerable people arriving at their doors, many North American libraries have begun hiring in-house social workers. Hashi was one of Toronto Public Library’s first. Part of her role, she explained, was to make partnerships with shelters, with the idea that the library should always be a welcoming place for everyone but the real work of providing service to people who are homeless should be handled by the professionals.

They are the last bastion against the rising tide of book banners. People (on both sides of the aisle) who think that they have the right to ban books for having something in them that they disagree with.

Books predominantly get removed from school libraries, with only a small percentage of book bans impacting classrooms specifically. Most books are removed pending investigation, meaning that a book is removed whenever there’s a challenge for review.

Many of these books are removed from student access before due process of any kind is carried out, according to PEN America. In some cases, books can also be removed without challenges for review. These books often end up being unavailable for weeks or months.

And of course capitalism is making it all got to shit anyways.

In the long term … I don’t know. The biggest obstacle I see is neither patrons nor libraries, but publishers. Libraries ultimately have service goals, and some libraries already have a secondary platform (even if OverDrive is the dominant one by far). But corporate publishers have only profit goals, and I imagine OverDrive’s lure of a giant stream of marketing data would continue to be compelling, even if their monopoly was successfully broken.

Alternative platforms already exist: one promising place to start might be the Palace Project and the associated Palace Marketplace, which right now mostly seems to let libraries buy ebooks and audiobooks from indie authors, and access out-of-copyright classics. The company behind it, Lyrasis, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; that doesn’t mean it’s immune to mismanagement, but it’s a better legal framework than a for-profit B corp. And its board is teeming with actual career librarians, instead of one token librarian and a handful of investors and executives, like OverDrive. The Palace app is designed to combine content from multiple vendors, including OverDrive, which could help with transition. But the Palace Project so far has relationships with less than 5% of US libraries.7

I don’t have a neat solution to the fact that OverDrive has a functional monopoly in the space, or that it’s now owned by vampires. All I know to do is point at the dead canary and yell as loud as I can.

I asked my reporter friend how I might go about getting a real journalist to write about it, and she regretfully advised me that she didn’t think it was a big enough story yet to get any professional interest. Once public libraries have actually been devastated by private equity, it’ll be a story.

It will also be too late.

I’ll leave you with this:

Please support you local library. And actually use it once in a while.

Monday Musings — 5FEB24

How about a book review?

Just finished this book, which has 2 long form interviews with Moebius, and a couple of shorter ones, and some other biographical stuff, and more.

This is definitely a book for the hardcore Moebius/Gir fan, and most people wouldn’t find it quite as interesting. It’s mor than just about his comics, it is in fact a biography written through interviews. It deals with his childhood, time in Mexico, his many Mentors/father figures, his drug experimentation, his philosophy, and also how he came to work on his various comics.

I found some of it tedious, but the parts I found so, might interest other people more. I think it came mostly from the interviewer trying to wring out all the juice from certain times in a couple of “cults”.

All in all it was a fascinating look at the life of one of the greatest comics artist who ever lived.

Artist Janice Lowry regarded the notebooks as “126 chapters of a memoir.” Her life’s journey, chronicled in her diaries, ended Sept. 20, 2009, when she succumbed to liver cancer. Archives of American Art

When Janice Lowry turned 11, inspired by reading The Diary of Anne Frank, she began keeping a journal. Not unusual for a young girl. What’s unusual is that throughout her life, Lowry—who died of liver cancer this past September at age 63—kept up her diaries.

From childhood on, Lowry filled small notebooks with daily musings and drawings. Then, in the mid-1970s, she moved to a larger format, 7 1/2- by 9 1/2-inch notebooks. For almost 40 years, Lowry—an artist best known for her intricate, three-foot-tall assemblages—filled the roomier notebooks with jottings and sketches. The pages contain everything from original drawings, collages and rubber-stamp images to observations about herself and the world, including the commonplace “to-do” lists many of us make: “pay bills/make plane res/get asthma med/Judi birthday gift.”

RIP Wayne Kramer

Wayne Kramer, the guitarist who co-created MC5 – of the rawest, most influential and politically engaged bands in US history – has died aged 75. His Instagram page announced the news: “Wayne S Kramer. Peace be with you. April 30 1948 – February 2 2024.”

That’s it for this Monday. The week is yours, use it wisely.

Monday Musings — 29JAN24

Well I thought a nice bit of color and niceness would go over good. Spent the weekend in the hospital getting IV-antibiotics for a foot wound, and am home now doing great. My shortest hospital stay in a long time. Today is for being home and making a grocery list (haha). But you all should watch the nice videos, and look at the pretty art, hopefully it starts your Monday nicely.

Teacups” (2023) – Written & Directed by Alec Green & Finbar Watson, Voiced by Hugo Weaving
For almost half a century, Don Ritchie would approach people contemplating suicide at the edge of a cliff near his home.

Sometimes all it takes is someone to listen, and a cup of tea.

“I enjoy the process of freely imagining myself, following the inspiration I get from everyday life. It is a process of forming new creations by connecting various ideas and images encountered in the process of work, like solving a guess or puzzle. Exploring this infinite world of imagination and feeling energized through this process fuels my passion for my work, and I find unique and vibrant traces in the results.”

Check out more from Junwoo Park below!


Monday Musings — 22JAN24

From a commencement speech at Harvard by Charlie Munger (How to Guarantee a Life of Misery):

My third prescription for misery is to go down and stay down when you get your first, second, third severe reverse in the battle of life. Because there is so much adversity out there, even for the lucky and wise, this will guarantee that, in due course, you will be permanently mired in misery. Ignore at all cost the lesson contained in the accurate epitaph written for himself by Epictetus: “Here lies Epictetus, a slave, maimed in body, the ultimate in poverty, and favoured by Gods.”

The rest is pretty good too.

a purple and blue explosion behind the periodic table of elements The newly discovered Barbenheimer Star exploded in a supernova billions of years ago, leaving behind a cloud of unusual elements in its wake. (Image credit: University of Chicago/SDSS-V/Melissa Weiss)

Scientists have discovered evidence of a massive star from the early universe that does not fit with our current understanding of the cosmos. 

Epic: The Musical is a loose adaptation of Homer’s “The Odyssey” by Jorge Rivera-Herrans, who wrote the music and lyrics and also orchestrated and produced the tracks. His song clips and process videos have gone viral on social media with over 60 million views across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. The yet-to-be-released musical also has an active Discord fan community of over 30,000 people who share fanart, memes, fan theories, cover songs, positive affirmations, and tattoos of the lyrics.

Free to listen on Spotify, or get the ones that have been released on Bandcamp:

A link filled Monday, of stuff that interested me this week. Not much musing going on is there. Just wanted to share good stuff. We all need that don’t we. See you next week.

Monday Musings — 15JAN24

Source: suzi long

That’s from Suzi Long’s portfolio, of fun birds with fun shoes. Starting off your week.

It’s currently welded shut. But if you could open it, you would find the deepest hole that has ever been drilled into the earth.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole is 12 kilometres deep (7.5 miles). For context, the deepest mine is 4 kilometres deep. Cruising altitude for a passenger jet is 11 kilometres up. The bottom of the Mariana Trench is 11 kilometres down.

I really want you to understand that if you jimmied open that tiny rusty cover, there would be nothing between you and a hole that is deeper than the Mariana Trench.

They began drilling in 1970 and stopped in 1995 when they ran out of funds. The aim was just to try and drill as deep into the earth’s crust as they could. (Wikipedia says the company was liquidated due to low profitability, but surely no one thought “dig as deep as possible for no reason” was going to make a profit?)

Anyway, they made it almost halfway through the Earth’s crust. It’s hard to know how much further they would have got. Their instruments kept melting. (“At those depths, rock began to behave more like plastic. [The temperature] rises 25 degrees for every kilometre you go down.”)

We cannot even get to the Moho!

The Moho is what you get when someone named Andrija Mohorovičić discovers something (“MOH-huh-ROH-vuh-chitch”). It’s the boundary between the crust and the mantle, and is technically the Mohorovičić Discontinuity, but it just gets called the Moho. (Wikipedia page)

(A different attempt to drill through the thinner crust on the seafloor was called “Project Mohole”. It made it about a hundred metres.)

As an aside, I found out about the Kola Superdeep Borehole after reading about Theia and saying out loud, “I’m pretty sure this is a dumb question but could we get iron from the core?” so a point in favour of asking dumb questions.

Here’s some music.

That’s it for today. nothing profuound, since I’m too tired this week. Love you all.

Monday Musings — 1 JAN2024

Happy New Year!

Don’t Make a “New” New Year’s Resolution

You don’t have to wait until the New Year to make a resolution. And you also don’t have to make a new resolution because it’s a new year. You can choose to have less stress and more success anytime by updating the meaning behind old goals, picking a quick win to cross off your list, and by helping someone achieve something that matters to them.

That’s my advice for you all (and Psychology Today’s).

I’m hoping this will be a better year than 2023. Spent a lot of time in the hospital. Don’t like that. My energy levels have sucked, especially towards the end of the year. Got to figure that out. Part of the problem is chemo drugs, part is that food doesn’t always taste good to me. Even trying to choke down a scrambled egg is hard sometimes. No resolution will fix that, but I’ll figure something out.

I am starting a new thing though. 30 days of drawing for 10 minutes, each morning. I belong to a group that’s doing this so hopefully we can keep each other on it. I may post the drawings here also.

Monday Musings — 11DEC23

As promised last week, the inks for that page.

And a fun video.

A video from Winsor McCay the artist on Little Nemo in Slumberland

A Canadian study gave $7,500 to homeless people. Here’s how they spent it.

Because they were participating in a randomized controlled trial, their outcomes were compared to those of a control group: 65 homeless people who didn’t receive any cash. Both cash recipients and people in the control group got access to workshops and coaching focused on developing life skills and plans.

Separately, the research team conducted a survey, asking 1,100 people to predict how recipients of an unconditional $7,500 transfer would spend the cash. They predicted that recipients would spend 81 percent more on “temptation goods” like alcohol, drugs, or tobacco if they were homeless than if they were not.

The results proved that prediction wrong. The recipients of the cash transfers did not increase spending on drugs, tobacco, and alcohol, but did increase spending on food, clothes, and rent, according to self-reports. What’s more, they moved into stable housing faster and saved enough money to maintain financial security over the year of follow-up.

That’s it for this Monday. Remember to pull your pants up so you don’t trip over your legs.

Monday Musings — 4DEC23

It’s Monday, what’s on my mind?

Here’s a blue line of a page I’m working on for my comic. It’s going really slow, but I am working on it. I’ll post inks for this page next week. I have them done, but not scanned.

Everything is going slow for me. Low energy because of the chemo, and etc. Some days I just have energy to watch videos and do some light housework, and that’s it. Even sitting at a drawing board seems like a lot, which it shouldn’t, but does. When I force myself to do art it feels good, so I try to do that, if I don’t fall asleep first. LOL But stuff gets done, really.

Now for some health/science news. Check out the video.

A video about why statins aren’t really doing what they say, and are not all that good for you.

Writing this Sunday night actually, and we are getting snow. Supposedly about 6 inches by morning. I’ll let you know.

Yep. Snow. Not quite 6 inches but pretty close, and still coming down at 7AM. Now to get ready for my appointment.

Stay warm, careful shoveling, and remember, that this ends like everything else.