Fog Heart

Fog Heart

Sometimes even Karla The Fog leaves her heart in (or near) San Francisco. Seen on the excellent fog.today.

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Links for September 2021

Updated on Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Snap Out of It, America: Give Kids the Right to Vote

So I disagree with this but it's interesting and well argued. A better idea is my life expectancy weighted voting plan.

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The ease of mail-in voting may increase turnout in California’s recall election.

NYT finally twigs.

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A woman is suing S.F. for $50 million over a parking ticket, saying tire chalk is unconstitutional

In one of the cases, filed Sept. 4, plaintiff Maria Infante seeks $50 million and class-action status after a San Francisco parking enforcement officer wielding chalk on a residential street gave her a $95 ticket.
The second case, filed the same day against San Leandro, demands $5 million for class members whose tires were chalked to financially benefit the city.

Civilization continues to collapse. I had my tongue in my cheek for this proposed constitutional amendment but I'm not so sure any more...

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How to Call Customer Service and Actually Get What You Want

Wired has this generic article on getting support with some insights that might have been cutting age a decade ago. I'm still waiting for CAPTGUAs.

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ITHCWY Newsletter for August 2021

West Portal Sunset

ITHCWY voter guide to the 2021 gubernatorial recall. Keep Gavin!

Improving my storage habits with folder insights.

Time lapse of stars over Redding, California.

Adventures growing crystals from a National Geographic kit.

A small WebCamSaver update.

Hikes - around the perimeter road of Angel Island, Teague Hill Preserve, and Echo Lake in Lassen.

ITHCWY interviews every coronavirus expert.

Previously:

Links for August 2021

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Every Coronavirus Article

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As a public service we interviewed every coronavirus expert from every hospital and public health department to get definitive advice on how to think about COVID-19 and navigating the current state of the pandemic.

ITHCWY: With the rise of the more infectious Delta variant, how should the vaccinated approach returning to bars, restaurants and even the office?

ECE: Great question. I think people should be asking themselves two questions. First, how vulnerable are you to infection? Do you have comorbidities brought on by having been alive for more than a few years? Do your cells accept or reject spike proteins? Second, what is your personal tolerance for badly quantified risks?

ITHCWY: What about families where the parents are vaccinated but there might be younger kids who aren't eligible?

ECE: Families are in a tough spot. As well as considering your own unknown vulnerability and appetite for risk, parents should also consider how likely their children are to get infected and the various articles they have read about unprecedented increases in vanishingly rare side effects that are overwhelming health providers at unconcerning levels.

ITHCWY: Your education and career have prepared you to quantify absolute and relative risks for infectious diseases, correct?

ECE: That's right. Not sure why you'd be interviewing me otherwise.

ITHCWY: Let's move on to outdoor risk. Last year there was a lot of talk of maintaining six feet of separation. Is this still the best advice?

ECE: It was the best advice we had available at the time. It turns out that six feet came from a Japanese marketing campaign in the '60s and has been passed on from public health expert to public health expert until the origins were entirely forgotten. The Japanese character for 6 looks a lot like a man standing to one side while a virus particle lands harmlessly next to him and so it kind of stuck. Cute, but it turns out there is little data to suggest it should be 6 feet rather than 4 or 20.

ITHCWY: So in 2021 what sort of distance should we leave when passing others?

ECE: It's a heavily populated planet. If you're moving further away from one person you're getting close to another. Instead of absolute distance I'd consider if that total stranger is vaccinated, what their hygiene habits are like, do they look like they'd cough into their elbow or directly at your face. That kind of thing. And as always you should consider your likelihood of infection from that specific person as well as the risks you've already taken and may yet take that day.

ITHCWY: More and more businesses are installing carbon dioxide sensors. Do you think this is a helpful trend?

ECE: As we all know ventilation is incredibly important in an indoor environment. It's also important that we use common sense. If you think 400 parts per million is a good level of CO2, good for you. If your spider sense thinks it should be more like 20%, knock yourself out.

ITHCWY: Is there a level of CO2 that would make you, for instance, stand up and leave a restaurant and go somewhere else?

ECE: Yes.

ITHCWY: Thanks for your time today. I'm sure our readers feel that all of their questions have been cleared up.

ECE: You're welcome.

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Links for August 2021

Updated on Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Links for July 2021

The New York Times: Opinion | America Needs to Break Up Its Biggest States

I'd rather get rid of the electoral college and have a national, ranked choice vote but this is interesting.

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ITHCWY Newsletter for June 2021

Visualizing Coronavirus Deaths by Country (Daily Incremental)

Catfood Earth has been missing a detailed guide since I shut down the Catfood Software web site. That has been fixed with this somewhat epic post which covers every feature of the Windows and Android versions.

Two new timelapses: stars over Columbia State Historic Park and another sunset. I also started working on a longer term project, it will be a few weeks until I get to see if it's going to work.

Hike posts have been upgraded with route maps and a chart showing elevation profile.

Also, some egrets and a ship.

Previously:

Links for June 2021

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Links for June 2021

Updated on Thursday, June 24, 2021

ITHCWY Newsletter for May 2021

Summer Solstice 2020

Timelapse of three trains of Starlink satellites. It's getting crowded up there. Another timelapse of the super flower blood moon eclipse which wasn't Musk's fault.

The Guardian's long read on free will is a disaster, but possibly not their fault. Also my tips on doing news right.

Photos from Marshall's Beach in San Francisco. And some fog. And sand.

Lastly, a nice hike near the Carquinez Strait.

Previously:

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Doing news right with Feedly and Google News

Read all about it

Get rid of social

I want to be well informed and, to the greatest extent possible, free from any kind of filter bubble. Hard to do that on Facebook. So the first step is to delete Facebook and Twitter. Now you have some time to design your news consumption.

Feedly

To me the very best part of the web is RSS feeds so I can quickly skim through hundreds of sites with a consistent interface and no ads. I used to do this with Google Reader but since that was killed I've found Feedly to be an awesome tool and I happily pay for the Pro version. The Android app is great. The web version sometimes gets lost in the list but is fast to use with keyboard shortcuts for cruising through your list. I keep Feedly stocked with news sites, hobbies, work related niche publications and everything I know I want to keep an eye on. The only gap is those unknown unknowns.

Google News

Google News is my current fix for finding the stories and context that I don't get through RSS.

What works

As a learning system Google News pretty quickly figures out what you're interested in. It's not perfect so you have to spend some time training it. Once in a while it will decide you need every word written about Ina Garten, but you can easily tell it that it's wrong. A more subtle tip is to often click sources that you violently disagree with. Google News has some tendency to surface different angles but it definitely helps to signal that you are open to uncomfortable takes on a story. This is a powerful filter bubble burster.

Feed mechanics

Having escaped most social media (I still have LinkedIn which is the cockroach of platforms) I really hate the feed based approach that Google takes with News. I understand it but I hate it. Probably the worst usability crime is that it will often refresh without being asked. I'll be halfway down the list, spot an interesting article, get distracted, and then when I switch back I see that tempting story for a fraction of a second before the whole feed reloads. Often that story is then nowhere to be found. There is a feature to save for later, but I try to avoid this because future me isn't likely to have time either and it adds the burden of yet another to-do list to keep track of.

Don't make me read it twice

Related to the feed is the tendency to show me the same story again, and again, and again. Other than ignoring a topic or publication there is no mechanism to just dismiss a story. I know that the algorithm has worked really really hard to find it but I don't need to see it every day for a week or more. It's OK, in fact desirable, to be done with the news. As with the feed I know that it's someone's job at Google to work on engagement and my time is an externality to their optimization algorithm. It's a big irritation all the same.

Podcasts

Lastly for me I also get a lot of context from podcasts. I use Podkicker Pro on Android (also worth paying for). We live in peak podcast times and I don't have enough time to listen to everything that I want to.

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