About Editor

Articles posted under editor are either administrative articles, such as roundups, or one-off posts by guest bloggers.

Refactorings Roundup 09/02/2018 — 09/15/18

We’re slowing this roundup post down to fortnightly, so it’s now twice as well curated  😎. We have 6 posts by friends of ribbonfarm, a dozen links from elsewhere (particularly good haul this fortnight), and a couple of short takes.

Bulk carrier waiting to load up near Seattle Pier 89

This roundup is a human-filtered subset of links and short takes aggregated by the Feed Fox bot authored by Zach Faddis, and running on the refactorcamp.org Mastodon instance. You can follow the bot directly if you want the unfiltered firehose.

New Posts

  1. AWS Amplify, React, Babel, and Webpack Setup by @jamescgibson. Link
  2. The Scent of Bad Psychology by putanumonit. Link
  3. How to Beat Neo-Nationalism in Three Moves by @stefanozorzi. Link
  4. Report: The Diminishing Marginal Value of Aesthetics by @telos. Link
  5. Destruction is a Choice by @vgr. Link
  6. The Constant Consumer by Drew Austin. Link. ht @vgr

Comment on this post with your blog link if you want it monitored by Feed Fox for potential inclusion, along with your mastodon (preferred) or twitter handle. 

Stuff We Read

  1. Culture wars 2.0 and memetic tribes. Link. ht @vgr
  2. “Leap seconds are far from the only ongoing uncertainty about time…” Link. ht @msweet
  3. Earth’s Future: Planetary Park or World-Wide Exclusion Zone?  Link. ht @vgr
  4. Can mindfulness reduce pain? Link. ht @aRandomCat
  5. Podcast on Bayesian thinking among other things. Link. ht @bkam
  6. Urban food production is always coming up against zoning laws. Link. ht @Bert
  7. Brutalist websites. Design inspiration. Link. ht @mrgunn
  8. The past was not as smelly as you think. Link. ht @adrianmryan
  9. Another internet celebrity sees the light (video, on quitting the Internet). Link. ht @miljko
  10. Tight vs loose and honor vs dignity cultures. Link. ht @vgr
  11. Traditional Euro-bloc: what it is, how it was built, why it can’t be built anymore. Link. ht @Elmkast
  12. A detailed assault on the book Sapiens. Link. ht @britt

If you are on the refactorcamp mastodon instance, you can tag links #heyfeedfox so they’re picked up by Feed Fox.

Short takes

In any online argument about a problem, there are some people who are only having the argument because they want to fix the problem, and there are other people who are only talking about the problem because they want to win the argument. — @nindokag

Irreversible choices have 2 aspects besides not being able to go back: the fateful option leading to uncharted regimes, and do-overs being costly/impossible.If future is like past, or you can do-over cheaply, irreversibility is moot. Like Coke vs Sprite at a vending machine. — @vgr

If you are on the refactorcamp mastodon instance, you can tag short takes #heyfeedfox so they’re picked up by Feed Fox.

Refactorings Roundup 08/26/2018 09/1/2018

It’s been a surprisingly busy August, usually the doldrums for us consultant types. Good haul of activity to round up this week: 5 selections from friends-of-ribbonfarm, 12 from elsewhere on the internet, 7 short takes. Happy Labor Day, and here’s the fruit of some human and robot labor for your hopper.

There is now a “robot” at San Jose airport. It is not a very good robot.

This roundup is a human-filtered subset of links and short takes aggregated by the Feed Fox bot authored by Zach Faddis, and running on the refactorcamp.org Mastodon instance. You can follow the bot directly if you want the unfiltered firehose.

New Posts

I am the very model of a self-recursive modeler by putanumonit. Link

Exploratory conversation by @msweet. Link

How Do You Value a Human Being? by @vgr. Link

How to spot good “futurism” by @jcamachor@mastodon.social. Link

Introducing key terms by @meaningness. Link

Comment on this post with your blog link if you want it monitored by Feed Fox for potential inclusion, along with your mastodon (preferred) or twitter handle. 

Stuff We Read

Wired guide to quantum computing . Link. ht @vgr

Thinking about willpower, or lack thereof . Link. ht @bkam

Bret Victor’s Quotes Page. Link . ht @a

This helped me a lot to navigate the political waters these days—not that I understand it all. Link. ht @steve

The ‘Other’ category in Singapore. Link. ht @visakanv

Excellent post on how you can get infrastructure rot in important sectors of the economy. Link. ht @jdp

Interesting (and potentially FUD-inducing) example of future warfare… Link ht @msweet

Fascinating how even with the Internet you still have these separations between groups of humans in terms of available memetics [Sewage Analysis]. Link. ht @jdp

“Perhaps intuitive but an interesting study nonetheless on walking eight minutes to acutely raise creativity. Link. ht @bkam

Review of Edward Said ‘On Late Style’. Link. ht @bueno

Failures in audience respect when communicating about climate change. “Risky time.” Link. ht @necopinus

Emoji, part 1: in the beginning. Link. ht @ipfactor

If you are on the refactorcamp mastodon instance, you can tag links #heyfeedfox so they’re picked up by Feed Fox.

Short Takes

“the left likes to pretend production is a solved problem, the right likes to pretend distribution is a solved problem” — @Harry_Pottash

New theory of ideological polarization/culture wars. When one ideology is taken seriously enough by those in power to exercise influence, ALL ideologues believe the pendulum might swing their way in the future and they’ll get their turn to try out their policy ideas. So all ideologues tend towards pragmatic centrism to increase their odds of gaining influence. But when ideology-apathetic opportunistic grifters are in power, all ideologues feel powerless and get more extremist. — @vgr

The only certainty in life is that the fragile will break. — @msweet

Mistaking the illegible for the non-existent and the legible for reality is one of the underpinnings of human nature.We’ve survived anyway because our explicit rationality doesn’t matter very much, in the long run. — @saamdaamdandbhed

A lack of information problem can hide like a master of disguise. Sometimes it presents as feeling directionless or uninspired. — @strangeattractor

Internet survival skill: when you read an accusation against someone, you must hold a kind of quantum superposition of “guilty” and “innocent” in your mind, to avoid being swept up and used as part of an online mob.The human brain really, REALLY doesn’t like holding that superposition for any length of time. Maybe this is why it “innocent until proven guilty” didn’t catch on until so recently in human history. — @nindokag

When people can shoot further than they can shout, it becomes wise to be very quiet. — @machado

If you are on the refactorcamp mastodon instance, you can tag short takes #heyfeedfox so they’re picked up by Feed Fox.

Refactorings Roundup 08/19/2018 – 8/25/2018

This week’s roundup features 4 new posts from friends of ribbonfarm: a book review, a career lessons type thing, 2 things about games. There are 8 links from elsewhere in the stuff-we-read section. Plus a new short takes section with <500 character thoughts from our Mastodon. We’re still working on tweaking the format.

Some urban goatspace

This roundup is a human-filtered subset of links and short takes aggregated by the Feed Fox bot authored by Zach Faddis, and running on the refactorcamp.org Mastodon instance. You can follow the bot directly if you want the unfiltered firehose.

New Posts

Hedge: A Greater Safety Net for the Entrepreneurial Age (book review) by @stefanozorzi. Link

Any Experience is Good Experience, and Other Falsehoods by @james. Link

How to Not Lose at 4d Chess by @vgr. Link

Player of Games by putanumonit.com. Link

Comment on this post with your blog link if you want it monitored by Feed Fox for potential inclusion, along with your mastodon (preferred) or twitter handle. We mainly feature selections from longform blogs with a refactor-y vibe.

Stuff we read

“Federation is the worst of all worlds”. Link. ht @vgr

If you haven’t seen The Prisoner I can’t recommend it enough. Link. Link. ht @britt

Some Arctic Ground No Longer Freezing—Even in Winter. Link. ht @vgr

Everyone is stupid and contagious right now in Washington. Link. ht @jdp

Designing Happiness (interview with Stefan Sagemeister). Link. ht @mark

Ambient particulate air pollution reduces life expectancy at birth by average of 1 year, globally. Link. ht @strangeattractor

A weirdly fun and good “11 laws of showrunning” essay (pdf) that could serve as a leadership guide as well. Link. ht @vgr

The Great Chinese Art Heist . Link. ht @vgr

f you are on the refactorcamp mastodon instance, you can tag links #heyfeedfox so they’re picked up Feed Fox.

Short takes

Resilience is having the strength to shoulder much, and the wisdom to carry little. — @zacharius

If you are on the refactorcamp mastodon instance, you can tag short takes #heyfeedfox so they’re picked up Feed Fox.

Feed Fox Links: 8/12/18 — 8/18/18

We’re starting a little community experiment. Zach Faddis has written a nice bot named Feed Fox that monitors a bunch of friends-of-ribbonfarm RSS feeds and toots out links on the Refactor Camp mastodon instance (which we’ve decided to leave open for registration for now). It also listens for, and boosts, links tooted by members and tagged #heyfeedfox. We’ll be publishing a weekly selection of links farmed thusly by the bot, probably on Sunday or Monday. If you want the unfiltered real-time firehose, you can follow the bot itself.

Moodpic: Mt. Rainier enveloped in wildfire haze and clouds, ht @vgr

Stuff written by friends of ribbonfarm

Review – The Artist’s Journey by Steven Pressfield by Zenpundit

In Conversation: Things We Like This Month by @adrianryan

The tyranny of the perfect day by @msweet

Comment on this post with your blog link if you want it monitored by Feed Fox, along with your mastodon (preferred) or twitter handle.

Stuff read by friends of ribbonfarm

Dominant men make decisions faster ht @vgr

No senses playing by the rules when the adversary won’t. Also it’s wartime. ht @britt

Denialism: What drives people to reject the truth ht @britt

Olmsted probably didn’t believe the “lungs of the city” theory he used to promote his parks movement. ht @vgr

If you are on the refactorcamp mastodon instance, you can tag links #heyfeedfox so they’re picked up Feed Fox.

The Ominouslier Roar of the Bitcoin Wave

This post is co-authored by Artem and Venkat

We have been annoyed with the state of blockchain visualizations. On the one extreme, we have the crappy not-even-wrong images of piles of gold coins to represent cryptocurrencies (there are much better visual metaphors you could use). On the other extreme we have stock-market type visualizations designed for salivating traders. It is actually remarkably hard to find good visualizations of the blockchain qua blockchain. Block explorers only give you a lost-in-the-weeds view at individual block and transaction levels.  There is no good, visual, empirically grounded thing you can point to when normies ask you what is this blockchain thing? So we made a video visualizing and audiolizing (there appears to be no auditory equivalent to visualize) the bitcoin blockchain.

In the wave animation above, the x axis is the block number, and the y axis is the amount in unspent outputs at that block location at a given time. One bar represents 300 blocks, and one frame of the video represents a 300-block increase in block height. We also treated the evolving wave as a sound spectrum to create the accompanying audio track. It sounds like a primordial slow roar. Watch with the sound on to hear it.

The wave basically represents value on the blockchain moving forward in time, as transactions move balances from older to newer blocks. “Bitcoins” are actually just moving balances.

This video was the result of a recent straggling chat over several days in the #blockchain channel of the ribbonfarm slack, between Artem and Venkat, with Sarah and Joe joining in occasionally (yes, there is a ribbonfarm slack, and yes, there is a #blockchain channel in it). Editing out several arguments over technical details and idle digressions into how to make your own MRI machines, speculations about an AI that collects all the bitcoin to gain control over humanity, arguments about whether Hedy Lamar was a geek or a nerd, and various other critically urgent and important topics, the conversation went as follows.

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Semi-Annual Roundup 2017

We’re halfway through 2017. Time for a roundup going into the July 4th weekend. Here are the posts published in the first half of the year, organized by author. We had 39 posts by 21 authors if I’m counting correctly (every post under guest is a distinct one-off author; contributors get a byline starting with their second post).

As you’ve probably guessed, we’ve made this a year of scaling, and are making a valiant attempt to hit a 2 posts/week tempo while also significantly expanding our network of writers. At 39 posts in 26 weeks, we are at roughly 1.5 posts/week.

  1. Zorba, Spock, or Voldemort? (4/11/2017) by Matthew Sweet
  2. Cannon Balls, Plate Tectonics, and Invisible Elephants (1/12/2017) by Hal Morris
  3. A Brief History of Existential Terror (2/28/2017) by Taylor Pearson
  4. There are bots. Look around. (5/23/2017) by Renee DiResta
  5. Entrepreneurship is Metaphysical Labor (4/18/2017) by Joseph Kelly
  6. The Strategy of No Strategy (2/23/2017) by Adam Elkus
  7. Arguing About How the World Should Burn (5/16/2017) by Sonya Mann
  8. Sanity on the Weird Timeline (3/14/2017) by Sonya Mann
  9. The Antiheroine Unveiled (1/19/2017) by Sonya Mann
  10. “Another Green World” (3/9/2017) by Contributor
  11. Rolling Your Own Culture and (Not) Finding Community (1/10/2017) by Contributor
  12. How to Dress for the Game of Life (1/17/2017) by Contributor
  13. Games, Videogames, and the Dionysian Society (1/26/2017) by Contributor
  14. Unbuilding the Wall (2/16/2017) by Contributor
  15. Caring and Reality (2/14/2017) by Contributor
  16. Lies, Caffeinated Lies, and Operating Systems (1/24/2017) by Contributor
  17. Shift Register Code Breaking Out of the Echo Chamber (2/7/2017) by Contributor
  18. One Sacred Trick for Moral Regeneration (2/9/2017) by Contributor
  19. Cloud Viruses in the Invisible Republic (4/4/2017) by Carlos Bueno
  20. How I Hired Your Mother (6/15/2017) by Carlos Bueno
  21. A Priest, a Guru, and a Nerd-King Walk Into a Conference Room… (5/9/2017) by Carlos Bueno
  22. Y Tribenator (5/30/2017) by Carlos Bueno
  23. Prescientific Organizational Theory (2/21/2017) by David Manheim
  24. The Throughput of Learning (1/31/2017) by Tiago Forte
  25. Fluid Rigor (5/4/2017) by Sarah Perry
  26. Why Books Are Fake (6/1/2017) by Sarah Perry
  27. Idiots Scaring Themselves in the Dark (4/13/2017) by Sarah Perry
  28. The Limits of Epistemic Hygiene (3/2/2017) by Sarah Perry
  29. After Temporality (2/2/2017) by Sarah Perry
  30. Tendrils of Mess in our Brains (1/5/2017) by Sarah Perry
  31. Thingness and Thereness (6/6/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  32. Ten Years of Refactoring (6/13/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  33. Been There, Done That (6/27/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  34. Blockchains Never Forget (5/25/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  35. One Weird Longform Trick…on the Blockchain! (4/25/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  36. Nobody Expects The Mongolian Earthship (3/30/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  37. Bourbon Crossing (3/23/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  38. The Winter King of the Internet (3/21/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  39. Sulking Through a Subprime Presidency (3/7/2017) by Venkatesh Rao
  40. Semi-Annual Roundup 2017 (6/29/2017) by Editor

Complete 2016 Roundup

Here’s the complete roundup for 2016. I’ve changed the format this year and have grouped the roundup by author and medium, to help you discover some of our new contributors and experimental content more easily. We had 8 new contributors, 3 returning contributors, and 2 regulars (Sarah and me) all together contributing 57 posts, of which 42 were longform, and 15 were  other media: audio (1), video (4), cartoons (6) and slide decks (4). It was a satisfying growth year, topping half a million visitors for the first time, and growing by between 25-33% depending on which metric you like.

screenshot-2016-12-30-09-35-56

Other highlights this year: a new high-watermark viral hit post that beat the Gervais Principle in single-day traffic, Artem vs. Predator, the first ever ribbonfarm longform blogging course (you’ll see the output in the next 2 months), and the first year when I was not the biggest longform contributor on the site (Sarah Perry had 12 posts, I had 11, not counting my experimental non-longform posts). I did, however, set a new ribbonfarm record for length: King Ruinous and the City of Darkness weighed in at over 14,000 words, nearly twice the previous record of around 8000.

The ribbonfarm map also evolved this year, and acquired a video tour, in Trace of the Weirding. If you’re new to ribbonfarm, this video and map might be helpful as a general overview of what we’re about.

New readers (here is the new readers start page) this year might also want to check out the 2015 roundup2014 roundup and 2013 roundup. If you want to do some binge reading further back into the archives, there is a page for the Rust Age (2007-12) with both curated selections and complete roundups for 2007-12.

Anyhow, click on with the roundup.

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Weird Crowds, Weird Planet

Here’s the pre-read for the third and fourth sessions of Refactor Camp.

For our session tomorrow, Tuesday the 26th on The Weird State of the Crowd, we are running a bit behind, so have a partial pre-read for you in the form of  this short summary document on Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power. The session will be led by Renee DiResta and Megan Lubaszka. I’ll add the summary deck, which will also cover Eric Hoffer’s, The True Believerto this post, once I have it. Apologies for the delay.

Update: the slides are in!

And for our final session on Thursday the 28th, which will attempt pull it all together via the capstone theme, Weird State of the Planet, here is the slide deck. This session will be led by Jordan Peacock and Sam Penrose.

Screenshot 2016-07-25 21.29.21

The Weird State of Capitalism

This is the slide-deck for the second session of Refactor Camp 2016, on Thursday the 21th. If you’re attending, please make sure to carve out at least 45 minutes beforehand to review this. This session will be led by Mick Costigan. The deck is on Google Docs and you’re invited to add comments to it.

 

Screenshot 2016-07-20 09.41.45

The Weird State of the State

This is the slide-deck for the first session of Refactor Camp 2016, on Tuesday the 19th. If you’re attending, please make sure to carve out at least 45 minutes beforehand to review this.