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Leadership, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2018). Loved it. So, so good. It’s a study of leadership (no surprise there) through looking at the lives and presidencies of Abraham Lincoln (depression, emancipation), Theodore Roosevelt (loss of mother and wife, coal strike), Franklin D. Roosevelt (paralysis, New Deal), and Lyndon B. Johnson (Senate loss, civil rights). I ate it up. Looking forward to reading more biographies of world leaders; recommendations welcome.

While not entirely unexpected, it was still sad to read that all four men died fairly young — fifty-six (Lincoln), sixty (Teddy), sixty-three (FDR), and sixty-four (LBJ). (Sometime in the last decade, by the way, my sense of what ages are “old” jumped from the sixties up to the eighties.)

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Robin Rendle:

  1. I’ve always seen the browser as a printing press.
  2. Because of that, I’ve always seen myself as a publisher first and then everything else second.

This, particularly the second point. I’ve seen myself as a publisher for a long time now as well, with all the books and language charts and magazines and even the art. And the web makes publishing so, so easy. It’s magical. Instant worldwide distribution. (Well, instant for the digital things I make.)

His first point has stuck with me as well — I’ve tended to think of my site mostly as a place to publish PDFs and EPUBs and images and other files I’ve made, but I like the idea of the web as the actual delivery mechanism, for more than just blog posts. This isn’t a new idea, of course; it’s just something I haven’t been thinking about as much till now. I’m looking over the type of things I’ve made — books, languages charts, etc. — and thinking what it would be like if the end product were a web page instead of a PDF or an EPUB. And of course nowadays I’m using HTML/CSS as the source for all three main formats for books (web, EPUB, PDF), so it doesn’t necessarily have to be either/or.

Anyway, nothing specific in mind yet. We’ll see what comes of it.

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The Devil You Know, by K. J. Parker (2016). Novella. In the same vein as some of his other novellas — in fact, for the first twenty pages I wasn’t sure if I’d already read it without realizing it. Even so, I enjoyed it. The worldbuilding is right up my alley and there were some fun twists.

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Sex Educated: Letters from a Latter-day Saint Therapist to Her Younger Self, by Bonnie Young (2023). It was good! Part of me wishes it had been longer — I read it in a single sitting — but short isn’t bad. (Says the guy constitutionally incapable of writing a long book review.) There’s level-headed wisdom here. I feel that the book is a good, solid step toward helping our relationship with sex (as members of the Church) be more healthy.

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Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone (2012). First in the Craft sequence. I liked the legal aspect (and rather wish there were a lot more of it), the magic system was interesting, and I felt that the conclusion pulled all the threads together nicely. Intriguing worldbuilding, too.

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Let’s Talk about Race and Priesthood, by W. Paul Reeve (2023). I think every member of the Church should read this book. It’s important. And heartbreaking. I am very, very glad that we made it through to this side of the racial restriction. The book has a lot of details I’d never heard before on how the restriction came about and evolved over time. Highly recommended.

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Links #88

Xavi Ruiz showing where people in Europe live in apartments vs. houses.

Sarah C. P. Williams on a new inverse vaccine that could treat multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. Oh, I hope this works out.

Benj Edwards on AI-generated spiral village. Cool. And trippy.

Abbey Interrante on a coronal mass ejection recorded by the Parker Solar Probe. The video is fascinating.

The Tree Projects, photographing super tall trees.

Max Read’s literary history of fake texts in Apple’s marketing materials. Ha.

TypeScript Origins: The Documentary. I still haven’t watched any of these, though I’ve been meaning to. (Video isn’t really my thing.)

University of Liverpool archaeologists have discovered a manmade wooden structure dating from 476,000 years ago. “Expert analysis of stone tool cut-marks on the wood show that these early humans shaped and joined two large logs to make a structure, probably the foundation of a platform or part of a dwelling.”

Carson Gross on view source. Yep.

The Linotype Book Project, “documenting the journey of Doug Wilson while he researches, writes, and documents the history of the Linotype and its outsized impact on printing, journalism, and society.” Looks interesting.

The State of HTML survey is now open. By the same people who do the State of JS and State of CSS surveys.

Imba, a full-stack web programming language. I don’t think I’d use it, but it’s an interesting idea.

Thomas Kole’s renderings of Tenochtitlan, a 3D reconstruction of the city as it might have looked in 1500. Cool.

Mike Crittenden on farming your gut, so to speak. From a quote in the post: “Consider your gut microbiome as a farm and your microbiota as your own personal farm animals, then decide what to feed them to optimize their diversity, stability, and health, and optimize production of beneficial signaling molecules that affect our brains.”

Jason Kottke on Nikola Faller’s artistic leaf raking. Cool.

Josh Collinsworth on Tailwind. I wouldn’t mind never having to work with Tailwind again, honestly. I like real CSS.

Ed Nawotka on’s plans to expand into ebooks. Ooh. This is very intriguing.

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Booknotes 2.10


  • Breath, by James Nestor. I found this fascinating. Had no idea mouthbreathing was so bad, or that people naturally had straight teeth up until a few hundred years ago. Some parts were harder to believe than others — fixing scoliosis with breathing techniques, staying warm in very cold temperatures by breathing differently — but overall it was an interesting book. Worth reading.
  • Spelunky, by Derek Yu, about the development of the titular game. Fun read, enjoyed it a lot. Made me want to write a roguelike.


  • Whalefall, by Daniel Kraus. Read it for book group. Whew. Intense and a bit uncomfortable. Lots of concrete detail, though, and I learned a lot about scuba diving and whale anatomy, and the character work was good.
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire. Novella. Crackling with danger and a lovely dark fairy tale atmosphere. There were some parts I didn’t like, but the rest was good. It’s been long enough that I’d completely forgotten that these characters were in the first Wayward Children novella as well. Interested to see where the series goes.

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Links #87

Danilo Campos on how it’s easier than ever to build hardware these days.

Jennifer Champoux in BYU Studies on the Book of Mormon Art Catalog. I was particularly interested in the section on production patterns over time.

Ted Bushman & Kristin Perkins in The Season on weird Latter-day Saint art. I’ve thought about going in this direction, but I don’t know, I don’t think it’s me. (But I’m fine making non-religious weird art and hope to do more of that soon.)

Steph Ango on files over apps. “File over app is a philosophy: if you want to create digital artifacts that last, they must be files you can control, in formats that are easy to retrieve and read. Use tools that give you this freedom.” Agreed.

Robin Sloan on what a wizard would read. “I believe it is time, instead, for creative investigations of decency, virtue, and goodness. If that sounds boring: yes! That’s why the project is needed! Let’s learn how to render complex and compelling the characters who are trying their best to live correctly — and sometimes, gasp, even succeeding.”

Font Bakery, a command-line tool for validating font quality. Nice.

Cindy Blanco on words shared in all languages.

Steven Johnson on the return of the progress city along with Victor Gruen and Walt Disney. Interesting. This reminded me that I need to read Jane Jacobs.

NOAA on an unidentified specimen found on the bottom of the ocean. “While we were able to collect the ‘golden orb’ and bring it onto the ship, we still are not able to identify it beyond the fact that it is biological in origin.”

Bun 1.0 has been released. I haven’t actually used it on anything yet, but whenever I next work on a command-line JavaScript project, I plan to.

Sonia Fernandez on reading large letters through walls via Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi has a surprising amount of other uses.

Jennifer Ouellette on scientists figuring out how to write in water, using micron-scale pens.

Matthew Inman on creativity. Vulgar as always with The Oatmeal, but some good points.

Roger Pimentel on the plan of salvation. Food for thought. This is part three of three.

Lincoln Michel on writing for your best readers. I need to remember this.

Maxime Heckel on raymarching.

VÉgA Vocabulary of Ancient Egyptian site. This is really well done. Highly recommended if you’re studying Middle Egyptian. (Though the orthography of the name is admittedly a little awkward.)

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One year later

A year both slow and fast.

This week held four first anniversaries for me. Because we realized on a Tuesday that my dad had disappeared but we didn’t find him until that Friday after days of searching, the shape of the week is burned into my brain. We also have the calendrical anniversaries, where he went missing on the 13th and we found his body on the 16th (today).

It’s been an easier week than I anticipated. A thin layer of sadness spread over everything, yes, but I expected copious bouts of sobbing and generally not being able to function. Those expectations were almost certainly skewed; a full emotional repeat of the actual week wasn’t ever going to happen. Part of me also suspects that I’ve finished processing and have digested the tragedy into backstory, but I don’t have a good read on whether that’s accurate. What I do know, though, is that reading has been harder this past week; I barely eked out ten pages on Wednesday.

A few months ago I worked with someone on a collaborative art-related project that was due to be released next month. He had expressed interest in attending my art shows, so I emailed him near the end of last month to let him know about my I Lexi show at Writ & Vision. I realized this past Wednesday that I never heard back from him. He’d used his work email (the project was through his employer), so I wondered if perhaps he’d been laid off. I googled him…and immediately ran into his obituary. He’d been dead five days when I emailed him. Further digging revealed that he took his life. Oof. Sad and awful. That discovery cast an extra death-haunted tint on the day.

Last week I learned that my dad killed himself during National Suicide Prevention Week. I’m sure it had nothing to do with my dad’s choice of timing, but the irony is not lost on me.

As we gathered at my dad’s gravesite this week, I realized the typeface I used on the headstone (Literata) is the same typeface I use on my site. (Till the next redesign, anyway.) I don’t think I was conscious of that when I designed the stone; I was more concerned about choosing a typeface that was readable and had thick enough strokes for the engraving.

Here we are one year later and I’m still not done with the administrative side of the estate. Should get there in the next week or so, though. Crazy how long it takes.

Last but not least, thank you to all of you who’ve reached out this week to let us know you’re thinking of us. It’s meant a lot to us.

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