Matt Bell on training your weaknesses and lessons from running that apply to writing. “I’ve given dozens of craft talks about novel writing since Refuse to Be Done came out, and one of the most reliably reassuring things I tell people in those talks is that the task on any given day of writing a novel is never to write a novel. A day’s work might be a scene or a chapter; it might be a paragraph or a sentence; it might be outlining or research.”
Tiny News Collective. “We support the voices historically excluded from media and media ownership by providing tools, resources and community of learning to help people build sustainable news organizations that reflect and serve their communities.” This is great.
Spectrolite, a macOS app “for making colorful risograph prints and zines and books more easily.” I don’t have a risograph, but the posterization UI is cool and the imposition functionality looks helpful for booklet/zine printing.
How Big Things Get Done, by Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner. This was good. Lots of food for thought here; I’ve been thinking about how to apply these concepts to my day job as a software engineer but also to writing novels, particularly the “think slow, act fast” idea. Speaking of the day job, it was fun to see Planet Labs get a mention in the section on modularity.
Eve Bites Back, by Anna Beer, about the lives and achievements of eight women writers: Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Aemilia Lanyer, Anne Bradstreet, Aphra Behn, Mary Wortley Montagu, Jane Austen, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Liked it, especially learning about those I’d never heard of. (Like Jane Austen.) (I jest.)
In the Woods, by Tana French. First book in the Dublin Murder Squad series. I had this one checked out years ago but never got to it. Picked it up again after seeing a positive review of it recently, and I’m glad I did! Really liked it. Page turner, great writing. I haven’t been reading all that many mysteries these days, but I’m looking forward to reading the rest of French’s oeuvre.
Blood Over Bright Haven, by M. L. Wang. So good. Liked it even more than The Sword of Kaigen. It tied together several threads that I like seeing in fantasy novels: history of science (people doing research), dark academia, magic that’s loosely like programming, and activism against sexism and racism.
The Gone World, by Tom Sweterlitsch. While the science fiction ideas were quite interesting, the book was a bit too dark for me. Not entirely sure why. Still a compelling page turner, though.
The Flux manifesto. “We founded Flux to make atoms as malleable as bits. We want to take the hard out of hardware, to make it as easy for a teenager to build an iPhone as a website. We want to unleash the latent human potential held back by the high barriers to creating breakthrough physical products. We want to accelerate technological progress by making it possible for anyone, regardless of background or resources, to bring their best ideas to life in physical form.” It’s a corporate manifesto so take with a huge grain of salt, but the idea is interesting. Democratizing hardware creation is intriguing.
Anton Howes on making historical sources available. “Just as in the sciences it is considered good practice to make one’s data available, in history it should perhaps be a requirement to upload to some public repository the photographs or transcriptions of any cited archival sources that are not otherwise freely accessible online.” 100%.
Statecraft, a newsletter by Santi Ruiz and Jake Leffew about how successful government initiatives happened. “We think these interviews can serve as roadmaps for readers trying to get big hairy things done in the public sector, and illuminate the inner workings of government for the policy-curious. We also think they’re tremendous stories.”
New artwork: Strait Is the Gate. A new take on Narrow Is the Way. Also, Inkscape’s roughen and simplify filters are nicer to work with than SVG filters (which often have some weird rendering issues in the bottom right of shapes, at least when using Inkscape to render them).
Mandy Brown on energy making time. “It turns out, not doing their art was costing them time, was draining it away, little by little, like a slow but steady leak. They had assumed, wrongly, that there wasn’t enough time in the day to do their art, because they assumed (because we’re conditioned to assume) that every thing we do costs time. But that math doesn’t take energy into account, doesn’t grok that doing things that energize you gives you time back. By doing their art, a whole lot of time suddenly returned. Their art didn’t need more time; their time needed their art.” This is a really good point. I think writing does this for me.
OnlineSafari.tv. Wildlife webcams across the world. These feel magical to me.
Barbara, a live coding language for quilting patterns. Intriguing.
JSketcher, a web-based parametric 2D and 3D CAD modeler.
Adam Zewe on MIT scientists using kirigami to make ultrastrong, lightweight structures. “Using kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of folding and cutting paper, MIT researchers have now manufactured a type of high-performance architected material known as a plate lattice, on a much larger scale than scientists have previously been able to achieve by additive fabrication. This technique allows them to create these structures from metal or other materials with custom shapes and specifically tailored mechanical properties.”