Alex’ Reading List


Charlie's DiaryCovid on Mars

Time for a thought experiment! (For those of us who don't want to keep chewing on the sore that is the US presidential succession—if you do, please stick to this already-existing discussion: cross-contamination into this new discussion will be dealt with harshly.)We all know by now that Elon Musk wants to appoint himself Pope-Emperor of Mars. As the world's richest man (currently, and only on paper—it's based on the Tesla share valuation, which is wildly inflated) and as the guy with the privat…

Charlie's DiaryWhat happens now?

Serious question, for discussion.After the events of January 6th, I currently expect the inauguration to happen on January 20th, although there will be death threats against both the incoming president and vice-president. How seriously they're taken by the US Secret Service, FBI, and other relevant security agencies is going to be telling: we know that white supremacists have pursued a policy of entryism in police and military forces for decades now (globally, not just in the USA), and although…

Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory DoctorowPluralistic: 19 Jan 2021

Today's links Amazon warehouse union gets tech solidarity: #DoItWithRealPower This day in history: 2006, 2016 Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading Amazon warehouse union gets tech solidarity (permalink) While many Amazon warehouse workers in Europe have unionized, its brutalized, underpaid, routinely maimed US workforce remains tragically unorganized, thanks to the US's weak labor laws that make forming a union far harder than at a…


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  • al
  • alamaba
  • amazon
  • astroturf
  • bessemer
  • bhm1
  • doitwithoutdues
  • doitwithrealpower
  • pinkertons
  • tech workers coalition
  • twc
  • unions

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Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory DoctorowPluralistic: 18 Jan 2021

Today's links How to leak a Zoom meeting: Watermarks, tile randomization, and more. Pandemics and peak indifference: Squandering history's most expensive lessons. Planet Money's free Great Gatsby audiobook: The public domain in action. Honor MLK day with the Internet Archive: A fabulous, open access trove. Someone Comes to Town, Part 28: This week's podcast installment carries on my friendly dispute with Manuel Castells. Facebook's community standards: JWZ's 0-follower, 0-post FB account was sus…


  • Uncategorized
  • audiobooks
  • covid
  • economics
  • epidemiology
  • eugenics
  • facebook
  • gilded age
  • human capitol theory
  • inequality
  • internet archive
  • jwz
  • leaking
  • manuel castells
  • mlk
  • moderation
  • motivated reasoning
  • npr
  • open access
  • opsec
  • peak indifference
  • podcasts
  • public domain
  • race
  • science fiction
  • scttslt
  • smart mobs
  • spoken word
  • the great gatsby
  • watermarks
  • why we cant have nice things
  • zoom

QC RSSWell Said


Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory DoctorowPluralistic: 17 Jan 2021

Today's links Fighting fiber was the right's dumbest self-own: "We don't have to care. We're the [phone company|social media monopolist]." This day in history: 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, 2020 Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading Fighting fiber was the right's dumbest self-own (permalink) With the deplatforming of forums where trumpists and right-wing figures congregate, there's a lot of chatter about whether and when private entities …


  • Uncategorized
  • 1a
  • ajit fucking pai
  • ajit pai
  • broadband
  • cable company fuckery
  • community broadband
  • deplatforming
  • fiber
  • free speech
  • ftth
  • insurrection
  • monopoly
  • net neutrality
  • parler
  • useful idiots


Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory DoctorowPluralistic: 16 Jan 2021

Today's links Pelosi kicks Katie Porter off the Finance Committee: Paging Upton Sinclair, Mr Sinclair to the white courtesy phone. This day in history: 2001, 2006, 2016, 2020 Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading Pelosi kicks Katie Porter off the Finance Committee (permalink) The Democrats are at least two parties. The progressive wing of the party (which is by no means unified) and the finance wing of the party, which is also the p…


  • Uncategorized
  • banksters
  • corruption
  • dems
  • elections
  • finance
  • katie porter
  • nancy pelosi
  • shahid buttar
  • swamp gators


A Collection of Unmitigated PedantryMiscellanea: Insurrections, Ancient and Modern (And Also Meet the Academicats)

So this week I want to talk about how what I know a historian influences how I am interpreting what I am going to call the Capitol Insurrection that happened on Wednesday, January 6 instead of taking the week off as I had originally planned. Since that is a really heavy topic, I am also … Continue reading Miscellanea: Insurrections, Ancient and Modern (And Also Meet the Academicats) →


  • Miscellanea
  • Cats
  • Civil Military Relations
  • Coups
  • Political Systems
  • Social History
  • Stasis

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These idiots


Charlie's DiarySo you say you want a revolution

Today is December 6th. The UK left the EU most of a year ago, but a transition agreement is in effect; it expires on December 31st, and negotiations between the British government and the EU appear to be on the rocks.How did we get here and where are we going?It's clear now that the Conservative party has, since 2017, succumbed to entryism by a faction of extreme right wing xenophobes who, in alliance with a cadre of rapacious disaster capitalists, intend to ram through a Brexit that does not …

Derik Badman's Journal2021-01-08 08:35

One of the mainstays of the past year has been Thursday happy hours with my friends/D&D group. We get on video chat and talk and some of us drink and many of us are making dinner. Last night we ended up on old/bad/weird jobs people had, and I was once again reminded how lucky I've been in that regard. I have basically had 3 employers over the course of 28 years. I had 4 different jobs for the second employer over the course of ~14 years, but they were all a progression of differing library jobs.…

Charlie's DiarySubmarine coming through!

I'm in a holding pattern on the blog just now because I'm frantically busy with end-of-year work: publisher production departments like to clear their desks before the office shuts down for a fortnight, and they expect to come back to a full in-tray on January 4th, and of course authors don't have families or friends to socialize with, so why not share the joy of a tight deadline copy edit check with your loved ones this festive season?That's not actually what I'm working on right now, but I am…

A Collection of Unmitigated PedantryCollections: That Dothraki Horde, Part IV: Screamers and Howlers

This is the fourth part of a four part (I, II, III) look at the Dothraki from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. We’re looking at, in particular, if Martin’s claim that the Dothraki are “an amalgam of a number of steppe and plains cultures” can … Continue reading Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part IV: Screamers and Howlers →


  • Collections
  • That Dothraki Horde
  • Armor
  • Game of Thrones
  • Hollywood Tactics
  • nomadism
  • Oh no
  • Operations
  • steppe nomads
  • Tactics
  • Warfare
  • Weapons


Derik Badman's Journal2021-01-07 08:31

I have a review of some comics by Peony Gent up at The Comics Journal today. I'm a fan. You can see more of her work here.Reread (for the who know how many times) Queneau's Sunday of Life over the past few days. There are authors I really love and then there are the subgroup of authors I can pretty much always just pick up, read, and enjoy. Queneau being at the top of that list. This time around (it's probably been a few years since my last read of it) I noticed how much the protagonist, Valent…


Derik Badman's Journal2021-01-04 08:46

The holidays are over, and I while I was working last week, I did have a number of days off and the days on were slower than usual, so this morning comes with some reluctance and trepidation.At a loss for something short to watch in the morning over breakfast (can't read while I eat), I was looking for something serialized that I can stop halfway through an episode. I came up short yesterday, but today stumbled on Snowpiercer now on HBO Max. A sci-fi show based on a bande dessinée (that was als…


Derik Badman's Journal2021-01-03 09:02

Spent most of yesterday playing Cyberpunk 2077 and realized I never wrote about Assassin's Creed: Valhalla which I finished up a few weeks back now. Well finished in that I did the main storyline and major side quests but did not get "100%" on all the minor stuff on the map (there's tons of it). I enjoyed the game a lot, as usual, in a large part because of the historical setting of 9th century Anglo Saxon Britain. The integration of the sci-fi elements was narratively more satisfying this time …


A Collection of Unmitigated PedantryFireside Friday: January 1, 2021

Happy New Year! Good riddance 2020! Fireside this week. Next week, we’ll be finishing up our look at the Dothraki of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones by looking at how they are shown to fight and comparing that to the fighting patterns of actual historical horse-borne nomads. Of course, it’s … Continue reading Fireside Friday: January 1, 2021 →


  • Fireside
  • Early Modern
  • Economy
  • Empire
  • Roman Empire
  • Science Fiction


Kiwi HellenistTop posts of 2020

I’m well aware how lucky I am to have been living in New Zealand in 2020. Still, I’ve had multiple personal reasons why much of 2020 has been an annus horribilis anyway. This year has had some bright spots — the astounding speed of the vaccine development, the continuing decline of fossil fuels, the reappearance of Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker — but not enough to make up for the bad.Now, at last, 2020 is hindsight. Good riddance.This is not how the ancient Greeks discovered the shape of the ea…


  • meta


Dancing around the world...Istanbul - Sunday

This blog entry has a soundtrack: It's the album "Time" by Electric Light Orchestra. I usually don't listen to music while I walk around because I want to take in the environment. But on Sunday morning, my last day in Istanbul, I had stumbled over a quote by John Lennon that ELO were the "sons of the Beatles" and I remembered that I actually had that album in my collection.Give this masterpiece a listen - you can thank me later.I had already packed my stuff the night before, so I was out relat…


  • 26
  • church
  • dance
  • food
  • Istanbul
  • street art

Dancing around the world...Istanbul - Rainy day impressions

The weather report for Saturday had promised sunshine and I was looking forward to a nice walk in a park. So I was a bit annoying to find a cloudy sky when I went out.I still walked towards Nişantaşı where I had another appointment for a facial treatment.On the way there I overheard a couple next to me speaking in Swiss German. The man told his wife:„Darling, on the metro you don’t get to see anything.“ Wise words.They kept walking in the same direction as me and at some point there was a sho…


  • 26
  • Istanbul
  • mosque
  • nightlife
  • shopping
  • Walking

Dancing around the world...Istanbul - From above and below

On Friday I got out of the house after 9 AM and continued the planned route that I had started on Wednesday, just from the other end, walking downhill, towards Istanbul‘s oldest mosque.On the way, a hotel advertised a „Roof terrace breakfast“ which sounded very appealing.It was too cold and wet to eat outside, but I snapped a picture of their pretty impressive view.There are some grand old buildings in this area.This seagull was watching me almost the entire time I was eating - as if I was g…


  • 26
  • Istanbul

Dancing around the world...Istanbul - Art and selfcare

One of the advantages of staying in the same place for two weeks is that you don’t need to have a full, action packed program every day. A rainy day isn’t that much of an downer either.Thursday was one of those days where I didn’t go that far, and looking at art seemed like a good way to escape the wet weather. There are so many galleries in Beyoglu, and they are free to visit. I started with some „interesting“ modern art.The main goal however was the Pera museum which had a special exhibition…


  • 26
  • art
  • Istanbul
  • museum
  • sightseeing


Kiwi HellenistThe Christmas stories: Matthew vs. Luke

Christmas isn’t adapted from pagan festivals, but that doesn’t mean the traditional stories of Jesus’ birth are a straightforward historical matter. The traditional Nativity story isn’t a replica of any ancient source. It’s a mash-up.In this cinematic Nativity scene (The Nativity story, 2006) the traditional elements come from five separate sources — only two of them in the New Testament. The magi and the star are from Matthew 2.9–12, the shepherds from Luke 2.8–20, the cave from Protevangelium…


  • ancient religion
  • Christianity
  • reception


A Collection of Unmitigated PedantryCollections: That Dothraki Horde, Part III: Horse Fiddles

This is the third part of a four part (I, II, IV) look at the Dothraki from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. We’re looking at, in particular, the degree to which George R.R. Martin’s claim that the Dothraki are “an amalgam of a number of steppe … Continue reading Collections: That Dothraki Horde, Part III: Horse Fiddles →


  • Collections
  • That Dothraki Horde
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
  • Culture
  • Customs
  • Dothraki
  • Game of Thrones
  • material culture
  • Mongols
  • Native Americans
  • Oh no
  • Social History
  • steppe nomads


nonzen journalArea Man Learns to Make Wheels

I have been toying with Python wheel packages, of which I knew very little a few months back, except of their existence, and things like: they’re essentially zip files, and they somehow make shipping C extensions easier.I wanted to write down the few things I have learned since, so that I would appear to be little less confused and maybe a little more informed.Background is as follows: one of the libraries Tahoe-LAFS depends on is zfec, which implements an “erasure code”, or “forward error cor…


Kiwi HellenistCannabis use in ancient Greece and Rome

On Friday we should know the result of a referendum held in New Zealand to decide whether cannabis should be legalised. The referendum was held in conjunction with the 2020 general election. Around 82.5% of eligible voters participated, but we’re still waiting on the counting of special votes -- nearly 17% of all votes cast.It’s always been daft to restrict such a useful plant, especially when its demonised recreational use is much more harmless than either tobacco or alcohol. (It was only ever…


  • ancient natural science
  • ancient religion
  • Greek
  • Roman


Kiwi HellenistLucian's parody of the book of Revelation

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21.1-2Lucian, a 2nd century satirical essayist, wrote a very close parody of this episode from the New Testament book of Revelation. Historians of early Christianity tend not to notice this. Sometimes they even reject it out of hand when i…


  • ancient religion
  • Christianity
  • Greek


nonzen journalCinnamon Rolls for a Vegan Friend

Regardless of the ongoing plague and its social consequences, we managed to make some new friends in Toronto!Since one of the things our species bond over is food, Achu decided to prepare some cinnamon rolls when we recently met our friends. (Some of the other things that our species bond over are tribalism, gossiping, common enemies, and angry pointless rants on social media, but that is a separate topic.)One of our new friends is vegan, so some vegan-appropriate changes were made in the reci…


Kattaschas BlogProf. Dr. Zweig über Chancen und Risiken künstlicher Intelligenz

Die aktuelle Folge des Denkangebot Podcast setzt sich mit dem Thema „Diskriminierung durch Technik“ auseinander. Im Rahmen der Recherche habe ich mit Prof. Dr. Katharina Zweig gesprochen. Sie lehrt an der TU Kaiserslautern, leitet dort das Algorithmic Accountability Lab und ist eine der führenden Expertinnen in Deutschland, wenn es um die Bewertung der Risiken und … Prof. Dr. Zweig über Chancen und Risiken künstlicher Intelligenz weiterlesen


  • Anonymität
  • Bildung
  • Blog
  • Bundestag
  • Datenschutz
  • Demokratie
  • Denkangebot Podcast
  • Künstliche Intelligenz
  • Wirtschaft
  • Wissenschaft
  • Algorithmen
  • Ein Algorithmus hat kein Taktgefühl
  • Interview
  • Prof. Dr. Katharina Zweig


nonzen journalIt's Downtown, Man

Since January, we have been living in the center of a populous metropolis. Clearly populous metropolises (or is it metropolii?) are a rather poor choice to take upon residence at the time of a global pandemic. Clearly our move was rather poorly timed. But it sort of happened.The way-too-short-term stay We spent our Christmas with Bill. After Christmas, we drove to Canada from Indiana, with Ammu cat, and what worldly possessions we could fit in our hatchback car.We were going to stay in a room …


Kattaschas BlogWarum Rechtsextremisten Mythen zu Corona verbreiten

– Interview mit Christian Fuchs Angesichts der Corona-Pandemie sind alle anderen Themen in den Hintergrund gerückt. Dabei gibt es gute Gründe, warum es gerade jetzt besonders wichtig ist, die Entwicklungen in der rechtsextremen Szene sehr genau zu verfolgen. Für die letzte Ausgabe meines Podcasts Denkangebot habe ich mit dem Journalisten und Autor Christian Fuchs über … Warum Rechtsextremisten Mythen zu Corona verbreiten weiterlesen


  • AfD
  • Bildung
  • Blog
  • Demokratie
  • Innere Sicherheit
  • Migration
  • Rassismus
  • Wissenschaft
  • Corona
  • Corona-Krise
  • Covid19


Kattaschas BlogBBC-Dokumentation über Amazon

Vor einigen Monaten hat mich ein Filmteam der BBC gefragt, ob ich ihnen etwas über meine Datenabfrage bei Amazon erzählen kann. Im Rahmen der Recherche für mein Buch „Die Daten, die ich rief“ hatte ich vor einiger Zeit von meinem Recht auf Auskunft Gebrauch gemacht und meinen Clickstream von Amazon angefordert. Ich bekam darauf hin … BBC-Dokumentation über Amazon weiterlesen


  • Anonymität
  • Auskunftsersuchen
  • Bildung
  • Blog
  • Datenschutz
  • Demokratie
  • Medien
  • Wirtschaft
  • Amazon
  • Buch


Kattaschas BlogGewaltfantasien und rechtsextreme Abgründe in Online-Netzwerken – Interview mit Karolin Schwarz

Die Journalistin Karolin Schwarz hat sich intensiv mit rechtsextremen Netzwerken beschäftigt und war dort auch undercover unterwegs. Im Interview erzählt sie, auf welche Strukturen sie bei ihren Recherchen gestoßen ist.


  • AfD
  • Bildung
  • Blog
  • Demokratie
  • Hatespeech
  • Innere Sicherheit
  • Medien
  • Podcast
  • Rassismus
  • Interview
  • Karolin Schwarz
  • Rechtsextremismus


nonzen journalAdventure Time

Lately there has been an uptick in life events. I thought I should keep a brief record of the said events here, in a “dear diary” fashion, before I forget nearly all of it.The gist is this: we (Achu and I, not the royal “we”) are in the process of moving to Canada from the United States. In fact, I am in Canada as I write this.I moved to United States about nine years back, under a confluence of circumstances, and not without some resistance. I was a graduate student at first, then took a stab…