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Dave Winer -

Scripting News - 2020-07-05T15:17:04Z

- 2020-07-05T14:23:27Z
Poll: If you could have a reincarnated Martin Luther King, Jr leading the Democratic Party today or Barack Obama, who would you chose?

- 2020-07-05T15:17:04Z
Perfect. Take down all Confederate statues and ship them to Trump for his Garden of Heroes of White Supremacy and the Not See Party.

- 2020-07-05T13:29:46Z
A few days ago I said I figured out that the not-pleasant burnt smell in the air came from fireworks. That was incorrect. A neighbor is having work done on trees. I live in a forest, where trees are a big deal. They're always falling over, and then you need to cut them up and haul the wood away or chop it into firewood. When you cut trees with a chain saw the wood burns, and it doesn't stop burning when the cutting is done. And that adds a stink to the air, like a fire that was put out with water. That's what I was smelling. I know this because I had some trees cut last year, and the stinky smell stuck around for a week. It's a sad smell, of a dying beast. On the other hand, when you wake up on a summer morning with dew on everything, and a nice warm feel to the air, with a bit of residual chill, the forest smells like life. It's a wonderful smell.

- 2020-07-05T13:16:01Z
Snopes and CNN say Trump did not say Desert Storm took place in Vietnam. I ran a link on my linkblog yesterday that said otherwise.

- 2020-07-05T12:22:35Z
Here’s an idea. Tear down the confederate statues and lovingly deliver them to trump.

- 2020-07-05T12:13:28Z
After trump is gone we have to get rid of the cancel cult. It’s an ugly side effect of the power of online communication. When trump uses it in his campaign it’s one of the very few things he’s right about.

- 2020-07-05T14:26:31Z

Rebuild with Biden.

- 2020-07-04T16:36:34Z
Suggestion: Choose to not be offended, at least once a day.

- 2020-07-04T16:26:16Z
Here's a list of the 37 Node.js packages I've made available through NPM. I was just planning a project and was sure I must have created a package for reading to and from a GitHub repo. There it is. Two entry-points, getFile and uploadFile. Voila. Not much in the way of docs. But there is an example app.

- 2020-07-04T16:04:57Z
Arnold Schwarzenegger on his love for America. I totally concur. The US welcomed my family in the 1940s. My parents were children, their parents were running for their lives. All of our love of country is being tested, but as it is, it is revealed. It takes on new meaning. We'll come back from this. There are a lot of reasons for the trouble we're in, some habitual, some technical. I've heard Americans say they wish they had left when they could, but there's a reason we didn't leave. This is our country. We can't abandon it in its time of need. We're the ones who stayed. We will make it work.

- 2020-07-04T15:39:12Z
The infinite scrolling feature on the Scripting News home page wasn't a good idea, because it made it difficult to reach the bottom of the page which has useful stuff on it. I just turned it off. I did a video demo of the feature so we can remember how it worked, and if needed I can turn it back on. And the More button remains, so you can use that to scroll back, one day at a time.

- 2020-07-04T15:22:36Z
Today's song: He's Gone by the Grateful Dead. No special reason. No one specific died. I just have this song rolling around in my head this morning. You know better but I know him.

- 2020-07-03T15:32:33Z
A tweetcast about how things in the US are kind of normal.

- 2020-07-03T19:58:06Z
I've been smelling burned ash everywhere, esp at night. Everywhere I go. I'm thinking this must be a symptom of the virus, so I'm afraid to ask if anyone else smells it. Then on my bike ride I saw a bunch of spent fireworks on the road. Yeah that's the smell. July 4. That should be over soon enough.

- 2020-07-03T15:41:30Z
Why more white people understand Black Lives Matter now. We're realizing that our lives don't matter, and now all of a sudden Black Lives Matter makes a different kind of sense. It's a bit too subtle for some people. But the virus and our society's response to it is making the lights come on, gradually at first, eventually for everyone.

- 2020-07-03T12:43:18Z
Dear Lincoln Project people -- how about forking off a new PAC to convince more Americans to wear a mask. Use your marketing smarts to crack this nut. And save my life.

- 2020-07-03T12:46:56Z
I like how they have a Get Involved button on their website. But when you click they don't say what being involved means, beyond giving them money and your email address and zip code, presumably so they can spam you. I'd love for a campaign to define involvement as solving a problem we have in America, right now.

- 2020-07-03T12:56:58Z
I like listening to audio books, but I have two peeves. 1. When a book provides numbers for comparison, repeat the numbers at least once. 2. Put the introductory material at the end. Authors go on and on, assuming you won't read it. Oops.

- 2020-07-03T13:09:38Z
Another peeve. I was watching a Dave Chappelle show on Netflix. He is really funny. Great comic. But he uses the N-word a lot. And get this -- he uses it to talk about white people. Like this: You my <N-word>. I've been told, not by Chappelle, that it's a term of endearment. To me, that's ridiculous -- it's a threat. Because if I use that term of endearment, a 10-ton weight comes down on my head. I don't like it. We're also told this is a word African-Americans use among themselves, and we wouldn't understand what it means. But many of the people in Chappelle's audience are white. We're his N-words. I'm watching it, and reminded every time I hear the world, and he says it a lot, that this is something I'm not allowed to like. The more I listen to him use the N-word, my inner voice, constantly yapping about nothing, repeats what he says, and I'm concerned that will eventually come out of my mouth, without thought because that actually happens in real life. It's a painful word, not just for African-Americans. I saw Jelani Cobb write on Twitter the other day about the possible capitalization of the word black when used to talk about people of African descent. "Does anyone feel strongly about upper-casing the B in black? I’m generally opposed to this because it turns race, a nonexistent category, into a proper noun." Maybe we should use words everyone can say, and try to stick to words that have meaning, and preferrably one obvious meaning, so we all can understand wtf you're talking about. 😄

- 2020-07-03T19:49:57Z
A kitten and a puppy are best friends in this Twitter video.

It isn't a contest - 2020-07-03T16:50:06Z

When I was in sixth grade there was a school-wide spelling bee. I had finished in the top group in my class, so I got to go to the bee for the whole grade. By luck I went first and only got 5 of 10 right. People actually laughed. I went out to the yard to play and wait.

One by one the others came out and each had lower scores than me. In the end I had the highest score of all.

Moral of the story for countries who pity the US. This isn't over yet. And it's bad luck to declare victory before it's over. And this isn't really a contest. We like to say we're all in it together, and you know what, we are.

A language worth learning - 2020-07-03T12:44:03Z

JavaScript is a lovely language once you’ve spent a few years getting comfortable with its quirks. Not what I’d recommend as a starter language. Yet it is the language most people choose to learn as their first language.

Here are the qualities I look for in the ideal starter language.

  1. One way to do things not 20.
  2. Boring, so the newbie can focus on their own app, not the language weirdnesses.
  3. Frozen. They should be able to run their student projects 40 years from now. Not a place where language designers try out new ideas.
  4. No callbacks, synchronization handled in runtime.
  5. Algol-like, so you can get support form millions of experienced developers.

May think of more qualifications later...

- 2020-07-02T21:09:23Z
A 25-minute podcast I did this morning. It was mostly about what's in the gaslighting post below. Expanded, and starting with an observation by Ken Smith, English prof at Indiana University, that students deserve to be shown how to use the power tools of our culture. Teachers should say that to them, out loud. I tried saying it loud and felt the power. Led to a story or two. The title of this podcast is Don't Cry For Me Argentina. Wish I had thought to play that song during the podcast. Next time. 💥

- 2020-07-02T21:17:09Z
Really interesting discussion going on globally on what objectivity means in journalism, esp in re #BLM. I spent many podcasts with Jay Rosen talking about his idea of the mythical View from Nowhere. You must disclose who you are, and disclaim that your writing comes from who you are. This came up in another discussion yesterday about integrity. "A [person] has integrity if he or she is what he or she appears to be. That's why integrity commands us to disclose conflicts, so that what we say, and who we appear to be, are in sync. Change the appearance if necessary." It's material if the editors of a publication are predominantly of one race. Until this year, however, as far as I know, the subject had never been raised. Times are changing.

- 2020-07-02T17:55:09Z
Reporters can't get it through their heads that someone might want to write publicly to help steer the conversation, not for self-aggrandizement. I know what that's like, I've been a columnist at a big pub. I've had the name of a big university on my business card. This is different. I want to see us survive the virus. I want to survive it myself. Otherwise I don't have any great personal aspirations. I think I can help. That's it. I don't honestly see how, in this moment of crisis in the US, anyone could be worried about getting ahead. Our concern has to be for keeping our system going. It's falling apart, right now, before our eyes. Any idea should be considered, no matter where it comes from. But the gates are really high right now. The keepers are struggling to hold on, and that's exactly what's wrong with discourse.

- 2020-07-02T18:36:28Z

My web server is an operating system. This has been a goal for a while.

- 2020-07-02T21:14:10Z
BTW can you see now why I want HTML in bash? All those names in the list of apps the server is running should have scripts attached to them.

Idea for science fiction story - 2020-07-02T21:48:39Z

a virus hits the world.

far east then europe then the americas.

they know what to do in the far east, they've been here before.

europe learns fast.

but in the americas, it's a disaster. the rest of the world walls itself off. isolating the two americas.

within months almost everyone has died of either the virus or starvation or in the various civil wars that break out all across both continents.

after a few years, expeditions are sent from europe and asia to survey the remains. they found pockets of former americans, mostly naked, living off the land, many practicing cannibalism.

the story, from there is about how the natives adapt or don't and the murderous cruelty of the colonists.

On gaslighting - 2020-07-02T13:47:49Z

Early this morning I wrote a tweet.

  • I enjoy writing my blog because as I’m writing I feel like I’m helping straighten things out, but it’s an illusion, none of it ends up in the bigger conversation, none of it ends up mattering.

I think that's pretty straightforward. The only emotion I mention is enjoy. It's true, when I'm writing a long post that organizes something I've had in my mind for days or weeks, and it comes out well, I do enjoy the process. I imagine people reading it, and thinking man this is a great idea or I don't know, I see a problem with it, and then either passing it along as-is, or expanding on it. Either way, I would be happy, because I made a contribution.

This last week I've written two pieces like that.

  1. One which says let's not waste this moment of political action around BLM, at the same time the government is going to spend $10 trillion (a number I made up) to keep the US from collapsing. Instead of having the money go to the 1% which is the default, let's have the money solve the real problems that are behind #BLM, and in the process help everyone. It was a strong piece, and it contains ideas you never hear among pundits.
  2. The other was about the virus and what's in our immediate future, and how, if we eased up on some of the rules of how politics work, if Biden were to appoint Andrew Cuomo as his primary virus advisor, we could start to have a national response to the virus before January 2021. That we're frozen, can't act, scares the shit out of me, both for my own existence, that of my friends and family, and my country, and honestly the world. The US is too important a part of the world for us to just let it go. We have to do something. I put my plan in writing.

The response to both these pieces, predictably -- crickets.

Now I may or may not be upset about this, I didn't say, but that's not the point. It's not wrong to be upset. You don't have to talk someone down from being upset, assuming I was (I wasn't, it was more frustration). You know what would be better? Ask how you can help. If one person had asked that, I would have said, in glee -- READ THE FUCKING STORIES AND IF YOU LIKE THE IDEAS, PASS THEM ON WITH ALL YOUR POWER.

In the first case, let's try to steer the #BLM conversation to real political action, now, not in the future, and while the marches are great, we must do more. It's so predictable that we'll just let the moment pass and settle for a few symbolic gestures. Monuments come down. A black person is on the $20 bill. Maybe Biden nominates a black woman for VP. But that money -- that's where the power is, and it goes to the friends of Trump and McConnell, Pelosi and Schumer.

In the second case, obviously we need and can have, a national response to the virus. We do not have to wait for Trump to leave the White House. And you know what, combining the two, BLM and the response to the virus, there's real power in that, too. If putting these ideas out there resulted in real power and real change, your friend Dave would be over the moon.

If you want to know what I really think -- there's no point in continuing to write these pieces on my blog. They accomplish nothing and leave me with a lot of frustration. I can ride my bike, work on the garden, read books, and enjoy my retirement (I turned 65 this year). I don't want to do just that, but geez if nothing happens when I pour my best ideas into the blog, why bother.

Let me try to put it in perspective. I think Andrew Sullivan is a great thinker and writer. I don't agree with everything he says, but every time I read one of his pieces in New York, I get lots of ideas. I feel compelled to act. I think I'm in that class of writer, and I think my talent and experience and ideation process are wasted in this space.

- 2020-07-01T18:02:01Z
I spent the day so far combining the Radio3 docs into one Howto page. Consider this a draft, I still have to do a couple more read-throughs. If you have any questions or comments, please post them here.

- 2020-07-01T20:11:16Z
David Rothkopf: "There was a time in our history when the people of this country would be saddened were the president of the United States to stumble into an open pit that was actually a wormhole that sent him hurtling for all eternity to the farthest, coldest, most hostile corner of the universe."

- 2020-07-01T14:08:51Z
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a video game that simulates a worldwide pandemic. You get to be Fauci, and have to deal with a mentally incapacitated president and Republican governors who just want to reopen. Your challenge is to make the US virus free, and win the Nobel Peace Prize.

- 2020-07-01T14:16:54Z
The best defense against Putin and Trump is to teach every student the basics of journalism. Not just how to detect fake news, but how to write a news story. If we do it now, we'll be glad we did in a few years.

What would Cuomo do? - 2020-07-01T15:23:16Z

I know a lot of people don't like Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York. I had a sligntly negative opinion of him before the virus hit. My mom didn't like him. She said NY Democrats were really Republicans. I trusted her opinion on that.

I also remember his father ran a really dirty personal campaign against Ed Koch, so dirty that if he did it today he'd be disqualified from running for anything as a Democrat. I've heard it said that young Andrew did the awful deed. I don't know.

Anyway somehow I've never engaged in state politics here, never understood why a city like NY isn't its own thing at a national level. More people live in the metro area than in the rest of the state. A nice little state could be formed with the five boroughs, Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Anyway, I went from meh on Cuomo to admiring him when he led us when we desperately needed leadership. I've never seen a politician rise to the occasion like Cuomo did with the virus. Never.

Now the process is more or less complete in New York. Our immediate neighbors, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts have also done an outstanding job of controlling the virus.

But then there's the rest of the country. Ultimately our health will be the same as the country's. So if the US doesn't get its act together, soon, we're going to be right back where we were in March. Except it will be much worse for a couple of reasons.

  1. Wear and tear. In many ways we've used up the reserves we had, as people, as economic beings, in our relationships with other people. Rent is due today, it's a crisis for an unthinkable number of people. There's going to be hunger soon, on a scale not seen here in my lifetime, and who knows how bad it will get. It's here now, in March, it was just looming. School is scheduled to resume in a couple of months, but no one really thinks it will.
  2. Math. Based on a NYT study, the virus had spread much more than we realized by March, but now it's had another three months to push into every nook and cranny of the country. This wave is going to crest a lot higher than the first one, assuming we can manage to get it to crest before everyone is infected. The higher density means when you go to the supermarket instead of on average there being 1/2 of a Covid carrier with you, now there will be 3. And the load in the air you're breathing will probably be an order of magnitude more dense. Which means you and I will get it, where two months ago, we wouldn't have. Everything about the virus, math-wise, has led the curve straight up, vertical. We're there now. Exploring terrible new territory. It's like being cast out of a space ship in a vacuum with very little oxygen and no possibility of a rescue ship. We're going to have to ride this out.

Cuomo, in his daily briefings, kept saying look at the numbers, look at the numbers. Okay. Assuming he is looking at the numbers, he sees we're at the very last moment when the government might be able to help. Not unlike the position NY, Connecticut and NJ were in in March. So here are the two questions on my mind.

  1. If you're Cuomo, what do you do?
  2. If you're you and me, what do we do with Cuomo?

When I think about the second question I think of Biden. He's in a position to appoint Cuomo his top adviser on the the virus. Then Cuomo has a sliver of a national platform to speak on. Not unlike the sliver of a platform Fauci has. And what about the Repubs? Now everyone but Trump is actively saying Wear A Mask. Great. That's new. What more could they do right now?

  1. Have Fauci testify in the Senate, and treat him with respect. That would send a strong message to the country and the world. Even if the orange blob tweeting in the bunker doesn't get it, we do, and we're taking charge.
  2. Even better, have Andrew Cuomo testify, and let him spew his Cuomo arrogance. Let him lecture. Let him show you the numbers. Let him tell you what to do. With Fauci next to him, agreeing, and now we have a much better shot than we had with the leadership of Pence, who still hasn't let go of his allegiance to Trump (he must have some good dirt on him).

Let's get our shit together while we still have shit to get together.


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