Dear reader,

A caveat.

Everything posted here is worth thinking about. On the other hand, the ideas and opinions put forth may not be right.

Curated and annotated by Timoni West.

July 24th, 2014
July 23rd, 2014
Progressive, reformist city planners, supported by seemingly most of the Village’s blue-collar residents, favored a relatively low-impact urban-renewal scheme to build hundreds of below-market-rate homes in the [the West Village in the early 1960s]—a plan [Jane] Jacobs and a group of largely affluent residents successfully fought on the grounds that it would destroy the area’s character.
At this moment, Kremlin can not really stop. If Kiev government survives, it will fairly quickly unlock economic benefits of non-mafia, free economy. The large parasitic class living by bribes and extortion will be displaced: it will have the same effect as if base tax rate would suddenly drop by a double digit percentage.


Work update: Pop recently passed my ‘meal with friends’ design test: my somewhat jaded friends caught a glimpse and asked, “Woa, what is that?”. It made me really happy! You can sign up for our beta now:

Super-psyched about this.

July 22nd, 2014
The net, in its present infantile condition, gives access, not to the sum of preserved human knowledge, but rather to advertisements, cranks, journalists, and technical reports.
There are a few areas where cyclists are more likely to break the law, most notably running red lights, though this is almost never a contributing factor in collisions (I suspect it’s because cyclists who run reds do so cautiously, since…well…they don’t want to die). The likely conclusion is that people riding bikes don’t break more laws or fewer laws than when they drive cars, but they do break different laws. Given that most cyclists are also drivers, it’s reasonable to think the levels of lawlessness would be consistent.
Email is the copy-paste of the Internet. It is passing notes in class. It is writing postcards. It is no less the place of manifestos or the mystery of language and all the hand-written letters before it regardless of its delivery medium. It is a conceptual framework that affords more than the alternatives and even where it fails it still demands less than other choices and so it still comes out ahead of everything else. It is hardly perfect but built-in to its use is the idea that the person at the other end of a message isn’t a complete idiot and can fill in the blanks, or just hit reply and ask you to elaborate if they can’t.
July 21st, 2014
Generally, it’s not the people at the working level you need to worry about. It’s the senior officials, it’s the policymakers who are shielded from accountability, who are shielded from oversight and who are allowed to make decisions that affect all of our lives without any public input, any public debate, or any electoral consequences because their decisions and the consequences of the decisions are never known.
July 11th, 2014
The reason for saying we need to do ‘an exceptional, near-perfect job of execution’ is this: When you want something really bad, you will put up with a lot of flaws. But if you do not yet know you want something, your tolerance will be much lower. That’s why it is especially important for us to build a beautiful, elegant and considerate piece of software. Every bit of grace, refinement, and thoughtfulness on our part will pull people along. Every petty irritation will stop them and give the impression that it is not worth it.

Just re-reading Stewart Butterfield’s We Don’t Sell Saddles Here for about the tenth time. This point is so, so true.

July 8th, 2014

Party on, pineapple (at castille jezaväst)

July 2nd, 2014

The Ping-Pong Theory of Tech Sexism, by Ariel Schrag.

This interview is the best reflection I’ve read of how I feel being a woman in the tech industry. I get more respect than a lot of my female coworkers, being on the product side and somewhat technically aware, but I don’t get guy-level respect. My ideas are routinely ignored, or ascribed to other male coworkers.

I know my coworkers aren’t consciously doing this. Calling them out on it is, for the most part, pointless: it will be seen as irrational, overly sensitive, or aggressive. And yet, when I talk to other women, we do generally feel like our expertise isn’t valued, that we have to justify our arguments beyond reason, and that our challenges are simply ignored. It may not be sexism: we may really all just be worse at our jobs. But I doubt it.

So I like the approach this interview takes. No judgements, no sense that men are consciously to blame, just a clear, honest description of how things have been for this particular women during her career.

Addendum: After some reflection, I realized that these experiences aren’t true of my design colleagues; I’ve had uniformly great working experiences with all of them, male or female.

June 29th, 2014

"Maleficent" custom Fatima by Leecifer for Dragatomi’s "Tales" show 08/11/2012, via

June 27th, 2014
June 19th, 2014
Cooking is not for people who simply “want to cook” - you can do that on your own. Cooking is something for people who have mental problems, social problems, legal troubles, or any combination of the aforementioned. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, we’ve got a spot for you. If you’re a perfectionist who hates people? Come on in. If you despise bullshit that exists in most other working environments, give it a try. If you just like cooking, then think long and hard - it’s secondary to many other things that make a good cook, well, good.

cool_hand_luke, responding to I’ve always wanted to cook, but…, on Reddit.

June 18th, 2014
The last few minutes of the episode were so intense—one moment the show was proceeding along as normal, and the next I was being shoved into the backseat of a police car and driven to a detainment facility. I just sat there completely stunned for a few minutes, trying to process what had happened. That’s classic Game Of Thrones, though: no one’s safe.