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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
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The (only) developer at earthli.com.

Contents

2493 Articles
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3 weeks Ago

Radio vs. Sound Waves

Published on in Science & Nature

I played Kahoot[1] the other day with the family. The quizzes are pretty wide-ranging and pretty decent fun, especially for a mix of ages. One of the quizzes concerned sound and electromagnetic waves and I tried to explain why one of the answers was incorrect “in the moment”, as it were. Concerned that my explanation had engendered rather than answered questions, I take another crack at it below.

Radio vs. Sound Waves

I was thinking again about how you didn’t seem to convinced by my fumbling... [More]

Scifi and Fantasy Recommendations (for a younger reader)

Published on in Books

I recently learned that a young reader I know is a fan of The City of Ember (Wikipedia), which is a science-fiction novel “[…] about Ember, a post-apocalyptic underground city threatened by aging infrastructure and corruption.” I heard she’d received the The People of Sparks (Wikipedia) as a gift and was intrigued to learn that she was reading books deemed “science fiction”.

I dug back through my own lists of recent years to find the following recommendations for (more or less) age- and reading-level appropriate... [More]

1 month Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.12

Published on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1600 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

The Alienist: Angel of... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.11

Published on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1600 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

The Americans S06... [More]

The TacX App in 2020

Published on in Sports

I wrote the following about a year ago when I first got my TacX. I have struck out the items that no longer apply.


The TacX App is a joke. It barely does what it needs to do.

  • It doesn’t remember your login for more than a few days Now it remembers the login, but randomly shows the log in page with a loading circle on it between some screens, looking very much like it’s going to log out and then catching itself just before it does and proceeding to the next screen. It’s like watching a... [More]

Links and Notes for December 11th, 2020

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

Stop Saying Lockdown Is ‘Not That Hard’ by Bonnie Kristian (Reason)

It’s not that hard is true of hand washing. It’s... [More]”

Links and Notes for December 4th, 2020

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

What we can learn from contact tracing an entire province by John Timmer (Ars Technica)

“[…] once efficient contact... [More]”

Dragging him down

Published on in Quotes

“As soon as a man does something admirable, the entire universe conspires to see that he never does it again.”
The Art of Fiction No. 210 by Goethe (via Samuel R. Delany)

2 months Ago

Links and Notes for November 27th, 2020

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for this week, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

Finance & Economy

The Krugman Boom: Don’t Bank on It by Dean Baker (CEPR)

“In many ways this is great news. People will save hundreds of hours a year on... [More]”

Strava is a movement now?

Published on in Sports

Strava recently published new Community Standards. It’s mostly fine, filled with the standard entreaties to avoid “hate speech” (even though that’s a legal term that has a different meaning every country they have users in) and singing paeans about being nice to each other.

Strava also declares its right to terminate the account of anyone they consider to have transgressed against what seem like deliberately vaguely defined rules.

They probably think they’re being precise when they write,

“Hate... [More]”

Achievements in Word Games

Published on in Fun

Queen Bee

Since COVID-19 has put me into 100% home office for a while[1], I’ve been doing the Spelling Bee at lunch with Kath instead of shooting the shit with work colleagues at Encodo.

As the link outlines, the Spelling Bee has an achievement called Queen Bee—where you have to guess every single one of the words that the author thinks are words (and bite back curses at his utterly mysterious omissions)—which we’ve only achieved twice.

 Queen Bee 2020-11-21

 Queen Bee Answers 2020-11-21

We’ve gotten within a word or two several times,... [More]

Links and Notes for November 20th, 2020

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for this week, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.


Why do so many cases go to the Supreme Court?

Because the plaintiffs have endless time and money, dragging things out with appeal... [More]

Links and Notes for November 13th, 2020

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for this week, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.


With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Story by Matt Taibbi (SubStack)

“Obviously, Fox is not much better, in terms of... [More]”

3 months Ago

Processing the Information Firehose

Published on in Miscellaneous

The following article explains how I personally organize, consume, and produce information.

Writing Process

I get information from carefully selected sources, combining more narrowly defined streams without the help of an algorithm—or at least not a single one. I defer reading, viewing, and listening—preferring to determine the order that I consume content rather than letting fate decide.

I will sometimes read or watch something immediately—and even then, only if it’s short—but... [More]

Links and Notes for November 6th, 2020

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for this week, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.


Of Size and Scale by Morris Berman

“America, too, will (I believe) have its own secessionist breakup, probably within two or three decades, or even... [More]”

Be honest about what the Democrats are (part II)

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

I’ve collected a few notes from the last few months that I haven’t published in other articles. Clearing things out before the civil war makes it all irrelevant.

I published the first of these notes in Be honest about what the Democrats are. The following notes aren’t all directly related, but there’s a thread if you’re willing to look for it.

Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti from The Hill

I’ve only recently been introduced to this pairing and I quite like them. They were more recently... [More]

Chinese Invasion: The Future of Fake News

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

 A friend sent me a link to a web site called “Dave Hodges: The Common Sense Show (Freeing America, One Enslaved Mind at a Time ®)”, which I honestly hesitate to link because I actually opened it in a private tab in a browser I never use—the equivalent of putting on two pairs of rubber gloves before picking it up.

I’ll include the title of the article, “Mounting Reports of a Simultaneous Coming Civil War and World War III Will Be Unleashed With An Unfavorable Election Result for Harris/Biden”,... [More]

Be honest about what the Democrats are

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

I’ve collected a few notes from the last few months that I haven’t published in other articles. Clearing things out before the civil war makes it all irrelevant.

Why Joe and not Bernie?

A while back, I had a conversation with a friend who asked me why the Democrats chose Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders. How could they want to maintain a status quo that hurts so many people?

”Dr. King’s policy was, if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent […] will be moved to change his heart.... [More]
Stokely Carmichael

Howie Hawkins 2020

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

 Howie Hawkins is the Green Party candidate for President in 2020. He’s a former teamster who, until 2018, was loading trucks for UPS. He’s been involved in socialist and green politics since…forever:

“He supported the Peace and Freedom Party in 1968, the People’s Party in 1972 and 1976, and the Citizens Party in 1980. Since its first national meeting in 1984, Howie has been a Green Party organizer.”

He lives in Syracuse, New York. He ran for governor of New York State 3 times. He has never... [More]

Democracy is machine learning?

Published on in Quotes

“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”
H.L. Mencken

Greg Palast on “The Purged” (Voters)

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

 Greg Palast has been fighting for years to stop voter purging, all on a shoestring budget and with hardly any major media coverage. He’s gotten more prominence recently, but it’s unconscionable how little influence his message still has.[1]

His message is simple: the elites are stealing votes in America with corrupt and illegal practices. Many others abet by staying mute and idle.

“I never use the term vote suppression, because when someone steals your car, you don’t say, my car has been... [More]”
Greg Palast

How the Few Rule

Published on in Quotes

“Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, and the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is... [More]”
David Hume

Hunter S. Thompson called it almost 50 years ago

Published on in Quotes

“The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage and whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.”

The Perils of Outrage Fatigue

Published on in Philosophy

I’d never heard of Robert B. Talisse before. He expresses himself well in describing an imminent problem with American culture. People are so invested in their polarized roles that they no longer know how to interact with anyone who doesn’t already hold their worldview in nearly all things. If they disagree with someone on any of myriad issues, then they can’t even consider them human, to say nothing of bridging the gap to find common ground.

The problem he describes doesn’t apply just to... [More]

The Sane and the Belligerati

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Katie Halper had a show just about a month ago that had three separate interview sections. The first was with Chris Hedges and Gerald Horne; the second with David Sirota (writer for Jacobin); the third was with Arun Gupta.

This show is separate from her Useless Idiots weekly show with Matt Taibbi, of which I am a regular listener. I only learned of her from that show and am impressed with the nuance and balance and insight she brings to all of her shows.

Chris Hedges & Gerald Horne + David Sirota on Amy Coney Barrett + Arun Gupta Live in Portland by Katie Halper (YouTube)

Hedges and Horne: A Class Act

The... [More]

Living in the Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler (2020; read in 2020)

Published on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe (1842; read in 2020)

Published on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (1959; read in 2020)

Published on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.10

Published on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1400 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Battlestar Galactica:... [More]

4 months Ago

Free Julian Assange

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.[1]
George Orwell

The article The Assange Extradition Case is an Unprecedented Attack on Press Freedom, So Why’s the Media Largely Ignoring It? by Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) describes what is happening to Julian Assange.

“In an Old Bailey courtroom in London over the past four weeks, lawyers for the US government have sought the extradition of Assange to the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 and one charge of computer misuse. At the heart of their... [More]”