Natural, shmatural - Aeon

Molly Hodgdon in Aeon:

Now, I’m aware that Diet Coke is not exactly a health tonic, but blithely calling it poison in a voice cracked with the tar of innumerable organic butts speaks to a certain cognitive bias. The soda was bad purely because it wasn’t natural, and the cigarettes were good purely because they were. I refrained from asking her if she enjoyed lots of other natural things, such as cobra bites, poison ivy, malaria, and diving headlong into 100 per cent organic molten lava.

I don’t mind when people prefer organic or other “natural” foods and processes. That’s fine and dandy. What I do mind is when they apply a blanket policy of “naturally-occurring is always good and everything else is bad”.

I snickered at her depiction of the imagined Big Ag scientist:

The man squints down at his Ayn Rand day-planner where there are only two items in his to-do list:

  1. MURDER NATURE
  2. $$$ PROFIT $$$

She closes sensibly with:

Nature can seem as inspiring, beautiful, strong and nurturing as a mother, but it would be foolish to believe that this ‘mother’ loves us. There’s no reason we can’t celebrate her glorious natural gifts while also appreciating the important ‘unnatural’ improvements our fellow humans have created.

Keeping my Medium membership -- for now

Colin Walker:

Although my Medium usage has significantly dropped off I had intended keeping my membership going. Then I realised something: I’ve only read one or possibly two members-only, funded stories.

Like Colin, I question the value of my Medium membership.

I became a Medium member the day memberships were announced. Since then, I’ve been tempted to cancel, simply because I don’t feel I’m missing much if I skip the “members only” content. The other members-only features are not compelling on their own, either.

Unlike Colin, I’m opting to keep my membership active – for now.

I admire that Medium is trying some new things. I like the idea of Medium. I can cancel any time, but for now $5/month is a small contribution toward their experiment.

Netflix’s DVD Subscription Is Still Great, Dammit

Andrew Karcher:

The solution: Netflix DVDs. In the eight years I’ve had the service I’ve never had an issue obtaining a copy of a movie or TV series I want.

I finally killed my Netflix DVD subscription in 20151. I’ve been missing it. The problem with streaming services for me is that I often end up spending an hour watching trailers and never actually watching an actual movie.

Being forced to make a decision on what to watch is what I liked about Netflix DVDs (and Blockbuster).

What if I canceled my streaming services and watched rented DVDs only? That would make it hard to just lose a weekend binge watching stuff. I also couldn’t spin my wheels watching trailers agonizing over which movie to choose.

Now Karcher has me thinking about getting DVDs in the mail again.

Participation when using a static website

One of the factors1 causing me to bounce between publishing using a static blog generator (Hugo) and Wordpress is the option to have conversations. To participate.

Wordpress makes this easy with a number of Microformat and Indieweb plugins. Generating, receiving, and displaying comments and Webmentions is easy.

On the other hand, a static site (this one, at the moment) doesn’t provide these tools. Comments are available via JavaScript using things like Disqus but I’d prefer comments to be mine2. I know there has been some movement toward using hooks in Github for comments, but I also don’t want to have to host my site at Github.

Are there any Indieweb tools or techniques for static sites that I should know about?


  1. There are many [return]
  2. I honestly may not even want comments on my blog but I want them within my control if I do [return]

I had Emacs open and it just happened

Remember that time I decided to move all of my blogging to baty.blog? That was fun, right?

I had Emacs open today and wanted to post something about playing with Known so I just hit the usual key binding for a new blog post and started typing. When finished I typed “make deploy” and poof!, it was published… to the archived blog.

So in keeping with my history of never deciding anything for very long I put the original theme back on baty.net and let it happen.

Now I have two blogs, I guess.

Nick Cave

Nick Cave. Picture: Josh Robenstone

I got to see Nick Cave last night at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. A Nick Cave show has been one of my few bucket list concerts and I was not disappointed. He’s charismatic, funny, brutal, and honest.

My favorites were…

Jubilee Street

The Ship Song

Stagger Lee

Pausing my experiment with WithKnown

Known (https://withknown.com/) is described as “a social learning platform,” but it seems to work pretty well for publishing a microblog (or any blog for that matter).

I have been testing it at snippets.baty.net and it works fine. The thing is, it doesn’t offer much over a standard Worpress install, so I don’t see the point. It also feels as if Known is accidentally a decent indieweb-enabled blogging platform. I’m not comfortable relying on something for which my primary use case is a side effect of the tool.

So, I’ll be suspending my use of Known and archiving the few posts I’ve published with it. For now, I’ll publish either to this blog or micro.blog while I figure out how I want all of this to work.

My Blog from 2002

This blog (baty.net) goes back to sometime in 2000. I was poking around the Internet Archives and ran across jackbaty.com from 2002. It looked like this…

jackbaty.com

I can’t explain why those old posts aren’t here, but I’m grateful that the Archive has copies. Wouldn’t want writing like that to disappear, now would we?