As discussed previously, on Fridays, I present my weekly social media roundups. Note that toots of articles generally include header images from the articles, which I don’t include here unless their creators happen to have released them for use under a free license, and I notice. Most have not, or I don’t notice. But I now add my commentary here, where I don’t feel restricted by message length.

diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week

Also, I don’t generally attach pictures to posts with quotations.

10:42 – Sun 23 April 2023

Posted on 🥚🐛 Cohost

A Whole Mess of Picard

Like the witty people say…

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.

Accustomed as I’ve become to writing blog posts, this clocks in at around three thousand words…after chopping out some bits that didn’t seem to go anywhere. And if you don’t care about Star Trek, apologies in advance.

I want to preface this post by saying that, especially because Star Trek: Picard traded largely on nostalgia, don’t take any of my attempts at analysis as telling you not to enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy the show, but I also don’t fit modern Star Trek’s demographic of “nostalgic for the 1990s.” While I watched it as it aired, I never loved TNG like a lot of people did, and as I rewatch it for my Thursday blog posts to try to figure out how people actually live in the Federation, I don’t see that it has improved with age. If you love both shows, I have no objection to that.


Hashtags: Star Trek, Star Trek TNG, Star Trek Picard

It goes on from there, but it seems like a waste of space to include it in a blog post. For anybody allergic to Cohost, for some reason, I have a copy on Buy Me a Coffee, too. Maybe I’ll update it for the newsletter, so make sure to sign up.

3:25 PM – Sun 23 April 2023

Posted on Mastodon

I should probably mention two browser extensions that have made my life on #Mastodon much easier.

StreetPass checks every webpage that you look at for Mastodon authentication links, lighting up so that you can follow people whose work you like.

Graze (Firefox only?) rewires the “Follow” buttons on other servers, so that it actually has you follow the person, instead of telling you how to follow.

Vastly better experience.

I’ve actually wanted to post this somewhere for a while, even considering a full Sunday post for it. Now it lives on Mastodon, where it belongs. I don’t know what I didn’t do that in the first place…

9:01 – Mon 24 April 2023

Protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa near the Presidential Secretariat (2022)
Protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa near the Presidential Secretariat (2022)
Image credit: by AntanO. CC BY-SA 4.0

Sri Lanka’s proposed anti-terrorism law aims to curb civil protests from Global Voices

…the law grants law enforcement agencies the unchecked power to detain individuals without warrants and provides sweeping powers to the President, police, and military to arbitrarily ban gatherings and organizations without adequate judicial oversight.

Hashtags: #SriLanka #CivilRights

These sorts of laws never go well, so I hope that the protests make some progress.

12:02 – Mon 24 April 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

I desire to welcome, in as warm terms as possible, the first serious attempt in English to deal with fairy mythology in a sufficiently wide induction of the facts.

Joseph Jacobs

Hashtags: #Quotes #ArabAmericanHeritage

9:07 – Tue 25 April 2023

Content Warning: Jim Jordan's scandal(s)

Image Not Shown: Jim Jordan's face

New York Times whitewashes Jim Jordan’s part in wrestling scandal from Daily Kos

The Times seems considerably more interested in the idea that other Republicans are willing to say that Jordan’s committee hearings aren’t actually a garbage fire at all…

Hashtags: #JimJordan #GOP #NYT

At this point, I feel like the Times maintains a bare minimum of actual news to maintain its credibility, so that it can sink deeper and deeper into public relations for authoritarians.

12:03 – Tue 25 April 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Partnership for Peace is far more than a training program for entry into NATO. It is indeed an engagement strategy in every sense of the word. It ties together NATO and its Partners with common goals, training, and friendship.

George Joulwan

Hashtags: #Quotes #ArabAmericanHeritage

9:06 – Wed 26 April 2023

Image Not Shown: A person in a frilly blouse and jacket, safety glasses, and hair in a jeweled bun staring to the left into a wall of lights

AI has social consequences, but who pays the price? Tech companies’ problem with ‘ethical debt’ from The Conversation

By now, there have been countless examples of how AI can reproduce bias and exacerbate social inequities, but these problems are rarely publicly identified by tech companies themselves.

Hashtags: #AI #ChatGPT #Ethics

This article does overlook one critical idea: Who pays for this “ethical debt” differs dramatically from who pays for technical debt. When a company takes on technical debt, they “borrow” time from the future, taking an expedient path now that they’ll need to put more effort into fixing later. When a company takes on ethical debt, however, they borrow time from the lives of people affected adversely by their product, which the public needs to put effort into making right.

12:01 – Wed 26 April 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

There’s a direct correlation, we’ve found, between the demonization of Saddam, and violent acts against Arab-Americans in this country.

James Abourezk

Hashtags: #Quotes #ArabAmericanHeritage

8:02 – Thu 27 April 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

A screenshot of a toot that reads 'Meow #cat' with a 'Translate' link.

I had a moment where I considered if this might represent a new #Mastodon feature.

The translation, for the record, also said “Meow,” but typeset slightly differently, so the feature may exist, and I don’t understand the target (cat) language.

OK, the original post had an image attacked, but I didn’t want to identify anybody for such a silly observation.

9:05 – Thu 27 April 2023

Image Not Shown: Protesters at a Federalist Society gala diner in New York hold banners and placards with names of conservative judges endorsed by the group, 16 January 2020

Journalists are enabling extremism by ‘both-sides-ing’ free speech row from openDemocracy

Stanford has been responding to concerns about political polarization in the US by pushing notions of “intellectual diversity”, which essentially means taking extraordinary measures to make conservatives feel more included.

Hashtags: #FreeSpeech #BothSides

I’ve grown extremely tired of the obsession with making sure that the right-wing can always have its say. Authoritarians have had literally thousands of years to make their case, and they haven’t come up with anything new since the Middle Ages. While I see no reason to silence them, we also shouldn’t coddle them when they feel sad that nobody wants to hear about their theories on gender or whatever.

Notably, someone replied to this post immediately, to illustrate the point. I took one sentence out of the article out of context. This person picked out “conservatives” and “included,” to demand that I explain why I would exclude conservatives. Why should I or anybody ever take such an “intellectual” movement seriously?

12:06 – Thu 27 April 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

I’m not a scientist either, but I can use my brain, and I can talk to one.

Charlie Crist

Hashtags: #Quotes #ArabAmericanHeritage

9:03 – Fri 28 April 2023

Image Not Shown: A presumed parent working on charts from their couch, while a baby sleeps on a separate cushion

Don’t Shred the Safety Net — Expand It from OtherWords

Conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill refused to renew the credit’s expansion, letting it expire in late 2021. Child poverty immediately increased.

Hashtags: #ChildTaxCredit #SafetyNet

It surprises me that media doesn’t notice how much conservatives have started talking about ensuring that people need to work, which sounds suspiciously like forced labor. Gutting the social safety net makes up a big part of that process.

12:05 – Fri 28 April 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

What is good about the United States is the sense that you can disagree with the government and not be seen as unpatriotic, although many in the government will try to make you seem unpatriotic.

George J. Mitchell

Hashtags: #Quotes #ArabAmericanHeritage


Because it accidentally became a tradition early on in the life of the blog, I drop any additional articles that didn’t fit into the one-article-per-day week, but too weird or important to not mention, here.

Image Not Shown: A drawing of a Black woman sitting on a mattress while emptying a "sex tool box."

Battling the heteronormativity of sexual health from the Wellcome Collection

These expectations contradict and feed on each other. They don’t make sense because they’re not supposed to. They’re built on smoke and mirrors, racism, homophobia and transphobia.

I don’t have much exposure to this world, so it helps to find an occasional article laying out the situation.

An elderly couple walks hand-in-hand through a parking lot
An elderly couple walks hand-in-hand through a parking lot
Image credit: by Mark Timberlake, The participants whose cognition improved while walking showed that their brain was able to adapt to and improve at the task—it had flexible usage of certain frontal resources.

Is better brain performance when walking a sign of ‘super-aging’? from Futurity

The participants whose cognition improved while walking showed that their brain was able to adapt to and improve at the task—it had flexible usage of certain frontal resources.

This strikes me as interesting, and not only because it gives me some personal hope, since my mind tends to race when I go for walks.

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Credits: Header image is Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week from a manuscript drafted during the Carolingian Dynasty.