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.

9:01 – Mon 21 August 2023

Image Not Shown: Freed African Americans along a wharf.

Florida’s academic standards distort the contributions that enslaved Africans made to American society from The Conversation

In 1716, Onesimus informed Mather that he had survived smallpox and no longer feared contagion. He described a practice known as variolation derived by West Africans to fight various infections.

Hashtags: #USPol #Slavery #Florida #Education

This does a good job—though the article never says it—of showing that all these worries about “Black history” really come from upending the idea that Black people have no value unless white people control them. Without that Tarzan-like premise, then “kindly” white families can’t exploit teenagers and have the country treat them, rather than the teenagers, like the protagonists. Without it, a certain variety of politician can’t try to justify police violence in certain neighborhoods as stopping “Black-on-Black crime.”

12:04 – Mon 21 August 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

From things which have been obtained after having been long desired men almost never derive the pleasure and delight which they had anticipated.

Francesco Guicciardini

Hashtags: #Quotes

9:07 – Tue 22 August 2023

Image Not Shown: A map hanging in a museum, labeled Partition Boundaries in the Punjab, with a second map marked Map-C to the right with a similar (but mostly off-screen) title

A Museum in Delhi Records Stories of Displacement when India Was Divided into Two Countries from Voice of America

One of the seven galleries in the museum recreates a train in which millions fled across both sides of the border. Even some of the trains were ambushed by mobs.

Hashtags: #India #Pakistan #History #Partition

When people talk about dividing up a country (the United States, most often today, but possibly India again over the next few years) because of some schism in society, that looks like this, industrialized ethnic cleansing accompanied by personal violence from people who don’t see the solution as sufficiently complete. We form pluralistic democracies to avoid this sort of nonsense, and should stop taking people seriously when they want their political platform to revolve around hatred or disenfranchisement.

12:06 – Tue 22 August 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

We are all clever enough at envying a famous man while he is yet alive, and at praising him when he is dead.


Hashtags: #Quotes

9:06 – Wed 23 August 2023

Image Not Shown: Cutout headshots on blue background of Paul Farmer, Timothy Shriver, José Andrés, Olga Murray, Jane Aronson, Anthony Shriver and member of Search and Rescue USA (© AP, © Getty Images, USAF/Master Sergeant Jeremy T. Lock)

World Humanitarian Day shines light on real-life heroes from the Bureau of Global Public Affairs

In 2015, they helped Nepalese teams in the dramatic rescue of a Kathmandu teen trapped under concrete slabs, and earlier this year, in Türkiye, they searched for people trapped in rubble after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Hashtags: #DisasterRelief #Humanitarianism #Philanthropy

Despite my general interest in the premise, this article actually hits on one of my oldest pet peeves when someone talks about philanthropy and other humanitarian work: It means standing people who feed millions of people next to people who donate a few thousand dollars into scholarships…

12:01 – Wed 23 August 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

The constant man loses not his virtue in misfortune. A torch may point towards the ground, but its flame will still point upwards.


Hashtags: #Quotes

9:02 – Thu 24 August 2023

Content Warning: Discussion of and metaphors around blood, though in the context of menstruation

A collage of a person climbing steps to step through a hollow torso with crossed arms, set in front of a pink Moon and surrounded by billowing red fabric
A collage of a person climbing steps to step through a hollow torso with crossed arms, set in front of a pink Moon and surrounded by billowing red fabric
Image credit: Blood. © Asma Istwani for Wellcome Collection.

Blood from the Wellcome Collection

Expelling blood from the body through menstruation was believed to be a natural way for women to cleanse these toxins from the body. It was considered a form of ‘purgation’, which prevented women from being consumed by their inherent sin and corruption.

Hashtags: #Menstruation

I feel like that makes this time for my favorite commercial , because I don’t think that I could ever skewer the absurd fear of menstruation better than they did about a decade ago.

12:07 – Thu 24 August 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Trust no future, however pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act, act in the living present!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hashtags: #Quotes

9:03 – Fri 25 August 2023

Image Not Shown: A fingerprint card

Police are unlawfully storing personal data of suspects who were cleared from openDemocracy

Campaigners and police monitoring groups say the revelations are yet another example of why public confidence in police is so low, particularly in communities that continue to be over-policed.

Hashtags: #Policing #Biometrics

While this particular case happens to have occurred in the UK, I imagine that it doesn’t much matter where you live whether this happens near you. A lot of modern law enforcement theory comes down to wanting the ability to convict currently innocent people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, of future crimes.

12:02 – Fri 25 August 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Learning is like Scanderbeg’s sword, either good or bad according to him who hath it: an excellent weapon, if well used; otherwise, like a sharp razor in the hand of a child.

Richard Chamberlain

Hashtags: #Quotes


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: The head of Tux the Linux mascot, with glowing red eyes presumably based on the HAL-9000, set in front of columns of green-colored text

“Open” “AI” isn’t from Pluralistic

Today’s tech giants have mobilized “open” to create a two-tier system: the largest tech firms enjoy broad freedom themselves – they alone get to decide how their software stack is configured. But for all of us who rely on that (increasingly unavoidable) software stack, all we have is “open”: the ability to peer inside that software and see how it works, and perhaps suggest improvements to it.

This gets impressively deep into why we care about licensing, despite so many pundits insisting that “the war ended” and we should stop complaining about people want to publish “open source, but only for personal use” (or similar) software.

Nike #just do it text (but it actually says "Just Did It")
Nike #just do it text (but it actually says "Just Did It")
Image credit: by George Pagan III, made available under the terms of the Unsplash license

Likable or memorable? How to create slogans from Futurity

The findings show that slogans that are longer, include the brand name, and use uncommon words are likely to be more memorable among potential consumers. The findings also show that slogans that are shorter, omit the brand name, and use simpler language are more likely to make the brand more likable in the eyes of potential consumers.

Longer and using uncommon words? I think that I might have found my calling, everyone…

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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.