~marnold128/website

6f1223cc38b05d3344616c3a66b3a32bb2cc6ba6 — Matt Arnold 2 months ago 0b2aad3 + eef4782
Merge branch 'legacy'
M content/blog/2020-07-19-hello-world.md => content/blog/2020-07-19-hello-world.md +1 -1
@@ 3,4 3,4 @@ title =  "Hello world!"
date =  "2020-07-19"
+++

Hello and welcome everyone to my new  home on the web. that sounded so 90s just then; anyway for those of you that didn't know I am  Matt Arnold a 30-something software engineer, living with multiple disabilities both visible and invisible. if you want my slightly more formal website [https://marnold.org](https://marnold.org) Is the place to go for that. this is a website primarily for posting extended Facebook rants, early drafts of stuff that will eventually go on my professional website and other fun stuff that I am still in the process of developing.For now my  pgp key is 92394662BC038F2F67CD10D5B47240EE0C7119B7
Hello and welcome everyone to my new  home on the web. that sounded so 90s just then; anyway for those of you that didn't know I am  Matt Arnold a 30-something software engineer, living with multiple disabilities both visible and invisible. if you want my slightly more formal website [https://marnold.org](https://marnold.org) Is the place to go for that. this is a website primarily for posting extended Facebook rants, early drafts of stuff that will eventually go on my professional website and other fun stuff that I am still in the process of developing.For now my  PGP key is 92394662BC038F2F67CD10D5B47240EE0C7119B7

M content/blog/2020-12-22-technoethics-part-i-introduction.md => content/blog/2020-12-22-technoethics-part-i-introduction.md +8 -8
@@ 1,21 1,21 @@
+++
title =  "Technoethics Part I Introduction:"
title =  "Techno ethics Part I Introduction:"
date =  "2020-12-22"
+++

  A few months ago, I posted a rant on Facebook complaining about the advertisements of one of my favorite companies. The company is called Canonical. And they make a product called Ubuntu. Ubuntu’s Cringe-worthy advertising is an unimportant point in this discussion. Through Facebook, I came to realize something rather alarming.  That my friends, both young and old, were unaware of my commitment to  Living my Digital Life following With purpose. Following the values of solidarity, subsidiarity, and community. This was startling enough that a few of the public and private comments received also indicated many people were unaware even of the concept of Technoethics. 
  A few months ago, I posted a rant on Facebook complaining about the advertisements of one of my favorite companies. The company is called Canonical. And they make a product called Ubuntu. Ubuntu’s Cringe-worthy advertising is an unimportant point in this discussion. Through Facebook, I came to realize something rather alarming.  That my friends, both young and old, were unaware of my commitment to  Living my Digital Life following With purpose. Following the values of solidarity, subsidiarity, and community. This was startling enough that a few of the public and private comments received also indicated many people were unaware even of the concept of Techno ethics. 

  Despite the tireless advocacy of thousands of people, including myself for the past 32 years, few people not associated with the computer industry are even aware that technoethics is a thing. And my experience in the corporate world has shown but even among those aware of Linux and the free software movement, some who are even longtime Linux users themselves are not completely aware of the moral and ethical commitments that a large and influential minority of Linux users bear. The consequences of this go far beyond disrespect and inadvertent impoliteness. With the world unaware of techno ethics as a broader principle, it will become increasingly hard for those of us who practice it to do so in a sustainable way—and thus jeopardizing the ability of everyone to fight for a world built on solidarity, subsidiarity, and community In the century to come. 
  Despite the tireless advocacy of thousands of people, including myself for the past 32 years, few people not associated with the computer industry are even aware that techno ethics is a thing. And my experience in the corporate world has shown but even among those aware of Linux and the free software movement, some who are even longtime Linux users themselves are not completely aware of the moral and ethical commitments that a large and influential minority of Linux users bear. The consequences of this go far beyond disrespect and inadvertent impoliteness. With the world unaware of techno ethics as a broader principle, it will become increasingly hard for those of us who practice it to do so in a sustainable way—and thus jeopardizing the ability of everyone to fight for a world built on solidarity, subsidiarity, and community In the century to come. 

   I was unable to find a basic primer on techno ethics written for a lay audience or  What follows is my attempt to fill this Gap. 

##  What is Technoethics
##  What is Techno ethics

Technoethics is the application of general ethical principles to our technological choices. But more specifically it refers to the prioritization of morality over convenience in our technological choices. 
Techno ethics is the application of general ethical principles to our technological choices. But more specifically it refers to the prioritization of morality over convenience in our technological choices. 

  Whether you know it or not you have probably already practiced techno ethics in your everyday life.  For example, some parents May opt for cloth diapers over disposable for the environmental benefits, or equally other parents in a different situation might opt for disposable Over cloth to conserve scarce Water Resources. This is a common first encounter with the subject of Techno Ethics.  and within the everyday consumer space, there are thousands of such decisions to be made. Organic food, non-animal-tested cosmetics, Packaging minimization, or buying local.  all are, in one sense,If Technoethical choices. In each instance, the consumer exercises her  Power of Choice after thinking critically About the cost and benefits of a particular technology such as factory farming or e-commerce,And for instance and chooses consciously not based on a metric of economic or convenience factors but instead on a social or moral Factor. That is techno ethics in a nutshell.
  Whether you know it or not you have probably already practiced techno ethics in your everyday life.  For example, some parents May opt for cloth diapers over disposable for the environmental benefits, or equally other parents in a different situation might opt for disposable Over cloth to conserve scarce Water Resources. This is a common first encounter with the subject of Techno Ethics.  and within the everyday consumer space, there are thousands of such decisions to be made. Organic food, non-animal-tested cosmetics, Packaging minimization, or buying local.  all are, in one sense,If Techno ethical choices. In each instance, the consumer exercises her  Power of Choice after thinking critically About the cost and benefits of a particular technology such as factory farming or e-commerce,And for instance and chooses consciously not based on a metric of economic or convenience factors but instead on a social or moral Factor. That is techno ethics in a nutshell.

  However, when the nerd(s) in your life speak of Technoethics they probably mean to apply this intentional consumption to the technological services and devices which we take for granted, things such as laptop computers, Facebook, and smartphones. Or to even more esoteric things such as farm tractor firmware, e-waste, Or planned obsolescence increasing the digital divide.  we apply formal ethical principles,  critical thinking, and intentional consumerism to our digital lives as well as our lives away from the keyboard.
  However, when the nerd(s) in your life speak of Techno ethics they probably mean to apply this intentional consumption to the technological services and devices which we take for granted, things such as laptop computers, Facebook, and smartphones. Or to even more esoteric things such as farm tractor firmware, e-waste, Or planned obsolescence increasing the digital divide.  we apply formal ethical principles,  critical thinking, and intentional consumerism to our digital lives as well as our lives away from the keyboard.

## Why should I care?



@@ 43,4 43,4 @@ I  threw away All of the lessons I have learned over the past 12 years. All of 

 I'm not trying to pick on you or Zoom specifically but merely to call out the stark truth most people don't apply critical thinking and their decisions about how they wish to live their digital lives. we need to do better than that because our digital lives for there is no longer any distinction between Digital Life and life away from the keyboard. I'll bet for most of you there isn't even a keyboard anymore.

 And this is the other stark truth many of us do not have the education necessary to apply techno ethics In our day-to-day lives. This is a particular failing Activists like me. The activist will issue book-length reports,  write blog posts containing so much technical jargon that even people with degrees in computer science have trouble reading them.  And in general do very little to expand the  Community beyond the small Ivory Tower which has been painstakingly built over the past 30 years. In short, we have failed quite spectacularly at the teaching function of activism. So over the next few articles, I intend to educate you. We will explore the key issues of Technoethics today starting with surveillance capitalism, moving on to e-waste, the digital divide, and finally ending on software freedom. How the  Brands and products we all love exacerbate all of these problems and what you can do about these issues. Welcome to Technoethics 101.
 And this is the other stark truth many of us do not have the education necessary to apply techno ethics In our day-to-day lives. This is a particular failing Activists like me. The activist will issue book-length reports,  write blog posts containing so much technical jargon that even people with degrees in computer science have trouble reading them.  And in general do very little to expand the  Community beyond the small Ivory Tower which has been painstakingly built over the past 30 years. In short, we have failed quite spectacularly at the teaching function of activism. So over the next few articles, I intend to educate you. We will explore the key issues of Techno ethics today starting with surveillance capitalism, moving on to e-waste, the digital divide, and finally ending on software freedom. How the  Brands and products we all love exacerbate all of these problems and what you can do about these issues. Welcome to Techno ethics 101.

M content/blog/2022-01-16-on-accessibility-for-linux-part-0-computing-while-disabled.md => content/blog/2022-01-16-on-accessibility-for-linux-part-0-computing-while-disabled.md +4 -4
@@ 9,13 9,13 @@ Note a version of this post first appeared in my Mastodon Feed yesterday. This i

## The Issue

I use a custom built screen reader-ish program to well read stuff on the computer.  Although screen reader is a bit of a misnomer. It' really more of a mutant hybrid between a screen reader, and a program meant to aide dislexics. I call it [vsss you can download it from my github](https://github.com/marnold/vsss) 
I use a custom built screen reader-ish program to well read stuff on the computer.  Although screen reader is a bit of a misnomer. It' really more of a mutant hybrid between a screen reader, and a program meant to aide dyslexics. I call it [vsss you can download it from my github](https://github.com/marnold/vsss) 

I will make a post on how to get it working in a non me sort of context later possibly tomrrow. In the meantime I'll say you need to rewrite vsss.conf.in for your system. So far as I'm aware Cepstral Swift is the only speech engine that supports the hooks needed for the fancy on screen graphics
I will make a post on how to get it working in a non me sort of context later possibly tomorrow. In the meantime I'll say you need to rewrite vsss.conf.in for your system. So far as I'm aware Cepstral Swift is the only speech engine that supports the hooks needed for the fancy on screen graphics

When i upgraded to [#Fedora](https://treefort.piusbird.space/tags/Fedora) 35 on Thursday it stopped working. Not a problem in my code. I checked. Here's what went down, and why i'm so mad. Basically you have three options for text to speech on linux. First Espeak, Second Svox, (android tts) Third proprietary software synthesizer. And yes i know about the CMU stuff and hardware options. But for various reasons those aren't viable in my case
When i upgraded to [#Fedora](https://treefort.piusbird.space/tags/Fedora) 35 on Thursday it stopped working. Not a problem in my code. I checked. Here's what went down, and why I'm so mad. Basically you have three options for text to speech on Linux. First Espeak, Second Svox, (android tts) Third proprietary software synthesizer. And yes i know about the CMU stuff and hardware options. But for various reasons those aren't viable in my case

For various reasons i've used option 3 for the better part of 15 years now. And changing my computer voice now would be a huge adjustment. So the dirty little secret of most non-free speech synthesizers is they treat Linux/Unix as a third class platform. i.e most of the decently priced ones are still using OSS apis in 2021This hasn't been a problem as pulseaudio has this nice LD\_PRELOAD shim, that turns OSS apps into regular pulse clients.
For various reasons I've used option 3 for the better part of 15 years now. And changing my computer voice now would be a huge adjustment. So the dirty little secret of most non-free speech synthesizers is they treat Linux/Unix as a third class platform. i.e most of the decently priced ones are still using OSS apis in 2021This hasn't been a problem as pulseaudio has this nice LD\_PRELOAD shim, that turns OSS apps into regular pulse clients.

You wouldn't think this would be a big deal for pipewire either; it is backward compatible with pulseaudio clients after all. Turns out it's not. But it turns out that for some reason that was not documented anywhere i could find [#Fedora](https://treefort.piusbird.space/tags/Fedora) dropped the shim for it in a recent update.


M content/blog/2022-01-29-accessibility-on-linux-part-1-introducing-vsss.md => content/blog/2022-01-29-accessibility-on-linux-part-1-introducing-vsss.md +1 -1
@@ 75,7 75,7 @@ speak_bckend() {
}
```

Note a couple of things here. First it is best practice to implement a lockfile mechanism, before allowing the speech synthesizer to execute. Unless your a fan of symphonic chaos of course. Also note i set the speech rate to 200 words per minute. To those unpracticed with text to speech this can seem almost incomprehensibly fast. But keep in mind this is actually 100 words a minute slower than your average adult reading with their eyeballs. If your having trouble understanding the computer slow it down to about 165.
Note a couple of things here. First it is best practice to implement a lock file mechanism, before allowing the speech synthesizer to execute. Unless your a fan of symphonic chaos of course. Also note i set the speech rate to 200 words per minute. To those unpracticed with text to speech this can seem almost incomprehensibly fast. But keep in mind this is actually 100 words a minute slower than your average adult reading with their eyeballs. If your having trouble understanding the computer slow it down to about 165.

I've committed the espeak config file to github so you should be able to just copy it over top of mine, and done. And please note I'm always open to merging pull requests for more back ends.


M content/blog/2022-02-06-in-the-bleak-midwinter.md => content/blog/2022-02-06-in-the-bleak-midwinter.md +3 -3
@@ 28,9 28,9 @@ In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

This is an ultimately joyful poem about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Indeed the starkness of the scene starts taking it's climb upward in the very next verse. But in Bipolar's Depression phase you never get the lift your mind is just sort of stuck, in the bleak midwinter. You are alone with the frosty wind.

Sometimes the wind is so bitter and cruel that you feel it almost immediately. And it sends you scurrying to the safety of your support system, almost immedatly.. Those are the good ones paradoxical as it may seem. What I live in fear of are those times when the mental winter is just below freezing.
Sometimes the wind is so bitter and cruel that you feel it almost immediately. And it sends you scurrying to the safety of your support system, almost immediately.. Those are the good ones paradoxical as it may seem. What I live in fear of are those times when the mental winter is just below freezing.

In those days one may not appreciate the danger until it is too late. For although the wind starts as a gentle breeze, over time it can seep into every exposed crack in your mental armor, stealing your breath, chilling your mind. Even causing bone deep physical pain. Until it becomes a struggle just to survive. And all you can think about is when the next McDonalds run is going to happen. All the while your relationships crumble, your opportunities wither. And the guilt of things undone, becomes it's own howl in the wind. Finally your in so \*\*much\*\* gods be damned pain that you either reach out or go into mania which is it's own special hell, or else destroy yourself.
In those days one may not appreciate the danger until it is too late. For although the wind starts as a gentle breeze, over time it can seep into every exposed crack in your mental armor, stealing your breath, chilling your mind. Even causing bone deep physical pain. Until it becomes a struggle just to survive. And all you can think about is when the next McDonald's run is going to happen. All the while your relationships crumble, your opportunities wither. And the guilt of things undone, becomes it's own howl in the wind. Finally your in so \*\*much\*\* gods be damned pain that you either reach out or go into mania which is it's own special hell, or else destroy yourself.

## Such is life



@@ 75,7 75,7 @@ I'm not saying lie to yourself about your situation either. I am saying find a r

You may now be asking what my hope is centered in. Well the first part of that is easy. My religion gives me hope. I'm Roman Catholic of the Latin Rite. My religion tells me that each and every human being is made in the image, and likeness of God. And thus we are all of infinite worth and value just for existing. No if's, and's or special exemptions for queer people about it. Religion is not everyone's cup of tea so that's all I'll say on that for now.

The second part is harder to explain but is also values based. You see I am an unabashed techno-optimist, at times bordering on a techno-utopian. Which means that I believe that Science and Technology, when guided by a proper concern for Justice, can and will lead to a brighter future for everyone.
The second part is harder to explain but is also values based. You see I am an unabashed techno-optimist, at times bordering on a techno-Utopian. Which means that I believe that Science and Technology, when guided by a proper concern for Justice, can and will lead to a brighter future for everyone.

Knowing that there are [Communities](https://tildeverse.org/) of [like-minded](https://joinmastodon.org/) [people](https://www.devuan.org/) doing their best to make the world better despite [capitalist opposition](https://openaps.org/) . And having played a bit part in some of it. Really gives me hope I wouldn't otherwise have.


M content/blog/2022-02-13-status-update-january-febuary-2022.md => content/blog/2022-02-13-status-update-january-febuary-2022.md +3 -3
@@ 1,5 1,5 @@
+++
title =  "Status Update January-Febuary 2022"
title =  "Status Update January-February 2022"
date =  "2022-02-13"
+++



@@ 7,7 7,7 @@ I hear it be the fashion among young, hip open source professionals to post stat

## Accessibility Work

The main thrust of my a11y work this month has been to get my rather obscure custom reader program vsss into a state where other people who are not me can use it. You can download the patched version from both Github and SourceHut now. The documentation still needs work and i'll be getting there shortly. So Watch out for that in coming weeks.
The main thrust of my a11y work this month has been to get my rather obscure custom reader program vsss into a state where other people who are not me can use it. You can download the patched version from both Github and SourceHut now. The documentation still needs work and I'll be getting there shortly. So Watch out for that in coming weeks.

I created a new mailing list called [disabled-linuxing](//lists.sr.ht/~marnold128/disabled-linuxing) for peer support of users with unconventional assistive tech needs. Go subscribe I hate talking to myself in public.



@@ 25,7 25,7 @@ I started another new project this month. I know i should finish MasterText. But

## Finding Home?

I've wanted to find a Linux distro to contribute to again, but things just won't come together on that front. I've looked at Fedora, and Alpine and all the community there is lovely, but i just don't see what i'd do there anymore. Anyone know of any small upstreams that could use a neurodivergent developer with a little bit of rust on the skillset.
I've wanted to find a Linux distro to contribute to again, but things just won't come together on that front. I've looked at Fedora, and Alpine and all the community there is lovely, but i just don't see what i'd do there anymore. Anyone know of any small upstreams that could use a neurodivergent developer with a little bit of rust on the skill set.

## Other Writing


M content/blog/2022-05-03-lets-create-a-90s-web-programing-abomination-using-modern-technology.md => content/blog/2022-05-03-lets-create-a-90s-web-programing-abomination-using-modern-technology.md +6 -6
@@ 1,5 1,5 @@
+++
title =  "Let's Create a 90s Web Programing Abomination Using Modern Technology"
title =  "Let's Create a 90s Web Programming Abomination Using Modern Technology"
date =  "2022-05-03"
+++



@@ 25,7 25,7 @@ It used to be simple to write web applications here's an example
    	return(EXIT\_SUCCESS);
    }

Ok What's going on here. Well It's easy m'kay. A web program was just a normal program which prints out http headers followed by a blank line, followed by whatever generated content you wanted. HTTP info was stored in well documented environment variables, and the program had to return a success code on exit. To use just compile, upload and [presto](https://piusbird.space/~matt/goodbye.cgi). No docker or proxy passing required. This was called the Common Gateway Interface, and it was the backbone of dynamic content on the web for 15+ years. Heck Most modern web stacks just build or elaborate on this simple protocol
Ok What's going on here. Well It's easy m'kay. A web program was just a normal program which prints out HTTP headers followed by a blank line, followed by whatever generated content you wanted. HTTP info was stored in well documented environment variables, and the program had to return a success code on exit. To use just compile, upload and [presto](https://piusbird.space/~matt/goodbye.cgi). No docker or proxy passing required. This was called the Common Gateway Interface, and it was the backbone of dynamic content on the web for 15+ years. Heck Most modern web stacks just build or elaborate on this simple protocol

## Why did things change?



@@ 33,7 33,7 @@ Scalability, Security, and so forth. CGI as originally implemented spawned a sep

But as I said above I hate the modern web, Most of it is overkill for the stuff i do. I know the security risks involved in using classic methods, and scalability concerns for the sites hosted here is a problem I'd love to have. So the question then becomes

## How to get Classic CGI working on a modern webserver, by which I mean Nginx
## How to get Classic CGI working on a modern web server, by which I mean Nginx

![](/assets/images/218483.png)



@@ 43,13 43,13 @@ I'm not switching back to Apache because I don't like the memory hogging tendenc

<Troll> What is Nginx, I thought everyone used Apache

Nginx is a webserver sorta like Apache. In fact it is currently the most deployed webserver on the internet, it surpassed Apache in that role in about 2016 as I recall. Here's the latest survey data I could find.
Nginx is a web server sorta like Apache. In fact it is currently the most deployed web server on the internet, it surpassed Apache in that role in about 2016 as I recall. Here's the latest survey data I could find.

![](/assets/images/web-server-usage.png)

Webserver data
Web server data

Nginx is much faster, and much less of a resource hog than Apache. But for present purposes there's a problem Nginx has no ability to serve dynamic content on it's own. Meaning no cgi support, no php support no nothing. What Nginx can do is pass http requests to so called application servers sitting behind it. Either through a protocol called FastCGI/WSGI, or a plain old reverse proxy. When it gets a result, it does some quick header rewriting and displays that to the user. This saves resources, has security benefits and also allows you to scale and load balance application, should you become the next Facespace or something. All this is great, and most people love it like 80% of the time the other 20% being used to curse out the inevitable 502 Bad Gateway Errors which you will get if you try to do some of the more advanced Nginx tricks.
Nginx is much faster, and much less of a resource hog than Apache. But for present purposes there's a problem Nginx has no ability to serve dynamic content on it's own. Meaning no CGI support, no PHP support no nothing. What Nginx can do is pass HTTP requests to so called application servers sitting behind it. Either through a protocol called FastCGI/WSGI, or a plain old reverse proxy. When it gets a result, it does some quick header rewriting and displays that to the user. This saves resources, has security benefits and also allows you to scale and load balance application, should you become the next Facespace or something. All this is great, and most people love it like 80% of the time the other 20% being used to curse out the inevitable 502 Bad Gateway Errors which you will get if you try to do some of the more advanced Nginx tricks.

From this description it should seem obvious what we have to do. Find an application server for use with Nginx that runs old style CGIs. Configure it, and profit.


M content/blog/2022-05-08-more-90s-web-programing-abominations.md => content/blog/2022-05-08-more-90s-web-programing-abominations.md +1 -1
@@ 1,5 1,5 @@
+++
title =  "More 90s Web Programing Abominations"
title =  "More 90s Web Programming Abominations"
date =  "2022-05-08"
+++


M content/blog/2022-10-02-terminal-strange-bliss-2.md => content/blog/2022-10-02-terminal-strange-bliss-2.md +1 -1
@@ 14,7 14,7 @@ Or, How I learned to stop worrying, and learned to love the kludge
> 
> Me

Everyone tells me, that I am a good writer. Well nearly everyone. My sixth grade English teacher was an absolute witch bent on destroying the self esteem of impressionable 12 year olds, and doesn't count. And there was that low grade on the GED, but we can put that down to a bad day. Point is I have a 90 average on all English/Creative Writing assignments in my college years. More importantly I have been published in print and online dozens of times over the years, beginning when I was 9 years old.
Everyone tells me, that I am a good writer. Well nearly everyone. My sixth grade English teacher was an absolute witch bent on destroying the self esteem of impressionable 12 year old's, and doesn't count. And there was that low grade on the GED, but we can put that down to a bad day. Point is I have a 90 average on all English/Creative Writing assignments in my college years. More importantly I have been published in print and online dozens of times over the years, beginning when I was 9 years old.

Although I consider myself a two bit hack with no voice, and a style which would make your average third grade teacher scream in agony. The objective reality of the situation seems to disprove my self assessment. And in spite of my lack of self confidence in this field, I do enjoy slinging words about.


M content/blog/2022-10-11-storming-hogwarts.md => content/blog/2022-10-11-storming-hogwarts.md +6 -6
@@ 35,11 35,11 @@ As a result most of our so called heros suffer from a total dearth of Heroic Vir

## What Harry Potter Means to Me

If I were to cut Harry Potter out of my life completely, many of my accomplishments would be irrevocably tainted. I was a disabled kid with a reading disability, who was told that audiobooks didn't count as \`reading\` who was given slop years behind his actual intelligence level in an effort to \`teach me to read\`, when the problem was not knowledge but rather the pain involved with reading.
If I were to cut Harry Potter out of my life completely, many of my accomplishments would be irrevocably tainted. I was a disabled kid with a reading disability, who was told that audio books didn't count as \`reading\` who was given slop years behind his actual intelligence level in an effort to \`teach me to read\`, when the problem was not knowledge but rather the pain involved with reading.

No one believed me about either issue until i successfully read the third Harry Potter, with my eyes. Before that I had given up all hope of ever reading, and more importantly getting the adults around me to believe me. That struggle taught me I was capable and more importantly showed the so called experts a thing or two. We had no fights about audiobooks after that.
No one believed me about either issue until i successfully read the third Harry Potter, with my eyes. Before that I had given up all hope of ever reading, and more importantly getting the adults around me to believe me. That struggle taught me I was capable and more importantly showed the so called experts a thing or two. We had no fights about audio books after that.

Equally I would have let the memory of surviving my first depressive episode be tainted. I was only able to live through that because I wanted to see the end of a FanFiction. And Every single time I'd think of suicide. It would be like no, go read Potter. I must've read the books, like ten times over three months, and Oh god I can't even tell you how many fanfics i read over those months.
Equally I would have let the memory of surviving my first depressive episode be tainted. I was only able to live through that because I wanted to see the end of a Fan Fiction. And Every single time I'd think of suicide. It would be like no, go read Potter. I must've read the books, like ten times over three months, and Oh god I can't even tell you how many fanfics i read over those months.

I could mention more incidents throughout my life in which these books proved pivotal, but you dear reader get the point. Harry Potter is important to me on a deep, almost spiritual level in ways that few other books are. Only The Dragonriders of Pern series comes close to matching it, and only the Bible exceeds it in importance. What I came to realize was.



@@ 51,7 51,7 @@ Would they have been possible without these works? Do I therefore owe the author

## Examining Capitalist Heroism Narratives

Well let's examine that shall we. The Traditional Capitalist driven Hero's Narrative, around Rowling goes something like this. Before Harry Potter, children literature was a bunch of hacky moralizing tripe, and Megabooks schlock, with no redeeming qualities at all. Only the genius Joanne saw this as a problem and single handedly revived children’s fantasy, with the help of her editors at Bloomsburry. The only ones to recognize her genius.
Well let's examine that shall we. The Traditional Capitalist driven Hero's Narrative, around Rowling goes something like this. Before Harry Potter, children literature was a bunch of hacky moralizing tripe, and Megabooks schlock, with no redeeming qualities at all. Only the genius Joanne saw this as a problem and single handedly revived children’s fantasy, with the help of her editors at Bloomsbury. The only ones to recognize her genius.

I'll admit to a bit of ironic intensification for effect, but look at any pre transphobia biography of the women in question and you will see this kind of gushing portrait.



@@ 63,7 63,7 @@ As soon as it's out of your head and in something you own it for basically ever.

Publishers have to buy what are called publication rights from the author. They do this by pay a certain percentage of sales to the author for basically ever this is called royalties. The author will want to get paid up front for their hard work, right away however.

So there is a system known as advancing. Where the Publishing company pays the author an up front sum, and the author doesn't get her royalty payments, until the total sales of the book are greater than the advance amount. So in effect the advance is the publishing company betting on how successful the book will be in the market, So we must ask ourselves how much did Bloomsburry initially bet on Genius Joanne.
So there is a system known as advancing. Where the Publishing company pays the author an up front sum, and the author doesn't get her royalty payments, until the total sales of the book are greater than the advance amount. So in effect the advance is the publishing company betting on how successful the book will be in the market, So we must ask ourselves how much did Bloomsbury initially bet on Genius Joanne.

1,500 British Pounds Sterling or about 3,000 in 2022 dollars plus or minus 100 dollars either way. Seems a bit low doesn't it. Heck the commonly quoted figures (see Biography.com's entry on JK Rowling) lists the Scottish Arts Council, a branch of the Scottish Government as contributing an 8,000 pound grant.



@@ 85,4 85,4 @@ I do not support Transphobia in any way, shape, or form. Transgender people have

Using a full on Cancel on JKR in this instance, would give her even more power. Every fan defines what the art means to them. For me Harry Potter will always be Triumph over the odds and Hope amidst the darkness. Do I wish we lived in the time line where T.A. Baron had caught fire instead, yes I do. But we don't live in that world. To let JKR's bigotry taint that gives her the power to erase my achievements. This is something I will not do.

Rather I will continue to enjoy the Harry Potter books as a radical act of defiance. I will recommend Queer and Trans positive fanfiction like Stephen Ratliff's Ginger Snaps, or Kaleidoscopic Grangers. Buy my cosplay props from independent Etsy sellers from now on, and I probably won't go to the 25th Anniversary Theatrical Re-Release. I would encourage everyone to do the same. Sorry Joanne you're not a genius, and you are far from a hero. We can't take your platform away. But I'm keeping Hogwarts. Morte de Author! Viva Revolution!
Rather I will continue to enjoy the Harry Potter books as a radical act of defiance. I will recommend Queer and Trans positive fan fiction like Stephen Ratliff's Ginger Snaps, or Kaleidoscopic Grangers. Buy my cosplay props from independent Etsy sellers from now on, and I probably won't go to the 25th Anniversary Theatrical Re-Release. I would encourage everyone to do the same. Sorry Joanne you're not a genius, and you are far from a hero. We can't take your platform away. But I'm keeping Hogwarts. Morte de Author! Viva Revolution!

M content/blog/2022-10-16-an-ama-of-sorts.md => content/blog/2022-10-16-an-ama-of-sorts.md +1 -1
@@ 33,7 33,7 @@ What if we Teraformed Europa?

As a result of the Trinity Nuclear Tests Magic was discovered in 1945. What happens next.

These questions sometimes, have answers that will be immedatly obvious, sometimes require research. Sometimes they result in more questions. I have codenames for the whole thing. For example the Codewords Alas Victoria. Points to one of my variations on the American Monarchy idea. So if i run across it in one of my notebooks or whatever. I know it's research or drabbles related to that project.
These questions sometimes, have answers that will be immedatly obvious, sometimes require research. Sometimes they result in more questions. I have code names for the whole thing. For example the Code words Alas Victoria. Points to one of my variations on the American Monarchy idea. So if i run across it in one of my notebooks or whatever. I know it's research or drabbles related to that project.

I'm still in the process of centralizing all my notes and stuff


M content/blog/2022-11-15-septembers-children.md => content/blog/2022-11-15-septembers-children.md +3 -3
@@ 9,7 9,7 @@ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=024nT0GAphY

![](/assets/images/HopeAmidstFlames.png)

Twitter is imploding in case you hadn't heard. Losing a million dollars a week in advertiser funding. Corporations such as Eli Lily will likely have a multimillion dollar claim against TWTR. For causing them to loose stock valuation through negligence.
Twitter is imploding in case you hadn't heard. Losing a million dollars a week in advertiser funding. Corporations such as Eli Lily will likely have a multi million dollar claim against TWTR. For causing them to loose stock valuation through negligence.

Twitter's cultural, political and market relevance is in it's twilight. not a moment too soon. Twitter was always a very well managed, and sinisterly marketed bad value proposition. As all Surveillance/Choke Point Capitalism is for its users. Elon Musk's missteps in the past few weeks have only exposed this to the wider market. It is my prayer that Facebook and all the other overvalued `Social Media` companies go down in flames.



@@ 43,7 43,7 @@ The potential user base was small. Then 1993 came and the internet became open. 

Let's face it someone like me would never have been allowed on the pre 1993 internet. Let's start with the fact that my rights to be included in society at all weren't secured until nearly a year after my birth.

Most states were still actively institutionalizing people with my level of need until the Supreme Court intervened in 1999. and i had to be homeschooled because my rights to education weren't fully secured legally until two thousand and effing nine.
Most states were still actively institutionalizing people with my level of need until the Supreme Court intervened in 1999. and i had to be home schooled because my rights to education weren't fully secured legally until two thousand and effing nine.

Because of Eternal September I grew up on an internet where we had Forums and IRC and MUDs, and Blogs and mailing lists. Decentralized and Federated was the internet of my childhood and teen years. And literally dozens or hundreds of other sites, projects and communities besides. A place where you could go to find yourself, try on new identities, and find community even if you were excluded and marginalized away from keyboard. In my youth I rode Dragons in my spare time. Had friends and contacts from around the world, and was a valued member of several communities. Even though i was extremely social phobic away from keyboard.



@@ 75,7 75,7 @@ But in 2020 shortly after a life changing diagnosis. I discovered tilde.town and

I effectively was. Pius was born and he is a character who is much closer to the real Matt then my \`real life persona\` ever was. Through this community I've learned that living with a disability doesn't have to be constant struggle and joyless drama.

That the key to my best life lay not in some mythical future employment. Rather in discovering the things that give me joy and pursuing those when possible. And over the past two weeks i've watched in gleeful awe as Twitter collapses and person after person discovers the joy of these communities.
That the key to my best life lay not in some mythical future employment. Rather in discovering the things that give me joy and pursuing those when possible. And over the past two weeks I've watched in gleeful awe as Twitter collapses and person after person discovers the joy of these communities.

Sure there's bound to be some trouble ahead. Keeping toxic waste out of our home will be difficult. But if even one person who is where i was in 2014 or even the first half of 2020 has discovered Mastodon or Misskey or whatever and their lives have been made better because of it. I say it's all worth it. If one person makes a connection to a marginalized group and thereby is prevented from going down the right wing rabbit hole as some of my former friends did, then it's all worth it. In other words if this is the New Eternal September, then it's a very good dream, may it never end. But wake me up when it does.


M content/blog/2023-08-24-books.md => content/blog/2023-08-24-books.md +7 -7
@@ 7,14 7,14 @@ date = "2023-08-24"
{{ youtube(id="XU5rUXV_lP4") }}
## Book roulette, a small introduction:

 I was an early adopter of  audiobooks, and ebooks.  and we're not talking I had a sony reader in my  teenage years. Although that would have been cool.  I obtained my first audio book subscription  when it became clear to my parents and teachers that I would keep failing the third grade, unless adjustments were made. so around the age of nine, maybe earlier.  The problem was this was 1997, or so. The audiobook industrial complex wasn't nearly  the multibillion dollar juggernaut it is today, commercial audiobook publishing was a redheaded stepchild of the publishing industry, and most  audiobooks were produced in what is called abridged form. Where someone would edit the text of a book down from  about a ten hour program to perhaps three or four hours. This was done so that it would fit on as few cassettes or vinyl records as possible. Unabridged Books were obscenely expensive, and very hard to find in the days before Amazon started carrying everything. For instance a copy of the unabridged  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone would cost or around $66. In today's money, and the prices only went up as one moved into more  young adult and adult reading. A copy of Tom Clancy's Executive Orders for instance would run you  and inflation adjusted $120. Prices only went down slightly after the move to CDs. Because if we can keep profit why not?
 I was an early adopter of  audio books, and ebooks.  and we're not talking I had a Sony reader in my  teenage years. Although that would have been cool.  I obtained my first audio book subscription  when it became clear to my parents and teachers that I would keep failing the third grade, unless adjustments were made. so around the age of nine, maybe earlier.  The problem was this was 1997, or so. The audio book industrial complex wasn't nearly  the multi billion dollar juggernaut it is today, commercial audio book publishing was a redheaded stepchild of the publishing industry, and most  audio books were produced in what is called abridged form. Where someone would edit the text of a book down from  about a ten hour program to perhaps three or four hours. This was done so that it would fit on as few cassettes or vinyl records as possible. Unabridged Books were obscenely expensive, and very hard to find in the days before Amazon started carrying everything. For instance a copy of the unabridged  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone would cost or around $66. In today's money, and the prices only went up as one moved into more  young adult and adult reading. A copy of Tom Clancy's Executive Orders for instance would run you  and inflation adjusted $120. Prices only went down slightly after the move to CDs. Because if we can keep profit why not?

 This had consequences for both individuals and libraries, I owned very few books growing up.  I think by the time I moved out the only book I had left from childhood was a copy of Return of the King, which had suffered So much abuse by that point, it was only good for decoration.  in addition libraries would have very limited selection, often years out of date, and mostly of abridged titles. Although my local library growing up did have a surprising collection of World War II related stuff, and british mystery authors in Unabridged form.
 This had consequences for both individuals and libraries, I owned very few books growing up.  I think by the time I moved out the only book I had left from childhood was a copy of Return of the King, which had suffered So much abuse by that point, it was only good for decoration.  in addition libraries would have very limited selection, often years out of date, and mostly of abridged titles. Although my local library growing up did have a surprising collection of World War II related stuff, and British mystery authors in Unabridged form.

 So how then did young disabled people gain an education or read for pleasure.

## Regan's Nighmare
  Unsurprisingly there's a federal program for that. It's called the National Library Service.  And it was begun during the new deal to provide work for out of work actors. They originally sent books out to blind people on I special sixteen and one third RPM long play record  record, upgraded to four  track audiocassette in  the mid seventies. And usb  audio cartridges  in 2010.
## Regan's Nightmare
  Unsurprisingly there's a federal program for that. It's called the National Library Service.  And it was begun during the new deal to provide work for out of work actors. They originally sent books out to blind people on I special sixteen and one third RPM long play record  record, upgraded to four  track audio cassette in  the mid seventies. And usb  audio cartridges  in 2010.

   Nowadays  a qualifying patron can just go to their state's  repository site. And download whatever they want, or if that can't be done for whatever reason call  and have a special USB drive sent to you with selections.



@@ 26,7 26,7 @@ Point was if you didn't order anything or didn't have your borrowing limit maxed

## All Grown Up
I tend to read the same kinds of things over and over again now whereas  under the old dispensation, I would read many  on many different topics, and this would keep things from getting boring.  
In any given month you might go from Ursula K Le Guinn,  to a National Geographic guide to the island of Cyprus. and the aforementioned  guide  might spark your interest  in cold war era foreign policy, which would then lead you to order a book on the watergate scandal. But not the usual one Woodward  and Bernstein. You accidentally ordered the autobiography of the presiding judge  in the criminal case. All the while you're still exploring high fantasy and scifi  during fiction time.   The proceeding was not a hypothetical example, that all happened during my sophomore year of high school. You basically went down multiple slow motion rabbit holes.
In any given month you might go from Ursula K Le Guinn,  to a National Geographic guide to the island of Cyprus. and the aforementioned  guide  might spark your interest  in cold war era foreign policy, which would then lead you to order a book on the Watergate scandal. But not the usual one Woodward  and Bernstein. You accidentally ordered the autobiography of the presiding judge  in the criminal case. All the while you're still exploring high fantasy and scifi  during fiction time.   The proceeding was not a hypothetical example, that all happened during my sophomore year of high school. You basically went down multiple slow motion rabbit holes.

## How to play
 I have long wanted to reconstruct something of this system to get me invested in reading again, and to broaden my horizons a bit. Seems like all I do is read catholic theological texts these days. And I may have finally found a system that works. Here's how.


@@ 37,8 37,8 @@ In any given month you might go from Ursula K Le Guinn,  to a National Geographi
4.  remove title from file
5. repeat

 This seems to work well for the moment. I just finished a book called Military Justice in America By Jonathan Laurie, and I'm currently working through Kim Stanley Robinson's Green Earth. The one on the history of court marshals in America surprisingly more readable than the utopian climate fiction. But Kim Stanley Robinson is rather hit and miss in my experience.
 This seems to work well for the moment. I just finished a book called Military Justice in America By Jonathan Laurie, and I'm currently working through Kim Stanley Robinson's Green Earth. The one on the history of court marshals in America surprisingly more readable than the Utopian climate fiction. But Kim Stanley Robinson is rather hit and miss in my experience.

I've only been doing this for two months but it seems to be working so far at least in getting the excited about reading again. Obviously there are some exclusions I won't read anything by jordan Peterson for example, or anything overtly fascist. And for now I've decided to exclude catholic  theological and history texts  from  the pool just because  I've read so many in the last year I'm getting board. 
I've only been doing this for two months but it seems to be working so far at least in getting the excited about reading again. Obviously there are some exclusions I won't read anything by Jordan Peterson for example, or anything overtly fascist. And for now I've decided to exclude catholic  theological and history texts  from  the pool just because  I've read so many in the last year I'm getting board. 

 Well anyway, that's the story of book roulette hope you enjoyed.	

M content/blog/2023-10-11-catholic-personal-practice.md => content/blog/2023-10-11-catholic-personal-practice.md +8 -8
@@ 2,41 2,41 @@
title = "A Catholic's Book of Shadows"
date = "2023-10-11"
+++
{{ conversation(creature="Greg", message=" This post comes with a general content warning, my human will be discussing his spritual identity, which was formed through truma. I will not tolerate cow patties from anyone on this subject. If you don't wanna read this kind of content grab a taco on the way out.", mood="serious")}}
{{ conversation(creature="Greg", message=" This post comes with a general content warning, my human will be discussing his spiritual identity, which was formed through trauma. I will not tolerate cow patties from anyone on this subject. If you don't wanna read this kind of content grab a taco on the way out.", mood="serious")}}

 hello  friends,  At least one of you has requested to know more about my spiritual practices and customs, being a roman catholic who occasionally reads tarot, can raise eyebrows after all. I don't know of a better way of introducing this post, so let's get right into it.
 
 
## My Personal Spiritual Journey,  In two minutes

 The first thing you have to understand about me, is that the church was always my safe space, growing up I know this is not typical for most  neuro divergent/queer folks. But this was my experience, I suffered a lot of abuse and trauma from  in the public school system. From both teachers and fellow students, I won't go into that here but suffice to say  The church was the only place that I felt loved for who I was. Not to mention because of my disabilities I was not allowed to try many things that other people get to experience in their childhood, except a church camp were they always found a way to include me, even an archery which must have  knocked several years off the instructor's lives. But they let me do archery while half blind and spastic how's that for radical inclusion. Then my brother committed suicide and I started questioning basically everything about my life and identity.
 The first thing you have to understand about me, is that the church was always my safe space, growing up I know this is not typical for most  Nero divergent/queer folks. But this was my experience, I suffered a lot of abuse and trauma from  in the public school system. From both teachers and fellow students, I won't go into that here but suffice to say  The church was the only place that I felt loved for who I was. Not to mention because of my disabilities I was not allowed to try many things that other people get to experience in their childhood, except a church camp were they always found a way to include me, even an archery which must have  knocked several years off the instructor's lives. But they let me do archery while half blind and spastic how's that for radical inclusion. Then my brother committed suicide and I started questioning basically everything about my life and identity.
 
  As part of that process I looked at every religion  in the book, I literally got a book on comparative religions just so I could shop around so to speak, and see what felt authentic. Through that process I came to realize there were essentially two options.  neopaganism specifically wicca or roman catholicism. I also seriously considered judaism and Jainism, and also reviving the Valentinian heresy of the second century.  however those speculations are for another post.
  As part of that process I looked at every religion  in the book, I literally got a book on comparative religions just so I could shop around so to speak, and see what felt authentic. Through that process I came to realize there were essentially two options.  neopaganism specifically wicca or roman Catholicism. I also seriously considered Judaism and Jainism, and also reviving the Valentinian heresy of the second century.  however those speculations are for another post.
  
   Here is where I make the neopagans in the audience cringe a friend recommended one of silver ravenwolf's  works I believe it was To Ride a Silver Broomstick, as a good guide to getting started.   To say it may be run in the opposite direction would be a fantastic feet of understatement. What I didn't know then was there were several critiques of ravenwolf's  entire body of work especially that one, and who knows if I had found Deborah Lipp  first I might now be  practicing wiccan. But this is not the world that unfolded and here I am a catholic.
   Here is where I make the pagans in the audience cringe a friend recommended one of silver ravenwolf's  works I believe it was To Ride a Silver Broomstick, as a good guide to getting started.   To say it may be run in the opposite direction would be a fantastic feet of understatement. What I didn't know then was there were several critiques of ravenwolf's  entire body of work especially that one, and who knows if I had found Deborah Lipp  first I might now be  practicing wiccan. But this is not the world that unfolded and here I am a catholic.
   
## Religion of Practice, Religion of Community

 Unlike most other forms of Christianity, roman catholicism was not just built upon believing the right things. Or accepting jesus christ in your heart as it were. Catholicism asserts that the personal relationship with jesus christ is necessary but not sufficient, for healthy spiritual life. You also have to keep the seven sacraments, and to put it in the words of the apostle Paul. Carry each other's burdens.  or if you prefer Jesus just read the parable of the good samaritan in its full historical context. What this means is you have to act out the virtue of universal compassion in the world. If you don't do this catholicism asserts that  your relationship with divinity becomes a one sided Parasocial phenomenon, which only exists in your head. But if you act out of compassion for your fellow human beings, and place that at the center of your life, then  your life will become overflowing with boundless graces and gifts, and you will become a beacon of hope to others. In other words the more you give of yourself  in love to the world,  the more authentically yourself you will become.
 Unlike most other forms of Christianity, roman Catholicism was not just built upon believing the right things. Or accepting Jesus Christ in your heart as it were. Catholicism asserts that the personal relationship with Jesus Christ is necessary but not sufficient, for healthy spiritual life. You also have to keep the seven sacraments, and to put it in the words of the apostle Paul. Carry each other's burdens.  or if you prefer Jesus just read the parable of the good Samaritan in its full historical context. What this means is you have to act out the virtue of universal compassion in the world. If you don't do this Catholicism asserts that  your relationship with divinity becomes a one sided Parasocial phenomenon, which only exists in your head. But if you act out of compassion for your fellow human beings, and place that at the center of your life, then  your life will become overflowing with boundless graces and gifts, and you will become a beacon of hope to others. In other words the more you give of yourself  in love to the world,  the more authentically yourself you will become.
 
  I know this is confusing, but it is far more then not being a dick. Catholicism  is about honoring god and loving the world.
  
## Paths and Practice

 The catholic church recognizes that everyone we'll live this out differently.  depending upon their state of life means and resources. So other than keeping the  seven sacraments especially going to mass regularly. There is a lot of room for interpretation, and individual expression within the tradition. For example I didn't even own a rosary until a year after my conversion. And I use the rosary differently than most people but we'll get to that later.  we call these spiritualities or spiritual paths. Most  Catholics take on the spiritual path of whoever taught them, and only individuate later in life it's at all. And let's face it there is a lot of prescriptivism particularly in american catholicism. There are some people who will insist quite vehemently that not doing it the way they were taught is somehow wrong.  Or dangerous in some way. There are even some people who will try to force their particular brand of spirituality on entire communities.  this prescriptivism is wrong and needs to stop. Everyone comes to god in their own way. The only thing one must remember is god is god and you is not. Ask  fearlessly but never think you are in  control.  This introduction is getting long and I could frankly  go on forever. The tradition is so rich and so vast that is it impossible to do it justice in the short space I have here.
 The catholic church recognizes that everyone we'll live this out differently.  depending upon their state of life means and resources. So other than keeping the  seven sacraments especially going to mass regularly. There is a lot of room for interpretation, and individual expression within the tradition. For example I didn't even own a rosary until a year after my conversion. And I use the rosary differently than most people but we'll get to that later.  we call these spiritualities or spiritual paths. Most  Catholics take on the spiritual path of whoever taught them, and only individuate later in life it's at all. And let's face it there is a lot of prescriptivism particularly in American Catholicism. There are some people who will insist quite vehemently that not doing it the way they were taught is somehow wrong.  Or dangerous in some way. There are even some people who will try to force their particular brand of spirituality on entire communities.  this prescriptivism is wrong and needs to stop. Everyone comes to god in their own way. The only thing one must remember is god is god and you is not. Ask  fearlessly but never think you are in  control.  This introduction is getting long and I could frankly  go on forever. The tradition is so rich and so vast that is it impossible to do it justice in the short space I have here.
 
##  My personal practice

### The Black book
 Now we get to the good stuff what does my personal practice look like. Well I mentioned I briefly experimented with neopaganism.  One  of the traditions I like from that system. It's called the book of shadows, every wiccan keeps one that is full of personal spiritual reflections, rituals and prayers, spells and such.  sort of a personal spiritual diary and breviary all in one.
 
  My book is digital for now, although I do intend to have printed when I am happy with  the state it's in, and money allows. It doesn't contain spells it's a mix of bible quotations, interesting prayers most of  which I didn't write. Some terrible prayers which I did in fact write,  biography is of obscure saints usually copied from wikipedia. The odd  recipe or two. My personal calendar of observances. My personal litany of saints. And a few other things that I'd prefer to keep private. The book is the foundation on which my catholic practice is built. 
  My book is digital for now, although I do intend to have printed when I am happy with  the state it's in, and money allows. It doesn't contain spells it's a mix of bible quotations, interesting prayers most of  which I didn't write. Some terrible prayers which I did in fact write,  biography is of obscure saints usually copied from Wikipedia. The odd  recipe or two. My personal calendar of observances. My personal litany of saints. And a few other things that I'd prefer to keep private. The book is the foundation on which my catholic practice is built. 
  
  
{{ conversation(creature="Evanna", message="Although if you keep your book digitally  please do back it up and please keep it in a sane  format, my human is currently reconstructing his for just such a reason. ", mood="facepalm")}}


{{ conversation(creature="Greg", message="Before you ask, if this is ever printed. Blessings have been divised. And will be performed", mood="sigh")}}
{{ conversation(creature="Greg", message="Before you ask, if this is ever printed. Blessings have been devised. And will be performed", mood="sigh")}}

 I try to write in it at least once a week, what I typically do is copied down any interesting prayers or hymns I've heard  in the week before. Any snippets from the readings for the week that particularly  stuck out to me. I very rarely date  anything. But each page has a title.  For example this week's page is entitled "Cures for nightmares", and so far contains the text of the hymn For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest. the text of Deuteronomy 6:4-7 and not much else for the moment. When I use it for prayer I do the digital equivalent of flipping through the book for a page with  a title I want and go from there.
 

A content/blog/2024-03-25-anarchist-tech.md => content/blog/2024-03-25-anarchist-tech.md +236 -0
@@ 0,0 1,236 @@
+++
title = "Toward a Anarchist Philosophy of Techonlogy"
date = "2024-03-25"
+++
## Toward a Anarchist Philosophy of Techonlogy

 a friend sent me an  email  recently, and told me that my ideas intrigued  them, and inquired whether I had a newsletter she could subscribe to. This blog is the  closest thing I have, and I hardly ever use it.  I want to change that.  let's give shape to one of my more intriguing ideas.  As a matter of fact  let's be radical together.  I think the current western philosophy of technology sucks. And I want to change it.
 
##  What has silicon valley to do with Athens.

 When I start  talking about the philosophy of technology people often get confused. They will shay things like "aren't computers  just there to assist us", or "more efficiency is good",  or in this is my favorite " it's just computer software, it's not worth getting all twisted and knots over."  As it turns out the premise of the questions/thoughts  si deeply rooted in american attitudes toward technology. In the US  we tend to see all new technologies, especially those that increase so called "productivity",  or "individual freedom"  as good in themselves. Even further we tend to see "technological progress"  as inevitable, almost divinely preordained. The techno deterministic attitude is so diffused within our culture, that trying to point it out and explain it can sometimes seem like explaining water to a fish.

 
  But technological determinism as a philosophy only dates back about a hundred and fifty years. It was not always thus. In fact there is something of an urban legend, among students of Technology and Culture, that goes a little something like this.
  
  A village on the periphery of the roman empire wanted to build a waterwheel to power its mill. At the time,  construction of water wheels needed to be approved by the imperial court itself. The village leaders  dutifully wrote to the  imperial court, and were surprised when they got a reply from the Emperor himself. Much to their dismay however permission was denied. In his letter the emperor explained, that one of his duties as the emperor was to ensure all imperial subjects had a job. The village in question, was too small for a waterwheel, and therefore  producing too much too fast would  surely put too many people out of work.
  
   I had a professor once  swear to me that there was archaeological evidence to back this story up,  but a time of writing I can't find anything to back it up. So for now we'll just put it as an urban legend.  The historical veracity of the story is very much beside the point. For it demonstrates, that there are other ways to conceive of technology.  rather than just blindly buying what  the industry and marketers, say we need. We can be and in my view we should be more intentional and community oriented in our technological practice.

   In fact history is replete with examples, of  capitalists driving our technical development in directions that are demonstrably deleterious to society. At the turn of  twentieth century  for example, America had one of the best and the most well developed system of trains and public transit in the world. The problem however was that it was privately owned, and thus  when the  internal combustion engine automobile  began to be mass marketed. Car companies such as  principally General Motars began buying up streetcar companies, and in some cases railroad lines in order to destroy them.  Worse  in the post  World War Two such companies used  the capital they acquired from US  taxpayers as a result of the war. To advocate for exclusively car centric public infrastructure. Not only was this not resisted by the public of the time, it was in most cases cheered. The car was seen as an icon of individual freedom, and efficiency. It mattered very little that this public perception was largely a result of automobile industry propaganda.
   
   I feel like the detrimental effects of the automobile, at least in its internal combustion form are so well known to  the audience of this blog. That I need not restate them here, and this is not an essay about  capitalism or cars. For more information I would direct the interested reader to 99% Invisible episode 76. And the book _Down the Asphalt Path_  by Clay Mcshane. Honestly the source page for the Adam Ruins Everything episode about cars, has most of the sources I would cite here. But this topic has provided ample fodder for more than one  doctoral dissertation, in technological history so be careful it is a rabbit hole.

{{ conversation(creature="Greg", message="It is worth noting that a substantial number of recent Historians of Technology have begun to question the validity of The General Motars Street Car Conspiracy. In fact most of the results which surface in a Search for information about it are skeptic/revisionist, on this point. Nonetheless it is beyond questioning that the auto industry, had an outsized, and some would say undue influnace over United States policy. From at least the Eisenhower Administration, until the late 1980s  ")}}

Automotive history, is but one example of the point I wish to illustrate. Which is simply this, rather than being an inevitable force from on high technological progress is driven by  collective societal choice.  Which is often shaped by forces within the culture in which the technology arises or is practiced.   The reciprocal nature of the relationship between technology and culture  is the foundational assumption, of both the modern history of technology, and an academic discipline, in its own right. In which I have 2/3rds  of a degree. 

{{conversation(creature="Evanna", message="It is rather boringly called Technology and Culture, or sometimes Science, Technology, and Sociey Studies")}}

 I hope to have demonstrated in this brief aside that philosophy has a lot to do with technology, because if I  failed in this endeavor nothing which follows in the remainder of this  post will make any sense.
 
## The dominant philosophy of technology
  Assuming you are convinced that  technology is a reflection of culture, and doesn't just progress as the result of some semi divine force.  This then begs the question. What is the dominant  philosophy of technology today?  I would argue that it is some form of Frederick Winslow Taylor's  concept of scientific management, combined with a heavy dose of technological determinism, and not  and insignificant dash of neoliberal/capitalist realist nostrums. Which when combined  form a philosophical milieu that encourages  numb acquiescence in whatever technological *innovation* that our venture capitalist overlords, suggest.
  
  In Taylor's 1911 book _Principles of Scientific Management_  he opens with  the startling  thesis, 
  " in the past man was first, in the future the system must be first".  While he states in the very next sentence that this does not and should not imply that great men are not needed. He sees the development of human beings as subordinate to an "scientific management system". Whose central object, and overriding goal is to increase productivity and thus profit for business owners. Ask any MBA " scientific management"  was a groundbreaking concept in the field of  business management. And its modern descendants, most  infamously,  algorithmic scheduling  are still almost ubiquitous across industry today.
   
   The 1933   world's fair had a far more dystopian slogan for the same concept. " Science discovers, industry applies,  mankind conforms".
   
  
{{conversation(creature="Evanna", message="Some people would dispute my human's lumping of Taylor in with Technological Determinist. Some including the wikipedia page on it call technological determinism a Marxist philosophy.  But his thesis, in his seminal work, stated above is shockingly close to the marxist conception of determinism. Even if Taylor himself comes at it from a decidedly capitalist perspective ")}}
 
  this idea  that humanity is subject, and moreover ought to be subject,  to and inevitable force be it "science"  or " the market",  tor something else altogether is pervasive in our society regardless of political, or religious perspective.
   
   Moreover occasionally the assumptions of the  our socioeconomic system, are so unquestioned  htat they are often held up as  good of themselves, needing no explanation or defense.
   
 Think for instance of one of the principal arguments of the  so called returned to the office movement. The one that  goes as such. If no one returns to the office than  the commercial real estate industry will be destroyed.
 
  The mere fact that some would cite the potential disruption and loss of  money  of a change in business model, as a reason  that ordinary working people should be compelled to give up the benefits of work from home. Shows the pervasiveness  of individual subordination to the economic system.
  
   In our own industry, everyone bemoans the rise of so called browser monoculture. kvetches  about the shocking amount of machine resources needed to run modern websites. And sometimes if one is really lucky  or self aware. There will  be moralizing sermons, about the environmental effects of so much  electronic waste.
   
   But it is worth asking how the hell did we get here? After all one could implement, and can still implement the first complete version of the HTML spec, rather confusingly called  version "2.01"  in less than three thousand lines of code. And javascript is famously one of those  deadline driven hacks that was mostly powered by caffeine and prayer.
    
 And there is still at least one javascript interpreter MuJs  that can run in ms dos.
    
 I would argue I think  without much opposition,  that the rise in the complexity of  web browsers to a point where it would take more then ten human lifetimes, to make a new one. And the fact that it is almost impossible to make one that is efficient enough so that a computer from fifteen years ago can run on the modern internet. Is directly related to the discovery that  the features is used for client side interactivity can be used to offload heavy computation onto the user's machine.  thus saving on server costs. In other words the modern internet has become nothing more than a  semi voluntary botnet for our venture capitalist overlords.
 
  Software bloat is profitable, there is no other reason that it continues.  There is no respect in our industry for  the sanctity of the individual's  data, so why on earth would there be any respect for the sanctity of the individual's machine. But this is nothing new.
  
   Nearly every technological innovation of the last two hundred years or so, from factories, to mechanical combine harvesters, radios, to computers, and internet to AI has been sold to us as a great win for either individuals or the progress of the species of the whole. Indeed some have been, more often than not however these  innovations are coopted to create wealth for a few  while leaving a vast majority in poverty.  But as I hope to demonstrate in the next section, it need not  necessarily be this way. And indeed we in the technology professions are perhaps best positioned  to write a new ending to this story.


## An Anarchist TechnoPhilosphy 

>  Does it have to start with a broken heart
> Broken dreams and bleeding parts?
> We were young and the world was clear
> Young ambitions disappear
> I swore, it would never come to this
> The average, the obvious
> I'm still discontented down here
> I'm still discontented..

-- Switchfoot, Burn out Bright from Oh! Gravity! Sparrow Records 2007

 Perhaps I didn't need to convince you of the predicament we find ourselves in. Maybe it was even unnecessary to point out that Said predicament was brought about by  collective societal choices, which favour  moneyed interests in our  culture.  However if I know you, the question in your mind right now  is what can I do about it‽ 
 
 Well, I have a unique perspective on that question because I am, on the margins of the mainstream  technology industry, to put it mildly.
 
 
## Computers, Midas, and Myself
 
  Allow me to introduce myself for those who don't know me, I am "Pius Q Bird". The principal fursona  of a multiply disabled creator, and software developer. By the name of Matt Arnold.  My disabilities include   cerebral palsy, bipolar disorder, autism, and last but not least visual impairments. My  disabilities have profoundly shaped the course of my life  and my own concept of identity as you might expect.
  
   There is a reason I play a bird on the internet,  after all.
   
  my condition,  or more accurately its social and economic effects on me. Have shaped my relationship with technology in profound ways.  I have never bought a computer that was new in my life. All my machines, have been at the least four years old at the time I bought them or at the most extreme ten years old. Although the latter one I had to throw away because a single  core Celeron machine in 2022  was a bit too low and even for me. At the same time I have requirements,  principally speech input and output, which make the demands upon my computing devices  more hefty than average.
  
   This is not by choice I have lived below the poverty line for almost all of my adult life. Even the fortune one hundred company I worked for briefly five years ago. Quickly found a way to get rid of me, after they found complying with the americans with disabilities act a bet too onerous for their tastes.
  
   I switched to Linux in 2006  more is a survival mechanism than anything else. There was no upgrade path for my Pentium III running windows me. And a new computer wouldn't come for well over a year and a half.
   
   I even managed  to make a few contributions here and there back to the open source community, principally debian packaging.  Between 2007  and 2011. I also made some contributions to slackbuilds.org  and a few other places. But my principal work in open source has been as a situated software upstream for myself and other similarly disabled users. My software is not used by tens of thousands of people let alone hundreds. If I get ten regular users of my software I consider that to be "doing numbers"  it is important work that I enjoy doing, although my favourite days are when the users actually donate. I love it when that happens. All digressions aside I have had to learn about efficiency, and proper  stewardship of computing resources  almost since the beginning of my software development career.  So  I think I can say with confidence, that it need not be this way.
   
   But also in my experience, it is hard for software engineers trained in a more mainstream environment to grasp how I achieve   the remarkable performance numbers that I get.
   
   indeed, this is why I think I was hired at above mentioned megacorporation in the first place. They assumed I was a 10x  superstar  who had somehow gone undiscovered.   and that I had some secret sauce that they could exploit to improve they're very unremarkable to django app. But alas there is only so much I can do when you're moving your internal  line of business application to a React  based  single page deal,  Client rendered API driven. requiring the latest version of chrome. All the while the machines that sit on your users desks are in fact single core Celerons.
   
   There are not enough algorithmic optimizations in the world to fix that.
    
{{conversation(creature="Greg", message=" My humam will state categorically and for the whole world to see that I am not a 10x engineer at all.  they do exist although they're rarer than you think and most don't brag about being one. Most people  that claim they are a  the mythical 10x engineer,  get there with epic amounts of substance abuse, or corner cutting  so monumental that the result is practically ovoid.") }}

 
 My point is my background and constraints how forced me to question industry orthodoxy. And to come to a  completely different philosophy of technology then is mainstream.  Only to discover that there was  an entire nascent community forming around what I took to be, my own  original thought.   Indeed   I have been sprinkling this essay with certain terms of art, that a careful reader might use to jump ahead.
 
  This philosophy has no name, yet.  the combination of these ideas might in fact be unique to me.  but the ideas I am about to present are not new some of them even go back decades. Or in some cases centuries.  one first appeared in literature in 2019.  so as with all philosophies it is a giant  remix of previous work.  I call it Techno Anarchism.  the next section  will set out principles. and our final section  I will attempt to give some resources for further study and practice.
  

##  a primer on techno anarchism 

 before we start slinging around terms like local first software, and critiquing the work of Drew Devault. I think it would be helpful if we first explained what anarchism is, because it is one of those things in life which nine and ten people hate what they perceive it to be. But not one in ten would hate what it actually is, if they understood it.
 
  Anarchism simply put is a philosophy that is  highly suspicious of all forms of  human hierarchy.  be it political, economic, religious, or indeed  technologically established.
  
   Anarchy seeks  identify those forms of hierarchy which are unnecessary to  individual human flourishing,  or the common good of all, and eliminate them.
   
   Anarchists do not seek to eliminate *all forms*  of organization or government, however we do assert that societal organization need not involve  some people being on top, and others the bottom.  we seek a society,  where power is as evenly distributed as possible.
   
   But what has this to do with  information  technology or the software industry.  the answer should be obvious if you're paying attention.  it is the  choices of the software industry, which perpetuates hierarchy.
   
   by choosing to make websites but only render efficiently, on a browser which requires eight gigabytes of ram as  a modern chromium based browser, inevitably needs. At a minimum we put a gate in front of those people and institutions who can't afford  newer hardware.  
   
   let's say you're a victim of domestic violence, and were able to escape your abuser with only your government provided safe link phone. this is 2024, so it is at least a smartphone. Unlike the one I  was issued back in 2015   which didn't even have a camera or texting capabilities as those were considered luxuries back then.
   
   But the smartphone you received is only a single core model running android 4.4, and has four gigabytes of ram if we're lucky. Here's the thought experiment can you call an uber from such a device.  The answer is kind of if  you know what you're doing. Btu I don't know how long that will be the case.
   
   Now assume you have the technical knowledge of the average member of the public, could you still do it. The answer I think would be no.
   
   By practicing software engineering in the way we do, we say to that domestic violence victim you don't matter. We say to  the mother of th enoeb tlanriuastvic child working two jobs on welfare. Your child can't have a voice.   We as software engineers were raised on dreams of  computer technology liberating the world and bringing it closer.  But we still practice software like capitalists.
   
   Understand I am not talking about open source or free software, they are necessary minimums. But only that,  and as we have seen all too often foss  gets exploited for capitalist ends.  How then does an anarchist design software.

##  First principle,  don't tap markets build communities

 the first principle is perhaps the simplest. In  software we think that the more users we have, be they paying customers, or users of your Linux distribution the more successful you are.  but is any maintainer of a popular project can tell you this leads to burnout, because all your users will have different use cases.  therefore the scope of the project will increase over time. And this scope creep will inevitably lead to a project that is too large for a maintainer to handle. At this point some projects get lucky, and  can gather a community around them to sustain them. 
 
  And some projects  are required to have a large  ever evolving scope. Think the Linux kernel for example. Most projects aren't this way and just end up as archives on GitHub.  more users will not make you happy.
  
   What do we do instead, build the community first. Or seek out a community before you write code.
   
   Or if you can't do that ta least seek out a community  which can at least act as your cheering section.
    
 ideally do both because in most cases your users will be less technical than you are, and you will need knowledgeable people to talk shop with.
 
  whatever you do in this regard recognize that community is destiny. The communities you join  will have and almost irresistible effect on shaping your beliefs and future practice. You are not alone choose wisely.

## second principle, servant leadership

 now that you have situated yourself within a community, either created for the purpose or found and chosen. Recognize that highly skilled people such as yourself, are often leaders in such communities. And in the case you built it yourself you will automatically and ipsos facto be  the leader, this has a lot of privileges with it. You can now lol kick somebody for instance. Recognize however that the people who come to you are doing so out of a place of need and trust.
 
  Very few people seek out new software just for the fun of it, Videogames being the one obvious exception of course.   the users are here not because they like you, although that may be true, for come to be true in time. But the user wouldn't be here with you if they didn't have a need which wasn't being fulfilled anywhere else. therefore they are placing a lot of trust in you.
  
  you should aspire to be worthy of that trust, and conduct yourself as if you were already worthy of it. This is the essence of servant leadership.  The most admirable leaders are those who don't seek to accumulate power for its own sake, but to use it to  bring up those lower than them.
  
##  third principle respect the user's  stuff

 this one is a little more concrete, but it flows naturally from the second one respect the users stuff. This means in large part placing the user's needs above your needs as a developer. Do you really need to render that documentation client side, yes it would be cool and up to date. But who are you excluding with that decision. Your users might have significantly more constrained hardware requirements than you do, or accessibility requirements you are unaware of.  
 
 I am not saying that you can't do things to make your own life easier. This principle only requires that you exercise due care and caution
 

 As an example of this in action there was once a coding session which I had. I believe it was even caught on video. Where I spent three hours tracing down  commit histories going back ten years, because I didn't want to accidentally bump the minimum python version on a particular project.
 
  Now I later found out that  the user for whom I was taking this extra step, had already upgraded their equipment. So I could've just bumped python version.  However I consider this effort to success as it reminded me of the discipline required when developing software in this manner. yes  in this particular case the effort proved unnecessary,  but the exercise itself allowed me time and space to refine my techniques.
  
##  Fourth principle, respect yourself
  
   this may seem to run counter to the third principle. But remember you are valuable too. My particular brand of anarchy asserts that every human being is  equally and infinitely valuable and worthy of life and love.
   
   Balancing the third and fourth principle can be tough at times. I think another example is an order.
   
   there is a certain project, that I've wanted to do for years and my community groups seem to be excited about this one. The problem however is I have determined that I can only do this particular project in Rust, it's the only language that I am comfortable in with the library support required. However  I have concerns about the rust compiler's  ability to run in resource constraint environments. This is being worked on, on multiple fronts, but for now no one will see that project.
   
   Because promising that which i cannot deliver would be stressful on both myself, and the community

## Fifth Princpal, code it how you want to...

 Beyond the principles of respect. Keep in mind that there  there are no rules, for how you should code it. So do it in a way that makes you happy.
 
  Therefore if you  want to code your reminder app using functional programming techniques, in Lua based game engine. Or  writing  your  custom pastebin in Haskell for the lulz.   There is absolutely nothing  stopping you from doing so.  Software is art treat it as such. Just remember to have respect for the users.
  

##  Sixth principal  empathetic testing

 when we test our code, we do so on an environment either  identical to our development environment, or so similar as makes no difference. This can lead to assumptions about the user's environment. Which become hard dependencies over time.
 
   try to build the most absurd testing environments you can think of. QEMU is the thing,  and we have mountains of abandoned or obscure software on the internet  just to download away.

   for example do you know if your latest webapp is able to run, in the fork of firefox which is maintained for legacy powerpc macs. You can test  that  semi trivially these days. And you should, or do something similar as a pure intellectual exercise. Even if you eventually opt not to support that use case. You will have gained valuable insight into what your dependencies truly are, and you might discover that you don't really want some of those hidden dependencies. 
   
   If you want a lower commitment way of testing web applications in particular. I would suggest the Seamonkey Web Browser, it is still updated  as of this writing, is just modern enough to be interesting. 
 
 Yet it's update cadence, when compared to mainstream firefox is just slow enough to cause interesting bugs for the unwary. If your app can run Seamonkey without problem, you are likely to gain a lot of support for other low end browsers for free
 
 My favorite testing platform is a Pentium 4  with just under a gig of ram, running OpenBSD.  this forces the use of a lot of strange and obscure browsers, and I find the exercise of getting load times on such devices to  acceptable levels stimulating. 
 
  Remember though that this exercise has a deadly purpose, validating your code has acceptable performance in these challenging environments,  is an act of rebellion against the  socioeconomic gatekeeping which currently controls the industry.  and you aide in the fight for climate justice at the same time.
  
##   seventh principle:  he who creates the data owns the data

  we're getting towards the end here, but  this set of principles wouldb e incomplete without this. As the creator of service, the user's data is not for you to monetize.  if you need money to run the service ask for it, start a patreon or kofi. We have all seen what free services, such is Facebook really cost.
  
   Be open and honest with your users about this, don't offer a service for a price that is unsustainable. And then turn to the data which you are  cusotdian and protector of as a revenue stream.
   
   if you ever think you might  exploit the user's data for your gain, be upfront and honest about that.  make sure all such exploitation meets the standards of informed concent. Which means at a minimum such exploitation is opt in, not opt out. And that before a user is allowed to opt in, an explanation of the benefits and risks must be given in plain and clear language.
   
   Standard industry practice  falls far short of this, and is only beginning to change thanks to activism at the federal trade commission, and other regulatory bodies.
   
   A corollary to this principle is that you should not collect or retain data you don't actually need.   Unsurprisingly minimal data collection and retention keeps cost down.  So there's that benefit to consider.
   
  Remember  in this model you are a servant leader, not a founder, not a king, not a businesswoman.  you  Take care of the community, and in return the community we'll take care of you in time.
  
##  conclusion

 there are more principles yet to be formulated.  if you practice this way, I am sure you will encounter your own ethical dilemmas, and formulate your own principles to add to these. 
  
  But always remember principal zero. Be aware of the hierarchies you are creating, and participating in with your practice.  please don't create new hierarchies. Also do your best to  dismantle old ones. Peter Kropotkin  said it best in the Conquest of Bread.
  
>  Every machine has had the same history—a long record of sleepless nights and of poverty, of disillusions and of joys, of partial improvements discovered by several generations of nameless workers, who have added to the original invention these little nothings, without which the most fertile idea would remain fruitless. More than that: every new invention is a synthesis, the resultant of innumerable inventions which have preceded it in the vast field of mechanics and industry.

> Science and industry, knowledge and application, discovery and practical realization leading to new discoveries, cunning of brain and of hand, toil of mind and muscle—all work together. Each discovery, each advance, each increase in the sum of human riches, owes its being to the physical and mental travail of the past and the present.

> By what right then can any one whatever appropriate the least morsel of this immense whole and say—This is mine, not yours?

## further reading

 we've covered a lot here, but I want to provide links  to  two or three other sources, which talk about some of these principles in a more concrete way. As well as pointers to some already existing communities, that practice technology in a similar way to what I have laid out.
 
   for anarchism in general, peter kropotkin's  __The Conquest of Bread_  is currently the most popular  introduction to it that I know of. True there are more modern introductions  that are less daunting on the reader. But there is just something about kropotkin's language and style that is timeless and captivating.
   
   for a general introduction to   techno cultural studies, I'd recommend McClellan  and Dorn _scincee and technology and world history an introduction_. This is an introductory level college textbook so  it can get a bit dry and academic at times but is ultimately worth the read. Because  the authors try to  push back on the dominant Cultural narrative.  they take a global perspective as well not a eurocentric one. The section on the Mayans and their contributions  to astronomy in other fields is utterly fascinating, and completely justifies the price on its own.
   
   For a more science focused history, written in a popular style Clifford D Connor's  _A People's History of Science: Miners, Midwives, and "Low Mechanicks"_
   
   

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title = "On Boomerism"
date = "2024-03-26"
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[The Hidden Moral Injury of Ok Boomer](https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/08/opinion/aging-feinstein-biden-trump.html?ugrp=c&unlocked_article_code=1.fk0.W7Zk.0aw38WJbwHnB&smid=url-share),

![The Magic is lost](/assets/images/ElsaSoup.jpg)
  
   This post is based on a letter to the editor I wrote, commenting on the article linked above. One of the things I do regularly, is monitor right wing media. Not the  ultra  right wing sort of stuff like OAN  or Fox.  That is a hotbed of conspiracy theorist nonsense, and kremlin propaganda. And there is no sense to be had from listening to  those sorts of places. What I do monitor however  are centrist leaning and neoliberal outlets, and writers. Particularly those who  were exiled off the popular right wing platforms, for not bending the knee to Donald Trump.
    
  In  addition to the inappropriate joy, I feel at the neoliberals realizing they caused Donald Trump in the first place. I get insight  into  what the  right  leaning "moderates",  are thinking, and what they are likely to use as arguments against   inclusivity and pluralism, so I can hopefully divert. Such people in my orbit from going full reactionary. 
    
   I don't enjoy this work, but there are a few bright spots such is the New York Times columnist David French  who is  oddly insightful for a neoliberal. He also does great commentary on american religion.

   Again I will go out of my way to state that  as a classical anarchist, and pacifist, who also happens to be multiply marginalized.  I do not endorse his ideology. Indeed he has said several things, and linked several articles on his social media accounts which would indicate queer phobia.
   
   Within the limitations of his ideology however, he is unusually self aware and prescient. I think if the world went fascist he would be climbing the barricades with us, for whatever that's worth.
   
  I am making this post public  because Mr French  indulges  in the common misconceptions that  the younger generations dismissal of boomers is somehow rooted in ageism. Which perspective is of course wrong,  but without a clear statement that  being a boomer is more a mindset then anything else. And more importantly what this mindset consists of I can see the current dismissal of "boomer mindset", rapidly morphing into ageism. Over time.


 As something of a Generational Mutt myself, I'm 35 so technically a Millenal, but most of my friends are Gen X or Z. I must say that once again Mr French, and some of his commentors miss the point of the entire mean. Being a **boomer**   in the sense of okay boomer. Is less an age designation then it is a state of mind I know plenty of people born between 1945-1964  who are not boomers in the sense that we mean it.


 A boomer is someone who believes that hard work and following all the "rules", still gets you a good life in this country. who consequently  will blame typically younger people for  their almost universally lower socioeconomic status.  for perspective before the Biden student loan forgiveness, my loans  were more than my parents mortgage way they got it in 1994. This was before I was diagnosed with bipolar and had my career cut short six months after it started.  A boomer is a person to insists  that if I just try harder, things will get better.  boomers were the politicians that repeatedly and gleefully voted for the defunding of our public university system, in the name of tax cuts. So that adjusted for inflation the cost of a college education is nearly two hundred and twenty times what they paid for it in their day. who have also either defunded or not funded in the first place, decent mental health services for people living in poverty.

  A boomer is someone who doesn't acknowledge the climate change will have and outsized impact on the economic and political situation of the next fifty years. In short anyone  who benefited from the incredible work  and accomplishments that our grandparents, and great grandparents  did to build a better world after  the depression and war, only too  vote to pull the ladder up  in the name of short term economic gain for themselves and those of a higher class. Yet still have the temerity and audacity to insist that that system still exists and still works. perhaps we should find a  phrase with less ageist overtones to deploy against such people. Most of my elders are awesome and I'm sure that most of my friends would say the same. 
  
   Saldy  Mr. French,   in his attempts to riff off a dead meme. Without understanding what it means. By publishing it in the  venue in which he does. Indulges in the precise sort of behavior, which the phrase was designed to dismiss.

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title = "Discovering Hope through Software Business Bullshit"
date = 2024-03-27
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My lovelies it is Holy Week, and you know what that means. That's right it's the unused drafts drop! Every day this week, except for Friday Saturday, and Sunday. I will post something I wrote, but never ended up using. I am trying to post these on a time delay but if the server doesn't cooperate. You get them a day early, or a day late. This one was meant for Wednesday the 27th. Or Spy Wednesday as it's called.

And what do i have for you on this sneakist of all days in the calender. It's a piece i wrote for a mainstream disability originization. I never named it at the time, but the prompt was "What can software engineering, teach people with disabilities?" After i submitted it, I was never contacted again. Two years have past. Note i wrote this for a mainstream originization so there's not much explict social model of disability language in here. But I did try to teach several of the concepts. Like someone once said. Be as innocent as a Dove and as crafty as a Serpant. Dude the bird you're looking for is an Owl. Apex predators, yet still cute! Anyway enough introduction, on with the show.

## Introduction


  I was asked, to present talk on the subject of " what computer science, can teach people with disabilities about problem solving". I find the question to be perhaps a little malformed. Computer science  concerns itself primarily with   discovering  new and interesting theoretical techniques  in computational theory. Which is to be sure a thoroughly interesting subject. For example did you know a computer need not be electronic or even digital. You can actually make one based on purely mechanical principles. Examples have been built out of waterwheels, erector sets, and dominos, amongst many other things that you wouldn't expect.  as fascinating as that is, computer science, and computational theory are obscure academic subjects, that have little to do with practical problem solving.
  
  However the fact is, most people with degrees in computer science, actually practice something called software engineering. Software engineering, like all the engineering disciplines  is about solving problems. Usually under some form of constraint. And this is the kind of thing that you're average disabled person could learn a lot from. More specifically there are two things, that your average software engineer has drilled into them  from the start, that I find particularly applicable to the disabled life. We'll turn first to the mindset of the engineer.
  
![Wheelchair Princecess](/assets/images/ElsaOnWheels.jpg)



  
## Mindset:

![Project Management Triangle](/assets/images/triforce.svg)
  First, and this is sort of meta but it’s important. A computer scientist/software engineer/whatever knows that a computer is capable of solving an almost limitless number of problems. So she never assumes something **can’t** be done, unless and until they have exceeded the Time, Cost and Quality constants of the moment.

  So many of us, have been told our perceived limitations are a fact of nature, that we start to believe it. I think approaching are limitations and problems from an engineering mindset, where  everything is assumed to be possible. Unless the contrary is proved. Where even if  you should prove   that the problem is presented can not be solved within current constraints. You can  often revise the problem. Or the constraints,  imght one day change.

  Example I was always told growing up that I couldn’t play a musical instrument. Cerebral Palsy too severe, eyes were too bad so  couldn’t read music etc. But I never really gave up on this and occasionally looked for solutions, when I had time and was of a mind to do so. In college a Professor introduced me to several computer assisted techniques, which solved the dexterity issue, and I discovered Ear Training recently which solves the music reading issue. Now the problem is finding a music teacher who is willing to work with me using those tools so I can develop the skill. In the meantime I have made several **remixes** of classical music using old video game consoles. Which scratches my musical itch for the time being. 
	
  Bottom line it took 20 years for me to solve the musical issue, and it’s still only 60% solved. But this goes to show the power of the "possibility mindset"

  I’m not saying "never give up" nor am I saying "think positively and you’ll be fine". Finding solutions to complex problems is an arduous thankless often soul crushing task. And you will encounter many dead ends along the way. What I am saying is the "possibility mindset" gives me and maybe you the one thing that everyone needs. Us more then most, and that is Hope. And not the kind of fluffy "maybe someday it will come" daydreaming that Disney is so fond of peddling. No the kind of hope that comes to you when you replace your **can’ts** with **not yets**. Is the rock solid assurance that you can improve things for yourself. You might not get everything you’ve always dreamed of, but it is better to have a piece of the pie rather than no pie at all.  Be brave and curious

  My second point on the subject of mindset will seem to fly in the face of everything I have just said, but those who work with computers have to cope with seemingly paradoxical situations all the time

  I said before that what can be solved with a computer is almost limitless. While that is true in a mathematical sense. In a practical sense there are always three limitations on what can be done with a computer. The cost of hardware or developer time, the desired quality of the solution, and the time it will take to implement the solution.
	
  This teaches us several things, An imperfect solution now might be better than a perfect solution two years from now.  Solutions that cost too much aren’t real solutions at all. I could go on and on about the **Triangle of Constraints**. As it’s called. Indeed there are entire semester long computer science courses on this. But there are two things you need to know here. First is that you can only maximize two sides of the triangle at any one time. Meaning that a High Quality, Low Cost solution to any problem will necessarily take a lot of time to find and implement. A Low Cost and Fast Solution will necessarily be lacking in quality and so on and so forth.
	
  Of More importance then the triangle’s dynamics. Is the fact that which limits to overcome and which limits to accept are ultimately subjective value judgments. Who decides what gets priority. Well in software it’s whoever has the money. But in the life of a person with a disability. The person themselves should decide. An example would be instructive at this point.

  My college GPA went from 3.8 to 1.9 within the span of a year. Which to anyone not familiar with how college grading works means I went from nearly top of the class to flunking out. Why because I was walking up to six miles a day. My case manager had offered a donated electric wheelchair for getting around, and my doctor had even offered to prescribe one for me six months prior this grade apocalypse. But other people whom I trusted were resistant to the idea. They said I would be giving up. They said to try minimizing extra curricular activity. And a bunch of other solutions. That didn’t actually work to solve the issue. And after nearly being kicked out of college and having to take a years leave of absence do to the health issues that not accepting the help caused. I took a real long hard look at things. And decided that a wheelchair was worth it if it gave me the life I wanted.The next year I managed with the help of the wheelchair I managed to bounce back both academically and socially. 

  Bottom line here is I had people in my life who believed, and I took for granted that the only way for me to live a good life was through my ability to walk. But what does the `good life` look like. For me it was getting my degree, arguing with professors (respectfully of course)  and hanging out with my friends. This was only possible if I accepted that I wasn’t going to walk everywhere. I’ll end this on a question for the disabled people in the room. This is your life are you who you want to be?

  We often see things like walking unassisted, or speaking with our mouths, as goods in and of themselves. But are they really? I would suggest that if your voice is not being heard, or you aren’t getting where you want to go. Then what good is it? I believe at the core of my being that every human being has something to contribute to the world. You can call it an inner light or a song in your soul or whatever flowery language you’d like. Point is don’t let your disability stop your light from shining or singing or both. I am no exemplar in this regard. I spent years discovering the advice I have just passed on, and I still struggle living it out day to day. I guess the summation of all I have to say on mindset, is be persistent, be curious, and remember it’s the disabled person’s life to live.


## Problem Solving Skills: 
	  
  We are now in a healthy problem solving mindset, so we next turn to concrete skills of analytical problem solving. Unfortunately there is no formal course in this, or not a good one at any rate.

  So let’s take a practical example. When I mention that I can cook to other disabled people. I often get the response. Oh that’s impressive. I can’t cook for myself. 

  Remember what I said about can’t. Don’t say it. Instead  ask yourself the questions. First Do I want, or need to cook for yourself? Let’s assume the answer Yes. 
	
  Then you must reformulate the can’t into a question like so. How can I cook for myself? On it’s own that’s a terrible question. This is so because `cooking` involves multiple skills, and tools. But asking the question instead of `can’ting` yourself is a good first step.

  The next step is to `narrow the question`. This involves two sub steps. Try to figure out which objects are problematic for you  when you think of `cooking` .
	In my case. I had two objects
1. Knives
2. The Stove

Then pick one object, and ask yourself `What about my disability makes using this object hard?` Let’s go with the stove for this example because it’s the easiest. In my case the problems using the stove were 

A) Balance issues
B) I was deathly afraid of gas stoves.

  These were easy to solve as it turns out. Issue A was solved by cooking from my wheelchair or having my cane nearby when standing couldn’t be avoided. Issue B was solved by moving to a place with an electric stove.

  I can already hear some of you saying I’m not going to move just for a stove Thanks Matt, and some of you might have stovetops to high to sit at in any case. Or you might still be afraid of a stove even an electric one. For those people there exist a device called an `induction hotplate`. Which heats things using magnets. I’m not joking. Which means that unless your pan is made of magnetic material no heat will be conducted into it at all. Anyway we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

  Once you have narrowed your question your ready for the next step which is to do research. Which is a little beyond the scope of this talk. But in general you want to do deep research, on as narrow a question as possible.

  Example to solve the knife issue, I looked into how blind people used knives without cutting themselves, as well as how people with limited dexterity did it, as well as consulting someone at the OT school of our local medical university, and looked through several adaptive equipment catalogs, and as seen on TV products. Before I settled on my current best solution. Which involves a paring knife and something called a rocker-T knife. And even with this best solution. I still rely on my aides to do some cutting work.

In your research try to find multiple solutions, and don’t get attached to  any one solution in particular. Because and here’s the big lesson.

  Sometimes you will fail to find a solution, on the first try and that’s ok. This is an iterative and evolutionary process. All failures lay the groundwork for future success. And only further refine your problem solving skills.

## Conclusion:

  There’s a lot more which could be said on both topics I’ve discussed today. Things I’ve only implied such as, don’t be afraid to ask for help. A partial solution now is better then a complete solution never. And other whit and wisdom that we programmers have developed and passed don through the 70 years of our craft. But the core of what I’ve tried to pass on is this. 

  As disabled people we all have profound limitations. But limitations are the fount of all creativity.
	
  Once again I am not saying pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps. Or all you need to do is try harder. I am sick and tired of talks like that. However I do believe that everyone can build their dreams. With a little skill and a bit of help. So once again I ask the disabled people in the room. This is your life are you who you want to be?k
 

A content/blog/2024-03-28-sprit-burger.md => content/blog/2024-03-28-sprit-burger.md +31 -0
@@ 0,0 1,31 @@
+++
title = "The Spritual Cheeseburger Pilgrimage"
date = "2024-03-28"
+++

![Elsa Burger](/assets/images/ElsaBurger.jpg)

# Introduction

Welcome to Thursday's Unused Draft Drop, for the Feast of the Real Presence. I thought I'd do something food related, because on this day God made himself food. So it's on brand... This also goes in the book of shadows series. 

## Mystical Cheeseburger


 I had a semi mystical experience while eating an objectively bad burger at 2am. I forgot to salt the beef before i made it you see and the bun was a bit stale. But here's how that happened. Our church is doing an education session on the history of disability rights in America. a project which. I am heavily involved as you might guess.

  Awhile back i was going through the then upcoming section on Deinstitutionalization, and part of that involved watching the footage of Revera's expose of Willowbrook State School. There's a rather big Trigger Warning with that so don't Google lightly... And you can bet i was triggered, To know that such a thing could've happened to me. If i had been born just 10 years earlier then i was.

  I had a bit of trouble sleeping, so i decided to watch something, happier and have some food. This is where the cheeseburger enters the picture. Don't know why i made a cheeseburger at 2am. With the good meat no less, my burger smasher thingy was dirty so i had to press that baby out by hand. Anyway i made my burger, was watching my movie, as i said the burger was not my best work.

  Now for some context on the mystical part of this whole shindig, because a lot of people aren't aware of what i mean when i say The Communion of the Saints. So anyway as a Catholic I believe in the immortality of  the soul. The only way a soul can be destroyed is if God destroys it. And God doesn't do that to just anyone for not going to Mass on Sunday, one really has to earn it. But enough of that we're not here to talk about death, hell and the last judgement.

  Anyway Soul is immortal, life doesn't end, it just changes. The positive side of this teaching is the Communion of the Saints. Basically everyone who has ever lived, and who either cooperated with God's grace on earth or went through  Purgatory. Is alive and with God right at this moment, and intercede for us here below or sometimes manifest to us in various ways. Anyway we're getting off topic, Catholic thought on the afterlife is a rabbit hole that is so vast, deep and weird. That one could spend a lifetime studying it and only scratch the surface. I give an overview here for context.

   Now I've always believed in this teaching, even before i was Catholic, and I've sometimes experienced it, but i've never really trusted my mystical experiences before because Bipolar. I've always gone into a manic episode shortly after a mystical experience. I've never just had one while stable before.

  Until last week, when eating the cheeseburger at 2am, while watching a documentary about queer furries. I got almost knocked over by a powerful sense that i was surrounded by people, and then i realized that. What i was doing right then was **exactly** what ever disabled person, has fought for the right to do.  I didn't have to ask anyone's permission, I had the tools and accommodations, that made it safe to do. I just decided that 2am burger was going to happen and made it so. Self Determination in action

  It was only a momentary thing, but i swear i felt all my disabled ancestors, both in a family sense and in the broader sense surrounding me and smiling. 



M content/cv.md => content/cv.md +10 -6
@@ 1,15 1,16 @@
+++
title = "My CV"
+++
**Advoccay Profile [here](/advocacy)**
**Advocacy Profile [here](/advocacy)**


# Resume of Matt Arnold
Software Engineer, Sysadmin, Accessibility Specialist, Rehabilitative Technologist
Software Engineer, Sysadmin, Accessibility Specialist, Rehabilitative Technologist. Who Occasionally Moonlights in info-sec!


## Mission Statement


> I use Free and Open Source Software to Improve the Lives Persons with Disabilities, 
> and other computer related things to put food on the table.



@@ 38,9 39,9 @@ Software Engineer, Sysadmin, Accessibility Specialist, Rehabilitative Technologi

Languages: Python, Golang, C, C++, Rust,
Haskell, Java, BASH/ksh, Assembler x86, amd64, R, SQL,
MATLAB, Lua
MATLAB, Lua. NodeJS

Operating Systems: FreeBSD,OpenBSD/NetBSD, Red Hat, , Gentoo, Debian, Ubuntu, Windows
Operating Systems: FreeBSD,OpenBSD/NetBSD, Red Hat, Gentoo, Debian, Ubuntu, Windows

Databases: MySQL, Postgres, Firebird, SQLite, Oracle



@@ 49,6 50,9 @@ Frameworks/Servers: Apache, Tomcat,Django
[My Blog](/blog)

<hr>  
## Current Role
  I'm currently working as a freelancer in both writing, and computing. Work samples on request
<hr>

## Experience



@@ 56,10 60,10 @@ Frameworks/Servers: Apache, Tomcat,Django
### Selected Hobby/Volunteer Projects


Latest Projects available on SourceHut*
*Latest Projects available on SourceHut*


#### BlueProxy
**BlueProxy**
 2023
- Converts the content of website, to provide an easier reading experience for those with print related disabilities


A static/assets/images/ElsaBurger.jpg => static/assets/images/ElsaBurger.jpg +0 -0
A static/assets/images/ElsaNuns.jpg => static/assets/images/ElsaNuns.jpg +0 -0
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M static/assets/style.css => static/assets/style.css +48 -7
@@ 45,7 45,7 @@
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    --text-color: 0;
    --accent-color: 85;
    --font-family: opendyslexic, monospace;
    --font-family: opendyslexic,"Comic Sans MS", monospace;

    --width: 92ch;
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@@ 87,7 87,10 @@ a, a:active, a:visited {

hr {
  border: 0;
  border-top: 2px solid var(--selection);
  height: 2px;
  background: linear-gradient(to-right, #ffffff, #ee82ee, #662ba2  );
  border-top: 2px solid #662ba2;
  width: 33%;
}

h1, h2, h3, h4, h5 {


@@ 134,11 137,13 @@ footer {
        margin: 0.5em 10px;
        padding: 0.5em 10px;
    }
    hr {
      border: 0;
      border-top: 2px solid var(--selection-light);
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     width: 33%;
}

  img {


@@ 170,6 175,16 @@ footer {
  background-color: #662ba2;;
  overflow: hidden;
}
.post-content  p:first-child:first-letter {
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  float: left;
  font-family: Comic Sans MS;
  font-size: 75px;
  line-height: 60px;
  padding-top: 4px;
  padding-right: 8px;
  padding-left: 3px;
}

/* Style the links inside the navigation bar */
.topnav a {


@@ 200,6 215,32 @@ footer {
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}

.tootbox.a { color: #fffff }
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M templates/base.html => templates/base.html +12 -1
@@ 21,7 21,18 @@
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<body id="top">

M templates/post.html => templates/post.html +8 -1
@@ 3,7 3,14 @@
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{% block main_content %}
<p class="subtitle"><strong>{{ page.date }}</strong></p>
{{ page.content | safe }}
<div id="readstats"> </div>

<article class="post-content" id="post-content">

<hr>
{{ page.content | safe }}
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{% include "blog-footer.html" %}
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