Monday, September 27, 2021

Nature Hates Us

The stink bugs are back this year. We had hardly any last year and today they have appeared in fairly large numbers on the screen porch, so far only on the outside thank goodness. 

Besides being ugly they are really bad for the crops around us (corn and soybeans mostly). I was hoping some bird took a liking to them, or maybe something else drove them away. Looks like that was just wishful thinking.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Book Review: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention EconomyHow to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You can sum up this book in a tweet: Put down the phone; turn off the computer. Pay attention to the physical (nature, people, and in her case - birds) all around you, right there in your own backyard.

Accomplishing this requires a significant application of discipline, a point that she mentions but spends too little time exploring.

I felt there were too many tangents that strayed away from the point: resisting the attention economy.

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Thursday, September 2, 2021

Book Review: Republic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers to Rediscover America

Republic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers to Rediscover AmericaRepublic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers to Rediscover America by Scott Borchert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is about the Federal Writers Project in the 1930s - early 1940s. It was a program designed to employ thousands of unemployed writers during the Depression. The project's mission was to write guidebooks for each of the 48 states. Of course, agreement on what constituted a guidebook was only one of the initial problems. This is a fascinating story, well written, and it will talk about writers that became quite famous.

Of course, conservatives hated it. Congressional Republicans put together a commission to ferret out communists from the WPA, but took a special interest in the writers project. There were communist party members writing these guides, but little ended up in the books the FWP published. The book touches on some of the attitudes toward minorities and immigrants held by conservatives then. An advantage to reading history is to see that things that happen to us aren't always new. As I write this segments of our population are anti-immigrant, against free trade, even anti-science. Read enough history and you'll realize we've been here before and got through it. Hopefully, in this case past performance does predict future performance.

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Fox News Trying to Rile People Up for No Good Reason Again

I saw this post today about a Fox News interview with this guy claiming that Microsoft is trying to change society by nudging writers into u...