A weblog about faith, noise and technology. Written by Robert, an Orthodox Christian, aspiring minimalist, inveterate notetaker, software dev manager and paper airplane mechanic.

World Building

On their blog, the folks at Information Architects are encouraging people to engage in the art of world-building.

But your world doesn’t need to be big to matter. A world could be a droplet of water that was born in a raincloud and ends when it evaporates on a rock somewhere in Tasmania. It could be the size of a pinhead, its lifespan measured in minutes. Empires can rise and fall in seconds. A love story could be over in a nanosecond.

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The Spirit of Chaos

Addressing current events can feel a bit like grabbing a live wire these days. Hold on too tight or too long and you could be harmed. The ground under us is ever shifting and allegiances are volatile. In recognition of this, I’m sharing a homily that my priest, Fr. David, gave last Sunday, after the attempted assassination of former president Trump.

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The Same Kingdom

This piece by Erica Brown (gift article) about the hubris of our leadership in this country contains a surprising amount of biblical commentary for something from The Atlantic, but I’ll take it.

The Bible wants us to know that power changes people, that they come to enjoy the weight and clout of office and its many material and emotional benefits. Proverbs, in only one verse, captures the pleasure of power: The king’s smile means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.”

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Rural Juror

Emma Goldberg brings to light some new thinking (NYT gift article) from scholars who are looking at patterns in rural American culture.

The Rethinking Rural conference was full of a different type of political insight. Mr. Jacobs, with the political scientist Dan Shea, conducted surveys of 10,000 rural voters, from Gambell, Alaska, to Lubec, Maine. The pair were struck by a commonality: Rural residents tend to focus less on their own economic circumstances and more on their community’s prosperity. Even individuals who are thriving are attuned to whether their community as a whole is being left behind by economic changes like automation or the decline of coal.

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Organs With Memories

Science Alert reports on the phenomenon of organ transplant recipients receiving some of the donor’s memories and personality traits along with their organs.

Other transplant recipients say they developed new tastes for food, art, sex, or careers following their surgeries. Some even claim to have new memories” implanted.

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Bluesky Moderation

Thorin Klosowski has an explainer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation about moderation and customized algorithmic feeds for the Bluesky social network.

Phew, if that all felt a little overwhelming, that’s because it is. Sure, many people can sign up for Bluesky and never touch any of this stuff, but for those who want a safe, customizable experience, the whole thing feels a bit too crunchy in its current state. And while this sort of empowerment for users, which gives so many levers to control the content, is great, it’s also a lot. The good news is that Bluesky’s defaults are currently good enough to get started. But one of the benefits of community-based moderation like we see on Mastodon or certain Subreddits, is that volunteers do a lot of this heavy lifting for everyone. AT Protocol is still new however, and perhaps as more developers shape its future through new tools and services, these difficulties will be eased.

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