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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
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The (only) developer at earthli.com.

Contents

2493 Articles
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Yesterday

Jaocobin Interviews Slavoj Žižek

Published on in Philosophy

Just one day later: another interview with Slavoj Žižek; another wonderful, intelligent, open, wide-ranging, and funny/friendly interview. It’s about 140 minutes long. Ariella Thornhill and Nando Vila did a great job, with Ariella in particular “translating” some of Slavoj’s more convoluted formulations with aplomb and accuracy.

Slavoj Zizek on Biden, Race, and What It Will Take to Stop the Pandemic by Jacobin: Ariella Thornhill & Nando Vila (YouTube)

 

Žižek: Did we notice how the fight against racism is usually in the liberal center, reformulated in the terms of tolerance, which I think is already an... [More]”

Two Days Ago

Jonathan Pie on Acting Gay

Published on in Fun

Jonathan Pie nails it, with nary a superfluous word.

Acting Gay! by Jonathan Pie (YouTube)

Partial transcription of the 4.5-minute video.

“If this is about authenticity and not about wokeness—which I don’t believe for a second, by the way—if it is about authenticity…would Russell T. Davis cast a gay person in a straight role?

“I’m not being contrarian. I’m not. An actor’s job is to imagine being in the shoes of someone who has a different lived experience to their own. Suggesting that an actor can’t authentically pretend... [More]

Chris Hedges explains American desperation on Jimmy Dore

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

Chris Hedges delivers powerful analysis in this 45-minute interview on the Jimmy Dore Show.[1]

America Has The Tinder To IGNITE Social Uprising − Chris Hedges by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

The following is an especially powerful, off-the-cuff explanation for the core problem in America: a nearly unacknowledged problem of inequality that actively disparages the poor and the disadvantaged. 50 years ago, it was open season on anyone non-white. It still is, though less (or expressed less directly, if not less effectively).[2]

But they’re now joined by poor whites, who the elites happily send... [More]

Red Scare Interviews Slavoj Žižek

Published on in Philosophy

This is a wonderful, intelligent, open, wide-ranging, and funny/friendly interview. It’s about 100 minutes long.

The Pervert's Guide to Podcasting w/ Slavoj Zizek by Red Scare Podcast (YouTube)

Anyone who disparages Žižek doesn’t listen to him or doesn’t understand him or misunderstands him or deliberately misunderstands him or is incapable of understanding him. He has no pretense; he’s honest. He’s brilliant, he’s well-read, and he draws often-brilliant connections between philosophies, modern media, history, and current events. His insight is always interesting.... [More]

Choosing Authors by Identity

Published on in Philosophy

The article Shakespeare Matters (And Always Will) by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice) discusses the idiotic-sounding question of whether it’s OK to read books written by people without considering their identities. That is, the books should stand on their own. We can, of course, consider whether we’ve historically ignored some good books because of racism—and dig these books back up. But there is no reason to discard existing books because they were written by white people (i.e. “switching the signs on the drinking fountains”).... [More]

2 days Ago

The backstory about Colonel Sanders no-one wanted to hear

Published on in Fun

This is a real thing. That is the Mario Lopez of “Saved by the Bell” fame. This is not even tongue-in-cheek. This seems entirely irony-free.

A Recipe for Seduction | Premieres December 13th | Presented by Kentucky Fried Chicken | Lifetime (YouTube)

Deep Fakes are overkill for our tiny brains

Published on in Technology

Cheyenne 9’s Coverage of the Official White House Address by Sassy Justice (YouTube)

Just in case you think you can spot a deep-fake video from a mile away, the gentlemen that brought you South Park made a new Sassy Justice video. They do us the favor of making it pretty clear that this never happened; others will not be so generous. On the surface, it’s just a joke video, but the implications are grave. If Sassy Justice can make this video, what’s stopping a much-better funded news organization from making a “Trump/Biden calls staffer the c-word, caught on tape” video?

The SMBC... [More]

Waiting it out

Published on in Science & Nature

People’s behavior vis á vis COVID-19 at this point—ten months after the onset of the virus—is like when an action movie’s hero is in the swamp with a straw in his mouth, sucking a barely adequate supply of air through it, while his pursuers are still somewhere up there, looking for him.[1]

Were they still within earshot? Would they hear him if he just came up quickly for a good, solid breath? Were they completely gone? Was he suffering underwater for nothing? They’re not still around, right?... [More]

Software without Process

Published on in Programming

 A software product with undocumented or poorly documented commits and a patchy issue-tracker is akin to a shipping pallet with 100 boxes haphazardly stacked on it, all wrapped up in shipping cellophane. You can see some of the labels and some of them you can’t and some of the boxes definitely don’t even have labels at all.

 If it looks like the pallet to the right, then you already know you can’t ship it. That’s an obvious train-wreck of a project that’s going to blow up in everyone’s face. But... [More]

Increasingly Unhinged Observers

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The imposed panic and climate emergencies and COVID seems to be trapping more and more victims in a death spiral of increasingly frenetic, ill-considered, spiteful, and ill-informed—if not actively misleading—commentary.

Jeffrey St. Clair

The article Roaming Charges: White Riot, I Wanna Riot of My Own by Jeffrey St. Clair (CounterPunch) contains a lot of increasingly unfair “hot takes” and seemingly unwarranted swipes at other journalists and commentators. This is an unfortunate trend over the last few months. I used to... [More]

Nils Melzer on Julian Assange

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This is an excellent interview with Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

UN torture expert [Nils Melzer] on Julian Assange's persecution and the lies behind it by The Grayzone (YouTube)

Melzer is not optimistic because the judgment was, essentially: the British court system agrees with all of the charges brought by the U.S. and agrees that, under their own laws, they would also prosecute Julian Assange for journalism.

The British prison system has deteriorated Assange’s mental condition to the level that he has... [More]

Links and Notes for January 15th, 2021

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

It’s Time to Use Eminent Domain on the Coronavirus Vaccines
by Arnab Acharya, Sanjay G. Reddy (Foreign Policy)

“The easiest way to make vaccines... [More]”

3 days Ago

Cornell West and Chris Hedges on the American Condition

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

This is a splendid and inspiring 30-minute discussion between Cornell West and Chris Hedges. As the interviewee, West does most of the talking. I’ve included a partial transcript of the points I found particularly insightful below.

America's existential crisis (Interview with Cornell West by RT America/On Contact with Chris Hedges (YouTube)

Here, they discuss the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol:

Chris Hedges: I found so much of the coverage—I don’t know what you thought—where they were demonized as thugs—which is not in any way of course to condone their activity—missing the... [More]”

Set up PHP With Docker, PHPStorm, and XDebug

Published on in Programming

Until now, PHP debugging involved a fragile balance between the IDE, the server, and the debugger, each with overly verbose configuration. On top of that, using Docker introduced the wrinkle that you were technically debugging on a remote server rather than on the “real” localhost.

It’s been a long journey, but it’s finally a lot easier to set up PHP debugging with a server running in a Docker container. Once you use the most modern tools, everything works with a couple of lines of... [More]

1 week Ago

Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin (1988) (read in 2020)

Published on in Books

I received a whole pile of late 80s–early 90s comic books from my Aunt Penny, who used to run a newsstand in Mohawk, New York. She’d kept them for years and finally gave them to me for Christmas after seeing me read Le Transpierceneige on my laptop in the back of the minivan as Kath drove us around Switzerland in the fall of 2019.

She gave me the following comics:

  • DC: Batman #429: A Death in the Family Part 4
  • DC: Batman: A Death in the Family (books 1-4)
  • DC: Batman vs. Predator (1 of 3)... [More]

Links and Notes for January 8th, 2021

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

Here’s what we know about the new variant of coronavirus by Sharon Peacock (The Guardian)

“Most mutations aren’t concerning... [More]”

2 weeks Ago

An American Cultural Revolution

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist − I’m a conspiracy analyst.”
Gore Vidal

On this episode of Useless Idiots with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper, they interviewed Mark Crispin Miller, a professor at NYU who’s teaches media literacy, where he teaches students to examine what the facts are before calling something a “conspiracy” or accepting “unimpeachable truth”.

Stimulus Checks, Larry Summers, plus Mark Crispin Miller on Academic Freedom (YouTube)

The NDAA

Before the interview, at about 9:00 in, Matt and Katie discuss Bernie’s filibuster of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).

Matt... [More]

Books read in 2020

Published on in Books

This year’s list of books and reviews and notes got a little bit out of hand (last year also did). As I’ve done in other years, I’ve included my notes and review of each book in this article as well as linked a separate article which includes the same notes and review, as well as citations and rough notes. So, this article weighs in at about 87 pages.

I only hit 21 titles this years, but many of them were meaty tomes, one in German and one in French. A lot of public-policy books this year,... [More]

The Divide: American Injustice in the ...p by Matt Taibbi (2014; read in 2020)

Published on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Links and Notes for January 1st, 2021

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines – Why Doesn’t Everyone Have One or Two? by Dean Baker (CEPR)

“By comparison, close to... [More]”

Im Westen nichts Neues by Erich Maria Remarque (1929; read in 2020)

Published on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Bullet Points and Punch Lines by Lee Camp (2020; read in 2020)

Published on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

3 weeks Ago

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934; read in 2020)

Published on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

The Last Man by Mary Shelley (1826; read in 2020)

Published on in Books

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2020.13

Published on in Movies

These are my notes to remember what I watched and kinda what I thought about it. I’ve recently transferred my reviews to IMDb and made the list of around 1600 ratings publicly available. I’ve included the individual ratings with my notes for each movie. These ratings are not absolutely comparable to each other—I rate the film on how well it suited me for the genre and my mood and. let’s be honest, level of intoxication. YMMV. Also, I make no attempt to avoid spoilers.

Santa Claus is Comin’... [More]

Apple’s aggressive notifications

Published on in Design

Both MacOS and iOS have system-wide notifications that use a red badge to indicate burning topics that need to be addressed.

On MacOS, the “Software Update” system-preferences panel has had a red badge on it since Apple released Big Sur was released six weeks ago. There is no way to turn off this badge without installing the upgrade. When they released a patch for my current version, the badge did not change, so I had no idea I had an update pending.

Similarly, iOS uses the red badge to... [More]

Links and Notes for December 25th, 2020

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

The World’s Greatest by Anna DeForest (The Paris Review)

“In makeshift ICUs, patients were dying of unwitnessed self-extubation,... [More]”

Links and Notes for December 18th, 2020

Published on in Notes

Below are links to articles, highlighted passages[1], and occasional annotations[2] for the week ending on the date in the title, enriching the raw data from Instapaper Likes and Twitter. They are intentionally succinct, else they’d be articles and probably end up in the gigantic backlog of unpublished drafts. YMMV.

[1] Emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
[2] Annotations are only lightly edited.

COVID-19

Could COVID delirium bring on dementia? by Carrie Arnold (Nature)

A set of simple steps, such as ensuring a family... [More]”

The Return of Postage-stamp-sized Videos

Published on in Design

A friend sent me a link to a video on Instagram. I don’t have an Instagram account, but was able to watch the video anyway. I watched it on a desktop browser. It looked like this:

It looks like I’m previewing a device UI using the developer tools, but I’m not. Instagram on the desktop looks like two phones next to each other, centered in the ample horizontal space. The video takes up only a third of the “phone” in which it’s displayed. Each of the “more posts” at the bottom has more area... [More]

Matt Christman (Chapo Trap House) on Useful Idiots

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

I had only heard of Chapo Trap House (and listened to part of a podcast once), but had never heard of Matt Christman (one of the founders), until I got an extensive introduction in the video interview below. He seems like a pretty intelligent guy with lots of interesting ideas and analysis.

Matt Christman and MSNBC’s Petty War on Sanders (YouTube)

The following is a partial transcript that includes the bits I found the most insightful.

Matt Christman: What it does is it makes the Democratic elites feel less bad about being elites. And that’s all... [More]”