Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
It's On My Mind
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2015 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
So a few years ago, a friend of mine was at a party, and one of the people at that party was a laconic fella, a new boyfriend who hadn't met this group before. Eventually someone got around to asking him what he did for a living. He said something a bit general, about government service, yes, at the federal level, until someone said, "you're a G-man? With the FBI?"
"That's right," he said, briefly, with a small nod.
Someone speculated as to whether he was in New York City because he was concerned with things like the security of the Indian Point nuclear power facility.
"It's on my mind," he replied.
And someone else told a story of a cop or a federal agent, losing their gun while on the job.
"That's frowned upon," he noted.
Ever since then, Leonard and I have found this triad of answers endlessly entertaining. These are polite yet distant ways of giving answers in the affirmative, the negative, and the noncommital.
That said, here are some links that are on my mind (whether I think they're right or frowned upon will be your guess to make!):
Transparency about money: a fiction author, a public speaker, and a publisher are sharing real dollar amounts so you know what you might be getting into. You might also enjoy a similar HOWTO that Leonard and I wrote, about making a one-off anthology.
Disagreeing well: This distinction between task-focused and relationship-focused people (which may be very similar to Rands's organics and mechanics model or my engineer and mother leadership models) will stick with me.
Transformative work and the origins of abuse: In an interview about Jo Walton's new book The Just City, check out Walton's response to the interviewer's question, "Why have Apollo learn about 'equal significance and volition'?"
"Everything is a bit orange for some reason": I can't decide whether Holly Gramazio's hilarious analysis of games in fiction (e.g., the futuristic sports in dystopia movies) has more insights or jokes, but there are plenty of both.
Impostor syndrome tips: Concrete steps you can take to stop automatically assuming you can't do stuff.
What are you willing to consider?: Danny linked to this piece which I think stands alone (seeing as I haven't read the Chait piece it's responding to (and every time I see Chait's name I think of "TBWA Chiat/Day" and the old Apple ads)). This controversy touches on trust, courage, groupthink, the purposes of different environments and different kinds of environments, how quantity can have a quality all its own, the attention economy, and a zillion other things. Put this in the "on my mind" bucket.
Techish things: Hound is a new competitor to DXR. You should enable automatic updates on your servers. A Python developer is offering code review in exchange for donations to Doctors Without Borders. Learning to sit with discomfort: part of yoga, part of life. Changing history (advanced Git). The Mailman project wants to switch translation platforms. A gentle primer on reverse engineering.
The dream factory, the sausage factory: A television writing room feels a bit like the opening of Anathem (Socratic questioning about scifi/fantasy tropes).
Popular: I'm using Dreamwidth as my RSS reader. Check out the popular feeds, ranked by how many DW users subscribe. The top 10 feeds include the Organization for Transformative Works, Cake Wrecks, & PhD Comics. Also, as a data point, at current writing, the feed for this very blog has more subscribers than Paul Krugman's feed has.
Finally, because I have my immature moments like anyone else: A Project Gutenberg find by Leonard: "Diary of Richard Cocks, Cape-Merchant in the English Factory in Japan, 1615-1622" pub. 1882. (It's legitimately historically interesting .... but that's not what caught my attention at first.)
30 Jan 2015, 19:17 p.m.