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Peter Kasting
5,148 followers -
Christian, husband, engineer, musician, and many other hats
Christian, husband, engineer, musician, and many other hats

5,148 followers
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A small snapshot of life and thoughts, for a few Syrian refugees and some of the Americans trying to welcome them.

http://apps.bostonglobe.com/metro/graphics/2017/03/the-last-refugee/series/through-the-closing-door/

Not intended to be political; it's just good to read about other people as people and spend a little time in their lives.

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Touching thoughts on being a stay-at-home dad.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/01/what-ruth-bader-ginsburg-taught-me-about-being-a-stay-at-home-dad/384289/

"I was as happy as I’d ever been. Staying at home with Caitlyn reminded me, oddly enough, of the time I’d spent living in a foreign country. There was the same perpetual novelty, that intense awareness that elevates even the most ordinary moments. There was the same sense of triumph at completing simple tasks: ordering a cup of coffee, enjoying a brisk walk, just getting through the day. And there was the same sense of helplessness: No matter how self-assured I was at the beginning of the day, I was bound, at times, to feel like a complete failure."
...
"In virtually every extended conversation with a member of the yoga-pants tribe, I encountered the assumption that I didn’t want to be doing this—that my presence at the playground was the product of a professional setback. (“I’m taking some time between jobs to be at home with my daughter.” “Good for you! My husband would go crazy. Don’t worry, something will come up.” “I had a one-year position with long hours, and I really wanted to spend time with my daughter before I started work again.” “You should consider yourself lucky! My husband is in finance; he could never do that. There’s a silver lining to every cloud, you know?”)"

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Interesting thought experiment: if corporate health benefits all had to be declared as income, how would public opinion on health policy shift?

The author here deliberately uses the provocative phrase "white socialism". If you find this phrase objectionable, it's worth thinking about whether the current system, as it was originally designed, does not justify that name. "Socialism" is used as code for "horribly stupid policy that unpatriotic idiots support", but in the sense of providing from the many, to the many, via the state, it's simply another policy tool, and it was the tool chosen for how we implement health care in the U.S.

BTW, a theme from the comments on the original post here is "the author failed to offer a prescription to solve this". That's almost certainly a deliberate move, and it's a very good one. It's much more important that we agree on what problem we're solving, how it came about, whom it affects, etc. than that we agree on the solution. This article attempts to illuminate part of why things are the way they are, and this is about "defining the problem" rather than "debating a solution". Debating a solution is much more tempting and fun for people, but it derails agreement on the problem, which you must have before debates about a solution will actually be productive. So if you find yourself wondering "so what's your answer", pause and simply ask whether the article is helpful in making you think about why the system today is the way it is.
This is an extremely thoughtful article about the underlying political dynamics which shape the debates over health care in the US, and it's helping me understand many things going on in our country today; as the author says, "When it seems like people are voting against their interests, I have probably failed to understand their interests."

His key point is this: "[T]he bulk of needy white voters are not interested in the public safety net. They want to restore their access to an older safety net, one much more generous, dignified, and stable than the public system – the one most well-employed voters still enjoy."

That is, the US has had a social safety net for a very long time, a very generous one, publicly funded through various tax subsidies, and giving people a sense of having earned those things as well, through individual work. But unlike most countries' safety nets, the American net was never intended to cover everybody – a fact which is ultimately tied to the fact that America never viewed itself as a single polity, but rather as a collection of racial polities whose natural relationship was hierarchical. That is, what we had in the US was "white socialism" – and this is what many people want back, although they don't realize exactly what it was.

Very worth reading and thinking about.


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"...it appears Google Chrome will emerge from this year’s Pwn2Own unscathed. There are currently no exploits scheduled against the browser for the competition’s second day today."

https://threatpost.com/hackers-take-down-reader-safari-edge-ubuntu-linux-at-pwn2own-2017/124362/

The photo below also happens to express how I feel about the sentence above.

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Insider narrative of the life and times of Firefox OS.

https://medium.com/@bfrancis/the-story-of-firefox-os-cb5bf796e8fb

I like how the "what went right, what went wrong, what I'd do differently" is upfront and categorized into distinct areas. People who want to debate things are probably looking for that material. The rest of the article is fun for me to try and compare mentally to the history of Chrome.

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Wow, this article is full of fascinating possibilities.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/how-your-cat-is-making-you-crazy/308873/

Toxoplasma gondii, a widespread parasite, may be a contributor to schizophrenia and car accidents, make infected women dress better, and cause men to like the smell of cat pee more (without affecting how they feel about tiger urine).

If that sounds like a strange combination of things, you should really read the whole article. There's much more where that came from.

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Also read her link to her coworker's take on the same experience.

https://medium.com/@nickyknacks/working-while-female-59a5de3ad266

Things that suck about my own response to this article:
* I wanted to read the man's take first because I would be able to more easily identify with it.
* Reading the replies on one of the Twitter threads, a woman commented about the difficulty she had being trusted to be an expert in the automotive field. I have challenged a family member about this very thing in the past (surprise that women could know things about cars). Also, I feel like I don't know much about cars. Yet I realized that internally I still assume that men will know about cars and women won't.

Argh.

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When you watch this video, what do you see?

https://www.facebook.com/cut50/videos/601917849997202/

Do you see a criminal? A broken man? A black man? An evil man? An American?

Do you see yourself in Antwan? Anyone you know?

I don't have an answer or a lecture for you. Ask yourself what you see, and why.

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An article about GiveDirectly's pilot basic income project in Kenya.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/magazine/universal-income-global-inequality.html?_r=0

I have contributed to GiveDirectly, and I hope this project pans out. The idea of giving poor people money, instead of stuff, is IMO a good one for similar reasons as to why market-based systems are often good ideas in general: many local actors making individual decisions can react more quickly to more disparate priorities. It is not a perfect system, but it could be better than the alternatives.

Also, I just smile to read the parts of the article talking about people jumping up and down, thrilled with the opportunity to eat, to have an iron roof, to start a business, to save up, to do all the same things we non-poor people do and don't think very much about how privileged we are to be able to do them.

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Good article on the Edge blog summarizing web page scrolling, different input types, responsiveness, and how developers can keep scrolling smooth.

https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2017/03/08/scrolling-on-the-web/#1h7RHPf1HbFT9tZc.97

It's a bit light on detail in any area, but it covers a lot of the bases.
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