2,061 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. It's wishful thinking to believe that a group of people competing to advance their agendas will be universally pleased with any hierarchy of knowledge. The best that we can hope for is a detente in which everyone is equally miserable.

      The fate of true democracies.

    2. Schemas aren't neutral

      This section highlights why relying on algorithmic feeds in social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be toxic. Your feed is full of what they think you'll like and click on instead of giving you the choice.

    3. When poisoning the well confers benefits to the poisoners, the meta-waters get awfully toxic in short order.

      If we look at Twitter as a worldwide annotation tool which is generating metadata on a much tinier subset of primary documents (some of which are not truthful themselves), this seems to bear out in that setting as well.

      ref: Kalir & Garcia in Annotation

    4. If everyone would subscribe to such a system and create good metadata for the purposes of describing their goods, services and information, it would be a trivial matter to search the Internet for highly qualified, context-sensitive results: a fan could find all the downloadable music in a given genre, a manufacturer could efficiently discover suppliers, travelers could easily choose a hotel room for an upcoming trip. A world of exhaustive, reliable metadata would be a utopia. It's also a pipe-dream, founded on self-delusion, nerd hubris and hysterically inflated market opportunities.

      Apparently this also now applies to politics and democracy too.

    1. Burl Ives's 1949 album, The Return of the Wayfaring Stranger, for example, includes two: "Lord Randall" and "The Divil and the Farmer".
    2. Joan Baez sang ten Child ballads distributed among her first five albums, the liner notes of which identified them as such.
    3. Illustration by Arthur Rackham of Child Ballad 26, "The Twa Corbies"
    4. In 1956 four albums (consisting of eight LPs) of 72 Child Ballads sung by Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd were released: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Vols. 1–4.
    1. As Austin Kleon notes, blogging is a great way to discover what you have to say. My microblog has given me a chance to have thoughts, and this longer blog has given me a space to figure out what it means–to discover what it is I have to say. In other words, my microblog is where I collect the raw materials; my blog is where I assemble them into questions and, perhaps, answers. It’s a place where I figure out what I really think.
    2. I’ve enjoyed linkblogging. When I read something, I can share the link along with a quote or reflection on how it affected me. It’s a great space to think out loud.
    1. The concept is to publish first on your own blog and then later republish the same content on Medium.

      Example of encouraging the idea of POSSE.

    1. Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett), the first enslaved African American to sue for her freedom in the courts based on the law of the 1780 constitution of the state of Massachusetts, which held that "all men are born free and equal." The Jury agreed and in 1781 she won her freedom. Her lawyer had been Theodore Sedgwick.
    2. Though there were no graduate schools in America at the time, a loan from a benefactor, Jonathan I. Bowditch, to whom the book was dedicated, enabled Child to take a leave of absence from his teaching duties to pursue his studies in Germany. There Child studied English drama and Germanic philology at the University of Göttingen, which conferred on him an honorary doctorate, and at Humboldt University, Berlin, where he heard lectures by the linguists Grimm and was much influenced by them.
    3. Child considered that folk ballads came from a more democratic time in the past when society was not so rigidly segregated into classes, and the "true voice" of the people could therefore be heard. He conceived "the people" as comprising all the classes of society, rich, middle, and poor, and not only those engaged in manual labor as Marxists sometimes use the word.
    1. Decentralized Social Networks vs. The TrollsDerek CaelinIn the summer of 2019, the alt-right social network Gab migrated to the decentralized "Fediverse" of social networks after being booted from mainstream financial services and hosting solutions. Almost immediately, Gab was met by a dedicated movement to isolate it. The movement was largely successful; within a year, the Gab CTO announced they would leave the Fediverse. This talk will cover how moderators, activists, and developers in the Fediverse used human moderators, strong moderation tools, representative codes of conduct, and no small amount of organization to promote healthy online spaces.We’ll review how some of the challenges faced by centralized platforms, which struggle with their own size and scale, have been addressed in networks of smaller, community run, more moderated servers. In the debate over how to make a healthier internet, the open platforms and open protocols in the model of the Fediverse may have some of the best resources to isolate bad actors, including Gab.
    1. Obviously not every group chat counts as a “conspiracy”. But it makes the question of how society coheres, who is associated with whom, into a matter of speculation – something that involves a trace of conspiracy theory. In that sense, WhatsApp is not just a channel for the circulation of conspiracy theories, but offers content for them as well. The medium is the message.
    2. The last ETech was held in 2009.

      And roughly at about that same time was the beginning of the IndieWeb.

    3. To see how this story unfolded, it’s worth going back to 2003. At the ETech conference that year, a keynote speech was given by the web enthusiast and writer Clay Shirky, now an academic at New York University, which surprised its audience by declaring that the task of designing successful online communities had little to do with technology at all. The talk looked back at one of the most fertile periods in the history of social psychology, and was entitled “A group is its own worst enemy”. Shirky drew on the work of the British psychoanalyst and psychologist Wilfred Bion, who, together with Kurt Lewin, was one of the pioneers of the study of “group dynamics” in the 40s. The central proposition of this school was that groups possess psychological properties that exist independently of their individual members. In groups, people find themselves behaving in ways that they never would if left to their own devices.

      Wilfred Bion and Kurt Lewin and group dynamics

    4. This means that while groups can generate high levels of solidarity, which can in principle be put to powerful political effect, it also becomes harder to express disagreement within the group. If, for example, an outspoken and popular member of a neighbourhood WhatsApp group begins to circulate misinformation about health risks, the general urge to maintain solidarity means that their messages are likely to be met with approval and thanks. When a claim or piece of content shows up in a group, there may be many members who view it as dubious; the question is whether they have the confidence to say as much. Meanwhile, the less sceptical can simply forward it on. It’s not hard, then, to understand why WhatsApp is a powerful distributor of “fake news” and conspiracy theories.

      Instead of positive feedback like this, is there a way to create negative feedback loops in these social media apps?

    5. Groups are great for brief bursts of humour or frustration, but, by their very nature, far less useful for supporting the circulation of public information. To understand why this is the case, we have to think about the way in which individuals can become swayed and influenced once they belong to a group.
    6. Anecdotal evidence from local political organisers and trade union reps suggests that, despite the initial efficiency of WhatsApp groups, their workload often increases because of the escalating number of sub-communities, each of which needs to be contacted separately. Schools desperately seek to get information out to parents, only to discover that unless it appears in precisely the right WhatsApp group, it doesn’t register. The age of the message board, be it physical or digital, where information can be posted once for anyone who needs it, is over.

      We've been facing this problem for quite a while. This is the reason that ideas like syndication in social media are so prevalent. People are checking too many parallel and orthogonal channels.

    7. It’s understandable that in order to relax, users need to know they’re not being overheard – though there is a less playful side to this. If groups are perceived as a place to say what you really think, away from the constraints of public judgement or “political correctness”, then it follows that they are also where people turn to share prejudices or more hateful expressions, that are unacceptable (or even illegal) elsewhere.

      The idea of public judgement or "political correctness" here is exactly the definition of a modern digital pale, around which technology is being used to extend people's thoughts.

    8. The ongoing rise of WhatsApp, and its challenge to both legacy institutions and open social media, poses a profound political question: how do public institutions and discussions retain legitimacy and trust once people are organised into closed and invisible communities? The risk is that a vicious circle ensues, in which private groups circulate ever more information and disinformation to discredit public officials and public information, and our alienation from democracy escalates.
    9. WhatsApp groups can not only breed suspicion among the public, but also manufacture a mood of suspicion among their own participants. As also demonstrated by closed Facebook groups, discontents – not always well-founded – accumulate in private before boiling over in public. The capacity to circulate misinformation and allegations is becoming greater than the capacity to resolve them.
    1. The term 'scholastic' derives from the fact that the inscriptions are believed to have been inspired by the manuscript sources, instead of being continuations of the original monument tradition. Scholastic inscriptions typically draw a line into the stone's surface along which the letters are arranged, rather than using the stone's edge. They begin in the course of the 6th century, and continue into Old and Middle Irish, and even into Modern times. From the High Middle Ages, contemporary to the Manuscript tradition, they may contain Forfeda. The 30 or so Pictish inscriptions qualify as early Scholastic, roughly 6th to 9th century. Some Viking Age stones on Man and Shetland are in Old Norse, or at least contain Norse names.
    2. The Isle of Man has five inscriptions. One of these is the famous inscription at Port St. Mary (503) which reads DOVAIDONA MAQI DROATA ᚛ᚇᚑᚃᚐᚔᚇᚑᚅᚐ ᚋᚐᚊᚔ ᚇᚏᚑᚐᚈᚐ᚜ or 'Dovaidona son of the Druid'.

      An indication of links of these stones and inscriptions to Druid culture.

    3. Celtic Tree Alphabet

      Just this name gives me ideas

    1. That restructuring of societies in Western Europe in turn also benefited the church, notes Henrich. "In some sense, the church is killing off clans, and they're often getting the lands in wealth," he says. "So this is enriching the church. Meanwhile, Europeans are broken down into monogamous, nuclear families and they can't re-create the complex kinship structures that we [still] see elsewhere in the world."

      If true, this is an astounding finding.

    2. Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic (WEIRD) countries

      I love this acronym!

  2. Jul 2020
    1. While we believe that the Medium platform and network provide incredible advantages for writers, we also believe that our platform should inherit the power and creativity of the open web, not be walled off from it.

      They haven't generally taken this stance before. They've spent a lot of time and effort to specifically wall themselves away from the rest of the web. They've even taken away the ability to bring your own domain to the product. This seems like just too much lip service.

    2. We know how important it is for creators to be able to not just make a space on the internet for their work, but to make their own space, to create context and a sense of place, and to establish their personal brands.

      How many years has it taken them to realize this?

    1. Fact Check: Despite White House claims, PAW Patrol and police LEGO have not been canceled

      So now the White House is lying about children's television shows? Where does it end?

    1. They are usually round of reasonably uniform size at around 2.75 inches or 7 cm across. They can have from 3 to 160 protruding knob shapes on the surface. These carved stone balls are nearly all have been found in north-east Scotland, the majority in Aberdeenshire. As portable objects, they are straightforward to transport and have been found on Iona, Skye, Harris, Uist, Lewis, Arran, Hawick, Wigtownshire, and fifteen from Orkney. A similar distribution to that of Pictish symbols led to the early suggestion that carved stone balls are Pictish artifacts. However, examples have been found in Ireland and England.
    2. Plotting the find sites on a map shows that these petrospheres were often located in the vicinity of Neolithic recumbent stone circles.
    1. One of DiAngelo’s favorite examples is instructive. She uses the famous story of Jackie Robinson.

      This is now the third article I've seen about DiAngelo's story of Jackie Robinson. People are definitely taking her to task on the subject, but I do notice all of them are men, so I wonder is it possible within the context of what she's writing about if she is possibly not a baseball person and therefore doesn't know what the rest of us baseball people do know? Perhaps her points are as bad as they're being made out, but I have to wonder if there's some underlying misogyny here.

    1. White Fragility is, in the end, a book about how to make certain educated white readers feel better about themselves. DiAngelo’s outlook rests upon a depiction of Black people as endlessly delicate poster children within this self-gratifying fantasy about how white America needs to think—or, better, stop thinking. Her answer to white fragility, in other words, entails an elaborate and pitilessly dehumanizing condescension toward Black people. The sad truth is that anyone falling under the sway of this blinkered, self-satisfied, punitive stunt of a primer has been taught, by a well-intentioned but tragically misguided pastor, how to be racist in a whole new way.

      Perhaps the better advice to the potential readers of such a tome would be to ignore the "well-intentioned" white woman and instead take some time and patience to read some African American voices, Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning or The African-American Experience edited by Kai Wright.

      If you really insist on getting help from someone white to start off on your journey, then I can only recommend John Biewen's excellent Seeing White podcast series, though both John and the series are "kept honest" by recurring guest Chenjerai Kumanyika and a variety of other great guests and interviewees.

    2. Nor should anyone dismiss me as a rara avis. Being middle class, upwardly mobile, and Black has been quite common during my existence since the mid-1960s, and to deny this is to assert that affirmative action for Black people did not work.

      While he says this, I want to say that I've heard generally the opposite, particularly for African American boys/men from one generation to the next. I'll have to dig into sources for this, but I want to say some may be found in an episode of The Daily from the NY Times roughly a year ago.

    3. white and Black people

      There is something profoundly interesting to me seeing a distinguished linguist write the words white and Black next to each other as modifiers and seeing one capitalized and the other not.

    4. When writers who are this sure of their convictions turn out to make a compelling case, it is genuinely exciting. This is sadly not one of those times, even though white guilt and politesse have apparently distracted many readers from the book’s numerous obvious flaws.
    5. John McWhorter

      I was so hoping to hear from some thinkers like Dr. McWhorter on this issue!!!

    1. Now when police cross the line, holding them accountable is virtually impossible. The judge-made doctrine of qualified immunity makes suing the police for damages incredibly difficult. The exclusionary rule, which says that evidence seized by the police in the course of an unconstitutional search or seizure should be excluded from trial, is virtually a dead letter. And individuals harmed by unconstitutional policing policies, such as choke holds of the sort used to kill Floyd and Garner, cannot sue to prevent these policies from being enforced.
    1. But the business model that we now call surveillance capitalism put paid to that, which is why you should never post anything on Facebook without being prepared to face the algorithmic consequences.

      I'm reminded a bit of the season 3 episode of Breaking Bad where Jesse Pinkman invites his drug dealing pals to a Narcotics Anonymous-type meeting so that they can target their meth sales. Fortunately the two low lifes had more morality and compassion than Facebook can manage.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20kpzC3sckQ

    1. So what do we focus on instead, without that ability to tweak or iterate? Well, some of the messier network effects of social media, I’d argue. Sure, leaving a comment may be more “engaging” than picking a color and setting a design, but those things give us a feeling of ownership that we never really feel like we have when they’re all decided for us.

      Having a sense of ownership and control of identity on a platform can be an important thing. Even though I use a somewhat modified theme, I have thousands of other options and can change it at any time on my own website.

    1. Update, 11:22 Eastern: Weiss has posted a letter of resignation addressed to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger on her website. In it, she denounces the Times for fostering an atmosphere of stifling conformity and accuses her now-former colleagues of bullying:

      Having your own website is a must, particularly when you've just left one of the biggest platforms on the planet and still need to have a platform to reach your audience and the world.

    1. Supplementary Reading

      This lecture also mentions Hal Lindsey's book The Late Great Planet Earth that predicted the end of the world in 1988.

    2. monk’s tomb in 1886

      Apocalypse of Peter was found in the same tomb and manuscript as the Gospel of Peter.

    1. There was also opportunity to connect with other students.

      I'm glad you had at least a little bit of this. The system I saw used for third graders left almost zero space for inter-student interaction or socialization which was a miserable experience.

    2. I felt more akin to being a relief teacher with little agency.

      I felt like exactly this myself!

    1. The students in Raphael Folsom’s Spanish Borderlands course read primary sources on a weekly basis. Rather than taking notes on 3×5 index cards as we did when I was a kid, the students take the same type of note in the Drupal system. They fill out some basic bibliographic information about the source, write a short summary of the source, and then take a note about an interesting facet of the text.

      I've been trying this sort of thing out with a TiddlyWiki for a while and have got a reasonable sort of workflow for doing it. The key is to reduce the overhead so that one can quickly take notes in a manner that interlinks them and makes it seem worthwhile to come back to them to review and potentially reorganize them. Doing this practice in public has a lot of value as well. I'll have to come back and look at some of how this was built at a later time.

    1. There’s a whole lot of IndieWeb sites out there, some very unlike the others, yet all can intercommunicate. IndieWeb should have claimed the “together, not the same” slogan before Google took it for Android commercials, because that’s exactly what IndieWeb is. And it is great.

      There are even more than that on this list: https://github.com/snarfed/indie-map/blob/master/crawl/2017/domains.txt, from Indie Map which is from 2017 and a whole lot more have appeared since then.

    1. Declutter your mind. Add structure as you go.

      I see this sort of advertisement for knowledge worker tools far too often. The key is to create a lot of structure as you go so that your mind is potentially MORE cluttered, but you have better retention and associations among the things you do know.

    1. “Professional development often meant filling in to an auditorium and being talked at from a stage,” says Ferguson.

      Naturally, because you know, educators know how to educate other educators, right?!

    1. BOX,G.E.P.andCOX, D. R. (1964). An analysis of transformations (with discussion).J. Roy.Statist. Soc. Ser. B26211–252.
    2. unless the model is embedded in a suitable structure thatpermits extrapolation, no useful inference is possible, either Bayesian or non-Bayesian.
    3. The parameterization is said to be identifiable if distinct parameter valuesgive rise to distinct distributions; that is,Pθ=Pθ′impliesθ=θ′.

      Definition of identifiable parameterization

    1. In a 2014 essay, “Poet Voice and Flock Mentality,” the poet Lisa Marie Basile connects it to an overall lack of diversity in the field, and a fear of breaking the mold. The consistent use of it, she writes, “delivers two messages: I am educated, I am taught, I am part-of a group … I am afraid to tell my own story in my own voice.”
    2. when some listeners hear poets read with one or more of these characteristics—slow pitch speed, slow pitch acceleration, narrow pitch range, low rhythmic complexity, and/or slow speaking rate—they hear Poet Voice.”
    1. I read this post and wonder why Gutenberg doesn't solve the problem by allowing a theme to target all of these options, even when multiple post formats are used in the same post?

      Post Kinds is a great example of extending Post Formats, but it needs to be dovetailed into the Gutenberg way of doing things.

    1. The most controversial crime-related posts get the most engagement. In turn, these posts are featured the most in users’ notifications because the algorithm knows those posts attract lots of likes, comments, and clicks.

      I wonder if this also increases the availability heuristic implicit and makes people think there is more crime in their neighborhood than there actually is?

    2. “There’s a tendency of the [active] group to see themselves as the only legitimate users of the space, and everyone who’s not part of the group immediately becomes suspect,” she says.
    1. Although I’ve already got a blog (you’re reading it!), I decided not to mirror my book reviews here. I post normal content so infrequently that anyone who wanted to read the blog but wasn’t interested in book reviews would be inundated with content they didn’t want. In the end, I spun up an additional WordPress instance on my web space (something that my host, Krystal Hosting, makes very easy to do) to keep the reviews completely isolated from everything else.

      This seems to be a frequent excuse for people to spin up yet another website rather than attempting to tackle the UI subscription problem.

      Social readers would be well advised to think about this problem so people could have a single website with multiple types/kinds of content.

      Platforms should better delineate how to allow publishers and readers to more easily extract the posts that they're interested in following.

    1. I’m iffy on the value of that metadata - whether schema.org-style annotations have any value. Semantic web has a real religious bent to it that I don’t feel. I want to see the implementations and the full working systems, and I think it’s been long enoough since the introduction of RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD that we should be seeing practical, real uses of them. And I’m just not seeing those uses.

      These are some valid points.

      I have been seeing some interesting use cases for microformats getting stronger recently.

  3. Jun 2020
    1. Honestly, if a real platform existed where I could just communicate with my friends, make new friends, and read blogs by real people with no corporations or ads, I would love to be a part of that. I just don't even know if it's possible anymore. I don't know if any centralized platform can do that in 2020. Fortunately, we have our decentralized websites, and we can connect with each other this way.

      This! I want this too and I feel like I'm getting there with IndieWeb-related tools!

    1. Interestingly, I’ve found that Kindle is useful in this respect. I buy Kindle versions of books that I need for work, and highlight passages and bookmark pages as I go. And when I’ve finished the software obligingly has a collection of all the passages I’ve highlighted.

      John, you should spend a minute or two to learn about Hypothes.is (https://web.hypothes.is/) as an online tool for doing this. It's a free account or you can self-host the software yourself if you like. There are also functionalities to have public, private, or group annotations. I often pull my own annotations to my personal website similar to your own Memex and publish them there (example: https://boffosocko.com/kind/annotation/)

      Syndicated copy: https://boffosocko.com/2020/05/21/55771248/)

    1. I gave this keynote this morning at the ICLS Conference, not in Nashville as originally planned

      Outline seems to allow one to get around the issues of annotating Audrey Watters' content. Oh dear.

    1. The legal system, Horwitz argued, was used to not only change the rules of the game to benefit an increasingly elite class, but also to hide the fact that these changes were being made.  This is a great argument. What it needs is some people in the story to show how it happened and how people reacted, assuming anyone on the short end of the transaction knew it was happening. This raises an interesting question: how do we tell stories about things we now see were happening, but that people of the time were unaware of, either because the evidence was hidden, or they just didn’t see things the way we do? Especially when people knew something was wrong, but couldn’t quite put their finger on it -- or blamed it on the wrong thing? The story isn’t just about unintended consequences, it’s about misunderstood consequences.
    2. “Change brought about through technical legal doctrine,” Horwitz said, “can more easily disguise underlying political choices [than] Subsidy through the tax system” (101).
    3. So the costs were socialized (in economic terms, externalized) at the same time the benefits were privatized in the form of corporate profits.

      socialize costs, privatize profits

    4. Horwitz argued a fairly radical point, which I think never received wide enough recognition due to the subject matter and his extremely difficult (dense and dry) style.  He said, “I seek to show that one of the crucial choices made during the antebellum period was to promote economic growth primarily through the legal, not the tax, system, a choice which had major consequences for the distribution of wealth and power in American society”

      I'll have to add this book to my to read stack.

    1. Mr. Speyer’s most famous work is the Ben Rose House near Chicago, a modern glass box known for its supporting role in the 1986 movie ”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Mr. Speyer studied architecture under famed modernist Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and later became curator of 20th century painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.

      architecture, art, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    2. Mr. Speyer was critical of American home-building bombast, declaring in a 1986 interview conducted by the Art Institute of Chicago shortly before his death, “I think the typical suburban style is really not at all based in comfort, it’s based in ostentation,” he said. “Everybody,” he added, is “putting a centerpiece on the table.”
    1. Republishing guidelines

      There was some conversation earlier today in the IndieWeb chat about comment policies, but this page presents an interesting case of repost policies.

      Is anyone doing this on their personal websites?

    2. The page counter is an invisible 1x1 pixel image that allows us and our authors to know when and where our content is republished.

      I see this and can't help but think about a tracking pixel that sends webmentions...

    1. It seems that by learning a new language, you suddenly become attuned to perceptual dimensions that you weren’t aware of before.
    1. Perhaps we want to write but we feel comfortable with our phones and so we want to write on our phones. It’s like the best camera being the one you have on you. The best writing implement is the one you have on you. These days, it might be your phone.

      I often find the quickest and easiest writing implement I've got is the Hypothes.is browser extension.

      Click a button and start writing. In the background, I've got a tool that's pulling all the content I've written and posting it quickly to my own website as a micropub post.

    1. Personal websites are a conversation. We've just forgotten that simple truth for, oh, about two decades. It's time to relearn some good habits.

      I love this idea.

    1. Alex Rushmer is a Cambridge-based chef, food writer and owner of the restaurant Vanderlyle. The original version of this article was published on his blog

      POSSE to newspaper!

      h/t Kevin Marks

    1. Oh, and to be absolutely clear, every example that I know of a company trying to adopt the "pioneer - settler - town planner" structure without first getting their principles in a decent state has ... failed. Principles first. Org structure later. Culture, later still.

      Thinking on this with respect to Colin Woodard's book American Nations, makes me realize why America is in such horrible shape today.

    1. people as property and he was about $100,000 in debt ( about $2 mil-lion in 2014), an amount s o staggering that he knew that once he died, everything—and everyone—would be sold.
    2. One histo-rian estimated that J efferson had owned more than six hundred slaves over t he course of his l ifetime. I n 1826, he held around two hundred
    3. dandy

      this seems to have a different connotation than the one often attributed to the word?

    4. The editors and the elite Blacks they represented often focused, however, on the conduct of t he “lower classes of our people,” whom they blamed for bringing the race down. Class r acism dotted the pages of the Freedom’s J ournal, with articles pitting l ower-income Blacks against upper-income Blacks, and the former being portrayed as i nferior to the latter.
    5. As part of t he renewed effort t o promote uplift suasion, a group of f ree Blacks established the nation’s first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, with its headquarters i n New York City.

      first Black newspaper

    6. Free B lacks r emained o verwhelmingly a gainst colonization. T heir resistance to the concept partly accounted for t he identifier “Negro” replacing “African” in common usage in the 1820s. Free Blacks theorized that i f t hey called themselves “ African,” t hey would be giv-ing credence t o the notion that t hey should be sent back to Africa. Their own racist i deas were also behind the shift i n terminology. They considered Africa and its cultural practices to be backward, having accepted r acist n otions o f t he c ontinent. S ome l ight-skinned B lacks preferred “colored,” t o separate t hemselves f rom dark-skinned Negroes or Africans.

      Negro, colored word origins.

    7. Protestant organizations started mass-producing, mass-marketing, and mass-distributing i mages of J esus, who was always depicted as White. Protestants saw all t he aspirations of t he new American identity in the White Jesus—a racist idea that proved to be i n their cultural s elf-interest. As pictures of t his White J esus s tarted to appear, Blacks and Whites s tarted to make con-nections, c onsciously and unconsciously, between the White God the Father, his White son Jesus, and the power and perfection of White people.
    8. The American Bible Society, t he American Sunday School Union, and the American Tract Society were all established in this period, and they each used the printing press to besiege the nation with Bibles, t racts, pictures, and picture cards t hat would help to create a strong, unified, J esus-centered national i dentity. A good tract “should be entertaining,” announced the American Tract Society in 1824. “ There must be something to allure the listless to read.”

      This is also the same sort of cultural movement to happen to journalism with Hard Copy in the early 1980's.

    9. Second Great Awakening
    10. Jefferson adamantly came to believe that Black freedom should not be discussed in the White halls of Congress, and that southern-ers should be left alone to solve the problem of s lavery at t heir own pace, in their own way. In his younger years, he had considered grad-ual emancipation and colonization to be the solution. His gradualism turned into procrastination. I n his final years, J efferson said that “ on the subject of emancipation I have ceased to think because [it i s] not to be the work of my day.” Slavery had become too lucrative, t o too many slaveholders, f or emancipation to be Jefferson’s work of t hose days.

      And most of American society has done just this for hundreds of years. We need to decide as a group to fix it once and for all instead of just kicking the can down the road and procrastinating again and again. It just makes things progressively worse instead of progressively better.

    11. James Tallmadge Jr. t acked an amendment onto a bill a dmitting Missouri t o the Union that would have barred the admission of enslaved Africans into the new state.
    12. On October 29, 1822, Charleston Times editor E dwin Clifford Holland released the first proslavery treatise by a native southerner.
    13. Until 1 822—until Denmark Vesey—northerners h ad p roduced most of the racist books and tracts defending slavery. Writers l ike Charles Jared Ingersoll, J ames Kirke Paulding, and Robert Walsh—all f rom the North—defended slavery from British onslaughts i n the 1810s.
    14. In 1818, a fifty-one-year-old free carpenter named Denmark Vesey started recruiting the thousands of s laves i n and around Charleston that would form his army—one estimate says 9,000. Vesey was well known l ocally as one of t he f ounders of Emmanuel A.M.E. Church, t he first African Methodist Episcopal church in the South.
    15. . “ It i s . . . t he con-crete universal, self-determining thought, which constitutes the prin-ciple and character of Europeans,” Hegel once wrote. “ God becomes man, r evealing himself.” I n contrast, African people, he said, were “a nation of children” i n the “first stage” of human development: “ The negro is an example of animal man in all his s avagery and lawlessness.” They could be educated, but t hey would never advance on their own. Hegel’s foundational racist idea justified Europe’s ongoing coloniza-tion of Africa. European colonizers would supposedly bring progress to Africa’s residents, j ust as European enslavers had brought progress to Africans i n the Americas.
    16. i n 1807, Hegel had expressed a very antiracist i dea in his classic book Phenomenology of Spirit, condemning “the overhasty judgement formed at first sight about the inner nature and character” of a person.
    17. In 1816, Finley sat down and wrote the colonization movement’s manifesto, Thoughts on the Colonization of Free Blacks. “ What s hall we do with the free people of color?” he began the pamphlet.
    18. Gabriel and Nancy Prosser, were organizing a slave rebellion
    19. The seventy-one-year-old advised Coles to reconcile himself with enslavement and only promote emancipation in a way that did not offend anyone.

      It seems pretty obvious now that creating equality is going to have to offend some. We should offend them as quickly as we can.

    20. I n 1810, f uture Pennsylvania congressman Charles Jared Ingersoll released Inchiquin, t he J esuit’s L etters, r efuting the aspersions cast upon slavery “by former r esidents and tourists.”

      Charles Jared Ingersoll

    21. om. On January 8, 1811, a bout fifteen captives on a sugar plantation in an area known as t he German Coast wounded a planter, Major Manuel Andry, and killed his s on. Bearing military uni-forms and guns, c ane knives, and axes while beating drums and waving flags, t hey started marching from plantation to plantation, s welling their numbers and the dead bodies of enslavers. I n time, between two hundred and five hundred biracial and African people had joined the thirty-five-mile freedom march to invade New Orleans. Led by Asante warriors Quamana and Kook, a long with biracial men Harry Kenner and Charles Deslondes—and inspired by the Haitian Revolution—these revolutionaries waged the largest slave revolt in the history of the United S tates
    22. On November 19, 1814, P arisians s trolled i nto t he Vaudeville Theater a cross from the Palais-Royal to view the opening of La Venus Hottentote, ou Haine aux Fran-cais (or the Hatred of French Women). I n the opera’s plot, a young Frenchman does not find his s uitor s ufficiently exotic. When she appears disguised as t he “Hottentot Venus,” he falls i n love. Secure i n his attraction, s he drops t he disguise. The Frenchman drops t he ridiculous attraction to the Hottentot Venus, comes t o his s enses, and the couple marries. The opera revealed Europeans’ i deas about Black women. After all, when Frenchmen are seduced by the Hottentot Venus, t hey are acting like animals. When Frenchmen are attracted to Frenchwomen, t hey are acting rationally. While hypersexual Black women are worthy of s ex-ual a ttraction, a sexual F renchwomen are worthy of l ove and marriage.
    23. Londoners were captivated by Sarah Baartman, or r ather, her enormous buttocks and genitalia.Baartman’s Khoi people of s outhern Africa had been classified as the lowest Africans, t he closest t o animals, f or more than a century. Baartman’s buttocks and genitals were i rregularly large among her f el-low Khoi women, n ot t o mention African women across t he continent, or across the Atlantic on Jefferson’s plantation. And yet Baartman’s enormous buttocks and genitals were presented as r egular and authen-tically African.
    24. A year after t he Slave Trade Act, a South Car-olina court ruled that enslaved women had no legal claims on their children. They stood “on the same f ootings as other animals.”

      Slave Trade Act of 1807

    25. “ I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable t han the best man on the f arm,” J efferson once explained to a friend.
    26. I n his Annual Message t o Congress t hree years earlier, J efferson had condemned the “violations of human rights” e nabled by the slave trade and urged Con-gress to abolish it. Congress followed his lead in 1807, after a conten-tious debate over how illegal s lave traders would be punished. Traders, they decided, would be fined under t he Slave Trade Act of 1807. But Congress did nothing to ensure the act’s enforcement.It was an empty and mostly symbolic l aw. The act f ailed to close the door on the ongoing international s lave trade while flinging open the door to a domestic one.

      slave trade,

    27. abolitionist and sci-entist Henri Gregoire for sending him a copy of An Enquiry Concern-ing the I ntellectual and Moral Faculties, and Literature of Negroes on February 25. Gregoire offered travel “ testimony” of glorious Black nations to refute what “ Jefferson tells us, t hat no nation of t hem was ever civi-lized,” he wrote. “ We do not pretend to place the negroes on a level” with Whites, Gregoire explained in assimilationist f orm, but only to challenge those who say “that t he negroes are i ncapable of becoming partners i n the store-house of human knowledge.”
    28. I n 1808, New York physician John Augustine Smith, a disciple of Charles White, r ebuked Samuel Stanhope Smith as a minister dabbling in sci-ence. “ I hold it my duty to lay before you all t he facts which are rele-vant,” J ohn Augustine Smith announced in his circulated lecture. The principal f act was t hat t he “ anatomical s tructure” of t he European was “superior” t o that of t he other races. As different species, Blacks and Whites had been “placed at t he opposite extremes of t he scale.” The polygenesis l ecture l aunched Smith’s academic career: he became edi-tor of t he Medical and Physiological Journal, t enth president of t he Col-lege of William & Mary, and president of t he New York College of Physicians and Surgeons.

      Another example of a scion in academia using racial ideas to launch his career to prominence.

      This also provides a schism for a break between science and religion which we're still heavily dealing with in American culture.

    29. “ The PENIS of an African is l arger t han that of an European,” White t old his readers. Most anatomical museums i n Europe preserved Black penises, and, he noted, “ I have one i n mine.”

      A pretty grotesque sexualization. I wonder how influential this book is on modern day cultural thoughts?

    30. English physician Charles White, t he well-known author of a trea-tise on midwifery, entered the debate over species i n 1799. Unlike Scotland’s Lord Kames, White circled around religion and employed a new method of proving the existence of separate race species—comparative anatomy. He did not want t he conclusions i n his Account on the Regular Gradation in Man to “be construed so as t o give the small-est countenance to the pernicious practice of enslaving mankind.”
    31. ast becoming the iconic image of a Black woman at t his time was t he 1800 Portrait d ’une negresse (Portrait of a Negress) by French painter Marie-Guillemine Benoist. An African woman sits staring at t he viewer with her head wrapped and breast exposed.
    32. Master/slave sex fundamentally acknowledged the humanity of Black and biracial women, but it simultaneously reduced that human-ity to their sexuality. I n the Christian world, s exuality was believed to be the animal t rait of humans.
    33. .” Jefferson may have privately justified his r elations with Sally Hemings by reminding him-self t hat everyone did it, or t ried to do it. F rom teens ending their ( and their victims’) virginity, t o married men sneaking around, t o single and widowed men having their longtime liaisons—master/slave rape or i ntercourse seemed “natural,” and enslaving one’s children seemed normal i n slaveholding America.

      This also has implications in the history of misogyny in America as well.

    34. eer. Some of Jefferson’s defend-ers during the campaign were jailed by the Adams administration under t he 1798 Sedition Act—namely, J ames Callender. Pardoned by Jefferson when he won the presidency in 1800, Callender apparently requested patronage as r etribution for his s ervices. President J efferson refused. I ncensed, Callender exposed Jefferson’s s ecret.18On September 1, 1 802, Richmond’s Recorder r eaders l earned about the relationship between President Thomas J efferson and Sally Hem-ings. “By this wench Sally, our president h as had s everal children,” Callender wrote.
    35. I n 1814, Moss resurfaced again in the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery, where he i s described as a Black man “whose skin has nearly lost i ts native colour and become perfectly w hite.”
    36. man.” Henry Moss, unbeknownst to Americans, was s uffering from vitiligo, a skin disease t hat c auses t he loss of s kin color, making one’s dark skin lighten.
    37. Cotton—more than anyone or anything else—economically freed American enslavers from England and tightened the chains of African people in American slavery.
    38. Rush inserted a note in Philadelphia’s American Daily Advertiser in September telling Black people they had immunity to yellow fever, a conclusion he had reached based on his belief i n their animal-like physical s uperiority. Quite a few Black nurses s uffered hor-ribly before Rush realized his gross error. I n all, 5,000 people per-ished before the epidemic subsided in November and federal officials returned to the city.

      Interesting to see notes about small outbreaks like this while seeing similar racist ideas and policies hundreds of years later during the COVID-19 outbreaks.

    39. When Black people rose, r acists either violently knocked them down or i gnored them as extraordinary. When Black people were down, r ac-ists called it t heir natural or nurtured place, and denied any role in knocking them down in the first place.
    40. To believe that the negative ways of B lack people were responsible for r acist i deas was t o believe that t here was some truth in notions of Black inferiority. To believe t hat t here was some truth i n n otions o f Black i nferiority was t o hold racist i dea
    41. Periodically, t he convention published and cir-culated advice tracts for free Blacks. Abolitionists urged free Blacks to attend church regularly, a cquire English literacy, l earn math, a dopt trades, avoid vice, l egally marry and maintain marriages, evade law-suits, a void expensive delights, a bstain from noisy and disorderly con-duct, a lways act i n a civil and respectable manner, and develop habits of industry, sobriety, and frugality. I f Black people behaved admirably, abolitionists reasoned, t hey would be undermining justifications for slavery and proving that notions of t heir i nferiority were wrong.9This strategy of what can be termed uplift s uasion was based on the idea that White people could be persuaded away from their rac-ist i deas i f t hey saw Black people improving their behavior, uplifting themselves from their l ow station in American society. The burden of r ace relations was placed squarely on the shoulders of Black Ameri-cans. Positive Black behavior, a bolitionist s trategists held, undermined racist i deas, and negative Black behavior confirmed them.
    42. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1 793, bestowing on slaveholders t he right and legal a ppa-ratus t o recover escaped Africans and criminalize those who harbored them.
    43. Early in 1791, months before writing to Jefferson, Banneker had helped survey the nation’s new capital, Washington, DC.

      I think it has not been since middle school that I've seen a reference to Banneker...

    44. I n 1791, Quaker Moses Brown pointed to Black exhibits f rom his Providence school a s proof of “ their being Men capable of Every Improvement with ourselves where they [are] under the Same Advantages.”
    45. Penn-sylvania abolitionist Charles Crawford
    46. or the first Naturalization Act on March 26, 1 790, which limited citizenship to “free white per-sons” of “ good character.”
    47. I n 1790, Haiti’s enslavers saw the Declaration of t he Rights of Man (Article 1: “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights”) as a green light f or t heir i ndependence drive and for t heir demands for new trade relations t o increase their wealth. F ree and affluent bira-cial activists numbering almost 3 0,000 (slightly less t han the White population) started driving for t heir civil r ights. Close to half a mil-lion enslaved Africans, who were producing about half t he world’s sugar and coffee i n the most profitable European colony in the world, heard these curious cries f or r ights and liberty among the i sland’s f ree people. On August 22, 1791, enslaved Africans revolted, i nspired in more ways t han one by Vodou priest Dutty Boukman. They emerged as t he fourth faction in the civil war between White royalists, White independence seekers, and free biracial a ctivist
    48. J efferson agreed, after some waver-ing, t o become the first US secretary of s tate i n George Washington’s inaugural a dministration. Beginning his t enure on March 22, 1 79
    49. Jefferson had always assailed interracial relationships between White women and Black or biracial men. Before arriving in Paris, he had l obbied, u nsuccessfully, f or Virginia’s White women to be banished (instead of merely fined) f or bearing the child of a Black or biracial man. Even after his measure was defeated, even after his relations with Hemings began, and even after t he relations matured and he had time to reflect on his own hypocrisy, J efferson did not s top proclaiming his

      Assuredly not the first time a leader in the United States would say one thing and do the polar opposite. We've got far too much of "Do as I say and not Do as I do."

    50. Northwest Ordinance
    51. By September 17, 1787, delegates i n Philadelphia had extracted “slave” and “slavery” f rom the signed US Constitution to hide their racist e nslavement policies. These policies hardly fit with securing “the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
    52. Only New Jersey and Delaware voted against Wilson’s compromise

      James Wilson (Pennsylvania) offered the 3/5ths idea

    53. ng hot June 11, 1787, South Carolina delegate John Rutledge

      Rutledge and Major Pierce Butler were apparently the architects of the 3/5th proposal in the Constitution.

    54. The only delegate who pounced on the three-fifths “compromise” was Massachusetts abo-litionist and future vice president Elbridge Gerry. “ Blacks are prop-erty, and are used [in the South] . . . as horses and cattle are [in the North],” Gerry stammered out. So “why should their representation be increased to the southward on account of t he number of slaves, [rather] t han [on the basis of] horses or oxen to the north?”
    55. Antislavery discussions were disallowed in drawing up what t he writers were pegging as humankind’s ultimate constitution of freedom.
    56. e Constitutional Convention. I t had begun i n Philadelphia on May 25, 1 787, months after Samuel S tan-hope Smith had addressed some of t he delegates on race.
    57. Samuel Stanhope Smith joined those preeminent i ntellectuals i n Boston’s American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Philadelphia’s American Philosophical Society in attacking polygenesists, i n reviv-ing climate theory in America. His scholarly defense of s cripture was quickly printed in Philadelphia, i n London, and in Lord Kames’s back-yard, Edinburgh. By the time he sat down in Princeton’s presidential chair i n 1795, he had amassed an international s cholarly reputation.
    58. climate theorists

      I find it interesting to be reading about a completely different sort of climate theory in this book than the one commonly known in popular society.

    59. Princeton theologian Samuel Stanhope Smith

      Samuel Stanhope Smith (March 15, 1751 – August 21, 1819) was a Presbyterian minister, founding president of Hampden–Sydney College and the seventh president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) from 1795 to 1812. His stormy career ended in his enforced resignation.

    60. Samuel Stanhope Smith titled his 1787 lecture “An Essay on the Causes of t he Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Human Spe-cies.”

      Copy available at https://archive.org/details/essayoncausesofv00sm

      He's still espousing racist ideas in it. But he apparently took a more assimilationist approach and didn't espouse polygenesis.

    61. Smith had been pondering assimilationist climate theory for s ome time. He may have learned it first f rom Buffon, or from James Bow-doin’s opening oration of t he newly established American Academy of Arts and Sciences i n Boston on May 4, 1780.
    62. Count Constantine Volney, known in France as Herodotus’s biog-rapher, was p utting his fi nishing touches o n Travels in Syria and Egyptwhen he read Notes and befriended its author. When Volney first s aw the Sphinx in Egypt, he remembered Herodotus—the foremost his-torian in ancient Greece—describing the “black and frizzled hair” of the ancient Egyptians. Making the connection to the present, Volney mused, “ To the race of negroes, a t present our s laves, and the objects of our extreme contempt, we owe our arts, s ciences, and even the use of s peech itself.”

      fascinating

    63. Notes on the State o f Virginia would become t he most c onsumed American nonfiction book u ntil well i nto t he mid-nineteenth c entury
    64. On August 6, 1 784, J efferson arrived in Paris
    65. The ambitious politician, maybe fearful of a lienat-ing potential f riends, maybe torn between Enlightenment antislavery and American proslavery, maybe honestly unsure, did not pick sides between polygenesists and monogenesists, between segregationists and assimilationists, between slavery and freedom. But he did pick the side of r acism
    66. Notes on the State of Virginia was replete with other contradictory ideas about Black people. “ They are at l east as brave, and more adven-turesome” than Whites, b ecause they lacked the forethought to s ee “danger t ill i t be present,” J efferson wrote. Africans f elt l ove more, but they felt pain less, he said, and “their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.” That i s why they were disposed “to sleep when abstracted from their diversions, and unemployed in labour. An animal whose body is at rest, and who does not reflect, must be disposed to sleep of course.” But on the previous page, J ef-ferson cast Blacks as requiring “less sleep. A black, after hard labour through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusements to sit up till midnight.” I n Jefferson’s vivid imagination, l azy Blacks desiredto sleep more than Whites, but, as physical s avants, t hey required l ess sleep.

      Examples of Jefferson's contradictory racist ideas about African Americans.

    67. With Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson emerged a s the preeminent American authority on Black intellectual i nferiority. This status would persist over t he next fifty years.
    68. With no intention to publish, J efferson unabashedly expressed his views on Black people, and in particular on potentially freed Black people. “ Incorporating the [freed] blacks i nto the state” was out of the question, he declared. “ Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; t en thousand recollections, by the blacks, of t he injuries they have sustained; new provocations; t he real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us i nto parties, and produce convulsions, which will probably never end but in the extermination of t he one or t he other r ace

      Jefferson to French diplomat François Barbé-Marbois in 1781 in Notes on the State of Virginia.

      Little did he know that these convulsions would reverberate for over 240 years.

    69. Rhode I sland pastor Samuel Hopkins, an antislavery Puritan, would have found Jefferson’s passage laughable. He had just sent t he con-gress A Dialogue c oncerning t he Slavery of t he Africans. Americans’ s o-called enslavement t o the British was “lighter than a feather” compared to Africans’ e nslavement t o Americans, Hopkins argued.

      A Dialogue concerning the Slavery of the Africans available on archive.org

      Hopkins became the first major Christian leader outside of t he Society of Friends to forcefully oppose slavery

    70. Scottish phi-losopher Adam Smith condemned England’s trade acts f or constrain-ing the “free” market i n his i nstant best seller, The Wealth o f Nations. To this f ounding father of capitalist economics, t he wealth of nations stemmed from a nation’s productive capacity, a productive capacity African nations l acked. “ All t he inland parts of Africa,” he scripted, “seem in all a ges of t he world to have been in the same barbarous and uncivilized state i n which we find them at present.” Meanwhile, Smith praised Americans for “ contriving a new form of government f or an extensive empire, which . . . s eems very likely to become, one of t he greatest and most f ormidable that ever was i n the world.” The found-ing fathers beamed reading Adam Smith’s prediction. J efferson later called Wealth o f Nations “ the best book extant” on political e conomy.

      Adam Smith apparently held racist ideas.

    71. I n South Carolina, t here emerged a three-sided conflict, with as many as 20,000 Africans a sserting t heir o wn i nterests. An e stimated t wo-thirds o f enslaved Africans i n Georgia ran away. According to Jefferson’s own calculations, Virginia l ost a s many as 30,000 enslaved Africans i n a sin-gle year.

      These are some impressive numbers!

    72. What did it mean for J efferson to call “ liberty” an “inalienable right” when he enslaved people?
    73. Thomas Jefferson disagreed. At t he beginning of t he Declaration of Independence, he paraphrased the Virginia constitution, i ndelibly penning: “ all Men are created equal.”It is impossible to know for s ure whether J efferson meant t o include his enslaved laborers ( or women) in his “all Men.” Was he merely emphasizing the equality of White Americans and the English? Later i n the document, he did scold the British for “ exciting those very people to rise in arms among us”—those “people” being resisting Afri-cans. Did Jefferson insert “created equal” a s a nod to the swirling debate between monogenesis and polygenesis? Even if J efferson believed all groups to be “created equal,” he never believed the antiracist creed that all human groups are e qual. But his “ all Men are created equal” was revolutionary n onetheless; i t even propelled Vermont and Mas-sachusetts to abolish slavery.
    1. As African-American businessman Ishmael Trone said last week, the reform has to go beyond policing in order for there to be equality in this country, including banking reform, mortgage reform and business loan reform.
    1. Look at what it looks like when you’re creating the internet in a society that values the group over the individual.
    2. That’s absolutely not true, because the pitfall that tech falls into is the same one that every other corporation, or actually any other group in America falls into. Which is the idea that true diversity and racial justice is going to be painless for white people and there will be no adjustment. And that people of color want the exact same things you want, and value the same things you value. And somehow at the end of that, they’re going to still see you as superior in some way. None of that is true in real diversity, and in real racial justice and gender justice.
    3. What it starts with is a fundamental centering of white maleness. And the goal is the ascension of white maleness. People of color can aid it, they can mimic it, or they’re in the way, to be overcome. There’s this argument in tech that anyone can prosper in this space. They’ve removed all the boundaries to prosperity. But the truth is, they’ve moved their own personal boundaries, and left all the boundaries to people of color and women in place because they just don’t exist in these origin stories, as anything other than props.
    4. Technology has become a secular religion: quite possibly the largest, most influential religion human beings have ever created.
    1. Oh, and of course, there’s the fact that “sit on the ground” is mapped to the same control as “strangle the nearest person”, which can apparently lead to some pretty robust brainstorming sessions.

      I love this!

    1. The web is an amazing tool in bringing us together. Yet some of the best and brightest minds of our generation are working on how to get more people to click on ads. Imagine what technology could be capable of if it focused all that energy on the problems in our communities instead.
    1. It's a good idea to give these properties

      I like the layout of this blockquote with the lightbulb icon at the top.

    1. This is the first post in the wild that I've come across which is using Quotebacks.

      I also notice that there's something odd going on with it that prevents me from annotating/highlighting the quote using Hypothes.is.

    1. I have a number of ideas about enriching my home site and getting more into the delights of the IndieWeb

      The IndieWeb quote of the week.

    1. Based on all available forms, the hypothetical proto-Celtic word may be reconstructed as *dru-wid-s (pl. *druwides) meaning "oak-knower".

      With the early history of druids going into the 4th century BCE (and keeping in mind that Stonehenge's dates go to about 1600 BCE), is it possible that the druids used trees as the basis for their mnemonics in lieu of standing stones? Thus the name oak-knower is more specific to what they were doing than we give them credit for? To an outsider unaware of their ways, their ritual memory systems would have made it seem like they worshiped the trees in ways other cultures would not have?

    1. I can't help wondering if this might be modified to be used to pull in Webmentions from around the web using WordPress's Webmention plugin instead of relying on Telegraph.

      It sounds sort of like something I had discussed with David Shanske a while back to bookmark related mentions, but which didn't necessarily have my URL on them.

    1. Major Beamish, Bert’s father, was head of the Royal Guard.

      What does it say that Bert, ostensibly one of the safest people in the kingdom, is having nightmares? And in such a happy little kingdom....

    2. Death of a Seamstress

      Is this title of the Agatha Christie novel?

    1. It had a wide, smiling mouth full of teeth and big, clawed feet, and at once it became Bert’s favourite toy.

      Something like this, right?

    2. Bert Beamish

      These names are really on-the-nose aren't they?

    3. The habits and appearance of the Ickabog changed depending on who was describing it. Some made it snakelike, others dragonish

      This is reminiscent of dragons in Russian lore. See: Gordy, Lee, How Saint George’s Dragon Got Its Wings (JSTOR Daily, February 2020)

    1. Pluritania

      Pluri-, a prefix, from Latin plus, plur- ‘more’, plures ‘several’.

      The suffix -tania or -etania (English demonym "-tanian", "-tanians") denotes a territory or region in the Iberian Peninsula. Its historical origin is in the pre-Roman Iberia. Its etymological origin is discussed by linguists. Spanish Jesuit philologist Hervás y Panduro proposed their link to the Celtic languages, in which the root tan or taín means department or region. "In Irish, tan (genitive, tain) expresses the idea of country, territory."

    2. Porfirio

      A Spanish name derived from Porphyry (/ˈpɔːrfɪri/; Greek: Πορφύριος, Porphyrios meaning "purple-clad".

    3. Chouxville

      Literally "Pastrytown"! Now I want some pâte à choux...

    4. King Fred was secretly relieved to find out how easy it was to rule Cornucopia. In fact, the country seemed to run itself. Nearly everybody had lots of food, the merchants made pots of gold, and Fred’s advisors took care of any little problem that arose. All that was left for Fred to do was beam at his subjects whenever he went out in his carriage and go hunting five times a week with his two best friends, Lord Spittleworth and Lord Flapoon.

      She specifically said she didn't write it for the current culture, but the name Fred seems a nod to Donald J. Trump's father and the physical description (outside of the moustaches) could be either Trump or Boris Johnson.

    5. Richard the Righteous, whose teeth (though nobody had liked to mention it at the time) were rather crooked.

      If only this were the worst sort of thing we had to put up with in our leaders.

    6. King Fred the Fearless came to the throne on a huge wave of popularity.

      She makes it sound like he was somehow elected.

    1. mnemonic medium
    2. The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.— Edwin Schlossberg
    3. This argument is reinforced by the fact that, at the individual level, we meet many brilliant people who are fascinated by (and often working on) tools for thought, but who nonetheless seem to be making slow progress.

      Ideas have sex: the trouble in a dramatically increasing landscape of information that we've experienced over the last century alone is that the combinatoric interactions of all the ideas is also much slower, so the progress on this front may seem to slow while the body of knowledge and interactions is continually growing. This might make for an interesting graph.

    4. What if the best tools for thought have already been discovered? In other words, perhaps the 1960s and 1970s were an unrepeatable golden age, and all we can expect in the future is gradual incremental improvement, and perhaps the occasional major breakthrough, at a decreasing frequency?

      Many have been, but they've been forgotten and need to be rediscovered and repopularized as well as refined.

      Once this has happened, perhaps others may follow. Ideas like PAO are incredibly valuable ones that hadn't previously existed, but were specially built for remembering specific types of information. How can we combinatorially use some of these other methods to create new and interesting ones for other types of tools?

    5. Is it possible to avoid the public goods problem altogether?

      As Lynne Kelly indicates, knowledge is a broad public good, so it is kept by higher priests and only transferred in private ceremonies to the initiated in indigenous cultures. In many senses, we've brought the value of specific information down dramatically, but there's also so much of it now, even with writing and better dissemination, it's become more valuable again.

      I should revisit the economics of these ideas and create a model/graph of this idea over history with knowledge, value, and time on various axes.

    6. Think about fundamental tools for thought such as writing and the number system. Obviously, it’s good that those spread throughout society, unencumbered by IP concerns! More broadly, many tools of thought become more valuable for society as they become more ubiquitous.

      Metcalfe's Law at work here.

    7. The net result is that in gaming, clever new interface ideas can be distinguishing features which become a game’s primary advantage in the marketplace.

      Innovation in the video game industry helps it solve the public goods problem. Tweaking the economics helps the high upfront development cost be recouped.

    8. Put another way, many tools for thought are public goods. They often cost a lot to develop initially, but it’s easy for others to duplicate and improve on them, free riding on the initial investment. While such duplication and improvement is good for our society as a whole, it’s bad for the companies that make that initial investment. And so such tools for thought suffer the fate of many public goods: our society collectively underinvests in them, relative to the benefits they provide
    9. Our experience is that many of today’s technology leaders genuinely venerate Engelbart, Kay, and their colleagues. Many even feel that computers have huge potential as tools for improving human thinking. But they don’t see how to build good businesses around developing new tools for thought. And without such business opportunities, work languishes.

      Some of these ideas in this section tangentially touch on the broader problems of EdTech. Technology isn't necessarily the answer.

      They're onto something, but I feel like they're missing a huge grounding in areas of pedagogy, teaching, EdTech history, and even memory and memory research.

    10. At the same time, a positive emotional experience alone is not enough. For tools for thought to attain enduring power, the user must experience a real growth in mastery, an expansion in their ability to act. And so we’d like to take both the emotional and intellectual experience of tools for thought seriously.

      How can they also reach the idea of "flow"?

    11. Historically, a lot of work on tools for thought has either ignored emotion, or treated it as no more than a secondary concern.

      These guys are going to have their skirts blown up when they come across the work of Lynne Kelly.

    12. Is it possible to create a medium which blends the best qualities of both video and text?

      IMAGINATION!!!

      Hello?

    13. The text is beautiful, but reading it is a much more remote and cerebral experience, conveying a much less visceral emotional understanding.

      And here again they reveal their lack of memory research. Indigenous peoples have used song, dance, and visuals to more dramatically appeal to the senses for improving memory.

      I'm also struck here that they haven't touched on the idea of memory related to smells.

    14. Note that we are not making the common argument that making new tools can lead to new subject matter insights for the toolmaker, and vice versa. This is correct, but is much weaker than what we are saying. Rather: making new tools can lead to new subject matter insights for humanity as a whole (i.e., significant original research insights), and vice versa, and this would ideally be a rapidly-turning loop to develop the most transformative tools.
    15. Indeed, it seems fair to say that any person who could invent Hindu-Arabic numerals, starting from the Roman numerals, would be both one of the great mathematical geniuses who ever lived, and one of the great design geniuses who ever lived. They’d have to be extraordinarily capable in both domains, capable of an insight-through-making loop which used the evolving system of numerals to improve not just their own mathematical ideas, but to have original, world-class insights into mathematics; and also to use those mathematical insights to improve their evolving system of numerals.

      I feel somewhat the same way about them and their memory abilities and insights. They don't seem to have done enough deep research into memory systems to be making the suppositions and blanket statements they're making. There's more genius hiding in there than they seem to be aware of. Sure, some of their caution and caveats are appropriate, but I feel like they're missing more than they're getting.

    16. I want creativity!

      For this one need look no further than Ramond Lull...

    17. A second caution relates to elaborative encoding. The mnemonic techniques are, as you have likely realized, an example of elaborative encoding in action, connecting the things we want to memorize (say, our shopping list) to something which already has meaning for us (say, our memory palace). By contrast, when an expert learns new information in their field, they don’t make up artificial connections to their memory palace. Instead, they find meaningful connections to what they already know.

      This was essentially the logical memory method espoused by Peter Ramus in the mid-1500's. He's a major source of the reason we don't use a broader number of methods within the art of memory in modern society. We need to remedy this error. I feel like the authors are woefully unaware of a lot of history and psychology here.

    18. In 1971, the psychologist Allan Paivio proposed the dual-coding theory, namely, the assertion that verbal and non-verbal information are stored separately in long-term memory. Paivio and others investigated the picture superiority effect, demonstrating that pictures and words together are often recalled substantially better than words alone.

      Another example of how much of historic memory methods we've dramatically lost and need to regain.

    19. How to best help users when they forget the answer to a question? Suppose a user can’t remember the answer to the question: “Who was the second President of the United States?” Perhaps they think it’s Thomas Jefferson, and are surprised to learn it’s John Adams. In a typical spaced-repetition memory system this would be dealt with by decreasing the time interval until the question is reviewed again. But it may be more effective to follow up with questions designed to help the user understand some of the surrounding context. E.g.: “Who was George Washington’s Vice President?” (A: “John Adams”). Indeed, there could be a whole series of followup questions, all designed to help better encode the answer to the initial question in memory.

      Here they're using the word encode at the bottom of the example, but they're not encoding anything!! They're talking about making other tangential associations which may help to triangulate the answer, but they're not directly encoding the actual information itself.

    20. designed so the user must always engage deeply with the meaning of the question, not its superficial appearance

      They seem to be missing the idea of association in memory techniques. The spaced repetition is working on the form of the question by itself since the card doesn't form a specific or memorable enough associating between the two important pieces of knowledge.

    21. One of us has previously assertedMichael Nielsen, Augmenting Long-Term Memory (2018). that in spaced-repetition memory systems, users need to make their own cards. The reasoning is informal: users often report dissatisfaction and poor results when working with cards made by others. The reason seems to be that making the cards is itself an important act of understanding, and helps with committing material to memory. When users work with cards made by others, they lose those benefits.

      This is actually an incredibly well documented phenomenon in the history of mnemotechniques or ars memorativa. Because creativity for individuals is dramatically different in addition to their prior knowledge and value of links, having custom made images helps tremendously.

      This is also at the root of some of the philosophy of Bartłomiej Beniowski's A Handbook of Phrenotypics for Teachers and Students, Part 1 in 1842.

    22. Breaking the card into more atomic pieces turned a question he routinely got wrong into two questions he routinely got right.

      This sort of atomicity is exactly that of platforms like TiddlyWiki and Zettlekasten.