kfwyre's recent activity

  1. Comment on Both sides of the abortion debate want to defend and protect in ~talk

    kfwyre Link
    I read through the comments here, and I think a missing piece of the conversation is the doctrinal perspective of many Christian, pro-life individuals. I grew up in a very strongly Christian...

    I read through the comments here, and I think a missing piece of the conversation is the doctrinal perspective of many Christian, pro-life individuals. I grew up in a very strongly Christian community and still have many strongly Christian friends and family members. While I have my own beliefs on abortion, I very much understand where they are coming from, and I think understanding their perspective will go a long way toward understanding why abortion is and will remain an unresolved debate.

    I should qualify that the following is not reflective of my personal beliefs but merely my attempt to convey the thinking behind many of the pro-life people that I know. I should also qualify that the specific beliefs regarding abortion vary greatly even between Christians themselves, so what I'm addressing here is far from universal.

    For the sake of clarity I am going to paint with some pretty broad brushstrokes. I do this not to make definitive points but to highlight a contour. What I say is true for the people I know and based on my experiences and interactions with them.


    From a pro-lifer's perspective, abortion is genocide. I am not using the term "genocide" as exaggeration--it is genuinely believed to be one. In the United States alone, over 45 million abortions have been performed since 1970. Estimates for the Holocaust peak at about 12 million. The Cambodian genocide was estimated to be about 3 million. Rwanda was 1 million. Comparatively speaking, pro-lifers believe that abortion is the single largest genocide humanity has ever faced.

    They believe it to be a genocide because they believe not only that life starts at conception, but that each person is lovingly created by God. There is a good amount of biblical precedent for this, but the most used is probably in Psalm 139. Verses 13 to 16 in particular:

    For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

    That passage touches on a couple of themes that frame Christian understanding of life. It is not just that life begins at conception, but that a life created by God already comes with a full, Godly plan for that life. When pro-choice people make the argument that pro-lifers value abstract lives over lived ones, they are missing the point. Many pro-lifers see the future lives of individuals according to God's plan as equal in magnitude and importance to the already lived lives of individuals.

    In fact (and things get really messy here) they might see them as more important. This is the absurdity that pro-choice proponents love to point out, which is already present here in this thread. I cannot defend the absurdity, but I would like to point out why it exists in the first place and why rational arguments probably won't have any impact.

    To understand where we're headed, you have to understand some basic tenets of Christian philosophy. Namely, that sin separates humanity from God, and that by accepting salvation through Jesus we can be forgiven for our sins. Separation from God is suffering, and communion with God is the highest, best, richest, most desirable state one can achieve. Upon death, those who have accepted Jesus's salvation will be in communion with God (eternal life), while those who have not will be separate from Him (eternal suffering).

    Even these basic tenets have variations between different believers and denominations, but there's one significant variation in particular that underpins the issue: the idea of "original sin"--that humanity was plunged into a default state of sinfulness following Adam and Eve's transgression in the Garden of Eden.

    This are huge doctrinal debates about this, and I won't go into too much detail here, but basically it breaks down into two camps: there are people who believe that all of human life starts out as sinful, and there are people who believe that humanity is innocent and pure until sin enters.

    Neither one is amenable to the idea of abortion, but for completely different reasons.

    In the first camp--those who believe that humanity is defaulted into sin--abortion is the act of condemning souls to eternal suffering before they ever had a chance at salvation. Why would they value the life of an embryo or infant more than a child or adult? Simple: children and adults have been given the chance of salvation and have turned away. Unborn babies, however, have never had this chance yet they must suffer eternally for it. Someone else made the decision to not simply terminate their life, but condemn their soul. This is unconscionable to many pro-life people. The most abhorrent thing imaginable. Pragmatists can look at the human rights abuses that coincide with genocides and say that at least those who suffered in life finally found peace in death. For pro-lifers, death is not the point of relief but the beginning of suffering. And there is no end to it. Ever.

    In the second camp--those who believe that humanity is innocent--abortion is the act of killing innocents. These are lives, full lives, that have committed no wrongs. Akin to the wholesale slaughtering of puppies. Equally unconscionable. A monstrous act.

    Moreover, in both camps, abortion has the taint of human hubris overriding God's plan. Each act of conception is seen as intentional, each life is seen as valuable, and each future is seen as pre-viewed. Abortion cuts off this life before it even has a chance, and the true horror of that isn't necessarily the loss of the life itself but the intentional and destructive rerouting of God's many plans. It is seen as an uncompromising corruption of His work. Humanity overstepping its bounds to spit in the face of the Almighty. They already believe we live in a fallen world, and abortion shows them just how low we're willing to go. Wholesale, widespread, continued murder of God's children. By the millions.

    When pro-lifers use the words "murder" or "genocide," they are not using it for dramatic effect. They genuinely believe, down to the core of their beings, that it is one of the most significant, widespread evils the world faces today. Quite possibly the most evil.

    Even if you are someone who completely disagrees with their premises, you can at least understand the passion that is inflamed by a sense of grave, outrageous injustice. Many of us have causes that we consider so important, so absolutely vital, that we hold them close to our heart and envelop them into who we are. For many pro-lifers, abortion sits in this innermost circle. It lives not in a place of reason and argument but in a place of justice and injustice--of right and wrong.

    I am gay, and no one will ever be able to sit me down and reason with me about how I should accept homophobia. It's a non-negotiable, because it is an affront to me as an individual and that which I consider right and just. Even if you can provide valid reasoning and arguments, I simply can't abide it. Hatred for me and mine is fundamentally incompatible with my beliefs.

    In the same way, pro-lifers are entrenched in a non-negotiable status on abortion. Reasoning and argumentation will not reach them because it will not fundamentally change their view that abortion is a terrible, evil injustice. Do I necessarily agree with them? No. But I understand the source of their beliefs and the conviction with which they hold them. I also understand that I feel equally strongly about my convictions, and that underpins my most uncompromisable beliefs.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood in ~life

    kfwyre Link Parent
    I wrote about an example recently, actually. They are far from the norm, but they are definitely out there.

    I wrote about an example recently, actually. They are far from the norm, but they are definitely out there.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on The Most Influential Academic Books in the Last 20 Years According to the Chronicle of Higher Education in ~books

    kfwyre Link
    Anyone have any thoughts on any of these? Nonfiction of this type is right in my reading wheelhouse, but most of these are new to me.

    Anyone have any thoughts on any of these? Nonfiction of this type is right in my reading wheelhouse, but most of these are new to me.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on Online activists are silencing us, scientists say in ~science

    kfwyre Link Parent
    Back when I was doing some pro-queer community work in a very anti-queer place, I had a mentor who helped me navigate the complex landscape. He was older, much more experienced, and wise in the...
    • Exemplary x4

    Back when I was doing some pro-queer community work in a very anti-queer place, I had a mentor who helped me navigate the complex landscape. He was older, much more experienced, and wise in the ways of what we were doing.

    Nevertheless, we butted heads over some of our events and demonstrations. While some of what he wanted to do was brilliant, I also found some of his ideas deliberately inflammatory or outright hostile. I'm of the philosophy that you get more flies with honey, so I would balk when he would suggest more aggressive campaigns. They seemed to run counter to our goals. Wouldn't we drive people away? Wouldn't it damage relationships?

    He then said something that stuck with me: "activism isn't for them," he told me, "it's for us." The point of something inflammatory or outrageous wasn't to convince anyone of anything. That was the work of advocacy. Activism, instead, was meant to rally us. Inflame our passions and make ourselves known. Make others out there know that they are not alone. By forcing the issue and forcing ourselves to be heard, we would have reach that advocacy wouldn't have alone.

    Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of decency and decorum. If I'm engaging in activism, I am, by default, choosing to transgress norms. We show that an issue is significantly important to us by breaking the status quo, and we consider any damage done by our direct action to be secondary to the damage we are trying to correct in the first place. Activism is fundamentally messy.

    Advocacy, on the other hand, is more measured and tactical. It's the reaching and the teaching. With advocacy you don't want to inflame others, as you're largely targeting people either impartial or outright hostile to your position in the first place. It's much more about rhetoric and framing than it is about bombast. It requires nuance, emotional intelligence, and the ability to build relationships.

    I liked the advocacy we did. I did not like the activism. Nevertheless, under my mentor's guidance I engaged with both. I don't know if his dichotomy of advocacy vs. activism is a commonly accepted one, but it's the framework that I carry with me to this day. And, even though I do not consider myself an activist, I better understand now that his strategy was a careful balancing of the two. He lived through the AIDS crisis, and his playbook came straight from there. It's easy to look at slow-moving, thoughtful advocacy as the way forward, but that's an easy position to take when time is on your side and the sides of those you love.

    In hindsight, he helped me appreciate that there is a need for both. Advocacy without activism can be passionless and glacial. It can constrain a movement to only be seen by those who care to look for it. Activism without advocacy, on the other hand, is a flash in the pan. It's all retch and no vomit. All the pomp and circumstance but none of the graduation.

    The internet, soundbites, and, above all, Twitter, are the perfect breeding grounds for activism. You can be quippy, provocative, and you can find your us. Or, moreover, they can find you. Twitter is a social network for protest signs. This is not a problem in and of itself, but Twitter and much of the internet are outright terrible for advocacy. Advocacy doesn't respond well to character limits and facelessness. It doesn't respond well to tribalism and cliques.

    But activism cannot sustain a movement on its own. In fact, it can become dangerous when it's the only tool used. Being on the receiving end of activism can be frustrating (often by design). If those frustrations are not softened by the relationship building and understanding of advocacy, it can calcify into resentment. Activism can also do harm in unexpected ways--collateral damage for those untargeted by its often imprecise swings.

    If I could inelegantly summarize where "we" are as an internet, I would say that we are beleaguered. A lot of it is from activism, but not all of it. This is deeper than just one tool. There are plenty of other issues: increasing individualism and wide (justified) loss of faith in authorities are two just off the top of my head. I'm certain there are more.

    An indefinable number of factors have coalesced to cause people to be resentful and frustrated. We're resentful of the other side because we're constantly made aware of their aggressions but we've done nothing to connect--not just across lines of difference but even with people on "our side!" We mistake connection for agreement. If I make a hot political take on Twitter and get a bunch of retweets and favorites, I have done nothing to connect with anyone else, but it's so easy to mistake those digital pats on the back for something genuine.

    Something I'm trying to relearn with Tildes is how to type something honest, earnest, and potentially flawed. I'm so jaded and guarded from years of internet comment battles that I feel like I have to put up either something bulletproof or something tactically sympathetic enough that it'll disarm people. It's an internalized intellectual dishonesty at this point. Too often I simply say nothing for fear of a fight.

    And while I tend to fold inward at the potential for conflict, there are those who do the opposite. They lean in. Conflict for them is either invigorating for its drama, or its something to be won. Taking someone down feels good because it's productive. They've advanced their cause! It's direct action. It feels good. It galvanizes you and yours.

    The internet hides the costs in this scenario. It turns off damage numbers and hides health bars in the HUD. Activism in person at least causes you to come face to face with the people you impact. You see them just as they see you. Online, however, you don't have to face down anyone but your followers. If you're successful, it's all win--no lose! Silence carries weight in person but is invisible online, so you'll never notice if your words sting. Especially not when there's a noisy cheering section mashing the like and retweet buttons.

    I don't know what the solution is, but I'm hoping we can figure it out. I want to be able to come online, be online, and connect online without feeling like I'm on a battleground. I want the people I interact with to feel equally comfortable. I want us to chat and talk and even argue, but the kind of arguing that's inquisitive rather than destructive. I want more reaching and teaching and less vindictive callouts and pithy clapbacks.

    You said that we need a better way of influencing political issues. With the way I see things, I would argue that we need more advocacy and less activism.

    15 votes
  5. Comment on Thoughts on the Fediverse? in ~tech

    kfwyre Link Parent
    mastodon.social, the flagship instance, is not accepting new members. This is by design, as they are not wanting any one instance to dominate the Mastodon community. The good thing about...

    mastodon.social, the flagship instance, is not accepting new members. This is by design, as they are not wanting any one instance to dominate the Mastodon community. The good thing about federation is that you can join any other instance and still be part of Mastodon.

    Choosing an instance can be somewhat intimidating since there are so many, and they're often very specialized. There's a tool that can help you choose here. Ultimately, as long as you don't join a commonly blocked instance, you'll have access to the Mastodon community (and the commonly blocked ones are almost all focused on NSFW or illegal content, so you don't have to worry about being blocked if you join a general purpose one).

    The instance that you choose determines what you see in your local timeline, so if you join, say, mastodon.host (my instance of choice), you'll see posts from other users on that instance. However, you can follow anyone from any instance, so your personal feed will have posts from all over Mastodon from whomever you choose. I just checked the people I'm following, and I've got 40+ people from 20+ instances!

    4 votes
  6. Comment on Books for someone who wants to get back into reading in ~books

    kfwyre Link
    I can give two recommendations from one of the masters of sci-fi: Arthur C. Clarke. Childhood's End is an alien race exploration that takes place on planet Earth. If you've seen the movie...

    I can give two recommendations from one of the masters of sci-fi: Arthur C. Clarke.

    Childhood's End is an alien race exploration that takes place on planet Earth. If you've seen the movie Independence Day, then you're actually familiar with the beginning of this novel: large spaceships appear over prominent cities on earth. The movie hardly moves past this inciting incident and instead turns the story into a standard Hollywoodized "blow up the intruders" narrative, which is completely at odds with what Clarke originally wrote. In the novel, humanity is instead confronted for the first time with the reality that there is a greater power than themselves in the universe, and that power is stepping in to oversee their affairs. The story becomes not one of military might but of societal adjustment to this uncomfortable and startling new truth.

    Rendezvous with Rama is a world exploration, but this one takes place instead on a foreign body passing through our solar system. At first mistaken for an asteroid, the titular Rama turns out to be a completely featureless perfect cylinder--obviously not naturally made and unknown in origin and purpose. Astronauts land on Rama and then find their way inside. The highlight of the book is not only the slow uncovering of the mysteries of Rama, but Clarke's dedication to the cylindrical geometry of the world. We are used to the physics of being on the outside of a sphere, held to it by gravity. Rama, on the other hand, plays by a completely different set of rules.

    I mention these two specifically for you because they are easy, satisfying reads with big ideas and good execution. Clarke's character writing isn't the strongest, and the people in his novels often suffer from sounding samey or blending together, but he more than makes up for that with his creativity. He was a grand thinker, and he had the talent to let us in on his ponderings through his writing. Neither of the books are very long (both are less than 250 pages), and even though Rama is technically part of a series, you don't need to read anything past the first since the others were written by a different author. Either one would be a great starting point for re-entry reading.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on Books for someone who wants to get back into reading in ~books

    kfwyre Link Parent
    I'll also recommend this. I started listening to audiobooks on my commute and during everyday activities that don't require overt focus (e.g. cleaning, cooking, exercising). I now get through 1-2...

    Finally, If you haven't tried audiobooks and have any commute time in your life, it's an amazing way to turn boring time into learning / enjoyment time. I personally do 2 learning books and 1 book for enjoyment.

    I'll also recommend this. I started listening to audiobooks on my commute and during everyday activities that don't require overt focus (e.g. cleaning, cooking, exercising). I now get through 1-2 books a week on audio alone.

    That said, if you listen at that rate, it can rapidly become expensive if you're paying for a subscription or buying the books a la carte. Check your local/state library to see if they offer audiobooks. Most do, and they're free and ultra-convenient. I haven't visited the physical branch of my library in person in probably over a year, but I am constantly checking out audiobooks and ebooks through their apps.

    The following applies just to US residents, but if your local library doesn't offer audiobooks or has poor selection, check the libraries of some bigger cities in your state. Many of those will offer cards to state residents, even if you don't live in the associated city. If even that isn't an option, take a look at the list here. These are libraries that will allow you to get cards as a non-resident for a fee. Even though they cost money, they're still far more cost-effective than any alternatives. I will caution that the list is somewhat outdated, and I personally haven't used any of these since I'm happy with my local options, but I figured I'd put it out there in case anyone is interested.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on American asking - how does your country's healthcare system perform for you? in ~health

    kfwyre (edited ) Link
    Am I allowed to answer as an American? I'm going to anyway, only because I'm pretty fed up. I don't have a great understanding of our healthcare system, but I know a problem when I see one, and...

    Am I allowed to answer as an American? I'm going to anyway, only because I'm pretty fed up.

    I don't have a great understanding of our healthcare system, but I know a problem when I see one, and we've definitely got one.

    At present, my husband and I have two choices for our insurance:

    Option 1: We can go through my employer, where I would pay $350+ dollars a week for us to have coverage. I'm a public school teacher, so that is a significant percentage of my salary.

    Option 2: We can go through my husband's employer, which is $140 a week for the both of us. Much more manageable, right? Well, not exactly, because that plan has a $6000 deductible. I remember when $1000 was considered a high deductible! Those were the days--and they weren't even that long ago!

    We chose my husband's, but it's not a good option--it's simply the lesser of two evils. The amount we've spent on healthcare has risen every year since probably somewhere around 2012, and the level of care I receive isn't commensurate with how much I'm paying. I have undiagnosed fatigue issues that we've been trying to address for nearly a year. When I call to see my primary care physician, I'm usually told that the first available appointment is one to two months out. I can get in earlier by seeing their physician's assistant, but that's trading down the chain--swapping out expertise for expediency.

    Many of the tests I've had done haven't been considered "medically necessary," so I end up paying for them out of pocket. I paid for a $700 night guard that wasn't covered by my insurance, despite the fact that I have "severe" grinding issues with my teeth that has already caused "irreversible damage" (quotes are direct from my dentist). When my severe grinding destroyed that night guard within a month, my insurance was again not willing to pay for a replacement. If breaking through the piece of acrylic specifically designed to protect my teeth from harm isn't enough to warrant coverage, I don't know what is. Thankfully my doctor covered the replacement free of charge and gave me a more heavy-duty one, but I can't help but feel that the thousands of dollars I spend on health care should cover basic preventative methods and I shouldn't have to rely on the quixotic kindness of any particular medical professional.

    If my husband or I were to ever get diagnosed with something significant, I feel like we would have to decide between leaving the country or bankruptcy. The saddest part of this isn't even that choice, but the idea that we are significantly more well off than most! We are both gainfully employed at modest, albeit above median-income jobs. We also do not have children, nor do we plan to. Financially speaking, we are in a better position than many in this country, and we still live with the looming specter of future healthcare costs.

    Something has got to give. If we're feeling the pinch this much with our situation, I have to imagine there are many out there that have it far worse.

    10 votes
  9. Comment on Momo Challenge, memes, and "Secure, Contain, Protect" (SCP) in ~talk

    kfwyre Link Parent
    Same mistake here. I was expecting something more conventionally spooky: dark background, static/distortion, an unsettling silhouette. Instead, I'm met with a brightly lit uncanny valley denizen...

    Same mistake here. I was expecting something more conventionally spooky: dark background, static/distortion, an unsettling silhouette. Instead, I'm met with a brightly lit uncanny valley denizen sporting giant eyes and a toothless, rictus grin. It reminds me of a supernatural version of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme.

    Regardless of the details or my expectations, my lizard-brain had the same response as yours. Something about the photo is deeply unsettling in a visceral and immediate way.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on What are you reading these days? #14 in ~books

    kfwyre Link Parent
    That's great to hear! Interestingly enough, shortly after reading your comment, I was talking about the series with my brother-in-law, and he told me the exact opposite. He believes the first was...

    That's great to hear!

    Interestingly enough, shortly after reading your comment, I was talking about the series with my brother-in-law, and he told me the exact opposite. He believes the first was the best and the other two were much weaker. Now I don't know what to believe!

    I guess I'll just have to read them and decide for myself. :)

    2 votes
  11. Note: I wasn't sure whether to post this in ~games or ~tech, so if it needs to be moved, feel free to put it where it belongs! I've been playing my Playstation Classic a lot, and it's made me want...

    Note: I wasn't sure whether to post this in ~games or ~tech, so if it needs to be moved, feel free to put it where it belongs!

    I've been playing my Playstation Classic a lot, and it's made me want to setup a full emulation box for my TV. I started looking into options and quickly got in over my head, so I'm hoping you fine folks can help me sort this out.

    Caveat: I am somewhat techy, but not nearly to the same level as the average Tildes user.

    Here is a rundown for what I'm going for:

    • Systems: I want to be able to emulate up through the Dreamcast with no slowdown (or, at least, no slowdown as a result of my hardware--if it's natural to the original console or a limitation of the emulator, that's fine).

    • Input: I want to use a wireless controller for input. Ideally six face buttons and four shoulders, so that it can easily stand in for almost all common controller layouts.

    • Graphics: If possible, I'd like to be able to enhance the eye candy a bit with things like upscaling, increasing the internal resolution, and shaders. This would be nice to have, but is not a necessity. Running at fullspeed in the original with no enhancements is the target minimum, though.

    • Footprint: Something up to the size of, well, a retro game console. I don't want a full PC next to my TV, but it doesn't have to be the size of a credit card either.

    • Budget: Let's go with under $400 USD? Given the cost of a Raspberry Pi that seems like overkill, but I know the Pi can't do all the way up to N64/Dreamcast, and I'm not sure how much more power those need. That price limit is flexible if I'm being unreasonable with my expectations.

    With all that in mind, here are my questions:

    1. What hardware best suits my needs? I am not interested in building my own and am seeking pre-built solutions.

    2. What controller is best? I'd prefer to have a one-size-fits-all solution, rather than swapping them out. Six face buttons would help make the Genesis, Saturn, and N64 feel more natural, but I suspect that might be hard to come by?

    3. It looks like Retroarch is definitely the way to go for easy setup, but there seem to be a lot of different standalone options (e.g. Lakka, RetroPie, Recalbox). Which one should I go with? I should add that I really only care about ease of use and simplicity. I do not need something flashy, and the less friction in both setup and use, the better.

    4. Any other tips, pieces of advice, or resources? I don't have a lot of experience with emulation, so a lot of this is uncharted territory for me, hence my uncertainty and need for guidance.

    11 votes
  12. Comment on Jimmy Eat World - Pol Roger in ~music

    kfwyre Link
    I love Integrity Blues, and this is a great closing track. It wraps up the album perfectly.

    I love Integrity Blues, and this is a great closing track. It wraps up the album perfectly.

    1 vote
  13. Comment on What books are best experienced through a physical copy? in ~books

    kfwyre Link Parent
    S. looks very interesting. Thank you for putting it on my radar. Also, great point with Fahrenheit 451. It wasn't an example I would have thought of. Taking your idea and running with it, I almost...

    S. looks very interesting. Thank you for putting it on my radar.

    Also, great point with Fahrenheit 451. It wasn't an example I would have thought of. Taking your idea and running with it, I almost think you could argue that its message is actually shifted rather than diminished if you're reading the book on a screen (particularly a phone). Bradbury has discussed how the book comments on mass media deflating interest in reading, and there's probably something to be said about reading that critique on a device that is also one's connection to social media and the internet.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on What books are best experienced through a physical copy? in ~books

    kfwyre Link Parent
    I've seen both of these come up in discussions of great books, and I've also seen them come up in discussions of difficult books. Would you recommend reading either/both? Are they worth the challenge?

    I've seen both of these come up in discussions of great books, and I've also seen them come up in discussions of difficult books. Would you recommend reading either/both? Are they worth the challenge?

    1 vote
  15. Comment on What are you reading these days? #14 in ~books

    kfwyre Link
    I just finished two books. The first was The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin. Its name has come up on my radar a couple of times, but it wasn't until a friend from China gushed about the book and...

    I just finished two books. The first was The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin. Its name has come up on my radar a couple of times, but it wasn't until a friend from China gushed about the book and its translation into English that I finally decided to pick it up. I'm normally averse to series fiction on account of my own attention span and reading stamina, so it's rare that I pick up a book that continues into other volumes. Nevertheless, I was happy enough with this one that I'll be reading its follow-ups shortly.

    The book is a deep, sci-fi rabbit hole full of big ideas. There aren't plot twists so much as there are plot expansions. You'll be headed down one narrative path, thinking you know where you're going, but then you'll reach a clearing and suddenly become aware that there's a lot more to this journey than you originally thought there was. These moments were in the book were great and satisfying. It does have some missteps and clunky parts, but the compelling plotting and ideas it presents more than make up for its weaker parts. I'm excited to continue the series, which is something I don't say often.

    The second was Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. One of the occupational obligations of being a teacher is reading young adult books so that you can stay current and make solid recommendations to students. As such, while I don't personally derive a ton of enjoyment out of YA, I still read it frequently and can appreciate what it has to offer.

    Leah is the follow-up to the curiously named Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was the source material for the 2018 movie Love, Simon. I genuinely loved the first book (and the movie), and Leah continues in the same setting with the same characters, but is written from her perspective instead of Simon's.

    The book focuses on Leah's struggles with her identity, friendships, romance, and looming graduation. Albertalli has a gift for writing with a believable, genuine voice, and that skill comes through in this book, just like the first. Leah is sympathetic and flawed, both of which are part and parcel of the genre, but Albertalli's characterization and dialogue round out her as a person rather than just a trope. She also includes but doesn't belabor real-world issues, keeping the book from falling into the didactic territory of others of its kind.

    Overall, Leah feels like a believable, genuine protagonist, and her story feels lived rather than told. Even the flaws (for example, the narration's overreliance on "fuck" and its derivatives) feel authentic to the character rather than a crutch of the author. I feel the novel will resonate strongly with high school students, and I will definitely be recommending it to some in the future.

    8 votes
  16. I am well aware of the ongoing ebooks vs. physical books debate, and I have no interest in kindling that fire here. Instead, I am seeking recommendations for books that are arguably better in...

    I am well aware of the ongoing ebooks vs. physical books debate, and I have no interest in kindling that fire here.

    Instead, I am seeking recommendations for books that are arguably better in physical form due to their makeup. House of Leaves is a perfect example, with its textual trickery essentially requiring physical pages. Coffee table books also fit the bill, for example. Some textbooks and reference books technically do as well, though I'm not interested in recommendations in those areas unless you have something in mind that's an absolute standout.

    21 votes
  17. Comment on I just discovered Steam in ~games

    kfwyre Link Parent
    You're right. It's been around for a long time. I should have said the recent refresh of SteamPlay that added Proton. That was the big turning point for me.

    You're right. It's been around for a long time. I should have said the recent refresh of SteamPlay that added Proton. That was the big turning point for me.

  18. Comment on Is a password manager essential? in ~tech

    kfwyre Link Parent
    Ah, thanks. It's strangely not an option on the mobile app, but I was able to access it on desktop. This is exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks!

    Ah, thanks. It's strangely not an option on the mobile app, but I was able to access it on desktop. This is exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks!

    1 vote
  19. Thanks to all of you who gave me guidance in the thread about password managers. It got me thinking I should expand the question to overall best practices regarding security, just in case I have...

    Thanks to all of you who gave me guidance in the thread about password managers. It got me thinking I should expand the question to overall best practices regarding security, just in case I have any other important blind spots.

    What are the essential do's and don'ts of digital security for the average person?

    35 votes
  20. Comment on Is a password manager essential? in ~tech

    kfwyre Link Parent
    Is there a password manager that will do this automatically for me? I've trialed BitWarden and KeePass DX, but both of those only create untypable random sequences. I'd love one that would...

    Is there a password manager that will do this automatically for me? I've trialed BitWarden and KeePass DX, but both of those only create untypable random sequences. I'd love one that would autogenerate and store diceware-style ones.

    3 votes