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    1. What are you learning right now?

      Whether it be for school, work, a hobby, or personal interest, what are you learning right now? How are you learning it and what prompted you to start learning? What are some things that surprised...

      Whether it be for school, work, a hobby, or personal interest, what are you learning right now? How are you learning it and what prompted you to start learning? What are some things that surprised you about what you are learning? What advice would you give to someone who just started to learn about it?

      17 votes
    2. A Goodbye

      I apologise if this comes off as self-indulgent. I'm not have a good few days and writing this has helped. I'm also not entirely sure it's in the right place so please do move if needs be. --...

      I apologise if this comes off as self-indulgent. I'm not have a good few days and writing this has helped. I'm also not entirely sure it's in the right place so please do move if needs be.

      --

      Goodbye then. I think we both knew this day was coming but it was always going to come too fast, too soon - I would always want one more day, one more stroll in the woods together, one more evening snuggle by the fire.

      But in the darkness of loss a whirling, glittering constellation of memories shines brightly. The first moment I saw you in that badly lit, chilly ferry terminal, you were all wobbly and woozy from the boat trip. You never did get over that travel sickness, despite everything we tried. All the first times, all the adventures, all the unspoken moments of connection between us.

      I remember running around the garden together as summer storms drenched the thirsty ground, yelping and laughing and soaked to the skin by hot rain. Eating raspberries fresh off the cane for breakfast as the dew sparkled on our toes. Lying quietly by the fire as the party slowly died away. The awful long, hot, car journeys to far-away places where your eyes would light up with joy at the sight of a new beach, a new hill to climb, new people to meet or a new place to explore.

      The time we clambered over the rocks and you terrified me with your boldness, seemingly unafraid to fall. The time after we were first apart for days, overflowing with happiness and relief to be together again. The time we went camping and you were not sure about it but discovered the wonder of waking up with the dawn and being outside all day. The time you first saw the snow, the sheer amazement in your eyes as we stepped outside to a blanket of white just waiting to be played in.

      The time, all those years later, we first brought the baby home and you were so gentle, as if his tiny body might break at your slightest touch. Don’t think I didn’t notice you quietly taking guard over him, for all your gruff standoffishness, I know you loved him and wanted to protect him as much as I did.

      And the worst time of all, the blackest star looming large in my mind’s sky. The nurse taking you away as your life drained from you, tired and afraid and so far away from me. I’ll always regret I couldn’t be there with you at the very end, but such regrets are dwarfed by the enormity of the joys of all that came before.

      The small things stand out more than the big. The little rituals of the day that I get partway through before remembering you’re not there any more. The patterns are broken - getting ready to go to bed, getting up the next day, preparing food or finding our cosy places in the evening. All those familiar shapes to life are gone, shattered like ice, the shards of how we lived together destined to quietly melt away, as unstoppable as the tide.

      You touched so many people’s lives, brought so much joy and love to the world, but to no-one more than me. Those days when my back hurt so much I could barely bring myself to do anything, you gave me the strength to at least go for a walk, and that always helped. Those dark nights when I felt alone and afraid, you’d always notice and come over with some love to make me feel better. It might be too much to say you saved my life but it might not.

      I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you as much as I could have been for the last year, we’ve all struggled, we’ve all been tired and I know now you probably needed me more than you could tell me. Neither of us knew the cancer was taking you from the inside, not until it was far too late. If I could have the last few months again I’d be by your side every day, I’d be more patient with your struggles because they were so much more than I understood.

      Goodbye, old friend. The pain is over now, and the life before it was beautiful. I love you.

      31 votes
    3. So, yesterday, I turned my ToDo list into a Product Backlog and started my first personal improvement Sprint

      Where to post this feels tricky. The terms in my post title -- "Product Backlog" and "Sprint" are very IT-specific terms from a popular business management philosophy (Agile) and methodology...

      Where to post this feels tricky. The terms in my post title -- "Product Backlog" and "Sprint" are very IT-specific terms from a popular business management philosophy (Agile) and methodology (Scrum) for creating software.

      However, I am intentionally trying to adopt and adapt these concepts to my own life goals, personal improvement efforts and general day-to-day "get shit done" task lists.

      Has anyone else done this? It only just now occurred to me to search the 'Net to see how unusual this idea is, and of course, I'm seeing plenty of evidence that I'm not the first person to think of it.

      For the non-IT folk, here's the nutshell version. Large, long-term software development projects get broken down into bite-sized tasks, those pieces get prioritized and best-guesstimated as to each one's difficulty, and then short-term "Sprints" (each generally 1 week to 1 month long) are devoted to completing a selected subset of those tasks.

      As an on-going process, the overall project goals and tasklist (the "Product Backlog") get reviewed, re-evaluated and re-prioritized, and past efforts are regularly evaluated for effectiveness, and the lessons learned get incorporated into future planning.

      Probably the most significant piece of the Agile philosophy is the iterative process. Never lose sight of the overarching goal, but focus -- hard -- on those bite-sized pieces, always review your own efforts and learn how to improve your process of getting things done, and always be ready to modify all mid-term and long-term goals as the journey unfolds, as new information comes to light.

      ... And I realize I'm meandering, perhaps, a bit too much into the philosophy of software development ... but I hope it's clear how well this could translate over to personal development, life goals, self-help, stuff like that.

      At any rate, that's what I'm doing over the next two weeks ... I'm running my own personal "Life Goals" Sprint, adopting the various tools and terms and ideas built into Agile -- and specifically, the Scrum-style implementation of Agile (which is more philosophy than process). Depending on how it goes, I may well be doing this for a long time to come.

      Would love to discuss the idea, get feedback, pros and cons, yada ...

      16 votes
    4. I'm moving, in the EU, from Hungary to The Netherlands. Any tips?

      Inspired by (or if you prefer, ripping off) @spit-evil-olive-tips ' moving thread. I'm a US expat with Hungarian citizenship, moving with two native Hungarian friends (plus a dog and 2 cats), to...

      Inspired by (or if you prefer, ripping off) @spit-evil-olive-tips ' moving thread.

      I'm a US expat with Hungarian citizenship, moving with two native Hungarian friends (plus a dog and 2 cats), to The Hague. We have an apartment there, all 3 animals are chipped and vaccinated (and we 3 are not...). My cousin will be driving us there in about a month.

      We already have an appointment, a couple days after the move, to register our BRPs and BSNs at the local govt office. Sooner would be better, but it must be done in person, and right now, I don't relish the idea of a 2nd trip across the EU just to get registered a bit faster.

      I'm primarily looking for tips on smoothly integrating into Dutch society ... utilities, banking, health care, whatever else I'm forgetting to worry about. But I'm open to any tips regarding any aspect of moving between countries in the EU, in the middle of a poorly-managed global pandemic.

      Side-note for the entrepreneurs: In the US, you can rent a car, truck or trailer anywhere, drive it to anywhere else ... and leave it there. I appreciate the added complexities of an int'l version of that service, but if anyone can be the first to resolve those challenges in the EU ... $$$. Or rather, €€€.

      ETA: Any advice posted to @spit-evil-olive-tips thread need not be repeated here.

      19 votes
    5. Tildes Screenless Day Discussion Thread - April 2021

      Note: I'm posting this a day earlier than planned, just in case anyone forgot it was coming up and needed a bit more advance notice. EDIT: I am just now realizing the unfortunate coincidence of...

      Note: I'm posting this a day earlier than planned, just in case anyone forgot it was coming up and needed a bit more advance notice.

      EDIT: I am just now realizing the unfortunate coincidence of posting this thread when I did. This is NOT an April Fools’ joke, I promise!


      What is a "Screenless Day"?

      Tildes "Screenless Day" is a simple event aimed at encouraging people to take a temporary step away from toxic or consuming aspects of technology and spend their time and energies elsewhere.


      When is it?

      It takes place over the weekend starting on the first Friday of each month. Participants will choose that Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to take as their screenless day -- whichever works best for their schedule.

      Some people might not be able to participate in that window, and that's fine too. They can choose to shift their day earlier or later as needed. It is also completely fine (and encouraged!) to take personal screenless days separate from the event if you like. This thread will be posted the first weekend of each month, but it is open for comments the entire month.


      Does it have to be truly "screenless"?

      "Screenless" is an ideal, not a mandate. The spirit of the day is to deliberately step away from toxic or consuming aspects of technology, and what that means is different for each person. Thus, it is up to each participant to determine what "screenless" means to them. Some might only choose to not use social media for a day; some might choose to eliminate all "screens" but still use their ereader; some may maintain some screen use but only for necessity (e.g. work; classes; GPS; etc.). Some might get rid of screens entirely, or go fully "unplugged" for the day.


      How do I participate?

      You do not have to do anything formal at all to participate -- simply take your screenless day in whatever way is best for you! That said, I think it's more enjoyable and valuable to make this a shared experience, so the structured way to participate, for anyone interested, is as follows:

      STEP ONE: Before you take your day, post a top-level comment in this thread detailing your plan for your screenless day.

      Consider the following questions:

      • Why do you want to take a screenless day?
      • How are you personally defining "screenless"?
      • What do you plan to do with your time?
      • What do you hope to get out of it?

      To have your plan stand out from normal conversation, please use the # markdown to title your post "[yourusername's] Screenless Day Plan"

      STEP TWO: Take your screenless day.

      • In the spirit of the event, you should probably not be reading or posting to this topic at all that day. To each their own, however. :)

      STEP THREE: After it is over, return to the thread to reflect on your screenless day.

      Post a response to your original comment in which you tell us all about your day.

      • What did you do?
      • How did it feel?
      • Was it difficult? Easy?
      • Did anything surprise you?
      • Were there any unexpected challenges/breakthroughs?
      • If you plan to do it again, what would you change? What would you keep the same?

      To have your follow-up stand out from normal conversation, please use the # markdown to title your post "[yourusername's] Screenless Day Reflection"


      Can I chat in this thread if I'm not participating?

      Yes! The more, the merrier! Discussion from anyone, participant or non-participant alike, is welcome. Though, do understand that it might take a bit longer than normal for some people to respond. :)

      23 votes
    6. I'm moving between apartments soon. Do you have any advice or protips on the logistics of moving?

      I've moved plenty of times before, but I've been in my current place for 4 years, which is fairly long for me - most of my adult life I've moved every 1 or 2 years. As a result, I'm sure I've...

      I've moved plenty of times before, but I've been in my current place for 4 years, which is fairly long for me - most of my adult life I've moved every 1 or 2 years. As a result, I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of the "small but important things" about moving, and I've also gotten more settled into this apartment than any previous one I've lived in.

      Details, if they matter:

      • This is a relatively short move (within the same city, about a 15 minute drive)

      • I'm going to be doing all the packing myself, moving small and/or fragile stuff myself, then hiring a moving company for the big stuff (couch, bed, TV, etc) because I don't want to put any of my friends in the position of feeling obligated to come help me move during a pandemic.

      • I've hired movers before, but only for a cross-country move. This will be my first time having a moving company for just an in-town move

      I found a previous thread about moving, but it was about adjusting to life in a cross-country move. I'm more interested in the logistics of how to make the move itself go smoothly.

      22 votes
    7. Organisations that do important/meaningful work?

      I've been thinking a bit lately of starting to look for another place of work. Nothing is really bad at my current employer, but I've been there since 2017 and my feet are starting to itch a bit....

      I've been thinking a bit lately of starting to look for another place of work. Nothing is really bad at my current employer, but I've been there since 2017 and my feet are starting to itch a bit. In addition, I'm not really to engaged in my work at the moment since I feel the domain is fairly boring and the tech is rather mundane. This might be a reflection of my sentiment of IT industry in general, i.e. lots of toys but mainly they are just different flavours of the same thing (especially when it comes to building XYZ web app).

      Formerly my approach to finding a new job has been to look for companies that are looking for people with skills in technologies I am interested in learning. However, since I'm a bit dissilousioned with tech I think I need to switch my approach and look more for a mission driven organisation I can get behind!

      What are your thoughts on organsations that do some kind of important work? If you were to pick a top 3 organisations where you would work which ones would you pick?

      Note they don't have to be tech focused. I'm generally curious about different organisations I should look into and also to hear your thoughts on the matter!

      28 votes
    8. Review a product/service you first used over a year ago

      Give an honest review of something that you've been using (or possibly stopped using) that's at least a year old, so we get an idea of what it's like for long-term use, rather than fresh. Anything...

      Give an honest review of something that you've been using (or possibly stopped using) that's at least a year old, so we get an idea of what it's like for long-term use, rather than fresh. Anything is fair game: webhosting companies, kitchen gadgets, facial cleansers, etc.

      24 votes
    9. I need a good mop for my floors at home. What would you recommend?

      I got a cheap mop at the grocery store last year thinking that would be enough, but it broke like a month ago and always left smudges all over my floors anyway. I never really liked it. It was one...

      I got a cheap mop at the grocery store last year thinking that would be enough, but it broke like a month ago and always left smudges all over my floors anyway. I never really liked it. It was one of those fixed sponges with a handle to squeeze it out rather than one that looks like Medusa.

      I have wood laminate floors throughout my house, not true wood floors. Unfortunately, they're dark brown and show a ton of crumbs and smudges, so I'm looking for something sorta in the buy-it-for-life category. I.e. willing to shell out a little more if it makes a difference. I've had a vacuum for a year that has been good for all the crumbs (Miele), and I really love it.

      Also what soap should I be using for best results?

      Thanks, all!

      12 votes
    10. Your fellow citizen, the oppressor

      Hey everyone! Last time I translated an article, it generated all sorts of interesting discussion. so I thought I'd do it again and I think I found an interesting one that gives plenty of good...

      Hey everyone! Last time I translated an article, it generated all sorts of interesting discussion. so I thought I'd do it again and I think I found an interesting one that gives plenty of good ground for discussion.

      Your fellow citizen, the oppressor

      A new ideology is spreading in Germany. It divides society artificially in hostile camps. This madness must be stopped.

      An essay by Jochen Bittner

      Published 2021-03-10, 16:54, edited 2021-03-11, 10:27, DIE ZEIT № 11/2021, 2021-03-11.

      They are two seemingly completely divorced events, but they are part of one and the same questionable ideological trend, which is currently spreading at universities, editorials and party headquarters.

      In the summer of 2018, a black student at the college of Massachusetts accuses a janitor of racist intimidation. The janitor had asked her, what she was doing there. “Everything I did, was being black.” Said the student. That was enough to question not just her existence at the college, but her entire existence. Outrage broke out at the elite women’s university (yearly fee 78,000 USD). The university president apologized profusely, accused the janitor of racism and suspended him. Only now, a few days ago, the New York Times continued the story: After an investigation by a law firm ended, their report concluded that the space the student was occupying had been reserved and closed off for an event. That is what the janitor was referring to. Signs of racist behaviour were not found.

      The second event was a shitstorm centred around the pop radio station Bayern 3 [Bavaria 3] in the last week of February. A moderator known for his polemics had talked himself into a rage including insults about a South Korean boy group; in the end he equated said boy group with a virus, for which we would hopefully soon find a vaccine. In a couple of hours, a global quake of protests arose under the hashtag #BR3Racist, and it did not take long for Bayern 3 to publicly apologize with the words “If a statement is deemed inflammatory and racist by many people, then that statement is.”

      300 years of enlightenment, and only the feelings of many angry people are enough to count as truth? So, we burned the witches in medieval times rightly?

      Fact is, that what comes out in such events is the result of a powerful academic movement that has found entry in all humanities, social sciences including law. It is a kind of thinking, where categories like skin colour, gender and other bodily characteristics do not play a vanishing, but a very important role, with more weight placed into it every day. Not what someone says, but if they are an “old white man” or a “privileged cis-woman” – cis means shortened: not transsexual1 – says, is significant. And less the intent of the speaker is relevant than the impression of said words. That leads to a form of “Social Justice” where not individual circumstances are important, but alone the perspective of the real or fictive victim. If that sounds dangerous, then because it is.

      The origin of this cultural step back is the combination of two models of explaining the world: the “Critical Theory” and “Intersectionality”. Both cannot be avoided in todays university seminars. Who wants to understand the swelling culture fight climate, which is also spreading in Germany, must learn to understand.

      Looked at each in isolation, both models of Intersectionality and Critical Theory are useful. The term Intersectionality comes from the American law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw. She found an important flaw in anti-discriminatory law in 1989. The car manufacturer General Motors had, in the 1970s, let go a wave of black women because they were part of the employees, who had only been hired recently. The women sued, without success. According to the court, the women were not discriminated as women, because there were still women in the offices of the company, who had not been let go. They had also not been discriminated as black people, because the company employed them in its factories. What the judges were not keeping in mind: black women only recently began to be hired in offices by GM – which was the reason why they were let go first.

      The plaintiffs had been exposed to a special form of injustice, their characteristic as women and as black people. Crenshaw compared this to an intersection on which the women were standing and had subsequently been caught in two streams of discriminations at once.

      Are injustices nothing else but products of structures?

      The answer of classical liberalism to this question would be: Here there were two instances, where the universal right to equality of the individual were violated. It was racist that GM did not hire black women for so long. And it was sexist, that the women were only employed in offices. Every reasonable person must recognize this and want to remove these circumstances.

      A different answer comes from Critical Theory, or better, the 21st century reprint of it. According to it, society is full of power structures, which are permanently connected to group characteristics like skin colour, gender and sexual orientation. Depending on which characteristics people fulfil, they belong into a “privileged” group or a “oppressed” group. Men oppress women. White people oppress black people. Heterosexuals oppress homosexuals. Cis people oppress trans people. Fully abled people oppress disabled people. If there are injustices between two such groups, they are nothing but the product of these structures. Herbert Marcuse, a member of the Frankfurt school, claimed in the 1960s that because of these power inequalities people that supported these structures (according to Marcuse; the political right) should not be able to talk with the same tolerance as oppressed groups.

      In the times of the student revolts postmodernism of the French philosopher Michel Foucault became more popular. Many of his followers understood it that way that there was no objective reality, but that the perception of truth depended on the particular position of power in society. Colonialism and relationship of the genders were examples how power influenced knowledge. Systems are still oppressive, even if the individuals are not aware of oppressive behaviour.

      Again liberalism, optimistic to clarify would answer: Correct, as colonialism was based on the thought of superiority of white people against “inferior races”, and the discrimination of women results from the patriarchal misfire that different bodies should result in different social values. But haven’t the western, free societies on the last seven decades not detected theses chauvinisms and have made leaps forward? Racism remains a dangerous problem, but it is socially and juristically despised, women are by law made equal and are partially even supported by quotas. Gay people become heads of state and public officials, and the right to asylum grants oppressed people from the global south protection. Of course, there is more to be done, the liberal society is never finished, but the direction is right.
      Sadly no, says Critical Theory in its newest reprint. Liberalism is not the solution, but part of the problem. It does not recognize the problems in the system, because it itself is an intellectual product of white men, therefore, a power structure. In her in the USA very successful book Critical Race Theory (2012) the lawyer couple Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic write, that liberalism does not offer the correct frame to solve problems of racism: “Different from traditional civil rights conversation, that (…) focus on step-by-step advancements, Critical Race Theory questions the fundaments of the liberal order itself, including the equality theory, the judicial arguments, the enlightened rationalism and the neutral principal of constitutional law.” You have to read that sentence aloud to yourself sometimes.

      An in America also recognized author is Robin DiAngelo, who landed a New York Times bestseller with White Fragility – Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism in 2018. The book states that “Individualism” is an “Ideology” and white people had to, to reflect on omnipresent racism, always look at themselves as part of their race. DiAngelo also offers “Antiracism” trainings. In one of them for the employees of Coca-Cola, she demands to appear “less white” which also meant: “Be less oppressive, arrogant and ignorant.” Sounds racist? It is of course, except if one thinks such generalizations are legitimate to remove “White supremacy”.

      Political Poison

      Exactly here the political poison lies dormant, a concoction of Critical Theory and Intersectionality. It lets society appear as layers of opposing hostile groups – and every injustice is a consequence of those structures. That is the hot core of so-called identity politics. That is why it suddenly is a problem, if a white Dutch woman translates the book of the black US poet Amanda Gorman, even though when Gorman herself thinks that the translator is a good choice. That is why the peak officials of the SPD2 are “extremely ashamed”, when Wolfgang Thierse (a not that young white man) warns, that identity debates could lead to new trench warfare which destroys the public spirit.

      Skin colour, age, gender, are the basis of the presumption of guilt – from too little sensibility to racism. The clou, with which this kind of thinking is made waterproof is the mentioned idea of white fragility. It says: If white people fight the accusation of being racist, they are simply denying the reality of racism – and thus keeping it alive.

      These already dividing teachings are often directly applied from the USA to Germany, despite the historic, economic and institutional differences. They are taught in seminars, spread in books and shared in editorials. The Critical Race Theory, writes lawyer Cengiz Barskanmaz on the online platform Verfassungsblog [Constitutional blog], can be used to “propagate a racially aware perspective for the German law”. “The interest of law students in Critical Race Theory is definitely high, with rising tendencies.”

      Black people can be missing the right racial awareness, mind you. The German-British sociologist Natasha A. Kelly said in a recent discussion round about a black man from Kiel, who called his restaurant “To the Mohr’s head”3 simply hadn’t been through his “political awareness process” yet. The name of the restaurant remains racist, independent of the viewpoint of the man who named it, because: “It is not an individual thing, that you or me can influence, it’s something in the structures.”

      The structures. They are everywhere, and they are more powerful than the individual and their arguments. It is a to political theory heightened deeply pessimistic, even in parts paranoid, world view. Of course, racism exists, and it makes murderers out of people. After the NSU terrorism, the murders of Hanau and the success of the AfD4 at the voting booth it is only understandable that the fear of the (luckily growing louder) migrant community in Germany is increasing. But who thinks that crime and extremism arise from the “structures” of this country, even from and especially from their immediate surroundings, accuses and alienates their main ally in the fight against racism. Such a rough interpretation of the truth is wrong in the same ways as the right-wing populist projection, Islamist terror comes from the middle of the Muslim community.

      Pauli Murray, a civil rights activist at the side of Martin Luther King, once wrote: “When my brothers draw a circle around me to exclude me, I’ll draw a larger one, to include them. When they talk about the privileges of a weakening group, I’ll talk about the rights of all people.” From this inclusive philosophy this new, dangerous teaching of hostility does not only step back – it draws ever-shrinking circles with thicker and thicker brushes and divides society into more and more groups, which are supposed to oppose each other with more and more hostility. It is time to realize this madness – and stop it.


      Footnotes:

      1 The term transsexual was used here verbatim. I think the term is outdated, but as I am not a professional translator, I was unsure if I should "update" it, as I think a translation should always be as close to the source as possible.

      2 The SPD is the major center-left party in Germany. They have formed the government together with the center right party, the CDU/CSU for decades now, but are fairly unpopular right now.

      3 The word Mohr is a German discriminatory term to refer to black people. I would not put it on the same "pedestal" as the n-word as it is missing the historical weight, but nevertheless it should not be used any more. It still remains in use under the population in some historic remnants like a classic dessert called Mohr im Hemd (Mohr in a shirt) which is a chocolate sponge cake in chocolate sauce served with vanilla ice cream.

      4 The populist rightwing party of Germany. Have gotten enough votes due to the refugee crisis to enter some local state governments and the German federal, but no other party cooperates with them as they are very obviously racist, islamophobic and have in some cases, ties to actual neo nazis.


      Original article: https://www.zeit.de/2021/11/identitaetspolitik-rassismus-soziale-gerechtigkeit-intersektionalitaet/komplettansicht (paywalled, and in German, if we have German people here who'd like to verify my translation, I can give you a copy).

      That marks the end! I hope you liked it and I hope we can have a good discussion about it. I've spend some time translating this so I'll take a break, go shopping and come back to this a bit later to form my own opinion in a separate comment. Be kind to each other!

      28 votes