Hello. This is no longer Bix's blog.

September2019

It is within Democrats’ power to hold Trump officials in contempt and detain them as they testify before Congress until the whistleblower materials they’ve subpoenaed are delivered. They can pledge to freeze the director of national intelligence and attorney general office budgets until their officials cooperate fully with House investigations. They can refer Giuliani and Trump to the Justice Department for criminal investigation and haul FBI Director Christopher Wray up to the Hill under the expectation that he’d disclose whether he’d opened such an investigation. They could subpoena Giuliani himself, and hold him in contempt if he refuses to appear or answer questions about his conversations with the Ukrainians. These and other steps might pry the materials loose, or corner Trump into pardoning Giuliani, which would itself be an impeachable offense.

From Trump's Ukraine Scandal Is Our Last Chance to Get It Right by Brian Beutler

#Law #Politics #Highlights #September2019

Squirrels are what Keith Tarvin, a biologist at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio who led the study, calls “public information exploiters,” meaning they often take cues from other prey animals nearby. They’re not the only ones that do this. Early animal behavior studies have shown that birds, mammals, and even fish and lizards can recognize the alarm signals of other species that share similar geographic locations and predators. Within the bird family, a nuthatch may tune into the high-pitched call of a chick-a-dee, which might also be paying attention to the panicked tweet of a tufted titmice.

From Squirrels Speak Bird by Linda Poon

#Animals #Nature #Research #Highlights #September2019

My .blog domain should come through this week, but I'm hitting some snags on migrating from Write.as to Micro.blog in that there is no direct route to getting the former's export file imported into the latter and all my most-recent tests have failed. It's bad enough that I am going to have to sit down to add categories to all my posts after getting them imported, because Micro.blog doesn't yet import categories or tags, but if I can't even get my Write.as posts moved over at all, what's the point.

ETA: Sometimes you have to admit total failure aloud in order to get things moving again. I'm not yet sure if it was a fix on my end or a fix on Micro.blog's end, but importing should work now. I will still have to add categories to posts manually and methodically after import, but at least the import itself looks like it should be on track when the time comes.

#Blogging #Meta #September2019

Completely missing from this Joe Pinsker piece (via Om Malik) on what makes people into readers is the idea of letting your kid read what they want. You know how I learned to read for my own enjoyment and so learned that reading is enjoyable? Comic books. Which is not to say that comic books are the gateway to reading for every kid, just to say that the idea of letting your kid follow their own reading lodestar is a weird idea to ignore in a piece about what makes readers, especially when the opportunity to discuss it is right there in the part about “motivation”.

#Books #Comics #PopCulture #September2019

Over the course of 2015, I'd finally gotten around to watching The Legend of Korra as each book began dropping on Prime Video. By early November, I'd finished Book Three, with the fourth nowhere to be found. Within two years, the first three books were dropped from Prime, the fourth never having arrived at all. Recently, I discovered all four books were available on something called NickHits, which had a 7-day trial as a Prime Video channel. Having finally gotten to finish the series, I can confirm what's no secret to everyone who watched it when it aired: it's one of the best shows of the 2010s, and, really, one of the few mostly perfect shows ever. If I thought I could get it done in the remaining four days of my trial, I'd just go back and do a full series rewatch, but as that would require one entire book per day, I guess that's for some other time. For now, I guess I continue to the comics thanks to Hoopla Digital.

#PopCulture #Television #September2019

Despite all the harm off-street parking requirements cause, they are almost an established religion in city planning. Without a theory or data to support them, planners set parking requirements for hundreds of land uses in hundreds of cities—the ten thousand commandments of planning for parking. Planners have adopted a veneer of professional language to justify the practice, but planning for parking is learned only on the job and it is more a political activity than a professional skill.

From Parking Reform Will Save the City by Donald Shoup

#Cities #UrbanPlanning #Highlights #September2019

Well, now I know that your basic influencer “rented two rooms in an old house, smoked two packs a day, and wore baggy clothes... except on Instagram, where she lived in a van, cooked her own, healthy, meals, and wore the kind of clothes that left little to imagination” and took pictures of food “made inedible with glue, wire, hair spray and other tricks to spice up its looks”. Always listen to Leslie Knope even if she's paraphrased bastardized.

#Internet #Nonsense #SocialMedia #Web #September2019

Currently reading: The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future by Jon Gertner; and Zero Bomb by M.T. Hill, which I can't even remember how I found. As always, you can browse my highlights over on Goodreads.

#Books #Reading #September2019

We simply don’t know if anything qualifies anymore as a “game changer.” For crying out loud, the Russians helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton! Robert Mueller spent two years investigating. He came up with 10 different ways Trump broke the law. Yet the Republican Party said all that was jim-dandy. So tell me: Why wouldn’t the president ask for foreign help a second time, and why would the second time change anything?

From No, Ukraine Isn't a 'Game Changer' by John Stoehr

#Law #Politics #Highlights #September2019

In response to Tobias Van Schneider's love letter to personal websites, in which he is right that they are the “place where we can express, on our terms, who we are and what we offer” but a bit annoying in how he focuses on how it's about presenting your work to the world, Eric L. Barnes correctly observes that “social media keeps winning because it’s easy and we are all lazy”, except that if there's one thing I've learned from being diagnosed as autistic it's that sometimes what conventional wisdom would have as laziness in fact is a kind of cognitive inertia (in the mental health realm, often the result of executive function issues), and it's why as we try to motivate people to find their own opportunities to switch gears back to things like blogging, we need to push social media platforms to introduce friction.

#Blogging #SocialMedia #Web #September2019