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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘writing

[ŴRITING] On the end of my LiveJournal experiences

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Goodbye, rfmcdpei

Almost two hours ago, I deleted my LiveJournal. User rfmcdpei is no longer active on this site.

I do allow for the possibility that I might change my mind. Maybe I will bring it back temporarily, so as to convert it to some kind of personal docment via BlogBooker, or perhaps I will restore it in the name of minimizing link rot on the Internet and to continue to be able to read what few (ever fewer) people still write only on LiveJournal. This post, however, is the first post that I will not be crossposting from Dreamwidth over to LiveJournal, and no other post shall follow.

I did join the rush on account of the new user agreement unleashed earlier this week, of course.

Any number of news sources, like the Daily Dot and Boing Boing and Gizmodo and Charlie Stross at Autopope, have written at great length about the new terms of service agreement. That this agreement is not available, not in a legally binding form and not in a well-translated form, in the English language made the exodus inevitable.

Russia, as a classical dictatorship, wants to be able to restrict what people write about within its sphere, to do away with anonymity and to limit the range of permissible subject matter. LiveJournal, which happens to be based in Russia as a consequence of a long series of business decisions (bad decisions, I would argue, ones which kept LiveJournal from emerging as a lasting social network of worldwide scope), is subject. Therefore, anyone who is not dependent on LiveJournal is leaving a social network that appears to be fatally compromised.

(What is the opposite of soft power?)

I have long had alternatives ready. Back in October 2012, I blogged about how I had moved away from LiveJournal as a primary blog, towards Dreamwidth for LiveJournal-like social networking and to WordPress for the more blog-like functions. I am losing nothing as a consequence of this. My regrets about this are not especially profound ones, characterized much more by wistfulness and nostalgia than by serious regret.

rfmcdpei has been around for a month short of fifteen years. It’s amazing.

LiveJournal was always been there for me. I remember reading Tom’s LiveJournal, and the LiveJournals of others, back in early 2002 when I was so desperate to connect with anyone. I remember how excited I was when I got an invite code from Darren back in June of 2002. I remember writing an online diary of my life there, and then, first slowly then with speed, transforming this diary into a blog. I know that I met all sorts of people who I know nd like even know there, came to learn all kinds of things there, helped other people learn through LiveJournal. In my life, LiveJournal was a huge net positive.

And now it’s over. It’s an era that was bound to end, I know, and what an era it was. Thank you, LiveJournalers and LiveJournal founders, too, for making this so good and fun.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Reflections on the art of flânerie”

Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on his experience of being a flâneur, and the problems of said.

Introduced to the concept by a friend, there was a time when I was a most dedicated flaneur. Then I drifted away a little, although I introduced a remarkable number of people to the concept.

I think one of the reasons for my decline in flaneuring is that I started walking for exercise. This may be healthy, but it tends to defeats the point, the discoveries that can come from random idling.

I find that when walking for exercise I have in mind distance and time, two things in direct conflict with the art of flânerie. What’s worse, I tend to get very bored and thus stop walking! Even the desire to achieve a minimum number of paces (10,000 per day appears to have become an almost universal target) provides insufficient incentive.

The irony, of course, is that I actually walked more as a flaneur than as an exerciser because I was simply more interested, was inclined to keep moving.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes a week in her life as a freelance writer.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes how the Indus Valley Civilization did, and did not, adapt to climate change.
  • Language Log reshares Benjamin Franklin’s writings against German immigration.
  • The NYRB Daily follows one family’s quest for justice after the shooting by police of one Ramarley Graham.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the Pale of Settlement.
  • Torontoist looks at Ontario’s food and nutrition strategy.
  • Transit Toronto reports on how PRESTO officials will be making appearances across the TTC in coming weeks to introduce users to the new system.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at how ethnic minorities form a growing share of Russian emigration, looks at the manipulation of statistics by the Russian state, and suggests Putin’s actions have killed off the concept of a triune nation of East Slavs.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Beyond the Beyond shares Yves Behar’s thoughts on design in an age of artificial intelligence.
  • blogTO makes the case for the east end of Toronto.
  • The Big Picture shares photos of a family of Congolese refugees resettled in New England.
  • Centauri Dreams hosts an essay looking at the prospects for off-world agriculture.
  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the beauty created by graffiti removal.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks for signs of possible cryovolcanism on Europa.
  • Joe. My. God. shares audio of the new Blondie track “Fun.”
  • Language Hat remembers the life and career of linguist Leon Dostert.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues protest is needed in blue states, too.
  • The LRB Blog warns people not to forget about Pence.
  • Marginal Revolution considersa trends in the British economy.
  • Neuroskeptic shares disturbing findings about the prevalence of plagiarism in science.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia does not expect Trump to take all the sanctions down at once.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • At Apostrophen, ‘Nathan Smith writes about the status of his various writing projects.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling links to an article examining pieces of software that have shaped modern music.
  • blogTO notes the expansion of the Drake Hotel to a new Junction site. Clearly the Drake is becoming a brand.
  • Citizen Science Salon looks at how Internet users can help fight illegal fishing in the Pacific.
  • Crooked Timber asks readers for new Doctor Who candidates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper finding that the presence of Proxima Centauri would not have inhibited planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.
  • The LRB Blog notes the growing fear among Muslims in the diaspora.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a reimagined map of the Paris metro.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy and Towleroad have very different opinions on the nomination of Neil Gorusch to the US Supreme Court.
  • Transit Toronto reports on the reopening of the TTC parking lot at Yorkdale.
  • Whatever’s John Sclazi responds to the past two weeks of Trump-related chaos, and is not impressed.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church carries itself as an embattled minority because it is one, and looks at the future of Russian federalism in regards to Tatarstan.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • blogTO notes concerns in Church and Wellesley about a spike of reported anti-gay violence.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the shambolic mess that is the Republican healthcare plan.
  • Language Hat links to an article concerned with the question of how to try cracking the Indus Valley script.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the malevolence and incompetence of the Trump Administration are record-breaking.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that the proposed border tax on Mexican imports is likely workable for all the major actors.
  • Strange Maps examines with maps how families of landowners centuries old still own huge swathes of downtown London.
  • Une heure de peine’s Denis Colombi examines, in French and in the French political context, the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy shares Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” welcoming refugees to American shores.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the concerns of one Tatar historian that Russian federalism is being undermined and looks at the consequences of Putin’s chat with Trump.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO notes that Uniqlo will be giving away free thermal clothing tomorrow.
  • James Bow shares his column about the importance of truth.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly shares with us her mid-winter walk.
  • Centauri Dreams reports about cometary water.
  • Dangerous Minds shares German cinema lobby cards from the 1960s.
  • Language Hat talks about dropping apostrophes.
  • Language Log reports about lexical searches on Google.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the latest from Trump.
  • The NYRB Daily shares a review of an Iranian film on gender relations.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes the ongoing gas price protests in Mexico.
  • Spacing links to some articles about affordable housing around the world.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes Germany’s abolition of a law forbidding insults to foreign heads of state.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that stable Russian population figures cover up a wholesale collapse in the numbers of ethnic Russians, and looks at the shortages of skilled workers faced by defense industries.