Four short things – January 25, 2019

The last time I started writing this post it turned into a whole post of its own. Luckily I have more things!

Drunkard’s Rock

Drunkard’s Rock is my new favorite page on the internet. Don’t open it on mobile, the HTML alone is 25MB and there’s a list of 100,000 band names.

From the bottom of that page:

This is a computed drunkard’s walk through The Echo Nest’s artist-similarity graph, starting at Black Sabbath because a) that’s where I felt like starting, and b) that’s how Paul Lamere’s Six Degrees of Black Sabbath measures artist-relation distances. Each step here goes from the previous artist to what we believe to be the most similar one which has not yet appeared in the list.

I had so much fun last night searching through the list for different bands and then listening to tracks from bands on either side of them. I would love to see how the list varies depending on the starting band. It’s crazy to see how the genres ebb and flow in certain areas.

The creator of that site, Glenn McDonald, is a Spotify data alchemist, and it’s fun to follow some of the crazy things he builds there and in the playlists on Spotify.

Another new favorite on that site is the Spotify Listening Patterns by Gender.

When listeners play Spotify editorial playlists, they end up streaming 23.5% from female artists, which is 3.0% better than when they choose their music themselves.

It would be fun to play with all of Spotify’s music data.

PNW Fascism, 1936

I’m about two-thirds through Madeleine Albright’s Fascism: A Warning. It’s been really interesting to read her perspective on fascism and on leaders and politics in general. What an entirely full life!

One story that caught my eye was the fascist presidential candidate that was on the ballet in only one state (Washington!) and got 1598 votes. I had to start poking around for more on him immediately.

Sure enough: William Dudley Pelley was a (self-founded) Christian Party candidate in the 1936 election. Crosscut discusses the Northwest’s uneasy relationship with fascism.

This led me to read more about sedition as a crime. It’s crazy that the US enacted the Sedition Act of 1918, which—more than sedition, which was already illegal—banned “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the US government. It was repealed 2 years later, but whoa!

More about recycling

Last year, Oregon recycled 90 percent of the beverage containers covered by its bottle deposit system. The rate has jumped from 64 percent just two years ago and the total number of bottles recycled reached an all-time high of 2 billion in 2018.

As I keep mentioning, I switched to mostly cans for beer last year because of Pullman’s trouble with bottle recycling. This year I’m trying to do more growlers. It’s really cool to see that Oregon is having so much success with bottle deposits and I wish we had the same kind of thing going on in Washington.

And a pair of Resilience

Two small glasses of beer.

Sierra Nevada announced their Resilience Butte County Proud IPA last year during the destruction caused by the Camp Fire. They established the Camp Fire Relief Fund, to which 100% of the proceeds from the Resilience IPA would be donated. At the same time they invited other breweries to make the same beer from the same recipe and donate their proceeds as well.

In the photo above, the Resilience from our local Paradise Creek brewery is on the left and the Sierra Nevada Resilience is on the right. The local brew is a little cloudier, though that could be due to the growler pour. I had a really hard time distinguishing between the two. If I had to pick a difference, I’d guess that the Paradise Creek version has just a touch more of a dry-hopped taste somewhere in there. But really, they are super close.

I kind of wish I lived in a place with a dozen breweries to do a larger taste test, but I’m definitely grateful I had the chance to try both of these! 🍻

Four short things – January 18, 2019

Aaron has a better name for it, so I’m stealing that and replacing the poorly named “Scratch pad thoughts“. This will help enforce short posts!

How to make sure your recycling gets recycled

FiveThirtyEight has a good piece on making sure your recycling gets recycled that includes a handful of actionable steps you can take to make a difference. I made the adjustment to more sustainable beer purchasing last year after our local recycling stopped processing glass and I’m looking forward to implementing a few more changes.

It does seem like there’s an opportunity to work at the local level to help communicate some of the specifics to the community. So many things are different from place to place with how recycling is handled. First steps—reduce, reuse!

Posture tracking wish list

I tweaked something under a shoulder blade last week and have been dealing with the annoyance ever since. The subtle burning in my neck and shoulders has made it even easier to tell this week when my posture is bad.

This made me wonder if I could get a posture tracking app that used my webcam to spy on me and send a notification when I started slouching for too long or craning my neck in a weird way.

Posture Monitor seems like the most relevant, though it requires Windows and a 3D camera, so that’s a no go. I found another app from 2013 that seems to be right, but then I realized there’s no way I’m trusting a random, non-open source app with my webcam all day! 😂

It’d be fun to run across something though. I’m sure there’s a random GitHub repo out there that somebody has working but never publicized it.

Stopping the firehouse

I finally unsubscribed from the WordPress core trac firehose and am instead relying on component / focus / ticket specific notifications.

I definitely should have done this earlier—it’s probably been a good 3 years since I was reliably reading most things that went by. Now I just mark several hundred as read every few weeks. Already I’ve paid more attention to a few relevant tickets that would have skipped my radar before and I feel more in tune with what’s going on.

A leprechaun riding a T-rex barfing a rainbow into a brew kettle

A wall of art at Tailgate Brewery in Nashville, TN.

When we were at TailGate Brewery in Nashville during WordCamp US last year, I noticed this painting of a leprechaun (and a bull/devil) riding a t-rex barfing a rainbow into a brew kettle on the wall and took a picture because it made me laugh.

I started trying to find it or the artist the other day when I ran into this photo again, but all I could find is this 8-bit work on Behance by Cody King that is also a t-shirt.

Still hunting for the origin story.

Scratch pad thoughts for January 12, 2019

Costa first novel award winner recalls ‘awful’ time writing his book:

He was working as a travel writer in Dubai when the idea that would become Evelyn Hardcastle struck him. “It was the body-hopping and the Groundhog Day loop. I didn’t have anything else, the characters or murder, I just had that concept. The moment I got it, I thought: ‘Oh crap, now I’ve got to go and do that, and I’ve got to be in England, I need that atmosphere, those stately homes. I need to be lost in drizzly forests, I cannot do that in the desert,’” he says. “I was terrified the entire time, from the moment the idea came and I knew I had to follow through on it.”

I love that description of an idea.


Nadia Eghbal thinks through seed stage philanthropy and includes an interesting though on patronage:

“I also keep thinking about the need for something like Patreon, but “Patron”. Basically, a platform that inverts the ask, so it’s not just grantees soliciting money, but patrons who advertise their giving interests, like angel investors on AngelList.”


If Your Privacy Is in the Hands of Others Alone, You Don’t Have Any

It is only by owning [root authority over our lives] that we can crank up agency on the individual’s side. We have a perfect base for that in the standards and protocols that gave us the Internet, the Web, email and too little else. And we need it here too. Soon.

Doc Searls with a super interesting post contrasting privacy regulations with attempts to actually assert privacy rights. I like the idea of Customer Commons, which I hadn’t heard about until now.


‘It’s tough sleeping at night’: ranchers seek to protect herds as wolves move in

I asked Sumner how seeing the wolf made him feel, and it took him some time to elaborate. Earlier in the day, he had lamented how some wolf advocates glorified the species. But when describing his emotions when he saw the wolf three years ago, reverence crept into his tone.


I had no idea how much of an impact wolves had on politics, policy, feelings, and everything else until moving to Eastern Washington. This article on wolves moving into California for the first time since the 1920s was great.

My other appreciation for this article is that it was done in partnership with Pacific Standard, an independent news magazine, which in turn had support from the Society of Environmental Journalists.


I made it years with NPM and just learned that npm ci performs a clean install of a project’s NPM dependencies from the package-lock.json file rather than package.json. This helped me through a confusing situation where npm install was updating the repo’s package-lock.json file for reasons.