An aspiring writer could be forgiven for thinking that learning to write is like negotiating an obstacle course in boot camp, with a sergeant barking at you for every errant footfall. Why not think of it instead as a form of pleasurable mastery, like cooking or photography? Perfecting the craft is a lifelong calling, and mistakes are part of the game. Though the quest for improvement may be informed by lessons and honed by practice, it must first be kindled by a delight in the best work of the masters and a desire to approach their excellence. Steven Pinker
A 2014 STUDY CONDUCTED BY RUCKER JOHNSON, a public-policy professor at the University of California at Berkeley, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found desegregation’s impact on racial equality to be deep, wide, and long-lasting. Johnson examined data on a representative sample of 8,258 American adults born between 1945 and 1968, whom he followed through 2011. He found that black Americans who attended schools integrated by court order were more likely to graduate, go on to college, and earn a degree than black Americans who attended segregated schools. They made more money: five years of integrated schooling increased the earnings of black adults by 15 percent. They were significantly less likely to spend time in jail. They were healthier. — Pro Publica, Segregation Now
globalvoices:


Are there any tools that are more secure than FireChat and can be used during major network congestion?

Activists and security experts are working together to determine which tech tools can help protesters — and which ones can leave them in danger.
Hong Kong Protesters Shore Up Mobile Communications Tools in Face of Technical Threats

globalvoices:

Are there any tools that are more secure than FireChat and can be used during major network congestion?

Activists and security experts are working together to determine which tech tools can help protesters — and which ones can leave them in danger.

Hong Kong Protesters Shore Up Mobile Communications Tools in Face of Technical Threats

j217introtovj:

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

Sep 16, 2014 | 10-part series 
Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von BaldeggSam Price-WaldmanNadine Ajaka

Technology has changed way we tell stories, but has it changed the quality of storytelling? At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, we asked a group of writers, artists, and producers to weigh in. “We’re revisiting the same explorations of the soul that have been going on for hundreds of generations,” says House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon. Other panelists include Michael EisnerCatherine BurnsJay AllisonPaula KergerJon LovettYoni Bloch,Pete McBride, and Hari Kondabolu.

A great storyteller – whether a journalist or editor or filmmaker or curator – helps people figure out not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters. A great storyteller dances up the ladder of understanding, from information to knowledge to wisdom. Through symbol, metaphor, and association, the storyteller helps us interpret information, integrate it with our existing knowledge, and transmute that into wisdom.

Susan Sontag once said that “reading sets standards.” Storytelling not only sets standards but, at its best, makes us want to live up to them, to transcend them.

A great story, then, is not about providing information, though it can certainly inform – a great story invites an expansion of understanding, a self-transcendence. More than that, it plants the seed for it and makes it impossible to do anything but grow a new understanding – of the world, of our place in it, of ourselves, of some subtle or monumental aspect of existence.

At a time when information is increasingly cheap and wisdom increasingly expensive, this gap is where the modern storyteller’s value lives.

Brain Pickings
Nothing is more destructive of warm relations than the person who endlessly “doesn’t mind.” They do not seem to be a full individual if they have nothing of their own to “bring to the table,” so to speak. This suggests that even those who know that they are best and most fully themselves in relationships (of whatever kind) need a capacity to be alone, and probably at least some occasions to use that ability. If you know who you are and know that you are relating to others because you want to, rather than because you are trapped (unfree), in desperate need and greed, because you fear you will not exist without someone to affirm that fact, then you are free. Some solitude can in fact create better relationships, because they will be freer ones. — Brain Pickings, How to be Alone

If you spend enough time reading or writing, you find a voice, but you also find certain tastes. You find certain writers who when they write, it makes your own brain voice like a tuning fork, and you just resonate with them. And when that happens, reading those writers … becomes a source of unbelievable joy. It’s like eating candy for the soul.

And I sometimes have a hard time understanding how people who don’t have that in their lives make it through the day.

David Foster Wallace
Not queer like gay. Queer like, escaping definition. Queer like some sort of fluidity and limitlessness at once. Queer like a freedom too strange to be conquered. Queer like the fearlessness to imagine what love can look like…and pursue it. — Brandon Wint (via ethiopienne)

Word for thought

(via therumpus)