Longform Pug

I feel like every year for at least the past four or five years has been “the worst year ever!” but 2020 has been something else. To the point that every other blog post or promotional “end of year” writeup is (rightly so) pointing out what a horrible, no good, rotten, trash-fire of a year 2020 has been. We'll all remember the pain of 2020 for years to come, so I don't want to spend a lot of time thinking on or documenting specifics of what has already been covered by far better writers than myself.

That's not to say I'm looking to ignore or minimize the genuine international losses of a global pandemic, the continued suffering of living in a prejudiced and unfair world, and the lack of long-term care given to sustaining a livable environment for many. Instead, I want to recognize what made the year awful and think more about what it is that I'm personally doing to shift from “Riding out the year until next year gets better” to “Putting in effort and making sure that, at least for some people, next year will be better”

Nobody claim 2021 as “your year”. We're all going to walk in real slow. Be good. Be quiet. Don't. Touch. Anything.

Our area has never successfully gotten into a safe state for local volunteering options due to COVID-19, so this year most of my focus has been redirecting the luck I've had in being able to work remotely and contribute funding to organizations that work at larger scales to help. These are just the charities that I'm contributing to personally, based on a small-to-medium amount of research into effectiveness and reach. If you're looking for a way to do more yourself and have the ability to contribute, these would be a good place to start.

Also, if your workplace does corporate matching, please don't forget to double your impact.

Health & Medicine

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)

...brings medical humanitarian assistance to victims of conflict, natural disasters, epidemics or healthcare exclusion. In 2019, the group was active in 70 countries with over 35,000 personnel mostly local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers and administrators.

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️

GiveWell's Maximum Impact Fund

In 2006 Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld, who worked at a hedge fund in Connecticut, formed an informal group with colleagues to evaluate charities based on data and performance metrics similar to those they used at the fund, and were surprised to find the data often didn't exist. The next year, Karnofsky and Hassenfeld formed GiveWell as a nonprofit to provide financial analyst services to donors. They eventually decided to rate charities based on the metric of how much money it cost to save a life.

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️


...also known as the United Nations Children's Fund, is a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide. The agency is among the most widespread and recognizable social welfare organizations in the world, with a presence in 192 countries and territories. UNICEF's activities include providing immunizations and disease prevention, administering treatment for children and mothers with HIV, enhancing childhood and maternal nutrition, improving sanitation, promoting education, and providing emergency relief in response to disasters.

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️

The Trevor Project

...is an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Through a toll-free telephone number, it operates The Trevor Lifeline, a confidential service that offers trained counselors. The stated goals of the project are to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25, as well as to offer guidance and resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting, and inclusive environments for all youth, at home and at school.

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️

Equality & Accountability

Equal Justice Initiative

...is a non-profit organization, based in Montgomery, Alabama, that provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation, and others who may have been denied a fair trial. It guarantees the defense of anyone in Alabama in a death penalty case.


The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️


...is a nonprofit organization based in New York City. It is a newsroom that aims to produce investigative journalism in the public interest ... ProPublica states that its investigations are conducted by its staff of full-time investigative reporters, and the resulting stories are distributed to news partners for publication or broadcast. In some cases, reporters from both ProPublica and its partners work together on a story. ProPublica has partnered with more than 90 different news organizations, and it has won five Pulitzer Prizes.

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️

Sustainability & Environmental Conservation

Conservation International

...focuses on four strategic priorities: protecting nature for climate; ocean conservation at scale; promoting nature-based economic development; and innovation in science and finance.

CI works with governments, universities, NGOs and the private sector with the aim of replicating its successes on a larger scale. By showing how conservation can work at all scales, CI aims to make the protection of nature a key consideration in economic development decisions around the world. For example, CI supported 23 Pacific Island nations and territories in the formation of the Pacific Oceanscape, a framework to conserve and sustainably manage over 15 million square miles of sea in the South Pacific. In addition to the sustainable management of ocean resources, the agreement includes the world's largest marine protected areas and sanctuaries for whales, dolphins, turtles and sharks.

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️

Rainforest Trust

...works around the tropics to strategically purchase and protect lands vital for endangered species and indigenous communities. We specifically target the most threatened tropical habitats that are critical for preventing species extinctions and that are exceptionally rich in biological diversity. Celebrating 30 years of lasting conservation action, we are proud to have saved more than 2 million acres of tropical habitat across 53 countries in 150 protected areas and wildlife reserves.

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️

World Resources Institute

...is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in the United States, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and more. WRI's mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth's environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. WRI's more than 450 experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain our natural resources-the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being. Our work focuses on six critical issues at the intersection of environment and development: climate, energy, food, forests, water, and cities and transport

Charity Navigator & Wikipedia ⤴️

This one flew under the radar for me. ecosia.org is now supported as a default search engine option in Safari on macOS 11.1 and iOS 14.3

As far as I can tell, they partner with Bing’s backend but proxy your searches for increased privacy and use their ad revenue to plant trees and combat climate change.

Wikipedia article for additional info.

via: Daring Fireball

Yesterday night I finished the excellent Akata Witch audiobook, and this morning listened to the last of my giant podcast backlog, so when Apple News introduced their new audio stories feature I was set right up to make best use of them. Of the articles I listened to through the day today, Racial Repression Is Built Into the U.S. Economy by Peter Coy stood out to me from this passage:

The reviewers who serve as gatekeepers for academic journals in economics seem to believe that the African-American experience is sui generis, “a special case from which we cannot generalize,” says Lisa Cook, a black economist at Michigan State University. It took her 10 years to find a publisher for a paper showing that patenting by African Americans declined during historical periods of lynching and white race riots. Economists from other countries—including China, Israel, and Russia—immediately saw the wide applicability of the research, she says.

The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery but not the maltreatment of blacks. To this day, testers have found that résumés with black-sounding names are less likely to earn interviews than ones with white-sounding names. Black Americans are steered into costlier home and auto loans. They get worse health care than whites and suffer worse outcomes, especially from Covid-19. They have chronically higher unemployment rates—although ironically the gap has narrowed during the pandemic because more black than white employees have kept working under risky conditions, because their jobs are deemed essential.

The full article is heartbreaking, and a welcome reminder that we all need to make sure our spaces, workplaces, and lives are as diverse and inclusive as possible.

The most successful “blog” I kept was a LiveJournal way back in the day. I remember a lot of friends I had in real life were also on LJ, and many of them only used it to write public notes to each other (what today we might call sub-posting), which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. If you’re writing a journal, why is it not more of a journal?

And now that I’m out of high school and no longer certain that I am the most unique person on the planet and you all have to listen to the words I’m saying because damnit I matter… It’s a lot harder to make the words happen.

So I guess we’ll try it again. Writing for myself. Sometimes linking to things I find interesting or funny, but only in terms of scrapbooking things that I want to remember.

How One Move Can Make Climbing More Inclusive – reminds me that there is a lot more to physicality than physics

Buddha's Office – helped me reinforce the type of manager I hope to be. It's a good (shallow) overview of concepts, but provided a nice gut-check to confirm that maybe not all of my ideas were strange

What do you do when you run out of podcast episodes? You catch up on your reading – As someone who listens to podcasts/audiobooks to calm a running mind, knowing that my never-gonna-catch-up Pocket queue is always there is a relief

It may not be the earliest memory I’ll ever remember, but one of the earliest I can think of right now is being on the beach. I don’t know when (probably the 1980s) or where (probably Ventura, CA?) but the warm sand was blanketed with patches of green, black, soggy plants.

Looking back now, it was probably seaweed washed ashore after a storm, but at the time it was a whole alien planet. There were bugs crawling over it, finding relief from the afternoon sun by burrowing into the relatively cooler sand underneath, and clouds of gnats swarming around the decaying matter.

Back those days, I was still low enough that I could flat-heel-squat and rest my chin comfortably on my knees, arms around my legs and long hair spilling over my Superman tank-top and regulation ‘80s nylon shorts. I just sat and watched the insectoid actors live their day’s lives.

It’s the start of a new year, and the start of a new journey. But not really new, just renewed.

It’s been a spell since I wrote regularly on the internet. Back then it was LiveJournal and the musings of a then-teenager. Things have changed since then and now I’m hoping I can remember some of the joy of creating while actually being social on social media.

Thanks to the yunohost project making it so simple, I’ve spun up a microblog, photo share, and now this blog. And thanks to the fediverse, you can follow any of those aspects of me from any other ActivityPub service. Things may move around in the future, but hopefully the interoperability of the fediverse will help me carry things forward instead of needing to leave things behind in old silos.