all posts tagged 'reasons i love the internet'


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This site contains 29257 unique* 88x31 buttons that I scraped from the GeoCities archives compiled by the incredible ARCHIVE TEAM before GeoCities' demise in late 2009.

I shouldn’t go through all ~30,000 images to find the ones I made for Tim’s World or That’s Unpossible, right?


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Why "Random Access Memories" is a Masterpiece

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This album essentially served as the soundtrack of the early days of the Jed Mahonis Group.

Whenever we needed a day to be heads down, this album would be turned on repeat.

Whenever there was a late night push and we needed the extra motivation to get through it, this album was on repeat.

I came across this video describing the inner turmoil that Daft Punk was feeling while making this album, and I couldn’t help but feel the similarities to my present day situation.

I have long considered this album to be in my top 5 favorites of all time, but this YouTube video made me understand and appreciate it a whole lot more. I should see if there are similar videos for my other favorite albums.

File this video under “reasons I love the internet.”

I lost it : r/Parenting

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Lately, I’ve been trying to find more examples of the internet being a force for good for humanity.

Here’s an example my wife sent me from the r/Parenting subreddit. The OP told a story where she blew up and cussed out her 8-year-old.

Here’s the highest-rated reply:

When you are both in a calm state - take your kid aside and discuss the incident. Apologize sincerely. Then tell this story:

Imagine you are on a high ledge, and you can take a slide or the stairs. The slide is more satisfying and gets you to the bottom faster. BUT - there's always poop at the bottom of the slide that you land in. And then there's the stairs. It's boring, it takes longer, it takes more effort - but you get to the bottom with no poop at the bottom.

Losing your temper is like taking the slide. It feels great during the ride (ooh yelling is cathartic and it's releasing the pressure valve, and it's FAST which is what your brain wants when it's upset) but, you're cleaning off poop at the end.

Use yourself as an example - I lost my temper, I took the slide, and I spent all day feeling bad about myself and now apologizing.

And sometimes the poop doesn't come off - the smell stays no matter how hard you try to clean.

That's the memory your kid has of the incident. Sometimes the stink is permanent. It's always more work and bigger consequences to take the slide/lose your temper.

It’s easy to find examples where the internet shows us the worst in ourselves.

I’m being intentional about engaging with content on the internet that attempts to show us at our best.

Parenting is harder than ever because we’re fighting generations of poor parenting habits based on tough love that’s necessary for survival when you’re living on the plains, foraging for food, one snowstorm or famine away from certain death.

We now live in a world where we’re safer, healthier, and wealthier than we’ve ever been... which renders those poor habits obsolete.

It's gonna require a ton of stair walking, across several more generations, in order to break them.

As awful as Reddit can be, it's moments like these which make me truly appreciate what we can do when we are able to pool our collective wisdom and try to do better.

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Long-Term News

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Reports of Baby Boomers worried that younger generations lack the motivation and morals of their parents were met with pictures of a 1974 hippie commune and a plea from 28-year-old Travis Garner who said, “Look, every generation eventually figures it out and finds their own way. We’ll be fine.”

In California, 18-year-old Sarah Thompson began her freshman biology class at UC Davis where she’ll learn stuff we didn’t know when her parents went to college, while she won’t be taught stuff that’s since been proven false. “That’s how progress works,” her professor said. “A slow grind higher over the generations.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48 points on Tuesday. Greg Jones, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, expected that no one would care about that useless, vapid, fact by tomorrow.

See, this is the kind of article that makes my five-day-long anxiety attack start to subside.

Slow and steady progress wins the race. Relax. Take your time. Be just a tiny bit better every day.

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How would a peasant laborer in… say France, 100 years war period deal with a repetitive trauma/orthopedic injury like a rotator cuff tear, slipped disk, carpal tunnel or torn meniscus? Were they screwed?

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I tried to pick a single pull quote, but this response is worth reading in its entirety.

As someone dealing with a rotator cuff issue at the moment, i appreciate knowing it is absolutely something I can rehab back to health.

Also, this response embodies the reason I enjoy r/AskHistorians so much. A thorough reply to a question that I’ve pointed myself at least once in my life.

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Why the world isn't as bad as you think

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  1. The world isn’t as bad as you think, because news reporting aggregates the worst events in the world, giving you a skewed perspective.

  2. To truly understand the world, we don’t need more happy-go-lucky stories to make us feel good, but we do need more reporting of bigger trends and what’s driving them. Many of those big picture trends are invisible, but positive.

I found myself smack dab in the middle of a Reddit doomscrolling session this morning when I decided I was sick of the feeling of impending doom. I launched Instapaper instead and found this article.

It serves as a good reminder that we get dopamine hits from reading terrible news, and maybe we should all take some time to break that addiction.

(I’m saying “we” here, but honestly, who reads this stuff? It’s all reminders for me haha)

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The Mystery of the Bloomfield Bridge

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Why is this bridge here?

This pedestrian bridge crosses I-494 just west of the Minneapolis Airport. It connects Bloomington to Richfield. I drive under it often and I wondered: why is it there? It's not in an area that is particularly walkable, and it doesn't connect any establishments that obviously need to be connected. So why was it built?

I often have curious thoughts like this, but I dismiss most of them because if I answered all of them I would get nothing else done. But one day I was walking out of a Taco Bell and found myself at the base of the bridge.

That only raised MORE questions! Why did the bridge just lead to some grass? Why isn't there a sidewalk? What is the point? It makes no sense!

Those who grew up in the Richfield/Bloomington area in the same era as me must have driven under this bridge thousands of times, and I, myself, have certainly had this thought.

The answer to the question is straight forward, but I will not spoil it for you.

Instead, I urge you to read this entire post, top to bottom, because this post is a journey, not a destination. The author spends months trying to get to the bottom of why this mysterious bridge was erected, and the whole article is masterfully written.

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What were the first instances of the villainous "mwahahaha" in entertainment?

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The idea of an "evil laugh" for a villainous character is much older, and the idea that laughter can be a sign of moral failings is even older still!

In "Social Signals and Antisocial Essences: The Function of Evil Laughter in Popular Culture", Jens Kjeldgaard-Christiansen traces negative attitudes about laughter all the way back to Plato. In The Republic, Plato says that laughter is a malignant, violent paroxysm that seizes its subject by force, signalling the unfortunate triumph of passion over rationality.

The AskHistorians subreddit is my go-to example of the internet done right.

Every day, normal people ask bizarre, inane questions that are then answered by serious academics.

This is a prime example of the kind of topic you never imagined could be interesting, yet once you read the answer, you walk away amused, educated, and grateful that someone took the time to give an extremely detailed answer to such a question.

The internet is often filled with garbage, but this subreddit serves as a golden example of the cool stuff people can build when they give a damn.

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Disney Channel’s Theme: A History Mystery

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What a whirlwind of a video! I knew I would be captivated by this, but the ending really moved me.

To those of you who bring your all to the random, seemingly minor tasks you accomplish for clients in your day jobs: thank you for everything you do.

Rewilding your attention

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Instead of crowding your attention with what’s already going viral on the intertubes, focus on the weird stuff. Hunt down the idiosyncratic posts and videos that people are publishing, oftentimes to tiny and niche audiences. It’s decidedly unviral culture — but it’s more likely to plant in your mind the seed of a rare, new idea.

Examples of idiosyncratic communities in which I’ve been trying to increase my participation:

  • an offshoot of a online community I was very into back in the early 2000s
  • a YouTube series where a guy rewatches old episodes of Monday Night Raw and Monday Nitro and compares them head-to-head, deciding who won each week of the Monday night wars
  • a Reddit community who cares deeply about dates being expressed in the ISO-8601 date format
  • another Reddit community that posts highlights from a mobile app football game that I am really into

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