Issue № 75

I am a creative

It’s a good day, any time I can find an excuse to link to A List Apart. This piece doesn’t need an excuse to be linked. Nearly every sentence in it starts with “I am a creative…” and makes it read like some sort of manifesto… or the beginning of a communal incantation at some Creatives Anonymous meeting in a church basement.

I am still 10 times faster than people who are not creative, or people who have only been creative a short while, or people who have only been professionally creative a short while. It’s just that, before I work 10 times as fast as they do, I spend twice as long as they do putting the work off. I am that confident in my ability to do a great job when I put my mind to it. I am that addicted to the adrenaline rush of postponement. I am still that afraid of the jump.

~ Jeffrey Zeldman from,

That quoted bit isn’t better than several other bits. Rather, I wanted to point to that “addicted to the adrenaline rush of postponement” to say that verily (be sure to read the example use of verily related to aviation) this used to be me. These days I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush of postponing… and then entirely abandoning whatever it was. Also, I am still afraid of the jump.


Sometimes you don’t know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

~ Gunnar Freyr

Diverse, distributed and interesting

A small platform—like a family restaurant, or an indie bookstore—can be run by a small group of passionate people. Possibly, it can even be run by one person. Things are too big, when they get big enough that everything needs to be normalized (specified, rules based, flow charted, committee decided and charted.)

The future of the internet that most excites me is also, in many ways, a snapshot of its past. It’s a place where the Neil Gaiman’s of the world don’t need to feed their thoughts into an engagement engine, but can instead put out a virtual shingle on their own small patch of cyberspace and attract and build a more intimate community of like-minded travelers. This doesn’t necessitate a blog — podcasts, newsletters, and video series have emerged as equally engaging mediums for independent media production. The key is a communication landscape that is much more diverse and distributed and interesting than what we see when everyone is using the same two or three social apps.

~ Cal Newport from,

It comes down to engagement versus contribution. A large platform is one where engagement is rewarded (time spent on the platform, ads viewed, affiliate links followed, likes given, etc.) and a small platform is one where contribution is rewarded. What makes small platforms and spaces potentially great is that everyone’s contribution can be seen. “I see what you did there,” is both how culture is created and how cultural norms are enforced.


The real measure of our wealth is how much we’d be worth if we lost all our money.

~ John Henry Jowett


Sure, it’s been thousands of years, but has anything really changed?

Once my curiosity was piqued, I could see a bit of curdling in some of the men around me, too.

They struggled to relate to women. They didn’t have enough friends. They lacked long-term goals. Some guys — including ones I once knew — just quietly disappeared, subsumed into video games and porn or sucked into the alt-right and the web of misogynistic communities known as the “manosphere.”

~ Christine Emba from,

This article was interesting… but I didn’t feel like it offered any answers. Then again, I’m no longer the target audience (man, of a certain age), so perhaps it simply didn’t “land” with me. On the other, other hand, I do think it’s worth a read.


We can set our deeds to the music of a grateful heart, and seek to round our lives into a hymn—the melody of which will be recognized by all who come in contact with us, and the power of which shall not be evanescent, like the voice of the singer, but perennial, like the music of the spheres.

~ William Mackergo Taylor

Dividing cake

What’s a system for fairly dividing— actually… What does “fair” even mean? If we’re dividing up cake, is fair equal size shares? …or shares proportional to each person’s daily caloric requirements? …or their average recent caloric deficit (so starving people get the cake)? And that’s just cake. What if you want to divide up something important, like say, geographically divide a State into voting districts?

In the first step, one party draws districts on the map. However, unlike regular redistricting, in which they draw the exact number of districts needed, our process requires the first party to draw twice that number of half- or sub-districts. Like full electoral districts, these half-districts must have equal populations and be physically contiguous. Many states also have requirements for district compactness, which would apply to this first stage of map drawing too. We also don’t allow “doughnut” districts – where one district is entirely surrounded by another district.

In the second step, the other party chooses how to pair neighboring half-districts into full-size districts.

Even if each party acts entirely in its own interest, attempting to maximize its own chances of winning the most districts, the fact that the process is split into these two stages holds each party’s ambitions somewhat in check.

~ Benjamin Schneer, Kevin DeLuca and Maxwell Palmer from,

Like my examples for possible meanings of “fair” for dividing cake, there are many possibilities for what would be “fair” for voting district maps. To date, every solution has been to have some third party (a commission whose composition itself is contentious) draw the maps and then have judicial review (with the judges themselves also being contentious). The system laid out above is brilliant. One side draws up a map, and the other side chooses how to assemble the map into voting districts.

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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