Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Helpful Echidne Thoughts For Today

1.  I caught myself in the online information bubble when I realized that my Twitter feed covered the New Zealand massacre and its aftermath in great detail, but pretty much did not mention the Sri Lanka massacre. 

It's good to be aware of the chance that the coverage we choose for ourselves ends up one-sided like that.  The reverse, of course, holds those who follow largely right-wing sources.

2.  When I'm tired my writing becomes more obscure, more academic, more wordy.  It can be hard to be short, succinct and simple without being very wrong.

3.  When you get that itchy feeling that something someone writes is off in politics, etc., but you can't quite tell why, there are two solutions which usually work for me: 

First, wait a while, and the little librarian in your brain will bring you the message which slid right past your aware mind on the first reading but was filed away on your (dusty) memory shelves.  That message can be about really one-sided references, say, or false interpretations of data or about an unusual way of employing some common term.

Second, think about what the hidden assumptions in that piece might be.  For example, does an economics piece ignore the impact of, say, a price increase on everything but one tiny market, thus ignoring all wider effects?  Or does a piece about gender roles simply assume sexism away before it even begins?

4.  Political opinions are great fun.  For instance:

Pete Buttigieg is sooo smart!  Smartness is good.
Elizabeth Warren is sooo smart!  Smartness is bad.


Donald Trump believes himself to be above the law.  Hence he threatens to sue everyone whose view is that he is not above the law.

5.  I am making sima this year.  It's the traditional Finnish mead drunk around the first of May.  The only tricky thing in the preparation is to make sure that your bottles won't explode.  That's why the recipe tells you to "loosely cork" the bottles.  Because I hate raisins I don't eat them, but they are crucial for finding out when the sima is ready.  It lasts about a week in the fridge.  The traditional accompaniment is a Finnish version of funnel cakes.