Friday links, end-of-September edition

Posted in History, Links at 5:00 pm by

  • West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette [Wikipedia]

    One of my teacher friends, Melanie, posted a graphic on Facebook the other day referencing this case, which established the Constitutional right not to have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; although I was familiar with the concept, I did not know the name of the case, so the graphic was still educational :-) I found the Wikipedia article about the case interesting and timely reading, even if Wikipedia claims it’s not up to its standards. Two quotations, from the majority and concurring opinions:

    [W]e apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.

    —Justice Robert Jackson, for the majority

    Love of country must spring from willing hearts and free minds, inspired by a fair administration of wise laws enacted by the people’s elected representatives within the bounds of express constitutional prohibitions.

    —Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, in their concurring opinion

  • Lawrenceville will save historic black school, add museum and library [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Lizzie]

    It was not until I was in high school that I first heard rumors of the existence of the Hooper-Renwick School (like something out of Atlas Obscura, had it existed at the time). As the years went by, I learned only bits and pieces about it via news articles, but its significance was clear. A few months ago, I read about the city of Lawrenceville planning to tear the school down and thought it was such a waste—and such a loss for an ill-known and ill-documented period of our history—especially while Gwinnett County is doubling down on preservation in advance of the county bicentennial (Hudson-Nash House and Promised Land, among others). I’m thrilled to see that Hooper-Renwick alumni have persuaded the city to change its mind and the school will be saved and turned into a museum about African-American life and history in the county.

  • An untitled poem by Lili Reinhart [Lili Reinhart’s tumblr]

    If Instagram is for cultivating an image, Twitter is for activism, and Facebook is for fanclubs, then Tumblr is the “social media” platform where celebrities let the rest of us see glimpses inside their souls and minds—Tumblr is, after all, a blogging platform. (Reinhart’s September 11th poem, “A somber poem for Monday blues”, was also quite moving.)


Poem 2017-09-25 at 9:15 PM

Posted in Life, السياسة at 2:22 am by

You kicked a pebble,
A speck of metamorphic force,
Off the top
Of a mountain.
It hit a stone,
Jarred it loose,
And they fell.
A tiny band
Of pebbles and stones
They hit a rock
And broke it free.
They built up strength.
Now a slab,
Then a boulder,
Then a rock face.
To a crescendo,
Pebbles, stones
Rocks, boulders,
An entire mountainside,
A torrent
You are buried
Underneath an entire mountain,
A cataclysm of stone
Changing the face of the planet,
Wiping away
Your foolish falsehoods,
All because of your flippant kick
Of a tiny


On the Remarks of the Late Steve Jobs at the Opening of the Steve Jobs Theater

Posted in Camino, Life at 10:47 pm by

But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.

—Steve Jobs (date unknown, as played at the opening of the Steve Jobs Theater, September 12, 2017)

When I read this1 the other day, my first thought was of Camino.

We were often asked by outsiders why we worked on Camino, and why we persisted in building Camino for so long after Safari, Firefox, and Chrome were launched. In the minds of many of these people, our time and talents would have been better-spent working on anything other than Camino. While we all likely had different reasons, there were many areas of commonality; primarily, and most importantly, we loved or enjoyed working on Camino. Among other reasons, I also liked that I could see that my efforts made a difference; I wasn’t some cog in a giant, faceless machine, but a valued member of a strong, small team and a part of a larger community of our users who relied on Camino for their daily browsing and livelihoods. It was a way to “give back” to the world (and the open-source community) for things that were useful and positive in my life, to show appreciation.

We were making something wonderful, and we put it out there for the world to use.

I ♥ Camino!


1 Part of a heretofore publicly-unheard address from Steve Jobs that was played at the opening of the Steve Jobs Theater and the Apple fall 2017 product launches. ↩︎


Friday links, early September edition

Posted in Links at 11:40 pm by

  • When to Pick Persimmons and How to Preserve Them [Mother Earth News]

    Persimmons, September 2017

    While cutting down some dead trees at the office in advance of Hurricane Irma, my father and I stumbled upon a persimmon tree, complete with orange fruit. When I asked Siri how to tell when the persimmons were ripe, she suggested this article—which prose, as I began reading it, led me to ask “When was this written!?” As it turns out (clearly visible on desktop, less so on mobile), the article is dated September/October 1970.

  • You Are the Product [London Review of Books]

    Technically, this is a book review of several recent books about Facebook and other social/tech companies, but John Gruber headlines it thusly: “John Lanchester on Facebook: ‘The Company’s Ambition, Its Ruthlessness, and Its Lack of a Moral Compass Scare Me’” Gruber adds, “John Lanchester’s lengthy essay on Facebook for the London Review of Books is well worth your time.” (Lengthy, indeed; I am still working my way through it, but it has definitely been worth my time so far.)