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I built this tool a year ago but I feel like Mastodon folks would like it

The "Weird Old Book Finder"

Type in a search query, and it'll find one randomly-chosen public-domain book that matches the query -- and present it for immediate reading: weird-old-book-finder.glitch.m

Why only one book? To prevent the paradox of choice! Just *start readin'*

Can't promise every book will be weird, but most are

A longer essay on how/why I developed it:

This was a search for "mastodon"

7 black pioneers in computer science [infographic] | New Relic

a really great article and Infograph about pioneering black folks in computer science. #BlackMastodon #BlackTwitter #BlackHistoryEveryDay

In the days before digital computers, "computers" were human (as @Halpin just noted in a convo with me)

People doing calculations by hand

A large chunk of these human computers were women

Indeed, so *many* were women that ...

"... one contractor of the Applied Mathematics Panel used the term 'kilo­girl' to refer to 1,000 hours of female calculation work. Another astronomer spoke of 'girl-years' of work."

I wrote about this for Smithsonian magazine a few years ago:

The other day I saw the trailer for M3GAN, a movie about a girl-sized robot -- intended as a companion for a traumatized child -- that goes rogue, becomes self-aware, and starts slaughtering people

The movie looks like fun!

But I wrote this little *buzz kill* of an essay in reponse, lol:

It's all about how sci-fi tends to regard the "thinking" part of robots as the hard part


For robots, what's much, much harder than thinking?

Walking 🤖

Every so often I mis-type "computing" as "computering"

Which I have now decided I *prefer*

"Hey are you done work?"

"Nah I'm still COMPUTERING"

Behold Susan Oglivy's wonderful paintings of bird nests

An interview with her about how she started the project:

tl;dr -- she found a nest while cleaning up the backyard, was astounded by its architectural complexity, and she was off to the races

Here's the book collecting all her paintings:

In the few weeks since I've returned to both Tumblr and Mastodon (following the slow death of the bird app), both of my timelines have been a veritable tapestry of what I tend to call the "weaponization of white weirdness"

specifically the fear of white folks who dominate specific subcultural spaces that the inclusion of more people who weren't already part of a subculture will somehow alter the cultural aesthetics, mores, etc

very "there goes the neighborhood" syndrome

A nice profile of Claire Chase, who plays a six-foot-tall flute:

Some good video of her playing it while talking about improvisation:

One thing I love about that instrument is how loud are the sounds of the flute's stops opening and closing


It means the flute is also a instrument of *percussion*

So cool 🎶

"What would dragons smell like?"

Some surprisingly informed speculation from scientists, based on the smell of komodo dragons, bats, T-Rexes, BBQ, and high-altitude flight:

one day you're young and hip and the next you have a favorite map projection

Behold this super cool emulation of Laurie Spiegel's famous 1986 "Music Mouse" software:

Move your mouse around and it triggers chords

You can switch to arpeggios, or my favorite -- "improvise", where the software takes the cluster of notes you're triggering and randomly plays 'em

Some thoughts from me about Magic Mouse, on my blog (item 3):

Very fun online tool for making tiled geometric patterns:

You can change the parameters and watch the tilings change in real-time:

Hypnotic and pretty

Behold "Fakelish", a fun little web tool that generates plausible-sounding but fake/meaningless English words:

Some examples, from when I just refreshed it right now:


Excellent thread by @mekkaokereke on the complex dynamic between the decentralized nature of fediverse and whether it's an inclusive place for marginalized groups, which takes action on abuse/harassment

As he notes, decentralization *can* work well -- i.e. it can allow for servers to have a smaller user:mod ratio

But in practice this doesn't happen -- there's plenty of abuse

So, we need to tackle this

@mekkaokereke's posts are about 1/3 of the way down this thread:

Hi hi everyone, I do want to mention that I'm actively looking for work and the bird app used to be very helpful for that. I can see this isn't the same environment for rampant promo so I wont bring hectic energy here.

If you're a #writer #creative or #smallbusiness and you need #writing #webdesign or #startup consulting, do get in touch. You can check out my blog and portfolio at

Any #boosts are appreciated Thanks 🙏🏽✨

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A small group of people who remember when social media was more social, and less media.