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The past 20 posts to MeFi Projects


Salary Negotiation: A Simple How-To

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 17:12:27 GMT

I prepared this how-to-negotiate-salary doc for some family and friends and thought I'd share it with the world! I'm a woman in tech and I had to kinda figure out how to negotiate salary on my own (but see note inside) so wanted to share my experience to level the playing field a bit.

Once someone told me that someone new to our team had not negotiated their salary and I said, "Why not????" And the person responded, maybe no one ever taught them to negotiate. And I said, "Well no one ever taught me." And that is such a lie! My whole privileged childhood was implicitly teaching me that I deserve to negotiate my salary.

So please share this doc with anyone who might need it! And bookmark it for your own use if you find it helpful. Everyone deserves to negotiate for every last penny they can get!


When Journalism was a Thing

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:25:47 GMT

This project shows how journalism has collapsed, and why. It shows how the profession's untested truisms and assumptions brought systemic problems and rigs into the profession, and how an alternative model to journalism where patriarchal, binary, biased, narrative, unscientific, and Great Man ideology doesn't corrupt the product.

This project was inspired by an upcoming book of the same title, and is a continuous my 2005 books Don't Believe It!: How lies become news, OutFoxed: Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism, as well as my work through A Dangerous Woman Story Studio (previously, previously).

I became a journalist for a simple reason: I wanted to study it empirically to see why it was failing so many segments of society, as I also noticed so many lies, hoaxes, spin, PR, and propaganda was becoming news. I have devoted my entire adult life working on this project in various forms for more than a quarter century (starting as a teenager), conducting my own experiments in the real world, and working out alternative models (previously).

When Journalism was a Thing explains the faulty mechanisms that have led to the fragmentation and destruction of journalism: a profession that once had all the power of communications and were the de facto gate-keepers of information dissemination.

The Internet and social media became a real alternative, and with the loss of their information monopoly, all of the problems journalism had but never addressed led to its erosion and collapse. The 2016 US Presidential election showed just how inert the profession became.

I go through various destructive mindsets: from misusing space to lobby governments to fund journalism (in Canada), to its various racist and sexist assumptions, to its unscientific approach to finding, analyzing, and disseminating information, to its penchant to steal ideas and ignore voices that do not fit into its various unrealistic narratives, journalism needed an intervention years ago: but now it needs an alternative.

People need to be informed, but they do not need to make the same mistakes as journalism has and keeps doing. As I continue to work and research on this project, I show how the flaws in the profession have not been addressed.

We need accurate, reliable, relevant, and valid information we can use. We need facts that tell us about the reality of a situation, and the truths that created that reality. Journalism could have been more than celebrity gossip an opinion based in sophistry, but it wasn't. How it got there, and how it can be replaced is my main focus.

[Link] Cocktail App

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 18:14:39 GMT

I had been looking for an app to help me figure out what cocktails I could make with what I have in my home bar, but just didn't really like any of the ones out there. So I bit the bullet and finally taught myself Swift and created this app.

Around Thanksgiving of 2017 Jason Kottke tweeted a photo of a drink that looked delicious. I replied to his tweet and asked about it, and he directed me to an iOS app that cost ~$6.

I got the app and hated it. The fonts were way too small for me to read, the formatting of the whole thing bothered me, and there was no good way to really search. I thought to myself, "I can make a better app than this!"

So I did. At least I think so.


Podcast: Small Craft Advisory

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:13:51 GMT

Twice-monthly broadcast from our boat to yours. Friendly radio murmurs on books, art, weather, memory, sex, science, the occult, family, relationships, etc. Ideally the feeling of riding sleepy in the backseat on a road trip in the dark while your friends, who are driving, talk to each other and you drift in and out. Sporadic continuity, amiable guests.

You can also listen at: This is early days of the project and all advice is welcome! My hope is that with time and growing skills we develop into a dreamy sound collage, kind of Sleep With Me plus In Our Time plus a field recording of weird construction noises.


The Our Ladies Pop Magic series

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 23:37:16 GMT

I have been working on this project on and (quite frequently) off for a couple of years now and am excited to debut the first three muses in my Our Ladies series: Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard, Morticia Addams, and Endora from Bewitched! Our Ladies combines my interests in Tarot and folk magic with my love of pop culture, especially the fabulous divas and mischievous witches of fantasy, science fiction, noir and melodrama.

These art cards and pop altars apply mythic attributes to a specific character and explore the use of folk magic to connect the user to these powers. I am interested in the way a symbol or character can captivate us and reinforce our attempts to change our behavior or circumstances, and how common folk-magic practices, like the association of a token with a desired attribute or outcome, seek to create that feedback between symbol and action.

I plan to create another Lady or two in 2018. Thank you for looking and I hope you enjoy!

(In conclusion: Norma Desmond got done wrong and is better than EVERY MAN IN THE WORLD.)


Ukulele song book index, and chord tracker

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 22:50:44 GMT

I like to play the ukulele everyday. I know a bunch of chords but not all of them. I wanted to have a tool that searches song books based on which chords I already know, so I could discover new songs and navigate my books better. Click the chord diagrams you know, and it displays a directory of all the songs you can play with those chords.

The site keeps track of which chords you know and makes recommendations on which chords you should learn next to maximize the songs you could play. For example, if I learn Eb (0-3-3-1) I can play 21 new songs. In the same vein, you can see a list of songs you could play if you learned just one more chord.

You can also make a list of favorite songs and display it with the chords.

Right now, I only have two of the most popular song books (The Daily Ukulele books - 731 songs, 175 chords!) entered into the database. I'm planning to add more soon.

Accounts are optional. If you don't create an account, your chord and song data is stored in your browser's local storage.

Other than adding more books, I plan to add barre chord shapes, and transposition for baritone ukulele. Thanks for taking a look!


Experience Vermont as a local, through interviews and tours

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:50:32 GMT

We want to introduce folks to the amazing artists and craftspeople that call Vermont home, and I've been interviewing them in a new YouTube series. I (and sometimes terrapin) also share a weekly tip or recipe from our own craft hobbies, primarily brewing, cooking, knitting, and dyeing. This week's videos feature an interview with MeFi's own Jessamyn West, and her tutorial on making your own mossarium.

If you want to meet some of these amazing people, experience Vermont for yourself with one of our package vacations. Vermont has everything for an awesome getaway: beautiful scenery, relaxing mountain locations, delicious farm-fresh food and drink, and local experts who offer creative ways to unwind while enjoying your favorite crafts.

Our Spring Fiber Arts Tour is open for registration. We also plan to offer a beer-themed tour in August and another fiber-arts tour in late September. Each will feature a mix of hands-on workshops and fun activities.


Georgian and Regency Weirdness from Erato

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 01:12:12 GMT

I thought, "Oh, I will try to write something super commercial, something that will sell like hotcakes because it's a popular genre that lots of people love." The result of my effort has been described as like the John Waters version of the Regency era. It may never be really popular, but if you like your historical novels with fewer bonnets and balls, but brimming with disease, garbage, cadavers and suicide attempts, these might be up your alley. Oh yes, most of them are comedies, by the bye.

CUT OF THE CLOTHES: Two heterosexual men (one of whom will eventually become King George IV) obsess about fashion and about each other.
HONORIA: A country girl hoping for a good marriage repeatedly embarrasses herself and others.
THE COXCOMBS: Dandies who live in a bog have to marry rich women in order to keep up their lifestyle.
SWEET ERRORS: Two bimbos are seduced by highwaymen.
NONE BUT FOOLS: An actor is forced to put on the performance of his life in order to repulse a fangirl.
OF CRIMSON JOY: A recently married woman meets the love of her life elsewhere.
DUPE AND DUPLICITY: Interracial twins travel to London to settle a love affair, and find themselves entangled in the mania of Bartholomew Fair.
IN THE FIRE: The Sorrows of Young Werther sets off a love affair and a string of suicide attempts.
HAP AND HASTINESS: A girl will inherit a fortune if she can be married by midnight.
PURSUIT: Chases on horseback as a couple try to elope at Gretna Green.


Shift Change

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 23:22:34 GMT

A few weeks ago I made a text based game with Twine with one of my brothers that puts you in the shoes of a missile alert system tester in Hawaii on a recent January morning.

The references, I'm afraid, are already dated.


My Tom Russell fRoots interview - expanded version

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:43:08 GMT

Towards the end of last year, I spent an hour on the phone interviewing the great Americana songwriter Tom Russell for a feature in fRoots magazine. It ran in the mag's Jan/Feb 2018 issue, but has never appeared online till now. I've supplemented the original interview here with a bonus Q&A exchange between Russell and I, my review of his latest album and some photographs and notes from his recent run of UK gigs.

fRoots covers roots music from all round the world, a mission that's well summarised by its cover slogan: "local music from out there". Its also got an excellent free music podcast.


The Couch to 80k Writing Boot Camp

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 16:51:26 GMT

I made a free 8-week fiction writing course in podcast form.

48 daily episodes, each with a 10 minute writing exercise, to take you from wherever you are with your writing, to being ready to finish your novel. It's aimed at all experience levels and is meant to be low-commitment, fun, and motivating. It's all available to stream or download for free.


Official music video for the first song from my debut solo album

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 22:11:07 GMT

This music video is for the song Make Do, which is track 1 on my forthcoming debut solo electronic music album, Beat Smoothie.

This was super fun to make, although it has taken forever to get to this point. I actually asked MetaFilter how to make a music video 6 years ago!

Making the song also took a while - 3 years of figuring out software and slowly setting up my home studio. It's thrilling to finally have something to show for it all!


OpenStreetMap for mefi

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 18:24:44 GMT

For people who use noscript/µBlock/µMatrix or whatever to limit Google's reach on their browsing behavior, here's a userscript that replaces profile geolinks and IRL maps with OpenStreetMap.

Replacing the map in MefiJobs seems pretty much undoable, so you'll just have to read the actual job offers.
I've done no cross-platform/cross-browser testing, but it's pretty straightforward stuff so I assume it'll work just fine.


The Wildest West Podcast

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 23:20:02 GMT

What began as an exploration of my love of weird western stuff has evolved into a discussion of creativity and the professional market for creative undertakings, with a lot of little side trips into the worlds of wrestling, polka, horseback riding, rattlesnake chili, and whatever else attracts our attention at the moment. Cohosted by Coco Mault.


Web archiving for bots

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 23:19:49 GMT

From the explanatory post: I've made several bots over the years. They're mostly Twitter bots. Some of them are throwaway larks, and some of them only work in the moment. If Twitter becomes too harmful to humanity to gift with free content, I'm OK with letting those go. However, there are many bots whose fate I want to keep in my own hands, rather than Twitter's. To that end, I built a static site updater.

The code that powers the archiving here. Now, most of my bots are available outside of Twitter on sites that are updated regularly (usually a few times per day):

Link Finds
Our Magick Future
Hail Ants Bot
Snake People Bot
Member Facts
Space Weirdness Bot
Bot in the Street
Demake Bot
Pokémon in the NYPL
Fucking Shakespeare
Business Words
Contingency Messages
Autocomplete Jokes
Monster Subtypes
Autocomplete Rap
2020 Candidate Bot

It's a thing I've meant to do for a long time!



Sat, 27 Jan 2018 00:51:40 GMT

A short SF story I've been trying to sell since 2015 that suddenly has relevance thanks to the Vice story about face swap pornography so I decided to self publish it to Medium. Celebrity! Copyright! Intellectual property! Puns!


Wiles Habit - Track Your Habits

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 15:09:39 GMT

This is a habit tracking system I developed that has worked reasonably well for me. It's helping me stick to my New Years' resolutions. It's very rough. I'm sharing it here in case anyone else would find it helpful!

The TLDR is you phone up a number and leave messages tracking whether or not you did your habit, and describe why not / what you'll do differently. No app required and also provides daily text message reminders.


How I Became A 44 Year Old Rapper

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 01:49:08 GMT

After a night of being teased for performing both the Running Man and the Roger Rabbit, I bet my wife and her friends I could make a legitimate hip-hop video and make $10 from strangers on the internet. I decided to completely commit to this bet for the sake of pride, art and the culture of hip-hop. I present to the fine folks of Metafilter......."Never Bet Your Money On Another Man's Game" I took all the advice from my original thread and tried to make something in earnest and attempted to follow what so fucking future said by honoring a "provocative art form that is dripping with sex and bravado and poetry and inspiration and violence." If you want to help me with the bet you can buy the track, venmo your support, or simply spread the video far and wide. If you have any feedback on the song or the video I would also appreciate that. This is the first time I have ever created a full length song or a video. If anything I hope it inspires someone else to do something creative no matter how ridiculous. For anyone that is interested, here are some of the things involved in making the final product: - Google Docs to write the rhyme which took an obscene amount of revisions. - Inspiration for the 3rd verse from 'The Show' - Dougie Fresh and The Get Fresh Crew. This was one of the first hip-hip songs that I truly loved. - Reason 10 with a Oxygen61 keyboard, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface and a Audio Technica AT-4040 mic. - A professional audio engineer ( Matty Trump ) to do the final mix and mastering who I found on SoundBetter. - DIY Green Screen using PVC Pipe, clamps, grommets, hooks, and a giant piece of muslin. - My garage to do all the filming using a iPhone 7, a simple tripod, and a bunch of homemade lighting rigs. - Raw video footage chopped on my IPhone, using Hyperspektiv for the effects, and all editing in Powerdirector and Audacity. - The awesome folks of Metafilter who have always helped me win bets! Thanks for having me. Jason[Link] [...] a tool for a post-truth world (visualize research and debates)

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 04:37:29 GMT

Thicket is a platform for rigorous thinking. Users can map out political ideas, discover relevant research, and debate policy claims with others. Thicket puts your beliefs about policy in context, connecting them to relevant academic research and to opposing arguments. Thicket is aimed at students, researchers, journalists, and everyone interested in politics and public policy. The intro video is the best place to start.

Then you can check out some debates that have been created: Immigration, Universal Basic Income, Public vs Private Currencies.

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We love your feedback!


MeFi Post Recommendation Engine

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 17:50:01 GMT

Just finished building a content recommendation engine for MeFi using natural language processing and non-negative matrix factorization techniques! It produces a list of post recommendations based on a user history of posts, comments and favorites. It can also make recommendations based on a piece of text, so for example, you could paste a particular post and it will return a list of other posts that have some similar characteristics. I hope you enjoy playing around with it! Please let me know what you think. Here's more info in case you're interested (: