Ephemera - 7th December, 2014
Well this undertaking has not been as weekly as I would have liked. To try to make up for that, this entry covers two weeks of reading and listening (I watched things, but nothing special enough to recommend).
As an atheist, I was attracted to Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion when it was released. I picked it up but couldn't get through it. There was something about it that was, ironically, "holier than thou" when it came to addressing religion - the key trait that put me off organised religion in the first place. Luke Savage addresses this and the inherent racism/islamophobia present in some of the key works of the New Atheism movement. To me, the best way to further the atheist movement is to make it a more attractive option, not to try and tear down its competitors (a tactic that will often come off as petty). I'm sure there are writers out there that achieve this, but I don't know of any off the top of my head. If you have a recommendation in this regard, I'd love to hear it! In the mean time I'll keep reading the fantastic Jacobin.
Jeff Atwood, a.k.a Coding Horror, is the best there is when it comes to analysing and building for online communities. For proof look no further than the Stack Exchange network he founded. In this article he argues for changing the metric for good online commenters from number of comments to time spent reading, or at the very least incentivising people to spend more time reading before posting.
I was listening to this a lot when it first came out in August, but I'm also listening to it now while writing this blog post, so I figured a recommendation was in order. I love electronic music, but I there's no way I'll ever be able to keep up with the ever proliferating array of subgenres. I think Rustie is considered "Maximalist Dubstep". Influences are present - I personally hear Air, 808 State, The Bug, and Skream, among others - but rather than taking small aspects of each, Rustie takes the whole thing and melds them together to create a sound that is big, but always coherent.
I'd been hearing about the Startup podcast for a while now. The premise, a podcast detailing the creating of a podcast network, was intriguing to me. I'm currently a dozen episode into my own podcast, and harbour secret/evil dreams of transforming it into a network of podcasts in the vein of Radiotopia or 5by5. But I was hesitant to add another podcast to my already overly large regime. One day I'm going to have more podcasts then time to listen to them.
I eventually gave in, and it was well worth. Alex Blumberg is extremely candid and transparent in his coverage of the creation of Gimlet Media. While the creation of a new media network is the core topic, the podcast veers into areas such as startup culture, the creative process, and the feelings and thoughts of people taking great leaps of faith. Not only have I added this podcast to the myriad of others I listen to, if the other podcasts they plan on releasing are of this quality then I'm definitely going to be listening to them too. Crap.