February 5, 2014

Maybe I’m a Romantic but I think that Humanity is, essentially - at its heart - Good. And that much of the suffering in the world is actually exacerbated by our inability to get the help we want to give where it’s needed, when its needed. All of these folks who end up growing up suffering, hurt, damaged from the wreckage of our inability to make it right when it’s needed, when it can do the most good.

So much of our financial communication is stalled, hampered by these Obelisks, these gatekeepers, that by the time our contributions get where they’re needed, it’s often far too late. If those contributions even ever get there.

There are countless tales of charity money being absconded with by Warlords or opportunists. Piles of rotting clothing baking in the sun, sent by people with smiling faces who didn’t give a damn once they got their cut.

Dogecoin offers us a glimpse of a whole new world - a new perspective on sharing, on caring that, in my mind, literally re-defines what’s possible for Humanity as a whole.


— Weird apostrophes and capitalization aside, the optimism around the goofiest of the cryptocurrencies is infectious.

July 15, 2013
The Tumblr of Andrew Hickey: So I really, really need to figure out how to earn a living as a...


So I really, really need to figure out how to earn a living as a freelance writer. Having a day job is giving me regular panic attacks, and I don’t know how much longer I can cope with work at all. Not with working, but with the 9-to-5:30, having-a-boss, having-coworkers stuff. And I don’t mean…

Unless you have a trust fund or some other regular, reliable source of income that doesn’t require too much active looking-after, then earning a living as a freelance writer is NOT an alternative to regular panic attacks.

Most of what one does (or least, most of what it *feels like* one does) in the freelance trenches is basically tapping on strangers’ shoulders and asking if this thing you’ve been thinking about is worth a couple of bucks. And then waiting days or weeks or (very often) months for a tentative response.

It’s possible to do this (my father did very well indeed at it), but putting up with looong dry spells between too-much-to-do-how-will-I-make-these-deadlines patches is part of the territory.

That said, if you’ve ever got any ideas for travel-related stories, I’m always looking….

March 6, 2013
"Many magazines have been funded by wealthy people who were willing to take moderate losses. (Thank you to all of you.) Or Conde Nast could suck money out of its newspapers to feed into its glorious magazine operations. Nevermind that back at the newspapers they kept people working for nothing at podunk papers that also happened to make crazy bank with their classified ads. Any time I imagine the glamorous world of writing for The Atlantic or The New Yorker or Harper’s in 1968 or 1978, I remember that most journalists were going to homecoming football games and writing about the king and queen. Most journalists were humping around the local garden show and talking about trends in petunia horticulture. Most journalists were doing things that no one really wanted to do, but they did it anyway for money and for a shot at the show which almost never came. I respect the hell out of those journalists working at those local papers. They were doing the stuff that, at least within certain empires, that let the magazine editors have lunch at Balthazar’s (or insert actual appropriate New York lunch spot)."

— A perspective from Alexis Madrigal’s response to the “y’all ain’t payin’ yer freelancers nothin’” kerfluffle.

March 5, 2013
"Time is a great equalizer. We all only have 24 hours in a day, and how we choose to spend it is largely dictated by the economic system we’re in. If we’re part of a hunter/gatherer society, anthropologists have observed that we spend about 20–30 hours a week in activities that could be classified as work and the rest of the time playing games, making music and hanging around the camp. In the feudal system during the European Middle Ages, the breakdown of hours worked as compared to hours spent doing other things was about the same. Now, in so-called advanced civilization, we are spending many more hours per week working for pay and fewer hours in recreational, social and spiritual pursuits. Why have we chosen these priorities in our society?"

— (Later in the same article.)

March 5, 2013
"At least twice in history, a form of money has existed where there was no incentive to accumulate it as a store of value because it didn’t earn positive interest in bank accounts. Instead, it had the equivalent of a negative interest rate (known as demurrage)—the longer you held on to it, the more you would have to pay—similar to a parking fee on money. This gave people who were paid in this currency a strong incentive to spend it or to invest it—preferably in things that would continue to be valuable over the long term. The velocity of this type of money, in other words, was quite high. Since people didn’t hoard it, it also was not scarce—there is strong evidence that its existence fostered long periods of prosperity in Dynastic Egypt and during the Central Middle Ages (10th-13th centuries) in Europe."

Utne Reader on local currencies.

February 26, 2013

Let’s remember this, okay? It’s important. The publisher’s customer is not the reader. Follow? The publisher’s customer is the retailer. Once the retailer orders the book, from the publisher’s standpoint, THAT IS THE SALE.

Those sales figures you see on icv2 or whatever? Those do not indicate the number of readers who pick up a book, they indicate the number of copies ordered by stores.


Kelly Sue Deconnick, comics writer, explains why there are so few female-led superhero titles. (And pretty much every other problem with comics today.)

Later in the same passage, she goes further:

Read More

January 9, 2013
amy wilentz: Globalization & the Little Haitian Chair



Typical Haitian chairs, made with palm frond and wood.

Tomorrow, my second book about Haiti, Farewell, Fred Voodoo, is being published, and I wanted to think about the ways in which old Haiti — the Haiti I first knew years ago — is changing, and what that means.

The first thing I ever…

A great essay explaining, in part, why trying to really help can be so damn hard….

January 4, 2013
Click to see how it works.

Click to see how it works.

(Source: pennyfornasa, via kleptolovestory)

December 7, 2012
Toy factory workers not making toys.
From "The Real Toy Story" by German-born photographer Michael Wolf.

If you’d rather listen than look, here’s Leslie Chan’s TED talk on Chinese factories from a worker’s perspective. It might not be exactly what you expect.

Toy factory workers not making toys.

From "The Real Toy Story" by German-born photographer Michael Wolf.

If you’d rather listen than look, here’s Leslie Chan’s TED talk on Chinese factories from a worker’s perspective. It might not be exactly what you expect.

November 15, 2012
"Here’s yet another way to look at it: Pressing 1,000 singles in 1988 gave us the earning potential of more than 13 million streams in 2012. (And people say the internet is a bonanza for young bands…)"

— Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi, in Pitchfork

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »