Saturday, November 26, 2016

The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces

Concentrate Your MInd, Gather Your Hearts, It Is Time to Rise and Fight I am appalled by the political, social, financial and environmental chicanery that has led us to this particular still point in time. Any one of Monbiot's thirteen points would be a challenge to our survival in some way or other. Together? Potentially 'game-over-man' paralytic. We can only act in our pixel-level consciousness, we can only hope that as we do such the screen that emerges is a clearer one, a more crystal
The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces submitted by /u/capcaunul
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The Milky Way by Michael Jordanoff

I am reminded of the Eames Brother's documentary, "Powers of Ten", as I look at this wondrous view of the Milky Way. 9da193714e2fe47bfe55377612576d9e

The Milky Way by Michael Jordanoff

The Milky Way on the Wainuiomata South Coast in New Zealand on a crystal clear night

Michael Jordanoff: Photos

This made me giggle by how morbid it is

None of us see our own self organizing criticality. (
This made me giggle by how morbid it is submitted by /u/Dubtrooper to /r/gaming
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Friday, November 25, 2016

Elaborately-detailed sculptures made from stacked sheets of laser-cut paper

What other adjacencies will arise from this? Artificial lungs by layering tissue? Printing carbon fiber armor with layers?


Strictly Paper blogs the work of Eric Standley, who uses lasers on hundreds of sheets of paper to create incredibly-detailed works of art. [via]

These laser-cut masterpieces, reminiscent of stained glass windows, are inspired by geometry found in Gothic and Islamic architectural ornamentation in an attempt to capture a reverence for the infinite. “I am interested in the conceptual migration from the permanence and massiveness of stone to the fragility and intimacy of paper,” he mentions in an artist statement.




Of course Zuckerberg wants to bow to Chinese censorship

Zuckerberg sells out the world. Silicon Valley and Uncanny Valley. Full of people who, like Zuckerberg, look almost human. Creepy isn't it.



Thursday, November 24, 2016

1934.Hitler at Nazi Party Rally.The Rising. -

I write this on Thanksgiving morning. Not really a time for anxious frettery, is it? Yes. Now and every moment from now on is the time form the ragged attentiveness we need. For example, when someone says alt-right, I say Nazi. Authoritarianism of any stripe cannot be dealt with as if it was a reasonable creature, a dude at a bar with a beer. You cannot whisper truth to power. They are Nazi’s. They will be the Sturmabteilung. Believe it. You can do some important thinking by checking out this photo from the Time Top 100 photos site.

Well you better listen my sister’s and brothers,
‘cause if you do you can hear
There are voices still calling across the years.
And they’re all crying across the ocean,
And they’re cryin’ across the land,
And they will till we all come to understand.

None of us are free.
None of us are free.
None of us are free, one of us are chained.
None of us are free.

And there are people still in darkness,
And they just can’t see the light.
If you don’t say it’s wrong then that says it right.
We got try to feel for each other, let our brother’s know that
We care.
Got to get the message, send it out loud and clear.

None of us are free.
None of us are free.
None of us are free, one of us are chained.
None of us are free.

It’s a simple truth we all need, just to hear and to see.
None of us are free, one of us is chained.
None of us are free.
Now I swear your salvation isn’t too hard too find,
None of us can find it on our own.
We’ve got to join together in spirit, heart and mind.
So that every soul who’s suffering will know they’re not alone.

None of us are free.
None of us are free.
None of us are free, one of us are chained.
None of us are free.

If you just look around you,
Your gonna see what I say.
Cause the world is getting smaller each passing day.
Now it’s time to start making changes,
And it’s time for us all to realize,
That the truth is shining real bright right before our eyes.

None of us are free.
None of us are free.
None of us are free, one of us are chained.
None of us are free.

Written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Brenda Russell • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Upside Down AeroPress Coffee Brewing Tutorial

My brewing, good, handy coffee brewing. The standard for all other routine tasks and duties.

When it comes to brewing coffee with the AeroPress Coffee Maker, there are two main methods. The first method is described both in the directions that ship with the Aerobie AeroPress as well as our AeroPress Coffee Maker Tutorial. It is the regular top down straight-forward brewing method.

The second method is known as the inverted or upside down brewing method, which I will highlight in this brewing tutorial.

The experts are split on which method is best. According to the article The Invention of the AeroPress by Zachary Crockett, “about half” the winners of the AeroPress World Championships use the inverted method. Supporters of the inverted method claim it is a “total immersion”, whereas critics say the flip just looks cool and provides no additional benefit.

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Bonus 350 Micro Filters
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Bonus 350 Micro Filters (Amazon USA)

Upside Down Means an End To Leaking

I like both methods of AeroPress brewing, but often use the inverted method. Not because it looks cool, but because the standard brewing method can sometimes leak before the brewing cycle is complete.

You can minimize the chance that your standard AeroPress brew will leak using the following tips.

  1. Wet the paper filter.
  2. Make sure the paper filter isn’t folded and is placed evenly in the filter cap.
  3. Confirm the seal is tight.
  4. The grind might be too coarse.
  5. Use the funnel provided with the AeroPress so loose grounds don’t find their way into where the filter is sealed.
  6. Some have found using a larger cup reduces the chance of leakage.

Or you could just use the Upside Down method.

At 6 AM, I want my brewing method to be as fool-proof as possible. Really the only way to mess up the inverted method is to lose control during the flip. There is still a possibility of leaking with the inverted method, but it matters far less since it happens at the end of the brewing period when the coffee is ready to exit the brewing chamber.

Many Variations (Recipes) Work

The AeroPress was invented in 2005, which makes it super young when it comes to coffee brewing methods. Since then there has been a tremendous interest by coffee professionals to improve upon the instructions Aerobie ships with each unit.

Today there are numerous AeroPress competitions around the world. When you search for winning recipes, you will find a wide variance in approaches. Brewing temperature, grind size, brewing time and even plunge time vary quite a bit.

At first glance the complexity of the recipes might seem intimidating, but they shouldn’t. The fact that people are making amazing coffee using wildly different parameters, tells us that the AeroPress is harder to mess up than other coffee brewing methods.

For this tutorial, we are going to keep it simple. Once you’ve got the basics down, venture out and try some award winning recipes.


Before we get started, confirm you have everything.

AeroPress Brewing Setup

  1. The brewing chamber of the AeroPress Coffee Maker.
  2. The plunger.
  3. Stir Paddle. If you lose the one that comes with the AeroPress, use a spoon.
  4. Black filter cap
  5. Paper filters (or you can use a reusable metal filter replacement such as the Able Brewing DISK).
  6. Kitchen scale or the scoop that comes in the box.
  7. Kettle
  8. Timer or stop watch.
  9. Mug
  10. Coffee.
  11. Filtered or Drinking Water.
  12. (optional and not in photo) AeroPress Funnel.

#1 Grind Coffee and Heat Water

A single AeroPress scoop is equal to 2 tablespoons or about 17 grams. Measuring coffee by volume will be less precise than by weight. The article Why You Should Use a Scale to Brew Coffee makes a good case for tossing your scoop and grabbing the scale.

Although I agree with the article, when it comes to the AeroPress I found it is very forgiving to a few gram variation in brewing. Don’t think that not having a scale will keep you from brewing excellent coffee.

Aerobie advises a grind between drip and espresso. I use a drip grind. Others use a more coarse grind. When it comes to grind, the AeroPress is super forgiving. As a general rule the finer you grind, the shorter your brew time will be.

aeropress grind level

#2 Setup the AeroPress in an Inverted Position and Add Coffee

Place the plunger facing up on the counter. Now turn the brewing chamber upside down and place in securely onto the plunger. You will want the stopper to rest in the middle of the #4 position.

If you are concerned about messing up the flip, you can push it down further so the entire #4 is below the stopper. Other recipes say the entire #4 should be above the stopper, but in my opinion this is too unstable. One bump and you have a hot mess to clean up.

Add the ground coffee. Use the AeroPress Funnel if you still have it. I threw mine away. I kind of wish I hadn’t, because the funnel makes it easier for all the coffee grounds to get inside the brewing chamber and not get stuck on rim of the brewer.

aeropress with ground coffee

#3 Insert and Rinse the Filter

Place a filter inside the filter cap and rinse with water. Set it aside for now.

rinse Aeropress filter

#4 Start the Timer, Add Hot Water and Stir

How hot should the water be for AeroPress brewing? The opinions here vary quite a bit. Most of the recipes say to use 200-205 F. Aerobie recommends using 175 F. From the Aeropress FAQ:

Books often recommend a brewing temperature of 195° F to 200° F (91° C to 93° C). This is good for conventional brewing methods that pass hot water through a bed of coffee. In this method, the water rapidly cools so the lower part of the bed is operating at a lower temperature. However in the AeroPress all of the coffee particles contact the same water temperature during the stirring phase.

The top 3 finishers at the 2014 World AeroPress Championships used brewing temperatures of 174 F (78 C), 197 F (92 C) and 180 F (82 C). In previous years, you had winning recipes that were just off boil. The lesson here is that the AeroPress can be brewed at a wide range of temperatures.

To keep things simple I bring water to a boil and then let it cool for 20-30 seconds. If you have a programmable kettle, experiment.

Start the timer.

There are two schools on thought on adding hot water and stirring.

  1. Add half the water, stir and then add the remaining water.
  2. Add all the water and stir.

Although I’ve heard compelling arguments that #1 is better, I have done it both ways and can not tell a difference. The important thing about this step is to make sure all the ground coffee makes contact with water. Try it both ways for yourself.

Pour water AeroPress

stir Aeropress

Because I use a more snug fit, I fill the water up to halfway between the #1 and #2 circle.

Water filled in AeroPress

#5 Secure the Filter Cap on the AeroPress

Hold onto the AeroPress where the two chambers meet and with your other hand, screw the filter onto the brewer.

AeroPress Secure Filter

#6 At 60-90 Seconds, Flip and Press

There are many different brew times you can use. A good starting range is 60-90 seconds total. When this time has passed, grab the AeroPress holding both chambers together and flip it so it is over your mug.

Once the AeroPress is back right-side up and over the mug, proceed with pressing down the plunger. Use a slow steady press. It should take about 20 seconds to fully press.

Aeropress plunge

#7 Add Water to Taste

What you have now is a coffee concentrate. Add some hot water to bring it to the consistency of brewed coffee. Typically this will mean adding 50% water. If you want an iced coffee, just pour over a cup of ice cubes.

I should also add that you don’t need to add anything if you want to have an “espresso like” beverage. Because the AeroPress can not generate near the pressure of a true espresso machine, I do not consider it espresso. Nor does home coffee roasting retailer Sweet Maria’s. From their AeroPress page:

Illy’s research shows that espresso is a beverage brewed at 7-11 bars of pressure, with water temperature between 194 and 203 f (without temperature loss from a cold coffee handle, etc). Even if the AeroPress had the organoleptic features of espresso, and the appearance of espresso, I don’t think it is within these parameters.

If you do go the “espresso like” route, you can experiment with using less water, a finer grind and a shorter brewing time.

The Most Forgiving Brewing Method Ever

I’ve tried many different methods for brewing coffee and none of them are as forgiving as the AeroPress. You can brew using a wide range of grinds, temperatures and dosages and still make excellent coffee. You can even flip it upside down and it excels.

Photographs by Joseph Robertson of Coffee Lovers Magazine.


AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Bonus 350 Micro Filters – Amazon USA page.

The Invention of the AeroPress – Excellent article by Zachary Crockett

Aero Press Brew Instructions – Article by Sweet Maria’s with comments about why he doesn’t feel the brewer qualifies as an espresso maker at the end.

AeroPress Coffee Maker Tutorial – Original INeedCoffee tutorial.

World AeroPress Championships – Site lists winners of the annual competition going back to 2008. Also on the site are award winning recipes.

AeroPress FAQ – Page by Aerobie.

The post The Upside Down AeroPress Coffee Brewing Tutorial appeared first on I Need Coffee.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Tow Center’s Vanessa Quirk: Podcasts Not All About Profit

Tow Center’s Vanessa Quirk: Podcasts Not All About Profit:

At the end of last year, the Tow Center for Digital Journalism released its “Guide to Podcasting,” a report researched and prepared by Tow Center fellow Vanessa Quirk. The guide delves into the history of the medium and its current state, outlines different revenue streams and case studies, and discusses various issues and operational philosophies that producers are currently tackling.

Photo by Renée Johnson on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

Photo by Renée Johnson on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.
We caught up with Vanessa to discuss the report, the reactions to it, and the lessons that aspiring podcasters and producers should take away when figuring out how to make their mark on the podcasting map. Below is an edited Q&A from our conversation.


From my understanding, the report’s basic aim was to argue and explain why podcasts matter to digital journalism. Was that a hard argument to make?

Vanessa Quirk: Not really. Once I started seeing the data and the fact that a podcast is a mobile-first medium, it became pretty self-explanatory, considering that most digital journalism is moving to mobile, and there are some very specific attributes to podcasting that made it kind of really suited to mobile consumption. And so I think because of that — the type of media that it is and the type of engagement that it tends to engender in listeners, I think it was fairly easy to make the case that it is an interesting type of media for digital journalism.

I’m curious about reactions to your report. Personally, I feel like much of what was written reinforced other research I’ve seen. But given the different interviews you conducted for this project as well as the data you collected, how much of this do you think was “new” news to different people within the industry, versus a collective wisdom that was already being amassed?

Quirk: A lot of it is definitely collective wisdom, but I think what happened is that most people didn’t have an awareness of what was happening in different pockets. There is a little bit of a blindness — like, “What is this company doing versus that company?” And so they might be aware of general themes or general major issues facing podcasting. But the specifics, and how different companies are tackling these issues, that wasn’t very well known.

You go into what you call the “Serial” effect fairly early on in the report, and you discuss how few articles have been able to truly justify what is called the “audio renaissance.” Can you go into that a little bit? 

Photo by Casey Fiesler on Flickr and reused here with Creative Commons license.

Photo by Casey Fiesler on Flickr and reused here with Creative Commons license.
Quirk: Sure. I call that section the “so-called Serial effect.” What happened is that as media outlets started covering podcasting again after the success of Serial, there was kind of an oversimplification — like, “Podcasting is back,” “We’re in a renaissance.” But there wasn’t really substantive support for that claim.

As I was looking at the actual facts and figures, it wasn’t so much that Serial had created this boom and all of the sudden, people were downloading in droves…It was that people who were already listening were listening more. And I think there was an increased awareness of the concept — because that’s been one of the consistent barriers to podcasting’s growth, the understanding of what is a podcast and how to get one. For some people, the awareness of Serial made them more aware of how to get podcasts and what they are. And I think it just had a lot of media attention… And there has been an increase in media outlets entering the space. So those were actual effects related to Serial, but not because of Serial.

Yes, and you talk about the improvement in technology and a lot more awareness among consumers. I was wondering, based on your research and the fallout of Serial, do you feel like a certain kind of fetishization of podcasting has arrived? Or would that confuse the fact that right now we’re just in the right time and place, and people ought to jump into the podcasting bandwagon?

Quirk: I think it’s tricky. There is this sense that maybe a lot of media outlets that weren’t into podcasting before are thinking, “Oh are we missing out? Should we jump into podcasting too?” And the nice thing about podcasting is that the barrier to entry isn’t huge. It’s not as difficult, for example, as video, to get into.

On the other hand — especially if you’re an individual or a smaller media outlet — most of the time, it’s going to be too challenging to actually profit from it, and to make good-quality podcasts…Unless you have a strategic plan going into it and an awareness of the medium and good editors on your team, you aren’t necessarily going to have a good podcast.

I think there is going to be a bit of a shakeout, probably, in the future, where people decide to invest in it, and others who probably haven’t put in the time and the research in the first place will probably let podcasting go. Because it’s not so easy to make profit from it. You have to go into it and strategize. And part of the report discusses the different things that podcasting can do for you, which isn’t necessarily profit-oriented directly. But it could do things for you that would generate profit in an indirect way.

Are you referring to loyalty and engagement?

Quirk: Exactly. I outlined three things that podcasts can do for you, or three approaches that people take when they produce podcasts. I call them “operating philosophies.” So, for example, the premium philosophy is that podcasting offers something extra to your readers. There is a connection with the host, a sense of human contact because you are listening to a voice and you come to know the host. So oftentimes, leveraging the relationship and leveraging the contact inspires consumers to perhaps pay extra, or pay for a subscription — that kind of a thing.

Another philosophy is “value added.” It’s basically just improving brand recognition and brand marketing, I guess. For example, BuzzFeed. Their hosts have a very loyal following, and so then their relationship with BuzzFeed is going to potentially be positively impacted — because you’re looking to the podcast, and you have a different way of engaging with them too. And for example, they do a lot of live events now. So you can kind of make profit from that.

Photo by and used with Creative Commons.

Photo by and used with Creative Commons.
So you discuss how podcasting should be considered a mobile-first medium. Would you say this is true for all kinds of reporting or storytelling on the radio now, given how we’re consuming the audio? 

Quirk: I don’t think yet. Radio isn’t yet a mobile-first medium.

And so when you say radio, just to clarify, you mean…

Quirk: Just terrestrial radio, anything that’s aired over the airwaves. And most radio listening happens in cars. And yes, probably in the next ten years, most people are going to have connected cars, and so most people are probably going to switch from listening on the radio and more on podcasts via their smartphones, in their cars. So that’s going to be a major shift.

Now, the host’s credibility is a huge thing for listeners and a huge thing for the podcasting community when it comes to advertising. On the plus side, these ads end up being “stickier” because you trust the host. But on the other hand, do you ever see this becoming an issue down the line of journalistic ethics?

Quirk: Yeah, and that’s already very much in conversation. I think the easiest or best example of a journalistic outlet grappling with this is Gimlet Media. They have a couple of episodes in their podcast StartUp where they tackle this question. And I think because podcasting is still kind of in its infancy, and the business models for podcasting are still kind of in its infancy, I think people are still working out the lines and the ethics. So there is already a discussion about that, and that’s going to continue being a discussion, especially as branded content and sponsored content become more common. But that’s a very similar conversation to what’s happening in the rest of digital journalism.

In some circles, it seems like there is an identity crisis when discussing audio now. Like, it’s about producers versus distributors, or news-driven radio versus storytelling podcasts. What do you think might have to change in order for podcasting and radio to peacefully co-exist, or to not really have this identity crisis anymore?

Quirk: Well, as you were saying, a big part of the identity crisis is the role of the distributor. Do you need someone like NPR nowadays? Do you need them to have a successful podcast? I mean, yes and no. They still have a huge audience, and they still reach a lot of people. But you don’t necessarily need them … and that’s a big part of the identity crisis. Why do you need radio, why do you need a podcast, can radio be a podcast all the time? And content-wise, is it exactly the same?

I think people are realizing that it is similar, but they’re actually quite different, and the way people listen to radio is actually quite different from podcasting. What’s very interesting is that a lot of radio stations are creating podcasting divisions, or are starting to realize that they need to put more emphasis on podcasting. And sometimes it’s literally just a radio show that they’ve put into digital form. But I think there are also some resources going into making podcast-first content.

There is definitely the relationship between radio and podcasting. Good radio producers are generally on the ground running when it comes to making podcasts. But there is definitely room for them to be different, and I think that it what is really interesting to podcasting producers. Considering what is going to be the future of the content, and how can we break away from some of the mental limitations that radio has put on it, and perhaps allow the form to become it’s own thing.

What kind of mental limitations are you alluding to?

Quirk: If you are brought up in public radio, you have certain things that you are taught from the beginning that then becomes second nature. Like, maybe you put on your public radio voice, and the way you structure it is a certain way, and the way you write it is a certain way. Most radio people are very very good at writing clearly and concisely, because they know that when people are listening to the radio, you have to grab their attention all the time, because they might easily drift out.

Photo by  James Cridland and used here with Creative Commons license.

Photo by
James Cridland
and used here with Creative Commons license.
So there is a kind of style to radio and a structure to radio writing that a lot of people have already when it comes to podcasting. Because a lot of stuff in podcasting comes from public radio. And storytelling structures as well are kind of already innate because they’re learned it over time. I think what’s interesting to people is what’s going to happen when people with no radio experience start making podcasts. How will the podcasts be different, how will they be the same, how can they break out of the mold that we didn’t even realize we were placing on the medium?

To sum up, what do you think are the biggest barriers to podcasting’s growth right now? And can we guess that certain shakeups might happen, or is there a certain kind of wait-and-see mentality?

Quirk: I definitely think that some people are wait and see. Obviously, some people are placing their bets in this space and assuming that it’s going to take off. Now, I do think having enough resources to have a successful podcast and kind of taking the risk that it will pay off — that’s still a big barrier. Right now advertising is doing really well with podcasting. So it’s not a huge risk if you have numbers that are big enough and can easily get advertising sponsorship. But for smaller outlets, a big barrier is that it’s just harder to grow an audience from zero, especially if the space has a lot more competition than it used to have.

And there are also technological aspects. Google just announced that it will make it easier for Android users to access podcasts via Google play, and that was a huge problem because Android users didn’t have a very good way for accessing podcasts. And then a lot of people talk about this idea of search and discoverability … But I don’t think it’s that huge a barrier, and naturally, it’s already happening. Like, companies like Spotify and Acast are creating algorithms so that you can tag podcasts — like you can listen to one and be recommended another.

I think another huge barrier, though, is the industry standard. The metrics. It’s like reading apples and oranges. And there needs to be the creation of one standard for metrics so that people can people see what they are and compare them. Because I do think there is probably some inflation happening.

Is there anything else you wanted to add?

Quirk: I think an important part of the report is this idea of having control over your audience. And using podcasting as a way to gain direct contact with your audience. And perhaps that’s easier to do via podcasting than other digital media.

For example, when PRX did a crowd-funding campaign, they used Kickstarter, and it was a tremendous success. And this year they used a different platform called CommitChange. And the reason why they did that is that via CommitChange, they had access to a database where they could distribute. So now they have a community they can tap into…Versus in Kickstarter, everyone who signs up via Kickstarter belongs to Kickstarter. And that’s an interesting problem facing podcasting. Because there’s even a problem with iTunes — they [the audience] are not yours. So there is a tension there, with having control over your audience versus the platforms that might make it difficult to access them directly.

Right….but that’s kind of true too when discussing Facebook being a gatekeeper to news and information.

Quirk: Definitely, it’s very similar to that.

UPDATE: This post has been updated to clarify that StartUp podcast is a part of Gimlet Media, and that Android users could access podcasts, but not easily.

If you were hooked to this Q&A, be sure not to miss this upcoming event sponsored by WNYC and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, “Why Podcasting Matters.” Vanessa Quirk, along with WNYC’s Paula Szuchman, Gimlet Media’s Matt Lieber, Acast’s Sarah van Mosel, Panoply’s Andy Bowers and PRX’s Kerri Hoffman, will discuss the challenges facing the industry and ideas for fostering creative content and diverse talent. The event takes place Feb. 4 in New York.

Sonia Paul is a freelance journalist reporting in India and the United States, and is the editorial assistant at MediaShift. Her work has appeared in a broad range of media, including the Al Jazeera Media Network, Caravan, Foreign Policy, Guardian, Mashable, New York Times, PRI’s The World, Roads & Kingdoms and VICE News. She previously produced the grant-funded podcast series Shizuoka Speaks, based in Japan. She is on Twitter and Instagram @sonipaul.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Daily Connect: Zotero #CCoursesResearch Group

Daily Connect: Zotero #CCoursesResearch Group:

I used a Zotero plugin called Papermachines and extracted the word cloud below from all the research collected so far in the #Ccourses Zotero Research Group. Papermachines is capable of lots of interesting data fluencies from n-grams to word clouds to topic modelling. This will be more useful as more items are added to the Zotero database and the collection of research links is tweaked.

ccourses research group wordcloud

What does this word cloud signify ?  It is more about the tool at this point and not the analysis so there isn’t much to observe yet.  Part of becoming network fluent is to not only find tools but to evaluate them for yourself AND for others.  I can’t do that …yet.  What started out as an anaylsis of one web site in a previous post has now become a meta-analysis of several.  Thanks #dailyconnect for yet another rabbit hole.  Hope this proves of some value to someone beside me.  I want these posts to bridge across to others who I don’t know so well in addition to bonding me further to those who do know me.  Frankly, I am beginning to wonder if I am doing much of either in this blog.  As Karl Fogel says, “The scarce resource will continue to be human attention.”

Original enclosures: