Article Highlights for 2020
Inspired by my buddy Boris’ yearly review of his favorite articles. Here are mine (though a handful were only “new to me” in 2020).
- How to shop without Amazon - a little repetitive, but a good message
- I Have Everything, but I’m Still Sad and Angry - written months before the pandemic hit the Western world, this ended up being even more important than I realized when I read it back in January
- The Singer Solution to World Poverty - Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save influenced a lot of my thinking this year; this article is an extremely concentrated version of the moral argument
- The Cow Who… - an impressive melding of linguistics and ethics
- Blatant Benevolence - one of the more nuanced topics also covered by The Life You Can Save
- How to make a Personal SLA to find balance at work? (part 1) (and part 2) - really spoke to my personal interest in structure
- Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure removed the toxicity from my workouts - a hugely positive message, surprising for a fitness game; inspiring if your exercise routine can feel more dreadful than invigorating
- Keeping a New Year’s Resolution - some of Singer’s examples hit closer to home than I was expecting
- Why You Should Stop Being So Hard on Yourself - a reminder to keep trying
- Life is Short - although the subject matter could be called “self-help,” Graham’s writing somehow feels more pragmatic than most other articles I’d label that way. Particularly relevant to me this year was the reflection on limiting regret through intentional appreciation
- A guide to navigating the Trump-Iran Story - balanced coverage on a hugely important and confusing event that was soon overshadowed by still other hugely important and confusing events
- The Case for Reparations - my introduction to Ta-Nehesi Coates. This article helps explain how and why America is distinctly plagued by racism.
- U.S. Killing Of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani ‘Was Unlawful,’ U.N. Expert Says - published in July, NPR was doing its job by not forgetting about this issue amid everything that had happened in the preceding six months. Tragically, “The investigator also says the U.S. has not produced any proof to back its claim that the attack was justified by the need to stop an imminent attack.”
- Reading op/eds that I oppose helps me stay vigilent to biases in sources I typically agree with. Two that had me going this year were 5 Ways You Can Fight Back In The Cultural Civil War and The Disinformationists.
- The Election That Could Break America - another helpful bookmark for a future where our uncertainty during these times might feel more vague. Another case where our fears outpaced reality. Update 2021-01-06: spoke too soon, there
- College-Educated Voters Are Ruining American Politics - feeding my darker desires for self criticism, but that stuff abounds. This piece concludes with some constructive advice
- How to prepare for coronavirus in the U.S. (Spoiler: Not sick? No need to wear a mask.) - a good reminder of how much we’ve learned. The title has been amended since initial publication, but the content still reflects an outmoded way of thinking about the virus
- How the Pandemic Will End - acknowledges how little we know and how much we’ve had to learn together. This will be important years from now, when it’s hard to remember exactly how we came to understand things. It’s also full of hope.
- Is This American Resilience? - has a lot to say about American culture with some great reflection on the effects of September 11th in particular.
- Apple and Google’s COVID-19 Exposure Notification API: Questions and Answers - the EFF dances a fine line between warning of the risk and supporting the cause. A lot of good technical detail, too. The best part, though, is the insistence on intentionality and transparency in the end-of-life process. Also interesting how little contact tracing has seemed to matter in hindsight.
- Now Is the Time to Cut the Defense Budget - Hopeful analysis, tragic consequence
- The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying - amazing conclusion, rivaling “Is This American Resilience?”
- I Felt Fine, But Tested Positive For The Coronavirus. What’s That Really Mean? - relatable and full of references. All making the case for the argument at the very end: we still know nothing
- Exaggerated risk of transmission of COVID-19 by fomites - another reminder for the kinds of things we used to fear
- New browser on the block: Flow - I was hugely surprised that anyone would take on the challenge of implementing a web browser these days. I was just as disappointed that it’s a closed-source project
- The web’s a threat to democracy? Think again, Taiwan says. - my introduction to Audrey Tang
- Snowden: Tech Workers Are Complicit in How Their Companies Hurt Society - some well-deserved finger wagging from a writer who knows a bit about sacrifice
- The PACT Act’s Attempt to Help Internet Users Hold Platforms Accountable Will End Up Hurting Online Speakers - even-handed and thorough
- Mozilla’s uncertain future - insightful and well-reasoned
- Web browsers on iOS - web developers really ought to reconsider their use of Apple devices
- The Permissions Based Web - writing on the verge of change in how we think about the web platform
- Paul Dini Talks BATMAN: THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE - Dini’s love for the character and the universe is so obvious, and it’s inspiring that he holds it after all these years.
- Wikipedia - Penn & Teller’s Smoke and Mirrors - Desert Bus
- Scroll Back: The Theory and Practice of Cameras in Side-Scrollers - impressive analysis, and some heavy nostalgia for a child of the nineties
- I Thought I Would Have Accomplished a Lot More Today and Also by the Time I Was Thirty-Five - funny and so true it hurts
- Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs: An Oral History of Frasier - nice reflections from the cast. I’d love to watch more of this show
- Casino Royale’s poker scene was as elaborate as a James Bond stunt - writing like this makes you want to watch the movie again
- Kevin Conroy Reads Batman: The Adventures Continues #1 - fan service to the max
- Enhancement Drug - SNL - Dwayne Johnson is great
- Unreal Engine 5 Revealed!. “We’ve added the ability to trigger seamless contextual animation events like her hand on the door.” Technology like this sometimes feels like the strongest argument in favor of simulation theory.
- !!Con West 2020 - Jason Orendorff: Wolf, Goat, and Cabbage In Two Styles!! - Jason Orendorff’s combination of technical ability, communication skill, and passion is commendable.
- Conan Addresses The Harvard Class Of 2020 - I can’t believe how well Conan commands the silence of a virtual speech. Comedic timing at its finest.
- A Special Performance of Cowboy Bebop’s “The Real Folk Blues” feat. Yoko Kanno, Steve Blum, and More - the original recording gets me every time. Seeing so much talent collaborating despite the pandemic was inspiring back in May. Hell, it’s still inspiring.
- GoldenEye 007’s ‘Impossible’ Record Was Just Achieved - Remembering the hours I poured into this game. My personal best (Facility in under 2:05) seems mundane compared to these efforts, but it was a nice reminder.
- WE’RE ALL DOOMED - Trump vs. Biden ft. “Weird Al” Yankovic - a familiar face had me laughing at a time where I didn’t feel like anything was very funny
- Breaking Benjamin and Gavin Rossdale - Alice In Chains’ “Would” (Live in Reno) - like comfort food but for alternative rock. Comfort flannel.
- P.T. SILENT HILLS
- Curb Your Enthusiasm: MAGA Hat
- LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems! Episode 01
- Veep: Julia Louis-Dreyfus & V.P. Joe Biden
- St. Vincent - Los Ageless (ACOUSTIC)
- Andy’s Wildly Inappropriate “Wheel Of Fortune” Guesses
- China & Uighurs: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
- Judgement on COVID-19 goes HEAVY METAL [Kenneth Copeland Remix] [I Demand] - a remarkable performance on both parts. The musician’s refusal to editorialize leaves room for interpretation, and call my naive, but I like to think of this as a statement on common ground. I mean, you slap some mascara on Kenneth Copeland, and he could open for Alice Cooper.