Bookmarks – Promoting other people's work

And, is the world getting better?

Spoiler: yes and no.

Some things are getting better. Some things are worse. Whodathunkit?

This is a phenomenon as old as the web itself. Seth Godin wrote about it back in 2008 and it is just as true now:

Last month, I posted excerpts from my new book. I also wrote a glowing post about Garr's new book on presentations.  Guess what? My stats show that I sold more copies of Garr's book than mine.

The truism of the web: people talking about you is far more effective than talking about yourself.

Blogs and self promotion by Seth Godin (291 words).

“People talking about you is far more effective than talking about yourself.”

Or, in other words, unless you are a part of a community of people who support each other’s efforts, nothing you make or write on the web will amount to much.

We’re in a pretty good place with web fonts. The same can not be said about other web type features.

Justification is supported by every browser using “text-align: justify”, but it is of very low quality. It doesn’t look like browsers will ever adopt the advanced justification algorithms used in TeX and InDesign. This is a shame because it really improves the quality of fully justified text (and to a lesser degree the quality of left, center and right justification).

In fact, fully justified text is pretty useless because we don’t have good browser support for hyphenation (remember, never justify text without hyphenation). While CSS hyphenation is supported by most browsers, it is not on Chrome. You’ll need to do your hyphenation on the server or using a client-side library for now.

Bram Stein by (2181 words).

Or, you know, just left-justify everything.

If that sentence sent shivers down your spine, don’t worry. As invasive as it is, Microsoft does allow Windows 10 users to opt out of all of the features that might be considered invasions of privacy. Of course, users are opted in by default, which is more than a little disconcerting, but let’s focus on the solution.

Windows 10 is spying on almost everything you do – here’s how to opt out by Zach Epstein (750 words).

Here are just some of the things the world is getting “better” at.

The world is getting better at mass extinction (as The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert has so hauntingly documented).

The world is getting better at climate change (as NASA’s James Hansen has so persuasively demonstrated).

The world is getting better at economic stagnation (as Nobel Laureates Joe Stiglitz and Amartya Sen have convincingly argued).

The world is getting better at creating debt and toxic financial instruments which have little real value (as a cursory glance at basic financial statistics reveals).

Is the World (Really) Getting Better? by Umair Haque (3878 words).


I am a dinosaur. A reprobate. I am a liberal who has seen the light, and a conservative who has dwelled in the darkness. So I do not believe overmuch in human progress. I believe in material progress, in social progress, and in, perhaps, a naive kind of ethical progress. But human progress is hazier, indistinct, a storm on the sea. Can we say, today, that we are better people than we were millennia ago? Can we say that we are wiser, smarter, nobler, truer? I am not sure. The ledger never balances easily. And sometimes it will not balance at all.

Is the World (Really) Getting Better? by Umair Haque (3878 words).