My name is Winston Hearn, and I am interested in all aspects of life. I read a lot of essays and articles and this blog is where I post links I want to reference later and thoughts stemming from recent readings.
I'm @justwinston on Twitter.
I write front-end code and make videos for a living, find out more here.
Wednesday Freya and Win and I went to Disneyland. First time for all of us. It was really fun and we definitely enjoyed the experience but one small moment stood above the rest of the day as truly magical. I guess this term is supposed to be used for all moments at Disneyland; alas this was the only moment for me that registered on that level.
We were leaving one section of the park mid-afternoon. We had a sleepy child who had not napped as much as he needed; Freya and I were both kinda hungry; our feet were both definitely sore. But we noticed off to the side the line to meet Merida from Pixar’s Brave. Both of us were curious to see how accurate the Cast Member was to the character in the film, so we wandered over to see. When we arrived, the woman playing Merida was talking to the girl at the front of the line before they wandered over together to take a photo.
Even now as I recount this simple moment my eyes are tearing up because it was exquisite. Perhaps it’s the fact that Merida isn’t the traditional Disney Princess; perhaps it’s that her story has nothing to do with Prince Charming; perhaps it’s just the fact that the film was rather maligned and I like underdogs; whatever it is, there is something in Brave that I absolutely love. Wednesday confirmed this because the young lady we saw looked alive as she talked to the cast member playing Merida.
The girl talking to Merida couldn’t have been older than 8 and she was ecstatic to talk to someone who was clearly a hero. She had a Brave shirt on and she was rambling on and on to Merida about who knows what (she was far out of earshot). Whatever she had to say, she was excited and her energy was obvious to anyone who caught a glance of her interactions with Merida. She didn’t seem shy, she didn’t seem starstruck - she seemed brave. Seeing her talk to a character that she clearly loved and admired was a beautiful experience because I too find so much to love in the themes of Brave and the character of Merida - themes of being true to myself and loving those around me and yes, believing in the magic of non-romantic love.
All of this seems worth mentioning today because Editorially is shutting down. Editorially first crossed my radar because I had sketched in a notebook the idea of version control for writing after I first started working with Git in development. I never did anything with the idea but when I saw Editorially I knew the idea was being realized better than I personally could have ever imagined.
But they did.
For the past 4 months or so, I very much felt like what it must have been like for the young girl we saw at Disneyland. The team was incredible to work with and I genuinely enjoyed the time spent virtually with them in chat and face-to-face via Google hangouts. It is strange to realize that I have never actually met any of the team in person because I’m more fond of this team - as a whole and as individuals - than I have been of any other company I’ve worked for.
In my experience, encountering heroes always risks the chance of finding out they are kind of awful and not worth admiring. Wednesday I saw a young girl thrilled to meet one of her heroes and I could see from her smile that it was everything she hoped and more. Until that moment, I didn’t really have a way to explain what it’s been like to be a part of the team building Editorially. Working with this team was the rare chance to meet and spend time with people whose thoughts and work I have long respected and it was completely magical. I am sad that the job is ending, sad that the app is no longer around to help people write and collaborate, but mostly I am sad that I don’t get to be around these wonderful people on a daily basis anymore.
Jim Hinch’s examination of the shifting landscape of Christianity in America through the lens of Orange County and its Crystal Cathedral is fascinating and enjoyable. Culture is constantly changing and until now Christianity has arguably been a major force in the changes. This article is persuasive in its suggestion that religion may have far less of an overt impact in the coming decades, for better or worse.
That, to me, is the real problem. It’s also why I’ve used the terms “stereotypically male” and “stereotypically female” in this article; I’m sure that some part of our debating styles is due to how much testosterone is floating around our bodies, but some large part of it is learned. If you’re accustomed to arguing on radio programs, you have to shout because otherwise you would not get to speak. If you majored in women’s studies, you’ve probably had it drilled into you that shouting is “denying someone her voice.” On a talk radio show, crying would immediately invalidate your argument. At a feminist conference, shouting would make you the oppressor. I’m suggesting that both crying and shouting are emotional expressions, that some of these emotions are more destructive to debate and dialogue than others, and that we should all recognize our emotions and then channel them into rational discourse. That means dudes, too.
(…) I want a model of discourse in which we all behave like adults: mostly calm, as rational as possible, and informed but not controlled by our emotions. I would like a model of discourse in which stereotypically female emotions are less stigmatized, and stereotypically male emotions — especially destructive ones — are not given a free pass. I’d like us to acknowledge that we’re all emotional beings, and if Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh get national airtime to completely give in to those emotions, there’s no argument to be made anymore that women “too emotional” for anything. I’d like us to acknowledge that uncontrolled emotions are the cause of most crime, and most crime is committed by men.
This should really be shouted from the rooftops, although only if other people aren’t in the middle of a sentence. I am guilty of cutting people off mid-sentence more than I like to admit and it’s a learned behavior I must unlearn.
The economics of permanence implies a profound reorientation of science and technology, which have to open their doors to wisdom and, in fact, have to incorporate wisdom into their very structure. Scientific or technological “solutions” which poison the environment or degrade the social structure and man himself are of no benefit, no matter how brilliantly conceived or how great their superficial attraction. Ever-bigger machines, entailing ever-bigger concentrations of economic power and exterting ever-greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom.
Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful. Peace, as has often been said, is indivisible – how then could peace be built on a foundation of reckless science and violent technology? We must look for a revolution in technology to give us inventions and machines which reverse the destructive trends now threatening us all.
I am underlining at least a sentence per page in this book and I wish I could afford to buy a copy for all my friends. It’s exquisite in its simply-stated arguments against modern economic thought. I will be chewing on this book for years to come.
Hey cool you can make gifs with the tumblr dashboard now.
This is the written version of the presentation I gave in October for CSSDevConf in Estes Park Colorado. If you want a much better thought out and presented essay on the same lines, I recommend Frank Chimero’s "What Screens Want". Seriously, his is much better.
This talk is not about the technical aspects of css animations and transitions. Those are much better learned in the context of a tutorial online or reading the docs. I could probably spend an hour exploring them, but I’d get bored after 10 minutes and then how could I hold your attention?
So I’m going to focus on what motion is in the context of user interfaces, how it’s valuable, and some philosophical principles for how to employ it. I am interested in the design of interfaces not in how they look, but how they respond.
So let’s get started.
I spent Friday wiping tears from my eyes all day. Not tears of sadness or of joy, rather the tears that result when one feels deeply connected to the goodness of humanity. Watching Miles be BatKid - seeing the insane amount of people who turned out to cheer him on and be apart of the event - how wonderful. Sometimes we truly rise above all the shit and for a brief period the world feels beautiful and ok.
But after Miles went home to take a nap and dream about the day that San Francisco - sorry, Gotham - cheered him because he had saved them, I was left to wonder why this day seemed so anomalous. Even now, as tears run down my face from reflecting on how beautiful Friday was, I wonder why it seemed a bit disconcerting.
Let there be no confusion - Friday was beautiful and it was inspiring to watch it and I hope that Miles’ leukemia stays forever in remission so that for decades he can tell the stories of saving Gotham.
But my unease is in how hard it is for me to answer this: what would the story look like if a 5 year old girl wanted to be a superhero for a day? I don’t think it’s an awful question to ask, but the answers that I know of aren’t satisfactory, and it makes me uneasy. I don’t want Miles to not have had his day, I want this idea of communities rising up in really epic ways to be a thing that happens more often. But I’m not sure there exists within our pop-culture heroes a range of stories and characters that represent even the most superficial examination of the spectrum of humanity.
I know I’m not the first to question the lack of gender and racial diversity in pop culture. But I don’t know what else to do except to speak up when I see things that aren’t ok. Miles, and San Francisco’s incredible support of him on Friday were amazing. But the trouble I have imagining stories and days like that scaling beyond white boys, well, that’s awful. I hope this changes, even as I have no idea how change might happen.
I cannot know exactly how often my presentation of acceptable has helped me but I have enough feedback to know it is not inconsequential. One manager at the apartment complex where I worked while in college told me, repeatedly, that she knew I was “Okay” because my little Nissan was clean and I had worn a Jones of New York suit to the interview. She called the suit by name because she asked me about the label in the interview. Another hiring manager at my first professional job looked me up and down in the waiting room, cataloging my outfit, and later told me that she had decided I was too classy to be on the call center floor. I was hired as a trainer instead. I have about a half dozen other stories like this. What is remarkable is not that this happened. There is empirical evidence that women and people of color are judged by appearances differently and more harshly than are white men. What is remarkable is that these gatekeepers told me the story. They wanted me to know how I had properly signaled that I was not a typical black or a typical woman, two identities that in combination are almost always conflated with being poor.