Thoughts on the Russo-Ukranian War

March 2022

The recent war in Ukraine has shocked the (Western) world and will probably, together with the (still ongoing) pandemic, be a moment of a great change in historical direction. A lot is being said, a lot of discourse generated and in typical jingoist fashion a lot of nuance is being lost. In this post I’d like to write out some of my own thoughts on this topic.


Books of 2021 (fiction)

December 2021

My yearly retrospective on the books I read, general impressions they left on me (if any of note). This post will go over the fiction works I’ve read and what I think about it in a line or two.


My ideal social network

July 2021

The nillies has been the decade of social media. From initial novelty to the digital equivalent of low-yield nuclear ICBM’s. The analogy is maybe a bit over dramatic, but it’s potential as a weapon has been demonstrated already. During these ten years, it has taken root almost everywhere on the globe. When older people started accepting it - and youngsters subsequently started to reject it in rebellion - was when it went from new frontier to established, settled fact.

I, too, was smitten by it all, rapidly accepting it as part of my (then fresh) university life. But with growing awareness, both from myself as from society at large, about these social networks, their workings, consequences and ideology, came a desire, not to return to an earlier internet, but for a different way to do social networking. In this blogpost I’ll try to explain my personal vision as a non-technical layman on what such a network would look like, where we can find existing inspiration and what pitfalls I think are to be avoided.


Building a new pc

March 2021

I was originally planning on doing the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian express this winter, but due to the ongoing pandemic that plan fell through. To console myself I decided to redirect the money planned for this into a new pc build. This will be the first time actually building one myself from scratch.


Books of 2020 (fiction)

December 2020

2020 was a good year, at least in terms of books read. And I don’t think that the global pandemic had that much to do with it. I’ve read over 50 books, which is probably a record (it is at least since 2016 when I started to keep a list of the books I read). But I haven’t written many reviews. In this blogpost I’ll revisit the fiction works I’ve read, chronologically, and write a line or two about it.


Books of 2020 (non-fiction)

December 2020

2020 was a good year, at least in terms of books read. And I don’t think that the global pandemic had that much to do with it. I’ve read over 50 books, which is probably a record (it is at least since 2016 when I started to keep a list of the books I read). But I haven’t written many reviews. In this blogpost I’ll go over the non-fiction works that I’ve read, chronologically, and write some of my thoughts about them.


Donations

October 2020

The coming year I want to give a monthly donation1 to projects, creators2 and organizations that I think are worthwhile, changing the recipient every month. I do this because supporting multiple projects continuously is difficult. The costs quickly adds up so that it’s difficult to give support to the wide range of the deserving.

And since I’m a dork who’s enamoured with the French Revolution, I’m using the French Republican calendar for this. This has the added benefit that it starts in September, thus the end of the month coincides more or less with the beginning of this experiment.


Leaving Facebook (part 2)

September 2020

Knowing the problems of corporate social media, and Facebook in particular, is one thing, but the practical process of leaving it is a whole other topic in itself. That’s what I’l try to expand upon here. Or in other words: what’s the actual plan? I’ll make a guess at the costs and benefits of leaving Facebook and I’ll look into some constructive steps I (and others too of course!) can take to transition to a post-Facebook lifestyle.


Leaving Facebook (part 1)

September 2020

Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly uneasy with Facebook and social media in general. I’ve had an account for over a decade now (since 2008) and it has become such an integrated presence in my life that it’s difficult for me to imagine it otherwise. But year after year, new revelations become public, new scandals get out, another terrible event get exacerbated, more misinformation spreads,… My insight into the technological, psychological and polticial functioning of social media on us as individuals and society has grown. And the negative conclusion is inescapable: it’s not good.

I know that I should quit - I’ve known that for some years now. I’ve made quite some changes to my online behaviour already. I cut out a whole bunch of Google owned apps, got rid of WhatsApp and switched to Signal, removed the Facebook app and Facebook Messenger from my phone. But in the end, I still have and use Facebook on daily basis. There are friends I keep in contact with, events to keep track of, updates about things I like (literally, in the case of Facebook). The idea to leave it all behind gives me nothing short of anxiety: I’ll lose so much.

Therefore I have resolved to pledge to quit Facebook by the end of this annus horribilis.