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Reading, watching, playing, using: March 2020

Here's the media I consumed and found interesting in March. We're all deep in the global pandemic, so I've decided to exclude covid-19 related media for this month - which means this list is a lot shorter, because I've basically been mainlining the news.

Apps

Houseparty. There may be serious issues with its privacy policy, so I'm not sure how long I'll continue to use it for. But it's been a lovely way to catch up with friends, often halfway across the globe. Also, my sister and I have been using it to play trivia games. It passes the time.

iA Writer. Not new to me, but I've started using it heavily. I sent a short story to a publisher, and I'm working on a few more. Its minimalist interface works well for me. (Even though it's a markdown editor, I don't use it to write markdown at all.)

Lemmings. A mobile remake of one of my favorite games. It's really good!

Streaming

Dark Waters. A gripping, beautifully-acted true story that cuts to the core of American capitalism: Dupont's efforts to hide its brazen chemical pollution.

Just Mercy. It starts a little too slow and by-the-numbers, but by the end, this story about the founding of the Equal Justice Initiative is undeniably powerful. Sometimes the unnuanced racism of the Alabama officials seems otherworldly, and that's exactly the point. There's so much work still to do.

Tiger King. Yes, I've been watching this, just like everyone else with a Netflix subscription. It's exactly the rapid descent into insanity this quarantine demanded.

Devs. Slow but deeply interesting. It reminds me a little of the excellent first season of Mr Robot. I'm not sure where it's going to go, but I'm a huge Alex Garland fan, and I'll follow him anywhere.

Notable Articles

Politics

The Man Behind Trump’s Facebook Juggernaut. "Before Parscale worked for the campaign, he was a digital marketer in San Antonio with no political experience. Referring to his work for Trump in 2016, he has said, “I was thrown into the Super Bowl, never played a game, and won.”"

Syrian Children Freeze to Death. Bombs Rain Down. And ‘Nobody Cares.’ "The Syrian government’s assault on a rebel-held province has created one of the worst humanitarian emergencies of a brutal nine-year war."

Sexism is Probably One Reason Why Elizabeth Warren Didn't Do Better. Infuriating.

Media & Society

Nine out of 10 people found to be biased against women. "Despite progress in closing the equality gap, 91% of men and 86% of women hold at least one bias against women in relation to politics, economics, education, violence or reproductive rights."

How Living Abroad Helps You Develop a Clearer Sense of Self. Co-signed.

A Photographer’s Parents Wave Farewell. A photographer captured her parents waving goodbye, every visit from 1991. The result is beautiful and heartbreaking.

Are You an Anti-Influencer? "Some people have a knack for buying products that flop, supporting political candidates who lose and moving to neighborhoods that fail to thrive."

Escape Pod 723: How Did it Feel to be Eaten? I really loved this science fiction short story. (I've also been enjoying the Nature Futures archive.)

A quick trip to the library, and suddenly, all is right with the world. Libraries are one of the wonders of the modern world. We can't let them fade away.

Technology

Funding for female founders increased in 2019—but only to 2.7%. "In 2019, investment juggernaut SoftBank poured at least $5 billion into the imploding co-working company. That's about $1.5 billion more than the total VC investment in all female-founded companies combined during the same period."

The History of the URL. A fairly technical history of one of the building blocks of the modern internet.

Apple benefits from forced Uighur labor at its iPhone supplier factories in China, according to an explosive new report. Your iPhone (and mine) might be made using concentration camp labor.

The untold origin story of eBay that I lived, and the times that could have killed it. The untold story of one of the internet's most famous successes.