Weeknote for 11/15/2020

Christmas labels


I spent the week learning about my tools. I don’t like barely figuring out what I’m doing each time I make these labels, so since I have time, I decided to learn a little more properly. Maybe I can get the labels made this week.

Life maintenance


I got some recalls on my car fixed. The first recall was announced around the beginning of the year (an airbag and seatbelt malfunction—kind of important!), but the fix wasn’t ready until about the time the lockdowns started. I’ve been procrastinating since then, but my family has been carefully planning a vacation together for Christmas, and I didn’t want to put off the repairs till the last minute before the big road trip.

That’s the point we’ve gotten to—a trip to the mechanic is the sole notable moment of my week. At the same time, it does feel like an accomplishment, because I’ve somehow gotten even worse about putting off practical tasks.



I added more political podcasts to try. I was already listening to too many, but I decided that in addition to keeping my cool while waiting for the election to be finalized, I wanted to hear from pundits across the political spectrum. I added some more on the right and a couple from further left.



I don’t know anything about these. I just searched for “socialist” in my podcast app. I was inspired by an intriguing interview with Vijay Prashad on Letters and Politics.

I’m not feeling too worried about the election now, and I’ve just about had my fill of 24/7 political commentary, so in the next week or two I’ll filter these podcasts to the few I might want to follow going forward, and then I’ll go back to Lex Fridman and audiobooks. I’m looking forward to some SFF and maybe some classic literature.

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2 Responses to Weeknote for 11/15/2020

  1. Bas Wijnen says:

    The life maintenance section sounds like you’re not very happy about your life at the moment. I’m sorry to hear that. If I was feeling like that, I think I would like to work on something with someone. If you think that would help you as well, and you want me to be that someone, please let me know. I’d enjoy doing a project with you. We’ll figure out what project. It can be playing games, or creating a computer program, or anything else really. Anything is possible, as long as I don’t need to leave my house for it, because that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon.

    I don’t read all your posts, but I always find politics interesting, so that’s why I started reading this week’s update. It’s great to see that you’re deliberately informing yourself from all sides. I don’t think I know any of the podcasts you list, so I can’t tell you if I would trust them. However, I do follow some YouTube channels on the left, and occasionally view some videos on the right as well. Here are some things that I think you should be aware of:
    – All people on the right seem to be funded by big industry, usually through some construction to make it less obvious that that is what’s happening.
    – People on the right lie, deceive and make up supposed facts all the time.
    – People on the left generally have to rely on regular people for their funding (main sources of income seem to be membership, Patreon and advertising money from YouTube). An exception to this is The Young Turks, which got some investor money (as well as relying on memberships).

    I’m sure you understand that I trust people who get paid by their viewers a lot more than people who get paid by people who have a financial interest in what they are saying, especially when time and time again it turns out they are lying hypocrites.

    Because I don’t know the ones you listed, I don’t know if this applies to them. I’m sure there exist regular people who are conservative and talk about the news from their perspective. (In fact, I know of one, see below.) There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s interesting to hear from them.

    The reason I’m writing this anyway is that I hope you are careful with who you believe. Due to their almost endless resources, channels like PragerU can do very effective propaganda, which looks convincing if you don’t know the facts. So my point is: make sure you know the facts. With any new channel you find (no matter where they stand), see if you can find someone explaining why they are wrong. In my experience, with right wingers you get well founded arguments against them, while left wingers are usually just called socialists, or it’s something equivalent to “haha, they looked really silly”. In other words, they’re not even trying to disprove their points.

    It feels like I’m writing a reply that is longer than your entire post… So let me finish by listing a few channels on the left that I like:
    – The Young Turks: They’re a huge online news operation. Started out like the others, but by now they have their own reporters as well. There is an endless supply of right wingers trying to take them down, so it’s easy to see if they have any substance against them (I couldn’t find anything serious).
    – The Majority Report with Sam Seder: Similar show. They have a communist (someone who advocates Marx, not someone who supports the former USSR or similar) as one of their hosts. It’s great to hear her perspective on the news. They also take phone calls, so all sorts of opinions are discussed, which is also very interesting. Sam is known for his long standing challenge to debate Steven Crowder and Dave Rubin. It’s long standing because neither of them dare to accept it.
    – The Rational National: This is a small (one person) channel by David Doel, a Canadian. He’s mostly talking about US politics though. His outside look at the country is refreshing (and it’s nice to see that he has the same reaction that I do to many issues in the US).
    – Secular Talk: This is also a small (not sure if it’s just one person) channel by Kyle Kulinski. He’s quite a bit more libertarian than I am, but it’s interesting to hear his perspective on the news.
    – Finally, the Hill Rising (Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti) is a great duo: Krystal is left wing (thus generally not supporting democratic party leadership, which is right wing and corrupt), and Saagar is right wing (but also generally not supporting republican leadership, which is insane level right wing and even more corrupt), so you get both perspectives on one show. Downside is that their videos are posted on the Hill’s channel, which means there are a lot of other things (mostly unedited news events without commentary) that are not so interesting (to me, anyway).

    Anyway, feel free to use or ignore any of that. 🙂

    And please let me know if you feel like doing a project together.

    Take care.

    • Andy says:

      Interesting idea about the project. I don’t have any collaboration ideas that would really work for me right now, but I’ll keep it in mind. Thanks for offering.

      About the podcasts, the main reason I’m sampling the political spectrum is so the hosts can fight with each other in my head, and maybe that’ll give me some sense of what’s true. The channels you listed come up in my YouTube recommendations, so I’ve seen a number of their videos, but I haven’t had a clear sense of who they are or where they’re coming from, so your comments on them are helpful. Rising has been especially confusing to me. I just bought their book so I could try to piece together their perspective. And I’ve seen a critique or two of PragerU, so I’m innoculated against that one.

      Thanks for your comment!

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