Ronit Ray


Weekly Digest: Jul 26 - Aug 01, 2021

2021-07-29 • 4-minute read

So my plan for this blog was to write (on average at least) one post a week for an entire year to just see if I could, and maybe to polish out my writing. We're about 30 weeks into the year and I have only about 21 posts written, so it's fair to say that cat isn't getting back in the bag anytime soon.

And so, for the purpose of stat-padding, or, in a more charitable sense, writing without much original thought, I'm thinking of putting up a weekly "digest" of content I enjoyed across the internet and sporadically outside of it. Here goes nothing.

Books

I finished Alexandria Bellefleur's Written in the Stars this week, a suggestion from NPR's Life Kit podcast. I haven't read a "romance" book that was solely "romance" in a long, long time, so this was a refreshing change of pace. About 10% into the book, I wasn't enjoying it very much because I genuinely didn't like either of the main characters. The writing as well as the characterization steadily improved, though, and I quite enjoyed the ride. It was pretty vanilla as things go, and played almost everything by the book, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing at all. I did feel like they rushed the end way too much, but that's alright. A fun read when you're all blocked up. 3.5/5.

Up next, I'm tackling the formidable Don Quixote (or rather The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha) by Miguel de Cervantes. It's absolutely massive and I'm not sure if it's my thing or whether I can even digest something of its size at this moment, but I feel like the only way to tackle it that would do it justice is to dive head-first into it, throwing caution to the wind.

Articles

I Published a Fake Paper in a ‘Peer-Reviewed’ Journal by Bradley Allf on Undark. : An interesting look into how predatory "academic journals" exist to lend credibility to pretty much anything you'd like to get published, for the right price. Of course, some of them are happy to forgo the price of admission too, so long as they can recoup some other amount from readers down the line. A disgusting, scummy hive of misinformation and among the absolute worst that capitalism has to offer. Made me think about how we define credibility, how we must battle misinformation, and how we could build more robust systems in the future to tackle these issues.

Lessons learned from 15 years of SumatraPDF by Krzysztof Kowalczyk : Up close and personal with what has been and will always be one of my favourite pieces of software to be written for Windows. SumatraPDF is light, quick, customizable, and compatible with most formats you throw at it. It is shockingly great, and even now, years after having dropped Windows, my heart pines for it every now and then.

The Beigeness, or How to Kill People with Bad Writing: The Scott Alexander Method by Elizabeth Sandifer on Eruditorum Press: Did a better job articulating how I feel about the rationalist superhero that is Scott "Astral Phoenix Ten" (formerly Slate Star Codex) Alexander. Also raised larger issues with the rationalist community that I mostly agree with.

Videos

A COMPLETELY Upgradeable Laptop?- Linus Tech Tips on YouTube : A look into the Framework Laptop project that seeks to solve a lot of the issues plaguing laptops in the market right now. This is a cause I am fully behind, and I am greatly impressed by how they have been able to keep prices fairly competitive with top of the line laptops from big name brands despite not having the scale yet.

my cats ruin everything- Zoe Bee on YouTube : Zoe is a new(er) creator that I am extremely fond of. Her video on Sanora Babb spoke to me- it showed a passion for literature and a genuine affection for humankind that I can't quite put into words, but I found it lovely. More on topic, she has several incredible cats- Desmond, the orange tabby that is the prime subject of this video, reminds me a lot of Simba, my orange tabby who went missing a month back and has not made his way back to us. He was innocent, affectionate, cuddly and hundreds of things I never knew I needed and I never deserved- I miss him every single day.

Until next week.


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