Category Archives: Hackenblog

You better slow that blogging down

“The big adult fiction title of this past fall was Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. The sequel to the author’s 1985 bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale was unveiled with a 500,000-copy first printing. At the time, The Handmaid’s Tale was benefiting from a surge of interest in its wildly popular TV adaptation on Hulu, and from a renewed interest in dystopian tales following the election of Donald Trump. Now, with the globe seized by a pandemic and millions of Americans hunkered down because of shelter-at-home orders, editors say they are interested in lighter fare—mostly.”
In Pandemic, Dystopian Fiction Loses Its Luster for Editors, by Rachel Deahl, PW, 15 May 2020
Continue reading You better slow that blogging down

Tour de Cybor

“Behind the scenes a local group is hoping to buy the 183-year-old newspaper in an attempt to free the Sun from further downsizing and cement its future. The Baltimore Sun is owned by Tribune Publishing. Alden Global Capital, a New York-based hedge fund infamous for purchasing, then gutting, newspapers across the US, owns a 32% stake in Tribune Publishing.”
Baltimore Sun looks to non-profit status to stay afloat amid coronavirus threat, by Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian, 12 May 2020
Continue reading Tour de Cybor

Cyberspace is a profound pleasure

“The popular conception of Jerry Brown’s spirituality was formed in the 1970s, and was realized in the nickname, Moonbeam. It’s an unfair nickname, I think. It was also the wrong time to take the full measure of him. He was 38 years old, and he’s lived a whole political lifetime since then. His search for a belief system was taken too lightly and was conflated in this idea that California itself was not to be taken seriously. He kind of got mixed in this stew of hippies and the Summer of Love, none of which really applied to Jerry.”
Why Jerry Brown’s Biographer Thinks ‘Moonbeam’ Is Unfair, by Jill Cowan and Conor Dougherty, NYT, 12 May 2020

That’s Governor Moombeam to you, bud.
Continue reading Cyberspace is a profound pleasure

On reading the internets

“The pandemic has prompted some affluent Americans to wonder whether cities are broken for them, too. It has suspended the charms of urban life while accentuating the risks, reviving an hoary American tradition of regarding cities with fear and loathing — as cesspools of disease, an image that all too easily aligns with prejudices about poverty and race and crime. Even New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, has described New York City’s density as responsible for its suffering.”
The Cities We Need, by NYT Editorial Board, NYT, 11 May 2020
Continue reading On reading the internets


“As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools to close beginning in March, sales at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt began to cool, leading to a 2.4% drop in revenue, to $189.9 million, for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, compared to last year’s first period, the company reported. The publisher had an operating loss of $338.2 million in the quarter, up from $101.8 million in the first period of 2019. The most recent loss includes a one-time charge of $262 million which HMH said was “a direct result of the adverse impact that Covid-19 has had on the company.” To offset the decline in sales, HMH initiated a number of cost-saving measures in late March, which included the imposition of a four-day work week across the company, stopping all discretionary spending, and temporary closures of warehouses and distribution centers. No time has been given for when a full work week will be restored. Despite the expense reductions, HMH said it expects that its businesses will be “severely impacted” by Covid-19 in the second quarter ending June 30.”
HMH Hoping for a Second Half Rally, by Jim Milliot, PW, 07 May 2020

A four-day work week is better than a zero-day work week, yes?
Continue reading Cybertopia

Muna’s Dissertation

“With an increased demand for services and a decrease in access to government funding, nonprofit organizations need additional money to remain viable and high-net-worth individuals provide a practical option. To understand the charitable behavior of individuals, the literature largely focuses on the drivers or motivations underlying their giving. Through 20 semistructured interviews with high-net-worth philanthropists, this study looked at the reasons behind their giving based on the concept of making an impact. This study found that high-net-worth individuals exhibit a “giving style” that defines a favored approach to making an impact through philanthropic giving as well as specific attributes and engagement preferences for interacting with a nonprofit. This study identified four giving styles: a) transformational, deep systemic change style; b) seed funding / multiplier style; c) feeling the impact style; and d) collaborating partners style, although there are others. The attributes and engagement preferences outline experiential and personal predilections such as preferences about how and when to fund, the type and complexity of activities; and level of engagement with staff, beneficiaries and others. Through conversation and research, nonprofit staff can determine a high-net-worth individual’s general giving style, attributes and engagement preferences, provide complementary activities and engender greater satisfaction and interest with the ultimate aim of generating greater funding from high-net-worth philanthropists. Based on these findings, future research can expand on understanding the activities and communications nonprofits can offer to better align with high-net-worth philanthropists’ attributes, engagement and giving preferences to strengthen relationships and increase personal and financial investments in nonprofit organizations.”
Making an impact with high-net-worth philanthropists: understanding their attributes and engagement preferences at nonprofit organizations, by Muna Deriane, Dissertation, 2019

The fabulous Dr. Muna Deriane’s brilliant dissertation! Now online for your reading enjoyment.

Any time you got nothing to do…

“In the rare instances where a pathogen does cross the species divide, bats are almost never to blame, Plowright says. Many cultures have a long history of hunting and eating bats and other animals for subsistence. But in recent decades, other human interactions with wild species have escalated to an unprecedented degree as urban areas balloon, forests fragment, and the global wildlife trade — including the sale of exotic luxury meats — booms. When bat viruses do make the hop to humans, it’s almost always because people have encroached into the territory of animals — not the other way around. Cross-species spillovers, which require a pathogen to be compatible with two often genetically dissimilar hosts in close contact, are extremely uncommon. But by charging into wild spaces, we humans ‘put ourselves in harm’s way,’ says Dan Crowley, a disease ecologist at Montana State University. ‘If I walk in front of a train, I’m not going to blame the train.'”
Covid-19 Reignites a Contentious Debate Over Bats and Disease, by Katherine J. Wu, Undark, 5 May 2020

“According to a growing body of research, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is almost certainly a naturally occurring virus that initially circulated in bats then spilled into humans. But that hasn’t stopped some from trying to find a more sinister origin. ‘It seems like such an extreme event that people are looking for an extraordinary explanation for it,’ said Stephen Goldstein, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah who studies coronaviruses. No single piece of evidence has yet confirmed the virus’ origin. But according to scientists, the evidence that does exist paints a consistent picture of a wild virus, not one that sprang from a lab.”
Why Scientists Think The Novel Coronavirus Developed Naturally — Not In A Chinese Lab, by Philip Kiefer, 538, 4 May 2020

I suppose human malevolence is easier to understand, and less frightening, than the enormity of nature.

Human stupidity, on the other hand…
Continue reading Any time you got nothing to do…

Always blog what you want to remember (and then forget it)

“When the garden eels at a Tokyo aquarium remove their heads from the sand, they are usually confronted by pairs of human eyes staring back at them through the glass. But like other animals around the world, the eels at Sumida Aquarium are finding their environment transformed by the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. They also appear to be forgetting what humans look like. Concerned that the garden eels – so named because their grass-like appearance when, en masse, they poke their heads out of the seabed – could come to see visitors as a threat, the aquarium is asking people to get in touch in the form of a calming video calls.”
Japanese aquarium urges public to video-chat eels who are forgetting humans exist, by Justin McCurry, The Guardian, 1 May 2020

Defendez les anguilles du jardin!

“There is a third option that your employees might prefer: a ‘workshares’ program. This is where you reduce employees’ hours and pay and they receive partial unemployment payment from the state. It can be an advantage for businesses–that get to keep their employees–and employees, who get to keep their paychecks.”
How ‘Workshares’ Can Help You Keep Employees on the Payroll, by Susan Lucas, Evil HR Lady, 20 April 202
Continue reading Always blog what you want to remember (and then forget it)