Just Because It’s Your Hypothesis, Doesn’t Mean It’s The Correct One

I love these thoughts from Carl Sagan:

Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.

It comes from a longer piece about challenging “facts” and “authorities” in the search for something closer to truth. You can read more here: Carl Sagan’s tools for critical thinking and detecting bullshit.

When Even Planetary Scientists Are Driven From Twitter

Not too long ago, I wrote about how I was seeing so much value in Twitter because of the people I choose to follow. One of the highlights of my Twitter feed has been Dr Sarah Hörst, a Planetary Scientist at Johns Hopkins University.

Sarah is an inspiration, and I enjoy her tweets tremendously. She tweeted recently that she briefly left Twitter, only to return to be faced with renewed abuse from repulsive examples of our species.

Dr Hörst tweeting about abuse

Reading tweets like this leaves me feeling a little more disgusted with Twitter (the company). Despite all of Jack Dorsey’s assurances, regret, and promises, incredible people like Sarah feel like they should leave the service because remaining on Twitter means exposing yourself to relentless attacks and abuse.

It's not like Twitter doesn't see this stuff

I keep hoping for alternatives. I still believe that something like Mastodon is an answer but, for that to work, it needs to have the sort of community that Twitter still delivers.

I have this sense that I still need to use Twitter because the people I admire and want to follow are there, even though using Twitter increasingly leaves me feeling like I’m giving up part of my humanity in the process.

Inspiring developers make Twitter worthwhile

Twitter has become a complicated digital space, to say the least. My "Inspiring developers" Twitter list is one of the highlights of my Twitter experience, and the developers on that list make Twitter worthwhile, despite all the cruft we see there.

Twitter has become a complicated digital space, to say the least. My “Inspiring developers” Twitter list is one of the highlights of my Twitter experience, and the developers on that list make Twitter worthwhile for me, despite all the cruft we see there.

One of the themes that Twitter has helped highlight is how women developers are routinely marginalised, dismissed, devalued. I decided to seek out inspiring women developers and follow them because I was interested in their perspectives on development, life, and other issues.

I’m glad I did. Sure, there are some men on that list (there are plenty of male developers who I admire too) but I wanted to be exposed to different voices.

I am continually inspired by the developers I add to my list, and there are times when I’m tempted to unfollow virtually everyone else and just focus on this growing group of smart, thoughtful, and innovative professionals. See for yourself:

I have learned so much from virtually every person on this list. The fact that this list began as an effort to focus on women developers has become secondary to how much I appreciate being able to subscribe to their shared thoughts.

By the way, if there are developers who aren’t on my list and who inspire you, let me know in the comments or on Twitter?

Photo credit: WOCinTech Chat, licensed CC BY SA 2.0

Why you should learn to program

I just watched Christian Genco's 2012 talk at TEDxSMU titled "You Should Learn to Program". It's a fun 10 minute talk that highlights why it's so awesome to learn to code.

I just watched Christian Genco‘s 2012 talk at TEDxSMU titled “You Should Learn to Program“. It’s a fun 10 minute talk that highlights why it’s so awesome to learn to code.

You should watch this video, regardless of whether you can code or not. As an aside, Genco is a pretty interesting person to follow too.

Om Malik: showing us how it’s done

Dave Winer paid tribute to Om Malik on Twitter. I shared my perspective in reply and it seemed wrong to leave my response just as a tweet so I thought I'd re-post my response here too.

Dave Winer paid tribute to Om Malik on Twitter. I shared my perspective in reply and it seemed wrong to leave my response just as a tweet so I thought I’d re-post my response here too:

@Om is an inspirational blogger/writer. One of a very small group of people who represent what makes a blog such a wonderful medium (you too, sir). When I think about how to be a better blogger and writer, Om is usually the first person I look to for inspiration.

Here is the Twitter thread:

Photo credit: Om Malik by Christopher Michel, licensed CC BY 2.0

What I think about when I hear “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

Dover Police officer Jeff Davis' dashcam performance of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" is the first one that comes to mind when I hear her fun track. If you haven't watched the video, you really should. It's awesome.

Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” is a fun track but when I hear it, I don’t think about her original music video. Instead, I think about this fun dashcam video of this Dover Police officer, Jeff Davis, lipsyncing Swift’s hit song. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and watch it:

I think my favourite parts of the video are what he does when he comes across other motorists or pedestrians.

The original music video is also a fun video:

A wonderful story about Steve Wozniak

I really like Dave Winer’s story about Steve Wozniak which he titled “A story about Woz“. I especially enjoyed this bit:

I thought how cool. Here’s a guy who doesn’t have to care, he’s richer than god, and look at how passionate he is about the product.#

I felt like I had really accomplished something.#

The thing is that Woz is still doing it. Travelling around the world, meeting with regular people, listening to their dreams, and helping them if he can.#

He’s like a technology elf. He believes in the power of people, not just as users of technology but also as creators of technology.#

Read the whole post, it’s worth it! The last line is probably my favourite.

A story about leaving life-long extremism

Megan Phelps-Roper grew up as a member of the Westboro Baptist Church. She shared her story about leaving life-long extremism and the role Twitter played in her education.

Megan Phelps-Roper related her story about leaving life-long extremism as a member of the Westboro Baptist Church that is worth watching and listening to.

She credits Twitter for exposing her to very different perspectives on the extremist positions she championed since childhood as a member of this church and her ultimate decision to make a break with these ideologies.

You may also want to read a 2015 article in the New Yorker about her too. I have saved it to read later and only just glanced at it. It should be a very interesting read.

Twitter has been under fire for some time now as an enabler for trolls and its failure to protect people targeted by those trolls. This story touches on Twitter’s positive influences and while Twitter has a lot of work to do, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that so many of its users have benefited positively from the service.