Categories
Policy issues Science and nature

Join #TeamTrees, and plant more trees

We watched Mark Rober’s video promoting the #TeamTrees initiative to plant 20 million trees by the end of 2019, this morning:

I was fascinated to learn how trees capture carbon to build mass. I knew that trees absorbed carbon from the atmosphere, but didn’t quite realise how. He explained this as part of his pitch to contribute to the #TeamTrees initiative that a YouTube personality, MrBeast, started with this video:

A growing number of YouTube personalities have joined the call to contribute to the cause that, in turn, donates the money to the Arbor Day Foundation. Each dollar donated will result in a tree being planted.

This initiative won’t fix climate change, but it’s a positive step in the right direction, and sends a signal that this is important. We made a contribution this morning through the site. You can donate either through the #TeamTrees site, or on YouTube where you see donation buttons like this:

Closer to home for us is the Jewish National Fund that receives donations to plant trees in Israel, like these trees in the Ben Shemen forest just outside our city:

Trees in the Ben Shemen forest in central Israel

So, if you’d like to donate to initiatives that plant more trees, here are two options to start with:

More about this

If you’re interested in reading more about the challenges facing initiatives like this, The Verge has a pretty good article that you may want to read: “Planting trees to take on climate change isn’t as easy as YouTubers might think“. While there are certainly important considerations to bear in mind, this is still a worthy project to back.

Tackling climate change is a multi-faceted, long-term process. This is one step, and a way to make a contribution to our shared future on this planet.

Cover image by Daiga Ellaby
Categories
Business and work Coding Mindsets Policy issues

New Automattic research on how to improve gender representation for technical roles

Our team has just released a white paper titled “Trust, Growth,Inclusion: A Study ofWomen Engineers’Job-Search Priorities” that explores what motivates women and non-binary technical professionals to join companies, and what helps retain them.

Better gender representation is a challenge. I’m proud of our team’s efforts to better understand this challenge, and how to meet it. It’s clearly not something that’s capable of a simple fix, but I’m glad that we seem to be moving in a good direction. Here are some links if you’re interested in reading further:


If you’re interested in joining Automattic, we’re hiring people for a number of roles, especially in Engineering!

Categories
Blogs and blogging Policy issues Web/Tech

Your journey into the Personal-Website-Verse

I really enjoyed reading Matthias Ott’s post titled Into the Personal-Website-Verse. It’s an essay about why it’s so important to have your own space on the Web, and why IndieWeb is a great way to get there. It’s well worth the read.

There are many reasons to have your own site, at your own domain, that you control. Aside from retaining effective control over your content, the risk of entrusting our stories, and our content to centralised services like social networks is arguably greater:

One day, Twitter and other publishing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Medium will indeed die, like so many sites before them. And every time this happens, we lose most of the content we created and with it a fair amount of our collective cultural history.

Matthias Ott

There are so many options for creating a personal site including WordPress.com*, Micro.blog, GitHub Pages, Squarespace, and many more. I prefer platforms that let me take my content out, and move it to another platform if I decide to. I think you should too.

*And yes, as you know, I’m partial to WordPress as a long-time user, and because I work for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Caleb Jones
Categories
Blogs and blogging Design Policy issues Publishing Social Web Web/Tech

Make your Web

I enjoyed Tantek Çelik‘s recent talk at beyond tellerrand // DÜSSELDORF 2019. If you’re interested in the IndieWeb, or just curious why having a personal site is still so important, make yourself a beverage and enjoy:

Featured image: IndieWebCamp Berlin 2018 | Day 1 by tollwerk GmbH, licensed CC BY NC SA 2.0

Categories
Mindsets Policy issues Social Web

Knowing when NOT to share something online

It’s really easy to share stuff online (that’s the point of social media, isn’t it?). At the same time, just because we can share something online, doesn’t mean we should share it.

With all this talk about the term “fake news” that a certain president made popular, there is plenty of material that is misleading, and inaccurate, and yet not so easy to discern. Being able to spot the fakes is a great way to fight growing disinformation online, often from the very people who portray accurate reporting as fake.

This Smarter Every Day episode includes an interview with Katy Byron, the Editor & MediaWise Program Manager at MediaWise that’s worth watching:

unsplash-logoFeatured image by The Climate Reality Project
Categories
Mindsets Policy issues Social Web

Some perspective on Facebook to for the maddening crowds

It’s almost fashionable to bash Facebook at the moment. To a large degree, the criticism is well deserved. At the same time, we should maintain some perspective on the reports, and resist the urge to be carried away by the maddening crowds.

I read Jeff Jarvis’ post titled “Facebook. Sigh.” recently. He makes an argument that Facebook’s executives aren’t necessarily malicious, they’re just really not thinking through the implications of what they do, or even why shouldn’t do what they do.

None of this is to say that Facebook is not fucking up. It is. But its fuckups are not so much of the kind The Times, The Guardian, cable news, and others in media dream of in their dystopias: grand theft user data! first-degree privacy murder! malignant corporate cynicism! war on democracy! No, Facebook’s fuckups are cultural in the company — as in the Valley — which is to say they are more complex and might go deeper.

For example, I was most appalled recently when Facebook — with three Jewish executives at the head — hired a PR company to play into the anti-Semitic meme of attacking George Soros because he criticized Facebook. What the hell were they thinking? Why didn’t they think?

Jeff Jarvis

I recently blogged about Facebook sharing private messages with various companies. While we probably don’t know all the details, this clarification from Facebook is not unreasonable:

Why did the messaging partners have read/write/delete messaging access?

That was the point of this feature — for the messaging partners mentioned above, we worked with them to build messaging integrations into their apps so people could send messages to their Facebook friends.

Specifically, we made it possible for people to message their friends what music they were listening to in Spotify or watching on Netflix directly from the Spotify or Netflix apps (see screen shots below), to message links to Dropbox folders (like a collection of photographs) from the Dropbox app, and to message receipts from money transfers through the Royal Bank of Canada app.

In order for you to write a message to a Facebook friend from within Spotify, for instance, we needed to give Spotify “write access.” For you to be able to read messages back, we needed Spotify to have “read access.” “Delete access” meant that if you deleted a message from within Spotify, it would also delete from Facebook. No third party was reading your private messages, or writing messages to your friends without your permission. Many news stories imply we were shipping over private messages to partners, which is not correct.

Facts About Facebook’s Messaging Partnerships

One of the factors that Facebook points out is that they share your personal information in terms of their privacy policy, so with your permission. The big question is how familiar you are with Facebook’s privacy policy?

James Ball tweeted a similar criticism of reports about the private message issue:

https://twitter.com/jamesrbuk/status/1075757840353124352

It’s worthwhile reading Jarvis’ post:

Featured image by Thought Catalog

Categories
Coding Policy issues Useful stuff

Creating good through open source

I really like videos like this:

Open source as a way of doing things has such amazing potential to make our world so much better.

Watching videos like this tend to prompt me to revisit my calendar and try find regular blocks of time I can dedicate to my dusty coding projects.

Categories
Events and Life Mindsets Policy issues Politics and government

A perspective on what it’s like to be a Jew in the United Kingdom at the moment

Thank you for the thread. You offer a valuable perspective on what it feels like to be a Jew in the UK.

You shouldn’t be victimised for being a Jew, certainly not because of a distorted view of what our government is doing to keep us safe, here in Israel.

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