Last month I re-opened my long-dormant Etsy shop to sell pussy hats. I missed the immediate gratification of the quick and simple Pussyhat Project, I’d been meaning to re-open an Etsy shop so that I use the seller tools I work on all day, and I thought it would be fun to donate the proceeds from my sales to charities matching the symbolism of the hats.
In February, I sold 9 pink pussy hats (only one of which was purchased by someone I know!) and donated almost $200 to Planned Parenthood. This month I’ve added a few additional styles, including two blue-and-green pussy hats for the Earth Day Science March or the Climate Change March. The proceeds for those hats are being donated to Earthjustice, an environmental law organization that’s helped to defend our environment from a number of threats, including the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Today I got my first request for the pattern I’m using from an Etsy shopper. I slightly modified the official Pussyhat Project pattern to be knit in the round, so I’m writing up my versions here so they can be shared freely by fellow knitters.
This is the pattern I follow using Sugar N Cream’s cotton yarn and other worsted weight yarns.
Cast on 80 stitches for a small hat or 100 stitches for a large hat. Join, being careful to avoid twisted stitches, and work in K2P2 ribbing for 16 rows for a small hat or 20 rows for a large hat. Knit in stockinette for 26 rows for a small hat or 29 rows for a large hat.
Turn the hat inside-out, so the reverse stockinette is facing you. Pull the ball of yarn through the center of your needles so that the end of yarn that goes to the ball falls outside of the work. Slip half of the stitches (40 for a small hat, 50 for a large hat) onto your extra needle and do a three-needle bind-off by using the far end of the original circular needle (or a fourth size 7 needle if you prefer) to knit together the active stitches from each needle. Read a more detailed description of a three-needle bind-off with pictures.
Weave in the ends from the bind-off and the cast-on ends.
This is the pattern I follow using Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.
Cast on 48 stitches for a small hat or 56 stitches for a large hat. Join, being careful to avoid twisted stitches, and work in K2P2 ribbing for 10 rows for a small hat or 12 rows for a large hat. Knit in stockinette for 17 rows for a small hat or 18 rows for a large hat.
Turn the hat inside-out, so the reverse stockinette is facing you. Pull the ball of yarn through the center of your needles so that the end of yarn that goes to the ball falls outside of the work. Slip half of the stitches (24 for a small hat, 28 for a large hat) onto your extra needle and do a three-needle bind-off by using the far end of the original circular needle (or a fourth size 13 needle if you prefer) to knit together the active stitches from each needle. Read a more detailed description of a three-needle bind-off with pictures.
Weave in the ends from the bind-off and the cast-on ends.
Support the New York State Reproductive Health Act to get abortion removed from New York State’s Penal Code.
New York State’s Penal Code currently defines abortion as a homicide unless the pregnant woman is less than 24 weeks pregnant or her life is in jeopardy. It does not make any provisions to allow abortions in for unviable pregnancies or if a woman’s health is at risk after 24 weeks. This law is not enforced because it conflicts with the findings of Roe v. Wade, but if that decision were to be revoked, it would be the effective law in New York State.
Additionally, New York State Education Law has a provision (number 8 in that link) that prohibits the sale distribution of contraceptives to minors under the age of sixteen, requires the sale of contraceptives to person who are sixteen or over may be authorized only by a licensed pharmacist, and prohibits the advertisement or display of contraceptives. It was found to be unconstitutional in 1977 and is not followed, but the law was never updated.
Reproductive Health Act
The Reproductive Health Act passed the New York State Assembly on January 17, 2017 and is currently in committee in the New York State Senate as Bill S2796.
The bill does these key things:
How to Support It
Version 1.1.0 of Pick-a-Color is now available, featuring a new “advanced” tab that allows users to modify hue, lightness, and saturation to create any color their hearts desire. Plus: some modifications suggested by my friend Alex Cox.
*This is not based on a literal calculation of the increase in the number of available colors. It’s just, you know, a joke.
On Friday I went to ReadWriteWeb‘s Real-Time Web Summit, repping outside.in and generally looking to find out what all the unconference craze was about and meet some nice fellow NYC geeks. I had a pretty great time (much better than I expected after this rather patronizing promo post for the event), so I thought I’d write up my notes from the sessions in which I participated.
Seriously, two thumbs up on unconferences as a general idea and on RWW’s fantastic implementation of this format.
As a ruthless pragmatist, I’m always frustrated by the lack of practical take-aways from a conference, and the unconference is no exception. The strength of the unconference is that it accepts that you won’t decide anything or make anything today and instead forces group contribution and constant socialization. Instead of listening to pre-appointed speakers, some people propose some topics, everyone shows up to the sessions that interest them, and you all have a nice dinner-table conversation about your topic for an hour.
This helps you get the two most important things you came to get: A) connections with industry peers and B) renewed energy about your industry. Note that A would be impossible for someone as pathologically shy as yours truly without the crucial forced socializaiton component. I’ve been to a regular tech conference before and I could barely bring myself to say hi to the fellow sitting next to me.
Some silliness I could’ve lived with out: writing “as a result of today…” on a post-it note and sharing it with the group (mine: “…I know how it feels to have a job where you talk to people all day”), a poem/rap/limerick-writing competition about what we got out of the summit, and RWW trying to sell us their $300 (not a typo) report on The Real-Time Web and Its Future for half-price. These felt a little like two sleep-away camp activities and a visit to the Scientology world headquarters, respectively. The bit where we got to give wine to people we thought did something good during the day was a nice touch and not overly sentimental.
Session 1: Truth-Detection on the Real-Time Web
I joined this session a little late. When I got there we were talking about the phenomenon of people thinking articles from The Onion are “real” news—partly because Baratunde Thurston was there. Shava Nerad pointed out that “The Onion and Jon Stewart aren’t fake news” so much as a humorous commentary on what’s going on in the world that “points to the real news” with the intention of interesting people in getting more information about what’s going on in the world. I’ve been reading The Black Swan, so I’m not really sure what the “real news” is, but I agree that The Onion and The Daily Show are intended to be farcical commentary rather than misinformation. They throw a wrench in our problem because they sometimes unintentionally spread misinformation.
We discussed the problem of identifying bad information and tracking it back to the people who are spreading it. Any method of automating this would face the problem of distinguishing between those who are knowingly propagating the misinformation and those who are ignorantly repeating it.
At some point, we tried to start rumor that Justin Bieber got arrested. This was probably not a great topic because apparently this rumor had already been going on. A few people retweeted Baratunde’s tweet, but I don’t think anyone else in the room had followers who would retweet anything Justin Bieber-related. I know I don’t.
We came back a few times to the idea of eBay-esque ratings systems for individuals’ and organizations’ reliability, but were perplexed by the challenges of people gaming the ratings for personal and political reasons. I asked: “Even if the system was working perfectly and my rating was a legitimate measure of how often I’d shared correct information in the past, how much confidence can that give you that I won’t get bad information and innocently share it with you in the future?”
We decided that to get information out fast but maintain your integrity as an information provider, you have to be willing to correct yourself. We talked for awhile about the disproportionate sizing of articles and corrections in mainstream media. As Shava said, “Say you got it wrong louder [than your original bad info] and get appreciated for it.”
Writing this up later, I wonder if even large retractions and corrections would be effective, because the original misinformation will probably have been reposted many times before the retraction is online. People who reposted the story may not check back with the original source hours or days or weeks later. Maybe there needs to be some inverse of a pingback system whereby the orignal source of a story can update repostings with breaking info.
At the end we talked about the importance of educating young people to think critically about the information they find and share online.
Session 2: Collaborative Knowledge
My friend and former outside.intern Cody Brown convened this session and kicked it off by mentioning a Wall Street Journal article (perhaps this one?) that described Wikipedia as a “crowdsourced” encyclopedia in such a way that Cody thought the term “crowdsourced” was pejorative. He also mentioned a blog post by Chris Dixon (definitely this one) that had posited that the most important startups in the past decade had been based on collective knowledge, citing the goog, the wikipedia, delicious, Yahoo! answers, and Yelp.
We discussed the advantage that aardvark and quora have over Yahoo! Answers of letting people know where their crowdsourced information is coming from. I somehow hadn’t heard of quora but signed up immediately and am loving it. Whereas aardvark feels very invasive coming in through IM (which I hate with the fire of a thousand grandmothers) and never got my interests right enough to ask relevant questions, I have checked quora at least four times since I signed up on Friday and have found some extremely relevant questions that I really want to answer, such as: “How does outside.in get their traffic?” and “Why do some companies still force their employees to use IE6?“.
We talked about what motivates people to contribute to collective knowledge and came up with two main buckets of motivation:
Session 3: Semantic Analysis of Activity Stream Data
In this session we talked about the difficulties of doing semantic analysis on short status updates with a modicum of data to analyze and no standard taxonomy for presenting data. The only taxonomy that’s been presented so far—hashtags—has been overrun with spam.
We didn’t decide much in this session—the topic was a bit too specific and practical, and the number of attendees was a bit too small.
We discussed the tribulations of getting users to proactively add metadata to short status updates and the relatively small adoption rate of twitter location. A representative from TwitJobSearch mentioned that they crawl the links from Twitter profiles to get extra metadata about the tweets they analyze.
Session 4: Real-Time Where
This session started out with four people in camera-less Section G (where, coincidentally, every session I participated in took place), but about 15 minutes in some folks from justin.tv came in and asked if we’d mind being moved to Section D, where sessions were being streamed live and, of course, recorded. The group quickly grew to six, then 10, then 15 people, with a few strays rotating in and out to see what all the streaming fuss was about, I suppose.
You can watch the video here if you want to see the whole thing, or check out my summary below the embed. I don’t say too much—the other participants were pretty talkative—but if you’re inclined to watch, there’s a continuous shot of me alternating my best serious gaze between my co-participants and my computer whilst doing the following:
If you skipped out on the video, here are my notes from the session:
We started talking about foursquare and its privacy concern pretty quickly. Someone said that “foursquare is better at showing where you were than where you are,” and we wondered if location becomes less important the less real-time it is. I pointed out (uh, rhetorically) that even if I had tweeted the latitude and longitude I had just shared privately with echo echo cofounder Nick Bicanic, I don’t personally believe that my precise whereabouts at a single given moment make me particularly vulnerable. I didn’t get to my rationale, but it’s this: The cost of acting on real-time geographic information is extremely high. I don’t think anyone wishes me ill that decisively.
We discussed the possibility of an “eBay for cabs” mobile app would allow you to share your location with cab drivers and find out how far away they are. Apparently such a one exists in San Francsico—it’s called cabulous.
Bob Wyman—who had a lot to say on the subject—told us that his daughter carries an Android phone and uses Latitude to share her whereabouts with him so he doesn’t necessarily have to call her and yell at her if she’s stayed out too late. He also speculated that Abby Sunderland (the 16-year-old girl who went missing whilst sailing around the world alone) would’ve been a lot happier if she could’ve shared her precise location with people who were looking for her during her rescue mission. I wondered if she could’ve known that before her mast broke—making a solo trip around the world in a sailboat being of course one of the most brazenly independence-seeking things a 16-year-old girl might do—and congratulated Bob on having such a great relationship with his daughter that she surrenders her exact location to him at all times. I know my brother would’ve had part of no such thing as a teenager. Nic Luciano of GetGlue quipped “I’d be more likely to give a cab driver my lng and lat than my father.” Ha!
Abby Sunderland photo from her press kit
Nick mentioned his feeling that the tendency to document our lives at every step—say, by checking in on foursquare as soon as we sit down at the table and tweeting a picture of our meal before we eat it—is a bit absurd in its interference with actually leading our lives. Bob countered by referencing a 1945 article from The Atlantic called “As We May Think” that suggests such documentation long before the age of “lifecasting” and “oversharing.” I haven’t read it yet, so don’t spoil it for me in the comments, ya hear?
Personally, I found continuously tweeting pictures and observations from my trip to Ireland last year extremely helpful in reviewing and labeling with correct dates and locations the photos from my real camera after I got home. At the very least, we’re making it easier to sort our photo albums and write our own histories by tracking our lives in real-time.
I hope my notes help some people remember their sessions or participate vicariously. I’m looking forward to reading some other folks’ writups. You can also check out the official ReadWriteWeb Photo Roundup from the event if you fancy.
Here’s a great compilation of interviews on the semantic web put together by one Kate Ray:
If I was going to start a news business tomorrow, I would start a
news business designed to produce not one new bit of news, but instead
to aggregate news for individuals in ways that matter to them.
[ed: Outside.in, anyone?]
All the information might be out there, but if it’s indexed in a really inaccessible form, it might as well not be out there.
We are always going to be filtering the filters that filter our filters…that filter our filters.
If we end up building all the things I can imagine, we’ll have failed.
Turns out I’m not alone in memory-is-an-illusion kick.
Just the day after I posted that, Kottke gave a nice shout-out to this funny new blog called You Are Not So Smart. Dude is chronicling all the ways in which we delude himself. In other words: He picked the perfect topic for a blog. His subject will never run dry.
The You Are Not So Smart take on memory:
The Misconception: Memories are played back like recordings.
The Truth: Memories are constructed anew each time from whatever information is currently available, which makes things like eyewitness testimony unreliable.
Scientists generally agree memories aren’t recorded like videos or stored like data on a hard drive. They are constructed and assembled on the spot like Legos from a bucket in your brain.
Each time you build a memory, you make it from scratch, and if much time has passed you stand a good chance of getting the details wrong. With a little influence, you might get big ones wrong.
So I guess I didn’t make up that article I referenced in my own memory post. Whew.
I passed the word list test, BTW. But only because I guessed the punchline when reading over the teaser words. I mean…I’m not THAT smart.
I’ve got what I’d call a crappy long-term memory.
My earliest memory is from kindergarten. All my classmates were stretched out on their cots in the dark for naptime. I stayed awake because my mother was on her way to pick me up. We were going to get my first pair of glasses. My mom opened the classroom door and the teacher escorted me outside, whispering in her best conspiratorial I’m-treating-you-like-an-adult-I-swear tone: “Don’t come back with spectacles.”
I was horrified. I feared spectacles the entire way to the ophthalmologist’s office. Spectacles sounded tiny and evil. They sounded like something the other kids in your class laughed at you for wearing when they woke up from their naps, spectacle-free, taunting you with their perfect vision that wouldn’t start to degrade until fourth or fifth grade.
I picked out purple plastic frames that took up three-quarters of my face. They were enormous. They couldn’t be spectacles.
But my point is: Five is pretty late for your first memory. Every so often people give me a hard time about this.
Once I read something vaguely scientific about long-term memory being a reminiscence of the last time you remembered an incident, rather than a visceral remembrance of the incident itself. This article I read—or did I make it up?—referenced the activation of certain receptors in the brain when a memory was retrieved that somehow made its point. I started invoking this idea in my defense, saying that I just didn’t bother to remember things when they were near, when I could’ve formed that memory of remembering. Now the memories are too far away—since I never retrieved them, my brain made space for other things and disposed of them.
I don’t think this idea about memory is provable one way or the other, but I like the way it feels.
Conventional wisdom holds that memory is like a serial recording device like a computer diskette. In reality, memory is dynamic—not static—like a paper on which new texts (or new versions of the same text) will be continuously recorded, thanks to the power of posterior information. (In a remarkable insight, the nineteenth-century Parisian poet Charles Baudelaire compared our memory to a palimpsest, a type of parchment on which old texts can be erased and new ones written over them.) Memory is more of a self-serving dynamic revision machine: you remember the last time you remembered the event and, without realizing it, change the story at every subsequent remembrance.
So we pull memories along causative lines, revising them involuntarily and unconsciously. We continuously renarrate past events in the light of what appears to make what we think of as logical sense after these events occur.
By a process called reverberation, a memory corresponds to the strengthening of connections from an increase of brain activity in a given sector of the brain—the more activity, the stronger the memory. While we believe that memory is fixed, constant, and connected, all this is very far from truth. What makes sense according to information obtained subsequently will be remembered more vividly. We invent some of our memories—a sore point in courts of law since it has been shown that plenty of people have invented child-abuse theories by dint of listening to theories.
A noisy skeptic holding something so close to my belief feels validating somehow.
Also, The Black Swan is great. You should read it. With your spectacles on.
And of course the first thing that sprang to mind was: “Hey, phrenology wasn’t as bat-shit insane as I previously considered it.”
I mean, ok, it was really crazy. But in a so-close-and-yet-so-far kinda way. Ya know?
In other news, if I ever get a bicycle in the city I am sooooo getting one of these helmets.
Here’s a timelapse I made of the snow in my (new!) backyard in Brooklyn of the snow today from 9:10 a.m. to about 5:30 p.m. (when I ran out of daylight):
Embedded video doesn’t work in most RSS readers, so you may have to check out the original post.
Set to the first 11 seconds of Regina Spektor‘s “20 Years of Snow.” Of course.
And, clearly, it’s an homage to the much more interesting Washington, D.C. Blizzard in 30 Seconds:
I doubt you’ll see this one in your reader either. Try the original post.
Snow: Fun! Pretty! Until the slush tomorrow, that is…
It’s February! The month of Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl; the shortest, coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere; and, yes, the month named for the whips that pagans once cut from the animals they sacrificed, which were used to whip girls and women in celebration of the nascent Valentine’s Day holiday known as Lupercalia.
In other words, what’s not to love? And I, for one, received a delightful Valentine’s month surprise when I discovered that my broken heart/valid heart t-shirts are featured in not one, but two (!) Treasury Wests (Treasuries West?) on Etsy (both, alas, now expired):
Valentine Humbug by Silver Sisters Studio
for the broken hearted by Knot Original