Newsletter #138: We Keep Us Safe

Hello Recompilers,

Every week feels like a year right now. I hope you’re doing your best to keep busy and to keep safe. I hope you’re doing your best to help other people keep safe, too, either by helping directly on the frontlines of this or just working your best to not become a vector.


All over the world, people are stepping up to try to tackle this pandemic–except for some specific corporations and politicians, who are really showing the world what they’re actually made of. Fortunately, people are fighting back. Instacart workers have a strike scheduled for Monday, demanding safety protocols. Ilhan Omar and Bernie Sanders are leading a probe into Amazon’s wild misconduct. And Rideshare Drivers United has launched an online tool to help California drivers file complaints against their employers.

Techies are doing the best they can. Individuals and institutions alike are designing personal protective gear made with 3d printers and other rapid prototyping technologies. Individuals have contributed more computing power to the protein-folding simulator Folding@Home than that generated by the several supercomputers IBM has donated to the task. Union workers are working around the clock to produce ventilators.

Throughout it all, though, the USA still has this huge Nazi problem, and one died this week trying to blow up a hospital of COVID patients.


Live Like the World is Dying: Paul on the Autonomous Region of Northern Syria.
No matter what happens, it seems pretty unlikely that the world is going to return to the way it was before all of this. The status quo always seems invincible until it isn’t. Whatever status quo replaces this one won’t be invincible either. In the midst of a societal collapse, millions of people in northern Syria started an experiment in radical, stateless democracy. Years later, it’s still going, despite an ongoing invasion from Turkey. In this episode of the podcast I talk with my friend Paul who recently returned from doing frontline medical work there about what that experiment looks like and what lessons we can draw from it.

Conference Talk of the Week:

This talk is part of our “Favorite Talks” YouTube Playlist. Check it out and subscribe! 

The Art of Code Comments

Sarah Drasner at JSConf Hawaii 2020 gives an entertaining talk about commenting up your code.



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This newsletter compiled by Margaret Killjoy (@magpiekilljoy). Margaret is an author, activist, and musician based in Appalachia. Her most recent book series is the Danielle Cain novella series, which starts with The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion.

Image by Sara Keller (CC0 Public Domain)