I saw this fellow enjoying the sun at Lake Murray.

I saw this fellow enjoying the sun at Lake Murray

Is the British Empire Largely Misunderstood? [Casey Chalk] www.theamericanconservative.com

Jeremy Black’s “Imperial Legacies: The British Empire Around the World,” argues that the British Empire wasn’t all bad – the nations it conquered were often brutal empires and dictatorships in their own right, worse than anything the British did. And the British brought a lot of good with them.

Casey Chalk reviews the book for the American Conservative.

Black doesn’t seem to be defending the British Empire or imperialism here; rather simply arguing for a nuanced view.

On our trip to Africa, I got the sense that 21st Century Africans – most definitely including black Africans – do not view their own imperial history as a stain that must be expunged. They seem to view their entire culture as a single fabric, with African and European threads woven together, all of it equally valued.

The official, business language of Botswana, a former British protectorate, is English. Tswana is a common language spoken by the black population, and there are also about 20 separate tribal languages. The people we met seemed to move easily between all three languages. One of the people we met there was a young black man who spoke with a proper received British English accent and who was a Matthew McConaughey fan; we said “Alright alright alright” to each other a lot (which maybe he got sick of but he seemed to take it in good spirits).

There are only two pure evils in recent history: American slaveocracy and the Nazis. Everything else is shades of gray. (And even the slaveocracy produced George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, two of the greatest people who ever lived.)

While Black, the book author, does not seem to be defending imperialism or urging America to resume its imperialist ways, Chalker, the book reviewer, does. He notes that the American empire now seems to be receding, and China is moving in, and China is pretty awful. I’m not so sure about that – at the moment at least, the US seems to be run by looters. Trump and the Republican Party look at America the way investors look at a dying business – break it apart and sell everything from the factories to the office furniture for whatever you can get, and get every dime of work you can squeeze from the workers too. The Chinese, for all their horrors, at least seem to be building something for the future.

WeWork combined old-fashioned real-estate – renting out desk space by the month – with financial engineering, a rah-rah ethos of self-actualization guided by artificial intelligence, and funding from one of the world's most brutal dictatorships. It's the perfect business model for the 2010s [Ranjan Roy] themargins.substack.com

We watched the second episode of “Years and Years” tonight. I don’t think we should watch scary shows like that before bedtime. We should stick with relatively peaceful, calm programming, like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or the “Saw” movies.

I hope someone loves you as much as Minnie loves the occasional random carcass she finds on the ground.

Craig Mod: Fast software is the best software. craigmod.com

Software that makes you wait — even just a few fractions of a second — is the worst.

Love this essay, so true.

Though I use Ulysses and haven’t seen the problems the author describes.

One of the elements that makes fast software fast is that you instinctually know how to use it. You think a thing, and that thing happens. You're barely consciously aware of your fingers having moved.

Conversely, it's frustrating when want something to happen and then have to think – or look up in documentation – how to make it happen. And it knocks you out of flow when you think a thing and something else happens.

Without evidence, Trump accuses Google of manipulating millions of votes [Devin Coldewey] techcrunch.com Fox News repeated a bullshit claim by a junk science paper, and five minutes later the fake president tweeted it out as fact.

Peter Fonda starred in an odd sci-fi monster movie called “Dance of the Dwarfs,” later retitled “Jungle Heat,” that I quite liked. “African Queen” in the Philippines instead of Africa, with a helicopter and lizard people instead of a boat and Nazis. John Amos was in it too. www.rottentomatoes.com

Nir Eyal: Intentionality lets you take back control of technology and your life. Break the habit of picking up your phone if you're bored or frustrated. Do something else instead.[The Ezra Klein Show] www.vox.com

Is it that simple? I think I'll read Niyal's book, "Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life."

Comic Wanda Sykes has a French wife, and two white children. She jokes that she is a minority in her own home. [Fresh Air] www.npr.org