Link Roundup! And Redesign News! -The Toast

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I am WILDLY joyful to finally be able to talk about the sweeping Toast redesign that a dream team of geniuses has been working on for several months now, and will launch in early October. If you were one of the many, many readers we reached out to for feedback during this process, thank you so much for your time and energy on our behalf.

The idea of a redesign was something I always kept kicking into the future, but Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte (recently described on Twitter as the Lennon/McCartney of responsive web design) and their colleagues at Bond Art & Science emailed me with the most persuasive pitch of all time, which included the words “dream job” and “passion project” and “steep discount” and I couldn’t say no.

There will obviously be changes (great ones, I think!) to how the site looks, but MAINLY this redesign will transform the functionality of the site, and your ability to read it on all devices and browsers and not get weird video ads or be randomly sent to the App Store. So, I know change is hard, but I hope that your improved user experience will make this a wonderful moment in Toast history.

We are sticking with IntenseDebate, so your comments will not be deleted, and the faster load times should fix a LOT of the bugs with that system.

Let there be rejoicing.

I have always liked Biden (he has made plenty of mistakes in his career and had bad ideas like anyone else, for the record) and watching him talk about his grief and his faith with Stephen Colbert DESTROYED ME EMOTIONALLY, and you should watch it. I cannot bear for him to run for president, honestly, because people will say mean things to and about him, and he is GRIEVING and FRAGILE and whereas I feel that Hillary is a pretty resilient demon-beast of a politician (I think she is likely not the most ethical person but would CHEERFULLY vote for her if she got the nomination, were I a citizen) who can handle that process, I don’t think that Biden can. But I like him so much! Also, a friend of mine worked on VAWA with him, and said that she’d never seen a politician who cared so much and asked so many sharp questions about the content and process, and it made her really respect him as a person.

This is the closest thing to a firm political preference I have ever stated, and it is still full of mud.

This piece by a friend of Chris Hurst (the fiance of Alison Parker, the murdered journalist) trying to deal with the new crop of “truthers” is devastating:

In the minds—and YouTube videos—of some conspiracy theorists, Chris is not a news anchor at WDBJ in Virginia. Chris, the videos say, is a “crisis actor” invented less than a month ago by the United States government as part of a false flag operation that will eventually allow the New World Order to take away every American citizen’s guns and force them into a life of subjugation and tyranny.

Every day now, Chris wakes up to find strangers’ hate on his Facebook wall that he has to personally delete. Or he’ll Google Alison to find the people he has to thank for donating to her scholarships and he’ll see, instead, another conspiracy theory YouTube video, viewed 800,000 times over, that says Alison was in on it all along, and that she’s been given a new life and maybe plastic surgery by the government.

My friend Carrie’s new puppy has a STICK:



The most misread poem in America:

This is the most remarkable thing about “The Road Not Taken”—not its immense popularity (which is remarkable enough), but the fact that it is popular for what seem to be the wrong reasons. It’s worth pausing here to underscore a truth so obvious that it is often taken for granted: Most widely celebrated artistic projects are known for being essentially what they purport to be. When we play “White Christmas” in December, we correctly assume that it’s a song about memory and longing centered around the image of snow falling at Christmas. When we read Joyce’sUlysses, we correctly assume that it’s a complex story about a journey around Dublin as filtered through many voices and styles. A cultural offering may be simple or complex, cooked or raw, but its audience nearly always knows what kind of dish is being served.

Frost’s poem turns this expectation on its head. Most readers consider “The Road Not Taken” to be a paean to triumphant self-assertion (“I took the one less traveled by”), but the literal meaning of the poem’s own lines seems completely at odds with this interpretation. The poem’s speaker tells us he “shall be telling,” at some point in the future, of how he took the road less traveled by, yet he has already admitted that the two paths “equally lay / In leaves” and “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same.” So the road he will later call less traveled is actually the road equally traveled. The two roads are interchangeable.

Just something to think about before talking about “Big Pharma” on social media:

I am not saying that the pharmaceutical companies in America aren’t corrupt. I have a disease 1 in 100,000 people get. There is no approved treatment. There is no cure. I will never in my lifetime see either of these things, because it’s a rare disease that won’t make money for the pharmaceutical company if they spent tons developing it. Trust me, I have a very vested interest health and medical reform.

But I depend on medication to live and function in a relatively normal manner (most days). I take a diuretic to keep my brain from being crushed by my cerebral spinal fluid. I take a beta blocker to keep my heart from going into tachycardia just because I sat up or, Gods help me, stood up instead of laying flat on my back constantly, but also to make sure that my aorta doesn’t get any bigger than it already is by keeping my blood pressure down. If it does, I run the risk of it dissecting from my heart. I take an old school antidepressant to try to prevent a constant headache instead of just wanting to die from horrific head pain and various other symptoms any time a storm comes through.


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