Ran Prieur

"The bigger you build the bonfire, the more darkness is revealed."

- Terence McKenna

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August 18. Two links related to the ongoing drama in Ferguson, Missouri, where police shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. This article is about another incident a few days before, where police shot and killed a black man for holding a toy gun in Walmart: I'm black, and I'm not afraid of the police -- because the police are merely channeling the increasing racism of American culture. The best part is where he points out that white people walk around stores with actual guns all the time and nothing happens.

And a long article, The Civil Rights Movement Is Going in Reverse in Alabama. It's about Hank Sanders, a state legislator who has spent decades working to help poor black people, and in the last few years it's all been undone. But notice: in the 1960's, many laws were passed that explicitly mentioned race. I'm sure the new laws don't mention race at all -- they're just cutting support for the poor. Now, the right wing position might be, "We just want the poor to pull their own weight -- it's not our fault if most of them happen to be black." And the liberal position might be, "Racists are attacking black people and disguising it as an an attack on poor people." I think it's mostly the other way around: These laws are being made by people who hate the poor, and they are marketing an attack on poor people as a defense against black people, to get poor white people to go along with it.

Why would anyone hate someone for having less money? The issue of poverty is haunted by the idea of laziness. Conservatives believe that the poor deserve to be poor because they're less willing to work and therefore morally inferior. They won't say this in public but they hint at it. Then liberals argue that the poor actually work harder than the rich. I don't like this move because it accepts and reinforces what I think is a framing error. A healthy culture would not even have the concept of "lazy". Humans prefer meaningful and autonomous activity to doing nothing, so a society in which work is meaningful and autonomous does not need to tell itself that work is morally virtuous. "Laziness" exists only in the context of a system that depends on work that nobody will do unless they're forced to do it through economic and social pressure.

Maybe the best response to an insane society is not to "work hard" and succeed on the terms it dictates, but to do as little as possible to survive, and use the rest of your energy to undermine the system, build better systems through the cracks, and have a good time.

August 15. Some personal stuff for the weekend. With all the buzz about Robin Williams and depression, I can say that I've never had serious depression, but I do struggle with motivation. Occasionally it's so bad that even going to the sink to get a glass of water feels like climbing a mountain. I think this only happens through a perfect conjunction of 1) not eating enough protein, 2) not getting enough exercise, and 3) short-circuiting my reward center with video games. It's only a matter of time before I get back into Starsector, and God help me if there's ever a hybrid of Dwarf Fortress and Mount & Blade, but for now I have my gaming down to maybe 20 minutes a day of Freecell. And after experimenting with smoking pot every two weeks, I'm going back to every three or four weeks, because two weeks is not enough of a tolerance break to get the experience I'm looking for.

I'm obsessed with another band! They're a married couple from Maine, Colleen Kinsella and Caleb Mulkerin, who play psychedelic folk under the name Big Blood. That link goes to all their music free online. They're highly experimental, so some of it is crap, but some of it is so good that I've lost all interest in Neutral Milk Hotel. I think my favorite, which is not even on YouTube, is "The Rise of Quinnisa Rose". [Update: I just put it on YouTube here.] That's mostly sung by Caleb, and he also does lead vocals on their catchiest song, The Birds and The Herds, and a great one on their new album, "Sick With Information". So he seems to be the better songwriter, but Colleen is my new favorite singer. She has an enormous range, and her voice has almost the same edge that Joanna Newsom had on The Milk-Eyed Mender, but wilder. Most of you will hate her, but if you're curious, start with her cover of She Sells Sanctuary, and then you could sample the 14 minute "Water" and the rocking-out "Creepin Crazy Time." Then you're ready for the hard stuff: her cover of Can's "Vitamin C", the Tom-Waits-like "Sequins", which features a crying baby as background singer, and my favorite, which almost everyone else would want to kill with fire, "Song For Baltimore".

August 13. So I've read a bunch of comments on Robin Williams' suicide, and my favorite is this one by David Wong of Cracked.com, Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves. He explains the close connection between being funny and being unhappy, and advises us to be there for our funny friends when they stop being funny.

Unrelated, except that it's also about understanding the struggles of other people, this is a transcript of a TED talk from last year, Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem? The speaker, Dr. Peter Attia, argues that obsesity is not the cause of insulin resistance, but a symptom that actually makes insulin resistance less harmful:

We know that 30 million obese Americans in the United States don't have insulin resistance. And by the way, they don't appear to be at any greater risk of disease than lean people. Conversely, we know that six million lean people in the United States are insulin-resistant, and by the way, they appear to be at even greater risk for those metabolic disease I mentioned a moment ago than their obese counterparts.

So what is the cause of insulin resistance? We don't know for sure yet, but the evidence seems to point to refined sugars and starches. As I mentioned the other day, these are massively subsidized, which is why poor Americans tend to be fat and unhealthy.

August 11. Depressing links for Monday. Kids today have a lot less freedom than their parents did. The article tries to show all sides of the issue, including a few ways that kids have more freedom, but overall this is an ominous trend. I can't think of any way to reverse it so that kids can take more physical risks than their parents. But if the trend continues, the human experience will become more lifeless, and either we'll be more motivated to create some catastrophe, or we'll fade away into extinction.

Is a hard life inherited? It's a short article about some of the ways that poverty makes it extra hard to get out of poverty. And another from the NY Times, Don't let your children grow up to be farmers, about how it's almost impossible to make money growing food, and some politically unrealistic ways to fix it.

I imagine in 50 years there will be giant automated food factories, and people growing stuff for personal consumption, and almost nothing in between. I don't even go to farmer's markets because they're not a way for me to eat on a $10,000 income -- they're a way for small farmers to stay barely afloat by charging much more than industrial agriculture to buyers who can afford to care about that.

Related: What I learned after taking a homeless mother grocery shopping. The main thing she learned is that people want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, but they're really, really expensive compared to processed starches, and that's why poor people eat so badly. My take on this is not to complain about the subsidy system, which seems carved in stone, but to imagine that most of us are going to live this way in the future. As we pass through the bottleneck of resource exhaustion, you'll eat fresh blueberries either by having money coming out your ears, or growing them in your yard.

(By the way, my blueberries did badly in this hot summer, but my apple, apricot, and peach trees are making 30-50 fruits each in just their second year.)

August 8. Quirky stuff for the weekend. Thanks Anne for introducing me to this blog, Rune Soup. It's also titled "Chaos Magic" and the author, Gordon, is doing an AMA tomorrow on the occult subreddit, but he writes about all kinds of stuff. I wonder if he's actually Jeff Wells from Rigorous Intuition.

Should we return the nutrients in our pee back to the farm? We should also return our poop, or we're likely to run out of phosphorus.

And an awesome spoken word piece from 1968, John Rydgren - Hippie Version Of Creation.

August 6. Stanford researcher: Hallucinatory voices shaped by local culture.

The striking difference was that while many of the African and Indian subjects registered predominantly positive experiences with their voices, not one American did. Rather, the U.S. subjects were more likely to report experiences as violent and hateful -- and evidence of a sick condition.

Defining the cultural difference is tricky. It's not fair to Americans to say that we're hyperselfish while other cultures are all happy communities, because Americans are more friendly to strangers, and less likely to exploit bureaucratic positions for personal gain. I would say it this way: that in western culture, things are fundamental and relationships are defined by things, while in other cultures it's the other way around. So maybe the reason Americans can't deal with voices, is that we can't define what thing the voice is coming from.

In a loose end from Monday, there's a post on the subreddit with a good idea about the psychological effect of robot dogs: that they use the uncanny valley effect to be "more sinister than a wheeled vehicle".

And something I almost stuck in with Monday's post but decided to keep it separate, a reddit comment arguing that the unconditional basic income would bring a new Renaissance, as human talents and ambitions are freed from the crushing demands of poverty. I'm thinking, if we use the same strategy as cannabis legalization and gay rights, then we need to fill popular entertainment with highly sympathetic characters who have no obligations and lots of free time. Now I can see that Seinfeld had the worst possible message, because it showed people with lots of free time being totally selfish.

August 4. Some links about mass psychology and politics. First, from Aeon Magazine, Why we can't wage war on drugs. The author looks at the origins of our concept of "drugs", and shows how the perceived difference between legal and illegal mind-altering substances has nothing to do with their effects, but emerged from a cultural fear of outsiders. So whatever drugs people on the fringe of society happen to use, are made illegal to keep them down. Now it occurs to me that marijuana legalization uses the same strategy as gay rights: before you can pass the laws, you have to spend decades working in popular culture to change the image of a group of people, from scary outsiders to harmless ordinary folks.

From February, the War Nerd writes about Boston Dynamics and its Big Dog robots. He argues that wheels are functionally much better than animal-like legs, and therefore this is either a military boondoggle, or it's about the psychological value of machines that move like animals. Then he speculates that robots will eventually be used by occupying powers for counterinsurgency, because they'll be immune to the emotional breakdowns of human soldiers. So the people might eventually see the well-behaved robots as friends, and the fallible human guerrillas as enemies.

But isn't this already happening? That's why conservatives think it's okay for doctors to prescribe opiates, but wrong for you to grow opium in your backyard, and why liberals think police should have more gun rights than ordinary citizens: because the occupying system has convinced us that its own machine-like behavior is more benevolent than raw human action.

Going back to the point above about changing images: humanity itself, in the eyes of humanity, is now an out-group, and high-tech management is the in-group. To reverse this, we need to draw attention to the failures of controlling technologies, and we also need more independent actions that are fun and helpful, and better yet if they're illegal! We need to heal the trauma of 9/11 and make outlaws heroes again.

This is a start: Digital-age detective work can't crack Brooklyn Bridge caper. I'm sure in a few more days the pranksters will be caught, but the nice thing is that they've almost convinced the public that they're the good guys.

August 1. It's been too long since I've written about creative stuff. I mentioned a few months back that I'm watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer for the third time and not liking it nearly as much as the first time. There are some great episodes, but mostly, especially in the later seasons, I just want to slap every character (except Spike) for their unrealistic, cartoonish, irritating emotions. How did my taste change so much? I think, with 15 more years of emotional experience, I can better distinguish between art and kitsch. In the same way, it takes some experience looking at paintings before you can see that Monet is better than Thomas Kinkade.

Is there a Monet of television? Maybe not yet, but we've been watching a 2007 British show called Skins, and I love it! The situations are absurd and yet the characters have great depth and subtlety. It's on Netflix, and you might want to skip the first episode, which has an unsympathetic protagonist and a manic plot. It's all about a group of teenagers, and I like how the adult characters are pompous and childish. Also, after watching Orphan Black season two, I'm even more impressed. How can they push the plot so fast and keep coming up with new ideas?

And some music. Last weekend I listened to a bunch of the American psych rock band Bardo Pond. Probably their most accessible song (assuming you already know how to appreciate heavy fuzz guitar) is Tommy Gun Angel. Another good one is Dom's Lament. And my favorite is from an improvised album they did with guitarist Roy Montgomery, under the band name Hash Jar Tempo: untitled 1. This track is every bit as good as Electric Moon and 13 years sooner.

July 30. Christian Rudder's wonderful OkCupid blog is back after a three year absence in which he was writing a book. The new post, We Experiment On Human Beings!, is full of hard data about human shallowness. In the first experiment, OkCupid removed all photos for seven hours:

People responded to first messages 44% more often, conversations went deeper, contact details were exchanged more quickly, in short OkCupid worked better. When the photos were restored at 4PM, 2200 people were in the middle of conversations that had started blind. Those conversations melted away.

In the second experiment, OkCupid allowed users to rate each other separately on looks and personality, but in practice, everyone just judged each other on looks and assumed personality was the same. On the depressing graph, not a single data point is high in one and low in the other. Similarly, profiles with the text temporarily hidden were rated basically the same as with the text visible, meaning that "the text is less than 10% of what people think of you."

In the third experiment, they lied to people about how good a match other people were, and the power of suggestion turned out to be just as strong as actual compatibility in predicting how far people would go with messaging.

New subject: Adam Curtis has a big new post, The rise of the hidden systems that are stopping us changing the world. What's missing is actual evidence that these systems are slowing the pace of change, but it's a nice story, with creepy details about surveillance. And at the end is the incredible story of the daughter of the guy who invented Boolean logic, who wrote a novel that inspired the Russian revolution, and married the guy who the Voynich manuscript is named after.

Another new subject: two reddit comments trashing popular writers. A historian argues in detail how Chapter 3 of Guns, Germs, and Steel is bullshit. And someone who used to know the author of Fifty Shades of Grey argues that Erika Leonard is not a creator, she is a marketer, who copied all the best Twilight fanfic and cashed in through aggressive self-promotion.

July 28. The last Monday of every month is Finger Pointing Day. This month I'm just going to post part of a group email from a reader about finally paying off undergraduate college loans.

I'm sending this partly out of relief, but partly because its the best chance I'll get to rant and reinforce David Graeber's point that there is nothing moral about debt obligations. In a just world, anyone originating a loan would be accepting a risk that the debtor might default, or die, or the real value of the currency-denominated loan might collapse, and would attempt to cover that risk by securing collateral, charging interest, and seeking insurance.

In fact, however, student loans operate in a realm of moral hazard - although banks charge interest and, in some cases, secure collateral, they are backed by the US federal government, both through federal guarantees and interest subsidies, and indirectly through a set of draconian enforcement laws that include garnishing wages, tax returns, and entitlements, including Social Security, as well as rescinding licenses including in some states a driver's license. Under no circumstance are banks left holding the bag.

In fact, student loans aren't even held by the banks that originate them. Sallie Mae resells them on the secondary market as "student loan asset backed securities" - basically the right to collect the income stream from me or other graduates of my generation.

I would feel less bad about this were I to simply be paying highly trained professionals to educate me, but that is not what's been happening. The explosion in tuition (and debt) has coincided with a collapse in pay for educators. Individual professors have not been earning less, but increasingly they have been replaced with near-minimum-wage non-tenure-track adjunct faculty. Tenure-track hiring has dropped off so precipitously that a newly minted PhD has a 1:350 chance of finding a full-time position.

Instead the increase in tuition has gone towards facilities and administrator salaries. Administrator positions have grown at 10x the rate of faculty positions since I graduated high school, and every year the number of administrators making more than one million dollars per year doubles. To put that in perspective, adjuncts are making $5000 per semester per course, and their pay has remained essentially static.

There are people who think, and I am becoming one of them, that student loans are a way of liquifying a previously untapped resource, specifically the future lifetime incomes of people not born lucky enough to have parents who could pay cash for tuition. "The economy" loves an untapped resource, and has been maximizing the rate of return by upping tuition and decreasing eligibility requirements. To a lot of people, this looks like a bubble.

I wanted to end this rant by encouraging everyone to send $20-$100 to Rolling Jubilee or some other debt abolition group. They buy debts on the secondary (collections) market and, instead of collecting them, abolish them entirely. Unfortunately, for reasons I don't understand, RJ has stopped accepting donations.

I'm just curious how this is going to end. My guess is, eventually Americans with unpayable debt will be a political majority, but because they don't understand that the debt was amoral in the first place, they will not be ambitious enough to force a mass cancellation of personal debt, and instead they'll pass some tame laws to protect debtors from starving or going to prison, and to keep debts from being passed on to family members. The deeper problem is the popular American belief that all income is deserved. Can you give me a non-circular definition of "deserve"? In practice, high income is normally just a sleight of hand to turn power into more power.

July 25. Went up to the land today. A few days ago we had a huge windstorm, and two big trees have fallen across the access road, just a few hundred feet from the edge of the property. I'm thinking of leaving them there to keep people out. I'm also thinking, since the land only costs me $250 a year in taxes, I'll hold onto it, still sell my truck, and just only go up there when I have visitors.

Some happy links for the weekend. A month ago there was a great reddit thread, What's a joke so clever I probably won't get it? My favorite: Kurt Gödel walks into a bar and says, because we're inside the joke we have no way of knowing how funny it is.

Also on reddit, two days ago Jeff Bridges did an AMA, one of the nicest ones I've seen. Someone asked for some wisdom and he said this:

Open at your own speed, but open.

Dig what's happening to you.

By "dig" I mean get into it. There are lessons for you there. And when it gets uncomfortable, that's an important time to open and dig.

Here's a short, inspiring article about GoG.com, a company that makes old games work on new machines and is committed to never using digital rights management, and never forcing you to be online to play them. By the way, today a reader asked if I'm ever going to make a page about my favorite games. I don't know, but I can tell you that my favorites on GoG are Heroes of Might and Magic 2 and Lords of the Realm 2, and I have Ascendancy on my wishlist. And I haven't played it in a while, but I continue to be excited about the development of Starsector.

Finally, check out these geometric beehive sculptures:

The artist first builds transparent polyhedrons and cubes with an inner framework of wooden dowels, at the center of which he places the queen. After introducing the rest of the hive, he then rotates the sculpture every seventh day based on the roll of a die.

July 23. Related to Monday's subject, I got this email:

We are Tim and Noah Hussin, documentary filmmakers who are presently developing a television show concept for a major network. The show focuses on 'backcountry philosophers,' and we are looking for potential subjects who live away from the urban and suburban expanse of the United States who offer provocative perspectives on life and whose perspectives are expressed through their daily motions.

I probably won't end up on the show since I live in the city, but they wonder if I know anyone who would be a good subject. If any of you are interested, or know anyone who seems like a good fit, you can email Noah Hussin at his name (first and last names as one word, including both h's) at gmail.

Also here's a trailer for their previous project, a movie coming out next spring called America Recycled, where they ride bikes across the country talking to people living on the fringes of society. The message seems pretty close to what I was thinking ten years ago. Now I think, however you choose to live, you should do it because it's enjoyable on its own terms, because it makes you feel alive, not because you think it's necessary for survival, or because you think you're on the vanguard of a revolution.

On a similar subject, there's a new subreddit post by a guy who was convinced by reading Quinn and Jensen to turn his life away from what he felt like doing, to what he thought he should do. I hope my writing has never had that effect. Probably, worst case, I convinced someone to do something they felt like doing that ended badly. But it occurs to me, if Quinn and Jensen were truly radical, they would never line up with should. Only when an ideology becomes dominant (if not in popular culture then in a subculture) will it have the moral force to stifle excitement.

July 21. The other day on the subreddit, in a thread called Talking down to Ran, a reader said that I don't always practice what I preach. This is an interesting subject, because I've never even tried to practice what I preach. Instead I try to preach what I practice: I figure out how to live through methods that are mostly intuitive and non-verbal, and then I use words to describe it, explain it, or -- a big mistake -- justify it. To justify yourself requires a surrender to dominant value systems: your unfamiliar and unfashionable behavior must be presented as familiar and fashionable, which means presenting it as myth.

One of my college professors used to say that you make more noise blowing into the narrow end of the trumpet, and this holds for both fiction and non-fiction: it's more effective to write about the honest experience of particular people, and allow that to resonate with many readers, than to start with universal ideas and work to particulars. I'm not sure if I ever actually said that society is bad so we should all live outside it, and I certainly never said that living inside the system is immoral, or that living well is about avoiding guilt, because those ideas are repellent to me. But those ideas are part of the popular myth of the counterculture. If you draw the lines a certain way, people will subconsciously fill in other lines that aren't there, unless you specifically prevent it. The popular myth that is closest to your actual lifestyle is your worst enemy, and my mistake was not actively contradicting lifestyle puritanism from the very beginning.

This issue reminds me of two different Ribbonfarm posts. Acting Dead, Trading Up and Leaving the Middle Class explains Bruce Sterling's dead great-grandfather test: that you're wasting your life trying to use fewer resources or do anything that your dead great-grandfather, in the grave, can do better than you. A better post, The Quality of Life, explains the concept of fuck-you money: the most important way that money buys happiness, is to free you from the demands of people who want to pay you to live their way.

For the record, here's what I practice and preach: 1) Make money the easiest way available to you, short of crime. 2) If you radically reduce your spending, you will not have to make as much money, and you might find that the sacrifices of low spending are more meaningful and empowering than the sacrifices of high earning. 3) The most valuable use of money, after basic survival, is to carve out a small space where you can pursue quality of life on your own terms.

July 18. A theoretical phyisicist explains why science is not about certainty. You probably knew that, but he also makes a subtler point: scientific revolutions do not come from changing theories, but "changing something in the conceptual structure we use to grasp reality." His first example is Anaximander discarding the idea that things fall from up to down, and replacing it with the idea that things fall toward the Earth. His second example, not as well explained, is Einstein changing how we think about time. This reinforces something I've believed for a while: when we talk about "paradigm shifts", we are not being nearly ambitious enough.

On a whole other subject, a good psychology article, How we end up marrying the wrong people. It's mostly about our lack of awareness of ourselves and others, and how marriage flipped from 100% practical to 100% passionate and we need to find balance. This is my favorite bit, condensed:

We recreate in adult relationships some of the feelings we knew in childhood. But the love we knew as children may have come entwined with other dynamics: being controlled, feeling humiliated, being abandoned, never communicating. As adults, we may then reject candidates, not because they are wrong, but because they are too well-balanced (too mature, too understanding, too reliable) and this rightness feels unfamiliar and alien. We head instead to candidates whom our unconscious is drawn to, not because they will please us, but because they will frustrate us in familiar ways.

Related, a reddit comment about why people stay in abusive relationships. It's all worth reading, but this is the core of it:

From the victim's point of view they are with a person who loves them so, so much, and wants them to be happy, and wants to be good to them, but they (the victim) are such a bad, useless, stupid, worthless, annoying person that their loving partner can't help but get angry and abuse them.

Wow, that's depressing. I have to end with something happy for the weekend: Camper Van Beethoven - Good Guys and Bad Guys.

July 16. A couple weeks ago Gabriel sent this link to the Clover Food Lab blog. That's the first post six years ago, and if you're interested, it's followed by about a thousand more posts (no joke) about how this guy started a food truck business and built it up into a chain of healthy restaurants. To navigate them one by one, start at that page, find the grey link that says "Puddle of sunlight", then the link that says "Why the name Clover?" and so on.

My thoughts are on a different tangent: How does he have the time and energy to not only do all the blogging, but all the work that the blogging is about? And I know we're nowhere near being able to genetically engineer more people like him, but if it ever becomes possible, won't every parent want to do it for every child? And what will these billions of uber-achievers do with all their energy and drive? Not many of them will do something as benign as starting healthy restaurants. It reminds me of this quote from Masanobu Fukuoka: "The increasing desolation of nature, the exhaustion of resources, the uneasiness and disintegration of the human spirit, all have been brought about by humanity's trying to accomplish something."

July 14. Stray links. On reddit, a game designer comments on the dangers of virtual reality, basically that companies like Facebook will try to hold us in addictive virtual worlds where they drain our money. Farther down the comment thread, someone argues that the real action is not in virtual reality but augmented reality. And someone else points out that immersiveness is not the same as addictiveness. For example, I remember being addicted to the non-immersive Mattel football, and at the other extreme you could have a non-addictive world that seems completely real.

Related? Human props stay in luxury homes but live like ghosts. It took me a while to figure out why this is so interesting: it's like a metaphor for the entire upper middle class universe. People who romanticize the lifestyle of the wealthy, but can't afford it, can hollowly simulate it by hiding all evidence of their aliveness:

All surfaces must be regularly cleaned; weeds eradicated, car oil spots removed. Clothes in closets are to be organized by color, and contestable items - heavily religious books, personal photos - must be removed or neutralized. Every item has a rule, and everything must be exact: the rotation of pillows, the fold of towels, the positioning of toothbrushes. Even the stacks of novels casually left on the bookshelf are placed and angled with pinpoint detail.

One of my favorite themes is how a skilled person using low tech can outperform an unskilled person using high tech. How to Write 225 Words Per Minute With a Pen is about a 19th century writing system called Gregg shorthand.

A seemingly fair overview of the latest Israel-Palestinian conflict, posted by an Israeli on the Arabs subreddit.

This article, Why It's Worth Paying More for Legal Pot, describes the unprecedented detail in the labeling, including the strain name, the genetic background of the strain, where it was grown, how it was grown, when it was harvested, and the percentage of five different cannabinoids. Personally I'm not going to buy any until the outdoor harvest comes in and the price drops. But I can't think of any other product that gives this much information to consumers. One of my utopian visions is that every time you buy food, you can see a live video feed of the farm.

By the way, after a three week break, Saturday night I took nine vaporizer hits of Jack Herer and spent a few hours thinking about hypotrochoids as models for intersecting parallel worlds, something that did not seem nearly as profound the next day. My most valuable insight was that the Main Title Theme from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is damn near Bob Dylan's best song.

I don't do an RSS feed, but Patrick has written a script that creates a feed based on the way I format my entries. It's at http://ranprieur.com/feed.php. You might also try Page2RSS.

Posts will stay on this page about a month, and then mostly drop off the edge. A reader has set up an independent archive that saves the page every day or so, and I save my own favorite bits in these archives:

January - May 2005
June - August 2005
September - October 2005
November - December 2005
January - February 2006
March - April 2006
May - July 2006
August - September 2006
October - November 2006
December 2006 - January 2007
February - March 2007
April - May 2007
June - August 2007
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July - August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
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December 2009 - January 2010
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January - March 2014
April 2014 - ?