Thank you, Andre Brink

photo: Africa Vivre

I learned the sad news that my former creative writing professor, Andre Brink, passed away on Friday. Brink was a paragon of South African letters–writing anti-apartheid stories in the language of the oppressor, Afrikaans, as well as in English, and serving as a bridge between multiple worlds. There is an excellent biography of him online at Bookslive.co.za (which is a literary site you should read anyway.)

On a personal level, Andre Brink taught me about narrative unreliability in fiction. I remember being confused by the concept until he patiently explained it to me at length, and I felt as if an exciting new world had opened before me. For that I will forever be grateful. I was new to living in South Africa so I didn’t fully appreciate his stature at the time–but that’s probably for the best, because I was able to listen to him as a man and not as a literary legend.

 

Article in the British Library on Surveillance, Creativity, and Encryption

british_library_digital rights

The British Library is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta this year with an exciting project called Magna Carta: My Digital Rights. I wrote a short essay on surveillance, creativity, and encryption aimed at British youth who are learning about digital rights. You can read it here.

Check out the other resources too—there is a great article on hate speech by Jillian York and tools aimed specifically at teachers.

Tool to take action to promote net neutrality

So you may have noticed that I have a countdown clock on my site. It’s a simple tool to promote the open net that was developed by the BattlefortheNet coalition. Click on the tool and it will take you to a site to take effective action. This action is more than an email–it’s a tactic that representatives actually respond to.

This vote is super important! The FCC has a chance to preserve the open net for everyone. It’s a bipartisan issue that both Republicans and Democrats want. Don’t be distracted by the lobbying by Team Cable.

Flexibility versus Strength

I like this quote by Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger on the difference between strength and flexibility:

A guy who spends a bit of time in the gym kills his co-ordination and becomes more rigid. Winning a challenge is down to flexibility and co-ordination, switching on all the muscles on at the same, right, time. That is not down to lifting weights.

I’ve often wondered about that, not necessarily in soccer but in sports in general. Coordination is so key to excelling at sports but becoming a muscle beefcake can make you too stiff to perform. In college, I think I lifted weights too much without focusing on flexibility (I considered yoga exotic West-coast flair at the time.) I now try to integrate basic yoga moves into my workouts whenever possible.