a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
veen's profile

x 247

following: 36
followed tags: 43
followed domains: 5
badges given: 24 of 71
hubskier for: 2919 days

Infrastructure & Planning student in the Netherlands.

Sometimes make things like this:

And I write here:


recent comments, posts, and shares:
veen  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 15, 2021

The past week has been f'n all over the place. Busy as hell, stressed out, finding a moment of peace, then stressed again. Spending a day with family, then finding out grandpa is on death's door. Covid scare, presentation stress. Highs and lows. I'm holding on but barely.

I was curious how it compares to our investor-ruined Dutch real estate market. One in six (15%) homes went to investors and one in four in the big cities, on average the past decade. Q4 2020 reached new heights of 30 and 40% respectively. So I regret to inform you that it’s not the kind of trend that naturally slows down.

veen  ·  15 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 1, 2021

Remind me to never commit to speaking at a conference 3 months in advance ever again. In two weeks, I'm speaking at a single-track conference for public transport professionals. My talk is scheduled right after four senior executives and one well-respected academic have had their turn, and boy am I struggling with the fear of saying dumb shit in front of a very large group of people I respect. Whenever my mind wanders, it wanders to the talk. This Monday I finally locked in the topic, next week I need to submit my slides, so any advice beyond "stay true to yourself" is welcome.

Besides the low-key anxiety, I do feel happy about finally getting back to connecting with people in my field again and having something to say to them. It's one of the things I didn't expect to miss the past year.

veen  ·  27 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: NPR's 50 Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of the Past Decade

My limited exposure to NPR (some podcasts, some furniture based music performance) means I still hold them in high regard.

I’m not sure if I agree with your argument on fantasy though. What good sci-fi and fantasy have in common, I think, is that they can both try to say something about our world by presenting something familiar stripped from its familiar setting. Sure it doesn’t need goblins or spaceships or dragons but it’s a lot more fun to hold a phenomenon up to the light when it’s presented in a curious way. The reason sci-fi is often better at some form of introspection / social commentary, I would argue, is that it’s baked in the what-if. Why would you change something fundamental about our universe if it didn’t result in some interesting outcome?

Fantasy on the other hand can be anything from “here’s a captivating multithreaded story deeply rooted in history and religions of past centuries” (Game of Thrones, which to be fair I have yet to finish) to “I made eight hundred names but zero reasons for you to care”. So if there’s even a remotely good reason for why a palace intrigue gels well with the themes and concepts associated with goblins, I don’t see why that’s inherently bad or devoid of stakes.

veen  ·  36 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 11, 2021

Celebrated vaxxed life yesterday by finally experiencing one of the things I missed most in the past two years, which is to go on a badass rollercoaster. Pure bliss that I unironically loved every second of.

I actually bought the action photo for once because it so perfectly captured the moment.

veen  ·  43 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 4, 2021

Greetings from a rainy, chilly campsite in the French Alsace!

It's good to have some time off. The weather is a letdown but we had a great few day's camping with the SO's parents out here, followed by a bunch of cultural visits to the loveliest of villages along the wine route, passe sanitaire ready but hardly needed. This region really surprised me with how beautiful it is.

Yesterday we visited the Humanist Library of Selestat which had some incredibly cool renaissance pieces on display from Erasmus and Martin Luther. It also had this i-cant-believe-its-not-a-fairytale chainbound book:

We go home in a few days, and now that I and most of my friends are almost or entirely vaxxed and Delta fairly under control, I'm cautiously hoping for a back to normal time ahead.

veen  ·  51 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 444th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"

veen  ·  56 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 21, 2021

Knowing your wife’s kindness, sense of justice and levelheadedness, it’s hard to imagine her sister being so diametrically opposed on those fronts.

I’ve been in a similar position of your daughter for most of my youth. My parents put up with so.much.manipulative.BS from my mom's side of the family. When I was young they were able to hide it from us, but her whole “crying in the car plus stress induced migraine” wasn’t possible to hide anymore when I was a teenager. It did not take me long to reach the conclusion that some family relations are simply untenable; it took my mom a long time to get to that point and cut ties. It’s now been a decade and she’s still glad she did it. There’s never been even the slightest attempt at self reflection or a hint of an apology from the other side, which says enough I think.

veen  ·  59 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: IOS is breaking Facebook advertising

The view from the other side is fascinating. Our app marketeer is looking into attribution solutions, which in its simplest form is about keeping score of the number of users who go from ad to app install, and in the most complex form is about tracking people wherever they might see your product and figuring out which one of those touchpoints lead people to convert. A sales rep of one of the top-3 in the field was like "yeah iOS 15 is a total bitch, and you might be worried about opt-in rates of under 20%, but don't worry! we gotcha. we're gonna do Probabilistic Attribution, aka just fucking guessing based on metadata. nooothing to worry about."

veen  ·  64 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Delta Variant

In case anyone wants a taste of what Delta can do when let loose on large swaths of unvaccinated people:

We opened up entirely just at the point Delta was gaining traction, with <5% of young people vaccinated, which lead to superspread events that every expert warned about but our government refused to listen to. A rowing club tried to give a party of 400 people with mandated testing beforehand...and now they're looking at 230+ cases. The primary reason we're not growing more now, is that we have reached testing capacity limits already.

Delta will flare up in communities of unvaccinated. It's no longer a choice of 'vaccine or not', it's a choice of 'vaccine or gnarly/deadly Covid', and I am saddened that too many will realize that fact too late. But at the same time, vaccine willingness is now at 94% over here, so I am hopeful that we can get out of this to some degree this fall. It's gonna be a bumpy ride, but we know vaccines work, we know lockdowns work. Helplessness has been replaced with reluctance to act, which is less bad.

veen  ·  73 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Dear Hubski, what are you reading this summer?

I've been slowly getting back into reading again over the past months. Didn't quite have the mental space for it this winter.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan I read on a whim, which is a whimsical lovely little book of magical realism.

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday was an easy bite to get me back into the habit of reading nonfiction. I got something out of it, but wouldn't recommend it per sé, there are far better books that accomplish similar goals.

Nomadland I read because it won Oscars and because there was a discussion here on how much the movie sucked compared to the book. It's a fantastic but depressing look into people thoroughly screwed by late-stage capitalism making whatever they can out of it, which is not a lot.

The Monster of Florence is a wonderful book on the failings of the Italian justice system and the most abhorrent serial killer Europe has ever seen, written by one of the best thriller novel writers. A bit on the long side, but it's written so well that I didn't mind it.

Read two Dutch books, one a wonderfully written autobiographical account of the (sex) life of a queer person, the other an eye-opening book on the Dutch real estate market and the nuanced ways in which normal folx are absolutely fucked and how we've built our financial system on an eroding base.

Almost through Fully Automated Luxury Communism, which I found meh. He uses all the stories I've already heard in sustainability consultancy circles as examples for most of his points, and then just moves on. This horse dung story? I've heard it a dozen times. Hell, I've presented it three times myself. It shouldn't make the story less useful, but it does make it a lot more annoying to get through the book when there's little to no diamonds in the rough to begin with.

Currently reading Lies My Teacher Told Me, which KB recommended as a good entry into US history. I quite like it so far, although it could do with slightly less minutiae.

I'm also reading The Captain Class by Sam Walker which had been on my reading list for years. The book actually does a good job of being open and transparent about the methodology that led to the main thesis of the book, which is something I almost never see. "Here's what I noticed, here's the best counterarguments I then analysed, and the reasons I think they're invalid." More books should do that!

veen  ·  85 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 23, 2021

You know what really sucks? Not being able to run because you want to vomit after half a mile. I had some weird lactose overload thing and it made my stomach overly sensitive for a few weeks. Now that I have my first shot though, I finally feel sorta okay going to a swimming pool again, so I'm thinking of starting that in a week or two.

The mobility app I have helped build finally got released to the app stores! It's a soft-launch, later this year we hope to be feature complete and buy billboards 'n stuff. Most of the work is done by the rest of the team, but it's cool to be involved in a project like this. Feels like working in a startup, but without all the downsides of that.

veen  ·  85 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 16, 2021

It's somehow funnier when he uses the full name Jeffrey, like he also calls Bob Iger _Robert_.

Our mask culture can be described best as 'reticent'. There's been a lot of boomers that I've seen just drop their mask because they got their second shot already. I get it, but they're still a bit of a jerk I think, show some solidarity I'd say.

We're slowly getting back into social gatherings exactly to prevent that overload. First seeing a lot of friends again, some of whom we haven't seen in months. Then slowly increasing the group size as everyone gets their first shot now.

veen  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 16, 2021

Nothing hit me as hard the past weeks as Bo’s new special.

It’s not particularly funny. It’s painful, actually, to watch Bo’s mental health decline over a year of social isolation, trying to write jokes for an audience of none, publically wrestling with his self-esteem, fully self-aware of it all. The reason it does me so much, the reason those songs made me bawl my goddamn eyes out half a dozen times the past week, is that it both captures and capstones the past sixteen months.

It captures the weird getting-adjusted phase in the beginning. The annoyances of socially distanced life. The time distortion, the feeling of numbness that has been layered over the outside world. The dark months of despair. Grappling with the realization that your pandemic self is so much like your old self, too much like your old self, the self you thought you had left behind. Dealing with the realization that the rest of the world’s problems haven’t gone away. Having to deal with a planet that’s still going to hell, the clock that still marches on. That there’s that not much to say, or joke. And much like the pandemic, the ending feels just around the corner, but it drags on longer than you expect.

I watched this while it was still uncertain when I’d be in line for vaccination. Over here they announce between zero and two birthyears each day that then become eligible to book a vaccination appointment. My guess at the time of watching the special was that they’d do another (random) pause and that I'd get my shot somewhere in July.

_We were overdue, but it’ll be over soon._ That line was maybe the first time I’d allow myself to feel, to accept the end of this pandemic. The deep yearning for it all to be over that I had been bottling up for the past year was finally let loose. The weight of it all lifting ever so slightly up felt like such a relief, such a bittersweet relief considering how hard it has been and continues to be for so many people.

This past Sunday my year was finally up. Instead of waiting another two and a half weeks, we found a slot for next Sunday in a village an hour plus drive away, with the second shot just before our summer holiday. I couldn't be more thankful.