Buy PM2.5 Inserts Instead of N95 Masks

One hundred PM2.5 (N95 quality) filter inserts costs just twelve dollars.

For a face mask to be rated N95 means it must filter particulate matter down to 2.5 microns (PM2.5). PM2.5 covers both viruses and smoke particles.

The problem today is that medical professionals need the N95 masks and hoarding them will get people killed. If you’re staying at home, there are great alternatives which are even better for homes than N95 masks and cost just a few dollars. As fire season gets started, this is more important than ever.

For those who want face masks for going out, there is another alternative to hoarding needed medical supplies. PM2.5 inserts can convert any cloth mask into a PM2.5 mask!

It’s also much cheaper. One-hundred PM2.5 mask inserts costs just $12! Using these inserts is a great, responsible, safe alternative to hoarding needed medical supplies while still getting great protection from both covid and smoke particles.

Our History is the Future by Nick Estes

Our History Is The Future by Nick EstesI wrote at length about each chapter of this excellent book. It is both a primer on the history of the struggle of native people and also a vision of the future. Estes shows many examples of what white settler colonialism is, how it has been successfully countered, and what a possible future might look like.

Chapter 1: Siege

Chapter 2: Origins

Chapter 3: War

Chapter 4: Flood

Chapter 5: Red Power

Chapter 6: Internationalism

Chapter 7: Liberation

 

“The Police Killings No One Is Talking About”

CJ Trowbridge

2020-07-20

Power and Politics in American Indian History

Stephanie Woodward, “The Police Killings No One is Talking About”

In 2014, police murdered a pregnant woman who was at a hospital for mental health issues by shooting her many times. (Woodward) These kinds of events are commonplace and there is no complete record of how many such people the police murder because they police can not currently be held accountable for these murders. There are examples of organizations like the Washington Post and the Guardian which try to keep track of the murders that hit the news, but at best we only know about a small number of these illegal extrajudicial murders by police. (Woodward)

At some point, the white imperial ethnostate decided that it’s fine for police to just murder anyone they see as posing any potential threat, with no consequences to police. At the same time, the police have grown more and more militarized and political, coming to see essentially everyone as a threat, and disproportionately these extra-judicial police murders target black people and native people. In fact, according to the article, Native Americans are more than three times as likely to be murdered by police than white people. (Woodward)

It’s not just the case that the police are not required to disclose these extra-judicial murders. It’s also the case that the corporate news media reinforces the white imperial ethnostate’s message of white supremacy by deliberately ignoring the murders. In fact, only about one in thirty police murders of indigenous people is even covered by the corporate news media. (Woodward)

These and many other structural issues affecting native people cry out for expanded activism, Red Power, and efforts to demand racial justice for native people, especially in light of the current political climate where so many are empowered to speak out and demand justice for the first time.

“For Our Nations to Live, Capitalism Must Die”

Glen Coulthard, “For Our Nations to Live, Capitalism Must Die” (2013)

            The author begins by describing the tactics being used to silence native critiques of settler colonialism. This argument is basically the illocutionary silencing argument; language is reconstructed by settler colonists in an attempt to take away the power of words to have action in the world. Effective approaches to liberation are labeled as illegitimate and criminalized. The power to create change is stolen from the marginalized group by the oppressor group using the tools of language.

The author expands on examples where the most effective strategies for demanding justice fall under these “illegitimate” strategies, suggesting that the reason they are considered illegitimate or inappropriate by the settler colonists is because these strategies work.

The author goes on to explain the proposed shift in Native American political ideology towards a land-based sovereignty system. This could potentially allow native people to finally get real control over their destinies for the first time since the founding of the white imperial ethnostate.

In a very exciting section, the author expands on some of the ways native groups have proposed or attempted to create decentralized consensus-based models of regional self-governance as opposed to accepting capitalist democratic systems imposed by the white imperial ethnostate. The author says that radical sustainability is antithetical to capitalist accumulationism. I think this is a crucial point which ties directly into Estes’ final argument from his book as outlined above. It’s not enough to fight off the attacks, marginalized communities also need to work hard to be what they are in the absence of the attacks. Radical sustainability goes further than simple sustainability because it actually regenerates what has been lost instead of just maintaining the terrible status quo. In this way, building truly native alternatives to the status quo goes beyond just continuing to survive and actually recreates a version of what has been lost. In order to do that, capitalism is just one of the things that has to go.

Nick Estes: Liberation

CJ Trowbridge

2020-07-20

Power and Politics in American Indian History

Response 8

Nick Estes, Our History is the Future (2019), Chapter 7. Liberation (pages 247-258) 11 pages

            The chapter begins by discussing the way the story of Custer has been twisted and misrepresented. In reality, native people were gathering together to celebrate the new year. Custer saw it as an opportunity to exterminate them en masse and attacked the peaceful gathering. The natives killed the attackers and were labeled as the villains of the story. (Estes 213) Modern history books often mention the conflict but fail to explain what happened and why, often painting the true victims – native people – as somehow being responsible for the fact that they were targeted for extermination, simply because they survived the unprovoked attack.

Estes says, “Ancestors of Indigenous resistance didn’t merely fight against settler colonialism; they fought for Indigenous life and just relations with human and nonhuman relatives, and with the earth… What does water want from us? What does the earth want from us? Mni Wiconi—water is life—exists outside the logic of capitalism. Whereas past revolutionary struggles have strived for the emancipation of labor from capital, we are challenged not just to

imagine, but to demand the emancipation of earth from capital. For the earth to live, capitalism must die.” (219) I feel like this is a critical point which is so often missed in activist movements. We can’t just react in defense; we must also fight to actually be what we are without our oppressors and those who want to exterminate and displace marginalized people. This was an amazing book, and this final argument from Estes brings it all together and shows us where to go from here.

Specter of the Past by Timothy Zahn (Thrawn 4)

[Spoilers obviously]

Specter of the Past is part one of the hand of Thrawn Duology which itself is the sequel to the original Thrawn Trilogy and the prequel to the Second Thrawn Trilogy. It’s all about Thrawn even though he’s been dead a decade at this point.

Specter of the Past by Timothy ZahnI was very excited to see a lot more of Karrde who has become one of my favorite characters. It’s interesting to see the imperial remnants breaking apart and trying to do different things without ever admitting it. It’s cool to see the Noghri doing well and expanding their horizons. This was a satisfying read which has me feeling excited about the next book, Vision of the Future!

Film: Angry Inuk

CJ Trowbridge

2020-07-22

Power and Politics in American Indian History

Forum 7: Angry Inuk

            In Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s documentary “Angry Inuk,” we learned about some of the challenges facing arctic indigenous communities. We see an indigenous family hunting and butchering a seal. For them, seal hunting is an important source of food and trade which they have been conducting for tens of thousands of years. Outsiders see seal hunting as something people should not be doing; they call it greedy and evil.

There are many interesting dissonances in the story. The hunters are practicing time-honored traditions using rifles, boats, snowmobiles, and posting pictures of their hunts on Facebook. At one point they show a photo of children with faces covered in blood eating raw meat. The people in the video remark that outsider cultures might see the photo as scary but the Inuk culture sees it as a cute photo. Animal rights activists oppose seal hunting while Inuit activists fight for their vital right to hunt for food and trade.

The cultural differences are huge, and the conflicts seem intractable. The Inuks talk about using songs to settle disputes. Particularly interesting is the claim that losing one’s temper during a disagreement is a sign of a guilty conscience. This leads to an indigenous culture which prizes quiet and respectful disagreement, being met with an external culture of loud outrage on 24/7 corporate media.

It’s interesting to see the way this film ties into previous readings which showed that the idea of fur trade was demanded by settler colonists in exchange for goods but also in exchange for tolerance. Just as early white settler colonists demanded profits from native people in order to not slaughter them, modern white settler colonists demand profits from native people in exchange for rifles, boats, snowmobiles and computers. Native people find themselves in an impossible situation. They must produce trade but “must not” use the natural resources they have sustainably exploited for countless millennia. The central argument of the movement documented in the film is that most native seal hunting is actually sustainable and not cruel and greedy. At the same time, animal rights has become a vehicle for intense and extreme hate against native culture and native people with violent threats in the name of animal rights becoming commonplace from white settler colonists around the continent.

There is a ray of light at the end of the film; we see white settler colonist-led organizations partially endorsing subsistence hunting in what seems like an attempt to diffuse some of the violent racist and misogynistic reaction directed towards native people in the name of animal welfare.

Razer Stealth 13 2020 Review

My old laptop lasted me four years to the day, according to a Facebook memory on the day this one arrived. I like to go for the highest quality in the most convenient package and then stretch it as long as I can. The Razer Stealth 13 2020 was the obvious choice for something new in 2020.

(Credit to the Unicorner Burning Man Camp for the “Don’t tell me how to burn” sticker and REI for the California sticker.)

My favorite laptop in the past was definitely my Asus C302CA. I liked that it had touch screen, 1080p, USB-C charging, a long battery life, and it was very thin. The downside was that it is a Chromebook so no graphics card, and no pc games.

Thin with full ports

This laptop is exactly the same size as that Chromebook. It’s 12 inches, same thickness, same touch screen, same USB-C charging, same long battery life, but it also has 4k, a real graphics card, and it runs Windows. This is a high-end gaming desktop in the form-factor of a Chromebook. Because it’s the same size and uses the same charger, I get to keep using all the same accessories and even the same heavy duty protective case in my backpack.

It also comes with two full-size USB-A ports in addition to two USB-C ports so you can still use all your legacy devices. This is another advantage over the Chromebook which only had the two USB-C ports so you would need a dongle to use USB-A on the Chromebook.

Ridges and Cooling

I especially like the cooling system which has these ridges on the bottom to separate the airflow from the intake and exhaust. There is also a nice filter grill covering the fans and the exhaust so it’s very easy to keep them clean without taking the laptop apart.

Razer 13 2020

Overall I really am impressed with how great this laptop is. I’ve been using it for a couple months now, and I would give it 10/10.

My Choice Of Accessories

Gallium Charger

I upgraded my charger to the brand-new next-generation Gallium charger from RAVPower. This is a really cool new technology that is much smaller than the older brick chargers but still gives you 90 watts of power via USB-C. It also comes with a second port which I will use to charge my phone. Both ports are smart and decide the correct voltage and amperage for each device. Very cool, very smart new charger. I think we will see this Gallium tech taking over the charger market.

I also picked up this Anker hub. There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. In order to charge with USB-C, you need to make sure your hub supports Power Delivery (PD) or it won’t give you enough power to the laptop to actually charge it. This hub has PD plus HDMI out and two USB-A ports as well as a memory card reader. Basically this hub enables me to use a full desktop workstation with all the accessories and just plug it all into the laptop with a single connection. You can see more about that here.

Really 4k 12″?

In the future I will definitely not get 4k on a 12″ laptop. It’s just too small. It’s very hard to see the fine details on the screen when they are that small. And your fingers are too big to use the touch function on such tiny objects. I’ve resorted to using it in 1080p instead of 4k. I paid something like $300 extra to get it in 4k so there’s an easy way to save $300 off the price.

Yaddlestation

Yaddlestation

I put this battlestation or “yaddlestation” together for several reasons related to a number of projects but I had some questions about this setup so I wanted to do a sort-of roll-up post about all of it. Notice baby yoda watching from among the plans and inspiring the name.

First there is the computer which is actually a laptop connected to a USB-C dock. Basically anything with a USB-C port can drive all of this; a phone, a laptop, a chromebook, etc. Once a device is plugged into the dock, it puts out HDMI to the TV as well as USB to a hub. The hub drives several accessories;

The desk is a Husky sit/stand desk which can go up and down. The TV is mounted via this stand.

Next to the desk, you can see a terrarium containing a number of ferns as well as several other houseplants including spider plants, pothos, and parlor palms. These are sitting on an Ikea 2×2 Kallax shelf. The terrarium also contains this fogger which has the side effect of improving the humidity in the room. The lights for the plants are these high-intensity led spot lights. I made the shades with black paper.

Behind the TV is an RGB led strip light which is using this wifi controller. I like this controller because it works without the cloud so it is very easy to work into various other projects and it would work off-grid. It also connects to IFTTT and Google. I also set up the macro keypad to run the scenes for the lights and fan so it’s easy to control everything in a quick and simple way.

Between the desk and the shelf, there is a 20×20 box fan which has behind it a 20×20 whole-house filter rated at the same quality as N95. This will come in handy once the fires start.

I also have a Google home hub which can control all the smart things but which sadly will not work without an internet connection. I am therefore considering replacing it with a Mycroft.

Power Resiliency

The first stop for electricity is a 1500 watt UPS. This protects all my stuff from surges as well as from outages. The second stop for power is the smart plugin strip which controls the plants and the filter/fan. This means when my alarm clock goes off, everything automatically comes on and when I go to bed, I just say the word to the Google home hub in order to turn off the lights and turn on the filter/fan.

NAS

I have a Synology NAS on the shelf to the left side which has eight terabytes of documents and media stored on it. A power outage is a serious danger for a NAS, so the UPS allows the NAS to operate safely and shut itself down without losing any data in the event of a a power outage.

The NAS is running Plex plus BTSync which automatically mirrors all my devices onto the NAS in real time. This makes it super easy to access any photos I’ve taken or files I’ve downloaded regardless of which device they are on or which device I am using. It also means nothing ever gets lost. I mirror the NAS to dead storage on an external drive once a week and run antivirus and anti-cryptolocker software on the NAS to make sure my data stays safe.

Network Resiliency

I have a simple unmanaged gigabit switch uplinked to a mesh gigabit wifi node from Google. The NAS and the laptop’s dock connect through the switch to the mesh node. Both the NAS and the dock have static IPs. This means basically that the connection between the NAS and the laptop is not dependent on anything except the gigabit switch so even if there are internet issues or a power outage, the NAS and laptop continue to work together as normal.

Because the laptop and NAS use very little power, they could run off the UPS for many hours without outside power and internet. This is a huge improvement over other designs I’ve used in the past. I decided to experiment with this design because I intend to eventually move into an RV and travel indefinitely. This design means it will work even if I’m in some remote area with no internet or outside power.

I think in the future once I get an RV, I will move towards a more hierarchical network architecture with a load-balancing router at the top in order to automatically switch between satellite, GSM, and wifi as sources of internet.

Power and Politics in American Indian History: Trick or Treaty?

CJ Trowbridge

2020-07-22

Power and Politics in American Indian History

Forum 6: Trick or Treaty?

While the corporate media focuses on perceived slights to its freedom, the number of missing and murdered indigenous women moves into the thousands. (NFB 0:00-2:00) Treaties were signed which made guarantees for indigenous people. The James Bay Treaty specifically guaranteed the sharing of native land and resources with the native people. (8:30-10:15) The treaty’s commitments and obligations are not being honored by the government and both sides have very different versions of what it means and why it was signed.

Canada explicitly agreed to protect and assist the native tribes, but viewed the agreement as a surrender by the native tribes. (11:10-13:25) After that, many laws were passed outside the bounds of the treaty which stole power and resources from native people in violation of the treaty and inspired a wave of red power movements which opposed this theft of power and resources in violation of the treaty. (13:30-14:30)

Canadian attitudes towards native people assembling to petition for a redress of grievances started to shift in recent years towards acceptance and empathy on the part of the white settler colonial government. (30:05-30:50) The widespread rise in red power movements led to a broad sense of solidarity, respect, honor, and love among a people who had long suffered oppression together. Seeking to make things better rekindled the sense of community which was a critical part of the culture that they were fighting for. (1:02:01-1:02-20)

 

Works Cited

NFB. National Film Board of Canada. (2014, July 29). Trick or Treaty? Retrieved July 22, 2020, from https://www.nfb.ca/film/trick_or_treaty/