ArtLung: Joe Crawford's personal website. 2024.

Front End Study Hall

I’ve been attending great and inspirational IndieWeb events for several years now, have even helped co-organize a few. Sometimes CSS and HTML questions come up that seem to call for a deeper dive into those things and imply deeper questions. My idea for Front End Study Hall is an open hours / office hours type open format Zoom meeting.

Here’s my description for the first one, which will be held April 24, 2024:

If you’re a maven of markup or stylesheet superstar, or a newbie novice with nth-of-type, all are welcome to learn together at Front End Study Hall

The foundation of a flexible, good IndieWeb website is markup (the “M” in HTML!”) that doesn’t drive you batty to debug and CSS that works with it to have it look, sound, and interact how you want, whatever device or format the website is displayed on.

Front End Study Hall is an HTML + CSS focused group meeting to learn from each other about how to make code do what we want.

Even if we don’t know, or don’t have a quick fix or plan for what you’re trying to do with your markup and stylesheets, we can probably point you toward resources that can help.

Hosted by Joe Crawford

If it’s successful, expect more. If not, well, maybe not.

I’ve gotten so much from so many people over years to learn my trade on Usenet, mailing lists, forums, Stack Overflow, various Slacks, group chats and the like I am happy to attempt to give back to whomever might want to learn too.

Link: Front End Study Hall

Good place to be

We saw this sea gull retrieve this McDonald’s bag from a trash can. Sea gulls are stubborn. We didn’t attempt to intervene.

First Swell at Wedge 2024

Some great waveriding. From BEEFS TV & Brad Jacobson.

The Wedge – Biggest and Gnarliest Day of First Swell 2024! (RAW):

Massive Waves Kick Off the Wedge Surf Season

See also: Dirty Old Wedge, The Wedge (wikipedia)

Shenanigans on getting involved

A few weeks ago I was approached in the water by a surfer whose head was bleeding. I walked with him the 150 yards to the lifeguard tower. I carried his blood spattered surfboard. There’s a photo.

And a month ago when I was walking back with folks we’d picked up from the airport we encountered some young men. It was in one of the parking garages at Terminal 2. They were animatedly discussing and arguing about a soda machine. They were speaking Spanish. Mostly I wanted to get out of there. But they asked for help. I paid for my parking at that machine. Then I helped.

I can scarcely resist trying to help. I will refer to it as “shenanigans,” usually.

The boys (no older than 19, the 6 of them) explained in rapid Spanish they were trying to sort out how much money the machine needed for a Coke. They had a bunch of quarters whose denomination they didn’t understand, and they had some single dollars and they couldn’t sort out the American money. After stilted but workable Spanish, I answered “eleven” (in Spanish, once) and pointed at the quarter-dollars. And I went on my way.

I learned yesterday that my sister–7 years younger than me–did the Heimlich maneuver for one of the volunteers at her job.

My grandfathers both would get involved with shenanigans too. I remember my dad’s dad pulling over and we both helped push a guy’s stalled car out of traffic. My mom told stories of her father driving hours to help a stranded friend or family member. “You can depend on Artie.”

Tomorrow it’ll be 20 years to the day of a San Diego airport adventure involving an oxygen tank. And I am so glad I blogged about it. To be able to read the details puts me right back in that moment of using my skills–the “lung” part of “ArtLung.”

So here is the first opportunity in years to be useful in a Respiratory Therapy capacity. I walk over saying, “I’m a respiratory therapist, can I help?”

In 2019 I was on a jury for 3 weeks. And when the final arguments were given, and we went into the jury deliberation room, the question of electing a foreman came up. Somehow, the folks in that rooms eyes went to me, and I did not object. And I served and organized. We used the whiteboards and set up a grid of the charges, and where we stood on each of the counts, and the evidence supporting and refuting the various claims. And we worked it through in a few hours of deliberation. And I was responsible to speak aloud how “we the jury” ruled.

I returned to work the day after. One of my co-workers asked me “Joe, were you the foreman?” I replied a little surprised “I was, how did you know?” And he said in return “I was just thinking you’re suited to it.”

And that’s me. And my family too.

URLs remind me of train and bus schedules

Over on Mastodon, Steve Randy Waldman posted this which struck me as true:

the practice many browsers have adopted of truncating URLs in the address bar to the hostname is emblematic of the decline and commercially driven infantilization of the web.

understanding URLs — their roles and the ways and whys of how they are constructed — was an elementary skill of the original view-source web.

hiding complete URLs encourages people to become ignorant consumers of mysterious information services, rather than informed participants in a public forum.

I fully agree, and it reminded me of learning to read bus and train schedules as a kid:

In 8th grade in San Diego we had few days of a pseudo home-economics. Among the tasks was to learn to read and understand a bus schedule and a train schedule. This was in the 1980s and one needed to do these things manually. Reading the timetables and their legends and doing work to plan a trip on X day at Y time was complex. A URL address has–to me–analogous complexity. But useful for wayfinding. Essential even.

Steve blogs at

Go ahead and read a refresher on the parts of a url:

danah boyd, “moral crumple zones”

What danah boyd told us about AI and ethics by Alex Howard, reporting on a talk danah boyd gave a talk at Georgetown University’s Center For Digital Ethics Bracing for Impact: AI in the Wild. A quote from Alex’s notes:

danah gave us an important concept to consider for the rapidly expanding, emergent uses of AI, using the ways the USA regulates air travel as a useful prompt. When the ability to make decisions has shifted to a private industry without accountability, beware.

In airplanes, humans must remain in the loop, but sometimes the automated systems can get in their way, as with Boeing and the Max 8 disaster – long before the current rash of problems with the aerospace giant. danah noted that when it comes to Captain “Sully” and the Miracle on the Hudson, he has to make objections to save people’s lives.

Citing Madeline Elish, she talked about “moral crumple zones,” citing Madeleine Elish’s evocative concept that describe “how responsibility for an action may be misattributed to a human actor who had limited control over the behavior of an automated or autonomous system.”

When there’s no ability for pilots to override systems, it results in crashes. danah says the pattern is consistent: people would have been saved if pilots could override a technical system that wasn’t up to snuff. She’s concerned that we currently don’t have structures in place to hold tech companies accountable over time for similar issues.
The question of who gets to define acceptable outcomes in policy, programs, and services is always about power and whose values are reflected in them.

It sounds like it was great talk. I hope Georgetown is able to put it up somewhere.

The abstract for the “moral crumple zones” paper by Madeleine Clare Elish includes text to further articulate the concept: Moral Crumple Zones: Cautionary Tales in Human-Robot Interaction:

Analyzing several high-profile accidents involving complex and automated socio-technical systems and the media coverage that surrounded them, I introduce the concept of a moral crumple zone to describe how responsibility for an action may be misattributed to a human actor who had limited control over the behavior of an automated or autonomous system. Just as the crumple zone in a car is designed to absorb the force of impact in a crash, the human in a highly complex and automated system may become simply a component–accidentally or intentionally–that bears the brunt of the moral and legal responsibilities when the overall system malfunctions.

Worked late, hit the beach before sunset. Saw @quantumprimordial in the water and told him about the sale on fins at the OB @birdssurfshed; saw dolphins. Fun quick sesh. #stoke

Potentially Scam Contact from +1 (206) 804-8090

+1 (206) 804-8090:
Hello I am Olivia from Alliance recruitment groups US. Would you be interested in a remote position?
Joe Crawford:
I prefer email for professional contacts: – thanks
+1 (206) 804-8090:
The person in charge currently sends business related information via WhatsApp, so sorry for the inconvenience.

Now, maybe this was legit, but to me, vague out-of-the-blue text messages that say business will be done only via WhatsApp don’t signify “legitimate,” rather, they signify “scam.” Alliance International Services has a dedicated page with this notice:

In the last few days, we are getting a lot of messages from the candidates who received fake job letters, email, phone calls and messages in which our company logo and name is mentioned. And the word claims a lot of money from the candidate for giving jobs. So, This informs you all that Alliance Recruitment Agency comprehensive recruitment process which includes a personal interview and we don’t make employment offers on the basis of a candidates’ CV. Moreover, recruitment to any post under the Alliance Recruitment Agency is done through our own HR department, and we don’t outsource to any external agency or individuals.


All are hereby alert that potential job-seekers corresponding with individuals and recruitment agencies will be doing so at their own risk and consequences and that Alliance recruitment company will not be liable for any loss or damage that may be incurred directly or indirectly as a result.

It’s Tuesday

From Cam, to “thought leaders”

Please stop writing posts like this.

Where you make every sentence its own paragraph.

To try and make your writing sound more insightful or profound.

I have done this sometimes: it can be effective maybe! But it always reads self-important. And when you have that attitude as you write it’s probably a bad sign. It makes me curious to try to write code (today I’d write it in Python, 3 weeks ago, PHP, but given my site ultimately lives in a database SQL might be best) to find when I’ve been guilty of it in blog posts. Most of my writing hubris is just sloth–I love a run on sentence, an emdash, or a semicolon. Oh, and sentence fragments. Alas.

Tracy is drifting away from the sci-fi genre and some of the titles she mention I may look to.

There’s more than ever to read, but it’s harder to find good stuff to read, maybe. Clarkesworld closed submissions indefinitely because so many of their submissions were AI-generated drivel. How on earth do you wade through an infinite slush pile? AI is just spam:

Clarkesworld Magazine is no stranger to tales of artificial intelligence impacting society, but in a sad and wild case of life imitating art, the Hugo Award-winning magazine has had to temporarily close its doors to submissions due to it being bombarded with people filing science fiction stories ostensibly written by ChatGPT.

I also read about that in this post: Are We Watching The Internet Die? by Ed Zitron:

We’re at the end of a vast, multi-faceted con of internet users, where ultra-rich technologists tricked their customers into building their companies for free. And while the trade once seemed fair, it’s become apparent that these executives see users not as willing participants in some sort of fair exchange, but as veins of data to be exploitatively mined as many times as possible, given nothing in return other than access to a platform that may or may not work properly.

As an IndieWeb stalwart, the small, slow, and IndieWeb has been here all along. But newspapers are dying. Journalism is being starved. We don’t have much shared space to find out how our world works.

No, I don’t have a solution.

Local to San Diego, the terms of the lease of San Onofre Beach from the US military will be changing.

I read the other day a person I worked with a few jobs back who has been out of work more than a year got hired. Made me happy.

This site appears up to date and includes listings of folks still hiring. Though I do see a fair number of notices of layoffs every week across industries. Seems like I read Tesla did some layoffs yesterday. years ago I was offered an introduction to a manager at Tesla, but I declined. I’d read enough about Musk as a manager to know that it would not be a place I would like to work.

This gallery of audio cassette cases is terrific.

I had not heard of Hillfit but I’ll be checking it out. I am deeply suspicious of most workout stuff. I do love a vigorous ocean swim. It might look like “habitual drowning risk” but to me it’s fun. It feels purposeful that doing a static thing like a pushup or working a machine doesn’t. But from MAS’s 2013 post: Hillfit 2.0: A Zero Budget Approach to High Intensity Training he includes a quote I really love:

“train as much as necessary, not as much as possible” – Perhaps the best quote was ever written on fitness.

And this:

how adults can benefit from getting on the floor and engaging in movement patterns we stop doing as infants

In my bodysurfing, I am basically dancing with the water, when I’m doing it well. I am attempting to shape my own ungainly, overweight body into shapes that can harness the energy of waves to travel with speed and some grace. The movements are not ones I do on land. But doing this as regularly as I do has meant that the way I can move on land has changed.

Anyway, I’ll be perusing the books. If you feel inclined, give them a star on GitHub.

I updated the post: Services Shutdown Email of the Day: InVision with a link to a service that claims to be able to export your data if you have piles of it in Invision: Invision Bulk Export dot com.

USC offers a minor in “Resistance to Genocide”–and now, their valedictorian, Asna Tabassum, who has that very minor (major: biomedical engineering) won’t be speaking due to concerns about safety.

Mike Sterling runs a blog about comics called Progressive Ruin:

My name is Mike. I sell funnybooks at my comic book store Sterling Silver Comics, located in Camarillo, CA. I used to work for Ralph’s Comic Corner (later Seth’s Games and Anime) in Ventura, CA. I’ve been at it since 1988, and yet I am still alive.

I lived in Moorpark and Simi Valley for a bunch of years, I think I went to Ralph’s Comic Corner many years ago. Somehow I never ran across his blog. I was following him on Twitter for several years. He’s funny you see. And insightful. Now he’s still both, but on Blue Sky at And now I’m gonna read his blog.

Happy Tuesday gang. It’s rough out there. Chin up.