How to Reduce the Amount of (Plastic) Waste You Produce

Modern lifestyles result in people creating a lot of waste. Plastic waste from single use items and packaging. Food waste. Last generation iPhones. Electronics that are actually broken and cannot be repaired or recycled (often due to planned obsolescence). Clothes that were worn for a couple of times and then thrown out. I believe that human societies should change how we live towards something more environmentally friendly. Those are the kind of lifestyle changes that must be simultaneously done by a significant portion of the society in order to make a difference, but individuals can still try to do at least something. [Read more…]

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: How Consumer Demand for Convenience Increases Food Waste

The idiom “greatest thing since sliced bread” always felt odd for me. I am not a native English speaker; I learned the language when I was already in my teens. And this idiom clashed with the cultural background in which I had grown up. In my opinion, sliced bread is a pretty terrible idea, there’s nothing great about it. When you compare another invention with sliced bread, you are basically saying that this new thing is just as terrible as sliced bread. Here’s the problem: I was raised to not waste food and not spend extra money on packaging and convenience-enhancing processing methods that don’t really save that much time anyway. I mean, sliced bread requires more packaging and it tends to cost a bit more even though for me slicing my own bread only takes a couple of seconds and it is not hard at all. [Read more…]

Different Responses to a Global Pandemic

Some countries have dealt with COVID-19 much better than others. With quarantine, social distancing, and good healthcare it is possible to significantly reduce the number of dead people. Politicians and the healthcare system can make a huge difference. Some countries have done a pretty good job. Others (hint: the USA) have been absolutely terrible. I believe that at this point it is possible for me to argue that the USA has the worst politicians and the worst healthcare system among all the developed countries. [Read more…]

When Copyright Infringement Makes Artists Feel Like Shit

I like to think about myself as a strong person. I am aware that this is toxic masculinity. Men don’t cry. Men don’t need emotional support. Men take care of themselves and don’t need somebody else to fix their problems for them. Men are emotionally self-sufficient, and their happiness doesn’t cling upon social approval. It’s funny that despite having been raised as a woman I still ended up internalizing the worst aspects of toxic masculinity while growing up. Then again, maybe those aren’t the worst parts of toxic masculinity—at least I don’t wear tactical body armor, nor do I own any guns, and I don’t do anything misogynistic. It could have been worse.

Yet despite being rationally aware that toxic masculinity is stupid, I still feel that I don’t want to perceive myself as a pussy. A “pussy,” what a stupid word, straight from the repertoire of misogynistic jerks. Why the hell was femininity associated with weakness? Oh yeah, because we live in a sexist society. Still, I don’t want to see myself as weak. I’m not particularly worried that another human being might perceive me as weak. My self-esteem and self-perception doesn’t depend upon how other people see me. Instead, this is about how I see myself, and when talking about “weakness” in this context, I mean emotional strength.

Here’s the problem—my current emotional state is something I associate with weakness. I allowed the actions of another person to get to me. I allowed another person to hurt me. Dealing with copyright infringement is always unpleasant, it’s an uncomfortable chore artists have to do. On a regular basis, we have to waste our time sending DMCA takedown notices to various websites. Unfortunately, this time the art thief actually got to me, they managed to make me feel sad beyond my usual annoyance about having to waste my time. My last blog post was about a particularly nasty art thief who used my images without permission for their logotype.

When I finally got Facebook moderators to delete her posts in which she had used my art without permission, the art thief turned the tables on me by publishing a post in which she pretended to be the victim. She complained about the evil person who was amusing themselves by harassing her for no good reason. Her loyal followers wrote plenty of comments expressing sympathy and wishing her luck and perseverance in getting her deleted images back online in her Facebook page. Oh right, and her kid also went to harass me on my Facebook page. I also have a suspicion that somebody tried to hack my Facebook page. I got some e-mails about an attempt to reset my Facebook password. [Read more…]

Art Theft Stinks: Blam’s Coon Are Stinky Art Thieves who Disrespect Copyrights

Blam's Coon

Update: It’s over. Probably. See the explanation at the end of this blog post.

Please, help me out. I am currently dealing with an especially vile art thief who is using my art for their logotype without my permission. I politely asked them to stop using my art. They refused. They were rude and insulting towards me, and our e-mail conversation ended with them adding my e-mail address to their spam filters.

Normally, a public shaming campaign is something I reserve for the last resort. I prefer to first send a polite e-mail. If an art thief refuses to stop using my art, then I send DMCA takedown notices to various websites where they have posted stolen images. Unfortunately, this time I am dealing with a person who adamantly wants to fight for their imaginary right to abuse artists. Moreover, I don’t have the patience to send dozens of DMCA takedown requests for every single image they have uploaded online (this particular art thief has been immensely proliferate, uploading dozens of stolen images on Facebook and in their personal website).

Thus I am organizing a public shaming campaign. Even thieves care about their reputation and social approval. A bit of social pressure should help even the most stubborn thief understand that their actions are illegal and won’t be tolerated by the society. Copyright infringement is a serious problem that is harming content creators, and we as a society should not tolerate it. [Read more…]

Coronavirus Panic

As of writing this, there are 18 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Latvia. Most of them travelers who returned home from other European countries. When dealing with an epidemic, people ought to be careful, yet there’s a difference between being careful and panicking. [Read more…]

8th March

International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year around the world. According to Wikipedia, “It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.” So far so good, I totally support attempts to eliminate patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny. Of course, we need more gender equality and rights for women. [Read more…]