Deciding the internet doesn’t need a public log of everything I posted all the way back to high school

A friend recently batch-locked a bunch of their older posts — not inspired by any specific bit of harassment, just a general feeling of being Too Exposed On The Internet — and it got me itching to do the same.

I mean, good grief, I’ve had a WordPress blog since 2008, and a Dreamwidth journal since 2009 — which includes crossposted entries from Livejournal dating all the way back to 2003.

There’s not any specific bit of Youthful Miscreance, either, that I’m afraid some bad actor will dig out and then blow up on Twitter…but I’m not gonna sit down and comb through it all to double-check, you know?

WordPress makes it pretty easy to select large batches of posts and mass-edit the settings. (“Friends only” isn’t an option here, just Public or Private.) There’s probably a paid way to make it even easier, but the free way served me well enough.

I set everything pre-2020 (slightly over a thousand updates) to Private, then batch-unlocked stuff from certain categories. Mostly all those music recs posts I did, and the Burns & Allen transcripts I want to keep available as a resource for other fans. A couple of reaction posts to different books/TV. A couple of cat posts.

Dreamwidth lets you mass-access-change all the posts in a certain date range…if you have a paid account. They’re also doing their December end-of-year sale. So I figured it was the right time to pick one up.

I set every post before 2020 (also just over a thousand — mostly crossposted between there and WP, but not all) to Access List Only. Unlocking sub-selections of posts is a more tedious process there, so I only did it for the few that I definitely want to keep available for total strangers — that is, every older post in the “Yuletide” tag, and, again, a few cute posts in the “cats” tag.

Anything else I said, in any of those posts, that’s still important and valuable for people to read in the 2020’s…I’ll just have to say it again in the 2020’s.

My hero today is whoever made the call to totally sidestep the phrase “nu variant”

All COVID news in here. If you don’t want to read anything depressing this evening, maybe open the first link, but skip all the others.

March 16: “…the authors find evidence of fairly significant change, but all before the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in humans. This means that the ‘generalist’ nature of many coronaviruses and their apparent facility to jump between hosts, imbued SARS-CoV-2 with ready-made ability to infect humans and other mammals, but those properties most have probably evolved in bats prior to spillover to humans.

May 27: “Isabella had felt like a bit of a black sheep in her conservative, COVID-flippant family. Even so, she was shocked when she found out that her great-aunt and great-uncle had died after not getting vaccinated. Both had been eligible for a dose since the beginning of January.

November 2: “Mariano Quisto, a remote community leader in Peru’s dense Amazon rainforest, first learned of the global pandemic in October when health workers arrived by boat at his isolated village with vaccines.

November 11 (Twitter thread): “My brother died of COVID on Monday. I’ve learned he left the hospital early, against doctor’s recommendation. He never told me that part. He let me think he was getting better. For 9 days, I did what I could to help him. In the end, he died alone. I’m on another planet now.”

(Compiled into an article on DailyKos for easier reading, if necessary.)

November 23: ““I have been on ivermectin for 16 months, my wife and I,” Dr. Bruce Boros declared at the end of the meeting at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala. “I have never felt healthier in my life.” Two days later, the 71-year-old cardiologist fell ill with COVID-19.

November 23: ““If you look at healthcare systems that have actually mandated this, they’ve retained over 99% of their workforce,” he said in support of the mandates during an August press event. “Their workforce does go along when the employer requires it.” […] Fierce Healthcare will update this list as more deadlines are reached and hospitals share their numbers.”

November 24: “With more than a month to go to close out the year, the CDC has recorded 386,233 COVID deaths in 2021 through Tuesday, more than the 385,343 counted in 2020 […] The paper cited experts as saying the cause was not just persistently low vaccine uptake but also the relaxation of safety measures such as wearing face masks and avoiding indoor gatherings, with many people wrongly assuming that vaccines alone had effectively ended the crisis.”

November 24: “When she went to the emergency room because half her body had gone numb, the ER doctor offered to book her an appointment with a counselor. Another doctor told her to try removing her IUD, because, she remembers him saying, “hormones do funny things to women.” When she asked her neurologist for more tests, he said that her medical background had already earned her “more testing than I was entitled to,” she told me. Being part of the medical community made her no different from any other patient with long COVID, her eventual diagnosis.” (Most of the medical professionals interviewed for this article are, unsurprisingly, women — but not all.)

Multifandom fic recs (Madoka Magica, Miraculous Ladybug, Carmen Sandiego, Pet Shop of Horrors, Buffy, Star Wars, Murderbot)

  • Miraculous Ladybug | Marinette/Adrien, Chloe, Kyuubey, kwamis | T | Wishes and Witches
    Marientte comes to learn there are far more insidious dangers the Magical Girls must face, the true weight of a wish, and that there are far greater prices to pay than ones life.

    And perhaps, the girl she once thought she hated was more heroic than she ever thought she could be.
    fic:epic,series:miraculous ladybug,series:puella magi madoka magica,pairing:marinette_adrien,kink:identity porn,trope:hurt-comfort,amazing

  • Star Wars | the internet | T | The Emperor Skywalker Conspiracy
    The Holonet discovers the existence of one Luke Skywalker and promptly makes it a meme. I present you the one long rant of a lone blogger trying to disentangle the mystery behind Luke Skywalker and his maybe inheritance of the Empire.
    series:internets,fic:socialmedia,series:star wars,genfic,fic:one-shot
  • The Murderbot Diaries | ART, Murderbot | T | privilege escalation
    In the aftermath of getting hacked, Murderbot asks ART to help it make sure it can’t be hacked the same way again. As it turns out, applying and testing a security patch is a little more challenging than usual when the vulnerable system is, you know, your own brain.
    pairing:art_murderbot,series:murderbot diaries,trope:trauma,genfic,fic:one-shot,trope:hurt-comfort
  • The Murderbot Diaries | Murderbot, PresAux team, ART | G | SAFEWORD.exe
    In an effort to improve security training for its humans, Murderbot decides that controlled memory wipes are the only way to give the authentic ‘chased by a dangerous SecUnit’ experience. It really wishes its humans would stop complaining about the idea. Nothing’s going to go wrong.
    trope:amnesia,trope:hurt-comfort,pairing:mensah_murderbot,pairing:art_murderbot,series:murderbot diaries,fic:one-shot,genfic,amazing
  • The Murderbot Diaries | Mensah | T | Demo and Inspection
    There are a number of things to do, and a number of arguments to be had, before a group can go on a survey trip. Dr. Mensah and Pin-Lee were running out of time to hammer out a deal with the bond company, and the required rental SecUnit had become the sticking point.
    genfic,pairing:mensah_murderbot,series:murderbot diaries,fic:one-shot,trope:outsider.pov
  • The Murderbot Diaries | Murderbot, Amena | G | A Calling
    I allowed this one-time breach of my strict no-hugging policy because it was a celebratory event, not because I had any parental feelings for this adolescent human. I want that noted for the record.
    series:murderbot diaries,genfic,pairing:mensah_murderbot,fic:one-shot
  • The Murderbot Diaries | Murderbot, ART | G | online
    I didn’t know ART was able to make my local feed address sound that demanding, a scream through the feed. It didn’t matter because that was when my power cell failed and everything went dark.
    pairing:art_murderbot,series:murderbot diaries,fic:one-shot,genfic,trope:hurt-comfort

Scams, cults, schemes, & frauds

A reclist of good (and free!) listens, in a genre I’ve been diving into pretty hard lately.

Some are ongoing series; others have ended (officially or unofficially), but their back catalogs are still worth checking out.

MLMs/Pyramid Schemes

  • The Dream (podcast): Season-long deep dive into the social and legislative history of MLMs. Then a follow-up on the “wellness” industry. Great background knowledge to have for some of the other recs.
  • Life After MLM (podcast): In-depth, sympathetic, long conversations with survivors of pyramid schemes, from the obscure to the famous. The stories are personal and unique! The underlying grift is always exactly the same.
  • Sounds Like MLM But OK (podcast/Youtube): A tour of pyramid schemes. Not so much deep-diving here, it’s more about the rubbernecking.
  • Multi Level Mondays (YouTube series): Wide-ranging survey of MLMs. You probably knew about the makeup/clothing/vitamin ones, but did you know they’ve sold insurance, chocolate, ants, CBD, and dirt? (Literally! Dirt.)

Finance & Cryptocurrency Scams

  • Coffeezilla (Youtube channel): Finance scams! With a focus on crypto scams, especially recently. Videos are mostly short, all energetic, and really accessible for those of us without business degrees.
  • Crypto Critics’ Corner (podcast) Crypto scams, plus analysis of shady behavior that suggests “Scam Reveal on the horizon, it’s gonna be all over your timeline any day now, get the popcorn ready.” Always a fascinating listen. Gets a lot more technical/into-the-financial-weeds, so if you’re like me and don’t have much background in that already: binge Coffeezilla for the accessible explanations first.
  • Exit Scam (podcast): Or binge this first! Season-long deep dive into a career fraudster, how he pivoted from traditional Ponzi schemes to running a crypto exchange, and how it all came crashing down. Walks you through lots of backstory really well.

Other Tech & Business Scams

  • KickScammers (Youtube series): Stories of crowdfunding campaigns that were misrepresenting their products. Or ran off with the money. Or, in one memorable case…backers got the rewards, only to find out the device exploded. Can reach a bit too hard to zazz a story up (e.g. an ominous “The rewards…were never delivered” on a KS that didn’t fund, i.e. the creator wasn’t paid to deliver any rewards in the first place) — but there’s enough genuine drama, it’s fun even thru the spin.
  • The Great Fail (podcast): Officially tells the stories of failed businesses, but a ton of them were scams from the start (think Theranos, Juicero), or crashed because they *got* scammed (think Toys’R’Us).
  • Easy Prey (podcast): Less “history of individual scam incidents,” more “outlines of different scam genres, and how to stop/avoid them.” Plus interviews with people in security fields. Sometimes experts! Usually interesting. (Had a personal interview with John McAfee not long before his death, for anyone who wondered “okay, these stories sound unhinged, but what’s he like firsthand?”)

Romance & Interpersonal Scams

  • The Perfect Scam (podcast): 1-2-part overviews of different scam types, guest interviews with specific survivors. Focused on the ones most likely to target older people – romance scams, tech support scams, grandparent scams. The co-host of the early seasons is the Catch Me If You Can guy, so you also get regular tidbits about his IRL scamming history — up to you whether you think they’re more or less interesting than the main topic of each episode.
  • Fool Me Twice (podcast): Host’s mother gets romance-scammed, host does a season-long breakdown of how it went down. Then returns for a breakdown of a diamond scam (more specific than “the whole diamond industry”) (but there’s some of that too).
  • Something Was Wrong (podcast): Host’s friend gets elaborately scammed, host does a season of interviews with friends/family to unpick all the lies, one listener goes “whoa that happened to me too,” host sets out to interview *their* friends/family…It must be such a relief, when someone tells a multi-year web of lies to a big group of people, when a journalist-minded person comes in with fresh eyes and the goal to systematically unravel it all. (And it’s a good listen, too, since it’s 9 seasons and counting.)
  • Scientology: Fair Game (podcast): More long conversations, this time about the same cult. Abusive, fraudulent, always worse than you think. Hosted by two survivors, great at expositing all the weirdest details for those of us from “the real world.” (The podcast is a follow-up to their documentary TV show on the same topic — it’s not free, but if you have a streaming service that carries it, you might want to watch that first.)
Comedians Tell Their Friends About Scams Of All Kinds
  • Lie, Cheat & Steal (podcast): Two comedian friends take turns telling each other about famous liars, frauds, thieves, and cons. Some historical, some ongoing, all entertaining. With bonus episodes on their Patreon!
  • Scamtime (podcast): Two comedian friends take turns telling each other about famous scams. Funny, interesting, and they’re Canadian, which makes everything 25% more charming.
  • Scam Goddess (podcast): Comedian host tells her comedian friend guests about history-making frauds, ongoing cons, and reader write-ins about their non-headlining adventures in low-key scamming.
…got a favorite that isn’t listed here? Please tell me about it, I’m always looking for more.

COVID medical facts! With reliable scientific sources! Since we can always use more of that

September 30: “Alabama is shrinking under the onslaught of Covid-19, its chief medical officer said, as deaths in the state outnumber births for the very first time.”

October 4: “18% of health care workers have quit their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, while another 12% have been laid off. Among health care workers who have kept their jobs during the pandemic, 31% have considered leaving.”

October 7: “…the model projected the risk of reinfection under endemic conditions — in which everybody has either been infected by or vaccinated against the virus. In these conditions, unvaccinated individuals should expect to be reinfected with COVID-19 every 16 to 17 months on average.”

October 21: “A WHO paper on Thursday estimated that out of the world’s 135 million health staff, “between 80,000 to 180,000 health and care workers could have died from Covid-19 in the period between January 2020 to May 2021”.”

October 25: “Sixty-eight years later, an iron lung is still keeping Lillard alive — she sleeps in it every night. While many people who had polio or post-polio syndrome either weaned themselves off the machines or switched to another form of ventilator, Lillard never did.”

The legacy of polio — and of its vaccines. (It is amazing how this went from “a constant, overwhelming threat” to “a nearly-eradicated nonissue” in, what, a generation or two?)

October 27: “It’s true that of all members of our population, 5–11 year-olds actually have the lowest risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 according to COVID-NET data published in the MMWR. However, even if you look at this fact, based on historical estimates, COVID-19 would be the 8th leading cause of death in this age group.”

Children are at low risk, but they’re not at no risk.

“As far as the vaccine, with the pediatric dose, there are 0.06 mg tromethamine and 0.4 mg tromethamine hydrochloride. [The generic product warning antivaxxers are up in arms about] describes a 500 mL solution of tromethamine containing, in total, 18 g of tromethamine (3.6 g per 100 mL), or 60,000 times as much tromethamine.”

So if the Secret Nefarious Medical Cabal snuck this into the vaccine formula to prevent Secret Undisclosed Heart Problems…they skipped the step where they tell us to give every kid 60,000 doses.

Non-COVID-related bonus:

“Unwanted, intrusive visual memories are a core feature of stress- and trauma-related clinical disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) […] even once intrusive memories have been laid down, playing a visually-demanding computer game after reactivating the memories may reduce their occurrence over time.”

In other words, if you or someone you know get caught up in a traumatic event? Once they’re safe, have the survivor get out their phone and play Tetris for a while. It’ll make a long-term difference.