Skip navigation

I’m keeping this blog around for a while as I may yet find use for it but I’ve switched my blogging efforts over to Tumblr, which makes it easier to share links and has a bit more of a social-network feel to it.
If you want to cut through all the shared links and just view original content, you can view just the posts tagged “Original.

And, of course, you can always email me atben.j.etherington(a), follow me at and find me on facebook at, but don’t be offended if I reject your friend request.


I was using Facebook long before I used Twitter. When I started tweeting (twittering?), I didn’t want to spend extra time talking to zero followers. Creating ~140 character content was nothing new; I had been doing it with Facebook’s status updates for a while. The solution was a FB application called Selective Tweets which allowed me to update Twitter and push that content to my FB status, effectively easing myself into the Twitter world.

I actually used a completely different app at first which grabbed ALL of my tweets but switched as I gathered followers and wanted to keep some content just within Twitter. The posts that I do push to FB are what I want to talk about in this article, but first another example.

I have always loved the idea of a personal website but I just don’t generate enough content to justify one. I got kind of excited when I ran across though because it allowed me to create a personal splash page without having to generate any more content than I already do. I can use API and tie in all of my social media in a slick accordion format. Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, Vimeo all nice and pretty under my name. It’s an easy to build landing zone to collect all of the content I generate. While I was monkeying around with the site I realized  it would be stupid to link both my Twitter and Facebook accounts because so much content is shared between them.

So here’s the question: how do we cut down on content redundancy? There’s so much content that can be published in multiple formats so how do we decide WHERE to publish it? Do I talk about the sandwich I just ate on twitter or on a facebook status update? Should I share this neat link on Facebook or write a post about it in my blog? Now, I have a lot of redundancy between Facebook and Twitter but I have totally different uses and different friends on each network. Facebook is mostly for conversing with friends I already have. Twitter is mostly for interacting with people I don’t yet know, mostly coffee people (like Mark Prince and James Hoffman) and writers (like John Hodgman and Quinn Katherman). That’s a great delineation that works well for me and allows me to share content between the two services without bother too many readers.

As people I know from one service join the other, I have to start thinking about which service gets which content. Again, how do we cut down on content redundancy? Should I only talk about coffee on twitter and leave everything else to Facebook? Should I share quick links on Facebook and more in-depth stuff on my blog? I have no idea, but I don’t think I’m the only one thinking about it. What’s your solution?

Pronunciation: \di-ˈsent\
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin dissentire, from dis- + sentireto feel
Date: 15th century

1 : to withhold assent
2 : to differ in opinion

– Miriam-Webster’s entry on “dissent,” the act of dissenters.

You are absolutely welcome to be a dissenter and to share and discuss your views. An amount of vocal dissenters is very healthy for discussion and government. The flip side of that coin is that by definition you are in the minority.

Don’t complain that your view isn’t being represented if you disagree with the majority of the people in our nation. Decisions are made for the greater, not the smaller. If national decisions were made solely to your satisfaction we would not have a democracy. I’m sorry you aren’t happy with our government’s decisions and they may in fact be wrong. I wish that everyone could be made happy at the same time. In the meantime, don’t insult people who don’t agree with you by claiming that you aren’t being heard. By the people, for the people, even if it pisses >50% of them off.

In addition: I apologize if the expression of my opinion hurts you. I don’t mean to disrespect or insult anyone. I often come off as a complete butt contrary to my intentions. Please forgive me and, if the fancy strikes you, correct me in private personally or via PM.

To conclude: I believe what I believe because I judge it to be right, not because I want to annoy you. Likewise, I express what I believe because I judge it to be right and because discussion is healthy, especially in these trying times. I encourage you to do the same in a loving, intelligent manner as often as you can.

The world's shortest and tallest men, He Pingping of China and Sultan Kosen of Turkey. Pingping died this week at the age of 21.

※ Big Picture is probably one of my very favorite photo blogs. Every week they create a list of ~30 higher-res pictures on a theme. Very few weeks have I not enjoyed flipping through this well-sourced list of awesome. This week’s is on record breakers, and there’s a surprising amount of food-related records being broken.

This week, SO COOL Friday is a bit short but I’m messing with an alternate format using bullets instead of large titles to demarcate separate items. Read More »

You cannot believe how hard it was to avoid a poor/pour pun. You’re welcome. Anyway, I suck at this. I’m going to blame it on the lousy steaming power provided by my single boiler semi-auto. Here’s a selection of my best work though.

Rosetta! Read More »

These two desert plants are only distantly related but have independently converged on a very similar—and unusual—body form.

Here on Earth, most evolutionary paths lead in different directions to fill different niches. Species are split from their common ancestor populations to specialize in eating specific foods or surviving in special conditions by utilizing novel mechanisms or behaviors. Every once in a while, two different species will come up with similar solutions to the same problems. This is called convergent evolution. It’s not two species evolving in different places but rather two different species taking advantage of the same principle. Read More »

It’s a trap!

General Akbar makes his appearance and issues warnings ALL over the place. (This week, Akbar *is* the summery. Read on.) Read More »

I adore this cup. I bought it from Bread and Badger’s Etsy shop front. They bought it from a thrift shop then used a craft sandblaster to etch the glaze off in the shape of a mustache! So clever and so dignified (and forest green in real life). 10 oz and pictured here with a sweet failed rosetta that sort of looks like a dove, this cup is great for piccolo lattes, hot chocolate and brewed coffee.

The best things I’ve seen this week all in one post. TGIF and have a good spring break!

This week: crazy radiation from my stove, palindromic indie music, one mildly creepy sea creature made completely goofy, a crazy hero and two movie trailers. Read More »

This last week, Wheaton College’s Arena Theater did a wonderful job performing The Seagull. I went to the closing show and loved it. As promised by the director’s notes in the program, it was a strange combination of a comedy and a tragedy. Though I did genuinely laugh a few times, I felt that for the most part I wanted it to be a comedy just so I wouldn’t have to take it seriously and could pass it’s message off as a punchline. Alright, enough of that. This isn’t a review. I’d love to talk about the theatrical aspects of the play, the stage settings, the costumes and makeup, that gorgeous moon that filled half a wall and turned blood red at the end, but I won’t. I need to talk about the actual story and it’s implications.

The story is shockingly simple. Four acts that take place at exponentially increasing intervals follow 8 main characters. In the first act, we are introduced to a character who longs to enjoy fame but can’t even decide if she wants to pursue it; a character who is bathed in fame but feels he doesn’t deserve it and wishes he was a better writer as to receive a different, more complete kind of fame; a character who hates the modern permutation of his craft and wants to change it completely, only he’s no good at it and is jealous of those who are; a character who has lived a full, rich life but wasn’t satisfied with it; a character who lived an empty life and is satisfied with it but would rather have had another; a character who just wants to trade her money for happiness; a character who adores the previous one (unrequited of course) but wants to trade his happiness for money (and therefore more happiness) and finally a character who is outwardly completely satisfied but internally jealous, controlling and miserable. Read More »

Picked this one up just recently. The mouth actually curves in a bit, giving it a spheroid shape. The saucer is slightly and delightfully oblong. A perfect 8 oz, perfect art deco and a perfect mocha inside it.