seeking better questions

Winston Hearn, who is me, is a person who reads and writes and fumbles towards better questions to ask. This site is where I collect my thoughts on books I'm reading, the tech-driven world we're building, and anything else I find interesting. I currently work for Vox Media as a Sr. Front End Engineer.

What's best for users

It’s important to critically examine what incentives have been in place in the past few decades that may have led to a web like we have.

The first half of 2018 in reading

cover of The Fifth Season by

In the first half of this year I read 26 books, and I have a feeling I will at least double that by the end of the year so I don’t want to wait until then to record what I’ve read and call out notable books.

How Am I Not Myself?

Two years ago next month I became single, although I’ve not felt like that was the truth until a few months ago. Single, after 10 years of being in a monogamous relationship; but I was only single 6 months prior to that and I’d been in a year long toxic relationship before then.

The hope of a livable world

The ideologies of disruption and innovation still reign in most areas of power in the world, so I often am at a loss for hope or optimism. But many people are dismantling and critiquing these ideologies and in doing so weakening their stronghold.

My Year in Reading: 2017

cover of Warmth of Other Suns by

In 2017 I recovered from a severe depression and remembered how to read. Here’s an overview of what I read, both what I loved and what I didn’t finish.

Authors showing their work

Two authors generously sharing the process behind their work.

Questioning Global Risk

How do we make decisions that potentially create large scale risks for future generations?

A Disability History of the United States

cover of A Disability History of the United States by Kim E. Nielsen

A helpful survey of American history (pre-white settlers to now) focused on how disability was understood and how people with disabilities have been treated within various periods.

Notes from Pat Toomey's February 16 Townhall

On Thursday, February 16 at 1:52PM I found out that Senator Pat Toomey was holding a town hall at 2:05PM. Virtual only, via phone and web audio means. So I joined. This post consists of the notes I was able to take and links that I think are relevant to the questions he received and answers he gave.

The Intellect of Woman

I am reading A Disability History of the United States currently and in it Kim Nielsen, the author, briefly covers the story of Agatha Tiegel. Her story caught my eye so I did a bit further research.

The Master Switch

cover of The Master Switch by Tim Wu

As a history book, The Master Switch is a good examination of how various communications mediums and industries (telephone, cinema, radio, tv, etc) have grown and shrunk in the past 150 years or so. But Wu claims that these histories unlock for us principles that we can use to understand these patterns; a claim I felt unsupported after finishing the book.

Hope in the Dark

cover of Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Solnit wonderfully explores the concept of hope by centering it in many civil rights fights from the past few decades. Hope, she argues, must be cultivated and is not something we have because we expect to win, rather it is something we fight to retain even if victory is unclear. The book is relevant, fierce, and helpful for anyone seeking a framework for staying inspired as we look forward to the next few years.

Networks of New York

cover of Networks of New York by Ingrid Burrington

This small guide is an attempt to help readers see the physical infrastructure that underpins the internet. Burrington helps us step away from the strange metaphors and simplistic descriptions we use when talking about the internet to get a sense of how it functions and where all the tubes live.

Americanah

cover of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A brilliant novel that spans decades and cultures and countries to tell a beautiful story. I read the entire thing in less than a week and was tempted to immediately start it over once finished.

Notes from Let's End Gerrymandering Meeting by Fair Districts PA

Last night (January 25, 2017) I attended the first Philadelphia area meeting to end Gerrymandering, put on by Fair Districts PA. There were easily 300+ people in attendance. Fair Districts PA is a volunteer led organization attempting to start a citizens movement for reforming the way district maps are drawn up in Pennsylvania. This post has my notes from the fantastic presentation given by Carol Kuniholm about the topic of Gerrymandering and how Pennsylvania’s system currently works.

The Sixth Extinction

cover of The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

In the history of the world – as far as scientists have discovered – there have been five mass extinction events on earth. All have seemed to relate to sudden climate shifts. In this compelling and clearly-written book, Kolbert presents the evidence that we are in the midst of the sixth such event, and furthermore, the evidence implicates humans as the motivating force behind the event.