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.

Living With Complexity

cover of Living with Complexity by Don Norman

Norman seeks to help readers understand the ways people handle complexity in their lives, then derive a set of tools that designers can apply when working with complex problems.

On Immunity

cover of On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

A short book that wrestles with the current controversies over vaccinations by contextualizing it in the larger history of vaccination and illness. Quick to read with plenty to think on.

Read on The New Yorker

What Part of “No, Totally” Don't You Understand?

A delightful look at how “no” has recently evolved into a contranym.

Read on Citylab

Why Gentrification is So Hard to Stop

Citylab looks at how neo-liberal policies have built gentrification into the fabric of our culture for the past few decades.

Thoughts on a Spring Day

Everything is coming alive and breaking out of hibernation and I want to write. I have nothing to say. I want this site to be filled with thoughts, references, ideas. Instead it sits. I guess this is ok.

Friday Links: Jobs

I got a new job! Starting Feb 9 I’ll be working at Vox Media as a front-end engineer. Since I’m thinking about employment and jobs today here are some essays that have shaped my thinking on the topic in the past few years.

Weekend Performance Optimization Notes

I’ve been fighting a head cold or something this weekend and because of that I’ve been extremely bored. So I decided to see how much I could improve this website’s loading performance. In a few hours of hacking I got it from a Speed Index of 2000+ to consistently between 600 and 800. Pretty good! Here’s notes on everything I did.

Thirty

Today is my birthday. My 30th birthday. It’s not really that big of a deal, but I wrote some thoughts about the past decade. Also, I have a request: would you share something great with me?

How Buildings Learn

cover of How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand researches and extensively documents what happens to buildings after they are built. His research reveals patterns based on what the initial architecture enables, what building users commonly need, and ideas for embracing the unknown future with our buildings.

Friday Links: Lakes

Two pieces on bodies of water and one piece on how our bodies are similar.

Convert Google Maps Directions to geoJSON with Node

I’m working on building some maps to record the routes we took on our cross country road trip. In order to accomplish this, I needed geoJSON data of all the roads we drove, so I used Node and Google Maps to build the data pretty easily.

Listening

The status quo must not be allowed to stand.

BBC Series: How Buildings Learn

Excellent series from Stewart Brand attempting to understand buildings from a evolutionary standpoint.

Chattanooga Story

Chattanooga, my new home city, is in the midst of a renaissance, but it’s not helping everyone. A documentary explores the history of the improvements and the challenges facing the city.

Friday Links: This Land

The first polar vortex of the new winter has descended on America, and I’m thinking about the land.

Bad Feminist

cover of Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay’s book of essays challenged me, inspired me, taught me, and humbled me. What a beautiful collection of writing.