Education Environment Reads Social Media

What I’m Reading – Jan 2 2024

Today is a good day to read.

I subscribe to a good number of newsletters. Most are freely available, even if you don’t subscribe to the parent publication

One such newsletter is Landline, from High Country News. I subscribe to the Landline because it has excellent coverage of what’s happening with clean air and water, the Endangered Species Act, the Interior, and climate change.

From the Landline:  Is Biden waging a war on energy? Or on the climate?

Biden is twixt and tween on climate change and we’re going to end up with a really bad President if we don’t recognize this. Yes, we wish he could have done more for the environment and fighting climate change. Given. However, if you keep up with court cases, you realize he has done what he could given the current state of our court systems—not to mention the current state of Congress.


Another newsletter is from The 74, a media site dedicated to all things educational. You don’t have to be a teacher—or a parent—to have an interest in education. After all, what happens in schools impacts on what type of citizens kids become in the future. And even us older childfree couples have to live with these citizens.

From The 74, a story about one of the largest school districts in the country in Virginia, and the impact of its mistaken release of private and confidential data from 35,000 students.

From The 74: Alleged Rape Victim Presses Virginia’s Fairfax Schools for Answers on Records Disclosure


The Climate Coach is one of Washington Post’s free newsletters. You don’t have to be a subscriber to the Post to get the newsletter. Today’s Climate Coach is about our need to stop buying so much crap…and to consider getting rid of the crap we have.

Article has had the paywall removed.

From the Climate Coach: The Swedes know the secret to happiness: You are not your stuff


Speaking of newsletters, I suspect most of us are signed up for one or more newletters from authors who publish on Substack. I subscribe to several, though I can’t afford to be a paying client of all of them.

You might have heard recently about a neo-Nazi account on Substack, and the company’s response when asked about it. Linked below are some of the replies from people I follow on Substack.

As for me? If someone moves from Substack, I’ll do my best to find and follow them. But I won’t unsubscribe from someone who wants to stay on Substack. I’ve had an online site long enough to know that no matter where you go, bad people follow. I lease my server space from Linode, which is now a part of Akamai. I would not be surprised if Akamai is hosting a neo-Nazi web site. Or two. And if I find this out, I’m not going to pull my server and go elsewhere, because wherever I go, the bad people will follow. If not immediately, someday.

If you want to silence bad people, you drown them out with the good. So, don’t link to the bad people, don’t talk to the bad people, and don’t give the bad people attention. Only echo the good.

So, I’m linking to the good.

Kevin Kruse: Moving Forward

Ken White: Substack Has A Nazi Opportunity

Thomas Zimmer: On Substack’s Nazi Problem, and Ours



Social Media

So-So Social Media

Last edit:

Threads is crap. Uninstalled.


I did decide to try Threads, primarily because I have a (very inactive) Instagram account, and because some folks who aren’t on Mastodon are on Instagram/Threads. I figured better than Twitter, but still wish I could find folks on Mastodon more easily.

At that, you can search on hashtags on Mastodon, but Threads doesn’t even have this capability yet. A bit underwhelmed with it.


I’ve been exploring the world of social media, which, for me, means spending more time on Mastodon.

I won’t be trying out Bluesky or Threads, or any of the other social media sites controlled by scary-looking men. I had that with Twitter, and I’ve moved on.

I am still contemplating whether to start my own Mastodon server. My hosting company, Linode, now has a one-button click Mastodon server setup among their marketplace apps. This includes setting up a basic email server, which is necessary for Mastodon. Literally all you have to do is point, click, pay and do a tiny bit of tweaking and you’re ready to rock.

I don’t have an email server setup for Burningbird, primarily because maintaining a safe and spam-free email server just isn’t a fun use of my time.

Still, I am tempted to try the new Linode Mastodon solution. I’m happy on, but I’m feeling stubbornly independent.


Burningbird Social Media

Yes to ActivityPub, but no to Friends

I decided to disable the Friends plug-in when I realized it was inserting every new feed item as a new post in my database. This could easily become unmanageable. Considering you can use a feed reader to read weblogs AND Mastodon accounts, it just didn’t seem worth the database burden.

I do still have ActivityPub activated. I agree with my friend Karl that I could wish it would not pick my profile name as account name, because this could make it easier to hack into our WordPress accounts, but it’s beta, it will improve, and it’s interesting.

I realized this week that I checked Twitter only twice and that primarily to see what was happening with the Speaker vote. Most of the folks I followed on Twitter are now on Mastodon, and I just don’t miss the bird site that much.

I’m now considering keeping my account. It’s cheaper for me to support than it would be to spin up a new Linode for a Mastodon instance. And I’m really not interested in installing software I can’t ‘read’ since I don’t speak the language. And no, I really don’t want to learn Ruby. I’m done with my programming language learning days, and content to stick primarily with markups, PHP, and JavaScript.


I have temporarily disabled ActivityPub. I’m currently restoring all my old weblog posts using the Wayback Machine. I realized after about the 15th post yesterday that I was sending copies of each to Mastodon.

I’m not sure if the folks that follow me on Mastodon really want to know what weblogging was like in early 2004. It is interesting in that I stopped just on the verge of discussing my move to a new weblogging tool: WordPress.

I’ll re-enable the plugin when I’m finished.

Burningbird Social Media Weblogging

Yet More WordPress/Mastodon/ActivityPub integration

The ActivityPub WordPress plug-in is working beautifully. Not only can people follow me on Mastodon, I can now follow them back using the complementary Friends plugin.

This plugin isn’t specific for ActivityPub. It allows you to subscribe to friend’s posts, ala Google Reader, and creates a personal Friends page to read most recent posts. ActivityPub integrates with this so you can follow Fediverse accounts such as those on Mastodon. The header screenshot shows the Friends page, which is a nice, clean feed reader page. But it’s personal. The following image shows what happens if someone else accesses the page.

Friends page that just has instructions in how to subscribe to Burningbird, shown to people who are not logged into my BB system

So now, people in Mastodon can follow my Burningbird posts (I’m Bosslady), and I can follow them back. And if folks reply to my Burningbird posts on Mastodon, I get a comment to the post here in Burningbird.

The integration isn’t seamless. Replies on Mastodon to a post show up as comments, but unless I enable comments for the post, you can’t respond to the comment. And if you do, it doesn’t show back up as a reply on Mastodon. In addition, I can star a Mastodon post in my Friends page here at Burningbird, but it doesn’t reflect back to Mastodon.

Still, the integration is impressive, and usable right now. I suspect it will only get better over time.

One change I did make was to limit my posts to a 400 character excerpt. It’s not usual for me to push out 2000 or more words in a post. I don’t think this is social media friendly. I also limit the content to non-HTML text, only. Don’t need to send out something that could cause issues in an ActivityPub application.


The 400 character excerpt didn’t work out well, because paragraph markings were removed. So now I’m trying Title and Link. I may see if WordPress excerpt will work with crossposting to Mastodon.

Social Media Technology

Testing WordPress/Mastodon ActivityPub integration

I just installed the ActivityPub plug-in for WordPress. With it, you can follow posts here at Burningbird by following Supposedly, then, this post would show up on Mastodon as a new post.

There’s also a plugin that would allow my WordPress weblog to subscribe to one or more folks on Mastodon, and publish their posts here. However, I won’t publish someone else’s work in my space, and I also have code to print out the RSS entries at the footer for my Mastodon space. Still, new toy…

I’m still debating on whether to install my own Mastodon instance. I don’t have a lot of interest in learning Ruby/Rails, so the technology doesn’t interest me, in and of itself. The ActivityPub protocol does interest me. Mastodon, itself, interests me, but I do have a comfortable home on

If I do install Mastodon, then I have to decide if I want to spin up a new Linode for it, or learn to live with WordPress/MySQL duking it out with Mastodon/PostGreSQL. And then there’s the email service. Rumor has it that GMail is not Mastodon-friendly, so using it as a third-party email service won’t work. I don’t want to pay for an email service, so that would mean installing email support. And that’s just uglier than sin.

Decisions, decisions.