We've reached that time of the year when it's warmer outside first thing in the morning than it is in the house. Even more so these days, since I've started lowering the thermostat to 75°F when we go to bed to help facilitate sleep. (It seems to help somewhat, more for Mitzi than for me.)

This just means we're actively cooling the interior 24 hours a day now, and there is no time of day when stepping outside isn't something of an unpleasant experience resembling stepping into a sauna, one that has biting flies and mosquitoes and can give you skin cancer.

Florida, in other words.

It also means that my camera lenses will fog when I go out, until they warm up above the dew point, which is 77°F at the moment, while it is still 75°F in the house.

I'm thinking about how much "news" I consume. One of the things I didn't enjoy about Twitter was the constant stream of "alarming" messages. It's possible to replicate that experience in Mastodon, although somewhat diminished simply by virtue of the fact that I "follow" fewer people; and also by the fact that I spend less time on Mastodon. Less "engaged."

It seems I've filled that time with other digital media, like RSS feeds and Apple News.

In terms of RSS, the Miami Herald has a pretty good RSS feed of their news coverage. Which isn't necessarily what I'm looking for either. Much of their coverage includes wire reports of horrible things going on in other states. Murders, car wrecks, babies left in hot cars, dogs killing people. A ridiculous number of stories about lottery winners.

It's probably not essential for me to be aware of all these things, but I can't see a way to filter them out. I don't usually click through to the entire story, but the headline and the first couple of lines in the RSS item are usually enough to give you that sense of alarm.

Apple News is algorithmic in an intrusive way. Bookmark an article you want to refer to later, and next thing you know, you're getting those kinds of stories all the time. Dopamine, for instance.

Plus, I subscribe to Apple News+, which means I'm paying for this service. Well, I've blocked Fox News, the NY Times and CNN. Rather than simply not show stories from those outlets, the layout, although it is algorithm-driven to be personalized for me, always includes a big, ugly square that says in large letters, "You blocked this channel," like an accusation.

Just omit those sources from the presentation, Apple.

I'm thinking about how I can manage that. Maybe just look at it once a day, between 1800 and 1900, like we used to get the TV news. Get it off the home screen and bury it somewhere a few screens back.

All I know is I'm reading too much news, and it's not making me better informed, it's making me ill. So, I'm thinking about that.

Out loud, it seems.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 06:02 Wednesday, 28 June 2023