“Beyond the age of information, there is the age of choices.”

― Charles Eames

Back in the early 2000s, I wrote a blog post (sadly now lost to the entropy of the web) asking when video games would have their Alan Moore moment. By this I meant the moment when video games would stop being low culture and pure entertainment and entered the realm of Capital L Literature, like comic books had two decades before. By the 1980s the comic book had evolved from “rotting kids’ brains” to Works of Literature, with titles like Moore’s V for Vendetta and Watchmen.

Pandemic words and thieving scientists

There’s a lot of correcting terminology in the media and social media these days, it’s something of an epidemic. Most of it should stop, because it’s silly, it won’t work, and it shouldn’t work. Let’s take one I’ve seen a lot of people having feelings about: the word endemic. Or rather, the at least four words, endemic. The question we’re asking is about our future, after this immediate crisis is over.

Will Covid become endemic? The short answer is probably yes, for most values of endemic. Right now, epidemiologists are reaching for their guns, but I’m not trying to tell…

The Hardest Problem of The Aftertimes


I finally lost it when someone asked me about the new variants. Friends and acquaintances who relied over the last year on my research and knowledge asked me what it meant, and how dangerous it was, to have these new more transmissible and/or deadly strains circulating just when we’d hoped the vaccines would soon end the pandemic. “It means nothing,” I told them, “Everything will be fine, because masks, social distance, hand washing, and common sense still work just as well against these versions of the virus.”

Of course, the variants do mean something. Variants are just what happens when…

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

What happened to the capitol was terrible and scary, and had many elements I recognized from my work with protests and angry crowds in America and around the world. I’m not going to say it wasn’t tough, but I can say from experience it wasn’t rare. It just happened to people who believe they shouldn’t be subject to the kind of trauma that afflicts the rest of us. It happened to people who understand themselves to be the elites, America’s patricians.

Afterwards, Congress bathed itself in righteous self-pity, while displaying a disturbing lack of self-awareness. The whole impeachment is a…

If you’re looking for rules to follow in a pandemic, then the first rule is this: Information will change, be ready to change with it. In a world where most of humanity’s pain is self-inflicted, not knowing how the virus works has been one of the hardest things for many people, including many governments, to come to terms with.


Be Flexible

In this age of technology and wonders, we’re used to right answers, even when people don’t make the right decisions. But in the middle of a crisis like this, often there aren’t any right answers, or they emerge slowly and stay…

This is an evolving document, I’m updating it with more tips and designs as I go along. If you’d like to make a suggestion or ask a question, please leave a comment.

I’ve made close to 900 masks, and designed and redesigned masks for better general fit, comfort, and safety. Here is what I do now, along with one of my own designs.

A note up front, this isn’t going to cover the basics of sewing. This article assumes that you have some grounding in making sewn products and the equipment to do so. Ok, back to the masks.

What makes a good mask of any type — disposable, reusable, handmade, certified respirator, etc., is this: materials and fit. Both factors are vital for safety and efficacy. The best filter in the…

(It’s going to do it anyway.)

From Sci Show’s three part history of the internet

We are parenting in interesting times. Our children are the most media drenched children who have ever lived, navigating their way between addictive games and social media platforms, and a hyperfast news cycle trying at all times to push everyone’s nervous system as hard as possible. Then there’s the regular stresses of school and socialization that plagued us when we were young. But they’re also the smartest people who have ever lived, and able to pluck wonders of human understanding from the ether, form groups that coalesce around ideas in moments, and google their homework answers.

This is one mom’s…

Here are some quick texts (in English, Dutch, French, German, Bulgarian) to pass around to your family and friends with a call to action to stop this terrible vote in the EU:

The European Internet is Under Threat!

There is a pending vote on EU copyright law with two articles that could severely limit what you could say and how you express yourself online — Articles 13 and 11.

Article 13 would require the services you use, like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter to keep tabs on you and potentially delete copyrighted material you post. There’s no way to do this by hand, so what you say…

The reason for the season: I had three cervical discs replaced with this Mobi-C prosthetic. Post-op was painful and difficult.

Hello, I’m Quinn, and I’m documenting my experience of opioid withdrawal to help others who are facing the same process. It’s just one person’s experience, but I hope it can help others out there get through withdrawal safely and successfully, and put physical dependency behind them.

First posted to quinnnorton.com.

People have a strange vision of me. I’m going to set a few things straight real quick.

I was an anarchist pacifist two years ago, I was an anarchist pacifist two months ago, I’m an anarchist pacifist right now, and I probably will be one until I go to my grave. I didn’t get fired for what I believe or what I’ve done, because none of that ever really came up. I got fired because of the language I used when I was working with Anonymous in 2011–12, and because I believe in engaging with racists…

Quinn Norton

A journalist, essayist, and sometimes photographer of Technology, Science, Hackers, Internets, and Civil Unrest.

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