I was reading an article on web typography and came across a great passage that sums up my problem with most of the character sheets I’ve seen:

The statistician and information designer Edward Tufte introduced the concept of data-ink in his 1983 classic, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. He defines data-ink as ‘the non-erasable core of the graphic’, whereas non-data-ink is the ink used in the graphic, not to directly represent data but for scales, labels, fills and edges. Tufte goes on to define the data-ink ratio as the proportion of ink that is used to present actual data compared to the total amount of ink used in the entire graphic. The goal is to design a graphic with the highest possible data-ink ratio (tending towards 1.0) without eliminating what is necessary for effective communication.


This is more extreme than what I’ve had to grapple with, but it’s definitely in the same zone. It’s honestly taken me decades — and only recently — to realize that I am not a white American. I had always thought of myself as basically white, your “typical” American, but so many people have asked and continue to ask me the standard mixed-race kid question: “So, what are you?”

Which they would not be asking if they looked at me and just thought “some white American dude”.

But, honestly, I have no strong ties to my Indian heritage — I grew up with my German-immigrant mom in the suburban Midwest. I’ll (now) proudly proclaim I’m Punjabi, but then I’ll go to an Indian restaurant and everyone will look to me for guidance and I’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. (Heck, even Indian and Pakistani people I meet look at me kind of funny. “You’re Indian? I had no idea.”)

It’s just bizarre. I was raised on network TV, comic books, D&D, pizza, Star Trek, and rock n’ roll. I speak one language. Seems pretty white American to me.

When I was in high school, I remember a vague conversation with my AP US History teacher. He was making some sort of big deal (for reasons I forget) about two other students being first-generation Americans — both of them white as snow with parents from Northern Europe. I wasn’t familiar enough with the phrase to point out that I was also a first-generation American. But I guess somehow I didn’t read as a candidate for that category.

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I’ve been trying for some time to understand what’s going on in American politics of late. Trump tried to seize unprecedented power, but was stopped primarily by the fact that he has no idea what he’s doing. What he’s actually done is to create a power vacuum unprecedented in American history—and we don’t yet know what will rush in to fill that vacuum.

I’ve tried to put my thoughts into at least partial order here. While Trump would like to be the American Putin, what he’s actually become is the American Yeltsin.

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But Trump’s order only encompasses the Public Health Services Act, and its $57,000 of available emergency cash. That will get you about 12 doses of the auto-injector Evzio, which delivers the overdose-reversing drug naloxone for around $4,500 per pop.


“Facebook, Twitter, and Google [went] beyond promoting their services and facilitating digital advertising buys,” the paper concludes, adding that their efforts extended to “actively shaping campaign communications through their close collaboration with political staffers.”

“The extent to which they were helping candidates online was a surprise to us,” said co-author Daniel Kreiss, from UNC Chapel Hill. He called the assistance “a form of subsidy from technology firms to political candidates.”

But Hillary Clinton’s campaign declined to embed the companies’ employees in her operations, instead opting to develop its own digital apparatus and call in the tech firms to help execute elements of its strategy.