Kernel is a 100% volunteer-run publication. Here are the people who helped bring the magazine to life, and some top media recommendations from each of them.
Editor-in-Chief, and wrote A Guide to Options at the End of the World.
I loved reading Braiding Sweetgrass, The Paradox of Control by L.M. Sacasas, and Nathan Schneider’s Cryptoeconomics as a Limitation on Governance and Vitalik’s response. I just started going through Hope in Source, a podcast by Nadia Eghbal and Henry Zhu.
Some of my favorite books I’ve read this year include Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, which Riley gifted me while we were writing together in Asheville, and Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, which made me more optimistic in the depths of quarantine.
Auckland, New Zealand
Creative Director, and wrote What is Technology?
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin and Neuromancer by William Gibson are recent sci-fi reads, the former being more philosophical and the latter more fun/thrilling. Thinking Through Technology by Carl Mitcham and From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner really influenced my piece in this magazine.
San Francisco, CA
Pondering raves and EDM as both live, co-physically-experienced media and ephemerally built environment -- lately, so grateful for Stern Grove Festival, Umami, and Second Sky. Also, words delving into time-based media, cyborgness, diaspora, queerness, like Hanif Abdurraqib’s Object of Sound, Jason Bayani’s Locus, Diana Khoi Nguyen’s Ghost Of, Riley’ Wong’s hypnopompia. Always re/reading work by Sally Wen Mao, K-Ming Chang, and Franny Choi.
Ann Arbor, M.I.
Wrote Opus, three fictional stories placed in history depicting changing perspectives on physical automation and robots.
New York, NY
Wrote hypnopompia, a story about processing the end of a relationship through dreams and music.
San Francisco, CA
Wrote a love letter to virtual community care 🌱💞, a piece about my own experience as a neurodivergent disabled organizer during COVID.
I highly recommend Twitter & Tear Gas by Zeynep Tufekci, about digital strategies that shape how protest evolves today in the age of social media, and The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Wang to understand the experience of psychosis shaped by race and culture.
Wrote take back the future! the progressive case for techno-optimism.
Inventing The Future by Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek got me wildly fired up about reclaiming technology for progressive goals, and about embracing ambitious idealism without compromising on ideals. In many ways, it inspired my piece!
Wrote Fast Food Education
I can't recommend Ted Chiang's short story collections enough, like Stories of Your Life and Others and Exhalation. Because of him, I fell in love with sci-fi and speculative fiction as a whole; reading these genres have made me a more thoughtful designer and human being.
Editor for Jasmine Sun’s take back the future and Chris Painter’s Unstoppable Mechanisms (both incredible!)
I loved Quick Studies: The Best of Lingua Franca in making academic arguments accessible and as a prime example of the rigor, thoughtfulness, and ambition of the little magazine movement, and Anna Wiener’s incredible profile of Moxie Marlinspike in showing how we can more creatively build tech for liberatory ends.
Wrote From the non-ideal to ideal: what technologists can learn from organizers.
I loved reading At the Existentialist Café, which follows philosophers’ personal and intellectual lives, and shows us how ideas can be lived in. I also recommend Redpilling and the Regime, an essay on the role of critique and theory from all directions in conceptualizing the world and taking action.
Helped build kernelmag.io.
I’ve had the pleasure of just consuming a lot of good media this year but the ones that stick out (in no particular order) are The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green and Mindstorms by Seymour Papert. One helped me to marvel more at the beauty of the everyday, and the other which gave me the words and clarity to connect a lot of my thoughts on epistemology, education, and the cognitive sciences.
Helped build kernelmag.io :)
There have been many readings that have helped me make sense of the world and my place in it. Some of which are Seeing Like a State by James Scott and A Mathematician's Lament by Paul Lockhart. I'm also grateful to videos by Bret Victor and John Green for rekindling my childlike sense of play.
Wrote Beyond + Escape and edited A Guide to Options at the End of the World.
This year, The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang moved me beyond words. I also read Disability Visibility, edited by Alice Wong, and highly recommend it as a collection of disabled perspectives! I also made a delayed discovery of Ilya Kaminsky’s Searching for a Lost Odessa, and it is sweet and sad and lovely.
Editor for Shira’s piece, Beyond + Escape.
Thinking a lot about communities, play, and wonder. Love flipping through Kimberlie Birks’s Design for Children, currently reading David Brooks’s The Social Animal, planning to read Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms.
Editor, for Theresa’s a love letter to virtual community care 🌱💞 and Bianca’s Fast Food Education. (such an amazing experience!)
This year I’ve loved In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, This Could Be Our Future by Yancey Strickler and *Educated8 by Tara Westover. One taught me love, one taught me patience and one taught me pain (well obvious reference but quite literally for each of these books tho!). Very looking forward to reading / engaging more from my Reboot peers, whose media recommendations and insights have made me a more thoughtful and appreciative human being!
Wrote Triumph of Desire and gave feedback to various other pieces in the magazine while at the Reboot Retreat in Asheville, North Carolina.
Editor for Riley’s hypnopompia, Matthew’s e-raced, Bianca’s Fast Food Education. (What a delight!)
I’ve read a lot of Maggie Nelson this year, and too much short fiction to name, though I’m still thinking about The Semplica Girl Diaries. David Graeber’s Utopia of Rules was mindblowing.
New York, NY
Editor for a tour of here and Beyond + Escape
Future Tense Fiction - in particular because of the diversity of authors speculating about the future, Haroon and the Sea of Stories as one of my all time favorites that I re-read because there’s so much art in simple world building, generally podcasts and pieces debunking the “obesity crisis” and treatments.
Photographer, designer, editor
I've been recommending the podcast “Aria Code” to everyone. As someone who used to stay away from opera like cryptocapitalists from centralization, I've found comfort in learning about the lessons written into music sheets centuries ago that connect to ways of living today. This year, I also revisited Wendy Hui Kyong Chun's Habits of New Media and Ariella Azoulay's Civil Imagination while thinking about how what we consume shapes who we are.
San Francisco, CA
Layout for Opus, a tour of here, and Triumph of Desire; advised typography decisions throughout.
My reading has been completely all over the place this year, but I’ve really enjoyed Designs of the Pluriverse as a (heavy) guide to creating worlds that are sustainable, interconnected, and just.