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How to stand up against a registry of Muslims in the US [Nov. 20th, 2016|01:27 pm]
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |angryangry]

During the campaign, President-Elect Trump (yeah, I know) had called for requiring Muslims in the US to register with the government. This is not unlike what the Nazi's did to the Jews in the late 1930s, before the Holocaust. Obviously one doesn't necessarily lead to the other, but this is pretty terrifying to me.

Is he going to follow through? Who knows, but this week a pro-Trump SuperPAC spokesman pointed to the precedent of Japanese internment during World War II, so it's still being talked about.

So today I pledged to stand together with Muslims if such a registry is created and sign up myself. I don't take this step lightly, but I strongly feel that it's the right thing to do to stand up against this very un-American idea.
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some thoughts about President Trump [Nov. 10th, 2016|09:53 am]
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |sadsad]

- Well, that was the worst election party ever...

- Take some time for yourself. It's OK to be sad and feel despair for a little while. Do what makes you happy: read a book, watch a movie, hug your family, go for a walk. I worked on an app last night, because creating makes me feel better. I'd advise against reading more about politics/the election for a bit. Come back when you feel ready.

- Don't lose too much faith in humanity. Hillary got more votes than Trump. And just because someone voted for Trump doesn't mean they're racist, misogynist, etc...although it does mean they're OK with having a president like that, but it's not the same thing.

- There are a lot of ugly things going on out there. I wish I could say that things are going to be OK, but honestly I have no idea. What's important is that we stand up for each other, no matter our race, religion, or country of origin.

- Get involved. If you didn't vote (and lots of people didn't!), take a long, hard look in the mirror. Worried about civil liberties? Donate to the ACLU. Worried about hate groups? Give to the SPLC.

- I found Bernie Sanders' statement to be pretty inspiring. The fight isn't over!
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non-election-related linked list: Obamacare lowering uninsured rate, boo Wells Fargo [Nov. 6th, 2016|10:44 am]
[Current Mood |nervousnervous]

My gift to you - links that are not election-related. (but don't forget to vote!)

- The Impact of Obamacare, in Four Maps - a reminder that although there are some growing pains with Obamacare, it has dramatically lowered the number of people that don't have health insurance.

(hey, I said "election-related", not "politics-related"!)

- Workers Say Wells Fargo Unfairly Scarred Their Careers - I listened to a recent Planet Money podcast about this, and it made me angry. Glad we don't bank there!

OK, fun video time!

- Omni-directional conveyor belts are fun to watch - that they are!

- This video of Cubs fans singing "Go Cubs Go" after Game 5 at Wrigley Field was surprisingly touching. I think I have a thing for large singing crowds (like "Sweet Caroline" at Red Sox games) Keep in mind that after this game they were still down 3-2 in the World Series, and everyone still looks pretty darn happy :-)

- They're coming with a Hamilton mixtamp, and this cover of "It's Quiet Uptown" by Kelly Clarkson is pretty haunting. (for non-Hamiltonphiles, this is after Hamilton's son dies)
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A little math problem about baseball [Oct. 30th, 2016|04:40 pm]
[Current Mood |relaxedrelaxed]

Since the baseball season is almost over, I wrote up a little math problem based on FiveThirtyEight's MLB predictions. Check it out!
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It's a two-party system, and why that should make you feel better [Oct. 29th, 2016|10:32 pm]
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[Current Mood |tiredtired]

Sometimes I get depressed that, even though he's likely to lose, 44% or so of voters are going to vote for Donald Trump.

But! That doesn't mean that 44% of people agree with everything he does. Although we do have third parties, even people who vote for them realize that they're voting on principle (or as a protest), and either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be president. People who vote for him probably like some things about him and dislike other things about him. It doesn't mean that 44% of people approve of sexually assaulting women, or building a wall between the US and Mexico, or think that the election is "rigged", etc., etc., etc.

(I admit there's some wishful thinking in here!)
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thursday linked list: implicit bias, paying Walmart employees more works!, Twitter and harassment [Oct. 27th, 2016|01:37 pm]
[Current Mood |calmcalm]

- We’re All a Little Biased, Even if We Don’t Know It - implicit bias is a thing, but being aware of it can help you counter it (although more research is needed).

- How Did Walmart Get Cleaner Stores and Higher Sales? It Paid Its People More - nice to see that doing the right thing can pay off...

- “A Honeypot For Assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment - I really like using Twitter, but the harassment problem is pretty terrible there. (of course I don't get harassed because I'm not a woman) As others have noted, it's ironic that Twitter was cowardly about fixing the problem because they didn't want to scare users away, and now that they're trying to sell the company nobody wants to buy them because of their image problem...

- Remember how Columbia made a peace deal with the FARC? Turns out Columbian voters narrowly rejected the deal. I haven't been following the story so I'm not sure what's happened since then, but that seems sad :-(

- Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False And Misleading Information At An Alarming Rate - if you're surprised by this then I'm guessing you aren't on Facebook. I guess it's good that the left-wing pages only wrote 20% false posts compared to the 38% false posts on the right-wing pages, but that's still not great!

- Safety Net Cut Poverty Nearly in Half Last Year - just a reminder that Social Security, food stamps, etc. are effective in lifting people out of poverty

- Lessons in the Delicate Art of Confronting Offensive Speech - changing the subject is a good strategy!

- In the Chicago Police Department, If the Bosses Say It Didn’t Happen, It Didn’t Happen - good investigation of a drug ring operating inside the police department *sigh*

- Full(er) House: Exposing high-end poker cheating devices - wow, this sounds like something out of a Bond movie, but it can be yours for the low price of $5000!

- Voices From Wells Fargo: "I Thought I Was Having a Heart Attack" - yikes

- Civilization 6 is out! I haven't played much, but here's a handy district cheat sheet.
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Vote early, Texas! [Oct. 23rd, 2016|05:43 pm]
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]

Early voting begins tomorrow! Here's what you need to know in Travis County:

- You can get a sample ballot by entering your name and date of birth here.
- Here's where you can look up early voting locations - our favorite is the Randall's at Braker and 183, as it's usually not too busy if you don't wait until the last day.
- Not sure how you're going to vote in local elections? No problem! Here's the nonpartisan League of Women Voters guide (PDF). For a bit more color here's the endorsements from the Austin Chronicle. Presumably the Austin American-Statesman has some endorsements somewhere but I can never find them :-/
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Updated floating point to hex calculator! [Oct. 22nd, 2016|03:19 pm]
[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

I finished updating my floating point to hex calculator - here's the new version! It looks a bit nicer and also shows a neat breakdown of where the bits go in IEEE 754 floating-point format. Check it out!
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Man, Javascript is still kind of dumb [Oct. 10th, 2016|10:00 pm]
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[Current Mood |irritatedirritated]

I'm working on rewriting my floating point to hex converter with React. This time I thought I'd do it "right" and use all the nifty Javascript tools that everyone complains about instead of just putting a bunch of inline Javascript/JSX in an HTML file, even though that works well enough. Long term, I'd like to rewrite the marriage map with React and D3.js, so I thought this would be a good dry run.

But, maaaaan:
- I literally had to buy a React+d3.js ebook to figure out how to get all this crap set up. (the book is pretty good, by the by)
- The book recommends starting from a particular git repository. To clone that on my linux machine I had to set up some SSH key stuff, which seemed like overkill. (why do I need to do that for anonymous access?)
- To set it up, it downloads something on the order of 300 packages through npm. I wish I were exaggerating.
- Building it (even without minifying the source!) takes a solid 6 seconds on my desktop machine. This is for a ~100 line javascript file. The non-minified version is more than 2 MB of Javascript! Even the minified one is ~180K, which seems like way too much.
- React now recommends you use ES6 instead of calling React.createClass(), and there are some niceties there. But there also some stupid gotchas, like the fact that you have to call .bind(this) on every method for it to be able to access this, because Javascript is the worst.
- For some reason I'm not able to debug with Firefox's debugging tools. (luckily Edge seems to work well)
- I wasted an hour because the new fancy fetch standard (not supported in some versions of IE so you need a polyfill) has a method called text() that returns the text of the response. Wait, no, it actually returns a promise that has the text of the response. I never realized how much I liked C#'s standard of ending asynchronous methods with "Async" before...

Anyway, I think I'm past all this crap, but I'm starting to remember why Javascript is terrible!
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days are meaningless linked list: hospital algorithms, books reduce recidivism, dining as a couple [Oct. 2nd, 2016|08:32 pm]
[Current Mood |tiredtired]

- This Algorithm Accidentally Predicted Which Hospital Patients Were Most Likely To Die - neat! (thanks Dan!)

- To reduce recidivism rates, give prisoners more books - win-win!

- The Economics of Dining as a Couple - funny, and the best part is the standard disclaimer at the bottom: "This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners." For the record, David and I are somewhere between options 2 and 3.

- A theory of creepiness - a little more philosophical than I usually like, but I found it interesting.

- Blame BP for Deepwater Horizon. But Direct Your Outrage to the Actual Mistake. - yeah, many of these types of failures are systemic and build up over a long period of time.

- Texas Put Under Court Supervision After Lying to Voters About Illegal ID Rules - sigh

- How the Maker of the EpiPen Made Government Its Ally - yeah, this is the problem with...lobbyists, I guess? Something is wrong here.

- More than a hundred Star Trek cast and crew sign off on anti-Trump letter - random, but neat I guess!

- Firefox is eating your SSD – here is how to fix it
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