Sunday March 26th, 2017

Square Dance calling for El Camino

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Square Dance calling for El Camino Reelers on Friday Night, thanks Bennet Marks for the picture!

Another from the canyon at Sugarloaf

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Another from the canyon at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Saturday March 25th, 2017

Went to see the waterfalls at Sugarloaf

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Went to see the waterfalls at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, and look at the sun at Ferguson Observatory

Friday March 24th, 2017

Mnuchin on Automation

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Ya know, if I were going to point 50 to 100 years away when discussion automation being a social and political issue that we're needing to deal with, I'd be pointing to the past, not the future...

I'm largely in a "bring on the automation" mode, and I'm not really sure how much we need to worry about middle America's low-skill manufacturing jobs, I mean the Republicans will probably manage to set up policy to kill off most of those unemployed fairly soon, but "50- 100 more years away" is just bizarre.

Mnuchin on robots taking US jobs: 'It's not even on our radar screen ... 50-100 more years' away.

Apparently data scientist is what we

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Apparently "data scientist" is what we used to call "programmer".

thing about tech meetups is people

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The thing about tech meetups is people sidetracking the speaker with extraneous questions. On the first slide.

Wednesday March 22nd, 2017

Funnest bit about owning a BMW i3

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Funnest bit about owning a BMW i3: when it's in the shop and Charlene is driving loaner new 3 and 5 series BMWs and complaining...

Tuesday March 21st, 2017

SWAT raids are deadly

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We've found the source of the drug violence: Washington Post: Marijuana raids are more deadly than the drug itself

Giving Petaluma Pete a good run for his

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Giving Petaluma Pete a good run for his money on a street piano


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With all of the discussion about whistleblowers, I think it's important to note that the best way to stop whistleblowing is to stop doing illegal things, and make sure that those who use official channels to report illegal activity are taken seriously and don't face recriminations.

The United States government has been doing very badly on all of these fronts.

Square Dancing & BDSM

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Gathering this note up from Sunny Megatron as inspiration when I'm trying to put together an evening of square dancing:

One of the analogies that we use is a roller coaster analogy, and that is: If I am setting up a scene with someone, I am the dominant, I am creating a scene for my submissive. It is my job as the engineer of this mental roller coaster to get all of their information, all the stats from them: So what do you like? Do you like corkscrew turns? Okay, you don't like dark tunnels, I won't put any dark tunnels in my roller coaster. And that's the negotiation phase. And then it's my job to get the specs that they've given me, put together a roller coaster of everything that they want, but making it feel like a mental surprise. So even though I've engineered this roller coaster to have a very clear beginning, middle and end I know exactly what's going to happen and it's planned out, I want them to feel like they are mentally on a runaway car. That they might go off the rails, they might crash into the wall, because that's what we're getting at: We want that endorphin rush, we want that adrenaline going.

Sunny Megatron is host of a show about sex on Showtime, this quote is from Tristan Taormino's Sex Out Loud February 17, 2017 episode: Sunny Megatron and Ken Melvoin-Berg on Becoming the Dynamic Duo of Sex Educators and Offbeat Elements of Kink. Sounds like Sunny and Ken play on the far side of psychological role play.

Woman, 56, dies after drinking toxic tea from SF Chinatown tea shop:

Xie and the surviving victim became critically ill — experiencing weakness and abnormal heart rhythms that required resuscitation — within an hour of drinking tea they had bought from the herbalist, officials said.

The common ingredient may have been aconite that wasn't properly processed.

Humans are adorable

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Your dose of "awwww" for the morning: Humans are adorable.

Monday March 20th, 2017

Holy crap, people. The Trader Joe's restroom should not need more than 3 flushes or 5 minutes! #dancingwithcrossedlegs

Cell phone searches

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Friday March 17th, 2017

App Camp for Girls

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Many of you knew prolific technical author and pioneering blogger Tom Negrino. He died yesterday, after a bout with cancer. If Tom touched your life, even if he didn't, give this a look.

App Camp for Girls: The Tom Negrino Memorial Fund

Thursday March 16th, 2017

A rant on cutting social programs

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I am susceptible to the argument that social programs have a macro-economic effect of raising poverty. Back in my 20s, when I knew less about history and sociology and economics than I do now, I made that argument. So I know where the current administration is coming from with the "cut all of the social programs and let 'em starve" attitudes.

But here's the thing: We have a huge historical resource for what happens when you do that. Nazi Germany was totally big on that, and the killings started not by rounding up huge groups of people and sending them off to concentration camps, but by doctors in homes for the disabled, or treating disabled people, quietly killing off "drains on society". It's only a short hop from there to the elderly, and thence to your least favorite ethnic group, and so on. The slope is slippery, and gets steep pretty fast, and I'm not willing to go there.

There is hope, however: If you want to lower the birth rate among poor people, if you want to reduce the number of children born to parents who can't take care of them, we have lots of data on that about what works. And it works really really well: You give women reproductive choices. You give them birth control. You give poor people social stability and a basic standard of living so that they don't feel it necessary to turn to bad relationships in order to survive.

If you want the next generation to have earnings potential, you give 'em school. You make sure they aren't hungry, so that they can learn. You start that schooling really early, because pre-school and "Head Start" style programs may have no impact on middle class children, but early intervention has a huge positive impact on poor kids.

Similarly, if you want to reduce the number of people in nursing homes, if you want to reduce the costs of nursing care, without starting down that slippery slope of turning people out on the streets to die, which quickly escalates into being "humanitarian" by euthanizing them first, you subsidize some in-home meals (Impact of home-delivered meal programs on diet and nutrition among older adults: a review, Zhu and An, Nutrition and Health (2013)).

All this bullshit "cost cutting"? It's going to fucking kill the economy of the next generation.

girls & beliefs about their own sexual pleasure

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TED talk: Peggy Orenstein: What young women believe about their own sexual pleasure. From the teaser text:

Why do girls feel empowered to engage in sexual activity but not to enjoy it? For three years, author Peggy Orenstein interviewed girls ages 15 to 20 about their attitudes toward and experiences of sex. She discusses the pleasure that's largely missing from their sexual encounters and calls on us to close the "orgasm gap" by talking candidly with our girls from an early age about sex, bodies, pleasure and intimacy.

From the talk:

... I also know what I hope for for our girls. I want them to see sexuality as a source of self-knowledge, creativity, and communication, despite its potential risks. I want them to be able to revel in their body's sensuality, without being reduced to it. ...

Quantifying Therapy

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The Atlantic: What your therapist doesn't know. Interesting article about the pushback against quantifying therapy, and what happens when therapists do.

Wednesday March 15th, 2017

Modern Metaverse

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So much good stuff in Raph Koster speaking at the Game Developer's Conference: Still Logged In: What AR and VR Can Learn from MMOs.

One slide has some advice for modern developers of VR spaces:

  • Do tiny groups - two?
  • Of friends only.
  • That don't move.
  • With unrealistic avatars.

Basically, what we've come to by fragmenting back into all of these little Slack channels that we have now.

And "an old school text MUD from 1992 is closer to Snow Crash than anything that has been built with goggles."

Ricardo Scipio redux

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Uncomfortably Me: Sex Goddess Project Explores Sexuality In An Unapologetic Way (NSFW). I've mentioned Ricardo Scipio before.

"Women have for too long and in too many cultures had their sexuality suppressed only to be pseudo-released within the stiflingly unkind world of porn. I'm extremely humbled and proud to provide a vehicle for women to unapologetically express themselves with love and authenticity; something porn cannot offer," Scipio says in a press release on his website.

As a male photographer, Scipio says he knew it was he who was "repressing how the subject should portray her sexuality." This made him rethink his boundaries and become more supportive of how his model wished to show herself intimately.

A conversation on rape

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Worth a watch: TED Women: Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger: Our story of rape and reconciliation.

Got there 'cause [redacted unless they say otherwise] posted a link to BBC: Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger: Should a rapist be invited on stage?, about the controversy over the possibility of this conversation and the subsequent cancellation at a Women of the World Festival.

Added: Excerpt from their book South of Forgiveness, which definitely looks worth a read.

paddling a unicorn

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If you're a paddler, this is hilarious: First unicorn descent of the New River Gorge (YouTube video)

"We can't afford the future

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"We can't afford the future." Kim Stanley Robinson talking about how finance, not technology, is the limitation.

Tuesday March 14th, 2017

stems and leaves

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Washington Post: Government marijuana looks nothing like the real stuff. See for yourself.

Man, nothin' but stems and leaves. In the North Bay, I suspect you could pick up a garbage bag of this for a few bucks with the understanding that at best you'd be attempting to boil it down for hash oil...

Yes, we're all getting a good laugh about listening via microwave ovens, but

Called the new square dancer class at

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Called the new square dancer class at Vallejo Pioneers tonight, so much energy and fun!

PornHub offers free snow removal services with branded plow trucks tomorrow to people in Boston who want to get plowed. boston/