Ilhan Omar's courage to wear a hijab is what inspired me to start wearing a kippah

  Members of Congress voted this week to strip Representative Ilhan Omar of her foreign affairs committee assignment supposedly in response to statements she made several years ago which have been widely criticized as antisemitic. Now, I don't normally write much about antisemitism, because most of what I say both on and off the internet is about constructive, positive things. I discuss things I'd like to see more of. But in this case, I have such a thing to say about this ordeal. The central thing is this: I remember the statements that have been used to justify Omar's present public shaming because they were what motivated me to start wearing a kippah at thirty-three. In support and admiration for Ilhan Omar. This may sound crazy if you've read most news. They don't bother recounting what Omar said that earned her such vitriol, instead content to describe it the way I did above: "widely criticized as antisemitic".   This is a great phrase if you work in

On the nature of law, and its use in modern America

The following is a reddit post that ran longer than intended, but I think captures something I've been thinking about a lot.  ~~~ I think it's important that more people start to recognize a pervasive miscommunication that conceals one of the fundamental drivers of political conflict right now. When a right-leaning person says that they support things like "law", "order", "law enforcement", or "the rule of law", they are not talking about a blind imposition of the official, written, government codes of law on all individuals regardless of circumstance. They are talking about natural law. They believe that there is a specific way that all things are simply supposed to be. Who holds power to decide natural law is determined itself by this natural law, and the power they hold is owed to them by virtue of the fact that they intuit this law. They are attuned to how things should simply be, and know how to impose that on those who

Newsflash: the pandemic continues

 We got a new dog: Jimmy Parker! Also, Tony and I got COVID. Here is another useful link I want to save, since I still have use for it: Cal-SuWers Network Dashboard (Sigh.)

A quick update

 It's January 2022 now.  I also finally was able to get an appointment to get boosted.  I've started a new job and moved to a new city, and I'm excited to try new things... once the latest surge ends. Unfortunately, enough time as passed that the posts I'd made with links to useful COVID trackers are off the front page of my blog. And yet... their utility hasn't passed. Alameda County Dashboard San Francisco County Dashboards San Mateo County Dashboards 91-divoc IHME Projections Deloitte LA Times

A quick review of The Eternals

The Eternals is a very good movie. It's beautiful to look at, exciting, and gets viewers invested in its characters. It makes no major mistakes. It's easy to rate a move when they fail at any of these things, but when there's nothing wrong, what's left to debate is whether a film is good or great. I'm inclined to call Eternals the later: it's boldly ambitious. One can debate whether it succeeded in those ambitions -- I thought it did -- but I think it is beyond dispute that everyone involved aspired to something monumental, which is something I will praise regardless of outcome. There is a sense of enormity to the film that brings to mind 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ultimately, though, every film's reception depends on what the viewer is looking for. This is a movie aimed at comic book nerds who also read books. It's not a kids film. There's nothing a kid couldn't enjoy, but the pacing and themes are clearly intended for adults. In one moment, we'

My latest project: a helpful robot friend

 My latest project is a big one, that I've fantasized about since I was a kid. It's a helper and companion robot. Their name is Bellamy Crashbot (although I call them Crashy). More info is available on Hackaday . The appeal of a general purpose robot should be obvious. Who doesn't want a cool, scrappy robot friend to help with chores around the home or lab? But more specifically the goal of the project is -- like most of my projects -- to learn where the field is and try to contribute to it with my own entry. It's a tricky one in this case, since this project is so  big.   When in doubt, I start with the big picture: robots are becoming more ubiquitous, and I wanted to make one that moves around interacts with people. I think different people envision different things when they imagine what constitutes an android like those we see in science fiction, but my bar is frankly not that high. Humans will form emotional relationships with obviously inanimate things if you just

Calvin's Toddler Tower Write-up

 I've really enjoyed the positive reactions project builds get on LinkedIn, so I went ahead and finished up another one. Like the project itself, this write up was fast and straightforward.  Easy One-Day-Build Toddler Learning Tower [Instructables]

Another Project Write Up and a Plug for Tony's Writing

It's tough to find time to write blog posts with so much else going on, but I wrote a write-up of the Console Busy Box that I made last year, and I also helped Tony set up a Fiverr profile, so I figured I'd throw up a blog post just to show that I haven't forgotten how to type. Baby's First Mission Control Console []  This is a console busy box. Click if you're curious and all questions will be answered. Additionally: I convinced Tony to make himself reachable on Fiverr as a new way to reach clients for his writing projects. I helped him set up his two "gigs" as Fiverr calls them, and made the art to communicate to potential clients what kind of zany fun Tony can provide: So far, interest has been good and the clients have been happy! I'm excited to see where this little experiment goes next.