Posts

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

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 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

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 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

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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 [Hackster.io]  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.

It's time to end Daylight Savings. Ourselves.

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Daylight Savings Time is unpopular. So why do we still do it? I'm not asking why we started  DST, which is stupid but doesn't matter. I'm asking this: what is preventing us from stopping this unpopular practice? I've met several people who thought that California had ended it by referendum with Prop 7 in 2018 . It's fitting that a measure about DST is misunderstood by many Californians. But the literal explanation is that DST is imposed by the federal government, and Prop 7 merely demonstrated Californian's preferences as the first step of asking our federal government to free us from daylight savings. This feels absurd though, doesn't it? The federal government? Why is congress in charge of what time Californians set their clocks to? The answer is that just as a dollar is just piece of paper that gains its worth from our collective agreement, their authority exists so long as we believe it does. We set our clocks forward because everyone else does, and if w

Updated Covid Links

 Covid Links These are sites I check often enough to make it worth my time to post them to my website because I don't sync my bookmarks. LA City Dashboard: https://corona-virus.la/data LA County Dashboard: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus/data/index.htm LA County Map: http://dashboard.publichealth.lacounty.gov/covid19_surveillance_dashboard/ LA Times Dashboard: https://www.latimes.com/projects/california-coronavirus-cases-tracking-outbreak/los-angeles-county/ NY Times Dashboard: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html IHME Model: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america

Returning to COVID Month 0

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We are all metaphorically going back in time to March, so let's act like it. Do you remember how the magnitude of the danger and disruption of COVID-19 dawned on you? If not, you're about to experience it again anew. I remember in the first month wondering whether I should cancel an in-person meeting of a dozen people, or if the attendees would think I was being overreactive. My Mom asked whether it would be silly to cancel a cross-country plane trip. And then I saw this article by Tomas Pueyo on March 10:  Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now . In the article, Pueyo warns readers of what came to pass: a wild-fire spread of death curtailed only by cutting off transmission rapidly. It was the first illustration I'd seen of what to expect, which was important because I had no frame of reference. All of this context is building to this: when experts like Fauci say that the worst is yet to come, this is what they mean. Look at the trajectory of cases , and extrapolate the deaths o

My 2020 Voting Guide

 Here is how I'm voting in 2020: I've received my ballot in the mail and completed it, then I've dropped it off at a Ballot Drop Box. You can find it at:  https://www.lavote.net/home/voting-elections/voting-options/vote-by-mail/vbm-ballot-drop-off Then, I will sign up for SMS updates on my ballot to confirm receipt: www.lavote.net/av_inquiry My votes: Note: I'm not in city council district 4, so I can't vote for Nithya Raman, but if you are, DO. I strongly support her. I also strongly support Measure J. It's a vitally important reimagining of public safety that meets the demands of our time. Item Choice Difficulty Reasons City of Los Angeles District 10 Mark Ridley-Thomas Difficult Ridley-Thomas has been in charge for a long time while homelessness, housing shortages, and poor policing have worsened. Ridley-Thomas holds better positions than Yoo, and has been more forthright about them. Board of Trustees, Seat 1 Andra Hoffman Easy DSA-Endorsed Board of Trustees,