Music Stream Scream Cave

Visiting Reiley last weekend was the straw that broke the pay-for-unlimited-streaming-music back.  We have AT&T unlimited data now, thank the good lord, and Google music is free for 3 months with my new phone, then $10/mo.  And the dam has broken.  The stream I just started was White Stripes Beck Cake Dandy Warhols Blur Beasties Weezer Smashing Pumpkins Violent Femmes Pixies back to back.  Easy listening.

On the other side of the coin is all the sweet sweet music of the streets of NYC on soundcloud.  Start with AnimalShow and step through their following list to more goodness.  Don’t miss Dave singing the blues, and Eli’s stuff it’s smart.

Animal Show is live and in the house

Animal Show on Soundcloud

I finally got out for an Animal Show in NYC! Landed on Friday and found BKLYN House Hotel, our base of operations for the long weekend that included a Reiley move.

We met Al for lunch/dinner at Loving Hut, which I will always be grateful for.  Hi Al!  Great to meet you.  :-)

First night, Reiley took me out to Bruno’s bar, Cape House, and he took far too good of us. His favorite, Fernet-Branca, a very complex tasty digestif, left me feeling far too happy and DJ’ing until 4am. I regret some song choices.

Saturday started out with recovery – sleeping and Champs breakfast in the afternoon – well worth the 30 minute wait for takeout of scrambled tofu, seitan strips, vegan sausage, hash browns, and coffee, which when combined made a miracle.

Al got a bass string replacement at Johhny Albino Music Center, and we picked up a tuner for Rei too.

We were ready to walk to the gig. Al said we are NOT getting an uber that is NOT Animal Show, awesome oops my bad, rofl… Reiley held out for Julian to skateboard up, and a ride with Dave that we heard rumble up from a couple blocks away. Dave’s southern charm had us all at ease and instantly smiling. This gang is beautiful and thick as thieves, I have to say.

The show was beyond high expectations, the videos speak for themselves.  SO GOOD.

The Brooklyn Bazaar venue was crazy fun on multiple stories.  Lower level was a barcade with pool and sweet potato fries that Eli and I had been obsessing over (and they payed off).  Upstairs was the stage and dancehall.  Highlights included the passing of the pink cowboy hat from stage to crowd and eventually landing on my head for most of the night. My first green room experience was full of friendly folks and free water (no drinking for me thank you!) and plenty of free second hand smoke, heh. Met Andy and Dale and Jonathan the MC, lots of band members including introducing myself to headliner Brianna who politely gave me a warm hello, spun on her heel, stepped up two steps to the stage, and crushed the audience within a moment.  After the bands played, Jonathan and crew hosted a dance party, with Reiley and the other band members as judges.  Reiley called me out to join the dance party!  I again proved my cowardice.  Next time I’m all in.  Dave drove us home, what a gentleman, and I hit the sack at 2am while everyone else carried on.

Sunday started with vegan donuts at Dun-Well the vegan donut Mecca, as I watched the owner pour hand-brewed french presses one after the other into a huge tub from which we filled our silk-creamer-primed cups.

Monday morning allowed for another donut indulgence, you can never get enough and its a good thing I dont live close…. Then Reiley and I went shopping for some basics, and finished up with a game of Palace, before I headed to the airport. Wow!

There is no Chain of Command

Uncivil discussion

I’ve got a new gig with Cisco!  Great team, enjoying it so far.

In software development, the best teams on which I’ve worked are very flat.  Everyone is hard working out of the gate, bringing skills that must be demonstated regularly to bring self-satisfaction.  During analysis and design, and even implementation, quality decision making will always determine the project’s success.  How is this best accomplished on a team of 5 or 8 people?  Answer: check your ego at the door.

If you have a complex task in which you must make a non-trivial decision, you should vet a proposal for the solution with the team.  If you can sell it easily, it is a good decision, and it’s full steam ahead.  If there are objections, and you agree with the objections, you change course accordingly.  Obvious so far.  Here’s the nuanced part:  If there is dissention, it is time to employ logic, and logic only, with no ego, no authoritarianism.  These discussions can be difficult in worst case scenarios, enough to make those with conviction in a specific solution uncomfortable as the others pick it apart.  Good teams hang in there and ride it out.  The final decision should be set by the team member who makes the case for the best solution implemented in the most efficient manner, in the opinion of the majority, always with a respect for the domain knowledge and experience of the members.  Because egos are checked, reasonable concessions can be made with expectation that in the next round, equal respect will be given.  Every member always contributes a fresh perspective, and the discussions ensure that the best ideas rise to the top, every time.

Good software development processes usually includes metrics to measure success.  Over time, lessons are learned, experience is gained, and this feeds back in to improve and inform the decision making process.

I’m trying to determine how these principles can be applied to politics, which is a wreck in this country with the current level of corruption and propaganda, at unprecedented levels I never thought I would see here.  There are three requirements: logic must rule over power and brute force, every time; there must be precise measurable, and measured, metrics by which to judge the outcome of every decision; these metrics must carry more weight than any philosophy or agenda or pontificating or bloviation.

The metric: the net value to humanity divided by the gross cost.  That’s it.  Of course the devil is in the details… :-)  Here are some metrics I believe in:

Basic healthcare value: $5000 per capita per year (pcpy)

Local safety value: $2000 pcpy

Global safety value: $3000 pcpy

Sustainability value: $10000 pcpy

Comfort and happiness value: $10000 pcpy

Opportunity value: $1000 pcpy

Any governmental effort has a cost.  The effort’s value is measured against its ability to meet one or more of these goals.  The decision-making process would be driven by measurement of value.  Those on the right or left would adjust the values, but keep the system of metrics intact.  The arguments would center around the target values, and how much a particular program benefited humanity.  Instead of the circus we have now, where the Republican majority does not even believe in the collaborative potential of government.

If I ever run for office, that will be my platform.  :-)

Hate is a strong word

But today it is required.

Fishery bycatch rapidly driving Mexico’s vaquita to extinction
Great Barrier Reef Hit by Worst Coral Die-Off on Record, Scientists Say

And so forth and so on.

Let me clearly direct my hate: I hate selfishness, I hate Donald Trump, and most especially, I hate every single person who voted for Donald Trump, expecting more for themselves, to be generously doled out by the world’s most self-centered egomaniac. Everyone who voted for Trump has at least some of this quality of egocentrism, and I hate you for it. You are your own worst enemy, your ignorance will gain you nothing but destruction, and especially for those who are not already billionaires, you are absolute fools.

Our collective whole has been dealt a permanent, deadly blow. My firm belief in the ebb and flow eventually leading to progress has been shaken to the core. Now that we no longer are interested in pursuing the common good at a collective level, all I can do is sit back and see how far we head towards destruction. I am doubtful we will pull out of our nosedive. Let me know how it goes, I’ll be in my cave…

Respect for kindness in the lab

I always assumed there was no kindness tolerated towards our fellow sentient friends on whom we experiment in the field of biology, and no leniency towards the students objecting to hurting and killing them.  This Q&A on stack exchange (currently the greatest source of human knowledge, paired with wikipedia) gave me so much hope.  I’m sure it’s still gruesome and unavoidable for many students in many lab situations but this is well-reasoned coverage of compassionate options for the conscientious objector.

Facebook useful today! More thoughts on capital punishment…


I’ve been watching more CNN than usual at Planet Fitness these days (No Judgement!). And maybe it’s because of this that I’ve recently found myself disagreeing vocally—sometimes shouting at the TV like Grandpa Simpson on a treadmill—with folks who are supposed to be my political allies. I support the overall causes they’re trying to promote; I just think many of the quick arguments the non-Rupert Murdoch-controlled media put out there to serve these causes are increasingly weak. (NB: The arguments put forth by Fox News I just find ridiculous. Reliably so. In a world of constant flux, one takes a certain comfort in this consistency.) Read More

Why are we stuck with mediocre progress in the 21st century?

Thanks for Ubuntu Mark! :-)

My brother and I were debating progress. I am quite frustrated that technological innovation in this millennium seems so stalled. Sure we’ve had the PC laptop cellphone tablet and smart phone, wiring us all together, and they’re innovative and great. But they’re basically just consumptive devices we use to shovel sensationalized images and sounds into our orifices to stimulate our ever-dulled senses.

Great innovators of the past brought us philosophy, plumbing, democracy, unlimited food, equality, the weekend, space travel, a leisure society, and so many paradigm shifts that jumped us forward in massive leaps. We are long long overdue for the next.

Perhaps we are mired in the early stage of the information age. We drown in it every day. We spend many of them just caught up in the torrential flood of information with our jaws agape.

Perhaps cycles are required. Perhaps it is the age of the right-wing redneck, pushing progress backwards in hopes that he can consume and destroy a lion’s share of resources just because his great grandfather did. That age will certainly not last too long before it implodes on itself.

Perhaps there are too many of us, and we’ve come so far that any one of us would have to spend a lifetime just to become an expert on the existing knowledge in a specific area, with very little chance to extend it.

But I still believe each of us should try to contribute. Our individual passion is our greatest strength.

Here’s an awkward debate on the subject

Mark Shuttleworth says it right: “Individuals are innovators”!!! He’s got it! You have to be a crazy, obsessive, arrogant, megalomaniacal wacko and drive well past where any reasonable group of people would go.

Make sure you watch Edward Snowden discuss the “architecture of oppression”

Important stuff. No simple answers. Any way you come down on it, if you are after truth, the Edward Snowden interviews by the Guardian are worth watching.

Clay Shirky always inspires me, and summarizes well

It seems crazy to have to spell this out, but it should be hard for a government to keep secrets from its own people. National secrets are a necessary evil, of course, but the necessary part should not blind us to the evil part. Deciding to try to keep any given piece of information secret should be difficult, and expensive, and prone to occasional failure.

I will never forget that when George Bush declared war on Iraq, my initial reaction was to trust him because he had access to those “National secrets” that must… MUST justify his actions. That naive trust will never ever be restored. In the information age, we must seek truth, even – especially – in the dark corners of our government. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, so we must remain diligent citizens to sustain our freedom-based democracy.

As a final thought, I’m not so sure all these folks should be in such comfortable collusion…


Gray Wolf Endangered Species delisting continues

Gray Wolf

Please consider helping our wolf friends and signing this petition. There is so much animal abuse going on in our day and age, and these kind of large predators get the least consideration of them all. I know it’s hard to co-exist, so the easy route is to exterminate them. And there is lots of pressure from many directions to do just that. We don’t have unlimited chances to get this stuff right.

Here’s what I added to my petition signature:

AS SOON AS YOU DELIST THE SLAUGHTER BEGINS. And it will not take today’s modern hunters more than a few moments to destroy so much of what has been so difficult to accomplish and so fragile to maintain.

(cookiecutter text follows…)
I’m writing to you today to demand that the federal government not prematurely strip Endangered Species Act protections from most gray wolves in the United States.

The restoration of wolves has been hailed as one of the biggest successes of the Endangered Species Act since it was passed in 1973. But the important work of wolf recovery is unfinished. Delisting the gray wolf will halt four decades of progress in its tracks and expose America’s wolves to unwarranted and unsustainable killing.

This is precisely what has happened in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, where the premature delisting of those states’ wolf populations has led to the killing of more than 1,100 wolves. This race to the bottom in wolf management threatens to seriously undermine wolves’ hard-won climb from the brink of extinction.

Delisting could also derail efforts to restore wolves to more of their historic range that has huge areas of suitable wolf habitat, including Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Utah and California.

Wolves are an iconic, native species that play a vital role in restoring healthy ecosystems by keeping prey species in balance. Places like the Olympic peninsula and the Colorado Rockies could benefit both ecologically and economically from the return of wolves.

Delisting would close the door on an historic opportunity to revitalize some of America’s best remaining wildlife habitat by bringing back these important animals.

Someday, when wolves have recovered throughout most of their historic range, and when states refrain from managing their wolf populations in a politically driven race to the bottom then perhaps delisting is an option worth debating. However, we are far from that day, and delisting now would be an avoidable conservation nightmare.

We urge you in the strongest possible terms to not turn the clock back on one of America’s signature wildlife conservation success stories. The future of full wolf recovery is in your hands.