this week i

write programming code from my cerebellum nowadays.  maybe even from the stem.  second nature is a great way to be.

made it to baltimore..

..and all my favorite buildings.

hustled in the end of the workweek.  c'mon siva, trash that syringe.  we can save lives - millions at a time - on monday.

watched an 18 year old imax serengeti adventure - complete with lion porn - narrated by james earl jones.. the always-magical science center.

ate two stories of pizza.

heard my favorite bluegrass tune.

didn't get the mcflurries we asked for.  worth a shot.  at least we tried.  you've gotta try.  this teddy roosevelt quote comes to mind.

woke up to the smells of honest nepali chai.

ventured into the world.

met aziza marie stablein.  know who’s really great at charades?  babies.  after all, they don’t have a choice.

sympathized with augustus gloop..

..sorry cutie pie, i ate all the cupcakes myself.

toured mica for the first time.

worked a little.

walked a little.

got down a lot.

thank you, baltimore.

consider this the stupidest commercial ever.  maybe the ugandan dept of tourism will issue one with a guy in a gorilla suit.

read the fluffy end of poverty.  intended for the same caliber of audience as clarissa explains it all, but with development economics.  maybe it's good if you've never heard the phrase 'international development' before.  a three-hundred page policy paper instead of a story, yet still dumbed down, repetitive, short on science.  advocating for debt cancellation doesn't require a book, just two words: marshall plan.  here's what i'd take home:

statistics that were, after all, lives in the first place

the world is not a zero-sum struggle in which one country's gain is another's loss, but is rather a positive-sum opportunity in which improving technologies and skills can raise living standards around the world

the talents of a poor rural farmer in africa today, or in scotland at the time of adam smith, are truly marvelous.  these farmers typically know how to build their own houses, grow and cook food, tend to animals, and make their own clothing.  they are, therefore, construction workers, veterinarians and agronomists, and apparel manufacturers.

paper shackles

transmission of malaria in africa is roughly nine times that of india because of the difference of mosquito species

u.s. aid fell from more than 2 percent of gnp during the heyday of the marshall plan to less than 0.2 percent of gnp today

antimalarial bed nets, just to name one pertinent example, are used by fewer than 1 percent of rural africans living in endemic malaria regions

in a 2001 survey, the program on international policy attitudes (pipa) at the university of maryland reported that americans, on average, believed that foreign aid accounts for 20 percent of the federal budget, roughly twenty-four times the actual figure

got clued in on additional sources thanks to howard and laura  ..seems that he's suddenly grown teeth.  william easterly summarizes a lot of my criticisms.. and sachs replies, arguing more convincingly than in the pages of the book.

drew another tally line on my 'reasons the economist bites' chalkboard.  their review of t.o.o.p.?  "book and man are brilliant."  idiots catering to the lowest common denominator - which, btw, is a mathematically misleading phrase.


this week i

wonder how to live.  a perpetual question.

spent another weekend at dad's.  kathy and her sisters decided to come over for dinner..

..on the condition that they bring jamaican jerk chicken with them.  the cherry coke zero was my idea.

attended a history of cartography lecture.  best line: you need to tell somebody how to navigate the world and you can't take them there yourself.  reviewed the three main points of the cartographic method:

1) reduction: the world is a very large thing.  your map isn't.
2) transformation: the world is (basically) a sphere.  your map isn't.
3) generalization: the world is very complicated.  your map isn't.

realized, in addition to more important things, ethiopia looks like a profile triceratops head.  also, amazing how disorienting flipping north and south can be.

thumbs downed blood wedding at the intimate source theatre.  the post's critic panned the cast, but the script seemed like the problem to me.

used to believe in transparency in all things.  then moderated my views a bit.  now back to the extreme.  if i can do it with my life, surely governments can as well.

tripped out.  'what american english sounds like to non-speakers' is genius.

finished ernest hemingway's the sun also rises, about drunks in paradise.  he's often redundant, which makes it an easy read.  see underlines for examples.
 che mala fortuna! che mala fortuna!

to hell with people.  the catholic church had an awfully good way of handling all that.

you're an expatriate.  you've lost touch with the soil.  you get precious.  fake european standards have ruined you.  you drink yourself to death.  you become obsessed by sex.  you spend all your time talking, not working.  you are an expatriate, see?  you hang around cafes.

like certain dinners i remember from the war.  there was much wine, an ignored tension, and a feeling of things coming that you could not prevent happening.

he stood up and put his hand on the small of his back.  right through the back.  a cornada right through the back.  for fun-you understand.

a wonderful nightmare


this week i

published our map of the effects of the affordable care act.  try typing in your zip code.  accompanied by an op-ed in politico.

shared this r syntax with the national center for health statistics that replicates their multiple imputation technique but with free software instead of clunky old sudaan.

merged the medicare current beneficiary survey with health professional shortage area data to figure out how primary care physician shortages affect seniors.

ate american.  god bless the u.s.

remembered we had a secretary of state named eagleburger.  that’s not very patriotic.

spent the weekend at dad's and apparently enjoyed 1.3 steaks.

watched the last king of scotland, good and horrible.

signed up for researchgate after re-reading an older article about scientists believing what we want to believe and a piece highlighting what's being done about it.  researchgate looks like facebook to me.

halfway caught up on nyrb and lrb.

(1) the increasing feminine role in the success of our evolution

dominant males in a group are challenged from time to time by roving adventurers who can mate only by defeating them.  if defeated, the former leaders slink away, often wounded, while their successors attack and kill all infants under six months old.

competitive infanticide was seen as a dark side of darwinism

12 percent of men in central asia today have y chromosomes traceable to a man who lived around the time of genghis khan

(2) herman vain

(3) a public example of the difficulty of proving rape and ending speculation (in both directions) after the court verdict

(4) the fourth amendment and the digital age

united states v. jones is the most important privacy case to reach the supreme court in years.  it requires the court to decide whether the fourth amendment's safeguards remain meaningful in the digital age, when widely available technological innovations-including gps devices, cell phones, computer data-mining programs, and the like-make it possible to watch citizens more intimately and comprehensively than was remotely conceivable when the bill of rights was adopted.

should the long-standing police authority to search an individual upon arrest include reviewing all the texts and e-mails stored in his "smart phone"?

854,000 people have "top-secret" security clearances

the fears of terrorism are too deep, the technology is too advanced, and most people have already been seduced into forfeiting their privacy by facebook and other modern conveniences

the state, unlike google, can deprive us of our liberty, and is more likely to punish dissent; sharing information with google and with the government are therefore qualitatively distinct acts

it is not enough to shrug one's shoulders and say, "i have nothing to hide"

(5) human origins

blue eyes were sexually selected in europe around the peak of the last ice age, 20,000 years ago

males shared identical mtdna while the females did not; the likely explanation is patrilocality-females left their natal groups to join other bands

(6) lincoln's asterisk

congress voted $600,000 to be used for black removal - equivalent to nearly one percent of the national budget for 1861 - and lincoln attached colonisation to virtually every prospective scheme for emancipation

in 1868, the new york times told its readers that the us should annex cuba and deport the entire black population to the island

northern preoccupation with colonisation had severed abolition from integration


this week i

worked.  a lot.  from istanbul.

had the city to myself..

 ..just because.

toured the staples.  the arachnid blue mosque..

and the not-as-pretty on the outside but better on the inside, 1500 year old aya sofya.

overheard americans: "which corner do you think has the elevator?"  next to the sultan's time machine room, idiots.

worried these would fall down, land perfectly balanced on edge, then roll toward me indiana jones boulder-style.

rode a ferry..

back to asia

..but just for the day.

ate kurdish breakfast.

saw valentine's day slash halloween slasher severed heads n hands-themed vendors..

..and golden horn fishermen.  here fishyfishyfishy.  ha!  gotcha you dumb fish.

walked through the palace where ataturk died.  wire to buckingham palace:  our guards are both frozen and encased in glass.  your move.

dove down into 1500 year old cisterns.  they're just columns and nothing.  i guess one of the emperors preferred hades to bacchus..

..and base eleven to base ten.  wait, no, in a base eleven system, the first seven digit number would be 11^6 = 1,771,561.  so they just like ones.

flew home.


this week i

rode west along the black sea.

overnighted in the pleasant port of trabzon.

entered the land of muslim idolators..

..there's no other word for it.

ate to my heart's discontent.

find turkish buses comfortable but unscenic, the opposite of what i want.  this whole trip has been delightful cramped sedans and minivans.

made it work..

..the secret?  don't take no for an answer, and whatever you do, don't break your smile.

kept on to samsun.  notice the parallel universe of our reflection.

fought hard to sit at the front window and was damn sure going to make the most of it.

saw ankara between the bus and train stations, but nothing more.  one more overnight to istanbul.

crossed the bosphorus in the morning snow.  china to europe overland in thirty days.

do things > have things.

felt good to be somewhere that made sense even if it didn't.

rented an apartment for the week.

worked remotely.  no other guests, this was an upgrade.

reunited and it feels so good.  too long in the wilderness.

let it snow.