this week i

unearthed a boiled catepillar in my broccoli this morning, second this week.  unnoticed all prior month, surely missed a few.  protein.  while i slept, my friends and colleagues mapped and published obamacare premium changes.

watched math lectures at sunrise.

hailed a late-night taxi because she called, you would've done the same.  she waits on the curb in hooded pajamas, year of the sheep ears.  we talk soft, ordinary.  of the cold room, spring festival plans, strawberries i stole off her plate the week before.  then asleep.  as normal people living out mundane moments dreading sunrise for regular reasons.  i will distinguish myself later, cast away these comforts from the cabin of the next plane.  but she called so i came.

accused of running from something, you've got me wrong.  my past is marvelous, tomorrow's what's terrifying.

this week i

computed estimates for this fact sheet on the employment situation of poor adults who don't have health insurance.

summarize the problem of where i am..

..maybe also this statue having a penis.

understand scientific research according to bottomfeeding fish.

interview prepped: professor huseyin.  matthew and david finished the dulcimers, hannes added a progress bar, i relearned how to sleep in sunlight.

assume jon stewart's departure means i'll read more.

(1) new cairo leadership

i couldn't believe that in the popular markets cheap women's underwear was for sale with sisi's face imprinted on the v-spot, until i saw a picture.  attempts to purchase a few dozen proved futile.  they had sold out

(2) racial genetics

in this statistical sense, races are real

geneticists have had an extraordinarily hard time finding genes that make substantive contributions to complex diseases like type 2 diabetes.  this doesn't bode well, to put it mildly, for finding the genes that allegedly underlie subtle differences in predisposition to middle-class behavioral traits

(3) reek of dead feline

little difference between knowing the proper way and convincing others your way was right

the gold and sable flanks of the leopard lying among the blue flowers in the harsh sunshine at six thousand feet, at the edge of a great cliff stained with the droppings of generations of vultures

(4) thai class warfare

since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, thailand has averaged a coup, or an attempted coup, every four years, so it could almost be regarded as one of a general's ceremonial duties

(5) more of russia today

some downmarket horror movie where you wake up to find your neighbours are vampires, with little ultra-patriotic bite marks on their necks

(6) thoreau's data

the idea that nature is so abundant that "myriads can afford to be sacrificed" no longer holds

the plants that had shifted their flowering times the most from thoreau's time to the present were the ones that had also best maintained their abundance.  the "conservative plant species that were still flowering at more or less the same time" were the ones in sharpest decline

(7) involuntary euthanasia during katrina

so that frightened and exhausted people aren't left to debate medical ethics on the spot


this week i

landed in the ancient chinese capital late that night..

..shaanxi and not shanxi.

fouled our stomachs, but it was good.

read julian stallabrass' essay on selfies.  a long bus ride, we both fell in and out of sleep..

..and then six thousand horsemen appeared.  many headless, all older than christ.

returned to the present.  we walked into the next day.

go places, experience everything that i'm able to, hope for free fuxing airport wifi when it's all over.


this week i

have seen too many people spit indoors.

ask what's a dragon but a crocodile that flies.

define home where there is no place you would rather be.

pay attention to for my livelihood.

use the "amend last commit" git gui option a lot.

got it.  joe cocker is a bruce springsteen who doesn't suck.

re-watched harold and maude, hollywood's untaken fork in the road.

understand why that happens.

noticed that if e-mails from my father contain only attachments but no content, gmail offers italian to english translation.

saw true love in the crappiest generation..

..and how religions start.

caught up to the issue with my name in the lower left.

raised my eyebrow when i saw the number in the original article.  the media generally does a shitty job of conveying the magnitude of statistics in our modern world, but a billion barrels per day would have been one for every seven people.  so yeah, no.


(1) the mental qualities of worms

if amoeba were a large animal, so as to come in the everyday experience of human beings, its behaviour would at once call forth the attribution to it of states of pleasure and pain, of hunger, desire, and the like, on precisely the same basis as we attribute these things to the dog

an octopus may have half a billion nerve cells distributed between its brain and its "arms" (a mouse, by comparison, has only 75 to 100 million)

(2) morality

with respect to trolleyology, people's intuitions are affected by framing and setting as well.  when people are first asked about the footbridge problem, and then turn to the trolley problem, they're much less likely to want to pull the switch in the latter case.  if people watch a comedy before being asked about the footbridge problem, they're more likely to want to push the fat man than if they watch a tedious documentary instead.  if the fat man is called tyrone payton, liberals are less likely to push him off the footbridge than if his name is chips ellsworth iii (as it turns out, conservatives are unaffected by such names).  and if the question involves not the fat man but a fat monkey (who must be pushed to save five monkeys), people get a lot more utilitarian and are more willing to push.

(3) power in uganda

since sejusa fled to the uk, ugandan operatives have been trailing him and he is now under the protection of scotland yard. back in uganda, four members of his staff were arrested and charged with treason, and hundreds of villagers from his home area were rounded up and jailed under the same charge. if convicted, they could all receive the death penalty. sejusa's teenage son was removed from his ugandan boarding school after thugs were found trying to scale the perimeter fence at night and administrators said they could not guarantee his safety. sejusa's wife narrowly missed being killed in two car accidents, and in november 2013, his brother was found dead at the base of a dam.

(4) the innovations of the past sixty years

google's basic algorithm was developed with a national science foundation grant

(5) extinction rates

it hadn't yet occurred to anyone that an entire species could cease to exist

if we continue at the current rate of destruction, about three-quarters of all living species will be lost within the next few centuries

the ordinary 'background' rate of extinction for mammals is about one every seven hundred years, and for amphibians a little higher

the fifth extinction was caused by an asteroid, the sixth by man

(6) wealth inequality survey data

tax-based estimates can reach much further into the past: the united states has had an income tax since 1913, britain since 1909.  france, thanks to elaborate estate tax collection and record-keeping, has wealth data reaching back to the late eighteenth century.

unequal ownership of assets, not unequal pay, was the prime driver of income disparities

when the rate of return on capital greatly exceeds the rate of economic growth, "the past tends to devour the future": society inexorably tends toward dominance by inherited wealth.