Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekend Reading: The Ongoing Randomness Edition

If you missed it on Twitter, this week I got an eye infection and by Wednesday afternoon I couldn't open my left eye, so my whole family got to take a trip to urgent care. Fun! As we were driving to urgent care, I was thinking that this was my first eye infections since I weaned Petunia, and how much easier it was to deal with these things when I had a supply of breastmilk (really). But luckily for me, the infection was bacterial and responded quickly to the stinging eye drops and I can see again.

I also rather comprehensively broke my glasses, which was poor timing, to say the least. Today the nice technicians at my eye doctor managed to jerryrig a new arm on my glasses, so I can wear them until my new ones come in, which is great because I can't wear contacts until I've finished the eye drops.

So, I can see and don't have to choose between my prescription sunglasses (awesome Maui Jims, but even they struggle at night time...) and a scuffed up back up pair of glasses that are so awful I went ahead and bought two new pairs today. One pair is purple, because why not?

I also procured a P.O. box number that I can use, so I set up a newsletter after all. It is the hip thing to do, after all, and I am definitely hip. Evidence: soon, I'll have purple glasses! It will be monthly-ish, and will focus on setting up a company and the projects associated with said company. I will probably also write some about that here, but at much more random intervals.

Anyway, the newsletter is called Founding Chaos, and you can subscribe here:

As a special incentive for people to subscribe so that my first newsletter goes to someone, the day I send my first newsletter, I will randomly pick one subscriber and give that person a copy of one of my ebooks- winner's choice which one.

I don't know when I'll send my first newsletter- one thing at a time!- so sign up now. (I'll probably remind you one more time, but sign up now, anyway.)

And now- the links for your weekend reading:

This old article from Alexis Madrigal is interesting, and offers a potential explanation for the rising popularity of newsletters. It will not surprise you to learn that I found it while asking Google "should I start a newsletter?"

Xconomy has some more info about the San Diego scientists who are working on Ebola. Science also published a paper on Ebola genetics, which I have not had time to read yet. However, I did read the very sad note that five of the co-authors on that paper have died from the virus. I am humbled by their courage, and the courage of all of the people working to contain the outbreak and treat the sick, often without adequate supplies.

Back here in the US, the map in this article showing the distribution of hate tweets sort of blew my mind. At first I thought there was some sort of population density effect, but then I noticed how grey California was, and clicked through to the project website and read that they normalized by the number of tweets. Also, the text in the article indicates that the hate tweets are more prevalent in rural areas. Yikes. You can zoom in on the map on the project's website and see how your area does. San Diego is more racist than homophobic by this measure. This does not surprise me.

Speaking of depressing maps, here is one that shows how segregated America's schools are. California comes off a little less well in that one.

This wonderful essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates touches on the effects of segregation, and so much more. Definitely read this one. It is long, but will reward your time, as Coates' writing tends to do.

Hillary Clinton finally spoke about Michael Brown's killing and events in Ferguson. At least she said reasonable things. Jamelle Bouie had some interesting observations on this.

This article in Cosmo about the time one of the female Occupy protesters recently served in jail raises a lot of interesting issues. I'm still thinking about them, so I can't really say more than "go read it."

My neighborhood is embroiled in a bit of controversy about the city's proposal to change some zoning to allow denser (and taller) housing near trolley stops that will be going in soon. I am actually considering going to the next planning meeting to see what the planners have to say- I've looked at their plans and they seem reasonable, although they will block at least part of some people's current bay view. I wonder if there has been any offer to compensate for lost home value due to that? And whether they have plans to deal with the increased traffic at the freeway on ramp? Could they perhaps compromise and rezone for higher density but keep the current height limits? I'm inclined to be in favor of some sort of in fill plan. I live in a central neighborhood with reasonable commute times to both downtown and the high tech/biotech cluster, plus good access to nice things like Mission Bay. We should try to do some in-fill in areas like mine, or else we'll see skyrocketing housing costs like San Francisco has or ever increasing sprawl and the smog that brings. Neither of those are desirable outcomes. It is going to be hard, but we will be better off if we can find a way to allow development in established neighborhoods.

Which is sort of what this blog post says, but with a lot more research and knowledge to back it up. If you live in an urban area, it is well worth your time to think about these issues, and that post is a good start.

A couple of things I shared on my other accounts this week:

From Tungsten Hippo: this Flavorwire article about expanding the boundaries of the literary world.

On the account I'll tell you about if you email me (or DM me on my Wandering Scientist Twitter): a Fast Company article about the power of taking a walk break. I consider my daily walk almost sacrosanct. I usually take it right after lunch on days in the office. I've replaced it with an early afternoon run on days I'm at home. Both work well for letting my brain find the solution to whatever problem I've loaded into it before I go.

And finally, my happy ending:

Scientists have finally figured out exactly how the rocks at Death Valley's Racetrack Playa move. I really want to go see this sometime.

Why they didn't just fly eagles into Mordor:

1 comment:

  1. Zenmoo4:21 AM

    We are having a similar urban-intensification discussion in the area I live in (which is in between a freeway, main train station and university). The train is a 6 minute ride to the central city and the area around the train station and river is the subject of redevelopment with high rises etc. we're just outside the redevelopment area. I'm not quite sure what I think of proposals to triple the number of residents in the area.


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