January 14-19, 2015

Ugghhghghgghghgh where did this 6-day gap come from?

I had been doing really well, too. Or at least moderately well. 

There has just been a lot of business, I guess. Or busyness. The following things happened:

  • Academy Award nominations were announced. Selma was snubbed (well, except for a Best Picture nom, which isn’t chopped liver, but I’d put it as a long-shot to win, given how Academy voters think). I honestly don’t have a lot to add to all the other opinions whirling around Teh Internets on this front, other than to say that white men who have some degree of power sure will do whatever it takes, unapologetically, to hang onto it.
  • Duke announced that it would allow the Muslim Student Association to deliver the 1pm Friday call to prayer from the top of the Duke Chapel. Then backpedaled fiercely in the face of criticism from Billy Graham’s son, and potentially also threats from wealthy donors and/or unhinged Christian fundamentalist terrorists. 

    I don’t always like living in close proximity to all of those Duke students, but I’m generally pretty grateful that Duke is in Durham. They have a killer performing arts series. They have a radio station that accepts community members as volunteers. They have more art museum than the other universities in the Triangle. They employ a LOT of my friends and they are probably the single largest enabler of the much-vaunted dining scene in Durham.

    So even though a significant percentage of the undergrad population kind of irritates me, I feel mostly good will towards the University. So it’s tough to see them fold so quickly, and over something that shouldn’t have been all that big a deal.

    We had a great discussion on the internal WXDU mailing list about whether & how we should respond. Our Friday 1pm DJ wound up playing the adhan on his show, and got a really nice note on the request line in return. Nobody blew us up [yet].

  • Linus Torvalds was an insensitive asshole, again, for the 50,000th time. I spent some time thinking about whether/how it would even be possible to distance the GNU/Linux community from him. It would appear to require a kernel fork, and the forking entity would need to attract most of the current major non-Linus contributors, *and* would need some kind of commitment from at least 2 of the major distros. And even then it would be a long-shot. 

    So we’re stuck with him? Or rather, kernel devs are stuck with him. Luckily there is SO MUCH MORE to GNU/Linux than the kernel. Unfortunately not everyone knows that. And his shitty attitude is probably as appealing to some developers as it is repulsive to the rest of us.

  • I continued to listen to the new Sleater-Kinney on repeat. It is SO GOOD.
  • Friday was M’s birthday; we took her dad out to dinner at Metro 8, which serves quite the good steak (and broccolini) in a strange narrow space on 9th Street with oddly outmoded decor. They shake their Manhattans, though. Unforgivable.
  • Saturday night we went to a friend’s house; it was her birthday & to celebrate, she & her husband cooked dinner for like 20 people. Which is kind of what they do. Wound up, along with a couple of M’s coworkers, talking science fiction with a Duke econ professor from Toronto. 

    Having just finished [the excellent] Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan, I was ready for recommendations. Somehow I have never read any Vernor Vinge (really?), so away I go on The Peace War. Although it’s going to have to be pretty amazing to keep me from being tempted to just plow forward with whatever the sequel to Altered Carbon is.

  • Now I’m in Austin, on a weeklong work trip. Today, Monday the 19th, was nearly all travel. It was 72 degrees when I got off the plane, which was nice. Everything is so brown here, though. And the IBM offices are about as far from the interesting things in Austin as the ones in RTP are from anywhere interesting back home.

    I should be writing Python questions for our technical interview. Maybe tomorrow.

January 14-19, 2015

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