Weekly Update, October 12, 2020
Howdy internet friend and welcome back to my blog! Thank you for taking the time to read this post. In this weekly update I’m going to try making the politics segment a regular feature, as well as professional, personal, and Black Lives Matter sections. I always tell my wife that entropy is the most powerful force in the universe so hopefully getting started will give me the stamina to keep it going. Without further adieu, let’s get on with it!
Black Lives Matter
Last weekend I was trying to catch up on some news and I decided to visit Democracy Now! to watch the War and Peace report and see if they had any news about a storm I’m going to write about in the politics section below. Instead I found an interview with Angela Davis and watched it with rapt attention. If you are interested you can also watch it here
That interview was awesome but it was from a few months ago and it feel that all the oxygen has been sucked out of the room since Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he was positive for the COVID-19. This morning I read this morning that one out of every one thousand black people in the United States has died from this pandemic. You can read more about that here or also here.
This is absolutely horrific and just further proves that when Donald Trump writes on Twitter that he has, “done more for the Black Community than any President since Abraham Lincoln.” Anyone can see that is just not true. Worse, it’s one of thousands of demonstrable lies that the President has spewed during the last five years.
My point is that as horrific as the pandemic has been, it has not cost white people one out of every thousand peoples lives in what is supposed to be the greatest country on earth. America has never been great for people of color and the racism of Make America Great Again is once again exposed for the sham that it is.
I tweeted this morning that I was not all that surprised to see #CaliforniaGOP was trending because they are accused of setting up fake ballot box drop offs. Something that Donald Trump accused the Democrats of planning to do. It seems more and more that you can tell what dirty trick the administration is planning by what they accuse Joe Biden and the Democrats of doing. You can read the article here
Speaking of Joe Biden, I want to write about all the red bating and lying that is happening from the Trump campaign. First, if Joe Biden was half as cool as Donald Trump made him out to be, the radical left would be stoked to support him and not holding their noses. It’s possible they would write think-pieces and smart articles about how great it would be for the country to have a socialist in power. Instead, they are sighing and seizing up the prospects of the rise of fascism and a “leader” who has “joked” about remaining in power until he is well in his 80s. Something totally cool and normal – NOT! (That’s a nod to all the Wayne’s World fans out there!)
The truth? Joe Biden is much more of a center-right moderate than a socialist, and he sure did not pick a communist to be his VP! Not even a little bit. It’s just, like, take a second a think about this.
Serious question – how or why would a communist decide to become a prosecuting attorney and then Attorney General of California? Do Trumpists seriously believe there is no process in place to determine if someone was a communist? Also, would her record be what it was if she were a communist?
I read recently a thread on Twitter that was discussing the question of what Trumpism is. Like as a policy, it doesn’t seem to have a clear-cut definition outside the cruelty being the point. However, I read this article in The Atlantic that noted should Donald Trump lose in November the legacy of Trumpism will be “… less an attractive political philosophy than a term of abuse.” It goes on to describe Trumpism as most closely related to McCarthyism, which I hadn’t really connected until I saw the thread I mentioned at the start of this paragraph and put that together with all the red baiting.
One more thing I wanted to write about was something that I tweeted about this weekend. CBS reported that the Taliban had endorsed Donald Trump and reminded the world that he invited their leadership to Camp David! I’m not going to repeat by tweets here but just wow! If you don’t believe me I found the article on the internet wayback machine here so that it’s available for all time, but it had already been archived eleven times by the time of this writing. I guess others had the same idea.
Anyway, I’ve been spending time lately thinking about talking with my wife about what the role of a citizen is in a country. For me I feel that my philosophy degree compels me to be like a gadflay, buzzing around the state. Annoying it, pestering it, poking at it. Demanding that it be better. If you are reading this and you don’t have a philosophy degree, this is a reference to Socrates speech in The Apology and you can read the section I am quoting here. I’ve been lamenting that what this has meant is that all I can do as a citizen is send emails and bug politicians on Twitter. But is that it?
For weeks I’ve been cryptically mentioning this big thing I’m writing. I mentioned it ballooned to thirty pages. Well, I realized this weekend that really it should be an entire book, so I started writing and laying out the chapters. It’s the culmination of two decades of thought and research, and it is going to take a really long time to write.
In the meanwhile, I’m going to release a much shorter description of a philosophy that I find persuasive. I know I’ve been posting for weeks that it is coming any day now, but I’m trying to be really delicate because of this complicated political situation. It’s also a touchy subject, I think any reader of this blog won’t be surprised to learn that my ideology is way far to the left. I don’t want to allow others to define what my politics are, but I don’t want to throw unnecessary fuel on a fire.
In closing this section, I mean it when I write that I will have something coming soon. Probably not this week, but it will be coming!
Last weekend was great because I spent a bunch of time with my family. As I mentioned on Twitter I also spent a bunch of time reading and studying GURPS as well. If you are unfamiliar, GURPS stands for Generic Universale RolePlaying System. I bought digital copies of the books early in the pandemic but didn’t think my son was old enough yet to play. Six months can make quite the difference.
Also, my wife and I have been working our way through Community on Netflix and we saw the second D&D episode where Abed played the Dungeon Master and did all the rolls for all the players. It made me realize that I could do a very stripped-down version of GURPS and younger people might be able to play as well. GURPS uses six sided dice, the type that people are most likely to have if they have dice, and the rules can be as simple or complicated as you like.
GURPS is a flexible system in that you can use the same game mechanics to play a game in the Bronze age of civilization, a pirate themed game set in the age of sail power, a gangster game of the nineteenth or twentieth century, or a cyberpunk game set in the future. That level of flexibility and the fact that GURPS has been around since 1977 and evolving has me really excited to put together a campaign for my family.
I spent a bunch of time Saturday and less time on Sunday going through the first rule book to build out a non-player character. Then I am going to build characters for each member of my family and try to sit them down and play a game. I’m also going to find some YouTube videos and watch people play before trying to run a game.
I’ve put a halt to my woodworking projects until I can get some better wood. After destroying the last few projects because the wood that wasn’t intended for what I am trying to do with it has convinced me to pause my new hobby until I can get some better materials.
Last week I volunteered for a programming project at work and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to dive in! It’s funny because every time I tell myself I’m going to take a break from programming, a cool Python project comes along and I get pulled right back in. Cue obligatory Godfather reference
Python is a language I really appreciate because it is so readable. I stopped learning C++, Java, C#, Rust, and Go because I hated reading them. I always come back to Python and my first reaction is to appreciate that readability is a design goal.
I also learned a really important lesson, so important I’m going to make it as big as I can think to make it.
If you are doing a scan that will run longer than eight hours, save your session with tmux, screen, or something! Don’t be a doofus and just let it hang out on an SSH session. USE TMUX! USE SCREEN! FUTURE DAVE I AM YELLING AT YOU!
So, yeah. Um, let’s move on real fast!
People to follow
As I do every week, here are some tech and non-tech people you might consider following on Twitter.
Martin Luther King III - The son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bernice King - The daughter of Dr. King
@cetolyne - great friend, awesome programmer, super helpful!
@blenster - cool maker, very positive, well worth a follow!
@GWeessies - very smart person doing interesting research!
Marley - first place champ! Marley is one of the best on Twitter!
Null Coder - another awesome person to keep an eye on!
@EvilMog - creator of the DC MUD and an interesting person to follow.
That’s it, that’s the post! It got much longer than I planned, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I appreciate you reading it, and I hope you have a nice day and a most excellent week!