This train's got the disappearing railway blues

I recently took an Amtrak trip form Pittsburgh to Tucson and back. My cousin asked me

How was the Amtrak ride? It went through Chillicothe for a few years maybe in the 1970’s. Then B&O/CSX abandoned the tracks.

and noted

in the 1920’… there were 5 passenger trains a day from Cincinnati to Columbus

Figure 1: "Trains” by George Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Figure 1: "Trains” by George Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0

social costs

I sent this to my son who is on the path to being a high school socials study teacher.

This article has me trying to project the impact today’s “social distancing” would have had on a very messed up introverted teenager of 45 years ago. It’s not a pretty picture.

I’m a Public School Teacher. The Kids Aren’t Alright.

My students were taught to think of themselves as vectors of disease. This has fundamentally altered their understanding of themselves.

But that would be too easy

This is a navel-gazing simple desultory philippic about adventures in yak-shaving. It is dedicated JTR‘s ox-hugo theme I’ve borrowed for the second time. Thanks!

“But you could just use wordpress”

he tells himself.

“Ahh, but then think of all the yak shaving you would miss.”

he responds to himself.

“Opportunity cost, he thinks…".

“Yessss, preciousssss. The opportunity cost. Gollum. Gollum. Gollum.”

Tech companies I once admired

     The dream is over,
     what can I say?
     The dream is over,

     John Lennon, 1970
Figure 1: "Past their sell-by date.” by George Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0, includes work by Nature Vectors by Vecteezy

Figure 1: "Past their sell-by date.” by George Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0, includes work by Nature Vectors by Vecteezy

     Don't believe in Digital Equipment Corporation,
     Don't believe in Sun Microsystems,
     Don't believe in CompuServe,
     Don't believe in Perl,
     Don't believe in USENIX,
     Don't believe in SourceForge,
     Don't believe in GitHub,
     Don't believe in Facebook,
     Don't believe in Linked-in,
     Don't believe in Google,
     Don't believe in The SANS Institute,
     Don't believe in The Center for Internet Security,
     Don't believe in Google Plus,
     Don't believe in Twitter,
     Don't believe in Spotify,
     Don't believe in Wikipedia,
     I just believe in me,
     human beings and me.

     Me, 2021

This is a list of tech companies I once admired.

Emacs enlightenment

“…It’s also clear you have a achieved emacs enlightenment. The state where you see the whole world through the mind-bogglingly useful lens of emacs and org mode and fail to see (non judgmentally) why anything should exist outside that world. ‘Om, Om, Om, M-x find-universe’ :-)”

Finding needles in the marketingstack

At work I do a lot of research around finding and understanding the capabilities of things connected to the Internet. I find that often checking Wikipedia and/or searching for the product excluding the vendor website gets to the real information fastest, e.g.

Inclusion and Diversity in Ancient Egypt

Today is a newly decreed “inclusion and diversity” holiday at work. I’ve got the inclusion and diversity cards ready to go. I’ve got the inclusion and diversity lights out of the garage and strung them all over the house (we’re going to out-do the neighbors this year !). We’ve celebrated the annual ritual of baking ethnic foods (cultural appropriation at it’s best, yum !!!). And when the kids are home, we will all gather ‘round the fireplace with hot chocolate and ask

What is "the news"?

Last Sunday I went to a Christmas concert a a local church. All flutes (plus the occasional Harp). Who knew there was a contra-bass flute ?

The concert was a benefit for “Furthest Corners” mission that has a school and hospital in Myanmar (Burma). I talked to one of the missionaries who had to leave the country recently due to the civil war. The civil war in [Burma] has been going on on-and-off for 70 years. Who knew?

It seems the military decided to bomb the school. It’s half gone. They are holding school in the other half.

I asked about the war. Apparently its “everybody against the military and the police now.” Imagine having to go the grocery store (or grow and store your own rice) in an environment where you might get mugged by the police. Where do you turn? How do you live? How do you eat?

I also recently finished All Quiet on the Western Front, a book about the experience of one German soldier in the trenches of WWI. The German title of the book Im Westen nichts Neues, literally translates “Nothing New in the West” referring to the “news” from the front they day the main character was killed, with the end of the war in sight and “not much going on”. “Not much” in who’s view?

“The news” tends to be voyeuristic, detached, high level and mass market. It tends to feed judgmental views and tribalism.

People are what matter. Kids having a school to go to (or half a school). Having food to eat. Living free from fear of those who are supposed to protect you. But that’s not news.

##################### I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day #############################


Figure 1: ““Console Television Receiver”" by ellenm1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Figure 1: ““Console Television Receiver”" by ellenm1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When I got married I made the decision not to have a TV because I knew my personal tendency to let it suck up my attention and I did not want that as an additional distraction from the hard work of building and maintaining important relationships. My (now 23 year old) son and I are currently working through the first 3 seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation (TNG) on DVD.