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The different social yardsticks of American cities

The different social yardsticks of American cities

When comparing different cities, I like to bring up this little shortcut in how people in different cities seem to compare each other: In New York City it’s: “How much do you make?” In Boston / Cambridge it’s: “What do you know?” In San Francisco it’s: “What can you make, and how many people think it’s cool?” In DC it’s: “Who / how powerful is your boss?” In LA it’s: “What powerful people / how many people know who you…

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Music that is ironically good to code to

Music that is ironically good to code to

I was chatting with someone the other day who loved the soundtrack from TRON: Legacy. (This person is awesome, he is part of the amazing band Knower and creates their very-TRON-inspired visuals). He got a kick out of how I will sometimes put on that TRON soundtrack when I really need to crank out some code. This is ironic, as the main plot point relies on a computer-programmer protagonist getting so wrapped up with what he is doing that he ends up in…

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Adolescent drug use over time

Adolescent drug use over time

I was talking about how different drugs had come into and out of fashion over the years with someone, and in the conversation I stated that “younger people have been using fewer and fewer illegal (and legal) drugs over time”. However I wasn’t sure that I had a reference for this, so I decided to dig a bit. Turns out that it wasn’t a myth, at least comparing to medium-term trends. Looking at drugabuse.gov (a hardly unbiased site), the news looks…

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Dear New York Entrepreneurs

Dear New York Entrepreneurs

If one of you opens up a real bagel shop in SF, you will be rich. Seriously. There’s a place called Katz which is only marginally better than Bruegger’s and is just raking it in, and is considered one of the best bagel places in the city. Just sayin. Not only would you be rich, but you would have the admiration of the entire city. Please, help save us from this bagel drought! Sincerely, Schimmy

A stupid article I probably shouldn’t respond to

A stupid article I probably shouldn’t respond to

Here’s the latest lament of a particular group of women in San Francisco. The gist of these stories are that there’s something wrong with the men of San Francisco, as compared to other cities (generally NYC), which is why the dating scene is so bad. They cite the lack of attractive men talking to them spontaneously in bars and coffee shops, even though the ratio of men to women is in favor of women in the city. *Sigh* Look, there…

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Some choice bits from Dan Geer’s RSA talk

Some choice bits from Dan Geer’s RSA talk

Somehow I came across this writeup of Dan Geer’s RSA conference talk. I was blown away by it, not by what information contained in the talk but instead by the questions he was able to ask which I hadn’t even though to ask. You should absolutely read it! I don’t have time for a proper writeup, but I’ll pull out some particularly good items I appreciated from the talk: On fragility: ‘The Gordian Knot of such tradeoffs — our tradeoffs…

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‘Braided Streets’- my proposal for how to organize traffic in SF

‘Braided Streets’- my proposal for how to organize traffic in SF

The fight over what our streets look like is perpetual in this city. Bicyclists love Valencia and Folsom, and want other streets to be just like them. Car-owners and taxis love Franklin, South Van Ness, Guerrero, etc. Transit (aka buses and streetcars) does well on Mission, Market, and Haight, amongst others. Pedestrians seem to like the streets that are optimized for bikes and transit. It seems that there is a showdown brewing between the newly powerful bike coalition, the Muni…

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Subvocalization – something that might be slowing you down as you read these words…

Subvocalization – something that might be slowing you down as you read these words…

Subvocalization is when, as you read, you speak the words in your head. Up until this week, I had no idea that Subvocalization existed beyond starting to learn a language. I thought that it was a part of proficiency in a language that you could read the words without ‘saying’ them in your head. Similarly, others who do subvocalize (at least those who were in the same room I was when I heard about it) had no idea you could read…

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Do you capitalize the [Ii]nternet?

Do you capitalize the [Ii]nternet?

The “Internet” officially should be capitalized. I certainly don’t capitalize it, however. This is just a theory, but I’ll bet that there is a clear difference in who capitalizes and who doesn’t. I’ll bet that those who were born after, say,1985 would just write “the internet” without capitalization. Why? Well, you don’t capitalize “the sky” or “the ocean” or “the highway system”. For our generation, our entire adult lives and some of our formative years has seen the internet as…

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A curmudgeonly view of words

A curmudgeonly view of words

Recently a few choice words have caught my ear. You see, I care more about words than someone who hasn’t ever thought about majoring in English probably should. There are two main ways I see people abusing the English language, and I’m not happy about it: Change the meaning of words to suit your purposes Use a word in an inappropriate context to appropriate some of the associations and meanings of that word for your own purposes The first is…

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See the template a spam commenter uses for comments

See the template a spam commenter uses for comments

I was looking at the comments section (yes, I’ll sign up for Akismet now- I am sick of dealing with it) and saw that one spammer had miscoded their bot. The bot posts an entire wall of text which appears to be their templates for all comments! I picked out one that I received a spam comment from the day before. Check it out, below, and hope that it doesn’t ruin my SEO to have it here… {Hοwԁу|Ηi theгe|Heу thеre|Hello|Hey}…

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