Inside Tom's Head - September 2021
22 Oct 2021
September seemed to last forever. I spent the first half of the month interviewing, which was about as much fun as it sounds like. Then I gave notice at my old job, and a few days after that I had a job offer. September also marked my 10 year anniversary at that job, which is a good chunk of time. There’s a lot I’m going to miss about it (especially the people), but I can already tell that I made the right choice for my mental health.
I’ve been on the fence about leaving my job for a long time–years–now, but the deciding factor was my partner telling me that our kid had asked why I was always angry. It was quite a shock, and made me think of my own childhood. My father’s job wasn’t entirely to blame for my family falling apart as a kid, but it certainly didn’t help, and I strive to put family ahead of work whenever possible (though I’m the first to admit that I’m often not successful).
In any case, the upshot here is that the next couple of months are going to be a bit rough around here as I figure out my new schedule. I think that it will be better in the long run, though. But enough of that, to the links!
- Sightline takes a look at Cascadia’s carbon budget. There isn’t anything surprising about this, basically we needed to start cutting emissions back when the oil companies first became aware of the problem, in the 70’s, but as the saying goes, the second best time to plant a tree is now. What is worth noting here is the graphs, which do a good job of illustrating the scale of change that we’re about to experience (one way or the other).
- If you had asked me before reading this article, I would have said of course landlords are not developers, but I had never given any real thought to how different their business models are and how odd it is that they get lumped in together.
- A fascinating blog post about what happened to the spines on cucumbers, since apparently kids these days have been coddled by smooth defenseless cucumbers their whole lives.
- Scalzi takes a look back at the whole Sad/Rabid Puppy thing. It all seems a bit quaint in retrospect.
- A Vice article about how “walking places is part of the culture wars now” came out at the end of August. I had some criticisms of it that I wanted to write up, but Strong Towns did a better job of it, so I don’t have much to add.
- A suburb of Indianapolis makes a good case that human-scale infrastructure doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. For me, the key insight was to look at a bike trail as the backbone of an infrastructure network. It didn’t matter how nice the trail was if you had to drive to it to use it, so they focused on making sure that it connected to things. I’ve had people in cars yell at me, telling me that I should be riding on a trail, never mind that the nearest trail is over a mile away from my house.
- The greenest building is the one that has already been built.
- I don’t think that I have enough of an understanding of the subject to properly evaluate this, but at the very least I think that this discussion of our education system is worth reading and thinking about, especially as we grapple with the still-growing ripples of the pandemic. As with everything that got broken (or which had its brokenness revealed) by the pandemic, we should be asking ourselves if we can’t fix some of the old problems when we rebuild. Related (sort of), we should be asking ourselves some hard questions about school transportation given the current problems.
- A post about moire showed up on my RSS feed and ended up being a delightful rabbit hole of math, technology, and why striped shirts may not be the best choice for video conferencing. I had always seen Fast Fourier Transform as a tool in graphics software, but never had any idea of what it did. Now I know . . . that I still need to look into it, but being aware of how cool it is will hopefully act as motivation.
- Federal flood insurance is likely going to get more expensive as a result of climate change. I do feel bad for people who live in flood-prone coastal areas, but I’m also not a fan of negative externalities that encourage bad decisions, in this case flood insurance that is priced in such a way that people can ignore the effects of climate change because the costs get borne by general tax payers.
- Sightline did a good writeup of how Portland’s voting system makes its government less representative. For the record, Portland has a similar voting system to much of the United States, and it’s broken pretty much everywhere else, too.
I don’t feel like I did much reading, listening, or watching in September. With how things were at work, I spent a lot more of my audiobook/podcast time on music than usual (when I would try to listen to a book or show, I would find that I hadn’t been paying attention since my mind had strayed to work). That being said, I did watch a couple of things:
- We really love Horror/Comedies (HoComs as we call them in these parts), and after hearing good things about Spontaneous we subscribed to Hulu with the intention of watching a couple of things then canceling. We’re still subscribed (Why must you have good content, Hulu, why!?). That being said, Spontaneous was good, but not great. It was bloody, but never really rose to a level of horror, and it was dark enough that the humor didn’t really have much of an impact on me. It was still a good time, though, and it definitely felt like it was about now despite being based on a book from 2016.
- The other film that made an impression was Love and Monsters which I loved. I’m definitely looking forward to more from everyone involved. You should go watch it.