report: Form of a Question

It's an autobiographical graphic novel structured around the author's run on Jeopardy!. In the world of , there are clear answers, but not so much in the real world. I'm guessing not so many folks want to read a Jeopardy! comic, but in some Bayesian probability sense, it's worth mentioning on this here blog because there's probably a few folks who are totally the target audience reading… Anyhow, it was fun.

I volunteered as a poll worker in the recent ; you can read my notes about it. Spoilers: I got a lapel pin, much snazzier than a mere "I Voted!" sticker; a bird flew into our polling place but didn't attempt to vote (whew, we don't really have a process for that).

Report: Troublemakers

It's a swath of Silicon Valley history in the 70s and thenabouts; short biographies. I didn't learn much about the organizations I'd already read about; but I was surprised at some stories I'd overlooked (Genentech, ROLM, ASK…) It was interesting reading about the Genentech founders figuring out that insulin would be a good thing to manufacture because of the huge market as California was voting on whether to regulate dialysis pricing.

If you're in the USA remember to vote Tuesday (if you haven't already).

If you're near and you like and scholarship, you might want to know Shotgun Players is putting on the "Arcadia" soon. It's a Tom Stoppard play with math and literature and landscape design.

If you live near SF and are interested in election machines and/or election security, you might want to visit the SF Poll Worker Practice Lab on Nov 4 where you can set up, tear down, and operate election equipment. In theory, this is so that poll workers can practice before election day… but when I visited today, nobody checked to see if I was actually a poll worker or just a curious passer-by.

Open Nov 4, 10am-4pm. It took me about an hour to try th…

Someone left offerings to Hippocrates today, including flowers, a gavel, a slice of pizza, and water. I didn't think leaving offerings to Hippocrates was a thing(?). But apparently it is today at UCSF Parnassus campus.

Report: We, the Navigators

It's a book about navigation techniques of Pacific Islanders. I'd thought this was a lost art, only written about recently, carefully-hidden mysteries of guild-like navigator clans. But this book is from 1972 and points out its sources from various reports dating back to Captain Cook, so not all of these techniques were that secret. Just kinda secret… and how many researchers would travel all the way out to the Gilbert Isl…

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Report: Broad Band

It's a book of capsule biographies of women who programmed internet stuff (or maybe some other stuff) and/or created some early internet content. Thanks to this book, I know I want to read a not-so-short biography of Grace Hopper, whose capsule biography was maybe not as boring as I expected. (I knew her computer-y contributions were important—compilers! the real bug! But I didn't realize there might be a story behin…

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New world record recently set: Most escape room games played in a day.

When I roped various friends into teaming up for various San Francisco bay area events, they'd ask: "Will we win?"

And I'd answer "Nope, but we'll have our asses handed to us by world champions."

I stand by that answer.

(ok, one member of the record-setting squad is from the east coast, but i nevertheless still stand pretty close by that answer)

Report: The Unseen World

It's a novel about a young lady who grows up amongst researchers at something kinda like MIT's AI Lab, but different. There's learning and forgetting and machine learningo. There's also a little spy stuff and codes.

E.g. there's a character named Diana Liston. She does a lot of talking on the phone while someone's eavesdropping, so it seems important that her name dianA LISton contains the sounds of "Alice". Or mayb...

I'm a week into calling up my new COBRA provider begging them to let me pay them, occasionally mailing them checks (yes, mailing out physical checks like a caveman). There are some "qualifying life events" which allow folks to sign up for Covered California's Health Care Marketplace without waiting for open enrollment. "COBRA provider can't get their act together" isn't such an event, but now I'm thinking it could be.

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Make your own heroic voter; kind of like paper dolls back in the day but less risk of hanging chad.

Report: Berlin

Do you remember way back 20 years ago when you were reading comics and there was this lovely stark black-and-white comic "Berlin" by Jason Lutes? About Berlin in the Weimar republic? Street fights between Nazis and Reds, intellectuals tut-tutting at chaos, families torn apart, artists arguing art… and all drawn so beautifully that you keep reading despite the ongoing bummer?

Yes, it's spooky how much less relevant the subject matter seeme…

Report: Habeas Data

It's a book about recent USA data search-and-seizure . It describes laws and supreme court cases revolving around convictions based on creepily-acquired data. So you can read about how some bay area police officers spoofed a cell tower so they could find a phony ID forger—using a device that also let them spy on other phone users in the neighborhood, let's hope they didn't peek…

This is a cringe-y book. It's pretty much all about cops ge…

"tell us your age without using numbers"

When I see "CZI," I think "Count Zero Interrupt", not "Chan Zuckerberg Initiative"

A team reported a typo in an Octothorpean Order online puzzlehunt puzzle's hint. So, no problem. I fix up the puzzle file on my computer, and go to upload it to the Octothorpean site… and get a mysterious error message. And I try uploading other puzzles to the site, and it's just not working. I hadn't changed the upload-code in years, but somehow it had broken.
I get caught up on current events and guess that the software platform has deprecated…

Report: Personal History

It's the autobiography of Katherine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post during Watergate times (among other things).

I guess the reason that folks have been talking about this book lately is because during Watergate times, Nixon repeatedly lashed out at the press—and this turned out to be because he was trying to cover up his crimes. Nowadays, we again have a president who screams at the press…

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