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Thoughts about my Uncle David

On December 31, 2009, I found out my Uncle David passed away after having a heart attack. He was helping someone push their car - his last act of generosity. At the time, I was away on vacation and wasn't able to fly out and join my family in this time of pain. Instead, I drank some and cried some, and thought about the cycle of life. What happens to kindred souls like his?

This brings me to a memory : during the Los Angeles Riots, the local liquor store half a block away was set on fire - one of the many, many fires throughout the city. Local neighbors used garden hoses to spray the fires to little effect. Eventually the fire department showed up, brought the fire under control, and left before it was completely out because they were needed elsewhere more urgently.

What if this happens to us? Maybe good people die young because their spirits are needed elsewhere more urgently. What if there are multiple universes, but only a limited amount of good people, so they are placed where they are needed most.

That night, I pictured my Uncle Dave being recalled from our world and sent onto a world that needed him more, having left ours a better place. This is what I wrote to him that night.

I see you David
your idealism bringing hope to all around
father, husband, friend
empowering us with your light

I see you David
ascending above a confused world full of pain
loved ones lost without you
unaware of our new strength

I see you David
a gift to the next world desperately needing you
Great Spirit of generosity
We shall meet again, my friend

Wherever you are, David, I hope that world appreciates you.

What I Am by Will.i.am

If what I am is what's in me
Then I'll stay strong that's who I'll be
and I will always be the best me that I can be

There's only one me - I am it
Have a dream I'll follow it,
It's up to me to try

Oh! I'mma keep my head up high
Keep on reaching high
Never gonna quit
I'll be getting stronger.

And nothing's gonna bring me down
Never gonna stop, gotta go
Because I know I'll keep getting stronger

And what I am is: Thoughtful
And what I am is: Musical
And what I am is: Smart
And what I am is: Brave
And what I am is: Helpful
And what I am is: Special

There's nothing I can't achieve
Because in myself I believe in

Oh! Gonna keep our heads up high
Keep on reaching high
Never gonna quit
Just keep getting stronger

And nothing's gonna bring us down
Never giving up, gotta go
Because I know I'll keep getting stronger

And what I am is: Super
And what I am is: Proud
And what I am is: Friendly
And what I am is: Grouchy
what you are is : Magical
And what you are is: Special

There's nothing I can't achieve
Because in myself I believe in

Oh! Gonna hold my head up high
Keep on reaching high
Never gonna stop
I'll keep getting stronger

Nothing's gonna bring me down
Never giving up, gotta go
Because I know I'll keep getting stronger

Performed by Will.i.am on Sesame Street

Watch the Video


Animal Crossing


In 2009, after the suicide at a company that manufactures electronics for Apple (and other companies), Apple initiated a serious investigation of all of its 102 supplier facilities, and discovered 17 violations. They published these issues recently, which included that three facilities had hired a total of 11 workers who were 15 years old in countries where the minimum employment age is 16. Apple noted that the workers were no longer underage or weren't working for the facilities anymore when the audits were undertaken.

Let's compare the headlines.

Associate Press: Apple details labor violations at its suppliers

Telegraph: Apple admits using child labour!

Guess which one was received much more press? Guess which one made the top of sites like digg? That's right, the sensational one that implies Apple was hiding some dirty little secret and got its hand caught. Nice journalistic integrity.
I plugged in USB head phones and thought, "they should make it so I can just option-click on the sound to choose my output device." And then thought, "Wait, maybe that does work." And indeed, it does.

Option Click Sound

iPhone Battery Meter Tip

Show percantage remaining:

Settings -> General -> Usage -> Battery Meter

ETA: Sorry guys, requires iPhone 3GS



Another Facebook member said she felt like Sisyphus.

"The boulder I’m pushing up the hill is marriage equality," she wrote. "Just as I get to the top, it tumbles down again, and I have to start all over again. The hill is counting on me to give up, but I won’t, no matter how old or tired or hurt I become."

2009 has been a year of deep reflection - a chance for Britain, as a nation, to commemorate the profound debts we owe to those who came before. A unique combination of anniversaries and events have stirred in us that sense of pride and gratitude which characterise the British experience. Earlier this year I stood with Presidents Sarkozy and Obama to honour the service and the sacrifice of the heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy 65 years ago. And just last week, we marked the 70 years which have passed since the British government declared its willingness to take up arms against Fascism and declared the outbreak of World War Two. So I am both pleased and proud that, thanks to a coalition of computer scientists, historians and LGBT activists, we have this year a chance to mark and celebrate another contribution to Britain’s fight against the darkness of dictatorship; that of code-breaker Alan Turing.

Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ - in effect, tried for being gay. His sentence - and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison - was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones. He took his own life just two years later.

Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction.

I am proud that those days are gone and that in the last 12 years this government has done so much to make life fairer and more equal for our LGBT community. This recognition of Alan’s status as one of Britain’s most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue.

But even more than that, Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to humankind. For those of us born after 1945, into a Europe which is united, democratic and at peace, it is hard to imagine that our continent was once the theatre of mankind’s darkest hour. It is difficult to believe that in living memory, people could become so consumed by hate - by anti-Semitism, by homophobia, by xenophobia and other murderous prejudices - that the gas chambers and crematoria became a piece of the European landscape as surely as the galleries and universities and concert halls which had marked out the European civilisation for hundreds of years. It is thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism, people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war are part of Europe’s history and not Europe’s present.

So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.

Gordon Brown

Treatment of Alan Turing was “appalling” - PM


Professor Richard Dawkins has joined the petition to have the British government formally apologize for prosecuting Alan Turing.

"Turing arguably made a greater contribution to defeating the Nazis than Eisenhower or Churchill. Thanks to Turing and his 'Ultra' colleagues at Bletchley Park, Allied generals in the field were consistently, over long periods of the war, privy to detailed German plans before the German generals had time to implement them.

"After the war, when Turing's role was no longer top-secret, he should have been knighted and fêted as a saviour of his nation. Instead, this gentle, stammering, eccentric genius was destroyed, for a 'crime', committed in private, which harmed nobody,"
-- Dawkins

What he does not mention is that all modern computer science is based on Alan Turing's work. We owe a tremendous amount to this man, and instead he was destroyed for his sexuality.


“A public option is a fundamental part of ensuring health care reform brings about real change. Opposing the public plan is an endorsement of the status quo in this country that has left tens of millions of Americans uninsured or underinsured and put massive burdens on employers. I have heard too many horror stories from my constituents about how the so-called competitive marketplace has denied them coverage from the outset, offered a benefit plan that covers everything but what they need or failed them some other way. A strong public option would ensure competition in the industry to provide the best, most affordable insurance for Americans and bring down the skyrocketing health care costs that are the biggest contributor to our long-term budget deficits. I am not interested in passing health care reform in name only. Without a public option, I don’t see how we will bring real change to a system that has made good health care a privilege for those who can afford it.”

-- U.S. Senator Russ Feingold