A false sense of security

Marc Andreessen writes about how ill-equipped the United States is to handle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and concludes that it’s due to the fact that the America lost its ability to “build” things, be it medical equipment, infrastructure, or financial mechanisms that’d allow the federal government to support its citizens better.

There’s a particular paragraph that stood out to me and made me think about a particular lack-of-readiness aspect of COVID-19 epidemic, not only in the US, but all over the world and in particular in Western Europe:

We see this today with the things we urgently need but don’t have. We don’t have enough coronavirus tests, or test materials — including, amazingly, cotton swabs and common reagents. We don’t have enough ventilators, negative pressure rooms, and ICU beds. And we don’t have enough surgical masks, eye shields, and medical gowns — as I write this, New York City has put out a desperate call for rain ponchos to be used as medical gowns. Rain ponchos! In 2020! In America!

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Walkability

I am slowly beginning to grasp the concept of “walkability.” It’s not about whether there are wide sidewalks (although there better be). Spending my second week in California I realize the absolute key part is whether you need to cross multi-lane streets/roads every 50 meters. Nothing kills the joy of walking around than having to stop all the time.

(hint: in Amsterdam you can usually just walk through the street without paying attention to lights, because there’s either no traffic, or the traffic will let you do that)

It also helps if I’m not the only pedestrian within a 5 mile radius. The other day a lady in a huge SUV pulled over to ask if everything’s ok because I’m walking down the street; she thought my car broke down and I needed help. 🤦🏻‍♂️

RMS

Steven Levy for The Wired:

Stallman affair touches on something else: a simmering resentment about the treatment of women by the scruffy brainiacs who built our digital world, as well as the Brahmins of academia and business who benefited from the hackers’ effort. With the Epstein revelations that resentment has boiled over.

It’s incorrect to think that the controversy around Stallman’s CSAIL emails is about “political correctness” or that his opinions have been “mischaracterized”, as he himself puts it.

Decades of silencing critics that were pointing out creepy behavior towards women have to finally come to an end. It has nothing to do with his achievements or contributions to free software, nor does it diminish them. Great works do not grant immunity.

It’s about being held accountable.

dotGo 2019

A couple of weeks ago I went to Paris to attend dotGo (thanks, MessageBird!), one of the biggest Go conferences in Europe. dotGo lasts only one day, and it’s single-track, but it’s a solid offering with great organization, excellent venue and awesome talks. I realize I sound like a dotGo commercial, but as a former academic I remain amazed at how much better professional conferences are, and in the case of dotGo we’re talking orders of magnitude.

Not all of the dotGo 2019 talks were brilliant, but I see even that as an advantage; it’s easy to make a good conference by putting an all-star speaker line-up. It doesn’t allow for younger, less known people in the community to present anything, though, and I think dotGo organizers’ decision to present a mix of established engineers and newcomers was very successful. They also succeeded in having a variety of topics, and many of the talks weren’t necessarily Go-specific. Sure,

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Good DNS people live in remote places

DNS and domain registration services generally suck. GoDaddy people hunt elephants. Hover is okay, but has mediocre customer service (personal experience) and bad web interface (objective truth). There’s tons of bad domain registrars out there. But amongst them, there are people that know their shit and know it well, and they don’t try to scam or bullshit you.

What follows is an unpaid advertisement for ISNIC and iwantmyname.

I own a couple of domains, and amongst them is piotrkazmierczak.compiotrkazmierczak.com used to be my primary email domain, but recently more and more often I have to spell my email address to people, and if it’s Dutch people I’m talking to, and my email is in piotrkazmierczak.com domain, things aren’t as smooth as they should be. So I intended to simplify things, and bought piotr.is, which I now use as my primary domain. It’s shorter, simpler, better. And it’s Icelandic.

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