Why I No Longer Hate America

Politics
Sep 27, 2020
Red, White & Blue by Luke Michael
Red, White & Blue by Luke Michael

Years ago, a friend told me he was going to visit his sister in Queensland, Australia. I was living in New Zealand at the time, and we made plans to meet up. We ended up hiking through some spectacular parks and amazing waterfalls. On one of our hikes, my friend asked me, “Why do you hate America?” It’s one of those lines often parodied from early 2000s Fox News broadcasts, during the height of outrage over the Iraq war.

At the time, I did hate a lot of American foreign policy, and found there was little difference between US political parties. I had my reasons for leaving, yet I eventually came back to America. Having traveled through and lived in different places around the world, I saw the trade-offs in the different values held by nationals of various countries. I still take issue with many policies in the United States, but I believe there are many aspects to American law and ideology, that respect individual rights and freedoms in fundamentally unique ways. America may run afoul of letting people slide through the cracks, but it is also a nation suited to help people succeed at their dreams.

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Mexico's Independence Day - Chicago, IL

Miscellaneous
Sep 21, 2020

Why I No Longer Hate the Police

Politics
Sep 2, 2020
Chicago Police
Chicago Police

My mother told me that when I was very young, I would always look out the window in the evenings for the police car that would often sit on our street each night during the late shift. On a night when a car didn’t appear, and my father couldn’t get me to sleep, he would put me in a stroller and walk around until we saw one. I grew up on shows like Dragnet and games like Police Quest, and when I told my neighbors that I wanted to be a cop when I grew up, they’d tell me, “You’re too smart for that.”

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Do Not Enter

Poetry
Aug 30, 2020

Opening Night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee

Politics
Aug 22, 2020

Moving from YouTube to PeerTube

Technology
Aug 20, 2020
Sepia, Peertube's mascot
Sepia, Peertube's mascot

Back when I first started posting videos, I used Vimeo. Even though YouTube was the dominant video site, I wanted to support the underdog. I even bought a Vimeo Pro account. At the time, Vimeo had higher quality video than YouTube, but nowhere near the level of discoverability. Eventually I started posting on YouTube; both new content and some reposts of my older videos. It’s 2020 and YouTube, as well as the rest of big tech, is continuing to remove content they don’t agree with from their platforms. None of my videos have ever gotten a large number of views, and none are monetized, so I might as well copy them to a PeerTube instance I control. If you do run a YouTube channel with any type of significant viewership, I highly recommend backing up your videos, in the event you may need to self-host your content in the future.

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Back the Blue - Homan Square, Chicago

Politics
Aug 19, 2020

CHAZ, Seattle and the Mob

Politics
Aug 10, 2020

Plants and Soil Sensors

Technology
Aug 8, 2020
Photo of flower planters hanging from balcony railing with electronic sensors attached

A few years back, I did some work for a sensor network startup. Since then, I’ve always been on the lookout for new sensor hardware and tools. I just moved into a new apartment, and discovered the VegeHub when searching for soil moisture sensors to use on my flower boxes.

The VegeHub supports sending your data to a few online storage providers (a.k.a The Cloud), or to a custom web service. I considered adding support to BigSense, a sensor web service I wrote in Scala. Instead, I decided it would be a good time to experiment with a time series database. I wrote a small Python Flask application called SenseFlux to store VegeHub data in InfluxDB. In this post, I’ll show you how you can setup SenseFlux and InfluxDB using Docker, and graph sensor data using chronograf. Let’s get started.

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Secondary Effects

Politics
Jul 8, 2020
Yellow Flower on a Wooden Table

The first week of June, I received an e-mail from one of my best friends in London. Her flatmate had committed suicide. Across the world, rates for attempted suicide are growing dangerously amid the continued lockdowns. Serious child abuse emergency room visits have risen by by over 35%, while surveillance into abuse incidents is hindered with many schools remaining closed. The civil unrest, riots and other secondary effects are from the response to the pandemic, but not the virus itself. So far, every indication shows the fatality rates for this virus are in decline. Yet despite what should be good news, leaders from around the world seem to be doubling down on the existing narrative of fear to justify continued behavior modifications, despite the growing secondary effects of the lockdowns.

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