As I was in the shower today, I suddenly thought of a certain set of pictures that spread through the internet a few times: roads with “SHCOOL” painted on them, pointed out as a demonstration of the failure of our school systems (or of the individual that painted it).

But here’s a thought: what if the person painting “SHCOOL” just wanted to spread the idea that school can be cool (as opposed to a chore, which certainly most kids view it as, unless kids these days are that different)?

They’d of course be mistaken. School isn’t cool. Learning is cool. School deprives you of learning.

But we could start using the term “shcool” to refer to a learning institution or organization that helps its members and others to understand the actually important things in life, the term symbolically reflecting the fact that slightly misspelling a word like “school” to “shcool” is really not a major detriment to communication (maybe you’d have issues running a computer search (say, a `find` or a `grep`) on a file for instances of the term “school”, but if you were on a computer, why didn’t you run a spell checker?), nor does it actually mean the misspeller is incapable of understanding Things That Actually Matter. Maybe of shcool and school, we can make school be the mistake.


A Round of Extraordinary Luck at LearnedLeague

The first MiniLeague that I decided to participate in was the Just Images Maps league, since, well, I love maps. The second round of the MiniLeague went ridiculously well for me in that I answered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 correctly when I only legitimately knew the answer to 5.




This was probably the least ridiculous of my guesses. I knew what the idea behind the map was, that it shows what would’ve happened if land reclaimed from the sea was reflooded; I just didn’t know what the agents of water blockage were called (levees?). After a lot of weighing options, I decided to guess dikes because I often hear that word in association with the Netherlands and I guessed it sounded like the sort of thing that would function as a levee.



I’m definitely not familiar with a map of this sort, but this just looked like a rock face, so I guessed rock climbing. Well.



I had no clue what this was, but it looked like a museum. I literally just randomly guessed a museum for which I did not know what its floorplan was like. Turns out, this was in fact a Guggenheim Museum.



I only knew the names of so many aviators. I decided to guess one of them, Amelia Earhart. Turns out, one of these was indeed Amelia Earhart.



This was the only of the five questions I got right where I actually straight-up knew the answer: Biafra.



Ah, tricky question. This one’s a good puzzle.

Five Bostonian Winters

(the latest five winters in Boston, in forward chronological order)

“For the sake of beautiful juxtaposition, I’ll arrive just after the hurricane. Don’t worry, I won’t be in full force until a few months later. But I will be in full force.”
“Ha, scared ya. Time to just chill and watch people needlessly panic.”
“I think I’ll pretend I just don’t exist.”
“Oh shit, I’m late! Let’s thoroughly catch up on make-up work.”

Posted in MIT

We the Corporations

I believe I am not yet senile enough to question my memory when it tells me the first three words of the United States constitution are “We the People”.

It may, thus, suggest something about how broken our democracy is that our lawmakers have decided to pass a resolution (S.J. Res. 34) allowing telecommunications companies to sell citizens’ browsing histories, location data, and app usage for profit, a resolution that is absolutely unimaginable as helping the American people, and that could only reflect how modern-day America is now a place where corporate profit gets overruling power over rudimentary privacy, individual rights, and common sense. If you can actually think of a way this resolution does something nice for the American public and is not just a bulldozing of societal decency to make way for corporate money powered by indescribable greed, please let us know; I’m sure most of us would rather be able to realize the world has not become as insane as it actually looks now.

In any case, it is now the situation that American privacy is but a big joke, thanks to the representatives of these districts, who voted in favor of the resolution.


Although it’s great to be civil, responding to indecency with decency only manages to go so far, and by now our nation has been drowned in sufficiently many layers of political sewage that it really is time to respond with the nasty. Go with something like this, although I should note that I only want to highlight the spirit of that proposal, not the proposal specifically; it appears several analysts do not find the proposal actually plausible, and besides, we must not punish the members of Congress who stood for the American citizen’s side and gave the “No” a voice, an immunity the gofundme does not promise. I’d like to personally thank the states of Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Hawaii for being the only seven states decent enough to be clear of lawmakers who subscribe to the notion that this resolution was a remotely good idea. (Montana’s not colored red above, but that’s because their sole district is currently undergoing a special election and thus did not have a representative participating in the vote, so I don’t think Montana deserves an inclusion in this honor roll despite technically fulfilling the condition.) I’d, of course, also like to lament that the Pacific Coast has failed to fully resist tainting, specifically along its southernmost reaches.

Remember the faces of the leaders of this resolution, people like Jeff Flake and Marsha Blackburn. Do not ever forget that they helped Comcast and friends sell your activity history for profit, and remember to return the favor however you can, and to aid karma in teaching them a lesson about privacy, whenever the opportunity might arise. Think of ways in life to stick the middle finger at Comcast whenever you can, find ways to help the people you know who work for Comcast and are proud of their job live in shame for doing so.

Privacy is not a joking business, and however much you may think it doesn’t matter to you and that you have nothing to hide, remember that it probably actually does.