It’s well known that reading code is a lot harder than writing it. But I recently got some insight as to why that is. I was debugging someone else’s sh script. This one seemed harder to read than most. There was a section that involved figuring out a bunch of dates associated with a particular… Continue reading Readable Code: Variable Overload
The other day, I was talking to an old friend and doing that annoying ritual where I told her all of the phone numbers and email addresses I had for her, and she told me which ones were out of date and which ones I was missing. And I wondered why there’s not a better… Continue reading Why Can’t I Subscribe to an Address Card?
Back when the Macintosh first came out, in the 1980s, it was presented as a more user-friendly alternatives to PCs running MS-DOS: it had a mouse that you could point with, and a graphical interface. Instead of memorizing commands and reading cryptic error messages, you could click on icons, or explore menus to see what… Continue reading The Triumph of Looks over Function
The Citizens United decision has proven quite controversial, with advocates both for and against it. So why not have a debate? For those who don’t remember, Citizens United was an organization that made a movie critical of then-candidate Hillary Clinton. The Federal Elections Commission deemed this to be a form of illegal campaign contribution, and… Continue reading Debate: Citizens United: Good or Bad?
Somewhere, I ran across the following story: Fred was the most hated person in the Foreign Legion. Everyone wanted him dead. One day, Fred was assigned to go on a mission alone in the middle of the desert. At midnight the night before, Alex put poison in Fred’s canteen. An hour later, unaware of this,… Continue reading Guilt
The usual argument for the filibuster is that it prevents the majority from simply steamrolling its agenda: if every piece of legislation only needed a simple majority to pass, then in the current Senate, 51 Democrats (including VP Harris) can, if they’re united, do anything they want, and ignore the 50 Republicans. Clearly, that’s not… Continue reading On the Filibuster
Like most people, I hate changing the clocks twice a year, to say nothing of having to get up an hour early for Daylight Saving Time. So naturally my ears perked up when I heard about Senate bill 623, which would make Daylight Saving Time permanent. We’re still switching to DST tomorrow, but if this… Continue reading Ending the Tyranny of Biannual Time Changes
I used to work for a computer researcher who didn’t actually use computers. Academics can sometimes be quirky, you know? He just had ~/.forward set up to print every message (on paper) as it came in. One problem with this setup was that people would send him résumés as PostScript (and later PDF) attachments. The… Continue reading Staying on Top of the Wave
Joe Manchin appeared on Fox News Sunday and said he supports the filibuster, but it should come at a cost: “The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Maybe it has to be more painful.” … “If you… Continue reading “The Filibuster Should Be Painful”
While researching arguments for and against the National Popular Vote, I ran across the site Keep Our 50 States, which tries to argue for keeping the Electoral College, and, um, it doesn’t do a very good job of it. For instance, the “The Issue” page shows this Mike Lester cartoon: I’m not sure what this… Continue reading When Your Debate Opponents Argue Your Point