Weeknotes #106

in weeknotes

  • While it was too cold to do any practice during the week, I took Emma out on Saturday to do more cycling practice and she’s now at a point where she can ride in a straight line and sort of move around minor obstacles. She even took off once by herself (the rest of the time I’d give her a push). My initial pessimism was, thankfully, misplaced.

  • After practising a bit, we came back to the house and Eri, John and Rowan came with us to a nearby park (Emma using it as an excuse to go riding a bit further afield). I’m always really happy when we’re able to go out as a family. Rowan was less so and did his best as we pushed his pram down the street to let everyone within earshot know.

  • We weren’t successful with the application I mentioned last week and so on Sunday I went and visited another couple of apartments. I liked one of them and we put in an application for it that day. I’ve also submitted an application for an apartment that we haven’t been able to inspect yet but I figure it’s worth being in the queue as early as possible.

  • Mum’s February flight was officially cancelled. On Saturday, the number of daily detected cases in Tokyo crossed 10,000 for the first time (NHK).

  • Listening to the Astral Codex Ten podcast episode for ‘Highlights from the Comments on Diseasonality’, I felt an image of post-pandemic life come into focus. As immunity builds up to sufficient levels in the community, SARS-CoV-2 becomes like a number of other viruses, something that infects infants (who suffer only mild symptoms, if any) with adults occasionally suffering reinfections when their level of immunity (either from vaccines or prior infections) wanes to a low enough level.

  • I didn’t make any real progress with the Japanese Wordle clone thing, instead spending my time working on improving development tooling for Janet. In particular, I took an embarrassingly long time to put together a pull request that allows a user to specifying a function at runtime for looking up missing symbols. This enables (theoretically anyway) a more dynamic environment. The whole experience has been positive in helping me to appreciate the design of both Clojure (which has bespoke data structures for namespaces and vars) and Janet (which uses mutable tables for everything).

  • I have two YouTube recommendations, one of which you are substantively more likely to watch:

    • John Oliver has an amusing 8-minute rant about the 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code. Despite what you might think from the date, it was put out earlier this month as one of the web exclusive videos HBO regularly releases to promote Oliver’s show, Last Week Tonight. At the time of writing, it has, quite unsurprisingly, 3.8 million views.

    • Dan Olsen (my favourite YouTube essayist) has an amusing 138-minute rant about NFTs and cryptocurrency. When you make a video this long, I’m not sure if it does much to change minds but I found it an interesting watch nevertheless. At the time of writing, it has, quite preposterously, 1.4 million views.

  • John Rawls is the political philosopher who has had the largest impact on how I think about justice and political systems. I was excited to discover a lengthy post by Matt Yglesias on his Slow Boring blog about the philosopher Charles Mills’ book-length critique of Rawls’ philosophy, Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism. I definitely want to read Mills’ book.

  • I was hunting around for promotional videos some of my friends from SMASH! had produced back in the day and I came across a short experiment I’d made that paired the first 30 seconds of Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Testify’ with photos from the previous year’s event. I never finished it (which was probably the correct choice given the lack of any connection between RATM and Japanese pop culture) but listening to it (Apple Music) made me think about going back and finishing it off.

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont