I’m staying in a kind of strange spot in Pittsburgh. Driving through, nothing would seem worth stopping and checking out. But there’s some incredible architecture to experience when you walk around. I don’t think I would have ever noticed this church from inside of a car.

I’m at the end of the week looking at my todos and figuring out which day I will accomplish these things next week.

  • Monday – travel cross country
  • Tuesday – meetings from 10-5 with 30mins for lunch
  • Wednesday – all day retreat
  • Thursday – meetings 930-345 with 30 mins for lunch.

🤷‍♂️

  • For All Mankind S3
  • Only Murders in the Building S2
  • Locke and Key S3
  • Star Trek – literally all of the new Trek
  • The Sandman
  • Good Omens
  • American Gods (S3)
  • His Dark Materials (S2+)
  • The Boys (S3)
  • Paper Girls
  • Orphan Black
  • The Americans
  • Patriot
  • Resident Evil
  • The Wire (S3+)

The list goes on– that’s just off the top of my head. I have too much life happening to watch all the TV.

Via Om Malik, this quote from Zuckerberg

Our north star is can we get a billion people into the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars a piece in digital commerce by the end of the decade? If we do that, we’ll build a business that is as big as our current ad business within this decade. I think that’s a really exciting thing. I think a big part of how you do that is by pushing the open metaverse forward, which is what we’re going to do.

I cannot think of anything less exciting.

A year ago today I was coming back from a vacation. I felt awful. It was a fun trip. I ate great. I was very active. I lost considerable weight, during vacation! Without feeling limited at all!

But at the same time, I was reaching the peak (depths?) of a months long crisis. Getting my vaccine was a huge relief, but on the other side of unclenching I realized how much had fallen apart that I had just muscled through.

I know I’m not the only one who thought, “Maybe things are getting back to normal!”, and, no matter how naive that turned out to be, found that there was a lot of damage done that needed healing before we’d feel normal.

It was my first time on a plane in over a year, which was possibly the longest stretch I had gone in my entire life without flying. I thought getting away for a true vacation would be restorative. But what I found when I broke out of my house-office was that I didn’t feel better. I hadn’t taken care of myself in all kinds of ways over the previous 18 months.

So I was in Mexico, on vacation, and found that any moment that I was not extremely occupied, I was terrified. I felt panic. I was having anxiety and concerns before I left, but I thought that I just needed a vacation. So when the vacation solved approximately nothing, I was really lost.

I am still working through some of what I found out about myself that week. A year later, I’m struggling with these dueling memories of a dual experience— I have all of these joyful memories of biking, swimming, and eating mixed in with these deep, dread-filled existential crises.

I made a bunch of mistakes last year. I let myself feel unsupported and unloved without asking for support and love. I let myself focus on small number of opportunities to refill my emotional reserves instead of finding ways to tend to them every single day. I told myself a lot of stories about the world and my place in it and invited no other voices in to challenge my perspective. I refused to let go of things that were no longer making me happy and embrace the new things that were. I resisted and failed to make some big changes that I probably should have made. I got so lost in surviving for so long.

These are things that happen to people (and me) all the time, but the pandemic made them all so much worse. I think I’m better today. I think I’m more prepared to face these same challenges when they come back again. But last year was harder than the pandemic itself for me. Instead of relief, the relative safety of being young and vaccinated without any major risk factors pre-Delta just opened the gates that held back 18 months of flood waters. I am so lucky to have been able to essentially “muscle through” 2020. I felt what that did to me in 2021.

More, Better Web Apps is something I’d like to see. I can’t say that I can point to a web application I enjoy using as much as native applications developed by small teams.

Bjarnason points out native applications that meet his threshold of quality (and I agree), but doesn’t mentions something important: they all use frameworks too, in this case, mountains of proprietary AppKit and UIKit (I’ll stick with UI frameworks as that seems to be the unspoken target of the piece).

Have the web frameworks failed or have the web developers?

I’m not sure.

The Supreme Court has decided that religious schools cannot be excluded by state tuition assistance programs. This is an expansion, in many ways, of past decisions on vouchers that permit religious schools to take part in voucher programs.

I have seen a fair amount of discussion online that focuses on particulars of this case and what it means. Almost everyone is discussing the decision from a set of first principles– fundamentally, those who want religious education to be strongly supported in the US by tax dollars are thrilled, and those who are do not believe the government should fund religious schools are against it.

I don’t think this conversation is being had in bad faith. I do find it a little frustrating that folks are not talking about what their view point means, especially those that are in favor of religious education.

Beyond my own opinion, as someone who identifies as Jewish and is quite uncomfortable with creeping Christianity into the public sphere, I am deeply troubled by the idea of entanglement.

In a landmark case, Lemon v. Kurtzman, the court came up with a three part test for religious activity mixing with government activity. The Lemon Test is as follows (from Wikipedia linked above):

  1. The statute must have a secular legislative purpose. (Also known as the Purpose Prong)
  2. The principal or primary effect of the statute must neither advance nor inhibit religion. (Also known as the Effect Prong)
  3. The statute must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion. (Also known as the Entanglement Prong)

What happens when we fund religious schools? Programs that do so generally have a secular purpose– the provision of a public, secular education. In tuition assistance and voucher programs, states may fund religious schools for the purpose of delivering the secular education of public schools. There are all kinds of tests about how that money can be used– if there’s a religious education component, can public funds be used? The case law here is important to understand, but for the sake of understanding the Lemon Test, they key is that these vouchers and assistance programs are to have private institutions deliver education in place of the state.

In this way, the effect prong also comes into play– what will be the primary impact of the law? In the case of a tuition assistance program, it is not the case that any advancement of religion through the existence of the program makes it religious. It is the case that the primary effect has to be something other than religious. You can’t pass a law that pays a preacher’s salary whose duties are leading a religious congregation or proselytizing, but you might be able to pay a church to grow food that is provided to the hungry. In that case, the primary effect would be feeding the hungry.

It’s the Entanglement test that should have always doomed funding religious education. What does entanglement mean? Simply stated, the result of a religious institution being a part of a government program should not result in the government dictating to that religion the precise ways in which it can or cannot act. A religious institution cannot be tied up in complex bureaucratic oversight and complex relations. Essentially, the government should not be all up in religion’s business.

How can the government not be entangled, if it takes an interest in what students need to learn? States don’t fund education about anything, but instead have state standards and approved curriculum required to be a part of secular, public education. Of course the Church can have it’s own religious teachings, but how can the interest of delivering the same minimum education in the Church not lead to Entanglement? Those who want a religious education have easier, better mechanisms in place. For example, it’s quite legal to have “release” time for a religious education (see Zorach v. Clauson)– students can leave in the afternoon to receive a religious education. There’s a public institution, funded by the public, for the purpose of a secular public education, and then students can additionally receive a religious education at a separate, privately funded space.

The religionists want religious schools funded with public dollars because they explicitly want to remove the secular, state curriculum from children for free. The goal is to not have the state act with any interest in the education of students; of course that interest is why we have any public funds for education in the first place. To enforce the state secular education is delivered, states will run afoul of entanglement.

When you combine this decision, and a general erosion of entanglement, with the broad interpretation of the ministerial exception (see Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru), how can the state enforce Kitzmiller v. Dover?

There are only two ways around this:

  1. Totally ignore the state’s interest in a free, appropriate, public education that does not advance a religious view.
  2. Totally abandon a judicable standard for direct funding of religion for any public purpose, opening up all government activity to being delivered in part or whole by religionists.

There are people who believe that– dismantle public education because there is no public interest, there are no public, secular values to preserve. For those of us that believe there is a public interest in education and that there are public, secular values that government has an obligation to ensure for all students, it’s not clear what boundaries are left.

Do we really believe that the intent when the US Constitution was written was to permit an individual, with virtually no restrictions, to fire 300 rounds of ammunition? 300 rounds of ammunition designed to shatter bone and eviscerate tissue?

In just a few minutes.

Does it even matter if that was the intent? Are we unable to make a different choice for our society?

Muskets, the standard issue firearm for late 18th century armies fired, on average, three rounds per minute. Three.

I could care less what people thought about guns that fired soft lead, slowly and inaccurately, at three rounds per minute in a world with AR15s. And frankly, I can’t imagine a system that cannot acknowledge that such a dramatic change in circumstances matter.

I played some pick up volleyball today. All the leagues I’ve signed up for so far have been intentionally as recreational as possible. While I love playing, it’s been 17 years since high school– so my confidence wasn’t very high and I wanted to start at the beginning. I’ve had a blast, and intend to continue to play recreationally.

I knew today might be a bit different. Pick up, rather than league play, would likely attract people who really like to play volleyball. And sure enough, it drew a small crowd of folks who all play in leagues regularly. It was time for 3v3, not 6v6 with two subs, and each team didn’t have 2-3 folks who had essentially never played volleyball.

I was nervous. Have I built up the cardiovascular health to play for 90 minutes like this? Will I be good enough or feel like a fool? Proudly, I was not a fool, and I was able to keep up. My blocks were consistent and strong enough to almost shut down a very strong attack game by the other team. I frequently found myself in the right position to get some solid digs from the back on meaningful attacks. I had a couple of strong hits, including one where I had to reach well behind myself and attack with my left because of a high set.

It felt like playing volleyball.

And although my knees and ankles and back feel their age, I’ll be playing a lot more pickup. I think I might even sign up for a 4v4 intermediate league to go with my recreational playing.

I don’t like running or aerobics at the gym. I like my time with weights to be focused on strength training. Ramping up to 2-3 volleyball games a week has not only been an absolute blast, but makes me feel great about having a well-rounded workout routine. It’s the best I’ve felt physically in a long time, and it sure feels like I’m focusing on fun.

Eight years ago today, about this time, I was heading to the ETC in Baltimore to meet Jess for the just the third time, but this time as an employee. I had no idea what I was doing or what it would mark the start of.

But despite being terrified, we started filling a whiteboard with “what is Allovue?” She had already been at it a year and was finally ready to start building the product. I’m not really sure if she was supposed to be mostly telling me her vision or if I was meant to participate.

As I recall, I just jumped in, excited, and by the time Ted (our soon to be CTO) came in, Jess and I had just about covered the two whiteboard walls. Then Ted and I started working on a data model while Jess took a call about some award she was about to receive.

Jess will often pull out a Moleskine from the (now quite short, relatively speaking) time before I joined Allovue to show me how my new idea was just her old idea. I still sometimes mention that whiteboard.

As I headed to the airport that night, I still didn’t really know what my job was or fully understand how anything start up worked. But I knew I was still excited and thinking about Allovue, which is how I had felt every time I talked to Jess and why I knew I needed the job.

I’ll tell the embarrassing story of what happened next in two years, on my tenth Alloversary.

Instagram’s ad unit is excellent, especially compared to both Tumblr and Twitter. There’s no reason these platforms aren’t better at this. The problem with social media is not ads, but clearly there aren’t many teams that succeed at building a good mobile ad product.

This is true as a user of the core social products, not someone buying ads. But it’s pretty clear to me that ads that are good from a user experience translates to ads that are valuable to ad buyers.

Paul Graham is a smart guy who consistently writes essays that are thoughtful and powerful, and sometimes dumb as fuck and transparently demonstrate the weird bubble he lives in.

Today he wrote one of those, interestingly linking the term heresy to a new emerging, non-religiously-based set of views that can serve to make one persona non grata in some circles (while also guaranteeing you a lifetime of funding from the Mercers and Peter Thiel alongside the adoration of their funded lackeys).

It’s just incredible how during a time of widespread book banning led by the Evangelical right and “Don’t Say Gay” laws that this statement was made as though it were fact,

There are aggressively conventional-minded people on both the right and the left. The reason the current wave of intolerance comes from the left is simply because the new unifying ideology happened to come from the left. The next one might come from the right. Imagine what that would be like.

The “wave of intolerance” Graham points to seems to be coming from the left these days because Silicon Valley individualism demands it— that’s why he ignores anti-trans and homophobic laws and anti-Blackness and racism. I don’t quite know why he ignores the xenophobia that bristles Silicon Valley because they want plentiful, inexpensive foreign labor in the US. I know he ignores misogyny because he’s spent his life literally building and profiting off of a “good old boys” network and can’t understand any critique that it’s been something less than a meritocracy.

The more left driven intolerances challenge Paul Graham to be better. The right wing ones affect other people.

I don’t love the lack of repentance and forgiveness in our world. I think we all have a right to redemption. I think we have a right to have our worst moments be forgotten, or at least to have them fade and let their stench dissipate. I think “call out” and “call in” culture have real limits and challenges we haven’t worked out. But while the right wing is literally using the power of the state, often in minoritarian governments assisted by gerrymandering, to spread a chilling effect on speech among professors, teachers, and doctors, I’m not sure it’s the dirtbag left on Twitter or a few college student protests that we should be concerned about.

It’s nice to see a Batman movie spend its time with Batman doing Batman things. Almost every other Batman movie wants to spend its time with the villains or show Bruce Wayne at a charity gala. I was worried we’d get the same given how many characters are in this film. But instead we spend most of our time with Batman moving through one coherent (though expansive) crime story.

They succeeded at telling a coherent, balanced story with an ensemble cast. Despite having four well-known Batman villains—Penguin, Catwoman, Falcone, and Riddler— everyone was in the same movie telling the same story. This is rare in Batman (and the superhero/comic book genre generally).

Pattinson was possibly the least well cast actor, but that’s only because the rest of the cast was that great. He’s totally fine, but being a movie that spends its time with Batman and not Bruce, I’m not sure it’s a big deal who is behind the mask so long as they have the physicality to perform the action scenes.

As shot, it’s hard to point to things I would cut in the movie even though it’s too long. If I were reviewing the script, I’d probably remove either Falcone or Penguin (their roles for this story can be collapsed). This will be blasphemous to those who rightfully love Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, but I also suspect you could cut this movie significantly by removing her. It’s not that she wasn’t great or didn’t pull together a lot of plot— she was far better integrated than I feared— it’s just that I think they could have saved Catwoman and write an equally effective story without it.

This whole movie gave me a very Seven/Fincher vibe.

I think it might be the best Batman movie.

The car was dumb.