Letter to my Two Sons on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

  My sons. You are 9 and 6, old enough to understand certain aspects of consent, but not quite old enough for me to tell you all the things I want to tell you about what’s going on right now with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. So I’m writing it here, for posterity, so you can read it and so I can later remember how I felt in this moment. As you grow, and as your dreams and desires bump up against the people and world around you, you will be faced … Continue reading Letter to my Two Sons on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

Solving the Gun Crisis: a modest proposal

I’m so impressed and inspired by the Parkland highschoolers fighting the NRA and urging common sense gun regulation. They’ve done so much more in 2 weeks than the rest of us combined in 2 decades. I will support them any way I can. I’m worried about what happens next. The NRA isn’t going down without a fight. How do we get to a lasting solution that radically addresses our gun addiction while also finding a way for the NRA to win? I’m worried that if we don’t, they will simply come back harder and stronger, once gun regulation momentum wanes. … Continue reading Solving the Gun Crisis: a modest proposal

Meltdown & Spectre for non-techies

As you’ve probably heard by now, a very serious CPU bug was disclosed a few days ago. Lots of folks have tried to explain it in non-technical terms. I’ve not been satisfied with any of these, and as someone who believes it is a solemn responsibility of experts to make important topics accessible to all, that bugs me. So I spent some time reading up on the issues and coming up with my own explanation by analogy.

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Voting Security Cheatsheet [2016 Edition]

It’s voting season! Which means everyone is asking questions like: wait, why can’t I vote online? how hard can voting really be? shouldn’t this all be open-source? isn’t it just as easy to hack paper voting as electronic voting? is Russia hacking our voting machines? why do we even need voting machines when other countries count by hand? maybe there’s enough time to fix things before November 8th? Hasn’t the blockchain solved voting already? For your convenience, I have compiled this handy election technology & security cheat-sheet. you can’t vote online for good reason. (a) We don’t know how to … Continue reading Voting Security Cheatsheet [2016 Edition]

What John McCain could say

[This is … hopeful fiction] My fellow Americans, When I ran for President in 2008, in the last stretch of the campaign, a woman at one of my rallies stood up and expressed fears about Obama because “he’s an Arab.” I could have stoked those fears, and many Republicans wanted me to. Instead, I chose to answer “no, Ma’am, he’s a decent family man, a citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.” I chose decency over easy political gain and demagoguery. (Ignore for a moment the implication that “Arab” and “decent family man” are opposites.) At some point … Continue reading What John McCain could say