Blog

Designing a Foreign-Language Course, Part 2

Following up on my last post about my philosophy for a language course for adult learners, in this blog post I wanted to talk a bit about the content for such a course. To start, I want to contrast how this curriculum is designed to work in contrast with “traditional” foreign-language instruction (at least, how I experienced it when I was learning Spanish). While traditional instruction is...

Knowledge Sharing

Because I’m a nerd, I end up frequently talking with people about what the biggest opportunity in the data space is. While there are tons of people working on the next git-for-data and different flavors of data catalogs the problem that I actually feel is most pressing but that very few people seem to be working on is a consistent means of publishing, reproducing, and iterating...

Designing a Foreign-Language Course, Part 1

I’m starting on a project to think more concretely about what I believe an ideal foreign language course would look like. While all of these thoughts are based on my own experience learning Spanish and may not work as well for people with different brain organizations, I thought it’d be worth at least writing down how I’d use modern technology to design a foreign language course that would be...

Gettin’ Goofy on Slack

I’ve been working remotely for the last two years, so I had the advantage of a decent period of adjustment before the COVID-19 crisis hit and forced the majority of tech workers into a fairly extended (and, perhaps, indefinite?) period of remote work. Lots of pixels have already been spilled with advice about how to make that adjustment, but I want to talk about an oft-overlooked angle that...

Funding Open Source Projects

I’ve been thinking a lot about better ways to fund open-source software development. Lots of software that underpins huge amounts of technology today is developed, essentially for free, by people who are super talented and who have a really high opportunity cost for their time. Frequently, valuable (or, at least potentially valuable) projects are started and then abandoned because the original...

Please Mr. President

It is no secret that our current president is, in a way not really seen since men wore top hats, willing to put his own interests ahead of the country. What’s mind-boggling to me is that, with the COVID-19 crisis, the country’s and the president’s interests are almost perfectly aligned and yet the president refuses to, apparently out of some blind adherence to what people say on Fox News, act to...

Current Beliefs About Covid-19

UPDATE 2020-10-28. As of right now, I think that the points below on herd immunity are pretty wrong. Unfortunately, the progression of the disease in Madrid (among other examples) indicates that herd immunity hasn’t really taken hold as much as I had thought. Stronger case that no indoor dining and closing schools were the primary drivers of fewer cases in NYC and Madrid over the summer...

Dynamic Super Computing in R

I have for a long time believed that it was a waste to spend a lot of money to have a powerful computer for home and office use because it’s more efficient to dynamically use cloud compute resources rather than rely on my local machine. However, I have also for a long time not actually done that and run all of my jobs on my local machine because I couldn’t actually figure out a good way to make...

American Institutions

If you’ve spoken with me in the last few months about public policy in the United States (and, given everything going on in the world, that includes pretty much everyone I’ve spoken with), you’ve probably sensed a rather unpleasant tone of defeatism and exasperation in my voice. I find myself starting lots of sentences with the phrase “if we had functional institutions we could…” and I really...

Against the World Health Organization

During the COVID-19 crisis, World Health Organization (WHO) has failed us in a truly spectacular manner. Throughout the crisis, the WHO has repeatedly published misleading information that has at-best generated confusion that reduces people’s faith in experts and at worst actively driven people to avoid common-sense safety measures. From initially recommending against the obviously common...