I plan to avoid any and all travel to the USA for the foreseeable future due to the complete mess unfolding there with Trump’s executive orders banning immigration from some Muslim-majority countries, related protests, illegal detainment, etc. etc. (the list goes on, and I expect it to get longer).
It’s not that I’m from one of the blacklist countries, and I’m not a Muslim. I’m even white. But I no longer consider travel to the USA safe (especially bearing in mind my ridiculous beard and long hair), and even if I did, I’d want to stand in solidarity with the people who are currently being screwed. The notion of banning entire groups of people based on a single shared trait (in this case, probable adherence to a particular religion) is abhorrent; it demonizes our fellow humans, divides us and builds walls – whether metaphorical or physical – between our various communities. The fact that this immigration ban will impact refugees and asylum seekers just makes matters worse. I am deeply ashamed by Australia’s record on that front too, and concerned that our government will not do much better.
So I won’t be putting in any talks for Cephalocon - which is a damn shame, as I’m working on Ceph – or for any other US-based tech conference unless and until the situation over there changes.
I realise this post may not make much difference in the grander scheme of things, but one more voice is one more voice.
I’ve spent a reasonably long time with computers. I’ve been doing something with either software or hardware (mostly software) for pretty close to three quarters of my current lifespan. I started when I was about 10, but (perhaps unsurprisingly) nobody was paying me for my work yet then. Flash forwards a few decades, and I have a gig I rather enjoy with SUSE, working on storage stuff.
OK, “yay Tim”. Enough of the backstory, what’s the point?
The point (if I can ball up my years of experience, and the experience of the world at large), is that, in aggregate, we write better software if we do it in the open. There’s a whole Free Software vs. Open Source thing, and the nuances of that discussion are interesting and definitely important, but to my mind this is all rather less interesting than the mechanics of how F/OSS projects actually work in practice. In particular, given that projects are essentially communities, and communities are made up of individuals, how does an individual join an existing project, and become accepted and confident in that space?
I was at SUSECon 2015 in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, which, aside from being a great conference, was an opportunity to actually interact with my colleagues in person for a change. So I finally got to meet Adam Spiers after working-ish with-ish him for at least three-ish years (strictly speaking we’re on different-ish teams), and one of the first things he asked was for my take on the Pets vs. Cattle cloud computing metaphor, because in addition to knowing my way around high availability, distributed storage and cloud foo, my wife and I actually do farming which means I might be qualified to have an opinion on the matter.
I saw this on Twitter today:
I’m going to leave aside the possibility that this is a plot by someone else to ruin Justin D’Agostino’s life by forging an email to Kelly Ellis, as I’ve seen similar sentiments posted too many times (i.e. more than never), and I’m fucking sick of it.
Assuming for a moment that the egg-donor hypothesis is correct, if you are insufficiently evolved to control your urges (or if you share any of the opinions stated in the email above), then you are insufficiently evolved to warrant employment. Please leave and make room for someone else.
Some time late last Sunday night, I stumbled upon a
fight discussion on Twitter. It turns out there are actually more threads to it than I’ve reproduced here, so if you’re really keen, do feel free to click through on individual tweets to see where it went. Here I’ve only reproduced the thread I read at the time. It starts with this:
I went and saw Peter Singer’s keynote for The Tasmanian Writers’ Festival last night. Perhaps unsurprisingly he spoke on ethics and three big problems affecting the world now (extreme poverty, animal welfare and climate change) and how these things relate to, and perhaps exacerbate each other.
Two things in particular stuck with me, and I thought it worth noting them here.
1) Professor Singer is in a field known as Applied Ethics. At some time in the past there was only Ethics. My inference is that the latter group are talking about – and thinking about – ethics, but not actually behaving any differently as a result of their cogitations. I find this notion simultaneously hilarious and horrifying.
2) At one point while speaking about living ethically, Professor Singer said that if you look back at the end of each day and say to yourself “well, I didn’t lie, cheat or steal, and I didn’t maim anybody”, you’re setting the bar too low. It would be better, he suggested, to look back and say “what did I do to improve the world today, or to help someone else in some way?” This seems like a pretty good approach to me.
It really should be this simple:
Apparently it’s not though, so if this flowchart isn’t sufficiently detailed, I’d suggest taking a look at some of John Scalzi’s notes.