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Wednesday December 1, 2021 — Taipei, Taiwan

A cat sitting in a open suitcase.

In November, I finished up my time in the Adirondacks, visited NYC and SF for a bit, and biked from Sant Cruz to Monterey. Now I’m back in Taipei, currently quarantining.This is the second time I’ve quarantined in Taiwan, and I’m astonished every time that most other countries don’t do this. It’s been almost a month since Taiwan has had any local COVID cases, and the peak number of COVID cases per-capita Taiwan ever had is lower than the lowest number of cases per-capita in the United States since March 2020. Quarantining people when they arrive is a key part of this, but many people I talk to in the US think that the idea of doing that is completely preposterous. The month feels like it’s flown by, but I guess travel will do that to you.

A sheer, rocky cliff face, viewed from a road.A beautiful view from our drive from the Adirondacks down to NYC.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about they dynamics of ideology, and how ideologies grow and gain power. There’s a particular semi-fringe movementSee these threads on my private twitter for details, if you have access there. that I’ve been following for a few years and am pretty concerned about, but it’s hard to know what to concretely do about that. Someone recently recommended me the 1941 article Who Goes Nazi?, which was a interesting lens to think about this through. In general, it’s felt pretty lonely noticing and being concerned about things, and then struggling to explain to people around my why they should care. I see similar dynamics in the growing wave of cryptocurrency / NFT / web3 scams, although it seems far too late for me pushing on that to have much leverage.

A very small and fuzzy picture of a lunar eclipse next to a green victorian house.The longest lunar eclipse since 1440, and until 2669, which I watched with a few housemates.

I’ve been trying to restructure my social interactions a bit — I’ve been trying to get better at texting, and dipping my toes back into twitter a bit. I doubt I’ll last long on Twitter — my thoughts.page still feels much more comfortable — but I’ve been enjoying chatting with people a bit more, and working on getting better at the skill of texting, which is something I’ve been quite bad at for a long time.

Some cute looking mushrooms.

Books

It’s been a slow month for reading — I finished two books, started two books, am continuing through one:

Tech

My main programming project this month has been hacking on my script for deep-linking text selections on webpages, which I intend to release as a library eventually. I’ve made a lot of progress fixing bugs, cleaning up the code, using typescript, and adding end-to-end tests, and I’m excited to release it soon!

I did some other small bits and bobs here and there: a script for converting KOReader highlights to markdown, more work on cryptopals, fixing some timezone-handing and changelog-generating bugs in my notebook blog script, and fixing mobile styling for emotional.codes.

I have two upcoming long-term projects that I haven’t started working on but am very excited about as well. My plan is to finish up the deep linking script while I’m in quarantine, and then start another project once I’m out, as well as getting back to doing a little bit of paying-the-bills work, which I’ve been neglecting.

In general, I’ve been thinking about how I want to think about non-job programming. A lot of my social circle is really down on thinking about tech at all outside of work, which I’m very sympathetic to, but also… I got into computers before I had any conception that they might be a job, and letting capitalism destroy that joy that I used to have feels sad. I dunno, I’m sure it’s something that I’ll continue to think about a lot — and if you have thoughts on the matter, I’d be curious to hear them :)

Other media

In terms of miscellaneous media, I watched more movies than I usually do:

I started watching Bojack Horseman, which is as good as everyone says it is — it really perfects the self-aware/nihilistic animated cartoon vibe. It’s like all the good parts of Rick and Morty, without the edgelord bullshit.

Sound Hour at the Audium Theatre in San Francisco was excellent. If you’re nearby, I recommend it — it’s very well crafted.

Finally, I’ll close things out with a roundup of links that I thought were interesting or I enjoyed.

Politics and Ideology

Urbanism

Cryptoscamming

Climate

COVID

Misc

changelog
: Initial post.
: Fix typo.