Categories
Books People

All the races of Middle Earth

I enjoyed this introduction to the various races of Middle Earth:

I’m very tempted to try figure out which of Tolkein’s books delve into the history of Middle Earth, before the events of The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings.

Well, I know there are earlier books. I have a little research to work out where to start.

Categories
Events and Life People Policy issues Politics and government

Stand against racism

The wave of violence spreading across the United States is shocking, even as the growing protests are understandable. It boggles my mind that this country, the “land of the free”, is still mired in deeply routed racism, and inequality.

Every society has its challenges, certainly. Israel is no different. We have divides of our own. Despite that, it’s up to each of us to move beyond those divisions.

As I mentioned on Twitter earlier:

It’s the 21st century, this shouldn’t still be an issue to fight for. Racial equality should be a given.

Many organisations are sharing ways that we can support the protests against inequality. Here’s a post from Automattic that you may find helpful: Support the Fight Against Inequality: Resources and Ways to Act – The WordPress.com Blog.


Featured image by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Categories
Coding People

How The Hacker Who Saved The Internet Redeemed Himself

I read a fascinating story in Wired about Marcus Hutchins, a hacker who used lessons from years of writing malware to save the Internet from WannaCry, only to come to terms with his past misdeeds at the height of his success. This is how the story begins –

At around 7 am on a quiet Wednesday in August 2017, Marcus Hutchins walked out the front door of the Airbnb mansion in Las Vegas where he had been partying for the past week and a half. A gangly, 6’4″, 23-year-old hacker with an explosion of blond-brown curls, Hutchins had emerged to retrieve his order of a Big Mac and fries from an Uber Eats deliveryman. But as he stood barefoot on the mansion’s driveway wearing only a T-shirt and jeans, Hutchins noticed a black SUV parked on the street—one that looked very much like an FBI stakeout.

The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet | WIRED

The article seems to be well researched, and worth reading.

Categories
Events and Life People Podcasts

Enjoying Sam and Liam talking about stuff

I noticed a new(ish) video podcast, AWNP Unplugged, with Critical Role’s Sam Riegel, and Liam O’Brien. It’s terrific, I’m enjoying it.

They’re basically just connecting, and chatting about the pandemic, the importance of being connected to each other, and more.

I’m sitting on one of our couches, blogging random stuff, and enjoying the conversation. I really enjoy these two people (and their friends) in Critical Role (we’re on Campaign One, episode 33, and going strong).

This is a very different, more personal context, and I like them even more as people dealing with this situation. Like the rest of us.

Categories
People Science and nature

My favourite science shows

When I sit down to have lunch with our kids, I typically watch my favourite science shows on YouTube. I have three (give or take):

I’m pretty sure our kids enjoy the shows, I certainly do. I also realised that there’s some overlap between the SciShow channels, and the PBS Eons channel in that SciShow’s one main host, Hank Green, also seems to be hosting some PBS Eons shows. In addition, Blake de Pastino both hosts PBS Eons, and writes content for SciShow.

This probably doesn’t mean all that much to you if you’re not familiar with the shows, but it was a bit like finding that two flavours of ice cream that you generally enjoy separately, taste pretty good when combined. Or something like that.

If you enjoy good quality science shows, then definitely take a look at these shows.

Categories
People

All the good Bill Gates is doing

Of course it isn’t just Bill Gates, but he, his wife, and all the people who work with him are doing tremendous good. Still, I totally agree with Dave Winer here:

We often wait to say the good things about people until they’re gone and can’t hear it. I just wanted to say about Bill Gates, he’s doing good now. Standing up for science at a time when that can save a lot of lives, maybe even save our civilization. He doesn’t have to take a risk now, he could, like other super rich people, isolate himself perfectly and ride out the storm quietly. Instead he’s put himself out there, standing for what’s right, and you know what, that’s good, and thanks to him for doing that

Dave Winer

Also on Twitter:


Featured image: Bill Gates at Hioe Charity Forum by Greg Rubenstein, licensed CC BY 2.0

Categories
Blogs and blogging Coding Design Education People Tutorials

How Wes Bos built his new site

I’ve followed Wes Bos for a couple years now. I bought several of his courses, and look forward to when I have time to do his Beginner JavaScript — Learn JavaScript from Scratch course. He recently rebuilt his personal site using Gatsby.JS, and published both a post and a video explaining how he did it:

The details of his site are pretty technical, and the code is available on GitHub if you want to fork the repo, and take a closer look yourself.

I don’t see myself reproducing what he’s done, and building a new site for myself in the foreseeable future. That said, I have tremendous respect for Wes Bos, and how he approaches his work.

He shares openly, offers pricing for his courses that make it much more affordable (I especially appreciate that), and he produces really good quality content.

If you’re interested in how to build a really fast, static site using the Gatsby.JS framework, definitely take a look at his post and video tour. If you’re interested in learning how to code in JavaScript and JavaScript frameworks like React, check out his courses.


Featured image credit: Wes Bos (I took this version from his GitHub repo).

Categories
People Science and nature

Beautiful Cosmic Disorientation

Astrophysicist Katie Mack published a wonderful video titled “Disorientation” just over a year ago that combines cosmic images with her poem of the same name.

I found out about the video while watching another terrific video commemorating the Hubble Telescope’s 30 anniversary on the It’s Ok To Be Smart channel, titled “Fly Through a Nebula 163,000 Light Years Away (30 Years of the Hubble Space Telescope)” that’s well worth watching, too:

The Hubble Telescope, and the team using the telescope to research our Cosmos, have introduced us to a wondrous universe. And all of the imagery from the telescope is freely available online. Here’s a retrospective of the mission from NASA:

If you’d like to follow Katie Mack, or updates from the Hubble Telescope, here are their Twitter feeds:


Featured image credit: Cosmic Reef by NASA