new link blog format/location

a note for the four or five (or maybe zero or one) people who read this blog..

since i’m mostly posting links lately, and i’d really like to be able to tag and retrieve links at a later date, i decided to do a little upgrading:

i’ve installed Shaarli, a single-user bookmark organizing app, on my site here as my new Link Blog.

it has things like…

I tweaked the color scheme and added a few things to the layout (mostly to fix some editing and to add a link back to my main site), and maybe i’ll even submit a pull request when i clean up the code.

on a personal note (and I’m writing this here because the blog link is officially removed from my portfolio, even if it still exists for those who go looking for it), i’ve given up on tech work for now and maybe forever. i have a part-time job that’s going well, although it’s not very technical (though I did get to teach myself how to script in windows powershell in order to Get Some Shit Done, because i didn’t want to do it the old fashioned way). these people appreciate the work i do, they’re flexible when i need flexibility, and this seems to be turning into a long-term opportunity. it would be nice to have benefits and a steady paycheck, but in this gig economy, i’m just grateful i have a permanent, if irregular, job.

i’ll use this site/host for play for now (Shaarli was a good experiment tbh), and i’ll probably update the portfolio/resume/cv at some point in the near future… and it sure would be nice to get some fun wordpress gigs someday, but for right now?

for right now i’m going to focus less on trying to get into an industry that doesn’t want me, and focus a lot more on survival and self-care.

Link Blog: June 25, 2019

Ghost networks of psychiatrists make money for insurance companies but hinder patients’ access to care: “Ghost networks” are insurers’ in-network provider directories that are full of outdated or incorrect information, and providers who no longer accept the insurance in question. A study of BCBS mental healthcare providers found that 75% of the listed providers were unreachable or unavailable. For pediatric psychiatrists, that number was 83%.

Ruth and Queer Family of Choice: this interpretation of the Book of Ruth is a beautiful explanation of the importance of family.

Gluten-Free Travel: how to survive on the road when you have celiac or food allergies, and can’t eat at restaurants. (Full disclosure: I wrote this post for my side project, GlutenFreeRV.)

Link Blog: June 17, 2019

Blackfeet Researcher Leads Her Tribe Back to Traditional Foods: going back to traditional foods like berries and lean meats in the hopes of improving health outcomes and preserving cultural heritage.

Oklahoma base set for migrant site was WWII internment camp: Children crossing the border into the US without parents have been imprisoned at an army base since 2014. This particular base was previously an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, a “boarding school” for Native American children taken from their parents, and a camp for Apache prisoners of war.

You probably don’t need ReCAPTCHA: A list of many thoughtful reasons ranging from privacy to accessibility to encourage you to quit using this sketchy Google service.

Link Blog: June 9, 2019

Transgender adults are more likely to have lower health-quality of life compared to their cis counterparts, according to a recent JAMA article.

An Unprecedented Look at Spaceflight’s Effects on the Human Body: NASA studied the effects of spaceflight by comparing astronaut twins Mark and Scott Kelly, and providing the collected data to researchers. While this is an extremely small sample size (only one set of twins), it was interesting to read that Scott’s telomeres were lengthened during his time in space compared to his earthbound sibling, but those telomeres shortened quickly after returning to earth, and he ended up with more shortened telomeres than expected.

4/21 Organizers Want to Reclaim Cannabis From Corporations: After the 4/20 “weed holiday,” it’s important to remember how many people are still in jail and being prosecuted for possessing a plant that is legal in many states, and medicinal in many more. As white people prosper in the new cannabis industry, we must give reparations to people of color. They have been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs and are often harmed by ongoing legalization efforts.

I Worked As a Bail Bond Agent. Here’s What I Learned. A former bail bond agent talks frankly about how the bail bond industry is built on the backs of low income women of color and why it’s time to end cash bail.

Link Blog: June 1, 2019

The racist origins of one of RVers’ favorite words: full-time RVing is on the rise, and so is the use of racial slurs (like “gypsy”) and cultural appropriation. (Full disclosure: I wrote this post, and Gluten-Free RV is one of my side projects.)

Google uses Gmail to track a history of things you buy — and it’s hard to delete. You can see your purchases Google has tracked here.

4 reasons why forgiving U.S. student debt makes sense: 1) borrowers’ overall debt could be reduced by over a quarter, even beyond the student loans themselves. 2) borrowers less likely to default on debts (no shit). 3) borrowers are more likely to relocate and get better-paying jobs. 4) overall spending and consumption could increase.

The use of male mice in drug research skews research against women: animal models have long been debunked as lousy ways to test drug candidates, but here’s one more nail in the mouse-shaped coffin.

Link Blog: May 15, 2019

Trashserver.net is an XMPP server that’s 100% powered by renewable energy.

Offices Can Be Hell for People Whose Brains Work Differently: “Work spaces today come with strong smells, harsh light, lots of chatter, and constant messages on email or Slack. For neurodivergent people, this can be a big ask.”

The AI Supply Chain Runs on Ignorance: Even if you could decipher the legalese in apps’ terms and conditions, the fact of the matter is that not only are developers opaque about how users’ data will be used, developers themselves often don’t know how that data will end up being used.

I’ve Been Committed To A Psych Ward Three Times — And It Never Helped: A personal account with plenty of research data about how psych hospitals aren’t actually helping people when they involuntarily imprison patients.

If You Care About Health Justice, Stop Clicking on “Florida Man” Stories: the so-called “Florida man” is actually code for “Man Likely Suffering From Mental Illness or Drug Addiction.” Stop laughing at other people’s suffering, and stop clicking those links.

The rise of fear-based social media like Nextdoor, Citizen, and now Amazon’s Neighbors: Crime is going down, but you wouldn’t know it when you join a neighborhood social networking site.

Purism’s bigotry problem

Purism has created its own fork of Mastodon, but has removed the ability to report posts, and has basically taken a pro-bigotry stance by not condoning some pretty basic anti-bigotry concepts.

It turns out they’re going to be blatantly allowing hate speech on their servers, as long as they don’t harass individuals, whatever that means. See this Pleroma post with screenshots.

The author of the post, Chris, says he had a phone call with one of the execs at Purism today, so maybe things will change.

But it never should’ve gotten to the point of having to blow up on social media in order to be heard.

Taking an anti-hate-speech stance and spelling that out in obvious ways (like the Contributor Covenant) should not be so difficult. Expecting an organization to say “racism/sexism/ableism/sizeism/all forms of bigotry are not tolerated here” should NEVER be controversial.

Sadly, this is not limited to Purism, but I do think it’s a smidge bit extra hypocritical for a company to be all about liberty and that brags about creating a safe workplace.

Tech has a very long way to go.

another python specialization completed… now what?

This weekend I completed the University of Michigan’s newest python specialization on Coursera. It was a great followup to Python for Everybody, which was just perfect for new programmers. This newest specialization covered advanced topics like classes and working with large sets of data. My capstone involved learning image processing, facial recognition, and OCR libraries (Pillow, Tesseract, OpenCV, Kraken), and it was definitely hardest course I’ve taken on Coursera so far.

My capstone was the 30th Coursera course I’ve completed. Thinking back on the amount of course work involved in my two bachelor’s degrees (chemistry and forensic science), I think the 30-course-mark for computer science courses via Coursera is comparable to what’s required for a university BS degree.

That said, I’ve decided to suspend my Coursera subscription for now. I will be focusing on personal projects and the job I started at the beginning of the year (not in tech, but I love the work and I especially love my coworkers).

I started on my “learn tech skills to get a tech job” journey almost two years ago, and I’ve learned a hell of a lot. I’ve especially learned about tech’s diversity problem, and experienced those obstacles firsthand.

I’m not sure what’s next for jmf dot codes, but jmf dot person’s arms are tired from constantly trying to swim against the current.

Mozilla broke Firefox

Yesterday, after an update, all my Firefox add-ons stopped working. Even the ones owned by Mozilla.

The newest update seems to have broken all plugins. This has made Firefox completely useless to me, because I rely heavily on ad-blocking and a default zoom adjuster in order to keep webpages from giving me migraines.

Nice job, Firefox.

Link Blog: May 3, 2019

One type of diversity we don’t talk about at work: Body size. Despite all the documented evidence of anti-fat bias in the workplace, and all of the pro-diversity initiatives happening, companies continue to disregard the importance of fighting size-related microaggressions and discrimination. I’d argue they’re actively promoting size discrimination in workplaces that continue to cling to wellness programs (which are known to be ineffective at improving employee wellness).

The Bad News About Delivering Bad News: This is no surprise to anyone who’s ever received bad news from a doctor, but it turns out doctors have no idea how to deliver bad news to patients. They’re looking to researchers for guidance, and researchers are asking healthy volunteers…. apparently no one’s considered asking those of us who’ve received bad news how doctors could’ve handled themselves better.

Patients ‘Discouraged’ As US Announces It Won’t Ban Cancer-Linked Breast Implants: Despite mounting evidence that macro-textured implants are causing long term health problems (including a very rare cancer), despite evidence that manufacturers are hiding negative health outcomes to the public, and despite other countries’ decisions to halt sales of these same implants, the FDA says it will do nothing.

A biomarker for chronic fatigue symptom may have been identified: a new blood test identified people with and without CFS (or myalgic encephalomeylitis) with 100% accuracy in a very small (40-subject) study. The same test may also potentially identify patient-specific drug treatments.

China’s recycling ban has sent America’s plastic to Malaysia. Now they don’t want it — so what next? The US is sending its garbage to Malaysia (illegally under Malaysian law) because other Asian countries are refusing our poorly-sorted refuse. Instead of taking care of our own waste, we continue to heap it onto poorer regions, expecting them to clean up after us.