Pandemic Diary #83 – ukraine war, protest lessons learned


lessons learned from last time

  • it’s not just people sitting around waving signs
  • good to get there on time / early, they might start a parade walking around and someone leading chants
  • there’s shouting and it can be easy to get caught up in the fervor and forget about social distancing

Sticks are good, white paper is good for contrast, paint makes it easier to write large, and don’t get sucked in bc ppl will be shouting. maybe bring laptop for sitting on train for half an hour lol

point of protests? just to express outrage, celebrate our right to protest, (According to studies, convert people to lifelong activist). effects/ change may take decade+ to become apparent

new green line union sq station great – 30 mins of sitting on my butt and i’m downtown. so weird to see perspective i rarely see except in a car. goes high over train depot at some point, scenic




finally got over all my negative feelings (ish) and read the reviews, found two papers that do the same thing (ahhh) and yea going to be a long 2 weeks

need to remember to turn in my laptop, the wax is making it harder to type.

discovered new sources of coworking
(inspiration – one person who feared math, took classes, now studying graduate degree in it)

inflation remains high and stocks are going haywire (i think due to fed announcement? war in ukraine? no idea). dies

feel like i made unfortunate life choices (startup/grad school before industry), didn’t think so many of my peers would be in a position to buy a home at this age. maybe it’s okay to not be a homeowner.

war weapons and death

understand war says ukraine may have won kharkiv back
tbh still surprised ukraine held its own against russia, but mostly i feel a great amount of sadness for all the people dying right now as soldiers that we hear nothing about (at least in the west). and the destruction of cities, and all the money funneled into weapons. i read somewhere “someone is winning, and it’s the defense contractors / weapons manufacturers”

so many mixed feelings about america’s role in policing the world and evangelism of our system of government. i think the newer democracies are way more functional. i also heard someone say maybe this is a sign that the old guard is on its way out. but from my perspective… all this talk about oil/gas and not about renewables.

meanwhile russia’s sanctions seem to be backfiring for now, b/c people continue paying for oil/gas, they have increased their coffers (? or something need to fact check). i imagine war usually makes incumbent president more popular. still need to read up on cultural history russia and ukraine.

hiding true preferences to fit in. a hidden brain episode about that. how before east germany fell, citizens vastly supported government, then after no one would admit to it / would say they were forced into it. so can i say at all that a large portion of russia has patriotically supported the war? who knows / it may be impossible to know, and i can only bring my own biases to bear


checked and found my absnetee ballots marked as provisional,

funnily they never responded to my email but 3 days later my ballot showed up in the mail

forgot that i can only request 2 months ahead, they probably wondered why 6 months all in MA

i should look into renewal online of my driver’s

is my stay in MA really temporary? in my heart it is, but i’m wavering

roe v wade, legal learning / podcasts

1 slate amicus

learning: 9th and 14 th amendment, unenumerated rights. (technically have no right to cross state borders ! interesting thought in light on covid)

right to privacy – includes right to contraception. iud’s were game changer for me in terms of period pain. whereas i used to just want to lie in bed for a whole day.

2 – re unenumerated rights, Today, Explained vox

both have transcripts

to blog

realization — paper reviews judged mostly by random people, not foremost experts in everything I write about… so my lack of knowledge of NLP, that it’s less “technical” — I can be strong in other points

  • google summer of code
  • no longer limited to students
  • ~$15/hr in US

lots of cool projects! !! ! I should contribute to one maybe with ulterior motive of getting nice paying job (??) (so tired)

boston government gsoc

studying toxicity of open source communities with nlp o__o so meta

  • productivity,

moving from getplan to legendapp

eisenhower decision matrix – power of crossing things off of my todo list (can always explore more hypotheses)

“bought into hockey stick growth warning signs software engineer” The Scoop: Inside Fast’s Rapid Collapse What can software engineers learn from the shutdown of the company? Exclusive details.

analog benefits:

continuous description in antigen tests by saturation of test line

thinking… interesting, that because more careful drivers, so same number of accidents. so if I make assistive device will it be meaningless?

chamfer of sidewalks – having to use one arm more than the other


ios leading the way on low vision / legally blind accessibility which is a thing – AR for directions on a street – exploring photos in the past by labelling –

a startup – using camera in glasses so a remote *human* can explain where to go next ! finding braille signs – the stress of having to find a braille sign behind a door / not getting smashed – typos in braille XDDD – getting lost in a room (like a robot doing SLAM ! loop closure !)

“a day in the life of an engineer working from home” blindr … “where do you want to be if we lose” LOL IS THIS WHAT STARTUPS ARE LIKE IN SFO shark tank


urops – thinking a bit more about team management. how did i do it in the past at narwhaledu? i guess we were working fairly separate projects but in person. so logistically (repositories, code) easier


constant pursuit of things to waste time on while feeling less guilty

learned you can mig weld AL???? always thought it was a TIG things (i know-ish mig but not tig). and “soldering” with alumbond, apparently works decently ! as tested by hammering back and forth

the victim complex and ambition
really my own fault perhaps to not apply to things / try harder / blame events from 2-5 years ago, in some sense. or at least not very useful to do so. i do feel like i’ve tapped out to some extent, given up. what are my excuses for doing so? what are ways to change that? i’ve been trying to find a higher cause to fight for.

at least i don’t think everything is pointless an in a constant state of decay and efforts are meaningless without result…

at heart i don’t know how to fight for myself sometimes, i only know to try to lone wolf it out. it seeps in, other people’s beliefs about you

there is some layer of gender complexity constantly in my mind. am i failing to try hard enough to prove stereotypes wrong? or instead of focusing on myself – should i not pick a real cause to put my heart and soul into (but that still pays the bills)?

is it okay to not aim to be a CEO or something that means I’m changing the public’s perception of what is possible for (women) to do? to sit back and just mentor the next generation?

gentrification vs housing demand

abortion stories

research side projects – climate science – datasets in ML

generally like of metric / numbers to the concentration of ideas from a few institutions. in human trafficking i encounter so many universities i hear so much less from than in robotics

animals 10k – i should definitely do my video animal pose dataset -> robots


random read

  • It’s critical for CEOs to understand that when it comes to staffing executive teams, there is no zero-defect model—some people just won’t work out
    • If all your executive team slots were filled by safe, senior people with extensive track records, then you, as CEO, would be failing in your responsibility to develop the next generation of leadership
    • It also means that some appointments are deliberate gambles
  • So CEOs need to differentiate for themselves between their own staffing mistakes and mismatches rooted in circumstance
  • otherwise, every failure, no matter what its cause, becomes a source of debilitating guilt
    • It’s one thing to argue that imposed goals are unrealistic; it’s quite another to fall short of what you came up with yourself.
    • Generally, you can assume you have a serious problem if executives start blaming everything on forces beyond their control —the sagging economy
  • It usually takes from 12–18 months on the job before a senior-level hire can be accurately assessed
    • By that time, according to our tracking of hires at several large corporations, roughly 40 percent should be shown the door.
  • some people quickly demonstrate that they have been promoted past their level of optimal performance
    • dealing with highly successful people who might never have experienced significant failure in their adult lives
    • that these are not innocent bystanders. The vast majority of executives at this level actively seek higher and higher positions
    • the stark truth, as David Kearns of Xerox once remarked, is that the majority of executive careers end in disappointment
    • think that once the right team is in place, all its members will continue to succeed until they become CEO or reach retirement age
    • Of all the ambitious young managers who yearn to become CEOs, only a fraction will achieve their ultimate dream
    • The pyramid is steep and slippery; the closer you get to the top, the harder it is to hold on
  • coaching in a certain area, such as time management?
  • mission collaborative feedback
  • intangible qualities such as personality, reliability, and teamwork – things that are hard to quantify, but easy to spot notice once you start working alongside someone
    being late and being unreliable. One is a fact, and the other is a perception. You emphasize the fact, but I suspect it’s the perception that is behind their unwillingness to rehire Best Practices for UROP Mentorship in EECS
    if people get the impression you’re not willing to face screw-ups and learn from them, they won’t think you’re going to be successful
  • the longer they go without actually dealing with dismissals face to face, the harder it becomes to contemplate doing it.
    • when someone leaves the executive team: There’s nowhere to go but down or out
    • People who have felt pressured, cornered, topped-out
    • they are perfectly happy to stay with the organization and do a lower level job that plays to their strengths
    • Although it might not be their first reaction, they are actually relieved when someone else makes the decision for them and removes them from the job they knew they couldn’t handle
  • CEOs should understand that for the good of the organization, the team’s composition ought to keep changing over time
  • guide to executive coaching. There is substantial literature on the subject
    • You can coach certain behavioral patterns—how people deal with subordinates, for example, or how they operate within teams
    • You cannot coach character, integrity, or basic intellectual capacity. You cannot coach a fundamental change in personality
  • The most obvious way to prevent serious situations from sneaking up is to make a commitment to continual assessment
  • Situations in which definitive evidence clearly demonstrates that an executive should be sacked are the exception rather than the rule. CEOs who keep hanging back, waiting for more and more information, will almost certainly wait too long
  • all they succeeded in doing was hurting both the executive team and the organization while prolonging the agony of a stressed-out executive who was left twisting in the wind, awaiting his or her fate
  • Billion-dollar acquisitions, huge strategic shifts, even decisions to eliminate thousands of jobs—all pale in comparison with the anxiety most CEOs experience when it comes to deciding the fate of their direct reports

Roe v Wade: some facts and stories I learned over time

protest at boston commons at noon on saturday May 14

will likely keep updating with more stuff / sources.

podcast about legal analysis:
or some interesting points in easier-to-digest article:

other random stuff I didn’t know until recently

  1. late term abortions are infrequent and by definition for babies that likely have names and nursery rooms already
  2. in 2009 (!) a dr was shot dead in his church
  3. the visceral description of daily clinic harassment
  4. the only moral abortion is my abortion – anti-choice protestors justifying their own abortions, then going back to sidewalk harassment
  5. state-funded fake clinics that purposefully trick people by locating near actual clinics and get money to tell medical lies
  1. 6 week ban -> turns out measured from last period ! -> you might only be 2 wks pregnant
  2. also exception for life-threatening = have to wait until you literally might die (for a baby that will die – see ectopic pregnancy)
  3. US has one of highest maternal mortality rates in developed world
  4. Childbirth is dangerous: Every 100th to 200th birth led to the mother’s death in the 19th century
  5. “There are, however, a few countries where a young women today is more likely to die in childbirth than her mother was a generation ago: the United States, Serbia, Georgia, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas, North Korea, Jamaica, Tonga, Venezuela, South Africa, Suriname, Guyana and Zimbabwe.”

More stories here:

” My aunt was married. She had a 4 year old daughter. They wanted another baby and finally she got pregnant. It wasn’t viable. Her doctor told her she needed an abortion. Sadly this was in the south and the only hospital able to do an abortion denied her. Told her it was immoral and disgusting and she needs to do her best to keep the pregnancy alive. She died of septic shock. The wanted pregnancy didn’t survive. It was just death. Her husband was left a widower and her daughter grew up without a mother. This could have been prevented. It would have been so easy. “

“My situation also opened my eyes to how dangerously deranged these politicians are that they think ‘fertilization’ means personhood. My pregnancy was never viable, but if republicans get their way, doctors could be forced to let women like me bleed to death rather than provide basic healthcare.

“We unfortunately live in a very red state with trigger laws ready to go once Roe is overturned. I don’t think I want to take the risk of another pregnancy if I’m not able to access abortion services if something goes wrong. There are so many things that can go wrong with pregnancy that would put my life at risk if I couldn’t get a D&C. I’m not willing to leave my son motherless for a chance at another pregnancy, I just won’t risk it.”

Protest info:

re vasectomies, they’re reversible.
‘”It’s a simple 15 minute surgery and you’re back to work after a couple of days.” Reversal is 30-60 min procedure.

“As a man who is fucking furious about this, I’ve still found that sometimes my wife and I aren’t upset at the same time (whenever we each read the news, really) and even that leads to some friction.

Sometimes it can feel like the house is on fire and you wonder why your partner is doing the dishes.”

hm, not upset like I was through 2015-2016. I didn’t go to any BLM or Ukraine protests, and read about it but didn’t reach out to anyone or anything. So. Golden rule, don’t expect of others, just be happy I know so many people that do care!

Pandemic Diary #82 – COVID exposure, uninterpretable tests, roe v wade

just collecting some anecdotes here

i finally found a place online (besides reddit /r/boston) that has some live info,

roe v wade

still thinking about this one person I met and we started talking abortion, and he asked me “but are there benefits to being against abortion” and fortunately I’m older and wiser than when I first discovered feminism (last year of college) and could recognize when someone was playing devil’s advocate to show how smart and rational they are. with recognition I knew to not engage.

nice spring day.

trying to not give in to anger or pessimism. this doesn’t have to consume my life or mean that I can’t achieve my goals.

the supreme court. the hypocrisy is so clear – can’t confirm the same election year, but can confirm less than a month after RBG passed right before elections. illegitimate. (how does this compare to other crazy times in history? are we living through a particularly turbulent period? or am I just unaware of how crazy a world war is, etc.)

though, I don’t like a lot of the reddit comments. very much “those other people are idiots” which, we’re all idiots to some extent. but it’s very poor strategy, to not try to understand where other people are coming from (the argument about how anti-choice is hypocritical about killing women – but not if dying in childbirth is justified punishment for having pre-marital sex). i don’t have to engage / try to change minds. but it’s helpful to see others as humans worthy of engaging.


can’t get my shaarli ( open source clone) back up easily, but had a quote a while back that opened my mind a bit. that the people who have late term abortions are people who have usually picked a name, bought a crib, painted a room for the baby.

shannamarie91 The first appointment showed it didn’t have a heartbeat and was told it would come out on its own. After three days they gave me a pill. That didn’t work either so I had to drive almost 2 hours to the nearest abortion clinic to have a D7C done because my body wasn’t letting the fetal body go. I was lucky to be able to have an abortion because otherwise I would have become infected and possibly died from the fetus not being removed.

DorisCrockford I feel you. I lost one that way at 18 weeks. They could have given me drugs to make me go into labor, but I just couldn’t face going through labor and no baby, plus I had a nursing toddler at home and I didn’t want to leave her overnight. There were three doctors in town who did that kind of work, two were away for the holidays, and one was injured. I had to wait two weeks, making sure that if I got a fever I’d go the the ER. People think it’s rare, but it really isn’t. Complications happen all the time.

Ra_In However, the language doesn’t appear to cover potential emergencies, so doctors may be forced to wait for the pregnant person to actually have life threatening symptoms before proceeding with the abortion. Pregnant people will still die (see what happened in Ireland).

Catinthehat5879 Yep. In practice, all of these pro life “life exceptions” mean that you have to be hours from death. If you’re not septic yet, you don’t qualify.

This one was just so visceral and ouch.

MarshallApplewhiteDo I know four women who would be dead if they hadn’t had abortions because of reasons like these. Two were ectopic, and two wouldn’t release when they miscarried. My own wife isn’t one of them, but dealt with a lot more pain when she had to waffle-stomp her miscarriage down the shower drain the day after an appointment where she found out there was no hearbeat. She had the option to have it surgically-removed by professionals, but wanted to wait another day or two.

This was me. Lost twins in the first trimester. Did the pills twice and no luck passing naturally. Insurance wanted $4500 to do surgery, but Planned Parenthood would do it for $400. I waded through protestors telling me that God loves my baby, and my baby has a name, while on the way in. Then was told that, due to TX law, I had to be shown my ultrasound image, and wait 11 days to confirm that the heartbeat hadn’t come back.

TXpheonix I developed a fever, chills, and kept getting worse through the 11 days I waited. My 5 year old laid in bed with me to watch his favorite movies. The whole time, I wondered if I was going to die and leave him alone.

jo-el-uh The same religious people who are celebrating that striking down Roe v Wade will “save babies” are the ones who patted my hand and told me that my dead son was “part of God’s plan.” I have been fortunate enough to have 2 more healthy boys since my loss, but without my medically necessary abortion, I don’t know that I would have. Abortions are Healthcare.

macarmy93 Because the last time many doctors took to the streets to protest, they were getting killed. Look up abortion related murders in the 90s. Executed in their homes, the streets, their place of work; churches. Its fucking wild.

SciencyNerdGirl You may not, and next time you’ll just have to die. How frickin scary is that?

socialdistanceftw Doctors aren’t going to stand by and let that happen. It’s like if they made appendectomies illegal. We’re not going to just watch someone die. Goes against all our training. The AMA will protect doctors that follow standard of care for ectopic pregnancies. There’s zero argument there. Either way they will die. It’s just a question of if mom is going down too.

StarktechJanitor What if the doctor is a conservative who thinks the mother is a lying slut who tried to illegally give herself an abortion? Happened in Australia with a nurse.

Shanashy It happened recently in Texas. She was initially charged with murder after having a miscarriage, but the charges were dropped after a major public outcry.

StarktechJanitor And not every woman will get the privilege of a public outcry.

American women are more than three times as likely as Canadian women to die in the maternal period (defined by the Centers for Disease Control as the start of pregnancy to one year after delivery or termination), six times as likely to die as Scandinavians. In every other wealthy country, and many less affluent ones, maternal mortality rates have been falling;

By standardizing its approach, Britain has reduced preeclampsia deaths to one in a million — a total of two deaths from 2012 to 2014. In the U.S., on the other hand, preeclampsia still accounts for about 8 percent of maternal deaths— 50 to 70 women a year. Including Lauren Bloomstein.

But in the U.S., maternal deaths increased from 2000 to 2014. In a recent analysis by the CDC Foundation, nearly 60 percent of such deaths are preventable.

Susinko I had that happen to me too. No heartbeat, nothing alive. I was devastated. My body refused to let it go so I had to take the pills. My doctor warned me that some could consider it an abortion despite it already being dead. These people confuse and horrifying me.

icedChaiplz I am so sorry for your loss.

I had an anencephaly diagnosis. (no skull) There is no chance for survival for this case. Yet I had many people telling me I could have given it a chance to live and it could have been another Tim Tebow story…. Tim Tebow wasn’t lacking bone structure.

I don’t get it either and I am sorry for those of us who not only have to endure the loss, but the stupidity of others who think they know better.

Dragonpixie45 I had this happen, almost same story. I was 12 weeks along and the hospital kept insisting to me I was 9 weeks and did a D&C because I had a infection and was bleeding very heavily and in an immense amount of pain.

I talked to my regular obgyn and he explained that I wouldn’t have been able to do anything if I was 12 weeks and he thinks that is why they kept insisting I was 9 weeks. It’s also why they sent me home the first night I went to the ER. It messed with my head for a long time.

hat-of-sky The D&C procedure has started and the doctor casually announces to his students that the patient misinformed them, she’s not 9 weeks but closer to 12. Then he continues the procedure. Trixie is shocked! It’s illegal! But what really makes her mad is that it’s so unfair that the rich women can get this done so easily while poor women are denied it! She’s not anti-abortion, she’s seen how much more the poor women need to be able to limit the size of their families.

Anyway it’s pretty clear the doctor knew the woman wasn’t only 9 weeks pregnant. He just waited until he’d got her dilated before he pretended to notice.

Dragonpixie45 It’s sad it really is and what shocks me is people are absolutely clueless about it. I had a friend go on a pro life rant with me and I shared my story and she was like yeah but that isn’t a abortion so doesn’t count and I assured her to the law it doesn’t matter.

The whole experience was absolutely horrific for me. The doctor that performed the procedure very clearly said it was my fault I had a infection.

AssistanceMedical951 because they can’t imagine that bad things can happen to “good” people. God is Santa Claus and if you’re good these things won’t happen to you.

Dragonpixie45 It’s willful ignorance and a peek into how people look at abortion and manage to justify how it doesn’t apply to them or people in their circle not realizing the law doesn’t freaking care!

Dragonpixie45 but when my friend went off on baby killing and how she was ok with abortion just not after a certain time I went off. I mean do people really truly people women are getting abortions when they are late term just cause they changed their minds?

And that’s not even taking into account it shouldn’t be any of their damn business anyway!

to watch malnutrtion spike this year due to ukraine war and covid. two decades of growing up optimistic, drastic declines in extreme poverty. overcoming hiv/aids. decline in conflicts in africa. it does kind of shatter my understanding of the world.. call me naive but maybe it will just give me the endurance of will to fight for a better world !

trying not to care too much. there’s a reason i try to FIFO limit my memory, i remember when the anger (angry feminism) on the one hand, made me some friends and had the energy to work on things like hack4fem. on the other hand, painfully cut me off from many other friends i really valued. i broke friendships with people who were basically same page as me, because i was such a raw wound of hurt.

anger. have to remember to direct it not at those around me. i should be glad to be able to carry the torch for them, just as they carry the torch for me in caring about other matters (eg ukraine war). it’s good that we are diversified, not a hive mind.

forgetting – at the same time the cost is that i forget many of the happy memories from those times. i wonder what it will take for me to think fondly of my past? i’m actually somewhat confident that I’ll look back at my current life and think, those are the good old days.

my life is so uncomplicated right now. i think about this every time i buy a frozen pizza which has been frequently this past 2 weeks XD;

i may be living in the good old days right now

a thought from stoicism – on hidden brain. that these travails are a challenge to us from a Stoic gods. Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Joy | December 14th, 2020

covid exposure

i had a possible exposure wed evening traveling with someone who had a PCR sample noon the next day come back positive (pre-symptoms). caused a surprising amount of turmoil. seems like no more PCR on weekends for uni. the kind of exposure that pre-tests I would have just quarantined a week by default. perhaps i still should have – seems to have been infectious on Th. but for me the masks seems to have done their job !

un-interpretable tests

thankful to still have access to free, convenient, next-day at-home PCR tests through uni.

omicron seems to have missed my friends circle but the variant (BA.2.12.1) of a variant (BA.2) of a variant (omicron) of SAR-COV2 has hit hard. my advisor, my friend’s parent, three friends all caught it in the span or 2-3 weeks. the testing is all over the place, now that it’s wildly available, impossible to interpret without nurse.

  • advisor – symptoms for 4 days before any tests (pcr or anitgen) came back positive
  • friend A – negative PCR (results next day) followed by positive antigen later that day
  • friend B – positive PCR (results next day) followed by – Cue (like a 10% PCR, 20 mins instead of 2 hrs of amplification) that evening, – antigen the next day even after symptoms started, and + antigen not until the day after that (also apparently there are saliva tests now)
  • meanwhile i’m the weirdo with the repeated + antigen test that didn’t end up having covid

but actually the uncertainty this time around was worse than when I was certain I had COVID (given that I didn’t end up having any symptoms). constantly assessing risk. negotiating that with roommates, friends.

is it worth the stress?

i have zero qualms wearing a n95 around now (minus that it messes up my hair / is unfashionable), so that’s nice lol.

but yea the symptom starts seem to be 2-3 days out, definitely not 4-5 days out as with original COVID.


stolen, RIP bike.