Kitchens are for Eating


Let me start by saying this: I can’t possibly be the first one to think about this.

I’ve been working up in Mountain View, this week. It was a great trip, and I stayed in a totally gorgeous little place. When I got home from work, I either went running or biking. After that, I cooked myself a small dinner, ate it outside, then went into my room to get a bit of work done or get ready for bed.

Macros: more important in low-level languages?

:: Macros, Programming Languages

Macros are a wonderful thing. A hygienic macro system puts language extensions within the reach of non-compiler-hackers.

However, to date, most modern, hygienic macro systems are associated with languages like Scheme and Racket that are quite high-level. My claim is that macros are probably much more useful in low-level languages. Here’s why:

Are Union Seniority Rules Defensible?

:: Politics

I’m sympathetic to Teachers’ unions. In fact, I’m in the Teachers’ union. More specifically, I’m a tenure-track associate professor at Cal Poly, and a member of the California Faculty Association.

Many of the faculty union’s actions I find commendable. In particular, I’m thankful that the union supports faculty wages1, and tries to ensure the continued presence of full-time faculty.

However, I find the union’s seniority rules pretty much indefensible. In particular, article 38.16 of the contract (Collective Bargaining Agreement) negotiated by the CFA with the California State University system (or CSU) stipulates (IANAL) that “The President shall establish the order of layoff for tenured faculty unit employees in a unit of layoff by reverse order of seniority.”

Why would this be the case? Is the administration presumed to be so incapable of estimating worth that this decision needs to be taken out of their hands completely? It appears to me that the current goal of the union is to demonize every aspect of the CSU administration’s activity. The level of the CFA rhetoric in its published materials is incredibly low; to take just one example, the idea of paying more money to certain employees based on their performance is described by the CFA as “Pucker Pay.” Please.

Now’s where I should launch into a detailed analysis of the history of labor laws and the role played by seniority layoffs… but I don’t have that background, or that time. If I could build a model using Redex and publish it in POPL, I’d be all over it. Instead, it will just be my opinion.

Here’s another part of my opinion: civil discourse is the basis for forward progress in our government.

I guess I can say this: I voted for Marshall Tuck.

1 though probably not mine, actually

    Decimal Time Zones

    :: Time

    What? There are no decimal time zones?

    Okay, backing up.

    I love time-wasting hard-to-learn idiosyncrasies. I use the dvorak keyboard, I run in sandals I make myself, I run my own mail server (surely the stupidest of my habits).

    About two years ago I “invented” decimal time. Which is to say: I did in fact think of it myself. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of prior art here, going back to the French Revolution.

    Short version: Our current day has 86,400 seconds in it. This is not really very far from 100,000. So… what if we just designated a decimal second as being 1/100,000 of a day? then we could have all of our hours and minutes be decimal divisions. More specifically: the day is divided into 10 decimal hours, each hour into 100 decimal minutes, and each minute into 100 decimal seconds. Works great! The decimal hours are quite long, but the decimal minutes are pretty close to our existing ones.

    Bicycle Frames I Have Broken

    :: Bicycle

    A brief diary of broken bicycle frames.

    All dates approximate.

    This list does not include broken axles or bent forks.

    • 1998 - Diamondback entry-level road bike, broken in crash (my fault (I believe this is how I met Anika))
    • 1999 - Bianchi entry-level aluminum frame, weld let go between down tube & head tube
    • 2000 - replacement Bianchi (much nicer), aft starboard chainstay broke
    • 2001 - Gunnar Cross frame, rusted from inside out after riding in Boston winter
    • 2010 - Felt Hard-Tail MTB frame, starboard chainstay broke where it meets bottom bracket
    • 2012 - Gunnar Cross frame, aft starboard chainstay where it meets dropout (re-welded)
    • 2014 - same Gunnar Cross frame, same exact spot (time to look for a new welder)


    • 2015 - same frame, same place, finally sent it back to Waterford to get a new dropout… and new paint!

    2005 Solar D Movie Posted!

    :: Solar Decathlon

    Back in 2005, Cal Poly placed third in the Solar Decathlon… and there’s a movie, to prove it!

    The Rahus Institute has graciously agreed to put their 2005 Solar Decathlon movie online. Here’s the first of three segments of the hour-long movie.

    Political Things I am Currently Outraged About

    :: Politics


    I feel like the list of things I’m outraged about politically is always growing. How can I keep track of it?

    • Corporate Money in Politics (move to amend!)
    • Global Warming (Carbon Tax! Carbon Tax!)
    • Gerrymandering of districts
    • Copyright Law and the year 1923 (how I hate Mickey Mouse!)
    • Proposition 13 and the anti-tax, all-government-is-bad atmosphere.

    Merely Upset

    • Health Care
    • Net Neutrality
    • The behavior of my union
    • American Ignorance

    I have the feeling I’m going to be adding to these.

    Moving to Frog


    I’m totally delighted to move from octopress to Greg Hendershott’s frog, a Racket-based static blog generator. No more of those !@#$ RVMENVRCETCETC dot files.

    Yes, there are still lots of things to fix. Some of those images are a wee bit enormous, for instance. That’s not going to happen today.

    Granite Mon 2013

    :: granitemon

    Granite Mon 2013 is in the books. Well, in some books. This was the 19th running of the … well, of the Long Island Challenge part of the Granite Mon. This year it was organized by Alice Clements, and enjoyed by many.

    We arose at an absurdly early hour on August 17th, and met at the KYC at 5:00 AM. Miraculously, we had plenty of chase boats, despite a few late cancellations. We counted seven swimmers and eight chase boats, if I recall correctly, so we packed kayaks into the motorboats and headed over.

    It was a really lovely morning:

    starting out

    starting out

    Here we are after we finished:

    all done

    all done

    From left to right, in this picture:

    • Chris Guinness
    • Sean Guinness
    • Charlotte Clews
    • John Clements
    • Mary Clews
    • Ted Heyd
    • Alice Clements
    • Oliver Grantham
    • Justin Pollard

    • Matt ??

    Also swimming was Matt, whose last name I can’t remember and who is cut out of the picture. That’s really too bad, and if anyone can give me a picture, I’ll stick it in here.