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veen  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 16, 2020

    discovidture, dis·​co·​vid·​ture, n : the uncertainty and unease at taking any coronavirus related health risk.

Sigh. Honestly? I'm at a loss now what's safe to do and what isn't. Private gatherings should be limited to 6 people at most per government recommendations, which is easy enough. But we know risk outside is limited, so can you sit with a larger group in the park if you keep distance to most people? What if you sit across from someone for a while the one day of the week I go into the office? Public transport seems to be fine, but the official policy is to use any mouth covering, preferably noneffective nomedical stuff. So I got myself some N95 non-medical masks, which are the best non-medical efficiency, I think. And at what point do you have symptoms? An amount of sniffs or sneezes or coughs that can be counted on two hands per day seems fine. But we also know that 40% is asymptomatic. Does that mean no symptoms at all, or does it fly under the radar as "it's nothing"? And how should I recalibrate now that testing capacity is limited again? Hospitalizations are very low over here right now, but a lot of young people seem to test positive. Yet I've heard nobody in my peers who has tested positive, only a few negatives. So am I a terrible person for seeing friends again? For having a board game night?

I can go on but I'll stop now. Safe to say it's tiring, it's grinding my will down to apathy and I hate it.

Something cool; one of my work projects is to help build the mobility app of the future. One app to not just plan, but also book and pay for not just PT but also scooters, ebikes, rental cars, you name it. Yesterday we launched our closed beta, so after half a year of working behind the scenes to build up the data analytics platform to support development, we're now out testing with real users and I can buy actual e-tickets for trains and buses. There's a lot of competition in this space, but I'm really hoping we can make a difference and compete with Google Maps and the likes for multimodal trips.

veen  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 399th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"

Weird but interesting.

I literally can’t read it because of a paywall, but now I’m not sure f I even want to.

veen  ·  13 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 9, 2020

I started my secondment last week at the largest Dutch metropolitan transit agency. I get to help set up pilot projects and figure out if they're worth funding. Which is already a lot of fun.

Last week was a bit hectic, but this week I'm more in the flow of things, and I'm already noticing an improvement in my mood. Feels like I started a new job, yet I still get to keep everything I built up over the years at my own company. But I get to offload a lot of tedious stuff simply because I knocked out 3+ days a week with my secondment and my longrunning other project, which is to help build the next generation of mobility apps.

I think the improvement in mood is mostly because of the different type of work. It's funny, I'm now way more in meetings and discussions. My programming and GIS work is reduced to less than a day per week. I'm under much less pressure this way, not having to juggle half a dozen tight deadlines that depend on my ability to come up with scripts at breakneck speed. The problems dealing with programming and GIS are genuinely difficult, daunting and often nearly unsolvable; whereas the problem of dealing with other people is much easier, has more alternatives and less stress behind it. Made me realize (only now) how much easier my non-programming-colleagues have it usually. As long as I keep moving forward in the things that have my name on it, I'm good.

Life here feels like it's almost returned back to normal. All the covid-nightmare businesses are still closed, but I'm seeing people fairly regularly again and am doing one or two days a the office again. Also didn't seem to get covid from my sister's 80+ people wedding, which I was worried about. Our country's problem is that our national CDC is incompetent and is now limiting testing because of mostly dumb reasons.

veen  ·  18 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: PSA: We are in the midst of a Hubski experiment.

If I put Pubski in the title of a post or use the tag #pubski, does that allow everyone to see all comments in that thread?

veen  ·  22 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ‘Queer Eye’, Jordan Peterson and the battle for depressed men

Fantastic piece. I’ve been craving a modern day version of Bowling Alone, and this gets admirably close to a conclusion that would fit that hypothetical book.

Johann Hari’s book Lost Connections is worth a read if anyone wants some more insight (in a pop-sci format) into the ways our society induce depression. Or listen to this conversation with him.

veen  ·  27 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 26, 2020

My sister is getting married this Friday! I've been to only one wedding I can recall, and now I'm the witness too. Gonna be interesting to see if we can actually maintain 6ft distance. Everyone's supposed to have their own seats at distance.

Excited to start my secondment next week. My SO graduated in March and, after months of sending out resumées and cover letters only for them to fall on deaf ears, suddenly found herself selected as the best candidate for two positions last week. She can start ASAP at a very good NGO that's doing research into education. Super happy for her.

Gonna be a busy few months I'm sure. We also need to figure out how to deal with both of us in calls most of the week; we only have one office that we usually both work in, with me on calls. I also want something of a standing desk for calls, as I'm starting to hate my fantastic Aeron chair simply because I'm glued to it 8-10 hours a day.

veen  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Some thoughts on compassion

    because boy do I dislike some parts of it.

I did warn ya, man. I particularly hated the part where he's like "Entropy? Fuck that! We have...checks notes... biology!"

The answer I think I'm looking for, is this: given that there will be othering, that there are large forces amplifying it in society, what can we as individuals do? I don't think giving up is the answer.

veen  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Sunday Pandemic Doomscrolling Roundup

Normally I'd say "look for the helpers". But they seem to have left. I hope you are able to do so too.

If not in your work, maybe you can find some humanity in the people nearest to you. I found my first in-person (with distance) meetings with friends and family a bit ago to feel like a warm bath of humanity.

veen  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Long videos don't do well on hubski but I teared up multiple times watching this

The NRA shirts and gun vaults in particular were eyebrow-raising. I'm not at all unfamiliar with US gun culture, yet the normalcy of it all surprised me. "Oh yeah over there we have the Death Machines corner, where you can buy specific brushes and 72 types of oil. Plus some cool kid's toys!"

veen  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Some thoughts on compassion

Exactly. It's posited as something simple to achieve, but since we're complex multitude-containing creatures we make mistakes and misjudgements all around.

I think it's up to each and everyone of us to be careful with our intentions and the resulting actions. Nobody is perfect, but if there's no room for errors, making amends and forgivement then there's no room for humanity.

veen  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Some thoughts on compassion

I had a whole post here about Rutger Bregman making a similar point in his book Humankind, until I realized that I've caught him stealing from Invisibilia twice before and...yup, that's exactly the podcast he got it from. He even borrows the torchlight metaphor directly.

    A terrorist facing a huge powerful army draws on another powerful weapon, empathy - but only for people like her. This is why Fritz called his book "The Dark Sides Of Empathy" - because there's a point at which empathy doesn't look anything like the universal ideal we had in our heads in the '60s. It starts to look more like tribalism, a way to reinforce your own point of view and keep blocking out all the others.

    In my generation, we thought of empathy as the big, warm sun lighting the path to peace for us all. Now it operates like a torch. You shine it on your friends and use it to burn your enemies.

    How long do you want to keep this up, this putting people outside the bounds of empathy? Like, how long do you want to do that because eventually - what? Like, what's the endgame of excluding some people from the possibility of empathy? Like, where do you end up?

He did point me to this Paul Bloom book that I've had on my reading list since. If empathy is whimsical emotional attachment, compassion is its rational level-headed cousin. It's not "I feel you", it's "I understand your circumstances". Which is exactly why I didn't use empathy at all earlier.

Personally, I stopped listening to Invisibilia a while ago after they jumped the shark somewhere around that episode.

veen  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Some thoughts on compassion

I get that hippies are associated with the Left? But your post is a perfect example of how nearly everything within the realm of intellectual debate in the US gets politicized (and, usually, polarized).

I had no intention to make this about politics. You have to agree it's at least a bit of a stretch to go from 'what does it take to be a compassionate person' to 'Republicans will kill you and move on', right?

veen  ·  28 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: All of my spam is now in German

Zukunftig werde ich dich Gübster zu nennen. Das ist der einzige Weg.

veen  ·  34 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 19, 2020

Off camping. Just the two of us, a tent, some books and decent weather most of the time. Some room to breathe, think, do nothing, reflect on life and read.

veen  ·  48 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 5, 2020

My summer holiday starts in ten days. We have pushed Covid down hard, but now a bunch of metrics are picking up again as people come back from holidays abroad and young people are gathering and going to parties kinda like the old days. They're now at similar levels as they were ten days before my previous holiday early March. R has been above 1 since July 1st. Not looking forward to a second wave.

This time around we're staying in the country, going camping somewhere in the remote parts that were almost unscathed last time around. Away from business and people for sure. When we come back, my sister's getting married; really hoping for her that that day won't be ruined.

veen  ·  50 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: "How Airlines Can Survive the Pandemic"

My guess is the flight-cutting is in no small part because of differences in the number of planes they lease. AFAIK, American leases more than the others, so they can ditch a bunch of planes as soon as their lease ends and BOC can suck a dick. Or they renegotiate.

The airline industry is a fascinating train wreck to watch now. Business travel seems dead at least for the next year or two. If it weren't for powerful players like IATA we'd see much more airline related neverwasteacrisis policies now, I think.

On the other hand: I've already had two colleagues who flew to the Mediterranean for their holiday this summer, so I wouldn't be surprised if LCCs bounce back rather quickly, at least from/to safe-ish countries.

veen  ·  53 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 29, 2020

It's sort of like a marriage between freelancing and corporate work? Imagine you are a very specific field expert. There actual job offerings that require your specific expertise are few and far between. The kind of expertise you bring is useful in a lot of different organizations, however. You could work for yourself, but that would require an existing and broad network of people, which most people don't have. It also does not provide a stable income, or pensions, or colleagues.

So instead of doing that, you can also go work for a consultancy firm that has access to a lot of clients, knows how to negotiate a good deal and terms for working, and has the resources to help you get gigs you'd never get on your own, e.g. in a team or with organizations that they have a history with. In my case, two other colleagues have worked for this organization I'm lent out to in the past, and that greatly helps my case. You don't see much back from the higher-than-usual rates, but you do have a much more solid income & a stack of benefits and it's in everyone's interest at your job that you have enough work.

From the organization that needs the help it also makes sense. They get to have people on board for a temporary position, sometimes to fix things that are broken, without committing to a year contract and putting a lot of effort into aquisition. They can get someone for precisely the amount of hours it'll take to get something done. They don't pay anything beyond a flat rate per hour. They get more certainty that the person is vetted, because the secondment-ed person is part of a bigger organization with a track record. And they can post their temporary gig to big tender-websites, where they can easily get their position in front of a dozen potential, actually decent candidates.

The "well fuck those guys I'm jumping SHIP" does happen sometimes, but less often than you think. It's much more often the case that, if there's a good match, your temporary contract will be extended. In my case, I now have a 5-month gig, but with optional 6-month extensions if all parties agree to it.

veen  ·  54 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 29, 2020

Hey everyone! Haven't been here as often as I'd like lately. I don't read as much articles anymore on the web, I haven't read anything nonfiction in months because I just can't care for it so much these days. Which means I have much less to share and fewer reasons to venture here. I know it's not the sole reason for being here, far from it, but it is often the spark for me and there haven't been as many sparks as of late. Hm.

I just got great news at work; I'm gonna be starting a secondment (if that's the correct word for working for another organization for my expertise) after my holiday. Means a big step forward; I like creating/designing and doing data analysis, but if I can delegate the data legwork I won't miss it. So this new thing is the first one where I'm not touching a single line of code or data, instead being asked to work together with others and create / set up pilot projects for others to then go and do. It also enables me to yeet a bunch of projects I don't want to do anymore because I will definitely not have time to be spread thinly anymore, thank you very much. Plus the organization I'm starting at has a phenomenal network of people in the field of sustainable / innovative transportation.

veen  ·  64 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, are video games still a thing? They are? Well then, what are you all playing?

I’ll check out Surviving Mars - having played all of the simtycooncrafty games that allow for rewarding creative construction it sounds up my alley.

But first I’mma optimize my steel factory in Satisfactory. Shame it’s pc only.

veen  ·  64 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, are video games still a thing? They are? Well then, what are you all playing?

Just this weekend I started playing Satisfactory and I haven’t been hooked into a game like this in years. It’s a much more forgiving Factorio, with No Man’s Sky’s setting and exploration, and allows me to design hyperoptimized and neatly arranged factories to create ever more complex things. Or just build a big ass bridge because I want to.

veen  ·  71 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I decided to learn more about the Srebrenica massacre on it's 25 annversary

I don't know what the curriculum's like nowadays, but I sure did not get informed of Srebrenica other than a yearly news item. There's a great documentary that came out last week about it that I have on my watchlist, and a podcast about it, but both are unfortunately only in Dutch.

Sorry, this comment is private.
veen  ·  76 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 8, 2020

A good week on paper - finally got to see my sister's baby again. Handed in my revised manuscript. Canoed in the canals. But the line between work and life is fully blurred, and I don't feel like I've got the energy to deal with my responsibilities, despite how few there are.

Things are too vague, too uncertain, too unbounded right now and I'm having none of it.

veen  ·  82 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: "Kat returns to the office." Welcome to her COVID hell.

    We've been really good at fobbing risk off onto individuals through some perverse sense of social darwinism but it's fuckin' over

If this year doesn’t break American individualism forever I don’t know if anything can.

Pretty sure this was posted earlier but can’t find it anymore: “i don’t know how to make you care about other people”

veen  ·  83 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: "Kat returns to the office." Welcome to her COVID hell.

Someone I know on LinkedIn pitched the idea of "park offices" - you bike or walk to your own pleasant single-unit office with a view of the forest, or the park. You build a WeWork network of them and then give big corporations discount for letting every employee from that place go there. It was just an idea and I'm not sure the economics work out but sign me tf up, man.

That aside, this whole gestures broadly is turning out to be quite the reminder of how inequal the workforce is and the consequences are. White collar have it easy, man.

veen  ·  83 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: "Kat returns to the office." Welcome to her COVID hell.

I'm getting a hard login wall. What's the gist?

I have now had two normal office days. I'm trying to have one day every week or other week back at the office - solely because I prefer in person meetings and banter. Our office has a bunch of hygienic precautions, an upper limit of ~20 people inside, decent ventilation and spaciously separated desks. They close the office on Friday, which is when 80% of all internal meetings are, so there's no pressure to go to the office. Could be a lot worse if you ask me.

veen  ·  86 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The dirty secret behind Ben Shapiro's extraordinary success on Facebook

This is like a Trust Me, I'm Lying redux, more depressing, less clever and with an extra dose of politics and hate.

    It is important to understand that this study, and other observational analyses like it, onlyidentifycorrelations: these relationships are not necessarilycausal. That is, one cannot read thisstudy, or others like it, to imply that changing one of the variables in our model would changedeath rates; we can only say how the death rates and the variables analyzed move together. Wetake much care in stressing this throughout the note.

I feel like study 1 missed that memo - he jumps from 'we have a significant result of one of our 5 parameters, controlling for the rest' to 'so therefore PT is the driving cause', paying lip service to but not actually addressing the fact that there's a plethora of things that public transit use could be a proxy of.

So ignoring that one and focusing on the much better second study; it's interesting that it seems to be such a significant factor. I'd be very curious if these results could be repeated in non-US metropoles like Singapore or Tokyo.

You've been the one who pointed out to me that PT in the US is, effectively, poor people transport. So while I'm not surprised that PT increases risk, I'd also not be surprised if there's simply an unaccounted poverty variable that would explain most if not all of this correlation away.

veen  ·  90 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 24, 2020

Helped my SO's parents move the other day. They live about 45 minutes drive away, and we're now in an electric car sharing programme and a public transport semi-lockdown so we reserved a car. There's a bunch of Renault Zoe's but there's also a few Model 3's and since I'd only driven a Model S as a test drive, I was eager to try it out.

I came to realize that Tesla fundamentally likes technology more than experience, whereas other high end electric cars have the opposite. And while I thought I did so too, and for example really like a bunch of software tricks the car has up its sleeve, the total package just isn't as good as it could be. It relies too much on the mega-ipad to get anything done - to open the fucking passenger seat box you need to dig around menus to find the software button. The steering wheel has two nipples and you're just left to figure out what every interaction does. There's nameless buttons in the software too, and there's no easy way to see your remaining range and power consumption. Or to do anything useful while driving other than what you can do by arousing the steering wheel.

In other news - I'm on track to hand in the revised, hopefully-final version of my peer reviewed academic paper in next week. A final proofread and i-dotting and we should be fit for print!

It's also mildly hot here. I realized early April that I'd go ravingly mad if I'd had to work from home in my non-AC'ed apartment in the summer, so I got a mobile unit. They're all marked up or sold out now, while I got it at a good discount. Yay foresight!