Book Review: Weapons of Math Destruction

I recently finished Weapons of Math Destruction (subtitled, How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy) by Cathy O’Neil. The one-sentence summary version: It’s a quick and easy read for those looking to understand how algorithms are being used with inappropriate or non-existent feedback loops to affect people’s everyday lives, while especially compounding problems for those […]

Do organizations behave, or just people?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of individuals in determining how organizations are governed. It’s very tempting to describe organizations as if they are persons, to anthropomorphize them as if the organization itself were somehow controlling its own destiny. But that’s an oversimplification in most circumstances, and not a very helpful one. […]

Analyzing my Fortune

Erin and I traded fortune cookies at Red Lotus tonight. Mine said something about finally being recognized for the work I put in, and hers said this. Given her recent hiring at the agency where she has served as an Americorps member, and my general analytical nature, I think we just grabbed each others destined […]

5 open source tools for making music

Do you think music software is only the domain of expensive proprietary software? Think again. There are literally hundreds of applications out there designed by, and for, those with a musical bent. Music projects, including many projects specifically for the Linux operating system, flourish in the open source community as musicians take to coding to produce […]

Open source genealogy tools for mapping your family tree

Genealogy, the study of family histories, is a popular pastime for millions of people worldwide. Individuals seeking to learn more about their pedigree or simply discover more about their family’s past have built vibrant communities of like-minded (and possibly related) individuals to help each other play historical detective and track down the missing links in […]

What’s Next for Chapel Hill?

This year’s municipal election is over. There were wins I was proud of and losses that deeply disappointed me. Regardless of who you supported in this year’s elections, I think we can all agree that everyone who ran should be given our thanks for stepping up to the plate; that the incumbents who lost should be given […]