Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meeting: Grady Booch

I met an intelligent man at a conference for women. He had shared a lunch table and a conversation with me, and when he introduced himself, I heard his name but I didn't know who he was beyond that moment. Made good small talk, exchanged contacts and kept in touch one time after the conference ended. And about a year later (and this past weekend), I would find out that the man was a legend: BOOCH himself. The Grady Booch!

Wikipedia describes him as "an American software engineer, best known for developing the Unified Modeling Language (UML) with Ivar Jacobson and James Rumbaugh. He is recognized internationally for his innovative work in software architecture, software engineering, and collaborative development environments."

How about that for a delayed star-"struckedness."

Sunday Reads this Sunday

I am bent on satisfying these two curiosities in my free time time:
  • Learning to play chess. Intrigued by the game and the characters, and simultaneously want to improve simple skills that require decision-making and strategic thinking.
  • Learning to ask questions. I think that questioning when done right is an art, a life skill and a high level form of thinking with a lot of potential to uncover paths that would otherwise not be explored.
But remember, there's no such thing as free.

While (wo)men sleep, some are awake and onto something. Jessica Yellin's op-ed in the New York Times from this weekend quotes Ted Turner to have said about the CNN he no longer owned, ““quarterly earnings obsessed” corporate owners would not have the same priorities because “the emphasis instantly shifts from taking risks to taking profits.”All this was about one thing, and it’s not better journalism. It’s bigger profits. Insiders have reported that CNN made more than $1 billion gross profit in 2016, at least $100 million more than the company projected. While CNN made its numbers, it missed the story.””
Full article: How to Save CNN From Itself, Yellin J., (2017, Jan 26), The Opinion Pages, New York Times.

Meanwhile, in some parts of northern Nigeria, some women die daily. Some of these women - children, forced out of their childhood, are giving birth to children, abducted, raped, rendered orphans, and experience unfathomable levels of torment in the hands of insurgents. In today's Sunday Review for the New York Times, Stephanie Sinclair, photojournalist and humanitarian, puts faces, sounds and videos to the human stories and experiences.
Full article: Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria Sinclair S., (2017, Jan 29), Sunday Review, New York Times.

Discovering: Douglas Rushkoff

"Program or Be Programmed"

Lori said that in conversation today at the local tech meetup where we were volunteering, welcoming guests. Resonating immediately with recent ruminations I've had, I asked, "Where's that from?"

Douglas Rushkoff.

In the six hours that Lori and I worked together, I learnt a great deal. Not only did she march on Washington this time last week with the other hundreds of thousands of women, but she was immensely resourceful, quick witted and had a strong personality that I would not easily forget. I'd later run a quick search on Rushkoff's work and connect with his material (list of books) . Aha! Another bright mind to tribe with. It's been ten hours since I picked the first material and I'm still reeling way past Sunday midnight.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Program and Pun

Definitions from Google
TV Programs, Computer Programs, Radio Programs, Government Programs.

Program (verb): to provide (a computer or other machine) with coded instructions for the automatic performance of a particular task.
Program (noun) - a series of coded software instructions to control the operation of a computer or other machine.

Who is programming us?
Program us.
Programmus.
Programmers.
And who programs the programmer?

Program me.
Programmy.

Suscription.
Subscriber.
Subscribe.
Scriber.
Scribe.


Know where you are you in the grand scheme sequence?


P.S. One of the posts left unedited in my drafts for about a month, until today when I found a tribesman with similar thoughts. Details going up in the next post.

First Week, First Days

Barely a week in, the spanking new P0TUS is doing a lot of hell raising and wielding his executive orders like a grim reaper's scythe.
From Muslim Ban to Women's Wars, one wonders where the country is headed.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Boy Talk

Over turkey brie paninis and potato wedges and omelettes, I lunched with the guys at work today, casually talking about about everything from algorithms to recent stock market payouts - who lost on payday and who won big. I learnt that my friends weren't watching stock from a particular industry, and when I asked why, one of the three said, "I don't like how they make their money ... "
In summary, the rest of the conversation left me feeling impressed with "them boys" and validated about my recent thinking and position.

Let your "weird" out, you're never alone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On Social Business

You're a young professional hoping to live out your dreams. You've worked hard for your money, and you've had the good sense and discipline to save it. At some point, you think about financial growth. What are some of your options where return on investment is guaranteed?

You don't need to stretch your mind that far. As bonds, stock options in publicly traded companies come to mind, you consider for the first time what you're asking your resources to do, and what goals or missions you're choosing to facilitate, by way of extending your money and investing in these companies. What would it look like if socially minded businesses were also thriving in the ranks of Fortune 500s? What would it look like to invest in the public corporations whose work you believed in, and yet still get the social and financial rewards?

Sometimes quality matters as much as quantity, if not more. With normative investment, financial gain is the motive. Take public amenities for example, and compare by demographics. A simple search to see what types of business establishments dominate low income communities, and the quality of services offered, is an exercise that's guaranteed to change one's perspective. If unable to make real-life observations, maybe start from here. As you question the rationale behind some of these investments, you can't help but ask: would markets be profitable if more businesses would invest and cater to (meeting) higher needs? While certainly not downplaying the role of commerce in economic development, could there also be incentives to invest in the lasting social development?

In whose interest?
In an era where the emphasis is on maximizing shareholders' interests at the expense of the people whose interests these companies claimed to serve/service, what if the shift, and funds moved? Like from erecting obesity-laden food establishments in "underserved" communities to ones that really promoted the well being of the served? That just made me think deeply of the term underserved. Installing public amenities that foster systems to program success through peer development. How would the game change if that were the norm? Where mainstream investment companies, brokers, and media promoted IPOs of companies who wanted to pitch and launch conscious ideas to investors. Where these organizations were not relegated to 501(c)(3)'s as per usual but were really set up to thrive financially.

"Patient capital" will fuel and enable that kind of work, the kind that does not demand immediate financial reward. The kind of work that seeks to improve the quality of people's lives and facilitate their states of consciousness. A realist knows that money is not evil. Not only do you need money to get by, but there's also much good to do with it. Sounds so idealistic now, even though it really should not. After all, isn't it all programming?

Two Words

"Conscious Capitalism" should not be an oxymoron ...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hanlon's Razor

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Trigger

How do you miss a human being this f*cking much?
Where am I on the bell curve for getting over them?
Am I not there yet?
Why did a single picture change my state and make my heart skip a thousand beats?
Wasn't I recovering already?
Why are all the landmarks in my neck of woods now coming off as mementos?
What, do I have to move away to really move on?
Argh! This is hard.

Sunday Tenet



"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain.

Virtues and Vices

Art wins, always.
Art never fails.
It's obscure and pointless parables, until you know.
And when you know, boom!
You know.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Poetry: “I Am Not I”

I am not I.
              I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
the one who remains silent while I talk,
the one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
the one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
the one who will remain standing when I die.

by Juan Ramón Jiménez, “‘I Am Not I’” 
Source: All Poetry

The GoodHead

Two heads are better than one,
Maybe.
But one is good,
Surely better than none.

A Stand and A March

Remarkable day overall, (well) spent in the emergency room with the mother, talking between CAT scans and ultrasounds, about love and (re)marriage, health and history, food and politics. Amazed and proud of the collective that gathered today across the US and the world, taking a stand in solidarity with marching women. This was a movement, in it's literal sense. Again, history happening in my time, in my day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Conversations with the mother

Not a single day has passed since my mum came visiting me without us having at least one conversation about politics. Spent the evening of yesterday talking about the civil war in Syria - about how it had gone on for so long - six years this March, and how innocent lives were affected, families displaced, lost, killed and all the tragedy that had become people's realities. For my mum, the impact had really hit home when she saw Alan Kurdi, the the young Syrian boy who was pictured washed up on a Turkish beach. It's insane and a shame, to say the least, to realize that in 2017 with all the global level progress and achievements of this modern day, this level of unrest is still happening. Not the war stories from my parents or historians, this is happening right now, today, in my day! A strange feeling washed over me and I realized what a privilege, often and easily overlooked, it was to know peace and safety, security and political stability every waking moment. Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like for you, you who once tasted and knew 'freedom', moved up the Maslow pyramid, and then have it all snatched away leaving you hanging on for dear life? Sigh.

As I enjoy these blessings, remind me that it's not given for my benefit only or to foster complacency. Remind me to put myself out there and serve. That I have the capacity, and I am enough to serve and work for the greater good. I was reminded of this today, while I attended a breakfast event that's held annually in the states across the US, in honor of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. The event honored an inclusive initiative which was a football pitch created for handicapped kids to enjoy safe recreation. Two local high school students who displayed excellence in academics and service were also honored with MLK awards, and with scholarships to support their dreams. Being in attendance woke me up to a service orientation, that you've got to serve from who you are and with what you've got. And that you've always got something: a voice or a position - silence, sitting, standing. Being in attendance illuminated me with MLK's work and his legacy, and it struck me how people would come together to keep the fire alive. To keep lighting and waking others up.

"I was arrogant, narcissistic, caught up in the culture of winning."

Society, to a great extent is structured (or constructed) in a way that incites and incentivizes vices, when it has the option to denigrate and curtail even. It would rather reward avarice and continue to breed vicious cycles that ultimately "profit" no one. At this MLK breakfast, an introductory clip of the guest speaker Bill Whitaker played back an interview with Marty Stroud a US prosecutor, and Whitaker. Stroud would admit on air to profiling and sentencing an innocent man Glenn Ford to death row. The quote in the preceding paragraph was his explanation of the rationale, behind his conviction that a conviction would boost his career. Stroud went on to a successful legal career, and Ford would become one of the country's longest-serving, death row inmates. Even though Ford was exonerated after 30 years on death row, he was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after his release, and lived for a few months. Deeply moving narrative (link for video and transcript). While one man was damaged physically - health, career, economically and ultimately disadvantaged, the other lives with the guilt, "a hole" he was heard saying, and the burden till he dies. If we all lived true to our calling, we'd all be better for it. Better collectively.

Hours after the breakfast had nourished my body, and the melodies from the local jazz band had soothed my soul, I sat back for a while and just soaked up all that light. And then at 12.03pm, [mum and I sat in the living room, watching and listening to the YouTube livestream as] Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. ...

[Updated]

Monday, January 16, 2017

Spotlight: The Equality of Opportunity Project

The Equality of Opportunity Project is a research by Profs. Chetty, Hendren, and Katz, whom by these studies make the case that living in good neighborhoods contributes to upward mobility later in life. The project uses big data to identify new pathways to upward mobility.
  
Below are non-technical summaries of Papers. Full details at equality-of-opportunity.org
  • The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940: PDF
  • The Effects of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I and II: Childhood Exposure Effects and County-Level Estimates: PDF
  • Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in Adulthood: PDF
  • The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment: PDF
  • Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility: PDF
  • Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States: PDF 



Challenge Up

Years ago, a writing peer from college suggested taking my personal views out when I wrote an article. Now that I think about it, I realize that means real work. Real journalism work - objective, grueling, meticulous, gradual, and in the end fully baked. Well, I blog, which for me serves the exact opposite of all those adjectives. Blogging for me is somewhere on a scale between safe and half-assed, where one slides into a leisurely comfort zone with little expectations or effort. No emphasis on hunting, discovery and refinement, just borderline lazy - and I'm havving too much 'fun' with this. As writer Ta-Nehisi Coates put it, "The baker can't simply live for the look of amazement on the faces of those who behold his latest creation. There has to be some joy in actually baking the cake." Discovery, Coates writes, should be a process, not simply an end goal.

Do I really need want to up my game? *Groans*

Discovering: Michael Harrington

Image: Dissent
Michael Harrington was the author of The Other America, and described by The Atlantic as "the most charismatic figure on the American left in the past half century."[1] Harrington, who died in 1989 at the age of 61[2], left an indelible mark making a case for democratic socialism and the culture of poverty in the US, with his widely acclaimed book famous for chronicling poverty in America in the 1950s, and his views on inequality, fairness and Wall Street.


Sources:
1. Meyerson H., (2000, August) The (Still) Relevant Socialist, The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com

2. Mitgang H., (1989, August 2) 
Michael Harrington, Socialist and Author, Is Dead. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com

Further Reading:
a. Dreier P., (2012, March 25) Poverty in America 50 years after Michael Harrington's The Other America, Huffington Post (updated 2012, May 25). Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com

b. (2012, 
January 5) Public Views of Inequality, Fairness and Wall Street, Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/public-views-of-inequality-fairness-and-wall-street/ 

c. Ideal types of the 'culture of poverty' and its implicit alternative, a Stanford University online publication. Retrieved from https://web.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/urb_culture_of_poverty.htm

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Weekend Warrior

Inspiration is not enough.
Inspiration in itself is great and necessary, but not complete without strategy.
Knowledge in itself is good, but not enough until it's practised.
Until there's results.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Homelessness

Only a month ago were we just talking about the homelessness surge being at an all time high in New York City, and some of the causes and effects of gentrification.

Here's a perspective fresh off the press: from The Guardian today, an account on homelessness in the UK.


Sources:
1. Neumandec, W. (2016, December 7) Confronting Surge in Homelessness, New York City Expands Use of Hotels, New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com

2. Perry, F., Guardian readers (2017, January 13) Homeless in Britain: ‘I graduated with honours – and ended up on the streets’, Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com

Health Check Friday

"Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life." Living Bible (TLB) Pr 4:23

Care for yourself.

Take care of yourself,
Happy Weekend.

Spread the Tech

"It’s important for techies to go where there’s tons of us, and advance that space. Or to go where there’s so few or none of us doing amazing work - and contribute our skills."*

I am “lucky” and I want to be part of making people lucky - improving their chances of succeeding. I'm in the right place to discover new places … and it means we can improve our odds of being 'lucky' sometimes. For ourselves. For others. Lucky them.


Spread your light.
Strength in numbers, or strength in single flame - shine in the dark.
What’s a sundial without a shadow?




I heard Megan Smith, US Chief Technology Officer say this two Grace Hopper Conferences ago, and never forgot it.

Onye Kwe Chi Ya Ekwe

This is a random plug for Algebra (Google Images)
Sometimes the parts of a balanced equation are two guys, a girl and a pizza place. Other times it's two Nigerian ladies, a food pantry and an Internet connection.

The latter is a summary of how I ran down a rabbit hole that led me to works of literature by Chinua Achebe, a classic song by Oliver de Coque, and over a dozen well-written publications on Igbo philosophies and identity, which were very impressive, which includes this thought-provoking excerpt from Peter Ikechukwu Osuji's book, African Traditional Medicine: Autonomy and Informed Consent.

The point of this post? Oh, I don't know. Sometimes you're not looking for something, and then it drops in your lap. That's probably what this (seemingly) useless piece of information must be about. I'm sure it will pop up again, and until then I'll just bookmark it and drop it here.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Got Yourself A...

Woke up this morning, Got Yourself A God.

Started out early to figure out my work, and plan for the day. As I wrote down thoughts, I would ask myself, "What is truth?" and this simple prompting would end up flowing into some quality reflection and Bible study. The beautiful thing was that Scriptures that I hadn't read in a while bubbled up in my mind, tempting me to research, and as I engaged, answers came back. Answers to prior ruminations, like prosperity, which I had pondered on days ago, to which Job 36:11 came up, "If they hear and serve Him, they will end their days in prosperity and their years in pleasure."

Hear? 

Serve I could understand, but hear? Hear what? How should they hear? I didn't really get it, so I prayed one of David's psalms, "Give me understanding that I may live" Ps. 119:144, which usually ties in to "You will make known/reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy, in your right hand are eternal pleasures." Ps. 16:11

As I kept reading, understanding did come, and it was on a roll. It rolled through The Beginning (Jn 1:1-5) with rhema about purpose, and closed out with insight from Gen 49, which had a strong message about legacy - the significance of increasing in numbers and why it's joined to blessing. This (latter) chapter is quite a "strange" one that talks about progeny and prophesy, the blessings and curses from a father to his sons. Referring to one of the twelve sons, Joseph, and his prophesied lot in life, the scripture said that "archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, but his bow remained strong ... because of your father's God, who helps you ... who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb." (as I read that last line, I clutched my body parts in awe, lol).

Remarkable. Although not fully sure why I was getting flooded with all this insight or what lessons I was being prepped for, there was no mistaking the fact that deep impressions were made. With the time I had left, I thought for a while about the strong bows analogy and the marvelous help, and then left home. At work, things coasted rather uneventfully until late afternoon when events picked up. The momentum peaked at about 3pm with me receiving two seemingly unrelated messages - one a phone call and the other an instant message from upper management. The call had lasted about an hour, and as I readied for COB, the IM came in, with its own loaded impact. It wasn't until I got back home and processed the separate conversations, that I realized the impact of the messages. And then the scripture popped up again, "but his bow remained strong ... because of your father's God."


I got mine, I hope you got yourself a God.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Intellectuals (should) exercise too

Feels plain weird to start off a new year without typical overarching resolutions and big hairy audacious goals as I would in previous years. The reality is (some of) the things that I need have been in motion for a while now, and I'm looking to keep what I have going for the most part. Having said that, I'm always open and I will take my chances. Everyday, or any day is a fine day to make history or new resolves. Overall, I understand my direction and I'm paying attention to a timing that's not necessarily reset or in lockstep with a new iteration of the Gregorian Calendar.

So what do you want?

To prosper. And I don't mean this by normative standards that associate, equate or even limit prosperity to (an ambition for) material excesses. To truly enjoy a rounded prosperity is to flourish. It's an overarching place where body and soul thrive, which hierarchically is one or more steps up from survival. One of my favorite scriptures says, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John:2, King James Version)

What makes the soul thrive?
There's gravity and depths to this. It's subjective, and comes back to knowing oneself and one's purpose. Knowing your work, your "personal legend" if you will, and living it.

And the body?
Better keep that body healthy and stay in shape! Even the Good Book says that "bodily exercise profiteth little*." And as Socrates put it, that “no man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”


Alowo Ma Jaiye.

Edith Wharton Quotes

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” - Edith Wharton, Pulitzer Prize winner.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Many the Miles

The quality time with friends and family
The company, the take out and home-cooked food, the conversations, city views and weather
The air even, especially when you think about that nasty near-foul NYC smell
The disrupted sleep pattern from late night video game marathons, squabbles with the bro or the homegirl ...

Enjoy every damn thing.
Peel away the urge to feel control/stability/familiarity/routine-sick when these weeks start to feel like a long time away from my bed - 940 miles away
Because I know without a doubt that I will miss these moments, these people that I love - if I don't relish them now.

Alowo Ma Jaiye

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rethinking Philanthropy

How do you think about social impact?

Source: Google
Towards the tail end of last year, I thought deeply about philanthropy and social impact. I had volunteered heavily all year long: at my local food pantry on the weekends, mentoring high school girls locally, internationally, and online on weekdays, and teaching teens and preteens on Sundays. When it came to making financial contributions, I donated to charitable organizations whose causes sounded good enough to give to. It did not require much thought, was my thinking, just basic empathy to help other humans. I would later find thoughtful conversations on the Gates' Foundation publication on medium, where people discussed ideas and enlightening perspectives about the work to reduce the burden of poverty and poor health for all people. Somewhere along the line, mindfulness would spur me to cross-examine my own values, motives and resource investment - be it time, mind, skills or money, and I realized I could be more intentional or thorough about (charitable) giving. And then I saw Poverty Inc, a mind-blowing documentary that aired on Netflix. The film examined the rise of charity as a multibillion dollar poverty industry, and showcased some of the negative impact of social entrepreneurship foreign aid. If you haven't seen it, this is a personal recommendation.


Putting your money where your heart is.
There's quite a handful of causes that I am passionate about and involved with, which I plan to support on a broader scale. Recent exposure had me wondering about achieving meaningful social impact and financial returns, and if these concepts were mutually exclusive. In the past I hadn't considered philanthropic funding coexisting effectively, if at all, with commercial investment. I did some research and found a field of "social finance" with investors and organizations. Good to know there are intelligently thought out models and options. Not wanting to endorse any players just yet, I'll explore some more in the near future.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

My TED talk notes


Open, light, see, wake up, fire, feel, think, know

Context for making bad decisions: 
Cocoon self, surround self with yes men, protecting self from cognitive dissonance
Conformation bias: confirming evidence of our beliefs, disregarding or minimizing the impact of disconfirming evidence

Biases build up and attack our ability to reason logically
Industries wrapped around our faulty reasoning

Science is simply a process, designed specifically to overcome our biases. The scientific method:
Identify a problem
Formulate hypotheses
Test the hypothesis
Collect and analyze the data
Make conclusions
Publish the test and results

It (science) is also the tiny increments in knowledge, not the eureka, that all go into a pool of knowledge.

Teach kids how we actually do think, they will appreciate science more. 
Get over internal battles and trust instruments.
Don’t start with conclusion and find evidence.
Instead start with evidence, evaluate it and come to a conclusion.

Learn to use the brain more effectively.

Ceci Bastida quotes

"Believe in what you do and think hard about what kind of changes you want your work to make." - Ceci Bastida

Monday, January 2, 2017

Leave trash for Lawma

Drama belongs in the theater,
Like history does in the museum
Her old flame wants to spark things up
The year is barely 2 days old

Extinguish that flame quickly like a cigarette stub
She's no longer game for shards and keepsakes
Wrapped up as "thoughtful" gifts
That deposit latent energy around her
There won't be warming and quenching embers anymore
Pages must turn this time

He made his choice, as she did hers
Closure was tough, beautiful even, and absolute
She's all stitched up, and only goes forward from there
New years or not, her days will be baggage free.

Credits: Express