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Now

As of April 3, 2021

Fraction iterations in CSS, FizzBuzz monsters, books, more math, gardening, and knee problems again.

This is a dump of thoughts that have accumulated at the top of my Now page since February 20-something.

April 3 2021:

Here’s a math-y CodePen I worked hard on today:

See the Pen z^2 + C with fractions in CSS by Lara Schenck (@laras126) on CodePen.

Stay tuned for more about this! In the meantime, here is a plants status update:

Seedlings growing indoors under lights
I applied some structures to support leggy cauliflower seedlings. Peppers and tomatoes and African daisies are doing well.

April 2 2021:

Starting on a new design for a monster animation about FizzBuzz! Here is a sneak peak:

A pen drawing on lined paper of a turtle-shaped monster moving across the page and "pooping" out smaller monsters and small droppings, leaving them behind it
A sketch of the FizzBuzz monster animation

I listened to this episode of the Cite Black Women podcast with physicist Chanda Prescod Weinstein, and I am really excited to read her new book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred.

March 28, 2021:

Sometimes I feel like I want to update this page almost every day, like so many things are happening and changing, and I need to make sure its accounted for somewhere on my online presence. Then, there will be, like, two weeks that go by where I don’t think about it at all. I guess that was the last two weeks. I didn’t have pressing ideas to share via Buffer for the March Twitter experiment, either. I just didn’t think about it.

Here are some miscellaneous updates:

  • Working on some writing about logic and about CSS programmers.
  • Collaborating with my wonderful mentee on a video about the DAG monster and DFS – i.e. a monster story about graphs and a graph traversal algorithm.
  • Started an animation of the box programmer.
  • At work, struggled to reach a compromise about typography in the design system, but I think we have something that will work for now. Feeling judgmental and horrified about the way parts of the design system work, but also feeling grateful that there is a “way it works” in the first place.
  • Having knee problems again which super sucks, but luckily the weather has been warm for biking.
  • Planted beets, kale, and cauliflower in the garden and started many types of peppers inside, as well as more cauliflower and tomatoes.
  • Struggling with decision paralysis about how to set up indoor lights for the seedlings.
  • Watched John Oliver’s recent episode about plastics which was horrifying, and wondering if maybe I can consume less plastic, but also knowing that it is corporations’ responsibility to change.
  • Going to co-facilitate a session on racial justice and tech for the April Racial Justice Muscle Building session for What’s Up Pittsburgh. I’m thinking maybe I can adapt this to a session for my team at work, depending how it goes.
  • Stopped tracking data points about work time, but I have enough data for the purposes of a machine learning project – I guess I am understanding that time and word count are not accurate ways to quantify productivity.
  • Started reading Antifragile, which I like. Some of Taleb’s writing is cringe-worthy to me, but his ideas are anti-establishment and, and I see a lot of parallels between anti-fragility and what I am reading in Emergent Strategy by adrienne marie brown, which is about complexity science and the emergent nature of social justice movements.
  • Finished listening to Redefining Realness by Janet Mock which I will be liberally recommending to everyone I talk to, and will be sharing in my work channels on trans visibility day which is March 31.
  • I’m part way through listening to Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler which is both horrifying and inspiring, and I suspect will be a perspective shaping book for me.
  • Thinking that I’ll start using the library for audio books after I’m out of Libro.fm credits. I guess I like having control over what I listen to and when, but maybe that would be a good exercise in giving something up, then I can purchase the book version later if I want to refer back to them, something I have a hard time doing with audio books anyway.

March 15, 2021:

While watching Numberphile videos about the Mandelbrot set (this one and this one), I discovered the mathematician Hannah Fry via Youtube’s recommendation of her 2014 talk titled I predict a riot!. I looked at her Twitter account and saw this tweet from climate scientist @GlacialMeg about icebergs, and that they are very frequently drawn incorrectly: icebergs actually float on their sides, not top to bottom. This is a cool visualization by Joshua Tauberer.

In one of my talks, I used an incorrectly drawn iceberg to describe the relationship between declarative and imperative code, and generally to show that the code we write is the tip of the iceberg. This new reality of the iceberg on its side paired with my programming languages iceberg gave me an idea: maybe, instead of teaching programming from the top of the iceberg down, or declarative followed by imperative (e.g. learn HTML/CSS first, then learn JS and more), we could teach it side to side e.g. teach HTML/CSS and everything related to it down to byte encoding. Then build on that by moving to another layer, React and frameworks to imperative style programming with JS to JIT compilers and the interpretation of languages. Maybe the next layer is functional programming,

March 10, 2021:

Working on some critical and complex typography things for the design system at work. Taking a few days off and going on a road trip south. Energized for writing and some interesting things are coming together.