Walking in the Neighborhood



I have been getting up lately between 7 and 7:30 and finding the time to get outside and jog or walk. It has been nice to have these few days to relax my mind a bit. I noticed that a few of the nearby buildings have been receiving general upgrades and work. I have been reading some articles about how a number of local colleges will be moving to more remote learning this Fall which could cause significant changes to the apartment market and general land use. There are over 150,000 college students in the area and if half of them do not return, that's over 75,000 empty rooms which would have otherwise contained students. At the current, well earlier, market rate of about $1200/month per person, that's a loss of real estate revenue of about $90,000,000. This is of course a rough estimate but I'm pretty curious how much of an impact that will have on things. We'll see...



Making a favorite dish of mine, chicken mushroom and onion in a cream sauce


Short visit to East Campus to pick up some furniture items


the sign and flowers I brought to the airport to pick up Ally

Between Jobs Roadtrip



Last weekend I was home briefly to see my family in Michigan. It was wonderful to finally get a chance to celebrate my birthday and college graduation. There was some concerns about the potential spread of COVID that I may be exposed to in transit, however recommended precautions were taken throughout my travels. One of the secondary reasons I went home was to acquire a motor vehicle from my mother who has two vehicles. I was considered the prospect of buying a used car in MA but I was reluctant to spend such an amount of money when I knew the Jeep my mother had was in great condition. I have my doubts about the future of the general economy as well; and if the economy goes through a recession period in a few months, maybe I can acquire my own vehicle at a better deal if I stick with this Jeep for a while. Who knows? Anyways, the trip was absolutely wonderful and I got the chance to relax with my mom and dad in a variety of different ways (albeit briefly). We kayaked, gardened, cooked good food, shopped a bit, went fishing, and other fun things. I am looking forward to hosting them in my place in Boston later on when the pandemic hopefully abates somewhat, although it appears to be getting worse in various parts of the country where things have started to reopen. We'll see I suppose.

The road trip back to Massachusetts was all on my own and I was able to complete it in one day. I started at 6:30AM at my dad's house and arrived in Somerville MA around 9:15PM or so. I made three stops (for gas) and drove through mostly clear traffic. I encountered two small storms and one short traffic jam. It was a fun drive even though my butt hurts a bit from sitting that long. I'll look back on it fondly.


At the Ohio turnpike stop


In the garden


Caught a big fish


The auto shop near my dad's house


Python Dunning-Kruger and more T stops

Recently, I have gotten back a bit more into learning how to construct better Python modules. When I first started writing Python, it was largely focused on data handling, algorithm practice/classes, and accomplishing some exact task within one large file. Nowadays, I've learned a lot about well constructed code from my internship with Shell Techworks and I have started building up simple command line programs which are well broken down into encapsulated chunks. I am starting to closely follow principles of object oriented programming; which I thought I was doing before but not actually that well. Nobody starts perfect at anything though. I was on the left hand side of the following graph. This graph relates to the Dunning-Kruger effect. This effect is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability

For programming, I don't know anyone with a peak as pronounced as what is on the left side of the curve but a local maximum seems to exist for a lot of people I have met.

Not about python
I have continued running between MBTA stops. I did the southern half of the orange line this morning. see above

Separately, look at this water. It looks like it's not water. ??? 


Book Review: Outliers


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell already has a great following and plenty of praise. The writing is quite deliberate to construct a well collected thesis. It gathers up stories from around the world to convince us of some nearly self-evident truths that are worth repeating. At the end of my copy of the book, there were two pages of quotations on the account of newspaper editors who praised the book. I don't think I should simply repeat their same words but I can add my own.

I feel that I was searching for years to find Outliers but I didn't know it. Not because I knew what stories the book contained, but instead because my own thoughts throughout my adolescence on how someone becomes somebody (which drove me to hours upon hours of self reflection on what success took). The subtitle "The Story of Success" is really what the book answers. How do some members of our collective society become wealthy beyond the measure of others?

I had a hard time coming to critic the book until I read other critics. There are some good points out there with regards to how the book strives to set up these wonderful 'got it' moments. It is quite intended though so I don't quite get that criticism too much. This is popular sociology of sorts so it tries to be a bit entertaining and not just dry old sociology stuff.

This is a book I will share with a lot of different people. Some to get their perspective, others to help build their perspective.

9/10

New Garden Plot on Campus

I went to the raised garden plots by the Albany railroad tracks around 9am this morning. I started weeding the plots and then I saw something odd. It appeared that some of the dirt in the plot that I had placed sprouts was tilled. I continued weeding regardless and I tried to clean out the area between pumpkin sprouts. About an hour in, a couple of people walked into the garden and began picking things out of the green plastic chest by the garden plots. I walked over and introduced myself. I found out that these folks were part of the group that started the garden and they now manage it. The garden we were talking in needs to be moved since the land will soon be used by the MIT College of Computing.

Realizing my work was futile due to the impending building, I helped them clean out the chest and we talked more about where the new garden would be. They told me the new garden is being planted over by the west side of Next House. Following this, I biked over to the new garden area and we got to work. We exchanged small talk for a while then I picked up a hoe and cleared out two areas. The plants I put in today will later create produce for CASPAR on Albany street later in the Summer.

This is the milkweed plant which is one of the best food sources for Monarch butterflies.

Look at this concrete grading, very interesting choice for the ramp.

Boarding up Apple store near Copley square



Thinking on Change in America



Systematic inequalities exist in the US. I support many protesters and condemn those who hurt the message. This week, my mind has been occupied as we see record levels of unrest in America. I'm looking forward to change. I have other posts in draft but this time belongs to other voices.


Out in the Fells this Weekend

  Instead of driving out to New Hampshire, the Cedar St friends decided to hike closer to home and visited the Middlesex Fells reservation. ...