Hacktoberfest “is a month-long celebration of open source software”. The idea is to contribute, via PRs, to public projects hosted on GitHub. In addition to the good feeling of contributing to a project and learning, some people that contribute at least five PRs will receive a t-shirt. Sounds like fun!

Changing Rear Brake Pads on Packster

Replacing the rear brake pads on the Packster for the first time was quite a challenge. I needed to get the rear wheel off the ground long enough to remove it and put it back on. To accomplish this, I parked the bike on a sidewalk staircase landing leading up to my house. The landing is a little larger than needed to have the front wheel and the center stand on the slab.

Green Bank Telescope Produces 80TB of Data an Hour

SETI neural networks spot dozens of new mysterious signals emanating from distant galaxy reports the use of machine learning to identify 72 new fast radio bursts (FRBs) in a set of data in which 21 FRBs had already been identified using other methods. What really caught my eye in the article, however, was this:

Converting to Individual Contributor

I’ve been an engineering manager for around 3.5 years, but starting tomorrow, I will once again be an individual contributor. I’ll be a Technical Lead on a team that is responsible for events and experimentation.

Some Carbon Budget Numbers

The Keeling Curve shows that there is currently 406 parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric carbon dioxide at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory. The highest concentration over the last year was a little above 410 ppm. It was around 340 ppm when I was born.

Pond Dredging

I’m traveling back to Seattle after visiting my parents for the last week. Down the hill behind my parents house is a pond. When I was growing up the pond had a good supply of fish, as well as frogs and turtles. As the years have gone on it has become more shallow due, in part, to the surrounding trees filling it with more leaves every year, and that has affected the pond’s health. As far as I can tell now, the remaining fish were wiped out last winter.

Tolerance Depleted: Making Alt+Arrow Work in My Terminal

For a long time I have tolerated not being able to do Alt+Arrow in my terminal to hop over words. Alt+Backspace deletes single words, but Alt+Left inserts “[D” and Alt+Right inserts “[C”. Maddening! I’ve finally bothered to do something about it, and it was easy on my MacBook in iTerm2. See here. I only just switched it, but a quick run through of a lot of use cases did not turn up any surprises.

Arctic Ice Extent Time Lapse

It’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone paying attention that the amount of arctic sea ice is decreasing, but reading about it is not always as compelling as seeing relevant visualizations. Below are a couple time lapse videos showing arctic ice extent and ice age from 1990 through 2016.

National Geographic: Half of the Great Barrier Reef Is Dead

Climate change has devastated the Great Barrier Reef, with fifty percent killed since 2016. National Geographic Magazine has an infographic about this in its August 2018 issue.


I’m back home in Iowa for around a week. The first thing I heard when stepping out of the airport was a cicada. That’s something that is absent in Seattle: sounds of insects. There are no crickets, cicadas, or other audible insects in Seattle. I miss that.