Women’s March 2018

December 4, 2017 Comments off

I found out there’s going to be another Women’s March by – you guessed it – going to a yarn store and finding there’d been a run on pink yarn. Even better, there are going to be a ton of Women’s Marches in a ton of cities.

Get knitting, folks! And mark your calendars for Saturday, January 20, 2018.

There’s never been a better time for this, I’m sorry to say. And if you don’t know what I mean, listen to this Takeaway episode on John Hockenberry’s systematic sexual harassment and abuse of his female colleagues of color, who he systematically pushed out of senior positions on the show:

#MeToo Hits Home: John Hockenberry Accused of Harassment, Bullying

pussy hats


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Lethal Autonomous Weapons and the Occupy Book Club

Bloomberg View

My newest Bloomberg piece is out, in which I consider the problem of false negatives in the context of love and war:

False Negatives Can Be a Matter of Life and Death

Algorithms will repeat our mistakes unless we know what we’re missing.

You can see all of my Bloomberg View pieces here.

Book Club!

I also wanted to announce that my Occupy group Alt Banking is starting a book club. We’re meeting this Sunday from 2-3pm at Columbia (room 409 of the International Affairs Building at Amsterdam and 118th), and we’re discussing the introductions and first chapters of the two following books:

  1. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman, available for free online
  2. Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams, which also seems to be available online.

Please join us, we welcome everyone and anyone!

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Bloomberg View: Ray Dalio and Facebook

My newest Bloomberg View piece just came out this morning:

Ray Dalio Has an Unbelievable Algorithm

Does it merely reinforce its maker’s biases?


Looking back I just realized that I never posted last week’s Bloomberg View column:

Maybe Facebook Is Broken:

How can you stop people from sharing biased and misleading stuff?


For a complete list of my Bloomberg View articles, go here.

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Op-ed in the NY Times

I got my first op-ed in the NY Times today:

The Ivory Tower Can’t Keep Ignoring Tech


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Three months after bariatric surgery

Well it’s been a bit more than 3 months since my gastric sleeve surgery and I wanted to give an update.


I finished cleaning out my closet yesterday. All my old clothes are gone. I’m ashamed of just how many clothes I had to get rid of. I’ve gone from a size 24 to a size 18, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve decided to go goth.

That means my closet has basically only black clothes in it now. I made a handful of exceptions for stuff I didn’t throw out that was way too small for me 3 months ago, knitted things, and some workout clothes that are not black.

Going goth has been lots of fun, and deciding in advance what to buy has been a time saver as well as efficient. Since everything is black, everything goes with everything else. And since I’m vaguely looking for a certain type of clothing in a specific color, it means I can narrow down my shopping goals quite quickly. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have no rules and start buying a new wardrobe.

The only downside is that it’s kind of boring. But I think that will change once we enter winter and I can wear colorful scarves and hats, that are guaranteed to go with my black outfits. Also, I’m not sure what black summer dresses will be like. I might need a different rule for summer things. Suggestions welcome.


As I mentioned in a previous post, I have more or less changed my entire eating style since the surgery. I rarely eat meat, although I sometimes eat sashimi (especially salmon). I tend to avoid desserts because I don’t have a sweet tooth at all, and things that seemed bland to me before taste rich to me now, which means I don’t seek out buttery things anymore, since olive oil is already buttery to me.

I more or less live off of a quinoa recipe I learned about in college, which is spicy, savory, and somewhat cheesy:

  1. saute one or two heads of garlic, one or two onions, a bell pepper, a few chopped potatoes, and some hot peppers in olive oil until soft
  2. add 2.5 cups of quinoa and 5 cups of water, simmer for 25 minutes
  3. put a bag of shredded cheese on top, stick in 325 degree oven for 12 minutes

I think the most important difference in my eating now versus before the surgery is how hunger works with me. I still get hungry, but it’s of a totally different nature than it used to be.

So before, if I got hungry, it was like a loud panic button in my brain had been set off. I had to eat, and I’d scavenge the fridge for something to turn off the noise. Nowadays, I realize I’m getting hungry, but it simply means that I have to start thinking about food pretty soon. I have time, for example, to cook quinoa as described above, even though it takes at least an hour.

One positive consequence: I have more time to think

One negative consequence: I can never, ever, ever overeat. I have never really tried to do this, and so I’ve never thrown up or anything, but trust me, I’ve gotten uncomfortable. It’s not something you want to do regularly. It makes you regret your choices.


I’ve started running. For the first time in maybe 12 years, I’m regularly jogging. And when I say jogging, to be clear I’m incredibly slow and I don’t go far – it’s fair to say that speed walkers would easily overtake me – but it’s something I couldn’t have done 3 months ago so that’s cool.

But it’s also necessary. I have lots of anxiety, and I need to let out steam somehow. I’m trying my best to make that healthy rather than unhealthy.

Why am I so anxious? I don’t know. It’s hard being a parent to teenagers. It’s hard being a woman in this age of misogyny. It’s hard being a human in this age of political cruelty.

I don’t want to become an alcoholic. I’ve noticed that, since my operation, alcohol works really really well. It hits me hard, it makes me forget my problems, it takes me on a fast ride. It also ends soon and I don’t end up with a hangover. What’s not to love? Except I have plenty of reasons to know better.

Moreover, I have lost food as a source of comfort. To be honest, I don’t think I ever had a disordered way of eating (except for the doctor-approved diets I went on!) but I did know how to comfort myself with food. And before you blame my obesity on that, let me suggest that thin people comfort themselves with food all the time but aren’t accused of bad behavior.

That’s not to say I don’t love my quinoa – I do! – or that I don’t like running – I do! – but that it’s more like an outlet to deal with anxiety and grief than I’d like it to be.

Long story short, I’m doing great, and I feel healthy, and the world still is what it is.

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On Open Source with Max Tegmark

I was on WBUR’s Open Source with Christopher Lydon – a show I regularly listened to when I lived in Somerville – last night discussing Max Tegmark’s new book, Life 3.0. Other guests were Erik Brynjolfsson and Yarden Katz. Here’s the episode:

Intelligence By Design

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Essays: Futurism and Equifax

I’m very happy with an essay that just came out this morning with Boston Review, on futurism:

Know Thy Futurist

Also, my newest Bloomberg View column came out this morning, about how we’re having the wrong conversation about personal data:

The Equifax Hack Started the Wrong Conversation

For the rest of my Bloomberg View columns, go here.

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