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Students at unnamed university responding to a professor's question, “How many of you are HTML programmers?”, colorized, 2019. Just kidding, its actually by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

When I started writing this piece, I began with a long and artful intro trying to compare the future of coding to being a coal miner; A fledgling, flailing, and failing endeavor that pays horribly and probably kills you. I eventually scrapped the idea, though I still like it, because it honestly didn’t cut to the point fast enough. So here it is:

Not everyone needs to learn how to code. But everyone does need to learn how to be a thoughtful and responsible technology user. We do not need a deluge of poorly trained developers unleashed into the world under the guise of STEM. …

There was a story here but it up and left without saying goodbye. So instead, we are left with this fleeting memory of what it was supposed to be:

A post-modern nihilistic interpretation of the Aristocrats ending with a painfully smug joke about cat fur on a cream colored couch.

Welcome home.

Why Iraq was removed from Trump’s amended travel ban

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Image courtesy of / CC0

On March 6, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced his revised travel ban, to much continued consternation. Notable among the changes was the removal of Iraq as one of the seven predominately Muslim countries whose citizens were temporarily barred from entering the U.S. The New York Times reported that the decision to remove Iraq from Trump’s travel ban list came from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who cited concerns that the ban may interfere with coordinated efforts to combat the Islamic State, colloquially known as ISIS. …

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A young, hip student avoids her homework by repeatedly checking /r/new on Reddit. Image courtesy of Pixabay / CC0

Tips for the Academic Nomad

The 2015 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group found 5.8 million students taking at least one distance/online course in 2015, with 2.8 million of those being exclusively online. That’s a lot, and it’s continually growing. The likelihood of starting a job only to find yourself working side-by-side with an academic nomad (or an alumnus of such adventures) is increasing each year.

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Image courtesy of Pixabay, CC0

I went through two Fitbit’s in less than two years. They’re fun little devices, but in hindsight I don’t feel they encouraged any life altering changes on my part. While your mileage may vary, and I’m sure it does, there has been recent research suggesting the same.

If you look at them as more of a smart watch that can also do some exercise stuff, I think the prices become easier to justify. …

Lorem Ipsum was only good at filling the space between people. He had no talents, no interests, no particular skills of any measurable worth beyond simply occupying the various voids that occurred throughout life. Sometimes he sat in the seat between two large people on the subway. Other times he would find himself queued up for services he didn’t even need or at banks with which he held no accounts. When nobody volunteered for the dunking booth at the town fair, Lorem Ipsum was selected for the honor. When a women was left sitting alone at a table in a restaurant, Lorem Ipsum was always found himself across her table. When the marriage of his mother and father had grown cold and distant, Lorem Ipsum was born to satiate the growing rift between them.

It was with great desperation for companionship that I had decided to turn toward online dating. My crippling social anxiety had made meeting women in my everyday life woefully unsuccessful, and once illegal. The holidays were fast approaching, and I so longed for the touch of another by a warm fire to feel human again. I vowed I would not spend another year wallowing in my solitude.

With excitement I took to the internet, filling in various profiles and personality sheets to ensure I met the most wonderful girl the world wide web had to offer. At first I described myself as tall and handsome, hoping to stand apart from the crowd. This yielded poor results and I found my profiles lost in the veritable sea of good looking people who spend all their time on the internet. I honed in on my good qualities, discussing my love of badminton and appreciation for Oscar Wilde. Again, my efforts seemed to get lost in the shuffle. Finally I took a most direct approach. No longer asking for love, I demanded it. …

It is a stale and balmy Sunday in Ashford as I am in attendance for the marriage of Charles and Daphne Krump at the Royal Estates Country Club just outside of town. Their garden nuptials are rather beautiful and seem to be moving along just as anticipated before a gigantic bird resembling a buzzard swoops down from the clouds. I watch in awe as the creature extends its talons and wraps the bony hooks around the torso of the bride-to-be, dragging her back into the haze above our heads. Horrified by the sight, I look around to the other guests for confirmation of what I just witnessed, but find no other person sharing my reaction. The groom looks at the maid of honor, who then takes a large step to the right and nods at the priest, confirming that the ceremony can continue. The union of Charles and his substitute carries on until, again, a large and angry bird emerges from the heavens and steals another partner. Charles looks to the first bridesmaid who smiles and takes her new place with little hesitation. Again the bird returns and again the stolen spouse-to-be is replaced with the next in line. This continues for some time until guests, male and female alike, have begun filling in the ill-fated spot at the altar. It is not long before my turn arrives and I shuffle my feet down the rose-peddled aisle to the side of my dear friend Charles. My pale, terrified gaze turns towards his but is only met with a wink and sly smile before the priests booming voice requests our attention. I am unable to hear anything over the paralyzing fear I hold for what I can only assume is a swift and imminent death that approaches from up high. I stare at the clouds, my eyes darting to every subtle movement and variation in light and color. Time continues to pass and soon words are the only things still in the air. The clouds are gone and the sun is smiling down upon us with a most loving and blessed warmth. The ceremony comes to an end as a string quartet butchers the silence. …

A long overdue vacation is abruptly cut short when the captain of my cruise ship announces that we are sinking. He explains the situation is a result of navigational error and his troubled youth. A brief counseling session is held to return the captain’s spirits, and he orders his crew to begin the evacuation process. Stampedes of poorly dressed mid-westernites flood the promenade deck in an effort to obtain prime window seating on the available life boats. Having stopped off at the on-board market for chocolate bars, I arrive far behind most of the crowds and am informed that no more emergency vessels are available. I’ve never had a particular apatite for chocolate, but I can recount a litany of fictional characters who, in survival situations, always seemed to have chocolate on hand. …

It is a bitterly cold evening on February 13th as I drive to meet a group of friends at a lake house in Prince Edward Park. The faded headlamps of my non-terrain two-wheel drive sports car struggle to satiate the darkness that binds the forest around us. I glance at the clock on the dashboard and sigh as I read its announcement aloud. 11:38. I am answered back only by the amorphous static of my radio trying to play the notes to songs it does not know, with words it can not pronounce.

I continue driving along the broken, unpaved roads, pausing to search the various empty forks that indicate a residence or camp site is near. The black of the forest looms at each entrance of the pre-determined villages, like neighborhoods with no homes and no signs and no people except for a fool in a sports car alone twenty minutes before Valentine’s Day. …


C. Raymond Cruz

Computers, Culture, Crime, and occasionally Cake.

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