a.k.a Why is carbon footprint offsetting not enough?

I often find myself thinking about my impact on this ball of dirt and life, rotating and revolving in space. While the impact of a single person is marginal, it is nevertheless very important. We have heard this in many different forms and seen it at play in our history. Like Margaret Mead said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

This is not just some fancy aphorism, but has been proven to be true by many. …

The colors had lit up and it wasn’t just because of the afternoon sun. The hill looked different since it had last allowed him to pass over it. He ambled around laughing, smelling the flowers and wondering if the dogs needed to be protected from the serpent he saw sleeping in the bush. The gentle pacific wind swept the leaves off their feet and the grass waved at them in approval. The path waited for him patiently as if in a daze from the hill’s beauty. It was not a day for doubt. The road was clear, flattened by the feet of the walkers, some who had built it, and the many others who had followed them on it. The flowers joined in on the dance, as the wind picked up its song. The shimmering water mirrored the late afternoon sun. …

… aka how do I improve my code?

Credit: Manu Cornet

As engineers, we take pride in our code, like an artist does in their creations. Just like a photographer obsessing over the exposure, f-stop or the depth of field before shooting, an engineer spend hours figuring out the best design, coding styles and tools for their problems. Over the years many a great engineers have contemplated on how to write better designed code.

Lets say good code is something that works as intended, in an acceptable manner. But that alone doesn’t make the design good. There are enough coding patterns, anti-patterns, paradigms and anarchist theories that we all love or hate. Plenty of static checkers out there can go over your code and tell you when your code seems to have been barfed out by a bunch of monkeys trying to write Shakespeare after reading Nietzsche, or is simply illegible. Most of these ideologies cut across programming language boundaries and can be filed under “Zen and the Art of Software Design”. But with all this plethora of paradigms available, how does one choose the right one? How does one remember all these when one is actually about to code? …

Chai and samosas are the quintessential Indian drink and appetizer. You don’t have to have grown up in India to see how pervasive those two are. Those chai lattes are plastered all over the menus of cafes from big chains like Starb*cks to your local mom and pop store that is being gentrified as we speak. And when was the last time you went to an Indian restaurant and did not see, and perhaps order, the samosas on the menu?

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Chai and Samosas. Source

For those who are just coming out of their caves or for some reason haven’t seen the influence of a billion Indians, chai is basically milk based black tea brewed with spices and sugar. For an average Indian (more common in northern states of India) chai is a drink savored in small quantities through the day. You welcome people to your house with water, chai and perhaps samosas. Its the drink of choice on a wet day, cold night, hot afternoon, mornings, afternoons, evenings and basically any other time you would want to drink something. …

Because its 2015

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Parliament representatives by Gender. Source: Huffington Post

When you look at the picture on the left showing the current members of parliament broken down by gender, which country do you think it is most similar to? If you thought Iraq, Vietnam or Honduras, you will not be off by much. However if you said Canada then you would have been spot on. The image on the left shows the gender breakdown for the newly elected Canadian parliament, with red dots being the liberals.

Only 30% of original Liberal nominations and 26% of the elected members were women during this election, which doesn’t even meet the UN mandated watermark of 30% female representatives in national politics. …

USA, the land of opportunity, has been the poster child of the entrepreneurial spirit. A place where innovation is God and small businesses lead economic growth, spawning numerous millionaires in its wake. According to SBA (Small Business Administration) nearly 99% of all businesses in US are small businesses providing for nearly half the jobs in the whole country. This long tail powers half of the country’s economy and is deeply embedded into the American life.

However a lot of data published in USA considers a business with up to 500 employees as a small business. This typically ends up including a large number of small chains and other mid sized corporations. But one always wonders what about those mom and pop stores or that independent worker? Is our economy also helping these small establishments ride the economic wave? Can more people work either independently or sustain themselves with a smaller businesses? More and more people have anecdotal evidence on how it has become harder to start and retain a small business. …

How do you spend a great wet day indoors in the not so sunny Vancouver, British Columbia? You spend it at UBC attending their One Day @ UBC Centennial Lecture Series. A morning session on Income Inequality followed by one on Climate Change is too hard to pass up, right? Dr. Hadi Dowlatabadi, from UBC, gave a very animated and opinionated talk on “Climate Change in the Global Context”. The talk ended up being different from the usual Climate Change spiel. He argued how climate change is not about humanity going through an existential crisis, as even a six degree change in temperature or the ice caps melting wont put human life in any existential danger. …


Inderpreet Singh

Go away! I am reading. http://wastedcode.com

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