I have four mini posts that I am rolling into a new segment called Odds and Ends. This is the place for content that is not robust enough for its own newsletter, but I still want to release. I have a breakdown of how reapportionment works, the objects that I carry every day in my pockets, my travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a list of some of the media I have been consuming over the past month. Take this as a view into my drafts folder and what I am thinking about.
The Census Bureau released their reapportionment tallies today and seven states lost one representative (New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, California, and Illinois) while six states gained one representative (North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Montana, and Oregon) and a state gained two representatives (Texas).
The way these numbers are calculated is through an iterative process that CGP Gray explains in a 45 minute video. The super short version is that every state is given a single member of congress. Then, the priority number is calculated using the following formula where
P_state is the population of a state and
N_House is the number of house seats that state has.
A seat is given to the state with the highest priority number and the priority numbers are recalculated. This happens until all 435 seats are handed out.
When I use the term everyday carry or EDC, it probably conjures up visions of the subreddit where office workers are packing heat or preppers who seem to carry pounds of kit on them wherever they go. The things I carry are much more basic, but I find them to all be useful.
A watch is a piece of technology that most millennials and zoomers think is optional. After all, we all carry smart phones that already have the time on it. This is absolutely false. At an event, if you look like you have checked out and are tweeting instead of interacting with people, it sets the tone for the whole event. Further, your
I often wear a Marathon GPM. It was a gift and I like the look, feel, and history of the watch. It is Marathon’s version of the US Army’s field watch from 1967 until 1986 (GG-W-113), but that comes with a price tag. My second most worn watch is a Casio F-91W, which only costs about $12. Find a watch that feels good on your wrist within your budget and wear it every day. It will become one of your most used tools within the first month.
The DC metro has a bit of a track record of electrical problems. I have been in metro cars where the lights have gone out. Thankfully, I have never had to walk through the tunnel to an emergency stair to get out. Slightly less doom and gloom, I am a dog dad who has to walk a puppy at night.
It just makes sense to me to carry a flashlight on me. For a while I carried a Mini Maglite, but the incandescent bulb was not great. I recently switched to a GearLight M3 and I like it much better. Forgive the overdramatic tacticool language because the product is decent and fits my use case.
A portable charger and cable for your phone will save you regularly. Trusting your battery to last or that you will find an outlet when you need one will only lead to pain. Go on amazon and buy yourself a large capacity portable charger. Wirecutter has a good rundown if you do not know where to start. Mine is a battery that I had lying around and it probably not the best. However, it works for me.
When I am not going to enter a government building (a high bar when living in DC), I carry two multitools on me. The one on my keys, allows me to open a box or beer and do some basic repairs. On days where I am not going to go through a metal detector, I also carry a Leatherman Skeletool, which allows me to do a wider range of things.
Last weekend, I built chairs from Ikea that my fiancée purchased. Just using my multitool was a world easier than finding tools in my toolbox to build them.
My “core” accounts are protected by a Google Titan as my form of 2-factor authentication. With my work on Wikipedia and the Neoliberal Project I assume that a much more sophisticated adversaries would be interested in getting into my various accounts than before. Upgrading my information security to a hardware token made sense to me. There are significant downsides to doing this; it is much harder for me to get into my accounts from an unfamiliar device than before.
Sometimes the restaurant you walked into is cash only. Or you are traveling and you leave the range of states with EzPass. Other times, your credit card gets declined or the place you are at, weirdly, only takes AMEX. In those cases, keeping cash on you is important; a $20 bill is a lifesaver.
I trust my kidneys, but I like to have a water bottle on hand. I have used the flexible plastic 1 liter Nalgene since I went to Philmont in high school. I still use them because they are ridiculously rugged.
Blue Ridge Parkway
My fiancée and I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway from Fancy Gap to Cumberland Knob two weekends ago with our dog and it was wonderful. I would like to do the whole path through three national parks — from Front Royal in Shenandoah NP to Gatlinburg in the Great Smokey Mountains NP — in October when the leaves are at peak. It would be gorgeous.
I have a bad habit of keeping far too many tabs open on my browser of things I find interesting. Here is a taste of what I am currently reading and watching:
Sarah Z’s feature length rundown (2h12) of Homestuck is worth watching if you were also on Tumblr in the early 2010s or had to interact with people who did. I spent that time avoiding the fandom, so this was a good way to catchup with what I missed.
On Smarm is the best piece of writing that Gawker has ever put out. I return to it every year because the internet has become a deeper and deeper pit of smarm since the essay was written in 2013.
Everything on Steven Buss’s substack is an amazing, but I am especially enjoying his post about Politics for Software Engineers. The way that techies, across the US, interface with local, state, and national politics is not helpful for building lasting power. I am thankful that Steven has been helping out the Neoliberal Project with our organizer training.
Signal released a killer blog post about placing files on smartphones to “hack back” at people using Cellebrite (mostly intelligence and law enforcement) to pull files off of smartphones. Hack the planet!
I enjoyed Lindsay Ellis’s feature length video (1h40) on cancel culture. The middle section about her various “crimes” is worth skipping if you are not terminally online. The most important sections are 7-9 about how the online left has a habit of eating its own in a sort of tall poppies syndrome and section 3 about white allies.
In probably my last Interintellect salon before they switched over their pricing model to something more sustainable for Anna and her team, I got a list of book recommendations based on what I currently read. I am going to be buying some of them over the next few months and I thought that some of you would be interested.