Around here we normally discuss fun computer stuff; the abstract and symbolic. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a reminder that we must not lose sight of physical reality; of real resources, demographics, and infrastructure.
Our collective response, not only as governments but as individuals, must go beyond the symbolic. We must remember the reality beyond retweets and emoji flags.
I’m sharing below a letter I sent to my senators in the hope that, if you are fortunate enough to live in a democratic country, you will do similar. Not just to make your opinion known, but to — according to your ability — stake real resources toward building a future where we can flourish together.
I have already reached out to those I know personally in Europe and Russia, and would love to hear from others I may be able to help. We are all in this together.
I fully support sanctions on the Russian oligarchs, even if it means we must endure higher oil and gas prices.
We must also not forget to play America’s most powerful card. Not our military or petrodollar, but our reputation as a country of freedom and opportunity: We must open our doors.
Please ask the executive to grant Temporary Protected Status to Ukrainian refugees so they may find safety here in the United States.
We must also remember that the Russian people have brains and they have hearts; many know their government is unjust and would love to emigrate to America. It is in our strategic interests to let them.
While I hope most Russian scientists, engineers, and mechanics would help us create prosperity through clean energy infrastructure, if some must build oil pipelines and hypersonic missiles, I would rather they do it for America than for Putin or Xi Jinping.
Finally, the good fortune I’ve had building software for wind farms, commodity traders, and medical startups, all stems from America’s generosity in admitting my Vietnamese refugee mother. It would be my honor to extend this generosity to future Americans and their children.
While my software/consulting business is small (< $1MM annual revenue), I would be happy to eliminate my salary and profits to hire, train, and place as many Ukrainian and Russian immigrants as our Federal bureaucracy will allow me to help.
I hope your office will be in touch.
Why Russia is Invading Ukraine, a 30m YouTube video, is the best single primer I’ve found on the topic.
“Those given responsibility in the world of physical things court disaster when they confuse internet politics with the real thing.”
“War is going to deprive everyone of any assurances. No one will have assurances of security.”
“As the West faces the threat of a revanchist Russia, there is a weapon we can deploy to great effect to weaken our enemy. We can hire away his technical team.”
“I’ve been grinding for tiny scraps of engagement in the internet mines since I was but a wee lad. But my actual claim to fame turned out to be a memetic repackaging of funny cognitive patterns that ended up activating an incredible underbelly of tribalism that we didn’t know we were missing until now.”
There’s a direct connection between an Irish refuelling airport, duty free shops, and, eventually, the birth of Shenzhen and other special economic zones.
“There are no other constitutional rights in substance without freedom to transact”
“You may have noticed that a couple of years ago, stories on Hong Kong dissidents were constant in Anglo media. They’ve all but vanished now, in favor of Xinjiang stories. There are two reasons for this, and the difference in these two reasons illustrates something important about the weird double-vision of 21st c. conflict.”
“Presumably the reason this is going down this way is that, like many with power and authority these days, those trying to stop this can only think in symbolic terms.”
Insect: high precision scientific calculator with full support for physical units.
“Coincidentally, the radars on some missile defence batteries and other military radars operate using frequencies in the NATO G-band (4,000 to 6,000 Gigahertz) which overlaps with the civilian C-band (4,000, to 8,000 Gigahertz), commonly used by open source SAR satellites.”
“This library allows you to communicate small amounts of data between air-gapped devices using sound. […] The bandwidth rate is between 8-16 bytes/sec”. The sounds are also cute. See also libquiet
“Armed with an SLA printer, a sacrificial RepRap, some plating chemicals, and a general idea of how to use them, I forged into the unknown.”