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Jeremy Nickurak
Works at EMC Corporation
Attended University of Alberta
Lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Jeremy Nickurak

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What a great concept for a music-video/remix-series.
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Jeremy Nickurak

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Took this the evening of April 20th
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I am unreasonably happy about this.
 
I'm enjoying the Youtube mixup of the SpaceX CRS-8 first stage landing with Lonely Island's "I'm on a boat" song. Congrats to everybody involved.

I'm not very hip, so the only other time I've heard that song is when somebody in my poker group is mangling it (horribly). I think it works better for Elon Musk, but maybe that is because I'm not losing money.
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Here's a mental exercise: try to ignore everything that has happened in the news this week and answer this hypothetical.

List your top 20 situations that might justify a police officer yanking a teenage girl out of her desk, slamming her to the floor and dragging her across her classroom.

I'm sure you could easily think of 20. Maybe she's pointing a weapon at the officer. Maybe she's physically threatening a classmate. Maybe the officer noticed she is trying to destroy evidence and has to be stopped. Maybe she's punching another student.

But I can GUARANTEE that "being disrespectful and disruptive" wouldn't be in your Top Twenty. In fact, I'll go further: prior to this week, if someone had suggested this as a potential situation, your response would have been "no, absolutely not, no fucking way does that action warrant that kind of treatment".

Let's up the hypothetical ante: the principal at your school is calling you at work to tell you that a police officer just yanked your teenage daughter out of her desk, slammed her to the floor and dragged her across her classroom, and she might have a broken arm. Because she was being disrespectful and disruptive, and wouldn't put her phone away.

Would your first thought be "Boy, that sounds perfectly reasonable and appropriate"?

Of course not.

But this week we have seen people falling over themselves to justify exactly those actions AFTER they happened.

In my opinion, it's because we have a cognitive bias towards justifying actions that have already happened, EVEN IF we would not be able to justify them before they happened. So we go from "there's no situation in which that would be the right thing to do" to "well, it happened, so there HAS to be a justification for why it did", purely because we need to create a narrative in which that makes sense. We don't like living in an irrational world where violence is unjustified: our brains are extremely uncomfortable with that reality, so our brains struggle to find the bits of the story that could allow that worldview to survive. Our brains love to tell stories that make sense, and are REALLY uncomfortable when they don't.

In this case, the brain immediately tries to put together a coherent narrative of cause and effect: Y happened, therefore the X actions that justify Y MUST have occurred immediately before, and our brains will go into overdrive to fit the facts into that narrative, no matter how much it has to distort the facts to do so.

What happened before? The student was disrespectful and uncooperative.

A ha! the brain says, slotting that fact into the "cause" box in the cause and effect flowchart. There is now something in the box, and your brain is taken out of its discomfort zone. The story now makes sense as a flowchart. Even though the fact you found doesn't fit neatly and seems to be rather much smaller than the box you put it in, there is at least something in the box.

That is, if you don't analyze it too much and ignore the poor fit. Because if you did, you'd realize it's not a good cause for the resulting observed effect, and then your brain would be thrown into discomfort again as its worldview is challenged. And our brains HATE that. Our brains like stories, and like cause and effect, and like coherence.  The brain has its story, move on, nothing more to see.

This bias is so strong that if a person who has crafted this narrative is challenged on whether it makes sense and is justifiable, they go on the defensive quickly and strongly, because it feels like their entire worldview of cause and effect is being challenged. "I have a story!" says the brain, "and I have things in the boxes! Leave them be!"

And the way this works out in the conversation is that Person A questions whether Y is an appropriate outcome for action X. Person B perceives this as an attack on their worldview, and feels that criticism about placing the "disruptive, uncooperative teenager" fact in the "cause" box is a defense of the teen being disruptive and uncooperative.  It's not, but the alternative is to take the fact back out of the box.

"Oh, so you think the teen wasn't being disruptive?  Even the teachers and the other students agreed she was!"

"Oh, so you think that we shouldn't take any action against teenagers being disruptive and disrespectful?"

"Oh, so you think that the teenager was within her rights to do what she did before the officer showed up?"

Notice that none of those are really responses to the criticism that Y (being physically attacked and thrown to the floor) is not an appropriate response to X (being disrespectful and disruptive).  They are responses to a perceived defense of X, as if the other side were defending the students actions as appropriate and above reproach or response.  They are not, and no one has said they were.  But it's easier to counter that perceived attack than respond to the real criticism, which means shaking up the boxes and putting the brain back in its discomfort zone.

And our brains hate that.  Hate it so much that they will reroute attacks away from the uncomfortable facts and towards unrelated targets that are easier to defend.

(#notallmen 

#alllivesmatter

I had a tough life, therefore there's no such thing as #whiteprivilege

Notice a pattern?)

For X = "a teenage student was being disruptive and disrespectful", and Y="a teenage student is body-slammed to the floor by a 250lb+ body-building police officer, possibly breaking her arm and then dragging her across the classroom floor", my position is that both of those things are TRUE.  She was, by all accounts, being disruptive and disrespectful.  He did slam her to the floor.  Students being disruptive and disrespectful is something that should be addressed, appropriately.  But for me to say that X does not justify Y is not a defense of X: it's a statement that Y is an appropriate response to a limited amount of actions, and X is most definitely NOT one of them.

But boy, do our brains not like the story we're left with if we have to face that reality.  And that discomfort is at the root of our current conflicts on race, on gender, on privilege, on sexism, on religious freedom, on social and economic inequality.  It's our cognitive bias towards stories that don't disrupt our worldview, that make sense (as long as we don't think about them too much), that don't challenge the many other biases we hold.

AND WE ALL DO IT.  In fact, if you've reached this far down in this particular story, it's probably because (a) it helps you put things into the boxes in your brain that make you feel comfortable or (b) you are looking for the nitpicks to tear the argument apart so that you don't have to shake up your brainboxes.   But if you are in (b), hopefully at least this helps frame the discussion away from the "you're defending X" position that no one is taking, and towards the "X does not justify Y" discussion we should be having.
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Facebook’s real name (“authentic name”) policy has facilitated harassment, silencing, and even physical violence toward its most vulnerable users. It’s time for Facebook to fix its broken policy.
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Biked into the #yeg river valley for some photos. Google caught some decent HDRs. Time-lapse clouds pending :)
4 new photos · Album by Jeremy Nickurak
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Just installed some mousetape as purchased from http://mousetape.com/, and I have to say I love the stuff.

I'd badly damaged the existing adhesive pads on my mouse doing another repair, and this totally repaired it!

I slid the mouse around on top of a sheet of fine 400 grit sandpaper until the existing pads were worn down and flattened, and then applied the tape. (pic below).

Mouse moves much smoother than I anticipated. Very pleased. I might do this to my other un-damaged mice next!

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Courtesy of +Julie Mallet-Paret  (as usual)
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This is about the most persuasive, article on this subject I've seen.
 
"""
This is a huge, unnecessary, and expensive loss of talent in a field facing a supposed talent shortage. Given that tech is currently one of the major drivers of the US economy, this impacts everyone. Any tech company struggling to hire and retain as many employees as they need should particularly care about addressing this problem.
"""
According to the Harvard Business Review, 41% of women working in tech eventually end up leaving the field (compared to …
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Have him in circles
285 people
Geoff Armstrong's profile photo
Kerry Rae's profile photo
iydsu ifiyf's profile photo
amily anderson's profile photo
Jon Martin's profile photo
Marc Bryan's profile photo
David Nickurak's profile photo
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Education
  • University of Alberta
    MSc - Computing Science, 2010
  • University of Alberta
    Bsc - Computing Science, 2008
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Jeremy Vink
Story
Tagline
Edmonton-based nerd; developer for EMC's integrated VPLEX/RecoverPoint/MetroPoint high-availability storage and disaster recovery solution (it's pretty cool, ask about it!)
Introduction

My name is Jeremy Nickurak.  Some time ago I completed my M.Sc in Computing Science at the University of Alberta, where was working with Paul Lu's Trellis High-performance and meta computing research group. My chief areas of research interest are filesystem and resource access in a distributed/cluster context, especially where involving virtualization.

Since then, I've been working as a software developer on EMC's Vplex high-availability storage solution.

My resume is available, and I'll give proper consideration to anyone with a suggestion.

If you're interested in getting in touch with me, you can email me at my-first-name@my-last-name.ca (slightly obfuscated to prevent spam bots from seeing it). You can also reach me at the same address on Jabber/XMPP/GoogleChat

Work
Occupation
Software Developer
Employment
  • EMC Corporation
    Software Developer, 2010 - present
  • University of Alberta
    Research Assistant, 2011
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Previously
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Jeremy Nickurak's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE
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The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was carried into orbit by a Space Shuttle in 1990 and remains in operation.. A 2.

The Codeless Code: Case 150 Undone
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An illustrated collection of (sometimes violent) fables, concerning the Art and Philosophy of software development

Defend your health care from Harper’s sneak attack
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Harper just took his first chance to cut $36 billion from Canada’s public health care and he’s breaking the pact that all Canadians should g

Hangouts (replaces Talk)
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Hangouts brings one-on-one and group conversations to life with photos, emoji, and video calls for free. Connect with friends across compute

Tiny Tiny RSS : Login
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Login: Password: I forgot my password. Profile: Default profile. Use less traffic. Does not display images in articles, reduces automatic re

DashClock Widget
market.android.com

DashClock is a replacement lock screen clock widget for Android 4.2+ phones and tablets. It also exposes additional status items called exte

Estimation is at the root of most software project failures | Rob Bowley
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Synopsis. I believe estimation, and the way it's regularly misused, is at the root of the majority of software project failures. In this art

Revolution
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Revolution is blood and sorrow Revolution is tears and morals The children of Ernesto Guevara Are tired of his image offered up like soda De

Smart WiFi Toggler
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Smart WiFi Toggler is an application designed to control your phone's WiFi using location based rules. Its aim is to conserve battery and mi

Humble Bundle
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Pay what you want. Support charity. Get awesome games.

Titanium Backup ★ root - Apps on Android Market
market.android.com

EXTREMELY powerful tool. Backup ALL apps, Market links, remove bloatware & MORE! ☆Needs ROOT, Android 1.5-4.0+ (ARM,x86,MIPS) ☆Over 4 mi

Gmail: Email from Google
mail.google.com

10+ GB of storage, less spam, and mobile access. Gmail is email that's intuitive, efficient, and useful. And maybe even fun.

CyanogenMod
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A community, developer-friendly Android distribution for 80+ devices

Dazzling Photos of Gold Fireflies in Japan
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Digital Photo Blog shot these beautiful long exposure photographs of gold fireflies in Japan during the June to July rainy season, when they

Video Player
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This application plays video files from the SD card. File should be MPEG4 or 3GPP with H.264 or H.263 video and MP3, AAC, or AMR audio. Vid

National Geographic Photography Contest Winners: 2011
feeds.boston.com

More than 20,000 photographs, from over 130 countries were submitted to the National Geographic Photography contest, with both professional

Best Halloween Costume Ever: Use Two iPads to Create an Awesome Gaping H...
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A very smart dude by the name of Mark Rober figured out that if you strap two iPad 2's to yourself, you can create this incredible, freaky h

Afghanistan, May 2012
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With well over a year before American forces pull out of Afghanistan, the conflict there drags on. Every month in The Big Picture, we featu

Official Google Reader Blog: Powering Down Google Reader
googlereader.blogspot.com

We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader

Tiny Tiny IRC
market.android.com

Tiny Tiny IRC for Android devices. Modern, fast, Holo styled.THIS IS NOT A STANDALONE IRC CLIENT. You must have access to a running installa

Installed lovely new windows in our place, huge improvement.
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reviewed 3 weeks ago
Wide selection of delicious soups, accompanied by other selections like sushis, don but I bowls, etc. I LOVE the curry katsu dish.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Decent food, but small selection. Also pretty busy, compared to the available staff, which made service kind of slow.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago
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reviewed 3 months ago
18 reviews
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Creative and amusing course. 18 holes of clever monster/horror comedy references. Like most mini golf operations, it's tricky to enjoy when it's full of tiny live creatures (ie, children). Plan accordingly.
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reviewed a month ago
Excellent selection of expertly prepared food for a neat-eater. Great sampler plates, easy to share lots of food with a group.
Public - 2 months ago
reviewed 2 months ago