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Joe Gibbs Politz
Works at Swarthmore College
Attends Brown University
Lives in Philadelphia, PA
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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This is brilliantly written.
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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This is a great explanation of why the train is always late, the plane is always too full, and why everyone else has more friends.
The following is a draft of an article I have submitted for publication in CHANCE Magazine, a publication of the American Statistical Association. With their encouragement, I am publishing it here to solicit comments from rea...
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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This is such a beautifully written profile of Stephen Colbert. And I'm posting a way longer excerpt than normal because there's such a poignancy to his attitude towards life (and death) throughout.

=========

Before long we were sitting there with a plate of roast chicken and several bottles of Cholula on the table between us, both of us rubbing tears from our eyes. “The level of emotion you're getting from me right now—I'm not saying it's dishonest,” he said. “I'm just saying it's not normal. I'd really love to go to bed. I promise you, I do not spend my time on the edge of tears.”

I've easily played the recording of that conversation a dozen times, only one of them in order to transcribe.

...

He sat silently for a while and then smiled. “Yeeeahhhh,” he said. “I'm not angry. I'm not. I'm mystified, I'll tell you that. But I'm not angry.”

There were such depths in the way he said “mystified.”

“That might be why you don't see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It's that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

...

Instead he said, “So my reaction when I hear that question isn't”—he shifted into a somber, sonorous voice—“ ‘Oh, I don't want to talk about that.’ It's that I don't want to say this—ready?” He snapped his fingers and locked eyes with me in a pose of dramatic intensity. “MY. MOTHER.” His face softened. “But the answer is: my mother.”

He lifted his arms as if to take in the office, the people working and laughing outside his door, the city and the sky, all of it. “And the world,” he said. “It's so…lovely. I'm very grateful to be alive, even though I know a lot of dead people.” The urge to be grateful, he said, is not a function of his faith. It's not “the Gospel tells us” and therefore we give thanks. It is what he has always felt: grateful to be alive. “And so that act, that impulse to be grateful, wants an object. That object I call God. Now, that could be many things. I was raised in a Catholic tradition. I'll start there. That's my context for my existence, is that I am here to know God, love God, serve God, that we might be happy with each other in this world and with Him in the next—the catechism. That makes a lot of sense to me. I got that from my mom. And my dad. And my siblings.”

He was tracing an arc on the table with his fingers and speaking with such deliberation and care. “I was left alone a lot after Dad and the boys died.... And it was just me and Mom for a long time,” he said. “And by her example am I not bitter. By her example. She was not. Broken, yes. Bitter, no.” Maybe, he said, she had to be that for him. He has said this before—that even in those days of unremitting grief, she drew on her faith that the only way to not be swallowed by sorrow, to in fact recognize that our sorrow is inseparable from our joy, is to always understand our suffering, ourselves, in the light of eternity. What is this in the light of eternity? Imagine being a parent so filled with your own pain, and yet still being able to pass that on to your son.

“It was a very healthy reciprocal acceptance of suffering,” he said. “Which does not mean being defeated by suffering. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.” He smiled in anticipation of the callback: “ ‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that's why. Maybe, I don't know. That might be why you don't see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It's that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.

I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien's mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn't mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”

http://www.gq.com/story/stephen-colbert-gq-cover-story
Stephen Colbert is ready to reinvent The Late Show. But how will he do it? And who will he be this time? The new king of late-night gives GQ a sneak peek
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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Template instantiation.
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SPLASH authors, please note (and pass on to your students):

I got a mysterious call this morning (from 800-217-4402) that asked me to confirm my attendance to SPLASH. It went to voicemail, so mostly because I was mystified, I called them back. (I don't plan to attend SPLASH and wanted to make sure I hadn't accidentally been charged for it; also, I wondered what new level of customer service the ACM had ascended to.)

It was a somewhat incoherent conversation (the person I talked to had a strong Eastern European accent, and there seemed to be cars honking in the background). They said they were calling because the Sheraton was running out of space, with only 50 rooms left. I told them I had no plans to attend SPLASH, which sort of surprised them; they wanted to know if anyone else from my organization would be going and if they could have their names. I told them to buzz off.

I looked up their number and found this:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/EHS-Exhibitors-Housing-Services/internet/EHS-Exhibitors-Housing-Services-Called-about-trade-show-hotel-accommodations-and-lied-abo-940698

http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/8002174402

http://www.scambook.com/company/view/129876/EHS-Exhibitors-Housing-Services

etc.

CC +Annabel Satin 
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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Now this is what it looks like to come to a  #bootstrap2  workshop prepared.

From the album at https://www.facebook.com/emmanuel.schanzer/posts/10152964703831916
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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+Emmanuel Schanzer​ discussing the bridge to CS at the #bootstrap2 workshop in NYC (using #pyret!)
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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Step 1: Do what you care about
Step 2: Don't stop
Step 3: Now you have a better goal than tenure

Inspiring post.
Even before I got tenure, folks have told me they're “looking forward to an academic advice post on tenure.” I've found it easy to write academic posts on just about every topic. Except this one. I got tenure over a year ago, yet every time I've tried to sum up my views on tenure, I froze.
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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+Shriram Krishnamurthi​ might like this.
 
I'm staying with my wife's family at the moment, which means that I have to speak and listen to a lot of French. I've been doing this for several years now, and have recently got to the point where I feel comfortable reading at least some novels in French (I don't understand every word, but if the novel doesn't depend too much on florid descriptive passages or somewhat technical jargon, as is the case with several detective novels, for example, then I find it OK), so I'm doing that in order to try to improve my level of comprehension. It's hard to tell to what extent this is working, but I think the answer is non-zero.

From time to time, I realize that a word I don't understand has come up often enough that it would be very useful to understand it. An obvious thing to do in this situation is to look the word up in a dictionary, but that has the drawback that you just see a bare definition. To fix a word in your mind properly, what you really want is to understand it a few times in context. So when I've done that in the past, I've had to hope that I'll be lucky and that it will come up a few times before I've forgotten what it means, so that that fixing process can take place. 

Recently, I've found a website that makes things much easier. It gives you not just the word but a large number of examples of the word in different sentences, all taken from the real world and translated idiomatically. How the database has been created I'm not sure, but I've found it a great tool. Just now I looked up the word "écart", which I'd been hearing. It turns out to mean "gap" or "discrepancy" and is used when one might say something like "There is a big gap between the government's promises in its manifesto and what it has actually done since being elected." Another word I looked up recently is "décalé", which means something like "shifted" or "displaced", but can also be used metaphorically to mean "quirky". But again, one understands the meaning far better after reading thirty examples of the word's use. So this is going to be my French/English dictionary of choice from now on (or until I find an even better one).  
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Recently (as in weeks, I'm not sure exactly when this started), I started having an issue with JS API requests to fetch public on the web files with the credential of a user that doesn't own the file.  The access token has "drive.file" scope.

These requests work if made without user credentials, and just my application's API key -- so they work before the user connects to drive, but once they connect the same request (with their credentials) fails.

Right now a really silly workaround makes it work -- setting the access_token to null before the request (and resetting it after) makes things work.  Other requests to files owned by the connected user work fine, it's just accessing public files owned by others when connected.

Has anyone else noticed something similar?  Is this an intentional recent change?  Thanks for any information!
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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Great story.
"Ronda stopped signing, looked me in the eye and said, 'What did you just say?'" Read this amazing story of how Ronda Rousey helped a young fan.
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Joe Gibbs Politz

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In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, there should be a house named Krippendorff.
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Teacher, Hacker, Writer, etc.
Employment
  • Swarthmore College
    Visiting Instructor, 2015 - present
  • Brown University
    Grad Student, 2009 - 2014
  • Google
    Intern, 2012 - 2012
  • Google
    Intern, 2011 - 2011
  • Fujitsu
    Intern, 2010 - 2010
  • assistments.org
    Tech Lead, 2008 - 2009
  • Friendly's
    Comestibles Preparator, 2003 - 2008
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Providence, RI - Mountain View, CA - Worcester, MA - San Jose, Costa Rica - Atlanta, GA - Holden, MA
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  • Brown University
    Computer Science, 2009 - present
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    Computer Science, 2005 - 2009
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