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Manas Tungare
Android/Web front-end engineer • UX Consultant • Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction. I prototype, design, & build delightful experiences at Google.
Android/Web front-end engineer • UX Consultant • Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction. I prototype, design, & build delightful experiences at Google.
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There is no "massive meltdown" of Trump's campaign. There is no "epic tweet" that "obliterates" his candidacy in 140 characters or less. There is no "masterful dismantling" of his talking points du jour. The article you just read did not put the "final nail" into his run. His latest appearance on the campaign trail did not just show America "what he really is".

As a businessman he never played fair with others, and a whole lot of people wish they could be like that. They wish they could pay 70 cents on a dollar instead of paying full price. They wish they could stiff the "big Washington man" every single April and not pay a single dollar in their federal taxes. They wish they could open their mouth and say pretty terrible things to a nationwide audience and then just brush off any criticism. They wish they could denigrate other people openly and proudly so that they can feel better about themselves.

They praise the man that has taken advantage of the system to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. They praise the man that has zero apologies to give for having done that. They praise the man that wants to do everything he can in order to change the system to further benefit himself and his family.

It is astonishing to see how Trump has been able to play the political game in the last few years. I admire his uncanny ability to exploit any system he puts his mind to. I don't think there is any single other person who could have done what Trump did to get this far in this election cycle. And he is still going strong.

I am scared.


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Today, a Black, American woman won a gold medal in swimming. This prompted a lot of discussion about the history of racism and swimming in the USA, and reminded me of something I think is worth sharing.

When I was a teen, I worked as a lifeguard. And one summer I worked at the city's "Formerly" segregated blacks-only pool. I say formerly in quotes because for all practical purposes it was still a blacks-only pool.

The city had two pools: A big, nice, well-maintained center-of-city pool. And a crappy, badly maintained pool near the poorer part of the city. While any resident could legally go to any pool they wanted, they both required an entry fee to get in, and the big nice pool had a bigger entry fee. Besides that, you'd have to travel a ways from the poorer neighborhood to get there. And guess what race the people in the poorer part of this city (with a LONG history of race segregation) tended to be?

Big city pool had two short diving boards, a high dive, a separate lap swimming pool, a separate family pool, a small grill / snack stand, etc. Little pool had a mostly broken diving board and a snack bar consisting of chips and candy bars and a soda machine.

So, I lifeguarded along with ONE other person (the big nice pool had 8 to 10 on duty), and our clientele was mostly young black boys and girls.

They'd arrive at the pool, stay about 30 minutes, get super rowdy and end up ignoring the guards and all attempts at discipline, and get kicked out. Every day. And when they'd refuse to be kicked out (a fun game for them), the guards were instructed to call the police on them. Repeatedly, we'd be told to call the cops. At first we would and they'd be driven away by the boys in blue.

This cycle repeated itself, with the kids getting more and more disruptive and the cops getting more angry at us calling them, and at the kids for them having to be there.

Then it changed.

I don't know what prompted us to start addressing things differently, but I think it's mainly hatred of our own bosses - our pool company paid us $4.25 an hour (minimum wage at the time) and treated us like crap. The "main manager" was a jerk and occasionally sexually harassed the (under-18) female guards. We hated the company.

So one day when the kids came in and we didn't want to deal with it anymore, we broke the cycle. We took the change drawer from the snack bar, and threw the whole contents into the pool, and told the kids that whatever they dredged back out of the pool they could use to buy snacks.

By my estimate, this cost the pool company about $10 in candy and chips. It kept the kids occupied for HOURS. And they were happy. They weren't bored, they used up a ton of energy diving after the coins, and they got to buy snacks that they could usually not afford to buy when they came.

That was the first day we had zero discipline problems, not to mention one of few where the police weren't called.

The next day we did it again. Same result. So we kept doing it, almost every day for the rest of the summer.

So yeah, technically we were "stealing" $10 a day from our company - hopefully the statute of limitations on that have expired in the last two decades. But I don't look at it that way - I think were investing that money.

We invested in a bunch of boys and girls who were already being shown that they were worth less, by the shitty state of the pool they were given to play in. By the way the company allowed their pool to have nothing to do compared to the nice city pool, so that they would be driven to mischief in their boredom. And by how the company wanted us to involve police in the antics of 12 year olds, when at the big nice pool we'd almost never call the cops for discipline, we'd just get several guards to kick someone out.

They didn't need discipline, they needed someone to offer them something fun to do.

We invested $10 a day to keep hundreds of dollars of taxpayer cost from having cops come deal with petty problems. And this was a CITY pool being privately managed. That investment was in the taxpayer interest.

The most important thing we invested in though, was that we treated the kids like we cared about them, not a nuisance. What I hope we told them was "Yeah, we get it, you're bored and wish you could afford the candy we've got behind the counter. We're on your side, and we'd rather you have a happy time while you're here than hold the line on a $0.75 snickers bar that the company bought for $0.10 in bulk."

I'm honestly not sure where I meant to go with this post, but I guess where I'm going with it is that a lot of the "problem" we had was that negativity was being met with negativity, and no one was offering anything positive to anyone. When we started being on the kids' side, we started forming positive interactions with them. Those led to good feelings, which led to empathy, which led to a good opinion of each other and giving one another benefit of doubt that we weren't just there to fill the role of "Angry lifeguard and troublesome kid".

In a lot of cases compassion, even if it comes at the cost of being on the wrong side of the law, produces MUCH better results than obstinately holding the line and trying to crack people into shape using force.

If you want to deal with racism, or fascism, or fear of terrorism, or pretty much anything else that's wrong with the world, I think compassion and care at the smallest level can break those cycles far more effectively than surveillance, police crackdowns, or any measure of imposition of order.

Edit: To wrap up this rambling story, as it relates to black swimmers - there's a history of racism in the USA and it involves keeping black people out of pools, or at least out of the nice ones. It's no surprise to me that it took this long to have a black gold medalist swimmer because, in my experience, my city wasn't interested in letting black kids have FUN at their pool. And god knows, if you want to stick to doing something long enough to become the world's best at that thing, you damn sure have to enjoy doing it.

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Saddened and outraged this happened again. Don't cops learn, why the f*** is there a case like this Every. Single. Week. these days?

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As usual, Yonatan offers powerful political commentary that resonates with me.
Some things I need to say which will probably be fairly unpopular:

(1) Pauline Hanson is an excellent example of why I think multiparty democracy is a terrible idea. Increasing the political power of people at the fringes might help you get your particular favorite idea represented – but it also lets other people do that. Generally, it moves political power away from the center and towards the edges. And so you end up with people like this having the effective deciding vote in legislatures, able to block any bill if they don't get their way.

(2) In related news, Jill Stein is now talking about how wonderful Julian Assange is. If you haven't been following what Assange and his cronies have been up to lately, he's been (a) openly waging a campaign against Clinton, saying he's doing this specifically to harm her and he doesn't care what else happens, (b) doing massive data dumps without bothering to redact sensitive personal information about people who are in no way implicated in wrongdoing (e.g., people's SSN's and home addresses), and (c) going off on thoroughly anti-Semitic rants in public. In case you haven't noticed it, Julian Assange is grade-A scum who happens to have been involved in some decent things in the past – but, AFAICT, anything good he's done has been by chance, not design.

Stein's self-affiliation with him only serves to lower her even further in my eyes. (Her policy statements did a great deal to do so before this, ranging from her love affair with anti-vaxxers to her lengthy screed against the rights of sex workers)

(3) For those who think that third parties serve an important role in the process while living in a two-party system, I have to say: I completely and utterly disagree.

Third parties would play an important role if the purpose of elections were for people to express their political opinions, and for the country to come to some kind of conclusion as to how its government should operate at a basic level. But that's not what elections do. That's the purpose of the public square, of public discussion and debate. Elections have a very specific and concrete purpose: to choose who takes various elective offices. That's all they do.

A vote for a third party is simply a fancy way to abstain; it doesn't actually increase the chances that the third party will get funding in the future, or that their ideas will be more listened to, because these parties are the fringe of the fringe: they are so interested in the "purity of their ideals" that they won't even enter into the process of actual dealmaking, coalition-building, and so on. Their ideas will never have an effect, because they have given up on talking to the main bulk of the country and are instead spending their time either preaching to the choir or trying to convert the handful of people who are so far on the edge of their own parties that they're about to abstain anyway.

And to be brutally honest: abstention from important elections on matters of principle is irresponsible.

Elections do come down to small numbers of votes. Bush v. Gore came down to roughly 600 votes' difference. Local elections, even statewide elections, can come down to even less. And when you not only abstain, but encourage others to do so, you stand the risk of actually influencing the election – but rarely in the way you want. Because if you encourage people who are leaning mostly your way to cast a protest vote, you're telling people who would vote for a candidate that mostly agrees with you to stay home. Whether you're on the left or the right, what that does is cast half a vote for the other side.

Do not tell me that both of the candidates are the same. To say that at this point goes beyond the level of "deliberately obtuse." You know they aren't.

Do not tell me that neither of the candidates is speaking about the things you care about. There may be the one thing you care about more than anything else, but whoever is President, and whoever controls Congress, is going to be making decisions about a lot of things, including things you care about a great deal. You do not get to choose from all the people in the world, or from all the positions in the world, but you do get to choose between two options, and they aren't the same. They will not appoint the same people to the courts, they will not start the same wars, they will not do the same things to the economy.

(4) If you are seriously so isolated that you think you would do equally well, or badly, under either of them, then think about what would happen to the rest of the people in the country. They wouldn't.

(5) If you seriously don't care and just want to watch the world burn, then I stand corrected: please, go vote for a third party. Or stay home. Or emigrate. Those of us who have to live here don't welcome you.

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Here is a doctor who has saved a few thousand lives in his lifetime by all accounts, and instead of thanking him for his contributions to humanity and the medical profession, all the credit goes to a non-existent entity for placing him in that situation? Seriously?

“After her brush with death, Patty Ris wrote Dr Heimlich a note, saying: “God put me in this seat next to you.”


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I don't like posting about politics.  I prefer math.  Math is the beautiful game of truth.  Politics is the ugly game of lies. 

But I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that if I didn't say the obvious, I might regret it:

We've got to fight Trump with everything we've got.

The US is dangerously close to electing a buffoon and would-be dictator: our very own Berlusconi, our very own Putin.  Elizabeth Warren put it clearly:

Unfortunately, if you’ve been watching the presidential race, you know that we need to stand up now more than ever. Just yesterday, it came out that Donald Trump had said back in 2007 that he was “excited” for the real estate market to crash because, quote, “I’ve always made more money in bad markets than in good markets.” That’s right. The rest of us were horrified by the 2008 financial crisis, by what happened to the millions of families like Mr. Estrada’s that were forced out of their homes. But Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown – because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap.

What kind of a man does that? Root for people to get thrown out on the street? Root for people to lose their jobs? Root for people to lose their pensions? Root for two little girls in Clark County, Nevada, to end up living in a van? What kind of a man does that? I’ll tell you exactly what kind—a man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure moneygrubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as he makes some money off it. What kind of man does that? A man who will NEVER be President of the United States.

Sometimes Trump claims he is tough on Wall Street – tough on the guys who cheated people like Mr. Estrada. I’m sure you’ve heard him say that. But now he’s singing a very different song. Last week, he said that the new Dodd-Frank financial regulations have, and I’m quoting here, “made it impossible for bankers to function” and he will put out a new plan soon that “will be close to dismantling Dodd-Frank.” Donald Trump is worried about helping poor little Wall Street? Let me find the world’s smallest violin to play a sad, sad song.

Can Donald Trump even name three things that Dodd-Frank does? Seriously, someone ask him. But this much he should know: If he’s so tough on Wall Street, he should be cheering on Dodd-Frank’s capital and leverage requirements that have made big banks less likely to fail. If he’s so tough on Wall Street, he should be cheering on Dodd-Frank’s living wills process, which is helping push big banks to become safer. If he’s so tough on Wall Street, he should be cheering on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has already returned over $11 billion to families who were cheated.

He SHOULD be, but he’s not. Now that he’s sewn up the Republican nomination, Donald Trump is dropping the pretense. Now he’s kissing the fannies of poor, misunderstood Wall Street bankers. But the American people are a whole lot smarter than Donald Trump thinks they are. The American people are NOT looking for a bait and switch. They are NOT looking for a man so desperate for power he will say and do anything to get elected. Take the hint, Donald: the time for letting big banks call all the shots in Washington is coming to an end.

And I want to make just one last point about Donald Trump that won’t fit into a Twitter war. One last point that sums up what Donald Trump is all about – his taxes.

We don’t know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first Presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims.

But we know one thing: the last time his taxes were made public, Donald Trump paid nothing—zero. Zero taxes before, and for all we know he’s paying zero taxes today. And he’s proud of it. Two weeks ago he said he’s more than happy to dodge taxes because he doesn’t want to throw his money “down the drain.”

Trump likes being a billionaire, and doesn’t think the rules that apply to everyone else should apply to him. But let’s be clear: Donald Trump didn’t get rich on his own. His businesses rely on the roads and bridges the rest of us paid for. His businesses rely on workers the rest of us paid to educate and on police-forces and fire fighters who protect all of us and the rest of us pay to support. Donald Trump and his businesses are protected by a world-class military that defends us abroad and keeps us safe at home and that the rest of us pay to support. When anyone builds something terrific, they should get to keep a big hunk of it. But they should also pay a fair share forward so the next kid and the next kid and the next kid who come along gets their chance to build something too. That’s how we build a future that works for everyone.

And that goes double for Donald Trump, because he didn’t even get rich by building something terrific. He inherited a fortune from his father, and kept it going by scamming people, declaring bankruptcy, and skipping out on what he owed.

Nurses, teachers, and dockworkers pay their fair share for all the services that keep Trump’s businesses going. Programmers and engineers and small business owners pay their fair share to support our military who show courage and sacrifice every single day. Donald Trump thinks supporting them is throwing money “down the drain.”

I say we just throw Donald Trump down the drain.

Let’s face it: Donald Trump cares about exactly one thing – Donald Trump. It’s time for some accountability because these statements disqualify Donald Trump from ever becoming President. The free ride is over.

If you have people reading your posts who can vote in the US elections, please reshare this.    I am going to disable comments because I don't see a need for discussion.  +Elizabeth Hahn gets the last word.

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Here's where we are today after slowly boiling the frog for a decade and a half.
There are a lot of things you don't realize are unusual until you step outside of them for a while.

The article below is by +Brad Templeton, and his experience of being questioned by the FBI for taking a photo of the Sun. (His camera was apparently pointed in a direction which could have also caught a Federal building, although the building wasn't marked as such) If you live in the US, you're probably nodding your head and thinking that "yes, that's about what you should expect" – whether your second thought is "and that's horrifying" or "the government has to protect its buildings."

A few years ago, I was in Tel Aviv, and was carrying my camera, having spent some time photographing the city. My cousin (a professor of political science) and I were talking as we went to a meeting she had with some government official she was interviewing at a Ministry of Defense building. When I realized that we were right next to the building, I said "Oh, shit!" and hurriedly put my camera away. She was completely confused; why was I doing this?

It was only when she didn't understand at all that I realized how the behavior that I'm completely used to – that having a camera out in the vicinity of a government building (a military one, at that!) would be taken as such an open provocation that I would be almost certainly detained and the camera seized, if I was lucky – is neither historically normal in the US, nor is it common in the rest of the world. Even in Israel, a country that has good reason to have an extremely alert security posture, it had never occurred to anyone that possession of a camera in the vicinity of a government building should draw an immediate armed response.

The rest of that trip was a similar exercise in noticing small differences. Re-entering the United States was another one; surrounded by signs warning you not to attempt to use a phone or photograph anything, you are moved through passport control, screens playing videos about the various crimes you are warned not to commit. At the end you show papers, and are fingerprinted, photographed, and interrogated. (This is what they did for citizens; I can't imagine what the non-citizens line was like) All the officials present, from the people inspecting papers to the people moving people about through the line, were overtly hostile; after the INS/DHS merger, USCIS clearly viewed its primary mission as preventing people from entering the country.

Not all of it has to do with "national security;" consider how children are allowed to play. In the US, they need to be monitored 24/7; playing in the front yard, much less going to the park on their own, is a sign of possibly criminal neglect. As a child in the US, I would go all over the neighborhood when playing; in Israel, my friends and I would roam over a good mile's radius, and my mother would routinely send seven-year-old me to the grocery store to pick things up.

When in the US for any length of time, this entire situation seems perfectly normal, and people wonder what I'm complaining about. And that's the thing: it had been feeling perfectly normal to me as well, until being out of the country for a few weeks reminded me that not only do other places not do this, but until recently, the US didn't, either.

Brad Templeton now has a police record, and any future investigations that touch on him will turn up that he was questioned for suspicious photography (and maybe more) of a government building. The fact that he has only this, and wasn't arrested or imprisoned, is largely because he looks like a respectable, white, professor.

I would ask when we started considering this "normal," but we all know the answer to that: after 9/11, when "security" became the watchword which would trump any question of legality or constitutionality. What worries me is that, fifteen years later, we are entering a world where there are adults with no memory of any other world. How do you move a world towards freedoms that nobody remembers, or argue against safety measures that "everybody knows" are required, since they've always been there?

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Keyword spam IRL
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Magical.
Take a Run at the Sun -- Santa Cruz, CA
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