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Hesky Fisher
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Shaun King asks a fair question about Donald Trump's plan to deport eleven million people over a two-year period. Answering it feels a bit like doing a sociopathic sort of "What If?," but sometimes it's good to see what's actually involved in a policy proposal.

If you want to deport all of these people, you'll have to do a few things:

(1) Figure out who you want to deport.
(2) Round them up.
(3) Transport them to wherever you're deporting them to.
(4) Dump them there and get them to stay.

The biggest things that probably aren't blindingly obvious are:

- Identifying people is harder than it sounds, since it's not like everyone has proof of citizenship tattooed on their arms. You'll have to put people in the field, and they'll have to have a lot of leeway to deal with ambiguous cases. Which is another way of saying they need the power to decree someone an outsider and deport them.

- Rounding people up is easier than it sounds, Ben Carson to the contrary. The police have more guns, and if you're already at the point where the local field commander is willing to say "this entire neighborhood is probably deportable," it turns out that rounding people up and/or shooting resisters isn't very challenging at all. Most people will stop shooting when you threaten to kill their families, and the ones that don't, well, you just kill them and their families.

- Transporting people is much harder than it sounds. 450,000 people per month is a lot; even with serious packing, you can only fit about 80 people into a standard boxcar or truck; a typical modern train might have 140 boxcars or so, which means it can only transport about 11,000 people, and loading them takes time. Unfortunately, people are somewhat scattered out, so if you want this to work, you'll need to use trucks and so on to deliver people to staging areas, where you can store them for a while until a train is ready. Fortunately, there's a lot of prior art on how to concentrate people in a small space while they're getting ready to be loaded on trains.

- Mass-deporting people to an area you don't control is harder than it seems, because the people who control that area are likely to object. You'd probably have to conquer and subjugate Mexico as a first step, and then set up receiving camps on the other end. Unloading areas would have to be fairly heavily armed and guarded, of course, to keep people from attacking you; the logistics are somewhat similar to the staging camps on the sending side, only you have to worry less about killing people.

- Running this is going to be really expensive, so you might consider finding ways for the project to help pay for itself. So long as you have people concentrated in one place, maybe have them do labor as well? They can pay for their own deportation!

So I suppose the good news is that we can answer Shaun's question fairly straightforwardly, because this has been done before and we do know what it looks like. We don't quite have the right expertise in the US, because none of our past mass-deportation efforts were quite at this scale per month; the transatlantic slave trade moved roughly this many people over three centuries, the Trail of Tears moved only about 16,500 people, and the internment of Japanese civilians during WWII only about 110,000. But outside the US, there's much more experience with it; probably the world's top expert on it was Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962), who ran a program very much like this which managed to move people at about this rate. 

Trump's team may be interested in checking him out; there's a tremendous amount written about his system, I'm sure it would be very helpful. And as I noted in a comment below, the design of this program really wasn't easy; they had to iterate through quite a lot of trial solutions before they could come up with a final one. You should always save work by studying prior art when you can.

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My friend Om is in Nepal building shelters and needs financial help for the project. It costs about $100 to build a shelter and they are needed soon before the monsoons start. I have worked with Om before on a non-profit and am helping this time as well. Please consider donating. Thanks.

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I pass this sign every day. Occasionally, I notice that I can't understand the Hebrew and it bothers me. Today, the truth registered.

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I highly recommend visiting and taking a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It is fascinating both for its past, present, and potential future.

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We took a tour today of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. The tour was led by Superintendent Jim Pynn and it was amazing. But even more so, I couldn't help but walk away with the idea that Jim Pynn is now one of my personal heroes.

The wordpress log in system is terrible. But it is nothing compared to their support system.

I use gravatar only because I want a picture on github and that seems to be the required way. When I log into gravatar they ask me to link to a wordpress account, fine. Now I cannot log in.

I try to get help and the support links lead me around by the nose to nowhere. When I finally find a contact link it leads me to a page that simply states that the gravatar support is closed.

I try wordpress support. They promise that it's going to be fine, they've got me covered, "They don't call us happiness engineers for nothing."

Here is what the "happiness engineers" have created. First they send you to their FAQ, if that doesn't help you type in your question to search the knowledge base. And if that doesn't help then you need to submit your question to the forums. 

Forums are not support. If you don't want to provide support then say so. But don't create a forum and have the gall to call it "support". What's the forum going to do? Go into my account and fix whatever went wrong?

Crossword Clue: "Perfectly"; Solution: "TOAT"

I don't understand this. Can anybody explain? 

This is 24 down from the NYT Tuesday, July 13, 2004 puzzle

Google+ integration with blogger is really clumsy. It automatically writes a Google+ post when I update the blog. I guess that's fine since I can turn it off. But that's about where the OK nature of it ends. 

First, it provides no context. To anybody following me this just seems like I'm talking gibberish. It doesn't say, "Hesky has updated the Stenosaurus blog and here is what he has to say". It just plops the beginning of the text into a post cutting off some word and adds ellipses to imply that there is more if you follow the link. It also doesn't preserve formatting or line breaks, which further adds to the gibberish nature of the excerpt.

Second, because my blog uses Google+ for comments it considers my post on Google+ as a comment on the blog post. If anybody reads the comment stream it just looks like I, as the author, wrote a comment in which I just dumped the first paragraph of the post. It makes it look like I either fat fingered something or am an idiot. Either way, the comment makes no sense in the stream.

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The bootloader
This week we reached a milestone by finishing the bootloader for the Stenosaurus. Well, maybe not finished  but it's working. I hear you say, "That's great! But what's a bootloader? Why do we need one? Why should I care?" Well, since you asked, I'll tell yo...
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