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Margaret Rance
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Margaret Rance

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Wil Wheaton originally shared:
 
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." -Steve Jobs

I feel so weird about Steve Jobs' passing. I never knew him, I never met him, I don't think I was ever in the same place with him... but he had such a huge impact on my life, I can honestly and without hyberbole say that I wouldn't be where I am today without him.

In 1984, I bought my first Macintosh. It was a 128 with one floppy drive. When I plugged it in and started it up for the first time, it was like I'd stepped into The Future from a science fiction novel.

Before my Mac, the two big computers we had were an Atari 400 that belonged to the entire family, and a TI-99/4A that was all mine. I learned how to program on both of them in BASIC, and I was able to do lots of cool things with them, mostly writing and playing games.

When I got my Mac, the first program I started up was Visual BASIC. It was this confusing jumble of windows and weirdness that didn't work at all like the BASIC I knew so well. After a few frustrating failures to write and run even the simplest program, I gave up; writing stories in MacWrite and drawing pictures in MacPaint was more fun, anyway.

I wrote my first story on that Mac, and my second, and my third, and pretty much all of them until I got a color Mac II in 1988. I wrote on that for years, until I got my first Powerbook in the 90s. I used that Powerbook to take my first steps onto the Internet, using a VT100 emulator, a 4800 baud modem, and the mysterious ftp and telnet protocols.

Today, I own and use a Macbook Pro and an iPad. I have so many iPods, most of them just live in a drawer at my desk. My wife has an iPhone and an iPad -- the first two devices that made it possible for her to embrace her inner geek and understand the one she married -- and both of my kids have Macbooks. Anne has an iMac in her office that she uses every day.

Hearing that Steve Jobs died today hit me in the stomach, even though I'm not an Apple Fanboy, and I love to tease and make fun of Apple Cultists. I use a rooted Android and spend almost as much time in a Linux VM as I do in Mac OS... but the world I live in, was shaped by Steve Jobs and the people he inspired. I got to find the person I am because Apple tools made it easy for me to take my ideas and move them from my head onto paper when I was a kid, a teenager, a twentysomething, and today.

I don't agree with everything Apple does, but I feel like the world lost an important person today, and I feel like I lost a distant relative who I never got to meet, but knew everything about because for one reason or another his influence was everywhere I looked.

iRIP, Steve Jobs. Thank you for making the incredible things that made it possible for me to live in a real future that's even cooler than the one I pretended to live in when I was flying that spaceship so many years ago.
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Margaret Rance

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Today in class, after explaining genetic drift and the role of random chance in evolution, I heard myself proclaim "Death to redheads!" The context was how a family of redheads, out for a family get-together, could be struck by lightning and 4 of them die, thereby removing some alleles disproportionately from the population. I compensated by using that same family as an example of headman's effect and non-random assortative mating. sigh. Too much caffeine, too little sleep = teacher's nightmare.
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Margaret Rance

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Declaration of the Occupation of New York City | NYC General Assembly 10/2/11 7:33 PM
NYC General Assembly
The Official Website of the GA at #OccupyWallStreet
Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
Posted on September 30, 2011 by NYCGA THIS DOCUMENT WAS ACCEPTED BY THE NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON SEPTEMBER 29,
2011
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *

To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
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anthropology, coffee, books, pop tech eco culture . . .
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anthropology, coffee, books, pop tech eco culture, scifi  . . .