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Mark Lee
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#nowreading "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power", by Jon Meacham.

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#nowreading "Henry Clay: The Essential American", by David S. & Jeanne T. Heidler.

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#nowreading "Reamde", by Neal Stephenson.

#todayilearned that Rails' ActiveSupport < 2.3.16 parsed invalid JSON without emitting warnings. #wtf

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Evidently, I work with at least one person who believes that the moon landing was a hoax. #wtf

"Enough is enough! I have had it with these monkeypatching Rubyists on this Monday to Friday plane!" - from the movie "Ruby on Rails on a Plane"

If you've been following the tech news this weekend, you've heard about the story of Aaron Swartz. It's taken me a good part of the last few days to process all of the stories and responses that have been written about him. Mind you, I've never met the man - but he's probably the first contemporary that I became aware of when I was just starting out programming by myself. (I don't think I met anyone my age who was as serious about coding as I was until college.) This means I've been following his work for around ten years now. You lose any ego you might have about your technical abilities when you read about someone who's a year younger than you and has contributed to an internet standard. Later I found out that not only was he a good programmer, he was also a good writer. His essays on his weblog were fascinating to read; it gave an insight into the mind of a technical prodigy. It wouldn't surprise me if reading his blog inspired me to support organizations such as Creative Commons and the Internet Archive. Eventually I went cold turkey on my feed reader, which meant I no longer kept up with his blog, interesting as it was. From then on, I only heard the headlines about him, including his arrest at MIT, and ending in the sad news from this weekend.

It's really weird to lose a contemporary like that. If we, as a society, are going to honor Aaron's memory, I think it should go something like this:
* Demand open access to information - this includes guaranteeing a free (as in speech) and open Internet.
* End the uneven way that money influences politics.
* Increase government funding towards mental health counseling and treatment.

In short, make the causes he fought for a reality, and ensure that his fate doesn't happen to anyone else.

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#nowreading "Dodger", by Sir Terry Pratchett.
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