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David Levin
Works at Google
Attended Isidore Newman High School
Lives in Redmond, WA
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David Levin

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Odd choice for this movie's release date.
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David Levin

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Raising the smoking age to 21 might happen in California. [1]

Good for you CA. This isn't something people do in isolation. Secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers [2] among other issues. Doing things to reduce that is awesome. Politicians who portray smoking as an individual only affecting themselves aren't looking at the big picture.

[1] http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-raising-smoking-age-20160303-story.html
[2] http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/index.htm
Breaking a political logjam, the state Assembly on Thursday approved a package of anti-tobacco bills, including measures that would raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 in California and ban the use of electronic cigarettes in restaurants, theaters and other public places where traditional smoking is prohibited.
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That CNN article does cite a definite decrease in drunk driving among under-21 individuals, which is great. It also cites large amounts of binge drinking in this age group despite the ban, which might be partially explained by the fact that drinking needs to be done in a clandestine fashion, and so there's a feeling of need to maximize the experience when you do cross that line. It also quotes a couple of experts in adolescent development who see 21 as a largely arbitrary age limit that may not really be backed up by the science.

As to the proper role of government, I'm okay with "nudging" in the form of advertising and reasonable taxation, but making criminals out of people for doing something that mostly just harms themselves seems counterproductive. Alcohol prohibition is widely believed to have done more harm than good, and public opinion on marijuana prohibition is coming around to that same conclusion. How many lives has the drug war ruined through incarcerating people, especially minorities who are targeted more strongly by police?
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David Levin

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The folks at +Radiolab are wonderful storytellers. While I love them all, this particular episode RadioLab is more special than most: http://www.radiolab.org/story/hard-knock-life/

In the last 4 minutes, there is a really fun summary which was created and performed by Hamilton creator: Lin-Manuel Miranda among others. Don't skip to it. Listen to the previous 15 minutes so that you can have context for all of the references.
This Valentine's Day, a mysterious tap tap tapping leads us into a world of sex, death, and head-banging.
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David Levin

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It's interesting how some people love the "energy" of an open environment and others find it counterproductive. Whatever the case of how useful it is overall, it does seem to be de rigueur for tech companies of late.
 
First came the open-plan office. Then came the employee chatroom. What happened to good old fashioned concentration?
The fashion for making employees collaborate has gone too far
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David Levin

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This article argues that gerrymandering (and money) are largely responsive for the lack of moderate voices in politics. Basically if you have a district which is going to vote for a particular party, then you just need to compete within your party's ideals, and being more extreme in this case appeals to the people who will vote.

I know that haven't voted in primaries often so that means I'm part of the problem and its something I will fix.

About the $, it is pretty clear that politicians need to focus way to much time and energy (and perhaps policies) in order to get the $ needed to have a successful campaign. The only presidential candidate who I've heard speak out against large amounts of $ in campaigns is Bernie Sanders. It's one of several things that I really appreciate about his goals.
 
Congress used to be full of moderates who reflected middle-class, middle-of-the-road districts that elected them. That is no longer the case
Two moderate members of Congress explain why they are leaving
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David Levin

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Stories like this help make other people's experiences and challenges so much more visceral because they are so far removed from the reality that I've been fortunate to live.

52 years later and still Martin Luther King's speech seems relevant. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Then I'm left thinking how do I help with this, and I'm not sure. As much as I disagree with some things done by the ACLU, I do think that they are on the whole doing good things and helping to make things better, so I gave to them this last year. It's small, but it only takes a pebble to start an avalanche, so many it is enough to help with pebbles whenever we can.
This week is the first week of our #CodeStart School, a 13 month collaborative partnership between @AtlWorkforce @TechSquare @TheIronYard @OHUBAtl. 17 disconnected youth are in the program. Today, the 2nd full day of the program, we experience the following.
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Student speech.











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David Levin

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If you're running against a misogynist, xenophobic, racist but the big truth that you want to expose about him is that he has had liberal positions[1], something is really wrong. I suspect Cruz's polling has indicated this is a more effective attack, but I wish he was more principled (-- Well, I wish that for most politicians). Point out the misogynist, xenophobic, racist aspect at every opportunity because those attributes shouldn't be acceptable.

I really want there to be two parties that seem reasonable (perhaps in different areas) and provide some sort of choice that one needs to think about. Unfortunately, the Republican party abdicated its responsibility here.

[1] "he has spent his entire adult life promoting liberal positions completely opposite of the conservative platform that he has campaigned on."
http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/16/politics/ted-cruz-aipac-utah-donald-trump-debate/

Ted Cruz on Wednesday mocked Donald Trump for bowing out of a debate next week in Salt Lake City, and the Texas senator vowed to call out the GOP front-runner at a gathering of a major pro-Israel lobby group next week.
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David Levin

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I hope that I wouldn’t have pushed the button and deliver inhumane shocks to people in the Milgram experiment [1]. I hope that I would have been part of the underground railroad. I hope that I would protect Jews in Nazi Germany. I hope that I would have opposed the Japanese internment camps. I hope that I would be brave enough to do the right morally thing even when the path seemed easy to go the other way.

In this day, fewer situations are this dramatic and require this much courage. However, there are some brewing which only require simple actions. Today, we have a presidential candidate who justifies his ideas using internment camps [2]. He spreads fears of people just on the basis that they are another country [3]. While he didn’t call for badges on Muslim, he didn’t reject the idea either[4]. He also didn’t reject or distance himself from support by white supremacists [5]. He advocates war crimes [6].

While Trump can make for a good joke [7], in the end, it’s no joking matter. If like me you hope to stand up against seeing discrimination and hatred, now is your chance, and it’s all very simple for you to do. When it comes time to vote, just vote for the other candidate, whoever they are, because none of the other candidates can compare to how incredibly bad Trump would be for America.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
[2] https://youtu.be/g2Bs3qd0G2w?t=57
[3] http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/07/donald-trumps-xenophobia
[4] http://www.snopes.com/donald-trump-muslims-id/
[5] https://youtu.be/TGc2nN9OguQ?t=955
[6] https://youtu.be/TGc2nN9OguQ?t=1025
[7] https://youtu.be/sCyzdD0vYOw?t=29

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David Levin

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The old man rubbed his stubbled chin and said, “I was there at the start of it all.” Staring off into the distance as if he could see it happened, he continued, “At first they were really nothing but a dumb program with some wheels and sensors, but out marketing group sold people on the future of the ProBots: ‘How they could predict and prevent crime’. We kept working at them and they got better and better. We never did focus much on the speech functionality, so their peculiar vernacular was a bit of a running joke.

Soon we had enough of them to network them so they could track people from building to building for better predictions. We added unsupervised deep learning algorithms so they could better adapt to new circumstances. Maybe that was when our code became so big and complex that we didn’t comprehend it, but I think it was before then. It worked and that’s what mattered. Eventually our ProBots worked so well that insurance was part of our service agreements. When we automated the creation of the ProBots, our overall price became much cheaper than most business’ insurance costs. From there, things really took off.”

He paused for a moment and let out a deep breath. His shoulders dropped and he appeared much smaller. He looked right at me with a piercing stare and said, “Why didn’t we see it? The ProBots decided the only way to really prevent crime was to eliminate the people who did it. All of them. Suddenly all of the tech that we had been building was turned against us.” His head dropped and he shook it.

I spoke up, “But I thought everyone who worked on it was killed that day?”

He looked at me once more and said, “I was on a camping trip in a remote place and heard of the horror through online newspaper articles. The ghastly things adopted the malapropism Daleks ironically adopting our jokes about their speech as their name and then started screeching ‘Exterminate. Exterminate!’ all around the world as they transmitted this new thought across their network.”

#ApocryphalOriginStory
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I really don't think that anything like this would happen so I didn't see it as a fear. These things just reminded me of the Dr Who villans and then it was connecting the dots using an overused sci-fi trope, but I had fun writing it anyway.
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David Levin

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Only just found this: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/11/12/experience-the-blue-angels-in-360-degree-video/75044212/

The Blue Angles always looked impressive from the ground but this is so much more impresive and scary.
Climb aboard a Blue Angels jet in the "slot" position for an unforgettable 360-degree video experience.
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Big props to Martin O'Malley (democratic presidential candidate) who gave my favorite comment of the night:

https://twitter.com/ABCPolitics/status/688954507934351360

So many candidates on both sides seem to make demonizing someone a key part of their campaign. For Bernie, wall street. For Trump, foreigners. For Hillary, millionaires and billionaries. Maybe they are just echoing back a sentiment that is already there, but that doesn't excuse it.

For example, should there be more taxes that fall much more heavily (maybe exclusively for now) on people making more $? Very likely. But the rhetoric is "We need to make the millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share." This frames the issue in a way that pits people against this other group which is behaving unfairly.

"We are one. We must help each other if we want to succeed." Starting there and then frame issues as part of that would be so much more positive and inspiring.
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David Levin

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Like many folks, I’m starting off the year with a new diet. I decided to get an early start after a day of snowboarding in December. While on it, I’m able to easily overcome cravings. Enough selling, I’m sure you want to know the secret. Here’s how it works: When you get up from bed to get something to eat, you experience so much pain that you decide no food could possibly be worth it, so you lay back down. It’s just that simple. I call it the sciatica diet.

I’m hoping to take up walking instead soon. The downside is that it takes much longer to quit this diet than it did to get started.

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Thanks +Karin Nelson​. I'll try out yoga. I think there are some classes at work that I can join.
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David's Collections
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Introduction
On Google+, I post once in a while...

Usually pictures (that I've taken and processed).

Less often a personal/family milestone (often running related).

Other: I'm a programmer by day at Google. (Anything about this is super rare. Maybe once per year and if you follow Google blogs, I suspect you will have heard it already.)

Odd fact: I ran 4 marathons and need to start running again. I do it simply to be healthier and be more able to enjoy other things. I do like listening to audiobooks and music while running though.

My current running goal is to run a marathon in less than 4 hours. My best so far is about 4 hr 33 min.

Disclaimer: On Google+, I'm solely expressing my own opinions/thoughts, and in no way do I represent Google in what I say or do -- even if I happen to do something related to Google or the tech industry, etc.
Education
  • Isidore Newman High School
    1985 - 1989
  • Walla Walla College
    Engineering, 1989 - 1992
  • Drexel University
    MS Electrical Engineering, 1992 - 1995
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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Friends, Networking
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Married
Work
Occupation
Programmer
Employment
  • Google
    Software Engineer, 2005 - present
  • Microsoft
    Software Design Engineer, 1995 - 2005
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Redmond, WA
Previously
New Orleans, LA - Philadelphia, PA
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