Ikea obeys local labor laws, how outrageous

The LA Times wrote an article that was later picked up by a bunch of blogs about an Ikea factory in Virginia that pays workers minimum wage, gives them minimal vacation and tries to prevent them unionizing. Laborers in Swedwood plants in Sweden produce bookcases and tables similar to those manufactured in Danville. The big …

A Modest Proposal regarding littering and the homeless

In SFist I read that Scott Weiner, my district supervisor wants to give our San Francisco homeless brethren food stamps instead of cash when they bring bottles and cans in for recycling. I think he’s thinking about it all wrong. What we should do is deputize all of our homeless so that they can issue …

My own URL shortener

So I guess the modern equivalent of the vanity email address is the vanity URL shortener. I registered ian.lc because it was available and cheapish and because bit.ly’s links keep getting longer and longer. I tried both Google’s and Bit.ly’s BYO domain shorteners and didn’t like them at all. Google forces you to use a …

The genetic inferiority of stupid people

Sharon sent me Jill Filipovic’s blog post about Stephanie Grace’s “racist email” that seems to be doing the rounds of the angry internet. First of all Stephanie Grace’s email was kind of racist. Not Arizona racist, but it definitely had a racist subtext. She doesn’t state that she believes that African Americans are genetically predisposed …

Antidepressants and the placebo effect

I’m starting to shift the content of the blog beyond simple technical issues. My use of LiveJournal has diminished as everyone elses’ has. I’ll keep posting personal stuff there but more general stuff will end up here. Over the past few years I’ve heard rumors of studies that showed a negligible difference between the effectiveness of antidepressants …

Detecting advanced CSS features

I decided to do some fancy typography in my résumé, but I wanted to have a sane fallback for browsers that don’t support the latest features. I have my name rotated 90 degrees using CSS3 transforms, but simply applying the transform: rotate(-90deg) CSS property isn’t enough to get the effect I want. To make it …

Implementing Information Retrieval Systems

I believe that it’s valuable to implement software components that you use from scratch merely to gain a better understanding of the systems you use. I’ve never implemented an operating system from scratch or designed and implemented a programming language like many of my friends but I’d really like to one day. Part of the …

Flipy, a new Python library for Flickr

In the past day or so I’ve written a new Python library for Flickr. It came from some frustration using other Python libraries. They’re all great, but none of them work quite how I want. My goal was to have a library that feels like Python and the Flickr API at the same time. I …