Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Weeknotes 2020-03-08

The Week That Was: The COVID19 pandemic is starting to pick up steam, both internationally (including the US) and here in the Philippines. The Trump administration seems to be handling things poorly, which would be typical to expect of an administration not used to transparency or integrity. For all our sakes they need to get their act together. The PH government appears to be doing slightly better (assuming no hidden epidemic), although their messaging still seems to be all over the place. Some local governments have started suspending classes and private business are now requiring self-quarantines, and rumor has it the Greenhills business district was a ghost town the last few days after a confirmed case identified in that area. Bill Gates famously warned a few years ago that a global pandemic may be the most predictable threat to the world in modern times, but let’s hope our governments can get their act together and get this thing under control. Otherwise, the future may look like this:

On I wrote:

The year is 2034. Everybody has COVID19, toilet paper is but a distant memory. A young woman claims to be immune. Crowds flock around to watch her touch her own face.

The year is 2034. Everybody has COVID19, toilet paper is but a distant memory. A young woman claims to be immune. Crowds flock around to watch her touch her own face.

I like how the weeknotes give me space to do a little commentary on world events without needing to do a full blog post about them. So let’s talk US politics for a bit. I’m not an American so my opinion isn’t worth much, but US politics disproportionately affects the rest of the world, so I think we get to comment too. Besides, a vast majority of the Americans I follow on Twitter are either liberal or quiet on politics, so I’m kind of accidentally exposed to the Democrats’ POV a lot of the time.

So, the Democratic Primaries: More or less down to Biden or Sanders. I think Biden is the favorite at the moment; my opinion on him is largely summarized by a meme I say (but can no longer find again) where his image was given the treatment similar to the Obama hope poster, except with the caption “MEDIOCRE FOR ALL”. He seems like the type of candidate you get when the base is largely divided and people have to settle on a “least common denominator” kind of candidate. I like Sanders, but his electability is a real issue (because Americans are so indoctrinated against anything that could remotely be-called “socialism”) and so are his “Bernie bros”. If he’s able to move the needle towards the left even a little for the Democrat base/establishment, that would be great. It’s too bad the race is down to two old white guys. I liked Warren as a candidate more than Sanders, but her being a woman was also a downside in misogynist America. None of Sanders’ or Warren’s progressive programs are going to mean anything if they can’t retake the Senate though.

In any case, the outcome of the US political process may very well affect the future of liberal democracy worldwide, as they have been slipping further and further away from that ideal during the past couple of decades, emboldening populists and strongmen in other countries, including my own.

On a personal level, my week was exhausting. Mostly due to social events necessitating travel to far-flung parts of the Metro and also filial duties requiring me to spend inordinate amounts of time in hospital waiting rooms. Nothing serious, just accompanying some loved ones for regular tests and checkups, but am severely annoyed by the obvious lack of doctors causing severe waiting times for patients. One of the arguments against universal health care is that it would increase waiting times and such, I wonder if that’s something that’s happening here.

Gaming: I got last month’s Humble Choice, mostly by default. The main draw for me was Frostpunk which some friends had been recommending. And I also promised someone that I would stream a survival game blind, so I did that for Frostpunk last week. Otherwise, we’re kind of in a holding pattern until the FF7R release next month.

Personal projects: Not much progress the past week. I need to plan out some new features.

Paid work: Billed a small amount of time, mostly for consulting meetings. Same old, same old.

We did two quizzes last week. The first was for fun, and I missed probably my only chance to win first place by enumerating Street Fighter II characters; the game mechanic was such that we needed to bid on how many we could enumerate (max 15 out of 20), and I initially wanted to bid 15 but I was talked down and made to doubt myself and we instead bid 10. I actually got 16 (forgot about the extra evil fighters in succeeding remakes), but since we only bid 10, that’s what we got and we ended up losing by 1 point. This decision may haunt me forever lol.

Second quiz was for the Geekfight League we’ve been doing this year. We only finished second place, but that was enough to give us the solo lead in the league rankings, so that was a better outcome than the previous quiz. (And this loss was more “we really didn’t know the answers” vs “we did know the answers but we screwed up” so it was less feels-bad)

Site changes this week:

  • Minor theme updates
  • Some older posts have been receiving a lot of spam via the comment form. I thought about disabling it completely, but instead for now I’ve disabled comments on posts older than 1 year, let’s see how that shakes out.
  • I’ve been trying to minimize JS on this site for a while. Changing my spoiler tags to pure css was a step in this direction.
  • Blogroll updated! Just a few new additions. I should figure out a way to do this automatically from my RSS reader.

This coming week I’m looking forward to:

  • more filial errands
  • more thinking about things
  • moving stuff around
  • more consulting meetings
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