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Attention all geeks and nerds! It's time to shed that stigma and embrace your inner programmer, because being a programmer is cool!

Back in the day, programmers were seen as nothing more than a bunch of socially awkward techies who spent all their time huddled in front of a computer screen. But these days, programming is the new black. Sure, you might still get the occasional eye-roll from your non-techy friends when you start talking about your latest coding project, but they'll be eating their words when they see the big bucks you're raking in. Long gone are the days of the starving programmer, subsisting on a diet of ramen noodles and Red Bull. These days, programmers are the rock stars of the tech world.

Now that I am in my mid-40s and miserably failed on becoming a legendary streamer I decided that I want to learn how to code. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and am not chasing a career in software engineering but I wanted to learn a new skill and the thought of me programming kind of appeals to my inner geek. I also know Basic back from my days with a Commodore C64 and some HTML (although that's not considered coding).

First things first, you'll need to choose a programming language to learn. So I've asked the good folks over at Mastodon. But don't be fooled by the cute, friendly names like Python or Ruby. These languages are devious, and they will do their best to trip you up at every turn. As you dive into the world of coding, you'll quickly realize that debugging is a full-time job. You'll spend hours staring at a screen, trying to figure out why your code won't run. And just when you think you've finally figured it out, you'll discover that you left off a crucial semicolon and have to start all over again. But don't give up! The joy of finally getting your code to work is worth all the frustration. Just try not to let your celebratory dance moves start a office-wide conga line. I've decided to start with Python an am currently taking courses at Code Academy and downloaded Mimo - a great app that delivers mini-classes in snack-able extent. By now I am capable of creating breathtaking pieces of code like:

stock = 600 
jeans_sold = 500 
target = 500 

target_hit = jeans_sold == target 
print("Hit jeans sale target: ") 

current_stock = stock - jeans_sold 
in_stock = current_stock != 0 
print("Jeans in stock:") 

Python is a high-level, interpreted programming language. It was first released in 1991 and has since become a popular language for web development, data analysis, and scientific computing. One of the main advantages is its simplicity and readability. It has a relatively small set of keywords and a simple, clean syntax, which makes it easy to learn and use. Python also has a large and active community of users, which means there are many resources available for learning and troubleshooting. Python is used for a wide variety of applications, including web development, data analysis, machine learning, and scientific computing. Instagram, Dropbox and Netflix are among the products written in Python.

So if you're ready for a challenge and have a healthy supply of caffeine and patience, go ahead and give coding a try. Just remember, when it comes to learning how to code, it's not about the destination, it's about the journey (and how many times you want to throw your computer out the window along the way).

So go ahead and embrace your inner geek. print("End of Story")

The start of a new session of the U.S. House of Representatives is a long-standing tradition that takes place on the day of January following a general election. On this day, members of the House come together to begin the process of organizing and conducting the business of the chamber. And good lord what a clown show this year's session has been.

It has been fascinating to watch the mainstream media's attempts to understand the reasons behind the dispute between Representative Kevin McCarthy, the supposed leader of the House Republicans, and the approximately 20 members of his own caucus who are blocking his ascension to the position of House speaker. While the situation is certainly not amusing, it is somewhat intriguing to see how the media has tried to make sense of it. Let me break it to you: There is no sense. What we are seeing is the downside of a party composed of fascist trolls. And this is not the first time we are being allowed a glimpse behind the facade of the GOP:

On January 3rd, 2021, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, made a bid to be voted as the new speaker of the House. His efforts were unsuccessful, as he was unable to secure the necessary support from his colleagues. This was a surprising turn of events, as McCarthy had been widely expected to win the speaker-ship, given the Republican Party's minority status in the House. However, a group of conservative Republicans, known as the Freedom Caucus, refused to support McCarthy, citing concerns about his leadership style and commitment to conservative principles. As a result, McCarthy was forced to withdraw his bid for the speaker-ship, leaving the House without a clear leader. This has led to uncertainty and infighting within the Republican Party, as members scramble to find a new candidate who can unite the caucus and lead the party forward. Many have criticized McCarthy for his inability to secure the support of his colleagues, arguing that it demonstrates a lack of leadership and vision. Others have blamed the Freedom Caucus for being too inflexible and unwilling to work with McCarthy. Regardless of the reasons for McCarthy's failed bid, it is clear that the Republican Party was facing a leadership crisis at a time when it is already facing significant challenges, including the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol and the back then looming impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

And it seems that Republican history is repeating itself in 2023. Until a presiding officer is selected, the House will be unable to carry out its crucial responsibilities, such as overseeing national security, examining government wrongdoing, and enacting laws. This will result in a halt in Congress's operations. And Kevin McCarthy has dramatically failed on three consecutive days and 11 votes to gather the required majority to be elected Speaker of the House. Something unique in American history in around 164 years thanks to a group of trolls dubbed "Taliban 20" by Team McCarthy. A significant number of the individuals in this group, whose size has ranged from 19 to 21 depending on the vote, belong to the House Freedom Caucus, a group consisting of some of the most conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives. They share geography too as they are dominated by southerners, mainly from Texas, Florida or Arizona. This group is opposed to McCarthy because they believe he will hinder their ultra-right-wing agenda battling President Joe Biden ignoring the fact that all they currently battle is themselves and the GOP in total.

"the best season of cspan … ever" - Jon Stewart

The Republican Party's inability to choose a speaker also brings former President Donald Trump back into the public eye. After initially blaming Trump for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021, McCarthy's relationship with Trump experienced a temporary rift. "You've got to call these people off. They're your people." McCarthy demanded of Trump during a phone call, according to Congresswoman Jamie Herrera-Beutler. "Well, Kevin, I guess they are just more upset about the election theft than you are," Trump replied. However, McCarthy has since become a vocal defender of Trump who is currently unable to wield the same level of control over the Republican Party as he once did and linked his own political significance to McCarthy's success or failure. How this is ending? The voting has once again adjourned. A number of "Never Kevins" - notably Matt Gaetz of Florida who today voted for Donald Trump - just a day ahead of the anniversary of the Storm of the Capitol, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Lauren Boebert of Colorado - have been clear that no amount of compromise will change their minds on opposing the California congressman.

The members of the House of Representatives will continue voting until they reach a decision. In the past, the election for speaker has taken the longest in 1856, when Nathaniel Prentice Banks won after receiving a plurality of votes from members, rather than an absolute majority, after a whopping 133 ballots. It is possible that the current vote for speaker could go on for days or even weeks. One unlikely option to resolve the stalemate is to follow the example set in 1856, where lawmakers passed a resolution allowing a speaker to be chosen by a plurality vote instead of a simple majority. However, this would be a risky move for the Republican House leadership, as a divided Republican vote could lead to the leader of the Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries, being given the role of speaker. The resulting divisions within the Republican Party and the events that may follow could make their House majority unworkable. A clear signal that the self-radicalizing clown show called GOP is not capable of governing.

The start of a new year is a time to reflect on the past and think about what we want to accomplish in the future. It's a time to let go of any regrets or disappointments from the previous year and move forward with a positive attitude. But in the end it is all about our understanding of time itself.

The concept of time has been a fundamental aspect of human existence for as long as we have been able to measure and record it. From the earliest civilizations to the present day, we have been obsessed with keeping track of time and using it to organize our lives. But where did this concept come from, and how have we come to understand it? The earliest humans likely had a very different understanding of time than we do today. They probably had a more cyclical view of time, with the passing of the seasons and the movements of the sun and moon marking the passage of time. It wasn't until the invention of the first clocks, which allowed us to measure time more precisely, that we were able to break free from this cyclical view of time and understand it in a more linear fashion.

It's not accurate to say that anyone "invented" time, as time is a fundamental aspect of the universe and exists independently of human measurement or perception. However, the concept of time and our understanding of it have evolved and developed over the course of human history. One of the earliest known methods for keeping track of time was the sundial, which was used by the ancient Egyptians as early as 3500 BC. The sundial worked by using the position of the sun in the sky to cast shadows on a flat surface, with the shadows moving in a predictable pattern as the sun moved across the sky. This allowed the Egyptians to divide the day into smaller units of time, such as hours and minutes, which they used to organize their daily lives. Over time, the concept of time and our understanding of it have evolved and grown more complex. The development of mechanical clocks in the 14th century allowed for even more precise measurement of time, and the invention of the pendulum clock in the 17th century made it possible to create highly accurate timepieces. With the advent of electronic clocks in the 20th century, timekeeping became even more precise, and today we have a wide range of technologies that allow us to measure and record time with incredible accuracy.

It's difficult to imagine what the world would look like without the concept of time, as it is such a fundamental aspect of our lives and the way we understand the world around us. It is a fundamental aspect of the universe and exists independently of human measurement or perception, so even if we didn't have a way to measure or understand it, it would still be present. Without the concept of time, it's likely that our understanding of the world and our place in it would be very different. We rely on the passage of time to understand the cause and effect relationships between events, and to predict what will happen in the future. Without a way to measure or understand time, it would be much harder to make sense of the world around us. We use time to organize our daily lives and to plan for the future, and many of the systems and structures that we rely on, such as work- and school schedules, are based on the concept of time.

The concept of time has both pros and cons, depending on how it is used and understood. However it can also create a sense of pressure or stress, as we often feel the need to use our time efficiently and accomplish as much as possible. Time can create a sense of impermanence and transience, as everything is subject to the passage of time and will eventually come to an end which eventually leads to a focus on the past or the future, rather than the present moment, which can make it harder to appreciate and enjoy the present.

It's a common perception that time seems to fly by faster as we get older, and there are a few different explanations for this phenomenon. For one our brain's perception of time changes as we age. As we get older, our brain's processing speed slows down, which can make time seem to pass more quickly. Additionally, the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is involved in memory and perception of time, tends to shrink with age, which can also affect our perception of time. When we are young, every year represents a significant proportion of our total life experience, so it can feel like a longer period of time. As we get older, each year represents a smaller portion of our total life experience, which can make it feel like time is flying by.

Returning to the initial thought about this time of the year with 2023 just around the corner our perception of time becomes significantly more complicated if you also take time-zones into account. On January 30th at 10am GMT it will be 2023 in Samoa. Over 24hrs it will sequentially become 2023 across 24 time zones. "Each zone a construct, as is the arbitrary notion that one year ends and another starts at a specific moment", Ted Hunt wrote in a scientific essay in 2018.

"Why was the time traveler always so calm? Because he knew that everything was relative!"

"Let's get rid of time zones" you say? There have been various proposals throughout history to adjust or eliminate time zones, but none of these have been successful in completely eliminating the concept of time zones. Time zones are used to divide the Earth's surface into 24 roughly equal areas, with each area using a standard time that is based on the position of the sun in the sky so creating a unified time zone unfortunately is not an option. Additionally, the Earth's rotation is not uniform, and time zones are used to account for this irregularity, so eliminating time zones would require finding a different way to account for this variability.

The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief. Assuming you live to be eighty, you have just over four thousand weeks. Maybe I should stop worrying about time and start living in the present. Oh and if you are still looking for a topic-related great read I would like to recommend "Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals" by Oliver Burkeman.

Have a wonderful start into a new year - one time zone at a time.



Book cover of "Upheaval" by Jared Diamond


Book cover of "Four Thousand Weeks - Time Management for Mortals" by Oliver Burkeman
Book cover of "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker


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