Day: July 16, 2013

L’America: My Take on the Zimmerman Case

[Note: this is an update of a post I wrote and published briefly before the verdict came out. Respect for the rule of law made me take down that post, as I thought it implausible that a not guilty verdict would be reached.]

“Do I have to fear for my life if I come visit you in America?”

That’s a question a friend of mine from Germany actually asked, in reference to the Treyvon Martin/George Zimmerman case. In Germany, it’s rare that you shoot someone and then walk away as if nothing happened. That a trial could end in acquittal seemed worse than strange to her. It seemed like something was completely wrong with the judicial or legal system.

First, for all my foreign readers, it appears that the verdict was correctly interpreting the law of the State of Florida. It is also true that the law in the matter, Stand Your Ground, is not unique to this state, but is similarly enacted in a number of states. This does not include the Golden State of California, where I live. So if you want to come and visit me, anyone that shoots you will probably be landing in jail. So please do come and visit.

Second, as far as I am concerned, I feel I would have been much more Treyvon Martin than George Zimmerman under the circumstances. When going through the events of that night, I just think of everything that Zimmerman did wrong – for instance, never identifying himself as armed. If I were walking home alone at night in an unfamiliar neighborhood, I would be unarmed and I would potentially end up dead because some guy thinks I am creepy. So, I will refrain from visiting Florida until they sort out this thing.

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HOWTO: Figure Out What File Is Missing, and Where

One of the really maddening things about Linux (and UNIX in general) is that files are stored in random places. That is, they are not really random, but each application has its own idea of where it wants to look for stuff. You, as a user, have an inkling of what’s missing (maybe because of an error message, or because you researched on a search site). But you have not the foggiest idea of where you should look for it.

For instance, you may have installed a Python extension. Then you start python, and type:import myextension. And Python will spit out this:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File “<stdin>”, line 1, in <module>
ImportError: No module named myextension

Of course, you know that you installed myextension. So why can’t Python find it?

Well, fret no more, there is an almost simple way of figuring this out in a jiffy, using the Linux utility strace.

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Affordable Care Act: They Should Have Led With This

So today I received a letter in the mail. From my Health Care Provider, Kaiser. It was a message to warn me that Kaiser had spent only 77.6% of my premium on health care cost, but that the Affordable Care Act established that any HCP has to spend at least 80% of premiums on health care, and has to do everything else (administration, marketing, CEO salary) with the remaining 20%.

Now, that’s a move I can support! They really should have led with this!