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Germany in 1920 had many similarities to the United States in 1920:

  1. Both times were/are extraordinary. Voters were/are polarized between the left and the right, and centrist leaders struggle/d to stay in office. But Germany in 1920 was far more polarized than the United States in 2020. Several German provinces had Soviet revolutions. A right-wing private army, the Freikorps, killed thousands of Reds. Street brawling between the left and right occurred nightly in cities across Germany. The recent unrest in Portland and Kenosha have been far less violent than the world Hitler lived in.
  2. Both times were/are extraordinary for the same reason: conservatives were discredited and lost control of the right, enabling the rise of right-wing populists. In 1914 Prussian conservatives, led by Kaiser Wilhelm II, started World War One (WWI). In 1918 Germany lost WWI. About two million German soldiers were killed and four million wounded. The German economy was destroyed and millions of Germans were unemployed, hungry, and in the winters cold. The conservatives, who were generally well-educated, affluent, and had been in positions of influence for generations, were discredited. Their place was taken on the right by populists, who were not educated or affluent. The 2007–2008 Great Recession was followed by a realization that the wealthy “1%”, who are associated with conservative politics, had both caused the recession and benefited from it. Since 2008 economic disparity has increased in the United States, i.e., the rich are getting richer and the poor are becoming poorer. This discreditation of conservatism led to the 2016 conservative loss of control of the Republican Party, with conservative leaders being replaced by populists. While the pattern is similar, there is difference in degree: WWI was far more destructive of German society than the Great Recession. …

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Three years ago I implemented IBM Cloud Speech-to-Text into my web app LanguageTwo. It was the worst part of my app. The streaming WebSockets connection was unreliable at best. I’ve spent three weeks fixing it.

My project uses AngularJS and Firebase.

My first plan was to discontinue the WebSockets streaming and instead record each audiofile, save it to the database, send the file to the IBM Cloud for processing, and then send the response to the browser to display to the user.

I spent a week figuring out how to set up the browser to record from the microphone. It turns out that there’s an old way, using Navigator.getUserMedia(), and a new way using MediaDevices.getUserMedia(). There are tons of libraries that use the old way, badly. I had to dig through those before I found the new way. The new way is easy. First, in the template I created two buttons (Bootstrap) to start and stop the recording, and room for the results. …


Superstitious pseudo-medicine; conspicuous consumption of endangered species; government policies encouraging unhygienic, cruel wildlife farms; and disinterest in public health, e.g., not shutting down wild animal markets after SARS, are seen in countries around the world. But China’s dense population, rapidly increasing wealth, and world travel have amplified these factors to create a series of zoonotic epidemics: SARS in 2002, the recurring variances of avian bird flu over the past 25 years, and now COVID-19.

European colonialists destroyed much of the world’s animals, such as African elephants. But European colonization ended fifty years ago. Today the Chinese “generate most of the global demand for elephant ivory,” despite a 2017 government ban on ivory sales, according to the World Wildlife Fund: “Only about 415,000 African elephants remain in the wild today, and every year poachers kill at least 20,000.” …


Running shoes have fixed my injuries, and caused my injuries. From 1995 to 2004 I ran in Nike Air Structure stability shoes, heel striking from injury to injury. In 2004 I read a magazine article about a Romanian coach, Nicholas Romanov, who advocated forefoot striking. I found that I could keep up with faster runners, with my heart rate lower. In 2005 Nike came out with the Free, with a flexible forefoot and a barefoot feel that makes forefoot striking easy. I ran injury-free in Frees until 2015. Then I got metatarsal inflammation in both feet. Physical therapists and a podiatrist saw my crooked toes and bunions and told me to do “yoga toes” exercises, to no effect. After more than a year, my massage therapist, Kevin Jordan, looked at the muscle chart on his wall to see what connects to the metatarsals — my plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is usually painful where your plantar fascia connects to your heels, but maybe I had plantar fasciitis where my plantar fascia connects to my metatarsals. …


A woman I lived with had a closet full of pointy-toed, stiletto-heeled boots. Each time she bought a new pair I’d joke, “How is it that women’s fashion footwear is the only dangerous product sold in this country without a warning label?” Pretty soon she stopped laughing at my joke, and I thought, “What would the warning label say?

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“Watch Your Step” boots

I made a pair of “Watch Your Step” boots and brought them to a party. When I took the boots out of my bag it was liked I’d switched on a giant vacuum cleaner. …


This is all the software I need to develop JavaScript on my MacBook. This blog post is aimed at beginner developers, starting FreeCodeCamp or another coding bootcamp. (And I recommend starting with FreeCodeCamp before you pay for coding bootcamp, but that’ll be another blog post.)

Which computer to buy?

At any co-working space you can look across at dozens of developers working on MacBooks. You won’t see more than one or two people on a PC. Another way to say this is, all modern computers run either Windows and UNIX. UNIX includes Apple devices, Android phones, LINUX computers, PlayStations, etc. I’ve liked every version of UNIX I’ve used. I’ve hated Windows every time I’ve had to use it. You can buy a PC and run LINUX, but that requires more skills. …


A friend told me that, to her, Christianity is helping people, prayer, and thanking God.

1. Thanking God

My ex-wife’s niece was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, which is four holes in her heart. She had three surgeries at the Hospital Pediátrico William Soler, Cuba’s national children’s hospital. The surgeries were successful and she’s now a healthy and growing little girl.

After the last surgery, and before we married, my then-fiancée asked me for $100 so that she, her sister, and her little niece could take a bus twelve hours across Cuba to the El Cobre Basilica to thank the Virgin of Charity, Cuba’s patron saint. …


You can win a beer bet from cycling fans with these questions:

Who was the first American to win a Tour de France stage?

Who was the first American to win the Tour de France?

In 1986 Davis Phinney won Stage 3 of the Tour de France, and most websites credit Phinney with the first American stage win. Wikipedia says that “In 1986, LeMond became the first non-European professional cyclist to win the Tour de France, and he remains the only American cyclist to have won the Tour.”

Is the conventional wisdom right? From 1984 to 1989 there was a women’s Tour de France. In the inaugural year, Marianne Martin won Stage 12, the first alpine stage, and earned the polka dot jersey for best climber (she’s from Colorado). Two stages later she was wearing the yellow jersey, for the race leader, which she wore through the 18th and final stage. Martin was the first American to win a Tour de France stage and the first American to win the Tour de France. American Deborah Shumway was third, and the American team won the team title. …


Every winter I gain 10–12 pounds. I lose it every spring, but it’s a struggle. It usually takes me until August to lose it all. This year I refactored my diet and the weight is easily coming off. I’m enjoying every meal and I don’t have hunger or cravings.

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Me, finishing the 2012 Pikes Peak Ascent (13.32 miles, 7,815' elevation gain, finishing at 14,115') in 2:50 for 25th place overall, top five masters.

Two Big Ideas

1. Eat the same foods every day, at the same times. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. Do the same exercise workouts every day. Don’t give yourself choices. …


Microbiomes influence physical and mental health. Two companies, Viome and DayTwo, tell you what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, based on your gut microbiota. DayTwo is $499; Viome is $119. I did DayTwo once and Viome twice.

I’m a super-healthy 57-year-old with no gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. I’ve taken antibiotics only once in my life. I can eat anything. I ate out of Whole Foods dumpsters for three years without ill effects.

I’ve been bitten by dogs three times and never been infected. A few months ago I stepped on a nail sticking out of a board. I cleaned the wound and checked that my last tetanus booster was less than five years ago. The wound became infected and hurt for about ten hours. …

About

Thomas David Kehoe

I make technology for speech clinics to treat stuttering and other disorders. I like backpacking with my dog, running competitively, and Russian jokes.

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