I Hope You Learned to Dance First

i don't know how to write about you
you tiny ones that slip my hands and spin away

you are runners, i wager
foot to dirt on those high paths you 
lean into the dark hill trails and you're pulled away
before the light can get you to us

Letter to the Future XVI - Wonder on the Bridge

“Octonions are to physics what the Sirens were to Ulysses.” 
- Pierre Ramond, particle physicist, University of Florida


The story relates a picture of William Rowan Harrison strolling the Royal Canal with his wife, in Dublin, on an October afternoon in 1843, when some trap door in his head fell open and he slipped inside the room where quaternion groups live.

These are the mathematical constituents Einstein would use to model his universe; they are the result of cleverly pairing complex numbers, who themselves are the joints and joists of quantum mechanics.

Harrison beheld his equation and dashed to the nearby Broome bridge, so dazzled I imagine, that he carved the equation into stone, lest it prove flighty.

I mean to write about mathematicians more often.

I imagine their high hat triplet, their Jay-Z split syllable roll, to be fitting tangents to curves in four dimensions, or something of the sort.

Social Security: Why are we ignoring $1.2 trillion in Earnings?

Data: Social Security Administration. Chart: author.

Income earned beyond $128,000 per year is not taxed for social security. That's about $1.2 trillion, or 17% of national income.

On your paystub you'll find a line labeled "FICA" or "OASDI" (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Trust). That's your payroll tax and it makes you a sustainer of one of the most powerful social safety nets in world history.  With that tax on your earned income, you and your employer help to keep older folks out of the sort of poverty that crushed retired Americans before it was established in 1935 by FDR (Social Security), and then complemented by Medicare in 1965.

Consulate Murders and the American Standard

A journalist was kidnapped in his own consulate.

Emerging reports - which American officials have surely had for days - describe audio tapes provided by Turkish intelligence which record Saudi journalist, legal American resident, and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi being beaten and tortured to death in some back room of his consulate in Istanbul, likely just adjacent to hallways down which functionaries typed away at their desks, approving visas, making tea.

To Minnesota Men

Minnesota men have a real opportunity this fall.

There is a heavy finger tapping on our eyelids. It's telling us to wake up. With expletives.

We have a choice. A challenge of consequence to match any other we've faced.

It's not pointing at us and saying, "you're a rapist."  It's not saying, "you're garbage, because you're a man."

It is saying that, for millennia, the women around you have been raped. For millennia, the men around you - often out of your sight but within it as well - have treated women like trash in the street.

Recognize the moment that you're in, Minnesota men.

The landscape of being a man in 2018 is complicated, no doubt. Men you love have behaved badly.  You can see them in your mind and, despite their transgressions, you want good things for them.

It's likely, just based on the numbers, that you have behaved badly.  You can see that in your mind, too.

But this is the moment. A moment to see that even if your hands are clean, holding up the world as it is, you're holding up a world that gives men 25% more for the same day's work. That world punishes professional women for getting pregnant. That world appoints men to our highest seats of power, who have visited nightmares upon our neighbor women.

I have a mother. A wife. A sister. Grandmothers, god rest them.

But I won't tell you a bit about them. That they're family, in this moment, shouldn't matter.

Because, it's your family next to me. It's the stranger's family. The women around you now, those people tapping on your eyelids, are reason enough to change this.

We can start by electing these women, come November.

Thumbs Down in High Chambers

Last year in the early movements of the Trump administration, the GOP was working on its six-dozenth attempt to disassemble the Affordable Care Act, which had helped reduce the uninsured portion of America's population from 18% in 2010 to 10% in 2016.

The Republican draft bills between the House and Senate imagined robust tax cuts for high earners offset by cuts to insurance for poor kids and the elderly, along with the allowance of insurance plans that would pool together already-sick people, effectively circumventing the Obamacare protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. February townhalls nationwide were blazing.

Closing the Trickle-Down Tap: Capital has an ally in the White House

In December of 2017, the United States borrowed a trillion dollars and gave it to the country's top earners.

Letter to the Future XV - Black Holes & Heroes

"It was a magical time, 
when the universe,
channeled through Hawking, 
paid a visit to Cambridge."

Frank Wilczek, MIT

Dear Future,

It's time we had a talk about heroes.

The Memo

"Fuck the cheating motherfucking Russians."


A hacker will stalk the asset they seek to infiltrate, looking for human weakness. They'll test the fence's charge and prod armor for softness, that's true, but they'll keep out a special eye for the dozing guard. There's no sense in squaring your chest to the quant hoard of defensive coders at Herjavec Group or Raytheon if your operator can open a backdoor to the state election voting system by way of a gullible e-mailer.