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June 3, 2024 - Assorted reads

June 3, 2024 - Assorted reads

Hello from Winnipeg! It's nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of Toronto from time to time and even nicer to spend time with family that I haven't seen in a long while.

I've also gotten the opportunity to catch up on my to-read list, and I thought I'd share some of my recent favs.

Queen of the Hurricanes: The Fearless Elsie MacGill

The biography of a Canadian engineer who was the Chief Engineer at Canadian Car and Foundry, which oversaw the production of Hawker Hurricane fighter planes during the Second World War. She's notable for being the first female aeronautical engineer in the world and Canada's first practicing woman engineer.

I learned about Elsie through a Heritage Minute video. For those outside of Canada, these are 1-minute videos telling the story of a major historical person or event related to Canada which frequently aired on TV when I was growing up, and turns out are still being produced.

If you want to see the one for Elsie, here's the link.

The Time Paradox of Climate Change

An article highlighting why we all need to take steps today to reduce the energy we consume (and the corresponding emissions that we emit), not just change where the energy consumed comes from (i.e. renewable sources rather than fossil fuel sources).

From Dave Levitan, the author of the piece:

"...every ton of CO2 sent skyward today will remain there for somewhere between a few hundred and a thousand years. That means that even dropping emissions to zero tomorrow leaves a whole lot of warming potential up there for generations to come."

Speaking as a software engineer working primarily with web technologies, it's further motivation for me to start exploring and using alternative programming languages for my projects rather than ones that are sometimes seen as one of the default languages to use (such as Typescript).

It's heartening to see people working on tools and strategies to tackle this in software already. Esteban Küber from the Rust compiler team has a video on InfoQ that's worth a watch, and I'm excited to read Building Green Software which just came out a couple of months ago.

We Need to Rewild the Internet

An article comparing the internet to that of an ecosystem in the natural world.

I think there's been awareness for a while that the places we spend the most time on on the internet is primarily a small set of "walled gardens" controlled by a few companies.

This is very different from what surfing the web tended to look like about 20-30+ years ago and it's interesting to read about how ecologists approach the challenge of re-introducing diversity into the natural world and the lessons we can take from that for the digital one.

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