In the US, a cord of firewood is generally equivalent to 128 cubic feet. Basically 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet deep. Buying “green” firewood is more work than buying split firewood — you’ll need to split it and then store it for drying. The drying of firewood is called “seasoning”, because it usually takes one season of the year for freshly split firewood to be ready for burning.

I’m picking my way through the early sections of a book about the grimmer side of technology: “Artificial Unintelligence” by Meredith Broussard. The premise of the grimness being…


This is the problem with all these old-timers, they never heard of any of the good stuff like social media and select-a-size paper towels. That’s probably why Edgar Allan Poe, who was born in 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, never knew to write about Kimye or the Microsoft Office suite of products. His loss.

Poe is known specifically for his horror writing, and that’s well and good. Rah rah, The Tell-Tale Heart, hooray. Yes. Who doesn’t love a good gothic metaphor for guilt? What he’s less known for, however, is arguably his best work, his 1840 essay “The Philosophy of Furniture”…


In the year 1837, Michigan was admitted to the Union as the 26th state. Nearby, in the state of Illinois, the inventor John Deere began his agricultural implement company. He named it John Deere, probably after himself. The first electric motor was patented by Thomas Davenport on February 25th. Vroom!

Also in that year, a feminist abolitionist named Sarah Moore Grimke published an essay as part of a collection Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and the Condition of Woman. …


John James Audubon was born in 1785 in a little country known as Haiti. As a baby he moved to France, I’m assuming with some help, and lived there until he was 18, when he emigrated to the United States. I’m guessing this is like 1803 due to math.

You have heard of the society named for him, it’s called the Audubon Society, and it has something to do with bird conversation or bird watching or a combination of those two things — I don’t feel like searching for it. …


In the year 1819, 202 years ago as of this writing, an American that is long dead wrote an essay about travel, kind of, called The Author’s Account of Himself. This essay was about the author, Washington Irving. He was alive at the time of writing.

I really want to turn the content in this essay into a meaningful blog post with an inspiring message but it’s like 2 pages long and not really about anything.

He likes America, and liked to look around his town a lot when he was small. Okay, that’s cool, I get it. Then he…


“Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts…”

Photo by Ben Noble on Unsplash

When his second term as the first President of the United States ended on March 4th, 1797, George Washington had just turned 65 years old. Born in 1732 in Virginia, he would die two and a half years after leaving office. He was 6’2”, and led the US to victory in the War for Independence.

And now he’s probably pretty disappointed in what the hell has happened to us as a country.

Sure, we have electric cars and satellites in space that can watch you everywhere you…


Photo by Jan Meeus on Unsplash

Take better than half the population of people in this country and tell them to stop learning. Tell them they can’t do math or science or reading. They can’t invent things or improve society and they really shouldn’t participate in the systems of politics or entrepreneurship. Start this process shortly after they are born. Then you’re kind of just left with whoever is left to run things, learn things, build things. Dedicate also a portion of their time to making sure that the other people, the ones not learning, don’t start doing any of the things mentioned.

This week I…


Very few people, except my friend Chris, remember the summer of 1787. It was a wild time, a chaotic time, a time of new beginnings, a time of reflection. It was when Thomas Jefferson released his in-depth remembrance of his home state, Notes on the State of Virginia.

In that book is a section called Religion, which I have recently read and digested and am currently processing into a blog post. This work has the pleasure of being one of the earliest broadly distributed arguments for the freedom of religion in our young United States of America.

Thomas Jefferson was…


a valentine’s day heart tin laying in snow
a valentine’s day heart tin laying in snow
That’s a heart pan in snow. I took that in Cincinnati, OH. Happy Valentine’s Day.

There are countless blog posts and guides dedicated to working Agile DevOps into your team. There are posts on how to measure MTTR (mean time to repair) and CFR (change failure rate). There are posts on how to measure velocity and team throughput. There are posts on what makes a great DevOps culture. These posts are all incredible if you already practice some version of DevOps. They are also good if you work on a dev team with people itching to do DevOps.

They are not so good if you are just getting started. I want to help build into…


Until two days ago, I don’t think that I had either. Yes, I have seen the play. Yes, I have watched it on Disney+. Yes, I have pretended to people that I was “for sure going to read his biography now!” Yes, I have streamed the original Broadway cast recordings on Spotify.

But none of that amounted to reading any of the actual works — largely The Federalist Papers — that he’s famous for writing much of.

Well, that has all changed: I read the first one. And boy, is it is a doozy. It’s not particularly long (just a…

John David Back

Peanut butter first, code second.

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