A Blog by Leo Ji Thoughts and scribblings


The False Alarm in Hawaii


The emergency alert sent to phones of Hawaii residents on Saturday morning, wrongly announcing there was a ballistic missile threat inbound to the US state.…

About the cost of course materials

Photo by Morgan Harper Nichols on Unsplash
After all, when did it become acceptable to charge a course registration fee to tuition-paying students?
My good friend, Kimani Isaac, recently started a petition regarding the high cost of textbooks at Northwestern University.…

We can do better.

David Becker / Getty Images
One day, the United States will wake up and say it will never again allow itself to be terrorized by crazy men with super-powered guns.
Today is not that day.
How many need to die in mass shootings before our politicians decide to act?…

Designing better call boxes

Everything about a call box’s design is wrong

The call box isn’t conveniently placed. It’s in the atrium of the building, which is behind a locked door. This means that you need to have a key for the property before you can get to the call box, which defeats the purpose of the call box to allow visitors to be buzzed into the property.…

A list of useful phone numbers for your reference

Photo by John-Paul Joseph Henry on Unsplash
Telephones are amazing. The Internet might be a thing, and email might be cool, and texting is fun, but I haven’t found a better way to ask and receive a lot of information very quickly like calling someone’s phone number.…

Dear Texas

The Texas National Guard work with local law enforcement to rescue residents and animals in Cypress Creek on August 28, 2017. Image from the US Department of Defense.
Nobody asked for Hurricane Harvey. But the people of the United States stand with you during this catastrophe.…

My grandmother is dying.

A snowman we found during my last trip to Beijing in February 2015, when I last saw my grandmother. I do not have any photographs with her because we never took any.
I won’t be there.
I chose to surprise my mother with a FaceTime call to let her know I loved her.…

How not to have an opinion

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
By a journalism student, professionally expected to have no opinions
How to have an opinion

Read. Read books, read reviews, read the newspaper. Read websites. Learn about the world around you and how it relates to yourself.…

When is it not free speech?

A vehicle plowed into a group of people protesting the white nationalist march through downtown Charlottesville, Va., on August 12.
I have previously written about the extent of free speech, as defined by the law, and indicated my disagreement with protesters at the University of California, Berkeley, over the shutting down of far-right hate-speech figure Milos Yiannopoulos.…

“Hey Siri. What is an Indian?”

Photo by Tom The Photographer on Unsplash This morning, BuzzFeed News reported that some iPhone users have noticed Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, gives an “odd and offensive response when asked ‘What is an Indian?’” Siri would respond with a Wikipedia page extract for Indian, but say “They are a bit brown and they smell like curry and eat it.” Screenshot by Oisin Bickley / BuzzFeed I don’t...

A few points about gender diversity in tech companies

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash In 1984, 37% of computer science graduates were women; in 2016, the number was 18% (Quartz) The idea that computer work is for men can be traced to marketing by computer game manufacturers in the 1980s and video game manufacturers in the 1990s, who were desperate for sales and game stores shelved products by gender (Quartz)(Polygon) Only 38% of women in the US...

“Thank you” to the LGBT community?

Photo by Christopher Skor on Unsplash In three cruel tweets, the commander-in-chief of the United States military declared he was banishing transgender individuals from service. On the same day, the Department of Justice filed court papers arguing that Title VII, which prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of an “individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” does not...

Venmo and me

Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash
I’ve recently been reading quite a few news articles about the money transfer app Venmo. Most of them have focused on how the app is used by young people to facilitate financial transactions between them, and how this PayPal-owned enterprise appears to be developing a social network based on money transfers between friends.…

A poster for the new International System of Units

Don’t worry: it probably won’t affect you. As a species, we’re redefining the system of measurement units used by billions of people across the world. The proposed change, expected to be adopted by the General Conference on Weights and Measures (a big meeting of government delegates to deal with this kind of thing) in November 2018, will firmly base the International System of Units on the rules...

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On Valentine’s Day, 1990, the farthest human-made object, Voyager 1, turned its cameras around to take a photograph of the Solar System. It was the last image the cameras ever took.

The Solar System Family Portrait is a stitch of 60 frames, put together by NASA from images sent back to Earth by the interstellar probe.…

A Blog by Leo Ji Thoughts and scribblings