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Introducing Color Data

We’re pleased to announce Color Data today! It’s a public research database of aggregated genetic and clinical health information from 50,000 people who took a Color test and opted to share their de-identified data.

Building Color Data was some of the most fun I’ve had at Color since I joined. We’ve been using it internally and with partners for a while now, so we’re very excited to share it with the world. We’re announcing it at ASHG in San Diego today, and the early press (GenomeWeb) is very positive. Try it out!

I plan to write more about how we designed and built it soon. In the meantime, huge thanks to Alicia Zhou, Anjali Zimmer, Ben Kobren, Cynthia Neben, Gilad Mishne, Jeremy Ginsberg, Wendy McKennon, and many others for their tireless work and selfless contributions.

If this sounds interesting, we’re hiring! Ping me any time, I always like talking about Color.

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Interactive map of SFUSD school bus routes

TL;DR: click here for the map!

We have a school age kid, so we’ve been ramping up on the San Francisco school admissions process, aka lottery. It’s, um…complicated.

We’ve been to a couple informational sessions so far. At one of them, a representative from PPS-SF mentioned that there are no central databases for yellow school bus routes or school tour dates. My antennae immediately went up.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I found a bit of time to poke around. The school bus routes are all published as PDFs, so after a quick script to parse and clean them up, I was able to import all 44 schools, 143 routes, 153 locations, and 579 stops into Google MyMaps. Click here for the map!

Sadly, it’s limited by a few MyMaps restrictions. It doesn’t include a visible path for each individual bus route since maps are limited to 10 layers, and every driving path has to be in its own layer, and only some schools’ stops are grouped and color coded because maps are limited to 20 colored groups. Still, the map is searchable by school, location, route, stop, and time, so it should be pretty usable.

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Tea “toppings” at 3 year old’s tea party:

  • milk
  • sugar
  • honey
  • rainbow sprinkles
  • unicorn sprinkles
  • dinosaur sprinkles
  • dinosaur poop
  • dinosaurs
  • kittens
  • kitten fur
  • flour
  • baking soda
  • eggs
  • coffee
  • tea 🤔
  • water
  • almond milk
  • soy milk
  • kitten milk
  • dinosaur milk
  • dinosaurs again

“Cheers, Papa!”

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I don’t hang out on the internet

I use Facebook. Not a ton, but I use it. I tweet, I Instagram, I read blogs. I do much of my work on GitHub. I’m on mailing lists, IRC channels, StackOverflow. Not LinkedIn, but that’s an exception. I say all this to show that I spend plenty of time on the Internet. More than my fair share.

And yet. If I hang out with people on the Internet, I generally already know them in real life. This puts me a bit at odds with online communities like open source, the IndieWeb, and others. I participate in them now and then, but I sometimes find it hard to relate to their needs and interests. They’re online communities, and I don’t really…commune…online.

This is not remarkable. For most people, it’s actually the norm, although that’s changing quickly as the more and more of the world gets online. We’re well past the halfway point! It’s a bit unusual for nerds like me, though, since discovering the internet has long been a rite of passage for us. Continue reading

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Haesindang Park

The world is amazing. This is Haesindang Park, in South Korea, better known as Penis Park. There are penis sculptures of all sizes, styles, and colors, including gold and silver. People come here to enjoy the scenery and (no joke) wish on the penises for fertility, spirituality, and more.

From BBC Documentary: Not Making Babies in South Korea:

Woman 1: It is very nice, but it seems a little indecent. It’s a bit embarrassing.
Woman 2: Why? It’s very nice, with all the flowers. It’s pretty. I really like it.
Reporter: Do you come here because you get a certain energy about this place?
Woman 1: Well, I shouldn’t be receiving any energy here. I’m done with children.

There’s even a legend! From Wikipedia:

A tragic legend known as the “Legend of Auebawi and Haesindang” shrouds the statues of the park. According to the legend, a woman was once left by her man on a rock in the sea while he worked. The man was later unable to retrieve her because of a storm, and the woman drowned. After that, the village people were not able to catch fish. Some said that it was because of the dead woman. One day, a fisherman urinated into the water and afterward, he was able to catch fish, so it was thought that exposing the deceased virgin to male genitalia pleased her. To soothe her spirit further, the local village people made several phallic wooden carvings and held religious ceremonies on her behalf. After a while, the fish slowly returned and the villagers were able to live comfortably again. The place where the woman died was named Aebawi Rock and the building where the religious ceremony is held twice a year was named Haesindang. The ceremony is still honored today as a traditional folk event.

Truth really is stranger than fiction.

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One of my favorite podcasts in recent memory, BBC’s 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy, is now a book. Thoughtful, original, and fun. Congratulations Tim Harford!

When they asked for suggestions for a 51st thing, I proposed the threaded screw. 🤓

Before it, fasteners were non-standard at best. Nails didn’t last. Others were hard to make or use. How many screws and bolts are made now? A million per person? Truly a key part of the modern economy.

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