A Life of Not-So Secret Secrets
I’ve reached a point in my life where I want to spill the tea on so many things, not because I’m a gossip, but because I see how keeping quiet about the difficult truth is actually hurting others. There are so many things you are told not to talk about because it will hurt your employability or just generally society will consider you a pariah. I never fit in, not anywhere, not really. I grew up in a misogynistic, religious town and read graphic news stories about women and children being murdered by men repeatedly in the same hometown. Some of the kids even went to my school. One story made it all the way to Oprah, but not all of them. Not all women and children were murdered, most were hit and bruised and cussed out. Many others were told how fat and ugly and worthless they were. They were the same people I saw at church every Sunday. Unsurprisingly, there was also a drug and alcohol problem in my town. I saw friends and family negatively impacted by it. You may be reading this and saying, “So what? It’s the same story in my hometown. Deal with it.” I don’t think dealing with it is the solution. I would much rather have children grow up in a world where the people causing all of the harm were the ones getting therapy and not the ones being abused. That would be a nice change of pace.
Anthology of Ancient Heroines Part 3
Who was she and what did she accomplish? Disclaimer: This is a dramatization of a true story. The year is 1678 and it is a beautiful, sunny day in a secluded mountain village in Brazil. The village is made up of a free community of people who have escaped slavery and persecution from the plantations in the valley below them. "Dandara, Dandara, are you there?"
Anthology of Ancient Heroines
Who was she? With the relatively recent discovery of oracle bones, we know quite a bit about Fu Hao’s life. So what are oracle bones? Royalty would pose a question to the ancestors and deities during a divination ceremony. A high priestess, such as Fu Hao, or the king would inscribe the question on a tortoise shell. Then the bone would be baked in a fire until it cracked. The high priestess would interpret the cracks as a way to answer the question. Three thousand years later, 19th century farmers would find many of these bones buried together and the people referred to them as dragon’s bones. They were thought to have healing powers. So much so, that people would grind them into powder and consume them as a remedy for malaria. It wasn’t until around the Boxer Rebellion in 1899 when a famous scholar, Wang Yirang, had been prescribed dragon’s bone and recognized the inscriptions on the bones. Suffice to say, many questions posed by royalty of the Shang Dynasty to their ancestors and deities were unfortunately later consumed and lost forever. To date, Around 5000 unique characters have been discovered on the bones that still remain, but only one third have been deciphered. These bones offer a rare glimpse into the day to day tasks, concerns, and beliefs of royalty at the time of the Shang Dynasty.
Operation Doomsday Diary
In 2025, 14 years ago, a solar flare caused an electromagnetic pulse that resulted in the death of my parents. They were driving when the event occurred. A person driving an electric vehicle lost control and hit them. Many people died that year. Some died of starvation, some died from lack of heat. Most industries shut down. It became the responsibility of smaller communities to harvest food and take care of livestock. It became illegal for any portion of a person’s property to just be grass. Any available space in the suburbs was turned into miniature farms. Times were strange back then. The internet stopped working in most locations. Cellphones and landlines weren’t back up for years. The postal service was in high demand. Gas was impossible to find. Most people just settled where they were. Hospitals did what they could, but the only group fully prepared for an event like this was the military, having been warned of an event like this after a man-made version occurred decades ago. In the 60s, a high altitude nuclear explosion took out Hawaii’s power grid 900 miles away from the test site. After that, the military poured billions of dollars into protecting their bases from an EMP event. As a result, anyone with a military ID automatically had access to the best of everything after the event happened. However, most people received their electricity from private corporations. These private corporations refused to spend the money to protect against EMPs beforehand, so when the event occurred, anyone outside of a military base was instantaneously sent back to the 1800s.
Anthology of Ancient Heroines
Who was she? If you’ve even heard of the name Kubaba, you might be familiar with the goddess Kubaba, but did you know she was probably a real person before she was deified? Not only that, she may be the first recorded woman ruler. Queen Puabi and another unknown Sumerian Queen who was discovered on a very intricate alabaster plaque may predate Kubaba. Then again, maybe the queen on the plaque is Kubaba. Unlike some other theorists, I do not believe Kubaba married into her position. The Sumerian King List refers to her as lugal (king) and not eresh (queen consort). She is the only woman in the Sumerian King List. There is not a lot of information about Kubaba readily available, but here are some other factoids I was able to gather:
Uccello di Firenze
My mother and I had planned to visit Italy since the early 2000s when I was only a teenager. We were living in a small agricultural town in California at the time. She would tell me stories about our Italian heritage and how she was born in New York. Every so often, between that point in time and the fortuitous moment we finally found ourselves in Italy in 2017, I would think about this far-off place and it seemed other-worldly to me. As if part of me assumed it did not really exist. I wrote a report about Italy in 4th grade. So it must exist. I had seen old movies filmed there. Hollywood wouldn’t lie to me. I spent two semesters in college learning the language. Surely, if the language existed, then people on cobblestone paths were actually ordering “un caffè e un biscotto” in the morning on their way to work at the Uffizi or Ponte Vecchio. In these moments of disbelief, I would shake it off and continue with whatever monotonous task was at hand.
My Journey in Construction Technology
I’ve spent the past 13 years of my life using cutting-edge technology to optimize construction. It may not be surprising to hear that construction is one of the least digitized sectors of the world economy, second only to agriculture. However, McKinsey Global Institute stated that “the construction sector is one of the largest in the world economy, with about $10 trillion spent on construction-related goods and services every year.” Grace Ellis, of Autodesk, reported that “23% of [construction] firms report they are taking steps to improve jobsite performance with lean construction techniques, tools like [Building Information Modeling], and offsite prefabrication.” I am working hard to be the change I want to see. I work for a company that is owned by Stanford graduates. There is a world-renowned Stanford professor on our board of advisors along with one of the top people at Amazon Web Services. With all of that talent and knowledge, it can still sometimes feel like we are taking two steps forward and one step back. It’s progress, but it is a steady fight. When I started my journey in construction technology, we were in the thick of the great recession. I was a year away from graduating from UC Berkeley and took an internship at a well-established structural engineering firm. That internship changed the course of my future. I was fascinated by a little-known program at the time called Revit. It was like the easy button to all the heartache I had experienced with AutoCAD and this structural engineering firm was implementing it on all of their projects. I had to be a part of it.
Time is a Funny Thing...
Time is a funny thing, especially when it comes to movies. I can remember watching Top Gun over and over again as a kid and always siding with Tom Cruise’s character. As I’ve gotten older, I started to see things from Val Kilmer’s character’s perspective. I would start to hear myself say, “Iceman is right! Maverick is being totally irresponsible!!!” That’s one reason I’ve been re-watching movies during the pandemic. Speaking of Tom Cruise and time, if you want to see a sci-fi action version of Groundhog Day, check out Edge of Tomorrow also commonly referred to as Live, Die, Repeat for reasons that will become clear when you watch the movie.