Ward 5: Jack Perenick and Naima Sait

I live in Ward 5 in Somerville, where there are two candidates running for city council this fall: Jack Perenick and Naima Sait. On Sunday both of them stopped by our neighborhood block party, and we got a chance to talk. As in 2021, the high cost of housing continues to be my primary concern for Somerville, and I asked them both what their views were.

It was clear that they both care deeply about resolving the housing crisis, and seemed like they would prioritize trying to improve the situation, but when we got into the details there were clear differences.

Weekly Incidence Including Delay

A few days ago I wrote about some math behind a scenario where you're trying to identify a new epidemic based on signals proportional to incidence, and ended up deriving:

i(t) c(t) = k = ln (2) Td


  • i(t), is incidence ("how many people are getting sick now")
  • c(t), is cumulative infections ("how many people have gotten sick so far")
  • k, is the exponential growth rate.
  • Td, is the doubling time (redundant with k).

One big problem with this model, however, is that any conclusions you make today aren't driven by current incidence, but instead some kind of delayed incidence. There is, unavoidably, time from infection until you're making your decision, during which the disease is spreading further:

Ask for Feelings not Tunes

In putting on a contra dance, it's standard for the caller to pick the dances and the band to pick the tunes. Since it's much more satisfying when the tune fits the dance, the band and caller confer briefly between each dance. For example, the caller might say they want something "smooth and pretty" or "energetic with a chunky A-part".

Sometimes, however, callers fall into a trap of referencing a specific tune: "Trip to Moscow, or something with a similar feel". They remember the dance feeling especially good with that tune on some prior occasion with another set of musicians, and they're hoping to recreate that pairing. The problem is, while tunes do have inherent qualities that affect how well they fit dances, there's also a huge amount in how they're played. Consider a caller who really liked the trancey interplay of the Free Raisins playing Ian Ball's Trip to Moscow:

Keeping Dresser Drawers In

We have an old dresser in our kitchen we use as extra cabinet space:

As an old dresser with wooden runners, however, there's nothing to keep the drawers from being pulled all the way out, and falling with a crash. Which could be a problem, since we have an inquisitive toddler. There are various approaches for making drawer stops, but to figure out what might be a good fit for ours I started by taking the drawer all the way out:

Inline Plotting in iTerm2

I spend most of my working time in the terminal: I run my text editor there, run programs there, etc. I usually have my iTerm2 set up to display many narrow full height terminals. When I'm working with plots, however, I normally do something like:

$ ./some-cmd.py plot.png && open plot.png

Which pops up a Preview window with my plot, and then I close it and go back to my coding. What I'd really like, though, is for this to be directly in my terminal. And this is possible!

Padding the Corner

There's a shelf in my dad's kitchen, about four feet off the ground. I remember when I stopped being short enough that I could walk under it: ouch! I didn't get a concussion or anything, but it was pretty unpleasant. My sisters and cousins also remember bonking their heads on it. I noticed my oldest was getting just tall enough, and started to tell her this story warning her about it.

While I was telling the story I realized how silly this was, and stopped what I was doing to put some padding on the corner.

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