tax and cracks

on choosing what you need

I often tell people that data exists for every possible subject. This is an exaggeration but there truly is a lot of data out there.

A problem with this that occasionally arises is that there are multiple data sets that capture the same thing in different ways. This isn’t bad in and of itself, but it can be bad as a journalist looking to write the most accurate story on a subject.

When looking for the right data for a story there are a few major considerations for journalists to determine what’s the most accurate. The first, and biggest, consideration is collection methodology. It is imperative to know how data was collected prior to analyzing it. The data may have things in it that don’t make sense for your story.

For example, some data detailing killings by police officers include killings by police officers of their family members. While that is useful data for some purposes, it is not useful for a story on how officers are punished for ostensibly using the power of the state to kill someone. Officers who kill family members and do not die by suicide are generally punished for their actions.

Another large consideration is who collected the data and for what purpose. These two questions go hand in hand, especially when the data is collected to fill a hole left by the government who either does not collect data on a subject or collects bad data on it.

Gaps in data are often filled by nonprofits and are often quite useful for journalism and other endeavors. However, sometimes the data that is collected can serve a specific purpose. Years ago, my colleague Amy Brittain and I looked at DC’s plastic bag tax to see if it was actually working. One thing we wanted to look at was if the rivers were cleaner as the city had suggested. The data they relied on was collected by a nonprofit being paid by the city to clean the river using funds from the bag tax. While it’s difficult to prove whether the data is right or wrong, it’s important to note the conflict of interest inherent in this situation.

At the end of the day, picking what works best for your needs based on careful considerations is what matters. There’s a lot to choose from but not everything will work for what you need.

Share building tables

When I show up at the lumber store, I’m always met with a smiling face and an offer to help me find what I need. While I often coming in knowing exactly what I want and how much I need, I often walk out with something different and better.

That’s because the wood I want may not be the best wood for the job. When looking for wood for a project, there are major considerations I need to keep in mind to ensure the build will hold up over time.

The biggest consideration is whether the wood will hold up for what it’s built to hold up for. Pieces that are long and need to bear weight can’t be the kind that bends under light stress. While pine is easily available and relatively cheap, it can warp under serious pressure and is not ideal for holding up heavy objects like books.

Another general consideration is whether wood is dry enough to even start building. Not all wood is dried out in a kiln and wet wood warps as it dries. Wood doesn’t have to be visibly wet or wet to the touch to be wet. Ensuring that wood is dry with a wood moisture meter can ensure you’re ready to build.

Aesthetics can be as much of a consideration as well. Do you like knots and imperfections like cracks? What about interesting grain patterns? Does the lightness or darkness of the wood matter to you? Ultimately you may want to consider things like these when multiple types of wood are equal.

At the end of the day, picking what works best for your needs based on careful considerations is what matters. There’s a lot to choose from but not everything will work for what you need.



Complaints about cops suspended during COVID-19 crisis — “Dozens of complaints against police officers have been set aside temporarily under a state law engineered by police unions. A police officers’ bill of rights gives departments the power to suspend investigations during public emergencies like the COVID-19 crisis, but critics say it makes it hard to hold bad cops accountable and leaves citizens waiting for justice.” [South Florida Sun Sentinel]

Deadly force behind the wheel — “So far this year, nine people have been killed nationwide in PIT maneuvers, including a 16-year-old who was driving a stolen car in Longmont, Colo., and a driver and passenger who were being chased by police for speeding in Creek County, Okla. Just this month, a 29-year-old suspected drunk driver who fled a traffic stop in Coweta County, Ga., died after a PIT maneuver. Since 2016 at least 30 people have died, and hundreds have been injured — including some officers — when police used the maneuver to end pursuits, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.” [The Washington Post]

At CPS high schools, a stark racial divide on when cops are called on students and arrests — “And student arrest data released for the first time by CPS this past week shows those police notifications have led to arrests of Black students at a rate 91⁄2 times higher than white students, six times higher than Latino students and 38 times higher than Asian American students. Of 11,527 student arrests made in Chicago over the past nine school years — including the shortened 2019-2020 year — 9,001 have been Black students. That’s 78.1%. That’s even though Black students have accounted for 39% of CPS’ enrollment during that time, records show.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering — “Across more than 100 cities, a recent study found, formerly redlined neighborhoods are today 5 degrees hotter in summer, on average, than areas once favored for housing loans, with some cities seeing differences as large as 12 degrees. Redlined neighborhoods, which remain lower-income and more likely to have Black or Hispanic residents, consistently have far fewer trees and parks that help cool the air. They also have more paved surfaces, such as asphalt lots or nearby highways, that absorb and radiate heat.” [The New York Times]


Spraying first coat of sealer on this beautiful Demilune Console Table. This table was handcrafted by ours truly Clive Hamilton. Andrew Plummer is beginning to apply our one of kind Devontry finish.
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August 18, 2020
Another busy day. Made a Pacific Yew lamp, an olivexash bowl and two more oak lamps. Getting ready for next exhibition in 3 weeks time.

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August 25, 2020
custom cat bowl stand for Rachel and Pringle

wood: parota

dimensions: 13” x 6” x 6”

finish: osmo topcoat 3045

build time: 2 days

August 12, 2020