Posts by geoff

The myth of certainty

You are watching people go through withdrawal from the emotional addiction to the myth of certainty. Ashley C. Ford, on Twitter This feels like the most true, and succinct thing I’ve seen someone say about living through this pandemic. I see it in the leaders who waited too long to take serious measures, or who […]

Models, their limits and the importance of not downplaying what is clearly known

It’s past one month since I was at a journalism conference where we learned that someone had tested positive for COVID-19. I found out this information waiting for a train to Chicago. In this in-between space, the area between “fuck it, there’s nothing I can do at this point” and “what are the minute things […]

More COVID-19 dispatches

Fabricating masks April 5, 2020 I made some of the masks in this video from UnityPoint Health in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I used scrap fabric I had around, planning on inserting some kind of filter into my mask. This New York times article on mask materials was an accessible summary of which materials that (limited) […]


I’ve been on self-quarantine since returning from the NICAR conference, where one attendee later tested presumptively positive for the new coronavirus. One result of this is being able to do some maintenance on this website and I thought I’d use it to take some notes on information that stands out. Fabric masks I’ve seen a […]

Setting environment variables in a Python virtualenv from a .env file

Lately, I’ve gotten into the practice of storing configuration in environment variables and keeping those in a .env file in the root of my project directory. This file contains simple environment variable assignment and is used by Heroku and Docker. However making sure these environment variables get set for any command being run in the […]

Music for early March

Eskorbuto While in Mexico City, I went to “El Chopo”, a punk street market and got an Eskorbuto patch. It made me excited to listen to this band. Smino – S!CK S!CK S!CK EP Smino is a Chicago (via St. Louis) rapper performing March 2 as part of “The Come Up” series. Watercolor Paintings – […]

Upgrading Homebrew-installed Postgres 9.3 to 9.5

I didn’t read the instructions when I let PostgreSQL get upgraded from 9.3 to 9.5 with brew upgrade. This is what I had to do to migrate my data after I had already upgraded: # Switch back to the previous version of postgres, postgis brew switch postgres 9.3.5_1 brew switch postgis 2.1.4_1 # Start the […]


I played three different shows, with three different bands in 48 hours. So different playing for a handful of folks below the Loyola Red Line, in a crowded basement and on a giant stage. It was a hectic weekend, but ultimately, after the dust settled, I feel lucky to get to do all this.

Property tax increases and renters

There’s been a lot of coverage of the mayor’s property tax increase, and some provisions to reduce the burden on low-to-moderate income homeowners. My first thought went to renters, though:

In-real-life data visualization of Chicago Budget

Originally from: .@ChicagosMayor, this just doesn't look right to me. And by right, I mean just. #WhoStoleOurMoney #ChiBudget2016 — Sarah-Ji (@sarahdashji) September 22, 2015

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