### No Human is Illegal, But Some Are Not White

Our white nationalist presidential administration is cracking down hard on non-white immigrants, particularly those from Mexico. In fact, it's the only successful policy that the child-king has managed to implement in his short presidency. While we should celebrate the failure of the attempt to destroy the ACA, the resistance that federal judges are applying to the racist Muslim travel bans, and the fact that he still hasn't built his big beautiful wall, we should not forget that hundreds of people who are working, paying taxes and attempting to establish stable lives in the US are now being rounded up, separated from their children, and dying because they have been successfully scapegoated for our country's economic woes.

It's a common question for Americans to ask, "why didn't those people come here legally?" The short answer is that they can't, because they aren't white. Does that sound a bit hyperbolic or simplistic? If so, then I'd recommend a quick review of history. Fortunately, Slate offers such a view by reviewing how previous white supremacists in congress changed the country's immigration policy to exclude people from the Western Hemisphere (which was right around the time that the US started overthrowing democratically-elected governments and installing pro-business dictators in South and Central America, leading to a huge influx of immigrants/refugees). An excerpt:
To placate these white nationalist senators, the number of legal entry slots available to Mexico (and other Latin American countries) was slashed drastically. But the economic demand and geographic proximity that already pulled so many Mexicans into the U.S. did not abate. And voilà: Hundreds of thousands of people who had been entering the U.S. legally for years (and whose ancestral roots to North American land went a lot further back than those of many white Americans) were suddenly “illegal” if they crossed an imaginary line on a map in order to work. And now, here we are!
The notion of "legal humans" is a social construct, just like race. And just like race, it was constructed for a reason: social control. This particular form of social control was harnessed by a failed businessman turned reality TV star to get into the white house. And now, here we are!

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…