attribute: Phillie Casablanca

The chord of existence

What are we?

We exist, but only we can fully "know" our existence.

We interact. And through these interactions we live.

Our being is like a complex collection of strings, playing the "chord" of you.
When we meet and interact there are moments where our strings resonate with the other.
You will never have full resonance, the state where every string is played the same,
but the more strings in tune with the other the stronger your connection.

Your chord is not static, but changes slightly when a resonance is struck.
When a change occurs, you, in effect, carry a part of the other, and the other becomes a little bit of you.

When you don't physically share the same space as another, you ring out alone.
At this moment, to the rest of the world, your chord is silent. And in effect you are dead.
At that moment, only you are aware of your existence.

However, parts of you continue to sound.
They are the parts that are carried by the changes you've made in the others you've resonated with.
This is the echo of you.

Your existence continues through this echo.
Keep tuning, and searching for those that may help you find a better tone.

monkut // Jan. 31, 2015 // 12:11 p.m.


Everyone is searching.

Some are better than others.
It's not how that matters, only that you do.
Help where you can.

There is no end

Enjoy the journey.

monkut // Jan. 21, 2015 // 3:44 a.m.

lessons (2014)

Mark Maron mentioned the Woody Allen quote, "80 percent of life is showing up". It stuck with me much of this year. Here's a bit more detail:

"I made the statement years ago which is often quoted that 80 percent of life is showing up. People used to always say to me that they wanted to write a play, they wanted to write a movie, they wanted to write a novel, and the couple of people that did it were 80 percent of the way to having something happen. All the other people struck out without ever getting that pack. They couldn’t do it, that’s why they don’t accomplish a thing, they don’t do the thing, so once you do it, if you actually write your film script, or write your novel, you are more than half way towards something good happening. So that I was say my biggest life lesson that has worked. All others have failed me." -- Woody Allen

There is a saying among jazz musicians:
"If you're not the worst musician in your band, you should immediately switch bands."

Lots of questions this year. Should I stay or should I go? Is there something left to learn? I have the room to learn on my own, but I've realized that, that alone is not enough. There needs to be a shared purpose, a goal, to strive for. Left in limbo with no clear direction is something to be avoided.

As humans we live our lives through stories. The stories we tell ourselves, and the stories we tell the world. Stories drive our interactions, and are key to communication. In order to express your thoughts and ideas to the world clearly, storytelling is an important skill to have.

There is a depth to everything. Something, an interest, can spiral away forever and can never fully be 'known'. At some point you need to make a decision how deep you want to go.

In our world, the majority of experiences we have and things we interact with are man-made. This means that someone made a decision to place that bolt there. There is a reason behind everything, but sometimes that reason isn't very good. Question those reasons, and continue searching for better.

Diversity is what makes us great. It allows new insights and approaches to questions that can't be reached alone. We are limited in time by what we can experience. It is a benefit that others have had a different path to "now". Our experiences are shared, and combined lives enriched as a result.

Doing, even once, makes it easier the next time. That novel? It can only be written by putting words down. One more word puts you that much closer to the end. It is the not doing that keeps you from progressing. Progress requires motion. action. Without it your not going anywhere.

You determine your normal. Conscience, or not you make decisions daily that determine, and continually redefine, what your normal is. Realize this is a choice, and make a good one.

Culture is something that together we create. It does not exist without people. Your actions define your culture. If you want the culture to change, start with yourself. Be the person of the culture you desire.

Clearly understand your goals. Work toward those goals. When you get lost, ask yourself, does this get me closer?

Always know that you may be wrong.

monkut // Dec. 6, 2014 // 11:35 a.m.

The continuum of good to great

It's a struggle. A balance really. Each time sacrificing something in order to achieve something else. Most often it's time, but that is only the high level obstacle. It's the foresight into how much time it would take to achieve the ideal. It's the choices taken along the path to the ideal that makes the goal more and more obtainable.

It's knowing what sacrifices are reasonable to take. The ones that allow you to push still closer to the ideal, but at the same time make the goal obtainable.

I wonder how to know when something is great. Perhaps, if your asking, you're not there. Good. Good is easy. It's that extra effort, that extra insight, that pushes something from good closer to great.

When is something great? Not when you find yourself reluctant to share it. At the same time, however, keeping something locked away from the world may keep it from judgement, but also from knowing greatness, or allowing you to discover a previously unseen path. A step, that moves you further down the continuum toward greatness.

Why, when good is good enough, should you struggle on toward greatness? I guess it all depends on the end goal you seek.

monkut // Dec. 6, 2014 // 10:45 a.m.

Safecast timelapse

Occasionally, I hear people still talk about the radiation in Fukushima. It's been over 3 years since the accident, and you rarely hear anything mentioned on the news anymore.

However, has done a great job of collecting on-going radiation measurements, and publishes a number of maps. I've done similar maps over the years and decided to tackle making one in an attempt to answer the question, "how have the values changed over time". (I'm also taking the opportunity to do this as my first python3 django project)

So, the first step is to get the data.
Go grab the CSV at

I'm then averaging the data monthly on load into geographic bins. For the timelapse, I'm using 1500m bins. For each month-area, the data is using simple average of all values in uSv/hour that fall in that area. I'm not sure if this is the best way to handle it, but the result appears to be close to the 'official map', so for now I'll stick with the simple average.

Note that some of the data is in CPM and not uSv/hour. For these values I converted using the following method:

def cpm2usv(cpm_value):
Using chart at:
usv_per_click = 0.1/12
return cpm_value * usv_per_click

Once the data is loaded into the django Measurement models, it's time to generate the map tile png files. For this I created a python3 library, tmstiler ( , which contains a class, DjangoRasterTileLayerManager, that generates the tile images from a django model containing raster data as a PointField.

Using the DjangoRasterTileLayerManager() minimizes what needs to be done in django project view code. I think the legend code ended up being bigger than the tile creation view code.

The first time I created a timelapse, the image was only showing the 'current' month's data, and made the image appear choppy. There are a number of ways to do some kind of interpolation to make this look better. I decided to try the easiest thing I could think of, hold the previous month data and show it in the 'current' month image. However, I also wanted it to be clear, in some way, that the previous data is not the same as the current data. At first I thought I could adjust the transparency and gradually fade out the older data. After looking into this, it seems that with PIL (pillow) this is a bit difficult to do, and can't be done on color assignment alone. So instead I'm adjusting the color saturation level. (For legends and color manipulation HSL makes shifting colors much easier than dealing with RGB alone)

So I've defined a "months_to_actual" field in the Measurement model, and use this value in the legend to adjust the color saturation. The effect is that the color gradually shifts to gray before being removed. Visually, I'm pretty happy with the results. At the moment it's holding the past 6 months values.

For building the time-lapse, image capture is done using phantomjs ( I've used it in a previous project to capture data on a headless server, it's basically a programmable webkit browser without the need for a GUI. This time around I did notice that there is a python solution called, but I think it's only python2 and the installation is more involved than using phantomjs.

Next, the images are combined together into a video using avconv. This is all done on ubuntu 14.04 server.

I'd like to get the map "live" and browsable here, but I figure that's at least a couple of nights work, and if I do that I really want to do periodic automated updates using the safecast api, which would be a bit more work...

In any case, if anyone is interested in trying it out or making it better, I've posted all the code to github.

You can see the resulting time-lapse video at:

monkut // Dec. 5, 2014 // 12:04 a.m.