33Manhattan, United States
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My self-summary
I'm an engineer at heart. I believe in fixing what's broken and making what's needed, be it physical, intellectual or metaphorical. I try to see the world around me as it is, not as it's supposed to be, because that opens up opportunities. This may sound terribly abstract, but it really is what I live. When you see it in action, you'll see how it's both effective and fun.

I am an intellectual. I think for fun. I like to talk about ideas, even silly ones. I maintain that there is no such thing as 'thinking too much' (except in cases where a quick decision is needed, but then lots of thinking should have been done in advance).

My greatest strengths tend to lie in hard science / technology, but I've never let that keep me out of dabbling in humanities, arts or adventuring.

Projects I've put serious time into over the years have included: developing Freeciv an open-source real-time-strategy game similar to Civilization (I've written code, graphics and rules), political activism, working for peace, global economic justice, and civil liberties. the Haiti person finder (, a D&D monster search ( and Tomb of Battle Sequel (, a descriptive absolute theory of metaethics, and writing the 2011 MIT Mystery Hunt. Somehow it's easier to write about things I did in the past than ongoing things.

As my profile states, I'm Jewish, and somewhat serious about it. I'm especially serious about the Jewish traditions of scholarship and tikkun olum (repairing the world). My attention to ritual fluctuates, and is in a low state at the moment. My theology would require a long and confusing essay to explain.

For entertainment, I tend to read or play games, either table-top role-playing or board (not video generally, except for freeciv). I also do random things, and would like to do more of them.

I'm not really a serious mountaineer, those are just the only good photos I have of myself. On the other hand, I do climb mountains on occasion. I kind of try to dabble in everything.

My screenname was originally a pun on responsible C coding and my general support of freedom for all people. I admit I haven't achieved very much on the latter part, but my C coding is pretty clean. Anyway, I got it as an AIM screenname without appending numbers, so I figured I'd use it here too. Since gmail chat rolled out I stopped using AIM. And I hardly ever code in straight C anymore: mostly python, javascript and C++. Ah well.
What I’m doing with my life
Trying to make the world a better place by writing software, both because it's what I do best and because it seems to have the best chance of working. I just left Google after five years there, which has left me a bit undirected. I'm currently a grad student at Columbia.

Also playing board games, discussing build optimization on the OotS forum (username dspeyer) and contributing to (that site is disturbingly addictive).
I’m really good at
Computerish stuff: Linux, C, Lisp, Javascript, etc., etc. (the list really does go on forever).

Jerry-rigging. c4b13f14m3 has told me that if the two of us are ever stranded on a deserted island she wouldn't worry because I'd just make everything from bamboo and duct tape. In reality, I can't figure out how to make those withstand the pressure of an internal combustion engine :-).

Seeing the big picture and the immediate reality at the same time.
The first things people usually notice about me
My tendency to actually think about things anyone else would pass over. That's if we meet online. In person, it's probably the beard.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Books: Anything by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, J. K. Rowling, Orson Scott Card, Larry Correia or Vernor Vinge (in no order).

Music: My main pandora stations seeds are Josh Groban, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Bon Jovi, John Williams and Loreena McKennitt. I go to my private collection for musicals that are better heard in order, and for nerd music (Julia Ecklar, Kathy Mar, Voltaire, etc.)

Webcomics: Sluggy Freelance, XKCD, El Goonish Shive, YAFGC, 1/0, OotS, Erfworld, Bardsworth, Afterlife Blues, A Miracle of Science, Girl Genius.

Bloggers: Eliezer Yudkowski, Scott Alexander, Phil Plait, Eric Raymond, Paul Graham
Six things I could never do without
Bandwidth, literature, music, reliable sources of information, duct tape, and a purpose.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Things that would make the world a better place in a big way and things I can do. I keep trying to stretch the two sets until they overlap.

That's the serious stuff, anyway. Most of my time I think about whatever's around, or random stuff. I think about everything.
On a typical Friday night I am
Dancing tango at Milonga Rosa
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I write silly crossover fanfic (tthfanfic handle dspeyer).
You should message me if
You might be interested in meeting me, whether romantically or not.
The two of us