Portugal’s approach to the war on drugs

This is a really interesting causality analysis comparing the U.S. approach to the war on drugs and Portugal’s decriminalization of drug use… it’s especially meaningful to me having grown up in Tucson, Arizona near the border, lived in Panama for a year for high school student exchange, and worked with people coming from Central America seeking refugee status from the U.S. government.

I think that if the results from Portugal are replicable in another study that follows typical, empirical criteria for attaining accurate and confound-free results, we should adapt this model in the U.S. to start decreasing the amount of money poured into the war on drugs, extending lifespan and improving quality of life of those suffering from addiction, and ultimately decreasing the prevalence of hard drug usage overall.

Sunny weather

One year ago today, Dean Chandler arrived in Berlin to greet the class of 2019. Today, it’s her last day in Seoul visiting the classes of 2019 and 2020. About 20 of us gathered to wish her goodbye over fried chicken. Maybe she’ll be in London next year…. 
The weather today was soft, the sky sunny; it was the perfect temperature. By nightfall, autumn had made itself known. I sat outside on Bitter Sweet’s fake turf, watching the cars go by for a little bit, thinking about how perfect days like these are too often spent indoors and are never fully appreciated. Then I went inside so I could see my laptop screen better. 

At the cafe next door.

My evening was made perfect too, despite the sudden chill of nightfall, by a long discussion with Vini, Julia, and Anna. These are the deeper connections, the longer conversations, the natural pauses and the run on sentences and paragraphs and pages and lack of HC and LO scoring that aren’t fulfilled by class. My classmates, however, are more than adiquate to round out my human interactions and persuit of knowledge. 

And now it’s time for bed, and there is so much to look forward to. 

Here’s to warm weather. Last as long as you can. 

My 5 favorite puzzles this summer

1. Coach Mechelle

Coach Mechelle (1)

My mom has begun health coaching professionally! And as such, she needed somebody to help her with the finer details. Enter my return home for the summer. I’ve been creating social media pages, creating content, commissioning a logo, making banners (like the one above), ordering business cards, building a website, promoting her business… it’s been excellent lean start experience, and it’s been really good to practice working with somebody whose personality is so different than mine!

Plus, we use Asana, which makes me feel very official.


2. U.S. politics


Pod Save America, NPR’s 1A and Invisibilia, Washington Post, assorted articles from Pocket, and so many other sources are now available for me to explore, now that school is over. Were politics always this interesting and I was just blind to it all? Or is it just my luck that this administration came along now I have time+energy+interest to delve deep?

3. Blackbox


I figured I’d like the game as soon as I saw “complex system” on the opening page. Complex Systems was my favorite class last year at school, influencing my decision to major in Social Science next year. This puzzle game has awesome, encouraging me to think about my phone in depth and search for patterns. But it’s not easy!

4. Design thinking for those who aren’t interested.

In May, I created and led a design thinking intro / sprint for high schoolers. In June, I worked with two others to create and lead an all day design thinking intro and workshop. In both cases, the youth were mostly there because of the adults: one was a school-sponsored activity and the other part of a career readiness program.

This offered a unique puzzle: how do you get those who haven’t sought out design thinking to engage in a process that requires such full-minded dedication? I’ve never experienced such a situation before at the conferences and workshops on design thinking I’ve been to.

…Still refining my answer to that question.

5. Korean

I have fallen hard for Korean. I want to speak Korean badly. But Phoebe, you may say, aren’t you just confusing your love for kpop boybands for the Korean language? To you I say, probably. But who cares why I love it? It’s a beautiful language spoken by beautiful people. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ XD

See that video below? It is GOLD. Luckily, it has subtitles. Not all videos do. For those, I need to speak Korean. Plus, translations aren’t perfect, and don’t convey tone and cutesiness and unusualness easily. So, I’ve gotta learn Korean so I get full cuteness!!

(I mean, there’s also the little thing about me moving there in August but hey.)

There’s been some progress; I’ve been dedicating 30 minutes a day to the language since May, and it’s paying off. I can’t wait for some more immersion in Korea, though.


Beyond these puzzles, I’ve been spending a hell of a lot of time reading (find me on Goodreads), hanging out with family and friends, cooking, relaxing, reading, chilling, volunteering, traveling to out of state/country family… this was the summer I needed, after burning out during my year at the U of A and the research summer following, and only deepened by my most academically challenging year ever.

I’m happy. Hope you are too. ❤

Trying to book a flight to Seoul like…

Next semester, I’ll be living in Seoul, South Korea from September to late December, 2017. Hence, the search for an airplane ticket, which I mentioned to my mother and father, who promptly expressed no small amount of concern for my wellbeing. Soon it felt like my parents weren’t the only ones who were trying to warn me about going to live so close to North Korea. As the search for a good-priced ticket began, so did the prevalence of warning signs….

In the waiting office…
Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.40.32 PM
In travel insurance… 
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 10.34.06 AM
In Twitter… 
Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 4.20.25 PM
As the first result on Youtube… 
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The search results for North Korea. Unsurprising, perhaps, but not what you want to see when moving in next door.

I still bought my ticket. While I’m sure I’ll keep one eye on the news, watching for escalation in threats against South Korea. After all, South Korea and North Korea are technically still at war. However, if I wanted to avoid every possibility of danger, I wouldn’t be driving in a car as an American.

First day of June: recommendations for your time.

Here’s some of the better stuff I’ve come across in the last few days!


Just found this on my desktop but not sure where it came from…. it’s probably from some argument in the All Minervans facebook page, which contains students from my class (m2020) and the class who’ll graduate before us (m2019). This is cross-class love at it’s finest… ❤

“Walking With a Ghost”, Tegan and Sara

Quality listen.

Tower of God

This anime was built to be online – no scanned pages. It’s a beautiful and easy read, along with being straight up one of the more engaging anime series I’ve read. Intriguing world, fun characters, and never dull. (hehehe Khun’s a total cutie too.)

Born Sexy Yesterday

I highly recommend this video on the ‘Born Sexy Yesterday’ trope in a lot of sci-fi stories. Unfortunately, all too familiar; good to be able to put a name to it at last.


Elon Musk: Automation Will Force Universal Basic Income

The real gem is the embedded CGP Grey video, “Humans Need Not Apply,” a haunting prediction of our future. Remind me to develop some skills that won’t be mastered by robots and deep AI––at least, not for the next 70 years or so.

After 54 Years, We Fell in Love. After Five Months, I Got Leukemia.

A love story. An enjoyable read. What more could you want from 5 minutes of your time?

9 May 2017

The last week has been a happy blur of stories. I read Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, books 3 and 4 of the Throne of Glass Series, and watched both seasons of Seven Deadly Sins on Netflix. I’ve begun rewatching Dear White People, this time with my mom. Today saw me through 53% of The Handmaid’s Tale, a figure thoughtfully provided by my Kindle.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time with friends and family. Just Monday, I was woken up by my next door neighbor, who happens to be one of my best friends. (The other bestie is the girl across the sidewalk from us both.) We spent the next two hours together before heading to a cafe downtown (EXO) to meet my bestie, her boyfriend, and their friends. We’d spend the rest of the day together.

I needn’t have approached the menu with dread; despite my recollection that the place was one of the most expensive in Tucson, all menu items were priced $1 – $1.50 lower than the prices I’d grown accustom to in San Francisco. I ordered a black tea from a local company from whom I’d often purchased tea at a farmer’s market by the river (non-desert-folk: read, “wash”) near my house. It came with a free refill of prickly pear tea, and cost me $2.75. O.O

We made our way past the exposed brick walls I’d found so revolutionary just a year previously, to a large coworking space that had newly opened in the time I’d been away at Minerva. I don’t believe I gave its existence a second thought, until the juxtaposition of past me and present me struck me.

The sudden realization that a year ago I’d have reacted to or thought about something very differently than I do in the present moment has hit at a several moments since my return. It’s a sense similar to deja vu, a discord in how I’d have processed the situation literally the last time I was present it in, surrounded by the same town, family, friends, people, context, I had been wrapped in the last time I was presented with said situation.

It came when I took no notice of the coworking space in the back of EXO, the first of it’s kind in Tucson, which would once have caused me to blink in wonder and anticipation of the future.

It came when I blinked in wonder and realization of the present when I attempted to connect to the wifi, but was told by the barista that it was not unusual for the connection to be spotty when more than 25 connections had been made, as there was now. Just keep trying it, he said, and you should connect eventually.

It came when my friend causally mentioned that his classmate he was telling me about was Italian––like, she was actually born in a small town in Italy. Where I would have once sighed in longing for such a foreign connection, I simply shrugged and thought of the Italians I knew.

It came this afternoon when I met with my old boss to go over the agenda and proposed activities for a design thinking workshop I’m helping to run in June. Instead of simply giving the thumbs up, I found myself debating the strengths and weakness of empathy maps and rapid prototyping, saying things like “something we could incorporate from a sprint I did at Stanford’s d.school is” and “there was a really good run down of prototyping strategies the San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation’s Fix-It Labs design bootcamp I went through provided us, I’ll see if I can find it” and “we spent a week or two on design thinking in class, we can use this thing I learned to solve that problem”.

I’m happy with my summer so far.

On a side note, Mayzie has helped me understand Arkansas’ existence, and rewritten its name. I leave you with…