Thursday, October 15, 2015

[SMEM] Hurricane Joaquin / South Carolina Flood Recovery - Part 1

This diary serves as a day-by-day guide of the establishment of's Social Media Emergency Management (SMEM) response to the disaster caused by Hurricane Joaquin (#HurricaneJoaquin) as well as the related "1,000-Year" storm system it fed into which produced the disastrous and deadly flooding in South Carolina (#SCFlood). Though the storm only lasted from the end of September to early October 2015, its impacts affected lives of millions, plus devastated infrastructure and altered the very landscape of the affected communities. The impacts to individuals, businesses and whole communities will take weeks, months and years to repair and rebuild.

This first part discusses the surveillance of a major tropical cyclone that formed off the U.S. east coast, until the point that an SMEM social media community, based on Facebook groups, was created to respond. Major natural phenomena require active monitoring and surveillance long before activation of your SMEM team. Proactive communications with existing communities-of-interest can help seed awareness to make activation rapid and widespread.
27 September 2015, Sunday

In late September 2015 a gathering storm dubbed blandly as "Tropical Depression ELEVEN" was first noted in an initial advisory by the US NOAA National Hurricane Center. Far out at sea, smack dab in the midst of the wide swath of ocean more superstitious folks call the Bermuda Triangle, it was innocuous enough, and was expected to drift to the northwest with moderate wind speeds. Had it developed the way that the computer models predicted, it would have likely been a minor tropical depression that brought some significant rain and moderate flooding to the Mid-Atlantic States. Yet otherwise none of us would be talking about it any more or less than any other system of thundershowers and tropical depressions that move over the Eastern U.S. every year. However, this was going to become a storm to remember. Not only for itself, but for its very telling side effects.

28 Sep 2015, Monday

By the next morning, Tropical Depression Eleven was well on its way to become promoted to a Tropical Storm. This was regardless of a significant north/northwesterly wind shear of 20 knots (23 mph). In other words, even though this storm was heading directly into a headwind it was continuing to pick up steam and maintain a velocity of 5 mph. The NOAA admitted there were factors conducive to the storm picking up energy, but "shear of this magnitude suggests that only slow intensification is possible," and "little further strengthening is indicated." There was a caveated possibility of the cyclone "merging with a frontal zone offshore" within 96 hours, but by that time it should turn post-tropical. The track of the storm had shifted a bit, now pointing the storm more directly towards the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In the 11 pm discussion Number 5, it was promoted to Tropical Storm Joaquin.

29 Sep 2015, Tuesday

Nature has a proclivity for perversity. It exhibits an uncanny knack for screwing with even the most brilliant of scientific human minds and regardless of all the sophisticated hardware we can throw at problems. NOAA stated in Discussion Number 7 that it was attempting to "reconcile large model spread." Translation: all the various supercomputer models were predicting a wide range of divergent possible outcomes, and what the storm would do next was nearly anyone's guess. The original forecasts were now moot, because the storm had unleashed its first major surprise on the meteorological community. Rather than head northwards, NOAA declared Joaquin "is currently in a relatively weak steering pattern." It was behaving more chaotic than predicted, making a large, lazy turn like someone spun around in a planetary-scale game of "pin the tail on the donkey." Joaquin first began drifting westwards, and then eventually settled on a path towards the west-southwest. Now it was pointed at the Bahamas.

This shift in direction had additional profound effects. First, Joaquin was experiencing less of the type of shear that would decrease its power. Second, it would now be moving over warmer stretches of ocean. Higher Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) meant there was more energy to hoover up into the tropical cyclone. More moisture. More energy. It all added up to a bigger storm with increased wind speed. It was heading towards hurricane status.

Moreoever, Joaquin was still wandering like a dizzy party-goer. By Advisory 9 that evening, the lurch of the storm was predicted to take a sudden northward turn sometimes after Thursday evening.

30 Sep 2015, Wednesday

By 8 am on 30 September, NOAA had indeed upgraded the system, now declaring it Hurricane Joaquin. Initial indications of an eye trying to form could be seen by satellite imagery.

Though it was currently moving towards the Bahamas, NOAA noted a deep-layer trough would pull it northwards once again within four days. What it would do thereafter was all up for considerable debate. Would it make landfall in the eastern United States? Would it be pulled away towards Bermuda and out-to-sea? The storm was lurching, and it was still uncertain which way it would drunkenly stumble. If direction was indeterminate, the one thing NOAA was willing to bet on by Discussion 11 was the power of the storm: "the intensity forecast calls for Joaquin to peak as a major hurricane in about 72 hours, and it is possible it could be stronger than currently forecast."

It was only after Advisory 11A, when I saw the five-day track was predicted to make landfall somewhere along the U.S. east coast with hurricane force that I began to mobilize the community. The first notices I posted were in the Rockaways - Hurricane Sandy News community on Facebook. This group of over 4,000 people was created the morning after landfall of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Its purpose was to help communicate vital updates, news, relief and recovery information, uniting residents of the neighborhoods of the Rockaways in New York City with a social community comprised of aid volunteers, non-profit staff, government officials, friends, and relatives.  It is still active for long-term recovery needs, serving as a common ground for discussion of the storm and its aftermath, coastal resiliency needs (groins, sand replenishment), concerns of global warming and sea rise, personal and business recovery, and so on.

How you communicate such news to a community is crucial. I wanted to give them an honest head's up and fair assessment. Yet when news of a storm breaks, there is often an inducement of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for some disaster victims. Old wounds feel fresh. Bitter disappointments taste fresh once more. Rumors can fly. I did not wish to set off undue alarm or anxiety.

Throughout the afternoon, buzz began to build on Joaquin. It wasn't just for weather wonks any more. Major media outlets began to report on the storm. The winds could be as high as ~85 mph off-shore of the NY/NJ area by Monday 8 am. Yet there were still a myriad of tracks the storm could follow. By that evening, the consensus track had already shifted and moved towards the Chesapeake Bay region. I issued a follow-up commentary based on NOAA NHC Advisory 12.

However, what was obvious was that one location that was being directly impacted was the Bahamas. It was time to worry less about where the storm might end up, and open up a disaster recovery group that was focused upon where it was certain to be impacting. Thus, I launched the Hurricane Joaquin Facebook group, and began to invite some of the key folks from Rockaways - Hurricane Sandy News into it to "seed" it with seasoned disaster response and recovery veterans, such as other SMEM experts from Disaster Info Team and boots-on-the-ground organizations like Team Rubicon. I wrote up an initial mission statement:

Hurricane Joaquin group is for Social Media Emergency Management (SMEM), monitoring, reporting, and responding to the immediate and ongoing needs of communities impacted by Hurricane Joaquin. Created and moderated by staff of as well as other concerned global citizens.

Then I began curating articles from reputable meteorological sources, such as NOAA, plus and Headlines like "#HurricaneJoaquin is going to be wet." "How will Joaquin compare to Superstorm Sandy?" set expectations based on the best data we had at the time. I also began to add sources that would be of definite utility if it ever made U.S. landfall: FEMA flood maps, disaster and distress helplines such as SAMHSA, etc.

Plus, I took the time to customize the GlobalCommit Group Ground Rules for what would be acceptable in terms of courtesy and tone of discussion. People who are undergoing the anxiety of disaster recovery can range from all ends of calmness to rage to depression. But if we are going to build a group of hundreds, if not thousands, of people intercommunicating, a basis for group discussion is vital.

Next, I took to write an open letter to the Rockaways - Hurricane Sandy News community as a call-to-action. A request to "Pay-it-Forward" for all the assistance they had received in the aftermath of Sandy.

With the group established, it was time to call it a night. Or morning. Because I had worked nearly until dawn on 1 October preparing for Joaquin's next set of tricks.

Expect your first hours of activation to be intense. A lot of information needs to be marshaled. A lot of community "meta-discussions" can be had, like touching base with peers, doing a "gut-check" and building consensus before you decide to spring into action. Yet during such real-time emerging situations, sometimes you don't need to get caught up in committees-from-hell or analysis-paralysis. In this case, I made a personal executive decision. Everyone, once aware of it, was on-board. We all knew, no matter what happened, this was going to be big.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nepal Disaster Response

On Saturday, 25 April 2015, just before noon local time in Nepal, nearly 10 miles (15 km) down below the surface of the earth, the stone of the earth's crust began to give way. The continental behemoth of the Eurasian plate was swallowing part of the Indian subcontinent whole. This was not the first time such a catastrophe has happened in human history, but with the growth of population and development in the region, it shall be the most devastating.

Within 30 seconds of terrifying trembling, the entire basin within which the capital of Kathmandu shifted 10 feet (3 meters) southwards. Not only that, but a swath of land 75 miles long by 30 miles wide (120 km by 50 km) had been lifted three feet (one meter).

Upon Mount Everest, glaciers and ice sheets gave way, killing 19 climbers at base camp, and trapping more on the ascent above.

Seismologists measured the temblor at 7.8 on the Moment Magnitude (Mw) scale, or 8.1 on the Surface Wave Magnitude (Ms) scale. The full extent of death and destruction has still not been measurable. Thousands, at least, are dead, thousands more injured, hundreds of thousands have become displaced persons, and ten million or more have been affected in multiple nations: Nepal, the Tibetan area of China, India, and Bangladesh.

Throughout the next several hours and days a large number of aftershocks, with magnitudes as high as 6.6 and 6.7 Mw, continued to rock the nation, causing additional collapses and landslides, and sending already-fearful Nepalese into panic.

Meanwhile in Silicon Valley...

As the sun rose over the U.S. west coast, I read the news online.

At 10:29 AM Pacific Time, I had shared out the USGS report of the 7.5, then revised to 7.9, then finally set at 7.8 earthquake. Already it was known that more than a thousand were dead. It was going to be a long day.

Within a few more minutes, by 10:39 AM Pacific Time, I was sharing information coming out of the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu, Nepal about immediate cash contributions to relief efforts. USAID had a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) en route. American citizens were being advised to check in with the State Department to ensure they were alive and well.

Yet I was supposed to be somewhere. More updates would need to wait. By 11:11 AM I was sitting at a table at PayPal's Town Hall aware of what was going on. I was there at the HackingEDU Training Day looking to tell the student attendees about, my non-profit  program dedicated to Social Media Emergency Management (SMEM), as well as to attract them to work on a "Hacking for Social Good" program which we'll be running at HackingEDU — the world's largest educational hackathon — in October 2015.

Embedded image permalink

By noon, attendees were filtering in. However, I would have a tremendous amount of trouble concentrating on Training Day. My mind was already on the opposite side of the earth.

By 1:23 PM Pacific Time, I was in conversation with Jen Q Adams, Executive Director of LAHAF, Inc. (Lend a Hand and Foot). For those who don't know, Jen's organization is the 501(c)3 fiscally sponsoring my work on We chatted briefly. Many groups were already in motion. Third Wave Volunteers were already planning to deploy. It was time to spin up a new SMEM initiative: Nepal Disaster Response.

I was describing to people what it was that GlobalCommit does while building the Facebook group and gathering information on-the-fly. Inviting many of the "usual suspects" for disaster relief. Gathering intelligence on what was occurring. I was sitting right next to the IBM BlueMix group who were sponsoring the event. They were impressed. I told them I might hit them up for assistance in the coming days. They were open to it.

I've been pretty pedal-to-the-medal since then. One personal event struck me during this week.

28 April 2015 - A Facebook Update

"I just drove past the body of a female mallard at the edge of Highway 101 near Rengstorff. I had driven past it yesterday, and was somewhat saddened to see yet another animal that died due to high-density traffic. What broke my heart was today, to see the same limp carcass still not picked up. This time, beside her was nestled the patient, waiting form of her mate, a male mallard, head down low in his feathers. Simply abiding next to the body of his mate. Mourning? Waiting for her to awaken? Simply unsure what to do next? He sat there, but a few feet from the same rumbling traffic that had taken her life, huddled beside her. There is nothing else akin to such devotion after death. It made me mourn anew for the people of Nepal this morning, and all else who are in grief in this world."

Normally, you post something, and don't expect it to go beyond your own circle of friends. But later that day, I saw a Tweet:

From Jennifer O'Neill:

@PeterCorless Thank you for confirming what I feared I saw this morning on 101. My heart is still heaving thinking about it.

"All day I've wondered if anyone else saw what I saw along the side of Highway 101 this morning near Rengstorff. Turns out, someone did. Tonight I found Peter's post on Twitter and all of my sadness at the sight came rushing back. I was on the verge of tears all day thinking about that male mallard. Sometimes nature moves us in a way humans don't."

Current Situation

It is now Thursday, 30 April. I can hardly slow down to even describe everything that's happened between this Saturday and today. However, is in full swing. I am beginning to see a mosaic of the disaster coming together. The next week will be critical in gathering information.

If you wish to help with your own brain, fingertips and eyeballs, please join us: Nepal Disaster Response.

I've been holding off on asking for donations for now, to allow people to focus on first-order issues: food, water, shelter. Yet information is a vital commodity during such disasters. And working day-in-day-out to manage it, aggregate it, collate it, and vet it for accuracy, currency and completeness an is a crucial responsibility and often arduous task. It's herding cats of individuals and maintaining baseball cards of organizations. There's a lot of balls in the air. Let's hope we catch as many as we can.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Claiming the Beloved Community" In San Jose - Attending for #CivilityMovement

First Part of Commitment: Awareness

This Friday, as I was getting ready to head into Strata+Hadoop World 2015 at the San Jose Convention Center for my day job at Aerospike, I checked Facebook. (I'll get to a round-up on Strata+Hadoop later.) Once on Facebook I noted a message posted on the St. Jude's Episcopal Church group:

"Claiming the Beloved Community"

At first I wasn't sure what the meeting was about. I squinted. It was hard to read the image through my mobile phone. So I opened up the poster.

"Claiming the Beloved Community: Black & Brown Lives Matter"

I saw the message. Folks from the #CivilityMovement know that this is right up there in the charter of Boom! I was in. St. Jude's pastor, Wilma Jakobsen commented on Facebook, "I'm going to try to get there - is anyone else going?" I replied: "I'll do my best!"

Second Part of Commitment: Showing Up

So later that evening, I drove from the San Jose Convention Center to Oakland Road. It was my first visit to the Bible Way Christian Center. I was intrigued by their slogan, "One visit could change your life."

At 6:24 pm, I tweeted out a quick message: ". Tonight I'm attending "Claiming the Beloved Community" at Bible Way Christian Center for ". Then headed in.

The Bible Way Christian Center is a repurposed commercial building. Some rooms were taped off and still under renovation. What could have once been an office was turned into a small child care room. Towards the back there was a large single room equipped with a stage. Around the carpeted floor were hundreds of chairs organized in dozens of small circular goups. I had gotten there early, so was given a slip, assigning me to sit in group #2.

Over the next hour, the large room began to fill. At first the organizers were worried that not enough people might attend. Then the crowds began to arrive. The groups began to fill up rapidly. By meeting start the room was rather packed. Soon events got underway. 

Third Part of Commitment: Understanding What's Required of You

The program opened with Lorianna Gardere singing America the Beautiful, followed by an opening prayer by Pastor Oscar Dare, and statements of purpose by co-chairs Pastor Sean Gardere, and Reverend Jennifer Goto. All of these were from the Bible Way Christian Center apart from Rev. Goto, who was of St. Paul's United Methodist Church. The purpose of the meeting was in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His commitment to principled and peaceful change, change from within our hearts, within our minds, within our communities, was the order of the day.

Lorianna Gardere sings "America the Beautiful" for opening song.

 "Claiming the Beloved Community: Black and Brown Lives Matter"

In the wake of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, that of Eric Garner's in Staten Island, Tamir Rice's in Cleveland, and so many others, we, in San Jose had been called upon to speak and work together as civilians, law enforcement officers, elected officials, civic and religious leaders all united to get at the heart of the issues in our communities, and to turn the mirror on our own souls, our own biases, our own internal dialogue.

Fourth Part of Commitment: Incorporate the Experience of Others

To the podium came individuals of various backgrounds. Community members and representatives of law enforcement took to the stage. Tierney Yates (, Flor Martinez (PACT), Jesus Ruiz Diego (PACT), Zahra Billoo (CAIR), and Rachel Nortor (Westminster Presbyterian Church) all spoke about their individual experiences and personal perspective on civilian encounters with law enforcement. Zahra Billoo's perspective was telling. CAIR might be dealing with law enforcement in a positive way, helpful for their assistance in one instance, then find themselves at odds with how SJPD might have dealt with a member of the Islamic community later on the same day.

They were followed to the podium by Officer Howard Johnson (SJPD) and Bob Stresak (POST), who spoke from the perspective of law enforcement, and what they hope for and expect personally, and hold forth as standards for their peers and colleagues when dealing with the public.

Fifth Part of Commitment: Share Your Own Experiences

This evening was not for passive listening, however. Each of us who had come had an explicit mission: to hold discourse with each other on the topic at hand: "How does racial profiling and implicit bias affect you and our community?"

To do so effectively, the organizers set forth some principles and some guidelines to hold effective discussion. Reverend Michael-Ray Mathews, of PICO National Network, discussed Implicit Bias and Levels of Oppression & Change.

Afterwards, Minister Virginia Groce-Roberts of Emanuel Baptist Church spoke about the guidelines to hold effective discussions. For instance, less "we" speaking (on behalf of an organization or community), and more "I" speaking (speak only from your own point-of-view). Another important principle was confidentiality. What we spoke about in our small groups would remain in our groups. Though we would be filmed, for instance, there would be no audio soundtrack kept of the small group discussions.

Each of us were asked to keep these bounds for discussion in mind as we were to break out into groups.

In my group were "Peace Soldier" (an older fellow), Pam (an older white woman), Steve (a young black man who used to play for San Jose State and coaches football), Andrew Gutierrez (an attorney for Santa Clara County), Tierney Yates (the Program Coordinator for, Pastor Jeff Moore II (of the, and Bob Stresak (Executive Director of POST -- Peace Officer Standards and Training). As agreed to by the ground rules, I can't share specifics of what was spoken in our small group, yet I assure you that the conversation was lively and thought-provoking.

However, some of my thoughts long proceeded this meeting. First, I suggested there need to be better programs to help returning veterans that choose a career in law enforcement shift their thinking. The kinds of attributes and training that made soldiers successful kicking in doors in Afghanistan or Iraq are less-welcome in cities like San Jose or New York. "Force protection," while important, is only one thing to consider when doing community policing. ("Homeland security" thinking also polarized a lot of police forces after 9/11. Yet not every car stop should be treated as a potential terrorist threat. There needs to be a "demilitarization" at the philosophical level.)

Another point I raised was the matter of tracking and rewarding police activities. "Whatever you reward you will get more of." So are we rewarding police forces solely for aggressively policing, or are we rewarding them for their ability to get along with communities of color?

Sixth Part of Commitment: Follow Through & Next Steps

After the small group discussions, the meeting was brought to a close by addresses to the crowd by San Jose Mayor Sam Licardo, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, and Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith. To them, the meeting was vital to stay in touch with the needs of the community. This was an invitation to keep the discussion going. To keep the momentum building, and ensure that voices are heard, and changes, where they need to be made, are made.

This was just the beginning of dialogue. Nothing that happened in this meeting has yet to truly affect how things happen on the streets or in the offices of power. The people that we made contact through such a community dialogue have a lot of work ahead of them.

Friday night's meeting at the Bible Way Christian Center was not the first meeting in this series, and it will not be the last. I look forward to the next event, and to seeing progress made between now-and-then.

Getting involved:

If you would like to continue conversation on this topic, I invite you to get involved with a Facebook group I started:
For those in other communities that want to start their own discussions and dialogue, I invite you to join the nation-wide Facebook group:
And if you want to find out more about the organization I started to back these movements, please go to

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Tweet Re: Aerospike

 7 minutes ago7 minutes ago i don't know what this does. "FLASH-OPTIMIZED, IN-MEMORY, NOSQL DATABASE." these are not features

Jongleberry, I wanted to respond to you, though it'll take longer than a Tweet.


Many older databases run primarily out of traditional rotating hard disks. Such media has access speeds in the millisecond (10^-3) order of magnitude. Red Hat says "The average access time of a typical hard drive is roughly 8.5 milliseconds." That's fine so long as you don't have really fast response time requirements.

Yet if you take a look at how fast modern databases need to perform, such as for Real Time Bidding (RTB), you have use cases, such as Komli, where they need to get data back in as little as 1-2 milliseconds, there's no way spinning disk is going to get data back that fast.

Instead, you need to run from Flash-memory Solid State Drives (SSD). These drives can be accessed at microsecond speed (10^-6 or 10^-5), meaning they are orders of magnitude faster than spinning disk.

The way Aerospike is architected takes advantage of running from Flash (and RAM, see more below). Now, you can meet those 1-2 millisecond response times. Flash, like spinning disk, is persistent, meaning you won't lose your data even if the power goes off. It's more expensive than spinning disk, but that price has been coming down massively in recent years.


Aerospike can also work out of RAM, which is accessed in (tens of) nanosecond orders-of-magnitude (10^-8). So it is faster even than Flash/SSD. Yet it is not persistent. So if anything goes wrong with the power — Poof! — your data is gone. Of course, that speed brings higher costs.

This is why Aerospike focuses on using RAM and Flash each for what they do best. RAM for pure performance, and Flash for persistence with near-RAM speed (at least compared to spinning disk).


There's a lot of information on what NoSQL databases are, versus SQL. Aerospike is, in specific, a Key-Value store.


When put all together, Aerospike running from Flash is cheaper-than-pure-RAM (such as Redis), and faster-than-hard-disk-can-ever-hope-to-be (such as a Cassandra deployment).

As Lynn Langit just published today, Aerospike performs as-well-or-better than Redis in RAM, and as recently published on Google Cloud Platform Blog, it requires far less servers than Cassandra.

For more cost-savings considerations of Flash/SSD, there are other articles that highlight the advantages: "RAM-like Performance with Local SSDs," as well as "Are SSDs Really 10x Cheaper than RAM?"

For further reading, I also recommend this article by Young Paik, who summed up the discussion as, "Goldilocks and the Three Storage Types."

Also see:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Now that GlobalCommit has been a group on Facebook for a few days, I have also gotten a basic website nailed up. It's not "pretty," but it's live:

San Jose Civility Movement

There are a number of recent trends that I have been following that, to me, stem from some common underlying problems:

• Crimes, Criminal Violence and Gang Violence
• Domestic Abuse and Violence, including disturbing trends of Homicide or Homicide-Suicide
• Bullying and Harrassment
• Workplace Hostility and Violence
• Gender and Gender Identity Violence, including sexual abuse and rape
• Racial, Religious, Ethnic or National-origin based prejudice and violence
• Political differences, demonizing, and toxic environments of political discourse

While these all seem quite disparate in their causes, their solutions are common: basic, human civility. Dignity. Respect. Kindness. Consideration.

Even if we are different, each of us should respect each other as human beings. Even if we disagree, we should remain civil, courteous, and fair in our disagreements. The vehemence, polemic, and nastiness that is so commonplace degrades our society and denigrates our individual wellbeing.

The Solution is Civility

To that end, I created the Civility Movement, a national campaign to turn our country towards a better future. One where we can have more wholesome familial relationships. Healthier friendships, schools and workplaces. One where political differences should not destroy the unity of our community.

I would like to invite my neighbors from Branham-Kirk to join me, and would like to invite you to invite others you know who would be good additions to the group. I am especially interested in making contact with civic leaders, faith leaders, youth group leaders or teachers, and others who have personal commitment and vested stakes in the outcome of our city.

Personally, I would love to get volunteers who can commit some volunteer time and skills in social media, blogging and web design, etc.

• San Jose Civility Movement -
• Civility Movement -

• GlobalCommit (Facebook) -
• GlobalCommit (web site) -

Please feel free to call me at 650-906-3134, or email me at

Thursday, January 15, 2015

GlobalCommit - A program of LAHAF, Inc.


GlobalCommit is a series of public benefit projects focused on connecting committed global citizens to causes and solutions they care about.


CoexistSTANCE -


Civility Movement -


Neponsit Home Redevelopment -


Feeding Liberia (FELA) -


Philippines Typhoon Aid -

Rockaways - Hurricane Sandy News -

GlobalCommit is a program of LAHAF, Inc., an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit based in New York City.


1. Feeding Liberia (FELA) - Formed to help Liberia grow its own food. This program is to help stop the chronic undernourishment in the country and alleviate dependence on foreign food imports. The first step is to create a 50-acre working farm in rural Liberia. This farm will be a source of good, locally-grown food for the people of the village where it is created. Surplus can be sold at market to help develop local economies around food production. It will also serve a model implementation for the creation of other farms across Liberia.

2. CoexistSTANCE - a group standing for, calling for, and working for tolerance, peace and mutual understanding around the world. Created in the wake of an ongoing series of violent attacks around the world. It is opposed to extremism, especially religious, racial and nationalist movements who breed violence, intolerance and incivility. It is a citizen-led, individually-driven, crowdsourced and contributory project to work to create opportunities for peace, reconciliation, mutual understanding, all in the hopes of reducing or ending violent extremism in the world, wherever it occurs, either domestically and internationally.

3. Civility Movement - an effort to promote pro-social, civic-minded behavior and to minimize and ameliorate anti-social behavior. The civility movement stands for a united, peaceful and progressive society. We stand against criminal violence, gangs and gang violence, domestic violence and abuse, bullying, workplace violence and discrimination within society. Focused on fostering domestic civility within the United States.

4. Neponsit Home Redevelopment - a project to help foster civic dialogue around the restoration and redevelopment for the former site of the Neponsit Hospital in Rockaway Beach, New York. The site is presently owned by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). The project will help envision the best use of the site, and encourage civic participation and input in the redevelopment process.

5. Rockaways - Hurricane Sandy News - A Social Media Emergency Management (SMEM) group formed in response to the 2012 Hurricane Sandy disaster (also known as “Superstorm Sandy”). More than two years after the storm, the Rockaways community still is facing long-term recovery needs. This social media project is presently focused on keeping the community informed of programs and issues relevant to disaster recovery, such as major disaster recovery financing, changes to flood insurance programs, opportunities for employment, and specific needs of individual families, businesses and homeowners.

6. Philippines Typhoon Aid - A Social Media Emergency Management (SMEM) group formed at first in response to Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan in 2013, and then reactivated in the face of Typhoon Ruby/Hagupit in 2014. Supports the Philippines during time of natural disaster, specifically tropical cyclones. Work with on-the-ground agencies and other online communities-of-interest and need. Help aggregate and share information, highlight activities and needs, and provide a common forum and medium for communications.


Get Committed

GlobalCommit is now happening. It is the equivalent of a "non-profit incubator," with a focus on "triage" for the world's problems, big and small. The implicit challenge for everyone is to find a cause that you care about around the global, and then commit to it.

Don't just be aware.
Don't just be interested.
Don't just be influenced.
Don't just be involved.

Get committed.

That means taking the full plunge.
All the way in! And no checking your watch, saying "Look at the time. Gotta run. Thanks! It's been fun." Nuh-uh. We're in it for the long haul.

We need stick-to-it-iveness. We need gumption. We need people willing to roll up their sleeves and to get stuff done. Now. Not tomorrow. NOW.

The world needs the help of countless committed individuals to make even part of these visions to come true.

By the grace of Jen Q. Adams, the Executive Director of LAHAF, Inc., now all of these projects have now found a home. I want to personally thank her for entering into a fiscal sponsorship agreement with me to help give a legal basis for all of these projects. Such IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) status will allow us to raise the funds necessary to flourish.


More Than Just "Global Understanding"

Doing advocacy, crisis management and conflict monitoring are not new issues for me, and, if anything, I feel remiss that creating Global Commit had not happened sooner.
Back in 2008-2009, people might remember how I had attempted to begin the Global Understanding Institute ( For various reasons, at the time it did not go far, and never incorporated. Yet much of GlobalCommit is based upon that framework.

Yet rather than just "understanding" what the problems are — now's the time to commit to fixing what's broken, repairing what needs to be mended, and removing that which is standing in our way.

Even earlier, in 2006-2008, I had done research into the Balkans crisis of the 1990s (

I have also been a passionate Wikipedian, working on a lot of various conflict-oriented pages and those related to violent extremism, especially the conflict in Somalia c. 2006-2008

All of this goes back to the military conflict simulation games I played, designed and developed going back to my childhood days. Yet rather than design "war" games, what we need now are more "peacemaking" games. Simulations, data models, and even roleplaying games that might help us resolve conflicts, and bring us to a new higher-basis of civility and social well-being.

As well, in the long run, there will need to be a clear commitment beyond just research and remote work, to partner with "boots-on-the-ground" individuals and groups. It is one thing to talk about resolving some of the world's largest problems. It is an entirely different thing — a humbling experience, really — to stand amidst a problem so much larger than any one of us, and consider how to tackle it.

That scale of magnitude is what I felt most from my on-the-ground trip to the Balkans, long after the conflict there had passed, mind you, and what I learned from doing hurricane disaster recovery in the wake of Sandy. Scope and scale will be key challenges going forward.


Where's Ebola?

Though I've been doing a lot of work with the Ebola public health emergency in West Africa, those projects are not on the list of GlobalCommit. For now, since I am only one member of a group of folks doing such work, I felt it was unfair to unilaterally drag my colleagues into GlobalCommit without long and serious discussions. I continue to work on Ebola, and have been in touch with Rebecca Williams of Disaster Info Team. She is very proud and pleased of what I am doing, but for now, again, my Ebola initiatives remain apart from the current list of projects for GlobalCommit.

How You Can Help

Wanted: Volunteers

• Pick a project! (Rules for submitting your own will be shared in the future.)

• Are you dedicated to the principles of the group? (ex: disaster response, communal advocacy, civility and peaceful coexistence)
• Do you know, or would you like to learn Social Media Management?
• Are you level-headed and fair minded?
• Do you like to settle disputes?
• Do you like to share vital information with communities of interest?
• Do you enjoy recruiting others to causes that can make a difference?
• Want to write essays and conversation-starters regarding critical issues of community interest?
• Do you have skills at mapping?
• Do you have graphic arts skills?
• Do you have web content management skills (wikis, WordPress, etc.)?
• Can you hack code?
• Do you work well with others?

All of the projects of GlobalCommit are currently accepting applications from people who would like to be admins, contributors and team members.

There is no need to travel to any community, conflict zone or crisis location, though, if someone is from an affected project area, you are certainly welcome to join to bring your perspective and to advocate on behalf of your community. All general work for GlobalCommit can be performed from the relative safety of wherever you are living.

Peter Corless

Founder, GlobalCommit
  • Email:
  • Phone: 650-906-3134
  • Twitter: @PeterCorless

Friday, January 02, 2015

Observations of 2014: Ebola Situation Reports & Statistics: Reading the Tea Leaves

Yesterday, I went back through all of the WHO and CDC reports of Ebola casualties, as far as they went. I also scoured various news stories to try to get at the origins and spread of the Ebola outbreak. The national MOH's are somewhat opaque as to how they derived their numbers, and since we know that they've been wildly inaccurate from time-to-time, analysis is oft reduced to the level of augury from tea leaves....

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Ebola Situation Report Analysis - 31 Dec 2014

Ebola Situation Report Analysis - 12/31/2014

• 20,206 cases, 7,905 dead
• +709 cases, +317 dead in past week
• +101 cases, +45 dead every day

Read in full:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - A Rocket Ride

2014 was a transitional and transformative year for both my vocation and my avocations. It is a year that should be remembered in full -- the good, the bad, the ugly and the sublime.

Everything is Awesome!

The Lego Movie was one of the most insidiously revolutionary yet peppy stories to come out of Hollywood. Filled with shameless marketing tie-ins and pop culture references, it lampooned the "everyman superhero" genre of the Matrix or any other stumbling-to-victory messiah-savior "you must save the world" story. And it ended in a most curious and unsettling crossover into the fictional "real" world of father, son and family that cracked wide the myth of the ossification of adulthood. What is work? What is play? What is creation and destruction? How do we allow others to enter into our lives without feeling that they are "ruining" what we have built? (Especially little sisters!) What sort of stories are we telling others, and ourselves, day-in, day-out as we go through life?

I remember as a kid making all sorts of elaborate Lego creations and then, when bored, simply smashing them to pieces and starting all over again. That's what seemed to happen in this movie. They'd take a gag so far, get bored with it, and boom! Smash! On to the next trope, the next shtick. Fast paced, at times nostalgic and cozy, then suddenly cynical and biting, filled with elbow-elbow, wink-wink, and flash-by-too-fast-to-catch references of all sorts.

It also left me and my family with a silly tongue-in-cheek anthem to set off the year: "Everything is awesome!"

In a way, that's what 2014 was for many people: a rocket ride, a smash-and-dash utter destruction of what had come before, and a rebuilding of something entirely new. How people faced such tribulations and turbulence was based upon their own weltanschauung. For me, I left the movie feeling pretty buoyant, and came out of 2014 pretty well.

Yet while I was feeling "awesome," around the rest of the world, things were far more unsettled. 

Ukraine Revolution & Russian Irredentism

In February of 2014, the Ukrainian Revolution spun the country around in a historic turnabout. For nearly the whole past century, it had faced east, saluting towards its dominant neighbor Russia. Now it faced west, towards Brussels and the rest of Europe. Yet the ouster of the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had a price. Ukraine and Russia squared off in an irredentist conflict that, to me, harkened back to the same category of conflicts that embroiled the Balkans throughout the 1990s: the language you spoke, the culture you identified with, determined your allegiance.

Crimea was annexed by Russia via an invasion in March. The Donetsk, Luhansk, and entire trans-Dneiper and Odessa regions have had unrest or were plunged into open violence and warfare. Separatists were branded as terrorists or patriots, depending on which side of the conflict you took. The aims of the conflict are myriad: Do they want local autonomy, but to remain in Ukraine? To create a separate state? To break away and rejoin Russia, like the Crimea? To bring Ukraine back into a united nation with Russia again? 

To date, over 800,000 Russian-speaking Ukrainians have fled to Russia, another quarter-million have been displaced internally, and thousands have been killed and wounded.

In July, the world was shocked by the downing of MH17 by pro-Russian separatist forces, killing all 298 passengers aboard. This eerily had followed the disappearance of MH370 in March. But this time, there was a clear indication of what had brought down the aircraft: a Russian made surface-to-air missile (SAM).

Ukraine continues on its path towards relations with the EU, signing a historic Association Agreement in September. And on 23 December 2014, Ukraine renounced its non-alignment status, seeking open military cooperation with NATO. The story is far from over.

Europa Universalis, Crusader Kings II

While the real world was plunging itself in violence repeatedly and incessantly, whether that was the Middle East with ISIS/ISIL or Gaza, the murderous rampages of Boko Haram in Africa, or any of a myriad of other blood-lettings, I spent a fair bit of time playing the historical global simulation games, Europa Universalis IV (EU4) and Crusader Kings II (CK2), by the Swedish company Paradox Interactive.

EU4 takes one back to the 15th - 19th Centuries, to understand some of the complex interrelations of religion, economics, politics and culture that have shaped the world into what it is today. You take on the role of any nation in the world at the time, and see how you can do in terms of navigating your people through the breathtaking era of exploration, colonization, conquest and modernization.

CK2 is more than just the classic Christian-Muslim conflict now. Expansions have deepened the historic era of the game from the 8th - 15th Century, and broadened the horizons of the world from the North Atlantic to the Indian subcontinent. Beyond Byzantine Orthodox and western Catholics, you can now play as Sunnis, Shia, Zoroastrians, Monophysites, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Norse or Tengri pagans, and a myriad of various minor religions all historically appropriate for the development of medieval Europe, North Africa and Asia. If you want a bit of alternative history, they even have an Aztec invasion for a "what if?"

These are not perfect simulations of real-world conditions, but they are eye-opening experiences to anyone who wants to see how the map of the world has changed over time. Moreover, they give insights into precisely how intransigent so many conflicts have been over history. They show the shift from the rule of monarchs, prelates and aristocrats, towards powerhouse nation-states, with their modern armies and globe-spanning economies.

Paradox also produces games about the industrial era (Victoria II) and on into World War II (Hearts of Iron). If you chain your campaigns back-to-back, using various Paradox-and-community-developed porting tools, it would be theoretically possible to take your historical postage-stamp sized county from the 8th Century, and watch it grow and expand into the 20th Century. Even if you just sit back and let the simulation run unattended, it is always a marvel to see just how different our world could be.

All of my simulation gaming I see as "practice." What I truly and continually hope for is to apply game theory to real-world conflicts and crises, and see how simulations, databases, and applications can be used to model and solve for actual problems in our own day and age, and on into the future. Expect to hear more about this in 2015.


Guardians of the Galaxy


This movie was the ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!

Guardians of the Galaxy was, for me, the motion picture highlight of the year. The humor was perfect. The music was even better. Peter Quill was an everyman, like Emmet Brickowoski from the Lego movie, and, coincidentally, also played by Chris Pratt. Yet Peter Quill was nowhere near as ignorant or naive. He was roguish and smarmy, charming and egotistical at times, but also capable of self-deprecation and humanity.

Opening in early September, Guardians was a perfect way to balm the harshness of reality with a bit of slapdash heroism, raucous humor, and a genocidal maniac that is defeated with a dance-off.

Groot's secret groovy dance to the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" was an ingenious way to end the movie, both for its humor effect, as well as to give voice to the sincere wishes from pleased audiences who were actually eager for a sequel to a superhero movie for a change.
I Turn 50

"And so we're told this is the golden age

And gold is the reason for the wars we wage"

                                                                        — U2
Speaking of wars and a "golden age," I am losing a war against Kronos, the titan of time. 23 September was my 50th birthday; a "golden anniversary" of being on the planet, if you will. In many ways, a lot of what happened to me personally in 2014 occurred with greater and greater velocity once my birthday rolled past. On that day, I got well over 120 birthday wishes from social media. Afterwards I started to "plug in" to a lot of different real-world causes. My career took a sudden turn, too. All in rapid succession.

Ebola Virus Info, Ebola Social Media Coalition (16 October)

The West African Ebola outbreak was first reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 25 March 2014, with 86 cases and 59 deaths in Guinea. By early April, it had spread to Liberia. By mid-April, it had reached Sierra Leone. The case numbers were still low, but most of the rest of the world, myself included, only remotely paid any heed to what was going on. By July it had skipped internationally to Nigeria. By the end of August, case numbers were now in the thousands, and a case had been found in Senegal. Now people were starting to pay attention. 

Yet it was not until 30 September 2014 when the first travel-related case occurred in the United States that the country truly turned its attention to the crisis. Though the outbreak had been well-known for months, the United States was seemingly caught utterly by surprise and the pot of social media attention immediately began to boil and hiss.

Since I had spent a great deal of time in 2012-2013 doing Social Media Emergency Management (#SMEM) for Hurricane Sandy, as well as helping manage a group for Philippines Typhoon Aid in 2013 (more on that below), in October 2014 I was brought into an existing group focused on using social media to respond to the West African Ebola crisis: Ebola Virus Info.

On my first day, I designed the above logo for the team. Working with a distributed group of dedicated volunteers and globally concerned citizens, we shared news and information and provided analysis for the unfolding human tragedy that is occurring to this day in West Africa.

  • The first initative was Ebola Virus Info. It is a Facebook "Page," which means that though others can post on the side, or in the comments, all main posts in the feed are "authoritative." It has a reach of over 5,600 people who have "liked" the page, and we've used it to share our message to hundreds of thousands of individuals through re-sharing of articles, memes, and messages.
  • The second initiative was the Ebola Social Media Coalition. Though it is administered by the same people who do Ebola Virus Info, it is more of a peer-to-peer open group, where anyone can share information to the thread. This is for people who are actively being social media advocates for Ebola, and includes members of NGOs and international contributors. It therefore is a smaller group, comprising over 460 members to date. It is where I publish my updates for the WHO situation report analyses, showing how many more cases there have been or how many have died, and do a country-by-country analysis of the rate of growth of the disease outbreak.
  • The third initiative is the Ebola Virus Information and Awareness Campaigner (EVIAAC). This is a group formed by West African nationals, spanning the affected community from Nigeria and Liberia. I was honored to be brought in to help administrate the group, and taught the other West African admins how to identify and shut down spammers and scammers -- a perennial problem in any social media activity, but one which was hampering their efforts to keep the group focused on the mission of sharing Ebola information. It is now grown to massive proportions, having over 18,000 members. When I share to this group, I am sharing directly with the residents of the affected nations.

The pattern of response to the disease has been disquieting to me. First, a general sense of utter apathy, which then switched on like some piece of mass and social media machinery that went into utter freak-out and meltdown mode. This mania actually was given a name: Ebolanoia — the irrational fear of Ebola.

To me, it was not surprising that as soon as the November 2014 elections came and went that the United States has again for the most part gone back to utter apathy. It was all-too-easy for politicians to be "tough on Ebola," but doing actually very little of substance for the issue.

Even though I have a lot of other things on my plate, week-by-week I still maintain a Google spreadsheet and produce an analysis of the casualty figures as they mount, trying to glean from each new release of World Health Organization situation reports how we, as a species, are collectively doing in regards to stopping this deadly disease.

Just for your information, as of the end of the calendar year, 31 December 2014, there have been 20,206 cases of Ebola, and 7,905 reported deaths.

That's a weekly increase of +709 cases, and +317 deaths just since Christmas Eve. Over 100 cases and 45 deaths every day.

If you would like to help support this initiative:

Neponsit Home Redevelopment (18 October)

As if tackling the world crisis of Ebola wasn't enough, another issue that came to my attention was a group of individuals in Rockaway who were circulating a petition for the restoration of the old Neponsit Hospital in Rockaway Beach, New York. This site, which had been created a century ago as a hospital for tubercular children by the historic journalist and advocate Jacob Riis, has been left unused since 1998, when it was shuttered by the city. It withstood Hurricane Sandy, but has been ravaged internally by graffiti and other vandalism. The site is currently owned by New York City's Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC).

The petition was pretty simple and straight-forward: "We, the residents of Rockaway want to ensure that the Neponsit home site is utilized in the best interest of the entire Rockaway community."

I could totally get behind that! So, hoping to form more of a conversation and to help gather a consensus of opinion behind the efforts, I created another Facebook group: Neponsit Home Redevelopment.

The current focus of the group is to gather information about the legal status of the site, such as getting a copy of the deed and the covenant upon it. The covenant reputedly states the site can only be used as a hospital, or as a public park, unless the New York State legislature passes a law to permit any other use for the site. If that is the case, then it would be a very high bar to cross for any other site use proposal!

The group, which now numbers 170 members, was presented with a survey of what could be done with the site. You could vote for as many ideas as you liked. So far, the top ideas are as follows:
  1. Hospital/Health Care Center (23 votes)
  2. Civic Center/Theatre/Auditorium (23 votes)
  3. Wounded Warrior Health Center/Rehab (17 votes)
  4. Educational Center (9 votes)
  5. Public Park/Recreation Center (8 votes)
  6. Climate Change Museum/School/Park (7 votes)
Since creating this group and getting input from the community, as well as having some private conversations with Rockaway and Queens community leaders, it seems like there are some ideas percolating, and rumor of an HHC and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)-led initiative in 2015 for possible site redevelopment.

Personally, I am very excited with what can be done there for the community, and how we can extend Jacob Riis' legacy for New York into this new century.

Yet at the same time, especially today, I have to stop and also relate that the man who had been behind the group circulating that petition which had caught my attention in the first place, John Patrick Larkin, was hospitalized late in 2014. Even today, New Year's Eve, when he was supposed to resting comfortably at home, he was just returned to the hospital. I just want to pass along my personal best wishes, prayers and sincerest sympathies for John and the entire Larkin family.

Civility Movement (6 November)

Not enough on my plate yet? Nope. Apparently not. So let's focus on more domestic issues here at home in the United States, by creating a nationwide Civility Movement (#CivilityMovement).

How did this start? With Rockaway Beach, NYC. My childhood home town. It has now been more than two years since Hurricane Sandy, so it seemed to me an increasing number of posts to Rockaways - Hurricane Sandy News were related to endemic issues of the community which long pre-existed, and thus, were still issues long after the recovery for most was complete: issues of income inequality, educational and economic opportunity, gang violence, and other indications of the basic fraying of the social fabric. 

Plus, with the increasingly contentious national discourse related to race relations (Ferguson, Staten Island, etc.), it seemed to me fitting to create a group to hopefully foster better communications, and to unite the community around issues of interest common to all: anti-violence, anti-gangs, anti-domestic-violence, anti-bullying. Yet it was better to be for something. For peace. For community. For civility.

However, no sooner had the group started than the arguing broke out. The tensions in the community came to light rather quickly. Remarkably, I was blamed by someone for "race-baiting." Also, as being an interloper sticking my nose where it didn't belong. Attempts to calm things down, and removing libelous and inflammatory posts also had me labelled as a biased censor.

Still, for all the bickering, it seemed to catch on, though difficultly. There are now three groups, and I hope to create more throughout 2015:
  • Civility Movement - the "top" group, for nationwide interests and coordination of efforts
  • Rockaway Civility Movement - the "original" group, the experiment to see if a community could rally around common cause for civility.
  • San Jose Civility Movement - it makes sense that if I am trying to solve problems across the country that I also look to care for the issues right here in my own front yard.
Let me know if you'd like to be involved in starting up your own local Civility Movement. I'd like for there to be a group for every community in the nation that is interested. I also need social media advocates and leaders who would want to take on scaling it as a movement.

Feeding Liberia (17 November)

Through my work with Ebola Virus Info, and especially my work with the West African-based Ebola Virus Information and Awareness Campaigner (EVIAAC), I came to meet Mr. Josephus M.C. Freeman. He is an English and Bible Studies teacher in Liberia. Just as Hurricane Sandy was simply an acute crisis that uncovered many of the systemic chronic problems of the Rockaways, so too was Ebola just an acute crisis that laid bare many of West Africa's most endemic issues: food insecurity.

Josephus and I spoke long and often about what could be done to help Liberia to face its food problems. More than half of the food in Liberia is imported. Ebola has attenuated transportation grids, degraded crop yields, and has closed public markets. What is to be done? Josephus' solution is simple: Liberians should grow and eat their own crops.

The plan for 2015 will be to create a small farm program in rural Tuzohn, a village in Grand Gedeh County, Liberia. We are in the planning stages now, and need advisors with sustainable agricultural and small scale farming expertise.

Kano Bombing
 Survivors Fund (1 December)

Just as Liberia has endemic problems with food insecurity, Nigeria has problems with physical, personal security. As in, life-and-death safety. The Islamist Boko Haram sect, renown for its brutal attacks, suicide bombings, and kidnappings, launched an attack on Kano on 28 November 2014 that killed 120 and wounded another 280. This had followed other attacks earlier in the month, and more attacks have occurred across Nigeria in subsequent days.

The way I came to learn about this attack is personal. Another friend of mine from our work on Ebola, Mustapha Adamu Indabawa, a media personality who works for AREWA24 news network in Kano, posted a brief and sudden message. In it, he acknowledged the personal loss of a member of his own family and friends in that attack.

It was a gut check. Just as Nigeria was celebrating that it had defeated Ebola, another enemy, this one entirely under human control, yet insidiously more virulent and deadly, had stolen away any sense of relief from his nation.

Together, we pledged to create a fund for survivors, either those who have wounds and will face the rest of their lives with medical problems, or those who are now at a loss of their family members as a result of the attack, especially widows or orphans.


Philippines Typhoon Aid (4 December)

Often with Social Media Emergency Management, you don't get much of a choice. While you can anticipate problems, you never really know precisely when they are going to hit. Most natural disasters are stochastic events, with a probability of occurrence, but no true predictability. So, with a ton on my plate already, suddenly came the onslaught of Typhoon Ruby/Hagupit.

Upon seeing the initial reports, and knowing it was going to be bad, I reactivated the Philippines Typhoon Aid Facebook group. This #SMEM group was originally founded in 2013 by Facebook user "Worth Noting" to deal with the Category 5 Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

Now, just at the tail end of the year, a second tropical storm, Jangmi, crashed into the Philippines and took another 53 lives.

Remotely, I'm working to highlight and support the on-the-ground work of Young Pioneer Disaster Response (YPDR) and other non-profits/NGOs/government agencies operating in the country. I would like to create more maps for them in 2015. There's going to be a lot of work to do!

A New Day Job: Aerospike

Richard Clark & team at the Aerospike Christmas party

As I said, 2014 was a rocket-ride. Not long after my birthday, on 2 October, I logged in to LinkedIn one day and saw a message from an old friend from my days back at Cisco Systems, Richard Clark. "I'm hiring!" He wasn't kidding. He had pinged me and a bunch of other folks to see if we knew anyone who would be open to a position doing business development at Aerospike, the open source, key-value, in-memory NoSQL database vendor.

Eventually we met and chatted about what he was looking for. By 17 November, the same day Feeding Liberia was launched, I was hired on at Aerospike, starting immediately, and full-time. So by Thanksgiving I had a lot to be grateful for. But, like at Thanksgiving, I also recognized I had too much on my plate!


It's been a great deal of learning about NoSQL, the competitive landscape, the customer requirements, having discovery calls and more. Each day I am reaching out to new companies, learning new acronyms and buzzwords, and getting deeper and deeper into an appreciation for cloud computing, big data, real-time bidding, and other groundbreaking applications of our product.

Since this is my new day job, it means a lot of the other "avocational" projects I've listed above will need to remain on a low-priority queue. As anyone who works in Silicon Valley knows, your day job is definitely going to take more than 40 hours a week!


NASA Orion Spacecraft Launch, 5 Dec 2014: "We were all aboard"

There was a lot more that filled 2014 for me. Honorable mentions include my concerns over ISIS/ISIL, the video game Kerbal Space Program, a young Nigerian rapper I am mentoring, my investigations into the world of NoSQL, the Rogen/Franco comedy The Interview, a trip to Stanford's X-ray laser experiments on site at the Stanford Nuclear Accelerator (SLAC), and much, much more. I might have to do a 2014 "sequel" myself! (or "no sequel..."?)

For now, though, I am pretty sure eyeballs are exhausted. Thanks for reading all this!

If there's anything you've read about that I'm doing, and you'd like to get involved, feel free to join in. You can always email me privately at, or professionally at, or give a jingle at 650-906-3134.

Whether you're a company looking to deploy a NoSQL database, or someone who wants to help with social media advocacy, I'm always looking to partner with others who seek to apply their passion to technology.

That's my rocket-ride for 2014. Filled with exploration of new opportunities, and pushing my own personal boundaries of productivity, learning, and engagement with the world, both professionally and personally. How was your year?