Hi there! Welcome to my blog and thanks for reading. I’m a robotics engineer by day and I write for free at night, so every reader means a lot to me. I like writing about African music, politics, and culture, about robotics and hardware engineering, about the mixed experience, and occasionally random things in my daily life which inspire me.

I also recently joined the Medium partner program. Here’s my working policy for what is and is not metered:

I used to write for MIT Admissions, and we had a section for the “best of the blogs”. I thought I’d…

To be “professional” is to be “masculine”.


let us address the obvious fact that at our current moment, dominant cultures across the globe still treat gender as very binary, and tied to sex assigned at birth. Women are encouraged to present as feminine from an early age. This suits some women, and it does not suit others. Obviously, nurtured towards a feminine presentation and under the pressures of social expectations, many women do ultimately fall somewhere on the feminine side of the gender presentation spectrum. And so, to exclude femininity, to always code it as superficial or stupid, is to exclude women.

2. BUT,

we can also decouple femininity…

Bare minimum binaries…

Author’s Note: To my regular readers, sorry, I know this differs from my usual content and I’m supposed to be a hardware engineer, but this was sooOOO000 frustrating and I had to figure it out myself so I am giving back to the stackoverflow-answer-ers and authors-of-medium-blog-posts-about-very-specific-software-issues, because I have read A TON of those. Plus, dealing with rando firmware issues is an all too frequent struggle for hardware engineers. Of course, I’m also not paywalling it for the same reason, to give back to the community after reading many similar posts trying to figure out weird problems like this. …

The systemic inequality in our tax code.

— MY MOTHER owns her own tax and accounting business, and so in a funny way, tax policy was a regular dinner time discussion topic in our household. My mother explained to me the ways in which things like the Affordable Care Act affected tax policy when it was passed, and how tax policy was tied with politics. But beyond that, it often struck me how much my mother, a tax preparer and an accountant, had to be involved in other people’s lives. Everything shows up in your taxes and finances— marriages, divorces, deaths, births, family conflicts. She was often…

*taps mic* is this thing on?

I’ve decided, since joining the partner program, to start regularly doing this new type of post called “Process”. In “Process”, I’ll give you a little unedited insight into my thoughts and writing process, because now that I’ve tried to formalize my writing on Medium a bit I’ve been hit with a barrage of things to “process” myself.

First, as soon as I made my posts eligible to earn money, I noticed a couple different things:

  • I started checking Medium notifications, stats, and earnings slightly more obsessively
  • I started reading a lot of “how to x as a medium writer” posts…

The biggest joke in the industry.

My great-great-grandfather worked framing and varnishing art pieces in 1870s Shanghai, China. He also had a terrible opium addiction. He was this highly skilled madman that many well-known artists (of which there were many in Shanghai) would go to varnish their paintings. What they didn’t know was that, at the step in the process that involved peeling back a layer of resin, the resin would take a thin layer of paint wiht it, leaving a ghost of the underlying painting on the resin. My great-great-grandfather was skilled enough to peel the resin off in a single layer. …

Let’s stop using this word.

This is how you cancel a person:

You invite the best and brightest from around the world to your university. You allow them to learn and grow for 4 years, building skills and potential. Then, you tell them that unlike other 22 year olds with endless time to putter around and decide what to do with their life, they have just a year before they’re forced to leave the country. It’s accepted as normal, a matter of course. They sit looking out of plane windows and wondering what could have been.

This is how you cancel a person:

After running from violence, they find a safe place…

An update and an explanation, as well as my policy on metering posts.

A couple weeks ago I published a blog post called “Selfishly Writing” which flew under the radar. It was about how I write primarily for myself, and that I loathe the idea of my writing being beholden to others, since it’s a hobby that’s uniquely mine. At this particular point in my life, I don’t want to have to try super hard to meet deadlines or be nitpicked by editors etc., even if it would probably make my writing better — I get enough of that sort of thing at my day job! …

Music to keep you going (and gqom-ing)


I haven’t blogged about music in quite a while, but I felt the need to “cleanse the timeline” and what better way to do that than with the music that keeps me going, GQOM! This always works because usually my particular brand of haters are deeply uninterested in learning more about how unique and diverse modern pan-African cultural dynamics are (hmmwonderwhy) which I find most fascinating to dissect through music.

Though my most read posts are, unfortunately, the posts-that-must-not-be-named, what’s comforting when I look at my Medium stats for all-time views and reads, is that the next five or so…

Including a vegan restaurant.

— ON TUESDAY I was eating lunch outside my favorite vegan lunch place that I go to when I want to treat myself during the week. It’s Lent, which means ‘fasting’ the Ethiopian Orthodox way — abstaining from most animal products except fish (think ‘dairy-free pescatarian’). Vegan restaurants are a safe haven for odd dietary restrictions.

I was eating as one does when alone, comfortably and without concern for appearances, noshing contentedly while a podcast blared on my car radio. A man who was parked in front of me came up to my window, I rolled it down partly,


Selam G.

MIT grad, robotics engineer, mixed. A place I write.

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