Apr 23

Like a lamb to

This is amazing.

This shows basically that there is no factory job in existence now that a robot could not do – it’s all just a matter of cost. As robots get cheaper and more capable (even than they are now), factories will all be automated like this.

And so will many other jobs.

Apr 22

NPR

Now that I think about it, one of the main reasons that I have distaste for NPR and its programs and hosts is that they remind me of people who looked down on me sneeringly when I was a feral North Florida white trash* kid.

They were judging on appearances of course, and never even realized that I was intelligent.

It’s not something conscious, really, just an association of past events perpetrated by similar types of people.

*Though I realize the term is now frowned upon, I’m taking it back so to speak, since I was often and repeatedly called “white trash” disparagingly in school.

Apr 21

Publishers

I am sure all of these terrible things are true of Amazon, but I also have very little sympathy for publishers.

Publishing has been historically and still is one of the most hidebound, exploitative, decrepit businesses in the world, right behind the clowns at (and members of) the RIAA and MPAA.

A hardback book at $40, with the paperback to be released a year later – or maybe never – at an also-exorbitant price?

Great idea. How is that of any value to me when I can read a 400 page book in a few hours?

Amazon being able to seize so much power is a direct consequence of the publishers being so shitty. Doesn’t make Amazon some sort of savior, but is still true.

Apr 21

Vinull

Why the fuck do people still buy vinyl records? Absolutely shitty sound quality (poor dynamic range, degradation over time, etc.) as well as being so huge and fragile.

I am old enough to remember and have used vinyl records (I believe the first 45 single I bought with my own money was this one, for instance.) and even at the time I thought they were horrible and limiting.

I know it’s no longer cool to hate hipsters and their bullshit, but I still do anyway.

Apr 21

Do whatever you want

I think it’s mostly safe to tell people to follow whatever career that want to, as it doesn’t matter anyway.

Jobs are being eliminated and offshored across every field, in every domain, and none of them are very safe – save perhaps plumbers and a few others that absolutely require on-site presence (for the moment, anyway).

Some careers are for the moment “safer” than others, but that could change very quickly. Increasing automation is coming faster than most people now realize, and with global climate change now a fait accompli of being alive in the 21st century, the economy is pretty likely to worsen over time.

In my field, the jobs that I used as a stepladder to gain the experience I have today increasingly do not exist anymore. It would be really difficult if not impossible to get where I am today how I did so, and I started only 15 years ago.

What’s interesting about that – and horrible – is that those lower-level positions are of course how people gain experience to occupy higher-level ones. If those jobs go away, obviously one cannot ever move up as there is no path of preparation to, say, move from a helpdesk to an infrastructure architect.

This fact I believe companies will use to argue that there are “no qualified candidates” and thus all should be offshored where experienced (and cheaper) people can be hired. Or, failing that, H-1B visa employees can be brought in.

So pursue whatever career strikes your fancy. Likely as not, your job will not exist in 10 years anyway – at least not in your home country – so it doesn’t really matter.

Apr 19

Twitter

My partner just said, “Twitter is like listening to half of a cell phone conversation on a bus.”

So true. Perhaps we are both too old but neither of us really get Twitter. Guess we never will.

Like many things on the internet, it reminds me of bad implementations of technologies that existed on BBSes in the 80s.

Apr 18

Appropriate

For the most part, I think the spazzing out over “cultural appropriation” is overblown.

Yes, when the harm is immediate and ongoing it can be offensive, such as dumbass hipsters wearing Native American headdresses and such. That is tacky and tasteless, and shows lack of historical knowledge as well.

However, the naïfs who go around screaming “appropriation” probably don’t realize just how much human cultures appropriate from each other all the time, every day, every month, every year since forever.

Most of the words we use, the music we listen to, the clothes we wear, etc., were at one time or another appropriated from another culture. It’s how culture works. Always has. Always will.

The only real difference is that most people lack the historical knowledge to recognize appropriations that occurred more than a few dozen years in the past.

But Americans are a very, very ahistorical people so that is not surprising. In my experience, even the most well-educated American people have almost no knowledge of history at all, and basically zero knowledge in this realm outside of England and perhaps France.

Apr 17

Saw

I saw this on someone’s Tumblr, but anyone who says that words are violence has probably never been punched in the face before. Or the stomach. Or the kidneys.

I have been, and I can tell you that a good hard punch hurts a hell of a lot more than any words.

I know what they are getting at, but it’s just…wrong.

Apr 17

Weight

Just noticed that I’ve been below my goal weight for over four years now.

I was just a little over 200 pounds five years ago. Now I am below 150 still, and will stay that way. That’s over 25% of my body weight lost and kept off for four — going on five — years.

Just because I can do it doesn’t mean you can; I am an outlier in many areas.

I was sure that I could do it, so I did. No lessons for anyone else should be drawn from this.