Egypt

How the pedestrians cross the road here is how you also have to cross in Egypt.

Took me a long time to get used to that, but when I got back to the States I almost killed myself by doing something similar in a large road.

In the US, they just run you over if you attempt that.

Oops.

Generalism

People have always told me it’s a mistake to be a generalist.

People are always wrong.

Especially in IT, it’s a mistake not being a generalist, as technologies and even basic applications change so fast.

Being a generalist means I have a basic understanding of just about everything important, so when the virtualization du jour technology changes from VMWare to HyperV, I already know how virtualization works at a fundamental level, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which buttons to click or which command line switches to choose to get things going.

I don’t have to go back to the drawing board pretty much ever. Instead of spending a year learning something as those who don’t understand the basics have to do, I can be up and running in days or sometimes in as little as minutes.

I realize this won’t work in every field, but in most fields I believe people hobble themselves by not working enough on basic understanding and too much on specialization.

Anything I can look up on the internet quickly, or in a book, does not need to be in my head. It’s a waste of space.

Sexism

I don’t want to put my story on this site, as I think that is a space better used for women’s stories as they receive the principal harm from sexism, but it reminded me of a potluck dinner I attended at a job a few years ago.

I’d made lasagna, and the lasagna I make is damn good.

I brought it in and more than one person (and one of whom was a woman, too) said, “This is really good. Did your girlfriend make this? Who made this for you?”

This is after I’d already told everyone that I made the lasagna. Because of course it’s impossible for a man to cook something tasty with no female assistance….

Australass

Instead of bothering to write a completely new and atrocious UI and UX, Mozilla should’ve just gotten rid of most of their developers, used the open source portions of Chrome, and called it good.

FF 29

If you use Firefox, Firefox 29 is out today.

This is the one with the appallingly bad Australis redesign.

It, like the Windows 8 “Metro” design, is tailored to three-year-olds and those who don’t need to get any work done. It is aimed at consumption, not power. It is shockingly bad and poorly-designed.

This commenter said it best about how terrible it is.

Shrimp

I was just thinking about some of the crazy ridiculous shit I did in elementary school that would get me expelled or perhaps even arrested if I were in school now.

There was this kid – a total snot whose parents were rich – who taunted me and others on the playground constantly. One day at recess I was throwing the packaging of my snack away at and he punched in the side of my head a few times and said, “What are you gonna do, shrimp? What you gonna do?”

His friends laughed.

I’d had enough of that so I rushed him and picked him up and threw him in the metal drum garbage can.

I wasn’t allowed to go to recess for two weeks after that.

The kid in question never talked to me again, not in the seven more years that we went to school together.

Another was this hideous kid who – though I didn’t really know what to make of it at the time – held one of my female friends down and sexually assaulted her. He basically spent about 20 or 30 seconds pawing at her crotch through her pants. She was crying hysterically.

The teachers broke it up. I only saw the last of it or I would’ve broken it up myself.

Anyway, I wanted revenge for her, but he always had a pack of too many friends that I couldn’t take on alone and everyone else was afraid of him. One day not long after I was swinging on the swings and noticed this kid kept running by.

Good opportunity for an air strike.

So I started swinging as high as I could and when he ran by, I jumped off at the highest point and landed right on top of him. I think my knee hit his head, even.

I got hurt nearly as bad as he did, but I got in fights all the time and was expecting it, so whatever.

But he was bleeding in multiple places, and barely conscious. Thinking about it now, I’m honestly surprised I didn’t hurt him worse than I did.

I played it off like it was an accident, hobbled back to the classroom, and didn’t even get in trouble for it.

Later that week his friends beat me up pretty badly, but them’s the breaks.

Thinking about it now, I realize this kid had probably been sexually abused or witnessed sexual abuse at home, but my thinking about it wasn’t that sophisticated then.

I’m not proud of those things. Growing up a misfit in rural, very backwards North Florida in the early 80s was a violent life, that’s all.

Those are some things that happened. There are many more stories like them.

She’s right

I thought I’d disagree with this, but actually, she’s right from the most part.

Before I started eating less, I probably ate around 3,000 calories a day. And sometimes a lot more than that.

Now, I eat around 900 to 1,400 calories a day, probably averaging somewhere around 1,100 I’d guess.

Before my change of eating habits, I was hungry around 10% of the time. Now I am hungry around 70% of the time.

Fortunately for me, I am off-the-charts stubborn and have an extremely high tolerance for unpleasant things.

None of this explains the reason that obesity is so high now. People didn’t magically change genetic composition in 30 years (Epigenetics? But what triggered?), so there must be some explanation.

But whatever the explanation, the cold hard fact is that if you want to lose weight, you gonna be hungry.

I personally don’t give a shit one way or the other about being hungry, even very hungry. If you cannot abide this, don’t try to lose weight.

Literary novels

I’ve read a lot of literary novels, and I’ve read a lot of sf, and rather less fantasy.

I no longer read literary novels for the most part as they are so incredibly boring and all of the characters in them are implausibly similar, which is the same complaint that this blogger seem to have about sf and fantasy.

The academics who prefer these novels are not nearly so clever as they imagine themselves to be, and neither are the novelists themselves. Most – just as do many sf novels – recycle the same tropes over and over again, thus if you’ve read one you’ve read them all. (Unfortunately I read about 300-500 of them before I figured this out.)

I tend to stick to sf these days since at least it has some new ideas, rather than some oft-rehashed tale of a 45-year-old man faffing about in Manhattan while having a mid-life crisis (95% of literary novels), or some oppressed person striking out against oppression (the other 5%) upliftingly and unrealistically.

Ok, I am being unfair. Theodore Sturgeon had it wrong, though. Ninety percent of everything is crap. However, about 95% of sf is crap, and about 99% of literary novels are crap, but there are gems in every field, even in the rather barren field of literary novels.

There, that’s more fair.

By the way, I am not anti-academia. I have a wonderful friend who is all up in academia; what I am is completely and violently against the idea that academics have anything to tell me personally about how should I live my life and what I should like, and whether it is good or not.

Also, I am smarter than the vast majority of them.

And I’m very humble.

Arrogance

In a way, it’s nice to see that female physicists are as susceptible to arrogance and engineeritis as male ones. Equality means that women should be allowed to be arrogant pricks just like male ones with the same consequences or lack thereof.

For the record, I really hardly feel like even posting this as I just don’t care that much, but the reason social science is resistant to being infiltrated by know-it-all physicists is because physicists see themselves as repositories of all knowledge and wisdom who can surely “solve” a field in a few weeks, if those meanies in other fields would just listen to them.

And social scientists also see what happened to economics when it acceded to physics envy, and do not want that to happen to their field.

More math is not the answer to everything. Having physicists destroy and politicize your field (as happened to economics) is just not appealing to social scientists.