Jun 27

Same here

This is true of me as well.

I would­n’t make it past the résumé scre­en if I were start­ing my care­er today.

Luckily when I started it was fairly easy to get a job in IT. Now it’s not so easy and there is no career path to move up – most of the lower-level jobs are being de-professionalized or eliminated.

Strange to make a society that cares more about credentials than actually being good at something.

But that is pretty standard for oligarchic societies, which is what we pretty much are now.

Jun 27

Maybe yes

This is a good review of one of my favorite films.

Both Anna Farris and Angela Bettis are just great in the movie, and it does as the reviewer points out skewer the “I’m so quirky and weird” rom-com crap.

Jun 26

Specificity

This is also why I could not be a modern scientist.

It’s not just a cliché to state that a modern scientist often knows very much about an extremely tiny area. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not for me at all.

It’s often why I can romp all over intellectually those with college degrees, especially the arrogant ones who believe their degree in computational hydrodynamics means they know everything about every field. When in reality they usually only know a moderate bit about that one field they’ve studied and usually not much else.

I’m not an expert in any field, but I’ve always strived to know moderately much about every thing I possibly can.

I think it is a huge mistake for no generalists to be present in science as specialists often see very little, and understand even less. That’s just the nature of specialization.

Stepping outside of science and into the broader world, administrators and politicians certainly much prefer specialists to generalists. A specialist is not likely to oppose much of anything or have strong political opinions either way as they just do not understand enough outside of their field to do so.

A generalist is more of a threat. For similar reasons, humanities scholars are also a threat, and this is the main reason humanities programs are being sharply curtailed or outright eliminated at many universities. (In the humanities, you absolutely must be a generalist before you become a specialist, as otherwise you cannot even understand your own field.)

Jun 26

Appro

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Let’s say that we could stop all cultural appropriation tomorrow. No feathered headdress would ever again mar a fashion runway. Blackface would remain a thing of the past. Only those signalling their identification with the Palestinian struggle would wear the keffiyeh. Yet here’s a sticking point – since the scarf was once just a symbol of Arab masculinity, should we revert to that? Given that almost every cultural form has been purloined from somewhere else, it proves tricky to tell what belongs to whom, and to separate the offensive jerks from those pursuing respectful cultural innovation. The line between insider and outsider can be surprisingly indistinct.

Obsessing so much over cultural appropriation is to me extremely silly because 99% of everything in every culture everywhere ever has been “appropriated” from some other culture.

That is just how humans work.

Jun 26

Cap

I think I truly must not be human, as I can only solve captchas about 40% of the time on the first try.

This guy has the same problem it seems.

Jun 25

Drop

I love it when some random commenter drops some big block of knowledge like this, about art forms that most people dismiss.

The “break” in “breakdancing” comes from the use of the breaks in songs by DJs. Very cool.

I remember maybe in fourth or fifth grade when breakdancing was at its peak popularity. My grandfather asked me if I liked breakdancing. I said that I couldn’t do it, but it was very fun and creative.

He got angry because I liked “black dancing and music.” Except he didn’t use the term “black.”

Jun 25

Net wrong

This article contains some technical inaccuracies, some hand-waving to distract and make people look the wrong direction, and some outright falsehoods – in other words, the average net neutrality article from Wired.

I’m guessing that Wired is probably getting paid by someone to write these articles. Otherwise, there is no real explanation for it. Ignorance just isn’t enough to account for the frequency of their appearance and the inaccuracy of the “facts,” or the common irrelevant misdirections.

I don’t really have the patience to demolish the inanity point by point, but all the talk about content delivery networks really has nothing to do with net neutrality and the current debate over what ISPs are doing, which is attempting to extort money from large bandwidth users (and eventually, of course, others) by artificially bottlenecking traffic.

Technically speaking, there are two main ways to bottleneck traffic. First, there are various methods to actively do so. For instance, I could on a Cisco router use a committed access rate to rate-limit an interface(s) using a QOS group. (If that has no meaning to you, which it shouldn’t, don’t worry about it. Not really important.)

The second method is passive bottlenecking. For instance, I could put in a 100Mbs hub from 1996 where a 10GE switch should be. This is effectively what the ISPs are doing – they are refusing to provide the infrastructure on their side that would allow traffic to flow properly between a backbone provider (which Netflix et. al are on the other end of) and the ISP.

Content delivery networks – which have been around since Akamai was founded in 1998 (part of another inaccuracy in the article) – are a distraction and fairly irrelevant to this discussion.

Historically (as a commenter mentions), ISPs have welcomed caching servers in their data centers because it provided better service to their customers.

Now the ISPs have decided to charge large content providers for putting these servers in, or having a more direct connection to the ISP network, or both, while passively degrading the traffic that has not been paid for. In the past, they would have begged (or even occasionally paid for) these caching servers.

This will spread, of course, because the point is to turn the internet into cable television where you pay for packages, such as the “$89 a month package – includes Amazon, Ebay, and ESPN!” or the “$99 a month package – included Netflix and Hulu in 4K!”

This is the end goal.

The ISPs are using the leverage they have to achieve this, and Wired even while criticizing them a bit is enabling them by spreading inaccurate and/or irrelevant information.

I like this comment about Wired and its approach, which sums it up better than I could:

Does Wired not realize they have an educated tech savvy crowd that they are trying to trick? Do they not realize that it’s business suicide to become a clear enemy of your customers? Who will they advertise too if they have no readers?

As in many areas, Wired, being part of the establishment, only likes to examine options that are friendly to the established and along already-set paths. This article examining it in a larger context is but another example of that.

For instance, why is internet access not a public utility? Why are CDNs not available to all at decent prices? Why is our country the only one who can’t seem to do any of this correctly? Why is internet access in the US so terrible even compared to much poorer countries?

These are questions that do not defend the status quo, so they are ones that Wired will never ask seriously.

Jun 24

Entertainment

Many people – usually those beaten down by ill-considered academic theory – believe that if something is entertaining, it cannot be art.

That only in misery, in slogging through the 800 page book with no plot and vague characters, in watching that six-hour Italian movie of a static shot of a bridge, can true art be found. And in this case “art” means that no enjoyment is allowed to be had, because the very act of enjoying something means it is then by definition not art.

I reject this utterly. It is absurd, but it is the dominant paradigm in intellectual circles.

It’s interesting to consider works and styles often considered vile and low becomes high culture after a time – for instance, Shakespeare’s (and many other) plays, and novels themselves.

Luckily, academic thought has very little influence on public perception of art or its creation (though maybe if it prevented another Thomas Kinkade, more sway would be good). There must be standards for everything, I guess, but my standard simply must be more intellectually comprehensible than that of a hipster record store clerk snorting at the albums people bring to the counter to purchase simply because they like something other people like.

Jun 20

About the below

Of course, someone holding a gun to your head like that means they have no training.

Anyone with training would stand at the very least four feet away from their captive – too far away for them to rush or knock their arm aside.

In reality, if someone trained wants to kill you, they will. You will never see the weapon until it is too late. People trained to kill are also trained to never show the weapon until the very last moment.

No one with training goes running around like in movies waving a gun. Or a knife.

Life isn’t a fantasy. If someone trained is targeting you and wants to kill you, they probably will easily. Simple as that.

In every other situation, having a gun only hurts you.

Jun 20

Speed

This guy is unbelievably fast.

The problem with pulling a gun on someone is that you might run into someone like him, and then you are dead (and no, people this fast aren’t always the “good” guys).