Jun 29

Ortho kills thought dead

Just as there is no gender without humans, there is no economics without people.

The best trick our would-be and de facto masters ever played on us is pretending that the “laws” of economics are embedded in the universe just like the value of the electron’s charge or the ineluctable consequences of the Chandrasekhar Limit.

In reality, economics is the sociology of various trading behaviors, mores and practices, not the physics of disconnected and passionless economic agents. If you study history and anthropology (which most economists obviously do not) you will already know that there have been over time societies that based their economies on all sorts of systems that are said to be “impossible” now in modern economic theory — from the moneyless yet rich society of the Incan empire to the potlatch cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

Historically speaking current economic practices and the orthodoxy surrounding it are the anomaly, not the rule.

That out of the way, it’s not that economics is in principle useless, merely as currently practiced. Much the same with evolutionary psychology.

But key to preserving the economic status quo is the vast majority of economists (and nearly all academic economists) presenting the current system as the only possible path, with laws as ironclad of those in particle physics that are embedded into the very fabric of the universe and thus unalterable by humans.

Jun 29


Malcolm Gladwell is the worst thing to ever happen to non-fiction. At least since the McCarthy era.

Of course there is a market for his crappy pap or it wouldn’t sell. And if someone threw that kind of money at me I’d also write about how this one simple trick can make you smarter than Emmy Noether and Maryam Mirzakhan put together.

So Gladwell is just doing what any sane person would. But it makes the non-fiction world much worse.

Jun 28

The invisible war

It is a good thing, but the only reason that gay marriage came about is that it’s not detrimental — and is marginally beneficial — to the whole neoliberal project of economic subjugation and upward redistribution.

Promoting a stable society of worker drones is assisted by gay marriage, to some extent.

It is a victory, but it’s a victory in a war being actively lost and in fact hardly even contested.

Jun 26


Because of “designers” and their related pharisees, myrmidons and sycophants jacking around with frameworks and 10MB javascript libraries that load afresh every two seconds, web pages are now as slow as they were back in 1996 when I was still using dial-up and every so-called web master in existence thought it was totally neato to embed a five megabyte Java crapplet in each page.

This slowness is true over even a gigabit connection.

You know if design had anything at all to do with users, this would not be the result. But modern design has nothing at all to do with users.

It has to do with what is stylish and with what makes the internet more like cable television, and whatever the latest buzzword fad is that pleases technically-clueless executives in charge now of the direction of most everything on the web.

I really miss the wild west, individualist and exuberantly silly days of the early web where people were trying new things and even in spite of the 5MB Java downloads over dial-up. Then it was a rare arena where the corporate mindset hadn’t yet infected and ruined it all.

Now, it is another vast wasteland.

Jun 26

I can’t understand

Why do FA types think there is such a thing as naturally skinny?

Ain’t nobody naturally skinny. Just like no one is naturally fat. How does this myth develop? Chris Hemsworth and his wife are skinny because they worked hard to get and stay that way.

Since I lost weight, I’ve been called “naturally skinny” five or six times. Unfortunately it’s been in professional situations where a cutting comment wouldn’t be appropriate, but damn I feel like anyone who worked to lose weight should be given one free punch or kick (your choice) when someone calls you “naturally skinny.”


I’ve often wondered how much the fact that that people have such trouble losing weight is just related to the self-justifying mythology that says that there is no point in not eating that entire cake and slurping down that 32 oz Mt. Dew because no matter what you’ll be the size of a house anyway?

“Naturally skinny” pisses me off.

Jun 26

Paging a good word processor

OMG I’ve been using Pages on my iMac and it’s so vastly better than Word I’m kind of chagrined that I hadn’t used it much before.

What I want it to do is just there — what I don’t want it to do (basically everything Word does) just doesn’t happen.

Pages is how software should be.

How a company can write something so great as Pages and so shitty as iTunes is pretty mystifying.

Jun 25

Solar us

Solar Prices to Reach $1 per Watt Target 3 Years Early.

About a decade ago, many scientists were saying that it was impossible (for technical not political reasons) to transition to renewable energy. They were operating in good faith I think but really underestimated what can happen when you throw a whole lot of money and a bit of ingenuity into a field.

My grandfather was this way; he was a clever man in many ways, but as he got older anything that hadn’t yet been invented or hadn’t been done already was clearly impossible, and his proof was that if it were so easy someone would’ve already done it.

I can’t find it at the moment, but seven or eight years ago I read 2/3 of some book by a respected research scientists in the UK incontrovertibly “proving” that no renewable source of energy would ever be cheap enough and plentiful enough to power a modern industrial society.

It was well-researched, convincing and utterly, foolishly wrong.

Renewable energy isn’t some panacea. But the simple fact is that with all the money spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the entire US economy could’ve been moved to solar and wind power.

But look what we did instead.

Jun 24

Mobile is fucking everything up

I have a virtual machine on which an old version of Firefox is still installed. It’s shocking how much better Firefox looks and works compared to new versions.

Mobile is destroying everything good. And morons. Always the morons.

The problem with designing everything for morons is then only morons can use it.

Jun 23


All the fat people complain that former overweight and obese people are the worst for “shaming” them.

Fuckin’ A. We remember very well how miserable and uncomfortable it was to be fat.

Jun 23

Google Craps

The new Google Maps is so terrible you just have to wonder what happened. What sort of MBA decrees and 10-hour-long business meetings resulted in such an atrocity to common sense.

The most useful feature was the ability to find a location and search for things around it. This was what made Google Maps the one to beat.

That feature is now gone. So the single best reason to use the service, destroyed. It feels like I’ve gone back in time 15 years. It is now impossible to use for that and many other reasons. That one however stands out the most because it is a feature that I used — as many did — often several times a day. Sometimes dozens of times a day.

So why was it nuked?

Here’s my theory. Anyone have any others?

I suspect it was removed because advertisers probably successfully lobbied Google to not restrict the radius of search to nearby locations, and instead nudge the users to drive farther by removing the ability to “pin” their starting location.

Relatedly, for this reason I suspect the ability to find points along a route was also removed.

The only way to think about these things is looking at where the money pushes Google (or where they think it is or will).

And monetarily, this reason makes sense. (I’ve also noticed that it now “finds” things you did not search for on the map, I’m sure also to make more advertising $$$.)

Have been using Bing Maps more, and others. Not the best, but better than Google Maps.