Oct 27

Peace of me

Not only is the below true, but police officers should have a duty to exercise more restraint than the average person, not the same amount of restraint.

Police officers should have (and do, actually) receive training on how to defuse tense and dangerous situations, resolve situations peacefully and the like — but the whole culture and even origin of policing goes against this minimal training.

Of course in a larger context and for sociological reasons it all makes sense — the police force as an idea and a realization of that idea was created to protect the interest of the rich and to keep the proles pacified. This has not changed — if anything, it has become even more true as economic conditions have worsened and the nation-state has decreased in importance.

In a real civilization, the police would not be armed and would not be thugs with persecution complexes. But the US at least is not a real civilization, just a monkey troupe with monkey troupe rules.

Oct 26

Locked down

Sadly, an entire era and domain of human creativity is coming to a close.

It began with tinkerers in garages and basements in the 1970s building computers on their own time and dime, transitioned to to the rise of BBSes in the 1980s and survived into the era of the web.

The bullet that killed any hope of an individual having so much unrestricted ability to modify and to know his or her own devices was the DMCA in 1998. Everything was a fait accompli after that law was passed. If it hadn’t been the DMCA, it would’ve been something else, though — the general purpose computer combined with the internet handed the average person simply too much power to be tolerated for long.

I miss the days of being able to modify my computer and my software to make it do what I want it to do, not what some suit-clad shithead thinks I should be able to do with it.

But such power just couldn’t be allowed to last. Surprised it stuck around for as long as it did — and it only did so because of the connection of the hippies and the countercultural movement to the early history of computers and the internet.

Oct 25

Fucking Mozilla Shitheaps

Mozilla, at it again.

Removing this setting means that it’s possible once again to fingerprint you using installed browser plug-ins.

They claim it was because it broke some sites. Real reason is that the ad/content industry is paying them.

Oct 25

Negate

While this isn’t inherently a bad idea, in the current situation it’ll only make things worse.

The reason it won’t work is that rising productivity is occurring that economists can’t (won’t?) measure due to tools over 100 years old being misapplied to a modern economy that is no longer subsistence-based, so they will be treating the wrong problem.

In short, then, negative interest rates will just mean a lot of people will withdraw their money from banks and store it under their mattresses.

Oct 24

The problem

The problem with ferreting out bullshit in scientific papers even in areas that I’m pretty familiar with is that even not-that-difficult publication take a long time to read, even longer to fully understand, and to do the calculations all over again is nearly impossible (for me).

How does the average person even stand a chance? They don’t. They really don’t.

This paper for instance is 45 pages long.

The paper’s premise is that 100% of the decline in the US labor share of income is due to intellectual property. This doesn’t even pass the sniff test, but I’m willing to give the paper a fair shot at convincing me. (So far it has not.)

However, even to make sense of one not-that-hard paper without any complex math, it has taken me about two hours. And I think I know where and why the authors went wrong. But it’d take me another 10-15 hours of work to prove it, which I’m not planning on doing because I don’t have that kind of time.

My point is that 90% of science could be utter BS (even though I don’t think it is) and no one would ever know. Or at least not many people.

Damn, we humans need an upgrade. This software just isn’t cutting it. It is buggy, slow, prone to failure at the worst possible times and can’t easily be improved.

Oct 24

What models don’t do

Models don’t predict the future. They can’t nor are they built to do this. They just give a likely range of occurrences given certain parameters and assumptions.

However that doesn’t make them worthless. Quite the opposite.

I understand why climate scientists especially portrayed their models as more definitive-seeming than they actually were or could ever be: to battle against climate change deniers.

But the real risk that we know from models of climate change is not that climate change will magically abate; no, we absolutely know it is occurring. The risk is that we’ll get the most extreme of the possibilities outlined in models. This is what we should be mitigating against, and exactly why people in the real world buy insurance.

Think of it like this. Most car accidents don’t even produce injuries and are relatively benign. Yet some kill entire families. Because the vast majority of car accidents are just fender-benders, ignoring the financial costs, does this cause you to drive at 120mph everywhere, ignore all traffic laws, and generally just pretend invincibility? (Don’t answer this, Florida drivers — you’re different.)

Of course not.

Climate change is happening. It’s here. The danger isn’t that the models aren’t completely accurate. The danger is that the worst seen in the models is a possible outcome at all.

Oct 24

By the way

By the way, Fat Acceptance nutters, the reason many doctors discuss your weight with you when you visit is that almost all of them have done rotations where they have seen very graphic and very disturbing results of gas gangrene, amputations due to peripheral arterial disease, and diabetes-related blindness and other complications — all of which are strongly linked to and directly caused by obesity.

Doctors know very well the bad things that are statistically likely to occur to you when you are fat. They are trying to help you, not hurt you.

It’s not oppression. It’s common sense. Losing your feet at 45 when it’s completely preventable ain’t no way to go through life. Your doctors are trying to forestall that outcome.

The Fat Acceptance movement is a blight on sense and on humanity. They won’t even help themselves, nor let others help them. They’re like some weird combination of the MRAs and the anti-vaxxers.

Oct 24

Not-so-staid RAID

The new RAID 5 array I built at home does 300MB/s (yep, that’s megabytes) reads and 270MB/s writes — not bad for some stuff I threw together from parts we already had.

Now we have 12TB of storage goodness that’s faster than our network can pull from it or push to it.

Oct 23

Fatebook

I feel bad for the millions of people who are more social than I am and who are basically forced to use the evil that is Facebook or risk being excluded from nearly all social activities.

That is a difficult dilemma. I solve it by not caring. But I know most people aren’t me and it’d be hard to do for them.

That so many people are attracted to objectively evil organization like Facebook is the real issue. Probably insoluble, a non-design flaw in humanity.

But it is an odd situation, that there are millions of people forced to use a platform just to have a social life, who despise said platform and wish it didn’t exist. I guess in some ways bars were that before, but at least bars didn’t track you, steal your private information, and sell you out to the government at the first opportunity.

Oct 23

Build it up

Building a 12TB (16TB actual) software RAID 5 array takes a long time.

Glad the transformer that exploded last night didn’t do so while this was going on.

All data is backed up, so no real worries but still — drives have gotten larger while the software hasn’t gotten any faster or better.