Ident

The left’s complete focus on identity politics for the last two decades while ignoring all economic issues is now coming back to bite it.

But, increasingly, partisan identity is aligning with racial and religious identity, according to research by Dr. Mason. This, along with deepening partisan distrust, is creating one of the worst possible conditions in a multiethnic democracy: a growing belief that elections are a zero-sum contest for control among racial and religious groups.

Neoliberalism, of course, demands that we don’t feel we are all in this together, and the left and Democrats are just another variety of neoliberal actor these days.

War Pigs

The fact is Trump and Clinton are both warmongering incompetents. It’s just that we had direct evidence of that in Clinton’s case before her attempted election/coronation, but highly suspected it of Trump. Now Trump has proved it fully while Clinton is merely confirming her tendencies and incompetence.

Descent

The story of the Southwest plane with the engine explosion has been widely misreported.

There was no uncontrolled descent from 35,000 to 10,000 feet. The plane was out of pilot control (and then, depends on how you define it) only for a few seconds even though the engine did in fact explode. It is standard operating procedure when there is a depressurization event at high altitude to descend as quickly as airframe and conditions allow to 10,000 feet or below.

Why? It’s because 35,0000 feet is in the death zone. At that altitude, most people die in minutes.

When the plane began to depressurize because of cabin breech, the pilot would’ve been aware of this and hauled ass to an altitude below the death zone. Again, not an uncontrolled descent.

The NYT gets it wrong.

Oxygen masks dropped down and the plane plunged thousands of feet in a minute.

Other than the initial steep bank (which would’ve been a few hundred feet of descent due to the physics of how that works), there was no “plunging.”

This CNN article gets it mostly right.

The plane was pitched at an angle of more than 40 degrees for a few unnerving seconds before it leveled out and began an emergency descent, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters Wednesday in Philadelphia.

I was not surprised to read that the pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, was a military veteran and a total badass. I’m betting that most non-vets would’ve lost that plane as you just don’t get the experience outside the military to handle things like this, in any context.

Skill Gap

I’ve worked in many IT departments and IT companies, and nearly always when this talk of a “skill gap” happens it is a management ploy to outsource or cut costs in some other way.

There has been more than one place I’ve worked where management claims that there is a “skill gap” and I say, “I know how to do all of that. I can do it right now. It’s not that hard.” A few times I’ve been certified (with industry-standard certs) in that very skill. And that is ignored, a “skill gap” is identified and outsourcing occurs.

It’s never successful, but it looks really good on paper at first. The spreadsheet jockeys love it, the execs get their “savings” and thus their bonuses, while remaining IT is scrambling to fix all the issues and problems that the outsourcing inevitably creates. It means double work. The outsourced company does it poorly, and then the skeleton crew of the remaining IT staff re-do it again correctly, while the outsourced company receives all the credit. Meanwhile, because IT has no time free any longer, product development essentially dies, R&D, maintenance and training is curtailed by the necessity of putting out fires, and in a few years the infrastructure becomes unsustainable.

I’ve seen this play out a half-dozen times and it always goes the same way.

When you hear “skill gap,” know that your job or your teammates’ jobs are about to be outsourced or offshored.

Written on the Pages

I was beaten up so often in middle and early high school that a friend of mine could tell when I’d previously checked out a library book because if it had a bit of blood on the pages, that meant it was probably mine.

I didn’t do it on purpose, but after I’d get my ass kicked after school I’d come home to read and would often still be dripping blood or it would be on my hands.

Then, a little’d get on the pages of a book I’d immediately pick up when I got home.

My friend would often ask me, “Were you reading Lucifer’s Hammer by Jerry Pournelle recently?”

And I’d say, “Yeah, how’d you know?”

“Blood on page 327,” he’d reply.

Glad those days are past, and glad they didn’t deeply psychologically scar me.

Mary S

Mary Shelley makes fake geek guys angry, so for that reason I like talking about her. She was the first person to take a scientific finding and proceed to extrapolate it to the extreme in service of a story. Thus, she was the first science fiction author. Not bad for an eighteen-year-old woman in a time when voting was illegal and a woman owning property was unusual.

Though there had been other stories that were semi-science-fictional in nature prior, there was no unbroken tradition of sf extending from the past. Shelley is the sole progenitor of all modern science fiction.

So, yeah, fake geek guys, you can thank Shelley for all of that — even your Halo games and zombie apocalypses.

Frankenstein is probably the best novel written by someone so young. Certainly the best that I’ve ever read, and it still holds up well today.