Jul 16

GG

Has anyone watched the Gilmore Girls, and is it worth watching?

That show has 154 episodes. Really didn’t watch any TV shows during that period of my life so missed almost anything that came on during that era (1995-2004 or so).

Jul 16

Let Jag

Jet lag?

Never had it. No strong circadian rhythm or really any.

To someone who has never experienced it, seems just bizarre. Can’t you, just, like go to sleep when you want to? You mean regular people can’t just do that?

Huh. Weird.

Jul 15

Quick to forget the past

I marvel nearly every day (as my partner can probably wearily tell you) at just how very quickly people forget the past. Sometimes even people who have lived through it, oddly.

For instance, how making college free or nearly free again is supposedly “impossible” and “completely crazy” when that’s just the way it used to be nearly everywhere.

 Other state universities had ludicrously low rates: University of Texas in 1970 had fees, in 2016 dollars, of $335 and annual in-state tuition of $310. So “free” or nearly free tuition isn’t a radical new idea, it’s an old one, one that was prevalent even in conservative states.

Clinton’s new take on college isn’t horrendous. It’s merely barely civilized. But my mind boggles at how things we’ve done in the past when we were collectively much poorer are now deemed completely ridiculous and risible.

Can not understand.

Jul 14

Inescapable flaws

I was thinking about this article again, and the problem boils down to this:

Even feminists use the epistemic and hermeneutical framework of the society in which they are embedded and share still 99%+ of its values.

Nerds have little power and are thus easy to shame. Because feminists (as well as all women and men) are so similar to everyone else just by nature of participating in a society, the objects of most of their attractions and those who can inflict the most real harm on them are the societally-approved powerful jock types.

Therefore attacking them would be dangerous. Very, very dangerous. Much easier and safer to attack those who can’t and won’t really fight back much, and whom they are extremely repulsed by in principle and practice. So when a nerd approaches someone like Amanda Marcotte, she’s absolutely revolted and interprets it as an affront to feminism. However, if a physically-fit jock type exhibits the very same behavior (or worse) even if she turned him down, she’d be flattered (secretly or openly).

This isn’t some feminist flaw, though it is hypocritical. It’s just a human reaction to the powerful that nearly everyone has.

(And no GamerGaters aren’t mostly nerds, but rather part of the FPS gaming subculture, many of whom are actual jocks or jock wannabes and who share far more in common with them in all ways.)

Jul 14

Musked

While I agree that treating Elon Musk as some sort of flawless messiah is a mistake, I fail to understand why people pretend that Tesla and SpaceX have done nothing at all interesting or innovative. In both areas, they’ve accelerated some areas of human progress by perhaps two decades.

But this sentence from here is just great.

We now live in an era where raising a billion dollars of other suckers’ money and developing a new “app” to take selfies or find imaginary creatures in a porta-potty is considered the apex of human civilization but investing your entire fortune in a quest to build a self-driving electric car is treated like dangerous, egomaniacal adventurism.

Anyone who builds anything that interfaces with the real world does seem to take on withering criticism these days. Perhaps it’s because we live so much of our lives behind screens that anything with moving parts is seen as disreputable and too disorderly to dignify with any concession to its usefulness.

I don’t know.

But would the world be better of if Tesla and SpaceX didn’t exist? I can’t find even a scrap of a good argument for that. Because it’s goddamn stupid, mainly.

Jul 13

Getting here in hot


For me:

55°: Need parka, attempting to set fire to random objects, animals for warmth.
65°: Still need parka, no longer setting fire to animals.
75°: A light jacket is okay if the air is perfectly still.
85°: Comfortable, not warm enough yet to swim. Not sweating yet. AC is not needed.
95°: Pretty good. Warm enough to swim.
100°: It’s getting a little warm; still not sweating.
105°: Remember to turn on AC.
110°: A little sweat appears. Everyone else is dead.

Jul 11

Design of

“Systematic design excluding intuition yields pedestrian follow-ons and knock-offs; intuitive design without system yields flawed fancies.”

The Design of Design: Essays From a Computer Scientist by Frederick P. Brooks

This explains Firefox and Windows 8 and 10, I think — they lack and lacked both intuition and systematicity, combining the worst of both worlds.

In striving for some false simplicity, they achieved neither simplicity nor increased capabilities, instead landing squarely at the left failing edge of the bell curve of incoherence and lack of discoverability.

Anyway, the book is good. Most designers “designing” today should read it.

Design is another field like economics that should just be blown up (metaphorically) and started from scratch. There’s nothing there to save.

Jul 11

Aye

Hear, hear. Had nearly the same experience.

I just can’t read or write books like that. It’s just trying too hard to do something that sounds impressive to the educated morons but that sounds like a shithead shindig to the truly educated.

Marge Piercy is another prose writer like Coetzee, if anyone is interested, though far less well-known.

She ain’t no slouch at poetry, either.

Jul 10

Brain on fire

When I first started reading academic papers when I was 12 or 13, I wondered who the hell Ibid was. Seemed a very smart person.

Then I quickly figured it out. But at first (mainly because I didn’t care about it or think about it very hard since I cared about the content*), I thought Ibid must’ve been some huge polymath.

My memories aren’t 100% clear, but I think the first scientific paper I read was a paper by Kary Mullis (et al.) on the Polymerase Chain Reaction. I’d helped my neighbor pass her college microbiology and other science classes when I was 9 and 10, so I already had some background in the area.

Still, it was the hardest thing I’d ever read. I remember struggling with it a bit. No way to Google back then. Unfamiliar words had to be searched out in dictionaries that often didn’t contain them at all. No adult where I grew up knew more than I did, so there was no one to ask.

I don’t regret anything, but I always wonder if I’d grown up somewhere else what my life would’ve been like.

*To this day, I sometimes literally don’t know the title or the authors of books I’m reading — while I’m reading them.

Jul 10

AV

Once you understand a little computer science, you realize that there is no possible antivirus program that detects all threats. It is not even possible in principle. It is flatly ruled out by at least two fundamental features of computation.

Antivirus however is not useless. As in most areas of life, most virus writers aren’t very skilled or are very lazy. Thus, AV programs have some use.

But against a skilled attacker (like the NSA or the Mossad), antivirus programs are basically completely worthless, even if these intelligence agencies have no special backdoors in place.