Jan 22

Cultural inconsistencies

One of the more mystifying inherent and increasing beliefs of most modern people — conservatives and liberals alike — is that though we are constructed molecule by molecule by the prompting and ministrations of genetic material, any basis of or differences in human capabilities or talents cannot be ascribed to genetics.

That is like claiming that a car built out of spaghetti noodles and bailing twine has no functional differences from one constructed of aluminum and steel.

Of course humans aren’t quite that divergent, but argumentum ad absurdum works well to see the inconsistencies in beliefs.

No one wants to be a robot controlled by their genes. I understand this.

But our behaviors are probably more prescribed and proscribed by this factor than most care to admit.

I don’t mind if that’s true. I’d rather know the truth and deal with it than make bad decisions individually and societally because I’m being forced to pretend falsehoods have veracity.

Jan 21

Terribly

It’s just terribly embarrassing to watch pathetic liberals frantically attempting to convince themselves of Obama’s greatness as a president.

Handouts to banks, handouts to insurance companies with one of the most retrograde “reforms” in history (the ACA), and unprecedented secrecy and prosecutions of whistleblowers all while basically ignoring climate change — for which modern leaders 100-200 years hence will be seen as absolutely no different than we see the Nazi leadership now (no, I am not kidding).

Obama was handed the greatest crisis and thus the greatest opportunity in 80 years and utterly squandered it. His was the largest divergence in modern history between what he could have achieved versus what he actually in his milquetoast manner even bothered to attempt. That more than these other facts is what makes him a terrible president.

Simultaneously, there is a school of thought among the same set of liberals that when it’s convenient for them, they believe the president wields almost no power at all — he’s just a helpless tiny little baby buffeted along by Congress, the winds of public opinion, and the phases of the moon. All of which explains how he just can’t help giving trillions to banks and bombing people to freedom, of course.

Which is it? It can’t be both.

I know people will demand my head for this, but the main thing Obama will be remembered for other than being yet another leader who did nothing about climate change is being the first black president of the US.

The rest is meaningless, or actively harmful.

Jan 20

Not very secure

Stage may be set for cut to Social Security benefits.

If you are 40 or younger and going to be forced to depend on Social Security benefits for retirement, you are gonna be completely fucked. Don’t let any pundit tell you differently. They are wrong. Social Security basically won’t exist for you.

Same for Medicare.

The problems aren’t insoluble. They are easy to fix, actually, requiring very little change or sacrifice.

But they won’t be fixed. Society is going completely the opposite direction and climate change will only exacerbate this trend with its slow then sudden decimation of productivity and previous arrangements.

Jan 20

Science and math

In the end I’m glad I did not attempt to become a scientist (being a botanist or researcher was once a career aspiration) because the pay is poor and I do not function well where my educational path is so regimented.

That said, the main thing that dissuaded me from science as a career is that I am terrible at math and essentially untrainable in this realm — I can spend 1,000 hours to learn some bit of math that takes the average student four or five hours*, and then promptly forget it all with absolutely zero recall when moving on to the next thing. I think this is probably mostly just a neuronal deficit, no different than not having good balance (which I also do not).

But whatever the reason, the few people who bothered to discuss it with me either way when I was a kid told me that because my math skills were sub-par, I could never be a scientist and that is wasn’t even worth trying.

Whether is is true or not, I don’t know. But E.O. Wilson’s thoughts and this article on it are interesting.

Math is used as a proxy sorting out the high-IQ people and I guess on most folks that works since it’s not permissible to give an IQ test directly most of the time. However, it tends to leave people like me out — those who often see what others do not, and can pull together large amounts of data in our heads and make sense of it (at least to others) with shocking speed but who will never be able to puzzle out the quadratic equation for more than a day or two before promptly forgetting it and taking another 1,000 hours to train again.

*I know because I’ve done this. I spent more time just to pass one stupid math test in high school than I did studying for all my other 27 high school classes in all four years combined. That is not an exaggeration, alas. And then I squeaked by with just one point to spare, thus graduating.

Jan 19

A man like that

I like when I find things where I have no idea what the fuck is going on. Like this. If I’ve not found the weirdest non-porn corner of the internet, I’m not looking any harder.

Follow your dream…even if it results in this. The sad thing is she’s a lot better than most rappers who do it seriously, like Drake. Drake is just terrible. He ruins any song he’s part of, including his own.

Jan 18

Recess

Recession likely in 2016.

If so, that means 80% chance of Republican win on the big ticket.

Stock market looking shaky — good for me. Those are the buying times, when the specter of fear stalks the face of the earth and the algorithms start stampeding at any loud noise.

Choose wisely; climate change is about to start re-orienting the world.

Jan 16

What’s the frequency

This comment from the previous article is great and so descriptive of the frustrations of modern computing.

When did we go from adding PC-derived capabilities to cellphones to make them suck less to borrowing terrible ideas from cellphones to make PCs suck more?

Whenever that was, we should really time-machine back there and put a stop to it.

In the history of the terrible ideas, who thought that was a good one? Even people who don’t care about computers don’t like this. How did so many designers get hold of so many moron pills all at once?

Jan 16

Another

Here’s another bunch of crap from Microsoft.

If you don’t understand the technical details, it means they are basically attempting another hardware-based method to force everyone to Windows 10 so they can sell you as a service things you already owned before.

There is no technical reason to do this. In fact since the code already exists, it’s probably harder to rip it all out.

But the sheep will probably go along as they always do, and hurt us all in the process.

Jan 16

Grayscale

I hate mobile. Because Microsoft is only concentrating on mobile, it means I can never use Windows again.

The fonts are so atrociously terrible in Windows 10 there aren’t even words for it. They are like a volcano erupting right into your eye, like watching any Ray Romano “comedy,” like a kissing a cactus with your whole face.

And I found out the reason. It’s because Microsoft now only allows grayscale anti-aliasing even in their fucking desktop OS. This color-based anti-aliasing (aka ClearType) didn’t work correctly on tablets and phones due to the fact that color-based anti-aliasing depends on one pixel orientation, and tablets and phones can be rotated. So instead of just leaving it in for the desktop OS — the vast majority of their users — they ripped it out and returned their OS to 1983.

So in other words for their very small share of the phone and tablet market, they decided that the monitors of ~1 billion desktop users should be like reading hieroglyphics off a damn rock.

I read all the time, all day long. So fonts are pretty important to me. I can’t accept bad ones. And Windows 10 renders fonts worse than my old Windows 3.11 installation from back in 1993.

Al hail progress.

Jan 16

WhyT

Why do people do this to IT people so often? It seems to be as far as I can tell the only profession that gets treated this way.

There is another side of this that I used to run into when I was doing IT — and which Will still has to deal with. When you are fixing a computer as a contractor, people will often want to sit next to you and “learn how to do it.” This is not the same thing. For one thing, having people ask a stream of questions makes the repair go much slower, and most repairs are not done on an hourly basis. For another thing, it is offensive. The implication is that all you are doing is this one thing — that knowing what to do isn’t part of a vastly larger base of knowledge. No one would ever think it appropriate to ask a plumber to teach them the art while the toilet gets fixed.

Here’s how you can learn what I know: start when you are four years old and are trying to figure out how to use a terrible TRS-80 in a hot trailer that your working-class poor but computer-obsessed dad traded some mechanic work for (instead of food, which you probably needed more).

Then do that for 35 years, increasing your knowledge and skills all the time.

Then you’ll know what I know and be able to do what I do as quickly as I do it.

Easy, right?

That’s why I’m not going to be able to tell you how I fixed that networking problem in five minutes some other people spent three days working on.