Oct 03

Orifice 2013

This pretty much encapsulates my feelings about Office 2013.

The interface is indescribably bad. Text bleeds into everything else; there are no margin lines separating anything. In Outlook, I cannot distinguish what is an email from what is other content.

Basically every user interface guideline there is has been violated. The flatness of it all makes it look like a big white wall.

And no, I don’t just “hate change.” Any time a new OS has come out, I’ve always been first in line to try it. Heck, I am usually running the beta a year before regular users have gotten hold of it.

The same with software like Office 2013. I looked at the trial a year before it came out. Other than some Linux software back in the late ‘90s, it was and is the worst interface I’ve ever seen. Absolutely unusable.

Oct 03

RPG

Eh, what?

Not only is that inadvisable for a whole host of reasons, but an RPG has to travel a certain minimum distance before arming I believe – I think it’s around 50 meters – and it determines this distance by rotation of the round. Some older ones didn’t have this failsafe I think, but I am not an RPG expert so I have no idea which model this is other than it is a Russian design.

RPGs launch so quickly that it’d definitely kill the guy it’s pointed at, but might not have enough momentum not to embed itself in his body, so it might continue rotating and detonate right there.

Or, it could be deflected in an unpredictable direction and kill the shooter and his buddies anyway.

Either way, what the hell.

Oct 02

Hair

Generally, I am a total fan of short hair. But Jenna Thiam’s hair is just gorgeously decadent. (And nope, that ain’t extensions.)

Jenna Thiam

Any vacuum cleaners in her house must die pretty much weekly.

Oct 01

Break it down

Breaking Bad: overrated, over here, and thankfully, all over.

There have been a dozen far better shows than that one, almost all of which got cancelled too early, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles being one of them. Virtuality is another.

I don’t think Breaking Bad is a terrible show by any means. It’s average. I just think it gets far more credit than it deserves for doing things that earlier, better shows have done with more style, panache and credibility.

Why is this the case? People are always interested in a white guy doing something better than anyone else.

Oct 01

Gun it

I’m really sick of the gun culture in the US. It seems like a mental illness to me. And most often, the people obsessed with guns are also misogynist, often racist, and in general just despicable humans.

Not all the time. But most of the time. I’m not some “effete” liberal guessing about this. I grew up in very rural North Florida. I know this.

I don’t know how so many people got it into their heads that having a gun makes them into some sort of gunslinger. I am putting it in mythological terms because apparently that’s the way many people think about it. But here’s the thing about a real gunslinger. She is still a gunslinger without her guns. In fact, that very idea – that the guns are only a tool, a symbol of something that you already are — is what defines someone like that.

Just like Tony Stark is still Iron Man without his suit.

People buy the tool and think it grants them magic powers, but in reality it just makes them dangerous losers with a tool they don’t understand and are incompetent with.

That’s fine if it’s a power saw or a belt sander. Most of the time, they will only hurt themselves. But with a gun it’s different. They can hurt or kill themselves and many other people. And often do just that.

Sep 30

Martin

Was just thinking about Trayvon Martin.

People call him a thug, yet I committed many more crimes in high school that he ever did. Not even close. I also got in way (way, way!) more fights than he ever did.

I wasn’t a thug by any measure – to be a thug, you have to actually enjoy harming people, which I very much do not. But I was white, which got me a pass.

All I am saying is that if Trayvon Martin was a thug, by comparison I was Don Fucking Corleone.

Sep 30

Pop

For some reason when anyone mentions that the planet is overpopulated versus the amount of humans it can sustainably support, something like 80% of liberals automatically hear, “We must kill all the undesirable humans NOW!”

I don’t know why.

Overpopulation is inarguable. If there were 100 million people on the planet organized as technological society (the only way even 100 million could survive), unless we set off nuclear bombs every day none of the current resource or environmental problems would exist.

QED.

Population control over the long term will happen – the question is whether it will be Malthusian or controlled. I’d rather it be controlled. The alternative is a few billion people – mostly in less-developed nations – starving to death.

Sep 27

Sharp lyrical Talan

Deb Talan when she was at her prime is the best lyricist I know of, from any era.

“I wish I were a bird,” she said.

“So you could fly away?”

“No, so we could be together with no thoughts of yesterday.”

That’s from her song “Two Points.” It’s better in song form of course because her phrasing is absolutely impeccable.

Like many people (male and female), she’s become very boring since she’s happy and has had kids. She was a much better writer when she was desperately lonely, miserable and poor.

But that’s true of nearly all artists.

But when she shone, she lit up the sky. Not many people mildly glow even once in their lives.

I’m glad she seems happy, but I miss the old Deb Talan. I met her once at a concert and she was unfailingly nice and even laughed – seemingly sincerely — when I joked about her being my fallback after my meeting with Madonna got cancelled.

Sep 27

Not very productive

How do you make a major mistake like this when the data is so easy to find?

The return of high wealth-to-income ratios has one key cause – the slowdown of productivity and population growth.

I’m referring to the phrase “slowdown of productivity” as the mistake specifically, though the other bit is likely voodoo economics as well.

As the graph below from the BLS shows, productivity was clearly rising (right up until the recession), during which inequality was in also in a period of enormous increase.

Nonfarm business productivity bar chart

Also, this data is noisy, but productivity seems to be back up to its historic rate of late – not surprising given all the automation that is being invested in now. (This might be terrible for the average worker, but increases measured productivity in most cases.)

How do you make such a large mistake? I don’t understand it. As near as I can tell, productivity has nothing at all to do directly with wealth disparities one way or the other. At least no academic seems to be able to link those conclusively, but in general I’d guess that productivity increases actually increase the likelihood of high wealth inequality. That is at least what the data suggest.