Oct 19

Dumb phones

Why do people do so much on smartphones?

I have one. I fucking hate it. If I didn’t need it I’d never use it.

And it’s not a low-end, either — it’s an iPhone 6. I have it because having one is required for work, but if I could I’d throw the damn thing in the trash in a skinny minute.

Reading on a smart phone is miserable (though better since the screens have become high-res). Actually achieving anything on one like booking an arline ticket or sending an email is a nightmare. It’s hilarious watching people struggle to do things on a smartphone that I can do literally 100 times faster on a desktop PC.

But that is one thing I like about smartphones — as long as desktop PCs exist and people continue to forget how to use a real computer and associated keyboard, my comparative advantage in the workplace goes way up.

Smartphones aren’t inherently bad. People who use them aren’t wrong for doing so, either. But they are a bit inexplicable to me because they tend to make all experiences worse.

I don’t get bored easily so that’s part of it. I can deal with 10 minutes of doing nothing because I’m always consolidating or attempting to generate ideas.

Other people? I’ve seen little evidence of this. Perhaps in that sense the smartphone is needed.

Oct 18


I’ve always had trouble with signing into my credit card issuer’s site. Authentication issues, security question issues, etc., On four different browsers and four or five different OSes, with and without adblock, etc.

But today takes the damn cake. Today, I get this as my “security” question:


Note: I am male, have always been male, and have never been married or even engaged and have obviously never added that as my security question.

And it won’t let me sign in without answering it.

This site was coded by damn idiots.

Oct 17

Diamond studded

Jared Diamond strikes me as someone who is occasionally correct by accident.

He doesn’t seem to understand sociology or anthropology all that much. His explanations, though not as bad as Gladwell’s, are too pat and too all-encompassing.

Also, more is accidental and contingent than anyone gives credit for, especially even scientists.

Read Diamond, sure. You’ll learn a few things. But like starting with Twilight, it should lead to better, truer works.

Oct 16

PUAs as Weberian status violators

Pickup artists are a disease on the face of human culture.

But it’s not just due to their misogyny and entitlement that they are hated: no, it’s because many of their techniques work, and work well.

Note that I am not saying their techniques are justified or appealing. Honestly the world would be better off by far if they all left. For like Jupiter.

But why people despise them is not the nominal reasons pointed out when that antipathy is expressed, because if their techniques were completely ineffectual they’d not even be relevant.

Women and men despise them because it is a relatively-effective tactic that low-status men (note: I also don’t buy into their construction of alpha and beta males, but some related concepts are useful) have of obtaining something they would not otherwise be able to, and this deeply offends people. Not because of misogyny, again. Misogyny has nothing at all to do with it  for most people– no, this is of the same sort of offense as if a hobo walked into a high-end restaurant and was seated and treated like a valued and wealthy patron.

The misogyny excuse is just tacked on after the abhorrence is already solidified as an excuse or post hoc justification, for in reality the real contempt arises from the violation of status norms.

A way to check this contention is to notice that when already high-status men who aren’t self-described PUAs use exactly the same techniques, it is considered “cute flirting” instead of high-pressure PUA tactics.

PUAs are hated because they are Weberian status violators, as I noted above, not because of their real and despicable misogyny. That explains the out sized vitriol they receive when other far worse problems that women face receive little to no attention.

Attempted and especially successful status jumping is always punished most severely in human cultures.

Oct 16


Why I would destroy the fat acceptance movement if I could:RWNL8nz Yes, this is apparently real and not a troll. Also a common belief in the FA idiot tribe.

Oct 15

Shake it

I like this piece, but this portion just isn’t true. It is a common myth, however.

What’s more: the words that Shakespeare wrote didn’t sound at all the way they did in the early 17th century. If Shakespeare were performed today the way he was performed then, modern audiences wouldn’t even be able to make out words. It would be like listening to someone tell a story in Gaelic.

We actually have a fairly good idea of what Shakespearean-era English sounded like. And it sounded like this.

If you can understand a moderate Scottish accent, you can understand the above.

Hell, my native Southern accent is thicker and harder to understand for most people than Shakespearean-era English would’ve been, as my partner found out when she visited my natal area with me.

However, go back around 200 years and the English of the time would’ve been utterly incomprehensible.

The main reason is that Shakespeare wrote towards the end of the Great Vowel Shift so English pronunciation resembled its modern phonology fairly closely.

I’m a complete language and word nerd so this is something I’ve studied a lot.

Oct 15


I thank the blackest heavens that I am anomalous, because though it wasn’t exactly easy to lose weight, it has been easy to keep off.

Still down 25% from my highest weight, and I’ll stay there for life.

All my family is fat. If I’m fighting genetics, I’m doing a remarkably good job. Nearly six years now.

I’m about the most stubborn person you’ll ever meet, so my results are anomalous for a reason I’m guessing.

But check this out. Unlike this dude, I don’t track a damn thing.

I eat what I want. But unlike most people, I look at the amount I actually want, and eat half of that.

Works a charm. Ain’t tracked a calorie, ever.

Best change I ever made: I eat better food, spend about the same amount, am far, far healthier and my knees don’t hurt anymore.

I’d literally do just about anything not to get fat again.

Oct 14

Don’t know

All you knotty-pated fools, fen-sucked flapdragons and blubbering blatherskites who say that money doesn’t buy happiness — if you haven’t ever been poor, sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.

You don’t know a thing.

That is all.

Oct 14

The race

The race we don’t know we’re in is the one to create our successors before complete climate and ecological collapse.

It’s still a long race, but shorter than most people imagine.

The Singularity adherents and those opposing them are both wrong. Curiously but not surprisingly given history, they are both wrong in ways that completely occlude the debates we should be having.

We are in the stage now of debating which buggy whip is best to use on an automobile.

That will last a while.

Oct 13


I don’t particularly care for the German language or German culture for that matter, but I have considered moving to Germany just for the bakeries.

Magisterial arenas of wonder, they are.