Apr 12

De novo

I didn’t even know the word “semasiographic” then, but when I was 13 or 14 I developed a partially semasiographic writing system (as the aliens in Arrival used) with the idea that it could work cross-culturally for the basics.

Looking back on it, it was pretty good. I discovered nothing new of course, but divorcing phonology from meaning seemed natural to me at the time.

However, I did not learn to see the future.

Apr 12

Bother sum

I know the answer is that philosophy is bad and thinking more than mechanistically like a wind-up clock is invalid, but why does is not bother more math type people that there is a vast infinity of non-computable real numbers?

It is one of the few math proofs I can understand well (like many of the fundamental ones, it is not that hard in either common variant). I know that it doesn’t have many if any consequences for the real world or math as constructed (as Gödel’s incompleteness theorems also do not), but still it seems like something fundamentally broken in how reality as we perceive it is ordered.

Other than my complete lack of ability — such as spending three years trying to learn to do quadratic equations and failing — one of the reasons I could never pursue math is that it seems to be a house built on ghosts of broken, vanished universes.

These philosophical concerns are minor to non-existent for most people I know, but for me they aren’t and never could be just a quibble.

They are — to borrow the title of a decent sf novel — a reality dysfunction.

Apr 12


I wish I could go back to 1998 or so when the DMCA was being passed. First, so I could buy some Apple stock.

But second, so I could rub in people’s faces how right I was when I warned that the DMCA would be applied to objects like cars and non-internet devices like tractors.

This news has been out there a while, but it is equally appalling each time.

Back to my desire for a time machine, though. Just as with renewables, when I brought up that the DMCA would inevitably be applied to more than software and websites, I was told that I was being an “idiot,” that it’d never happen, that it just wasn’t possible, that such thoughts were foolish to even consider.

But it was self-evident in how the law was written, and now here we are with farmers who are legally impeded from repairing their own equipment.

Am constantly surprised by people’s lack of grasp of the obvious.

Apr 10

The tools but not the intelligence

This is something I’ve thought about on and off for many years — about how retail stores essentially killed themselves. It wasn’t Amazon. It wasn’t NewEgg. It was all them, shooting themselves in the foot and then stabbing themselves in the heart.

Typical retail experience is miserable, with indifferent, clueless salespeople with no knowledge pushing products and worthless “warranties” you don’t need, while the store itself has a very limited selection, an atrocious accompanying website and an experience no better than just buying it from Amazon and hoping for the best.

Did it have to be this way? Of course not. But the death of retail is what happens when you have the might-as-well-be human clones with the same MBAs from the same 10 schools running most retailers, all who have no cognitive ability to deviate from the course set by what everyone knows is true — but is as usual wrong.

It’s more complex than this, of course, and I won’t get to the bottom of it in a 200-word blog post.

Essentially, though, retailers chose a bad course, and when it was obvious they’d have to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis, some chose to tack directly for the whirlpool and some chose the sea monster, while declaring in unison, “We had no choice!”

But they always had a choice.

Apr 09


If the only reason we have sex-segregated facilities is the protection of women from men (as seems mostly to be the case), then perhaps we should concentrate instead on correcting or proscribing the permitted behaviors of men instead?

Seems logical to me.

Apr 09


Saw this link on a friend’s Twitter feed about what parts of various jobs can be automated.

This is somewhat close to what I expected as I have very intentionally attempted to move myself into areas of my career focus that are difficult to mechanize. However, I think this actually underestimates (as is the tendency) the activities in my vocation which can be somewhat-easily automated. From my experience, about 15 out of the 39 tasks (as opposed to 9) in the linked page that I routinely undertake can be done by bots now or in the near future.

As I noted, I’ve deliberately positioned myself into areas that aren’t as amenable to robot invasion. It’s important to point out that this option is not available to most people for various reasons of abilities and cultural and socioeconomic position.

I expect it similarly underestimates the automatability of other fields too, by the way — of the others I checked, some areas that I know are already being automated are listed as “No.” All such guides are imperfect, though — not canonical truth. Nor do they have to be to be interesting.

Apr 08

Beyond belief

How stupid is this motherfucker?

It turns out that President Donald Trump gave a heads up to the Russian government before launching his missile strike against Syria on Thursday night.

Do you like nuclear wars? Because accidentally bombing Russian troops or military installations is how you get nuclear wars.

This Salon article is one of the most clueless I’ve ever read, and that’s saying a lot since I go to conservative sites fairly often to see what’s happening over there.

BTW, it’s absolutely customary for military forces operating in the same engagement area to give each other notification of activities.

Source: I was in the fucking military.

Apr 07


Lately, I’ve frequently heard “exasperating the situation” instead of “exacerbating.” This seems to be in firm transition now.