Jul 03


In a way it’s nice to see that CEOs as inept as Ellen Pao can rise to the top and fail so spectacularly and be so incompetent.

It’s not when amazing, peerless women are permitted power that a signifier of equality is achieved; no, equality is at least in sight when someone as terrible and clueless as Pao can also wield power and be as bungling and foolish as Steve Ballmer without it being a commentary on her gender.

About the fired moderator, I’m guessing she was canned because she wasn’t part of the management cool kids club, had no MBA and was therefore completely alien to someone like Pao.

It’s kind of fun watching Pao destroy Reddit because it’s a good illustration of how not to do so many things.

Lessons for the future. Always good to have.

Jul 02

The Great Stag

Tyler Cowen’s “Great Stagnation” is mostly a crock.

Just like with the Wright brothers, most important innovations are only obvious in hindsight. There is a long history of world-changing technologies being written off as irrelevant toys even years after they were developed.

There are several nascent innovations happening or about to happen that are going to change lives completely in the next 20-100 years, assuming technological society continues and all that.

This list isn’t comprehensive; I’ll miss many. But I can guarantee a few of these will come to fruition, seem obvious in hindsight but be widely derided and scorned as “playtoys” or “impossible dreams” now:

1) Lab-raised meat.

2) Fusion.

3) Widespread and greater-than-human AI.

4) VR.

5) Neural implants.

6) Uplifting animals to human-level or greater intelligence.

7) Genetic engineering.

8) Anti-senescence treatments and a general cure for aging.

I could go on. But some that will definitely change nearly everything aren’t on this list because likely even to me they look like inconsequential playthings or just don’t exist yet.

Jul 01

Windows 10, as in 1910

Funny that Windows is still utter shit at handling 4K and 5K, even in Windows 10.

Stranger still are the text-scaling issues found even in Metro. Microsoft’s new interface design is supposed to handle high pixel densities without issue, yet some aliasing is obvious in text found on the login screen, the taskbar and the Start menu.

Metro apps suffer similar problems. The Windows Store, for example, has made little effort to ensure images scale as well.

On my 5K iMac, even old applications usually look pretty good.

I had planned to switch back to Windows when it supported 4K and 5K properly. But it looks like that will be roughly never, so Mac OS it is for the foreseeable future.

What the hell is wrong with Microsoft? It’s not like high PPI displays are going to get less common, or become less used.

Jul 01


This article is funny, but I like to nitpick.

So I will.

That planet is what, twice the radius of earth? At that radius and assuming the average density of earth for the larger planet, gravity would logically be close to twice earth normal assuming the earth-normal density of 5.5 g/cc.

Twice normal gravity would be a bit difficult to deal with, but doable.

Water has a lot lower density than most of our planet, so if the larger planet had a lot more water to lower the average density to 4 g/cc gravity would be about 1.44 times earth normal. This would be a lot easier to handle.

Also, a planet with no tectonic activity would not be long-term habitable most likely. It’d be essentially dead. Subduction/obduction, orogeny (and the related iron cycle) and other geological processes bring a huge amount of minerals and other nutrients to the surface that are required for continued vital biospheres.  (The piece later says there are volcanic peaks which probably can’t happen on a rocky planet without tectonic activity outside of meteor strikes or similar.)

Anyway, there’s more but that’s all I feel like nitpicking for now.

Jun 29

Ortho kills thought dead

Just as there is no gender without humans, there is no economics without people.

The best trick our would-be and de facto masters ever played on us is pretending that the “laws” of economics are embedded in the universe just like the value of the electron’s charge or the ineluctable consequences of the Chandrasekhar Limit.

In reality, economics is the sociology of various trading behaviors, mores and practices, not the physics of disconnected and passionless economic agents. If you study history and anthropology (which most economists obviously do not) you will already know that there have been over time societies that based their economies on all sorts of systems that are said to be “impossible” now in modern economic theory — from the moneyless yet rich society of the Incan empire to the potlatch cultures of the Pacific Northwest.

Historically speaking current economic practices and the orthodoxy surrounding it are the anomaly, not the rule.

That out of the way, it’s not that economics is in principle useless, merely as currently practiced. Much the same with evolutionary psychology.

But key to preserving the economic status quo is the vast majority of economists (and nearly all academic economists) presenting the current system as the only possible path, with laws as ironclad of those in particle physics that are embedded into the very fabric of the universe and thus unalterable by humans.

Jun 29


Malcolm Gladwell is the worst thing to ever happen to non-fiction. At least since the McCarthy era.

Of course there is a market for his crappy pap or it wouldn’t sell. And if someone threw that kind of money at me I’d also write about how this one simple trick can make you smarter than Emmy Noether and Maryam Mirzakhan put together.

So Gladwell is just doing what any sane person would. But it makes the non-fiction world much worse.

Jun 28

The invisible war

It is a good thing, but the only reason that gay marriage came about is that it’s not detrimental — and is marginally beneficial — to the whole neoliberal project of economic subjugation and upward redistribution.

Promoting a stable society of worker drones is assisted by gay marriage, to some extent.

It is a victory, but it’s a victory in a war being actively lost and in fact hardly even contested.

Jun 26


Because of “designers” and their related pharisees, myrmidons and sycophants jacking around with frameworks and 10MB javascript libraries that load afresh every two seconds, web pages are now as slow as they were back in 1996 when I was still using dial-up and every so-called web master in existence thought it was totally neato to embed a five megabyte Java crapplet in each page.

This slowness is true over even a gigabit connection.

You know if design had anything at all to do with users, this would not be the result. But modern design has nothing at all to do with users.

It has to do with what is stylish and with what makes the internet more like cable television, and whatever the latest buzzword fad is that pleases technically-clueless executives in charge now of the direction of most everything on the web.

I really miss the wild west, individualist and exuberantly silly days of the early web where people were trying new things and even in spite of the 5MB Java downloads over dial-up. Then it was a rare arena where the corporate mindset hadn’t yet infected and ruined it all.

Now, it is another vast wasteland.